Monday, November 1, 2010

Quick and Easy German Flavors

Edited from an original post at Shindigs, your site for party moxie. 

"Germans love their pork," agreed my vegetarian friend. "When I was there, pork was everywhere, but I never saw a pig. Not one."

"Do they keep 'em in the basement?" I wondered.

She made the 'it's a mystery wrapped in bacon' face.

We were talking about Oktoberfest for vegetarians. It's tough to include them in a culinary celebration of the land of wurst and schnitzel, but I was willing to give it a go. For the sake of the more carnivorously-inclined at my home, I added about a pound of sautéed chicken, a couple of tablespoons of crumbled bacon, and served it over brown rice. It was well received.

No-Pork and Beans

1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
8-10 medium-sized mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 (14-16 oz.) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed

Seasoning mix
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of ground mace (nutmeg or allspice would be acceptable substitutes)

Heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. After butter has melted, add sliced onions and  cook until lightly browned and soft, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and sprinkle with some of the seasoning mix (1/2 teaspoon) until mushrooms start to brown. Add diced apple and heat for 5 minutes. Add rinsed, drained beans and sprinkle with another 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning mix. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Serve with bavarian mustard and sauerkraut.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Real World Party

If you are looking for party moxie (menus, recipes, plans and schemes), please swing by Shindigs. This recipe is from the Oktoberfest menu:

Aunt Wannie's Potato Salad

3 stalks celery, washed, trimmed, and finely diced
2 medium radishes, washed, trimmed, and finely diced
1/4 cup minced onion
3/4 cup finely diced sweet pickles
3 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice if you ned to thin it out
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 shakes black pepper
4 cups washed, peeled, cooked, cooled, cubed potatoes

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Don't be lazy and skip this step: you want to toss the ingredients as little as possible once you add the potatoes, or else your potatoes will break down.

In a second bowl, mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, pickle juice, salt and pepper. Yes, it's a lot of salt, but the potatoes like it. Even though you salted your potato water.

Place about half of the potatoes in a large bowl. Sprinkle about half of the veggies over the top, then about half of the eggs. Pour about half of the dressing over this. Repeat the layering process, and then gently toss to coat the potatoes. Refrigerate and let chill for 4-24 hours before serving.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back to School Lunch Dinner Night

I've always wanted to do a Back to School Lunch Dinner Night. We did it yesterday and it was a blast. I let the kids pick out a new sandwich to try, and then we made a sample of everyone's picks as our Friday night supper.

The clear winner, with the entire house agreeing 'I'd eat that', was a variation of the peanut butter berry-wich:

Two slices whole-grain bread
1 Tablespoon almond butter
1 Tablespoon neufchatel cream cheese, softened
Handful of semi-frozen raspberries
Drizzle of honey

My oldest and I loved these roast beef and spicy tomato chutney rolls. The chutney is absolutely worth making: the red pepper flakes give it a kick, and the vinegar and sugar keep it well-balanced. A perfect use for tomatoes and sweet peppers. Highly recommended.

We were inspired by this recipe, and made a roll-up with cocktail shrimp, tails removed, tossed in a bottled light Asian dressing with a little lime and red pepper flakes, topped with a chiffonade of butter lettuce and fresh basil. My husband liked this one best.

Those three filled us up, so we saved these waffled ham & cheese sandwiches for our second breakfast this morning. Our bread needed to be a little thinner to get the dish picture-perfect, but regardless of their unphotogenic-ness, they were delicious hot. We'll see how they fare after a bit of time in the fridge.

We picked out some snacks to make, too, and we'll be doing that later in the week.

I'd love to know: what are your favorite portable lunch foods?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zucchini Muffins

I love zucchini, but by August, it is the summer equivalent of fruitcake: passed around, handed out, abandoned on porches accompanied by the sound of spinning tires.  

This recipe is for those of you so blessed. It's spicy and sweet and makes good use of whole wheat, as well as brown rice flour. But the best endorsement? Boys will walk away from Battlefront to find the source of the smell.

