Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: all (page 5 of 55)

ASIAN COLLARD GREENS

We’re doing vegetarian today. And it came about due to experimentation. I’ve long been a fan of collard greens, ever since I discovered them during my young manhood in the South. Collard greens always remind me, in a way, of bok choy, the archetypical Chinese vegetable. Though some may disagree, I’ve always considered they share the same taste and texture. So I began thinking, why not cook collard greens the same way as bok choy? Guess what? It worked. Even my wife, Holly, who loves collard greens but hates boy choi, took a shining to this dish.

So here it is, collard greens Asian style. When I was in the Southland, a long cooking time for collard greens was the tradition. Subsequently, I discovered that, if you  cut the collards crosswise into thin slices, they can be done in 1 minute or so. They come out crisp-tender and the greens keep their color and full flavor. It’s the same method I used in this Asian innovation. Also, I’ve added all the ingredients used to cook bok choi. The results were marvelous. A whole new dish was created. Impress your family and friends with this one: Asian Collard Greens.

Added Note: as with bok choi, we served it with steamed rice. As mentioned, it made for a great vegetarian dish. You can also serve it as side dish, if desired. It’ll go great with fish, chicken, pork or beef.

ASIAN COLLARD GREENS

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 pounds collard greens, rinsed, leaves halved lengthwise with stems and center ribs discarded
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place sesame seeds in a large skillet or pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until you can smell the sesame seeds and they turn a bit golden in color, 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that they don’t get too brown. Place seeds in a small bowl or plate and set aside.
  2.  Heat oil in the same pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute until you can smell the aroma. Add collards and stir for another 2 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, soy sauce and chili sauce (if using), and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan or skillet and cook the greens for about 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3.  Transfer to a serving bowl with its cooking liquid and serve hot, with the sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
    Yield: 6 servings.

CRABMEAT POMODORO

This is one of those recipes that’s created at the spur of the moment. You look and see what you have in the fridge and cupboard, and create something—and give it a fancy name. Like “pomodoro.” Which, in Italian, simply means “tomato.” Nevertheless, some of the best meals are created this way. As the one given below. All you need is a couple of cans of crabmeat and some spaghetti or linguini, preferably whole-wheat.

CRABMEAT POMODORO

Ingredients:

1 pound package whole- wheat linguini (or spaghetti)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
3 medium tomatoes, washed and diced
2 (6-ounce cans) crabmeat, drained and flaked
¾ cup black olives, rinsed and sliced in half
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook linguini or spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 9-11 minutes), or according to package directions. Drain.
  2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in crushed red pepper and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir in crabmeat and cook until it’s incorporated into the sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in black olives.
  4.  Place pasta in a heated platter or serving dish, top with crabmeat sauce and garnish with basil. If desired, you can sprinkle the dish with  some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Serve hot with crusty bread and a good red wine, like chianti or cabernet—hell, serve with with whatever wine you like. My mom, of late memory, would enjoy all her meals with Gallo Sherry. And, if she couldn’t find Gallo sherry, it’d be Mogen David Heavy Malaga Red. In the Rivera clan, we never stand on formality. Just enjoy the dish.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.

CINNAMON-APPLE PORK CHOPS

I tend to believe that this recipe is either Turkish or Middle eastern in origin. It’s pork chops cooked with a mix of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and apples. Yes, apples. It gives the lowly pork chop a new and piquant flavor. Served with rice (or favorite grain), or a salad, it makes for a truly exceptional meal, and something out of the ordinary.

CINNAMON-APPLE PORK CHOPS

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 loin pork chops
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 pinches salt
2 medium-sized tart apples, such as Granny Smith, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pecans, optional
¼ cup dry white wine

Instructions:

  1. Rinse chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until hot. Add pork chops and cook 3 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on other side until done—no pink juice runs out when cut.
  3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4.  Remove chops from skillet and keep warm. Add apples, pecans (if using) and brown sugar mixture to skillet, plus reaming 2 tablespoons butter. Cook ingredients until tender. Add pork chops, stir to mix, adding white wine. Cook over high heat until wine evaporates. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4 servings.

AVOCADO SALAD

Mid-summer, and it’s still hot in most places. And, of course, global warming isn’t helping any. For days like these, here’s a recipe that was a favorite in our family back on the block. The recipe is easy, quick and delicious; and it’s appropriate now that good, ripe avocados are still in season. The result is a compendium of buttery chunks of avocado, with hints of radish heat, sausage, and a simple vinaigrette that gives you a crisp and refreshing salad. With some crusty bread and a good wine, red or white, it makes for a fine summer meal.