Zucchini Muffins
(This makes 14 regular-sized muffins. So I make a 12-tin pan plus a mini bundt cake OR 7 mini bundt cakes. Can also be baked in a loaf pan for quick bread: 350º F, greased 9”x5” pan, about 1 hour, or until tester comes out clean.)
In advance:
  • Grate and squeeze (wring some water out of) zucchini: you’ll need one cup, loosely packed.
  • Melt ¼ cup butter or margarine and allow to cool.
  • Grease muffin cups (baker’s joy works well here too)
  • Preheat oven to 400º F

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown rice flour
(if you don’t have these specialty flours, try some others, or more regular flour)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
Pinch of allspice
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼ cup milk
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted
1 cup shredded, squeezed zucchini 
Sugar in the raw for garnish, optional
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix milk, eggs and melted butter or margarine. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the liquids plus the zucchini. Stir until just combined: do not overmix. Scoop into greased muffin tins or mini bundt cake pans. Sprinkle with sugar in the raw, if desired. Bake at 400º F for 12-15 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quick Tip - Greek Week

The weather here in my little town has turned and this means that the grill is calling out to us. As such, I'm reaching for the crazy versatile Greek seasoning from Penzey's. Awesome on chicken sautéed in olive oil, delectable on broccoli, and essential on venison steaks. Essential. I'm not kidding. It's transformational. Brush the venison steaks with olive oil, sprinkle on the Greek seasoning, grill to taste (medium at my house) and serve. No marinading or sauce necessary.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Brining pork and poultry

Brine. That's a cooking word that used to intimidate me. Once I tried brining, I realized why. It's magic, and magic is a little scary.

The magic of brine is that it adds moisture and flavor to lean cuts of meat. It's a very easy technique to master. This version is perfect for 6-8 servings of smaller cuts of meat: halved, boneless chicken breasts or pork chops.

Quick Brine Recipe

1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups very hot water
1 cup cold water
1 cup ice
5 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
Bay leaf
6-8 servings of halved boneless chicken breasts or pork chops

Put salt and sugar into a reseal-able plastic gallon bag. Add 2 cups of very hot water and seal. Shake until salt and sugar dissolve. Add cold water, ice, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Allow to cool, then add chicken or pork. Press out as much air as possible and seal. Meat should rest in brine for at least 90 minutes prior to cooking.

A couple of additional tips:

  • I don't recommend this particular brine for more than a 3-4 hour soak. The meat takes on more salt than I like.
  • Remember to drain and dry the meat before grilling, broiling or sautéing for best results.
  • When cooking meat after using this brine, remember to watch your temperature and consider keeping it a little lower. The added sugar means browning will occur much faster.
  • If you buy your meat in larger quantities to save money, try brining prior to portioning and freezing. You streamline your process and the brined meat loses less flavor and texture than when 'unbrined'.
  • You can add other spices to the brine. Try cayenne, juniper or rosemary, or use brown sugar with pork.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quick Tips - Homemade pizza crust

Over the years, I've tried to compete with the local pizza places for the stomach and hearts of my family. For a very long time, I have lost to even the average chains, let alone the local mom & pop joints.

I usually cheat and buy the sauce, and everyone likes it just fine. We wouldn't know a gourmet pepperoni from a Hormel, so there's no trouble there. The problem seemed to center on the crust. We prefer a deep-dish style, and my first several attempts were unsatisfyingly soggy.

I've tried various solutions, and finally feel that we can save money and truly enjoy pizza from home as much as takeout. Here's what works best for us:

  • Skip the premade doughs and use a bread machine. I use my bread machine on the dough setting to make the crust. I prefer a simple white/whole wheat dough from the great Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger. 
  • Beware of yeast in small packages. I buy yeast at a food service supplier like GFS, or at a warehouse like Costco. The price of yeast at a grocery store is shocking by comparison–up to 4 times the price per ounce, the last time I checked. A pound or more might seem like a lot, but yeast has a very long shelf life when stored in the refrigerator. I've never had a package of yeast lose its efficacy.
  • Add a little texture. Before you empty your bread machine pan, dust your countertop or pastry board with cornmeal instead of flour. It prevents sticking and adds a little crunch to your finished product.
  • Roll out the dough, let it rest. Simply pressing the dough into your pan makes for an unevenly baked crust. Take the 5 minutes to roll out the dough to size. Cover the dough and allow to rise a little more (25-30 minutes). 
  • Be generous with the EVOO. Brush your pizza pan (we use a jellyroll pan) liberally with olive oil before placing your dough.
  • When it comes to baking, keep it low and use something as a pizza stone. Baking the pizza on a higher rack results in overly browned toppings and an underbaked crust, so before preheating your oven, place a rack in the lowest position. Stick your pizza stone or tiles on this rack. If you're like us and don't have a stone or tiles, try our MacGyver solution: an upside-down jellyroll pan. Let it preheat to 450ºF for 25-30 minutes along with your oven. Stick your pizza pan on top of that when it's time to bake.
  • Topping order matters. Put about 2/3rds of the cheese directly on the crust, followed by the sauce, then the toppings. Finish with the last 1/3 of cheese and bake.  For a 17"x11" rectangular pizza, I use 3-4 cups of cheese.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Corned beef

If you're looking for a celebratory St. Patty's Day meal, you probably have to consider corned beef and cabbage.

Corned beef is a hunk of brisket that's been sitting around in a brine-y bath of seasonings, usually with, but sometimes without, nitrates. It is a traditional part of a kind of 'boiled dinner': meat, carrots and cabbage. It's pretty simple, as this recipe reveals.

I prefer the meat on rye with mustard, or better yet, coleslaw, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing, but the price per pound can run pretty high at the deli counter. That's why right now is a great time to try and do it yourself. If that idea scares you a little, you're not alone. At my very first restaurant job, we cooked our own corned beef for sandwiches. When they told me I would have to do that as a part of our prep, I was nervous. It seemed exotic and somehow risky. Turns out you just throw it in a pot with enough water to cover or nearly cover the meat, bring it to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer until it's cooked and tender, about 4 hours for a 3-5 pound brisket. Slice across the grain, and call me. I'll bring some slaw.

If I'm not available, you can refrigerate the meat for a 2-3 days, or freeze it for future use.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Boneless Western-Style Pork Ribs

It seems like you can find boneless, western-style pork ribs on sale every other week for around a dollar a pound. Last week I picked up a family pack and made two dishes.

Chinese Barbecued Boneless Pork is great to cook and freeze. The boneless ribs are an excellent substitute for the strips of pork butt or shoulder. We slice it thin and toss into fried brown rice or reheat it in barbecue sauce for a quick sandwich.

I used the rest to test drive my friend's pressure cooker. I've never cooked with one. While I'm not excited about the $80-$100 price tag, it did make a delicious mexican-style pork stew with this tougher cut of meat in about 45 minutes total. The cooked chunks of pork shredded quickly, transforming the texture from soup to 'fork-worthy' stew. My boys cleaned out the pan.

Next time I buy this cut, I'll try adapting the pressure cooker recipe to the stovetop or slow-cooker. Or maybe I'll try this chipotle-pork chili.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Slow Cooker - Boneless Chuck Roast

My personal tastes run toward the ridiculously expensive. Take my relationship to beef. I wait until I have a few extra bucks and splurge on ribeyes, our favorite cut. This means I sometimes forget about the simple beef roast. But when I give it a chance, I'm always pleased.

I grew up on chuck roast, and I still enjoy that cut and flavor: satisfyingly beefy. It was on sale this week,  and I was excited. It's a great cut to cube for beef stew or Hungarian goulash, but I really wanted to make it in the slow-cooker.

While this is not their recipe, I've got to give a special shout-out to America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I've learned a lot about cooking from reading the recipes and tips, as well as everything else published by the folks at Cook's Illustrated magazine. I love everything about it. If it were a wine, I'd describe it as 'nerdy but accessible'. It's ad-free, well-illustrated, and scientific. The recipes are so detailed, they're practically foolproof.

A few thoughts:
  • Set aside the extra 15-20 minutes and brown the meat and vegetables. It will add depth to your finished dish. If you don't want to take my word for it, believe my mom. She's not a foodie. She's a very practical woman who doesn't like to fuss over a dish, and I can remember her standing over the frying pan awkwardly turning big ol' roasts - because she could taste the difference. 
  • If you don't do wine, try a 'dry' juice like cranberry or pomegranate.
  • This recipe would suit a 6 quart slow cooker. Mine is 5 quarts, and there was about 3 cups of liquid that just wouldn't fit - but still plenty of delicious sauce. 
  • Served with baked potatoes and salad. We're planning on leftovers with noodles.
  • My estimated cost per serving is $2 for the main dish, salad, and potatoes (had a nice coupon for the meat)
Slow Cooker Boneless Chuck Roast and Sauce
Makes 8+ servings

5-6 lbs. chuck roast (I used two smaller roasts for a total of 5 lbs.)

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 dashes cayenne
2 dashes paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground thyme

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 oz. sliced mini-bella mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped celery (fresh or frozen)
1 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 beef bouillon cube
2 bay leaves

In a small bowl, mix kosher salt, cayenne, paprika, pepper and thyme. 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Pat the top of the roast dry with a paper towel and  sprinkle with a teaspoon of the salt mixture. When oil is hot, place roast seasoned side down in pan. Sprinkle an additional teaspoon salt mix on top. Brown roast on both sides, 5-10 minutes, and place into slow cooker. If working with two smaller roasts, brown each one individually.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook about 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook about 4 more minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown. Add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen and browned bits. Add the Worchestershire sauce, tomato paste, chicken stock and bouillon cube and bring to boil. Add bay leaves.