AVOCADO SALAD

Ingredients:

¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 (6-8 oz.) firm-ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 head lettuce (it can be Bibb lettuce, romaine, or as we did it, mesclun mix) torn into 1-inch pieces
3 medium radishes, thinly sliced
6 ounces thinly sliced sausage (pepperoni, salami, or other favorite)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl or cruet, whisk together lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in oil.
  2.  Toss greens, radishes, sausage, and add just enough dressing to coat.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

CREAMED SPINACH WITH SUMMER SQUASH

I’ve always like spinach, even when I was a young ‘un. Some people abhor spinach, and I’ve always wondered why? There is one exception: creamed spinach. Even the most recalcitrant youngster will gravitate towards it. Now that summer is in full bloom, and spinach is abundant, I like to experiment with the vegetable. Another thing that is abundant right now is summer, or yellow squash. Which got me thinking, why not combine the two? After all, both veggies have their own flavor profile. The result was delicious. Here it is, Creamed Spinach with Summer Squash. If, for some reason you can’t fund summer squash, zucchini will do just as well. We served this dish as supper over pasta (in our case, bucatini). But you can combine it with rice or any other preferred grain. It also goes beautifully with baked ham, chicken, veal or even, liver. Let me add that the dish may be garnished with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

CREAMED SPINACH WITH SUMMER SQUSH

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1 medium yellow squash, washed and sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1¼ cups light cream
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 hard-boiled egg, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the floor. This will  give you a light roux as a base for the sauce.
  2.  Return pan to heat, add the olive oil and stir in the onion and yellow squash. Sauté for about 3 minutes until onion and squash are soft. Gradually add the cream, stirring constantly over moderate heat until thickened.  Add spinach and dill. Cook, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

GRILLED FISH IN CHURRASCO MARINADE

In Portuguese and Spanish culture, churrasco is the name for grilled beef. Eventually the name came to refer to any cut of meat that was grilled, inclusive of chicken and, yes, fish. And that is the recipe given today: Grilled Fish in Churrasco Marinade. In this recipe, the best fish used for grilling, are fish steaks, They are meaty and can benefit from the marinade. You can try fish fillets. But my experience is that fillets are just too delicate for the marinating and grilling process involved.

The recipe is basic and simple. It just requires that the fish be marinated overnight in the churrasco mix. In terms of the fish steaks, any good fish steak will do, be it haddock, kingfish, tuna, halibut,  bluefish, salmon, even shark meat. When grilling, be aware that fish steaks cook best over a medium-hot fire.

This time around we served the fish steaks with Israeli couscous, also known as “pearl” couscous. Of course, you can serve it with any side dish desired, or even a salad.

GIRLLED FISH IN CHURRASCO MARINADE

Ingredients:

4 fish steaks, about 8 ounces each, 1 to 1½-inches thick
½ cup beer or ale
¼ cup white wine (any kind)
1 lemon, sliced into rings
1 packet sazon
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dill
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse fish steaks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  For churrasco marinade: In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
  3.  Place fish in a zip lock bag, add marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  4.  Next day, grill 1 to 2 minutes per side for rare, 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare, or 1-2 minutes longer for well-done.
    Yield: 4 servings.

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

If you like grilling burgers (and who doesn’t), you’re going to love this recipe. It takes the lowly majestic hamburger to a higher level. Here we have stuffed burgers. And the stuffing is mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. Think of it as a stuffed pizza burger. And you can use whatever stuffing you want, be it onions, broccoli, olives, you name it. I would not suggest pepperoni. You’ve already got the meat, and adding pepperoni would be having meat stuffed with more meat. Pepperoni lovers would swoon; but some may not. Nevertheless, I assure you, once you try the stuffed burger, you’ll be hooked.

GRILLED STUFFED BURGERS

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 pounds lean ground beef
4 slices mozzarella cheese
9 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hamburger buns

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine onion and garlic powders with ground beef. Form the beef into patties around the cheese, tomatoes and basil. Make sure the stuffing is completely hidden so none leeks out during cooking. Add salt and pepper.
  2. Grill patties until desired doneness and serve on a warm bun with a side salad or any other accompaniment desired.
    Yield: 4 servings.

GRILLED DUCK BREAST

This recipe takes grilling to new heights. It’s way beyond the purview of just plain franks, burgers, and chicken. This would be the epitome of grilling. No less than duck breast. Yes, it’s a mite on the expensive side. Again, these ain’t beef burgers. But the taste will be rich and magical. Served with grilled potatoes and zucchini, as we did it,  will render that special meal, even if it is on the grill. If desired, you can have it with a salad, or whatever side dish you want. So, be adventurous today. Take grilling one step further into nirvana (and I don’t mean the rock band).

The only suggestion I have when grilling duck breasts, is to sliced them lengthwise. A duck breast, say 1½ pound, is a thick slab of meat. Slicing it into a thinner piece will facilitate better grilling and quicker preparation.

GRILLED DUCK BREAST

Ingredients:

2 duck breasts
½ cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoons kosher or Himalayan salt
1 bay leaf
4 whole black peppercorns
Couple of slices of white ore red onion

Instructions:

  1. Rinse duck breasts under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Slice duck breasts in half lengthwise and set aside.
  2.  Mix all remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. This is the brine for the duck breasts. Bring the brine to a light simmer. Turn heat off, and mix to allow salt to dissolve. When it cools, add duck breasts, cover and let sit in  the fridge for up to 24 hours. The longer the breasts sit in the brine, the better the flavor.
  3.  Remove breasts and rinse well with fresh water. Dry thoroughly. Cook on medium-heat grill until medium rare or to degree of doneness desired. Remove from grill and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

TERIYAKI MEATBALLS

It always amazes me how the Americanization of other cuisines has been so prominent in our culture. You know what I mean. Think of Chinese-American cooking, which is nothing like the cuisine you would encounter in China.  Think of what we did with French cooking. For example, Vichyssoise is not French. It is an American invention. It was invented in 1917 at the Ritz hotel by a French chef. Then there’s Tex-Mex cooking. You will not find chimichangas in upscale restaurants in Mexico City. Again, another America addition. When I was in Italy, pasta was mainly served as side dish. We made it the main course with such things as spaghetti with meatballs. And, thinking of meatballs, that is where I came across this tidbit, Teriyaki Meatballs. Again, another Americanization of another traditional cuisine, this time, Japanese.

I tried this recipe and it was nothing short of marvelous. You may not find teriyaki meatballs in a restaurant in  Japan (unless they’re catering to Americans), but you can make it at home and enjoy the essence of all the diverse flavors in this dish. With plain steamed rice, it makes for a great repast.

The recipe includes sazón accent (Goya makes a good brand) which is, honestly, a substitute for MSG and can be found in any food store these days.  It is optional in the recipe if you have any qualms.

TERIYAKI MEATBALLS

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
¼ cup diced scallions
1 egg
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Butter or oil for frying

Sauce:
½ cup soy sauce
White pepper to taste
Sugar to taste
1 packet sazón accent (optional)
Pinch of allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions:

  1. Mix ground beef thoroughly with parsley, chives and scallions. Stir in egg and bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shape into balls about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter.
  2.  Heat butter or oil in a heavy skillet. Add meatballs and fry for about 5 minutes or so or until browned on all sides.
  3.  While meatballs are frying, prepare sauce. In a small saucepan, heat soy sauce over low heat. Season with salt, pepper, sugar, sazón accent, allspice and ground ginger.
  4.  Pour hot sauce over meatballs. Let stand for 5 minutes so flavors can blend.
    Yield: 4 servings.

 

TROUT WITH ALMONDS

Recently we got some fresh trout. About the only time we get trout is when some friend goes fishing in some nearby lake and brings back some. The classic way of cooking trout is the way we did it when we went camping: breaded and fried in a cast-iron skillet. The I thought about the elegant Trout Almondine, or trout with almonds. Wanna make the ordinary trout shine? This is it. It’s a great dish that goes well with boiled parsley potatoes, and your favorite vegetable. Add a well chilled white wine, like a Pouilly Fuisse, and you have the makings of an unforgettable meal.

TROUT WITH ALMONDS

Ingredients:

4 medium-sized trout, cleaned
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon  juice
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup butter
1 cup slivered almonds

Instructions:

1. Placed fish on a working surface and rub them all over with the salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
2.  Season the flour with the nutmeg and thyme, and place in a shallow dish.  Place the milk in another dish. Dip the trout, one by one, first in the milk and then in the seasoned flour.
3. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan or skillet large enough to hold the fish in one layer, melt half of the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the trout and fry from 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until the flesh flakes easily. With a spatula, transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish.
4. Add remaining butter to the frying pan. When the foam subsides, add almonds and remaining lemon juice and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the almonds are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture over the trout. Serve at once.
Yield: 4 servings.

 

 

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