Pour liquid and vegetables into the slow cooker over the browned roasts. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or on high 6-7 hours.

When meat is fork tender, remove from liquid and place in serving dish (a large casserole would work well here). Remove as much fat from the liquid as you can (I used a gravy separator) and purée the vegetables in batches. Transfer to a gravy boat if you're feeling fancy, or just put in a bowl with a ladle. Serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quick Tip - Chicken broth and stock

Grocery labels are often one part deceptive: the front part. Great example–yesterday at Meijer, I needed low-sodium chicken stock. I'm always looking for the best value for my family, and it looked like the Meijer 'blue can' reduced sodium broth would be the clear winner. The Meijer Naturals brand was a teeny bit cheaper, but I prefer a low-sodium product.

I decided to take a look at the nutrition panel. Unless I misread this, the reduced-sodium product contained 60 mg MORE sodium per serving. Glad I checked.

The Meijer Naturals brand also claims to be gluten-free. If that's one of your concerns, I contacted a friend who avoids gluten, whey (casein), MSG, and sweeteners. She recommends Kitchen Basics or Emeril's. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookie Mix

I've got some great cookbooks on my shelves, some beautiful, some practical. But in amongst Chez Panisse: Fruits and Cook's Illustrated hides the treasure of my collection: a stained paperback with a plastic brown binder. It's Family Recipes: Sharing Our Roots from a 1990 family reunion at Maplewoods Farms.

It's fun to skim and sample the offerings of my aunts and uncles and cousins, but this book goes beyond fun. It holds meals from my childhood, recipes from my grandmother Martha. She died when I was a baby, but I know her through her food.

(page 55) I picture Dad cracking eggs into fried rice while mom and I mix the sauce for eggrolls: hot mustard powder and water to dab into a teacup of thinned plum jelly.

(pages 70-71) I remember the smell of onions browning for arroz mexicana and mashing the pinto beans for frijoles fritos.

Page after page of memories. And after each one of these storied recipes, her directions and her name.

Martha was a collector and creator of recipes, including this oatmeal cookie mix. In a short-lived entrepreneurial jaunt, my sister-in-law and I used this mix as a base for a successful line of quart-jar cookie mixes. When I was a kid, I would sneak a spoonful of dry mix right out of the container. These memories lead me to suggest that if you have a food processor, or lots of people to help cut in the shortening, try doubling the recipe.

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookie Mix
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening
3 cups rolled oats

Sift flour, baking soda, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in shortening until it resembles corn meal (a food processor makes quick work of this step). Add rolled oats. This makes a double batch of cookie mix. Store in an airtight container. I recommend using the mix within 3 months.

To make 2 dozen cookies:

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cookie mix

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Beat egg, milk and vanilla together. Add cookie mix and stir until combined. Drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Add any of the following to a batch:
1/2 cup chopped nuts (the original recipe uses the lovely phrase nutmeats)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch nutmeg

I hope you enjoy these, and leave you with this quote. I read it and re-read it whenever we had taco night, and I love that my aunts copied it into this collection:

"A la mejor cocinera se le va un tomate entero - the best of cooks will sooner or later pull a boner."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kitchen Table Budgeting

Money's tight everywhere. What resources do you use to maximize your grocery money?

If you live in the Mitten, Smart Shoppers of Michigan (yahoo group, also on facebook) is a great resource. 

SSM founders teach classes in the southeast portion of the lower peninsula, with their next two-part class at 10 a.m. on March 14th and 21st at Hillside Bible Church. You'll walk away more confident about couponing and be able to stock up while spending less.

If you'd like to share a method that stretches your food dollar, email me at inmylittletown[at]gmail[dot]com. Use the usual symbols instead of the bracketed words - I like things cheap, but can't stand spam. In any form.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quick Tip - Celery

If you enjoy making soups, stews and other savory dishes, you probably see celery on your list of ingredients. Typically, you only need a stalk or two at the most. It's tempting to skip it, or try to substitute ground celery seed or freeze-dried stalks. I like those options, but sometimes I splurge and buy it fresh. What do you do with the rest?

What I used to do was first pretend like I was going to eat it raw, and then ignore it until it started to go limp and stink up the refrigerator. Now, I wash, chop, blanch (which means plunge into boiling water) for three minutes, dunk into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and freeze. It's quick (15-20 minutes of work, tops) and completely worth it. I've noted no flavor loss in my recipes, and while a lot of the extension services recommend freezing it in half-cup portions, I just spread the blanched pieces onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet for 12-24 hours and put it them into a freezer bag the next day. It's easy to break off the amount I need, and saves time, money, and having to hold my breath as I clean the crisper drawer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flash in the Pan - Pork Steak

Pork steak with two side dishes: whole wheat pasta tossed in garlic olive oil with parmesan, and sautéed broccoli with onions.

Most of us love pork steak at my house. It’s flavorful and cooks quickly. Prep is fast too - no marinade required. You can often catch it on sale (around here, ‘on sale’ means  $.99-$1.29 per pound), and this week I found it for a good price at the local IGA store.

The only thing that’s a little awkward is the size: a pork steak can take up more than half of a dinner plate, making it a potential cooking challenge. In the summer, it’s not a problem–we just toss ‘em on the grill and they’re ready in 10-15 minutes. Unfortunately, in the winter, my grill serves the general squirrel public as a ski hill. While I can work it out on the electric griddle, I thought I’d try my new 12” sauté pan and re-use it to sauté the broccoli, also on sale.

The pasta, onions, garlic, seasonings and olive oil were all on hand. I estimate the total cost for this meal to be between $3 and $3.25 for my family (2 adults, 3 kids ages 10, 8, and 4). I’d like to claim that this means a rockin’ 65-cents per serving, but, to be fair, the four-year old boycotted dinner and my husband gladly polished off her portion. Still not bad at 82-cents per diner.

Here’s what we had:
Two pork steaks (about a pound and a half)
½ head fresh broccoli
¾ pound whole wheat pasta
extra virgin olive oil
small onion, chopped (I did that at lunchtime)
garlic powder
kosher salt
black pepper
Canadian chicken seasoning (Gordon Food Service version of Montreal Chicken seasoning)
Dry white sherry
Parmesan cheese

Here’s how it worked:

1)    Put on the water for the pasta and let it come to a boil.
2)    Trim and rinse ½ a head of broccoli (florets only), set aside. Heat 12” pan over medium high heat (olive oil is optional).
3)    Season one side of the pork steak – I used kosher salt and pepper.
4)    Place the steaks in the pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side (I used Canadian Chicken Seasoning). Note: because my husband was running late, I only put one in the pan, but both steaks would’ve fit. 
5)    Put the pasta into the boiling water. Return to a boil and set timer for 9 minutes. Stir occasionally.
6)    With about 7 minutes left on the timer, flip the pork steaks.
7)    When the timer dings, check pasta for doneness. If you're in a bad mood, try throwing a strand or two of spaghetti at the wall. It's not only a fun way to release irritation, but if it sticks, it's done. If it’s ready, drain into a colander and set the pan aside for re-use.
8)    Check the pork steaks for doneness. Pork steaks are difficult to check with a thermometer, so I sneak a peak – make a small cut and make sure there’s very little to no pink. Remove from pan and allow to rest on a plate. Make a foil tent over the plate if you want the temperature of the meat to rise. Set aside pan for re-use.
9)    Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to the pasta pan and warm over low heat. Sprinkle with a little garlic powder, or press a clove of fresh garlic into the oil. Heat on low to medium low until fragrant.
10)  Meanwhile, toss the chopped onion into the sauté pan with a little olive oil if needed. Heat on medium for 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and heat for 2-3 minutes. Add about 3 tablespoons sherry, stock or water to the pan, and scrape up the browned bits as the liquid evaporates and thickens (a technique called deglazing). Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
11)  Toss pasta back in the cooking pan with garlic olive oil. Add a little more olive oil if it’s too dry. Toss in parmesan cheese now, or sprinkle it on at the table.
12)  Slice up the pork steak.
13)  Serve. You can toss everything together, or keep it all separate. Whatever suits your kids.

Variation: Try a little Asian flair. Use canola or peanut oil instead of olive oil for the pork and broccoli. Season the pork with pepper, garlic and ginger – I go light on the salt here, as the sodium content goes up with the soy you’ll use later. Deglaze the pan with low-sodium soy sauce and sherry, sake, stock or water. Instead of olive oil for the pasta, warm soy, hoisin, water or stock and a little sesame oil.

Tip: If you're cooking for more than 4-5 people, you could use your broiler, or place the first batch of steaks on a cookie sheet and hold it in a warm, 200º F oven. If you try the latter, for the sake of timing, try starting the meat before you put on the water.