Category Archives: Cook

Rotisserie Chicken Jook

There are many names for this dish. Rice porridge, congee, jook, Chinese Risotto. Okay I made that last one up, but whatever you want to call it, this stuff is comfort in a bowl. So delicious and perfect for a winter dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. It’s just so versatile!

Lets start with the rotisserie chicken stock we just made.


Throw it back in  the pot, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse some rice with cold water.


Add the rice to the pot, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and boil. The rice will puff up and the liquid will thicken. Next add some more broth to thin it out.


When it looks like picture 4, it’s perfecto. Garnish with some thinly sliced scallions, thinly julienned ginger, and if you have leftover rotisserie chicken meat, slice it up and throw it on there, playa!




6 cups home-made rotisserie chicken stock
2 more cups store-bought chicken broth
1 cup short-grain rice, rinsed


ginger, thin julienne
rotisserie chicken, sliced
green onions, thinly sliced
white pepper powder


Bring the rotisserie chicken stock to a boil, add the rice, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-50 minutes until the rice is puffed and liquid is thickened. Add 2 more cups of store-bought chicken broth to thin out liquid, cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt to taste.

Serve in bowls with garnishes

beer pairing recommendation: Hitachino Nest White Ale

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Forget Campbell’s Chunky.  This is truly a soup that eats like a meal. This will also be the first of several recipes that feature a $5 Costco rotisserie chicken.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating a fresh Costco rotisserie chicken, then my friend you are missing out. Enjoy, you scallywags.  BTW remember when talking like a pirate was popular? What ever happened to that?

I had trouble fitting this all into one frame:


Here are some seasonings. Very similar to what you might put into a chili.


This is how you carve the breast meat off a chicken.


Dice up your veggies.


Saute in some olive oil, then add the tomato paste to brown. Browning tomato paste caramelizes it and turns it into a huge flavor booster you can add to soups, sauces, etc. So good.


When the paste looks browned like this, it’s time to add your broth.


Next come the chili peppers. Hatch chiles are the real deal.


Chipotle peppers add a great smoky kick to your soup as well. Try it you might like it! Just make sure to mince it up real good.

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Take two forks and shred up your chicken real good.


Add the chicken and black beans


Here’s a little trick, add some water to a tablespoon of corn meal and use as a thickener to your soup.


While your soup’s boiling, prep the garnishes.  This is the fun part, so I’m told! Here’s how you dice an avocado without using a cutting board:


Scoop it out and add to your soup.


Throw in some chopped green onion, a few tortilla chips, a wedge of lime, and there you have it!


Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Spice Mix:

1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp paprika


2 rotiserrie chicken breasts (recommended: Costco rotisserie chicken, but if you don’t have a membership you can get one from any old neighborhood grocer, OR you can just roast some chicken breasts on your own if you want to add an hour and a half to your cooking time)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
½ large onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-28 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1-2 oz can of diced green chiles (recommended: Hatch)
3 chipotle peppers, minced
32 oz chicken stock
2 tbsp corn meal (optional)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed


Tortilla chips
Avocado, diced
Green onions, sliced

Heat olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Saute until the onion gets soft, then add the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add the tomato paste. Saute until the tomato paste browns, then add broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.

Add the green chiles, the chipotles, and the fire-roasted tomatoes to the pot, then simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered. While it’s simmering, use two forks to shred up your chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, add the shredded chicken and beans, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Ladle into bowls, then top with garnishes. You can also add grated cheese and sour cream but we’ve been having trouble with dairy lately so we deferred.  They’re really good though.

beer pairing suggestion: Great Lakes Eliot Ness or a good old fashioned Negra Modelo!

Qué Rico!

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Porter Braised Short Rib – Wild Mushroom Risotto

Listen. This MIGHT be the best thing you will ever make. Unless you are a real chef, in which case this might be something you make in your second week of culinary school. In any case, this dish is just comfort on a plate.  If this dish were a style of beer, it would probably be a winter warmer.

A couple things to note: you need to step up if you’re going to attempt this dish, and probably set aside a good 2.5 hours of active prep/cooking time. You’ll also need some stamina since you’ll be continuously stirring that risotto for a good 30 minutes. So clear your calendar for the night, pound down a couple Clif bars, and let’s get cooking.

We’ll start with the short rib. You can usually get about 3 pounds at Costco for $20-25. Here I cut them into thirds:


Season LIBERALLY with salt and pepper. This is pretty much all the seasoning that’s going into this dish so make sure you get a nice coating on all sides.


Dredge in flour, shake off excess, throw in a hot pan over high heat. For those of you who read my searing tutorial, this is the real way to sear. IMPORTANT: To sear the meat, it has to be in direct contact with the cooking surface, so you’ll have to do this step in batches. Don’t crowd the pan or you won’t get the browning and caramelization you want.


When it looks like this, take it out and start the next batch.


See this? This is concentrated beef flavor. Don’t waste it.


Throw your onions and garlic in without cleaning the pan, sauté and add a little more flour. Keep cooking until the flour browns a bit.


Add your beer. Just a quick note on the beer: I have tried this recipe with a number of dark beers and found that milder, less boldly flavored porters or stouts work best. Try not to use any imperial beers, because they tend to leave a little more bitterness at the end of cooking, and really you don’t need to be spending that much money on a beer that you’re going to cook down anyway. Definitely don’t use a porter or stout that has added flavors, like a smoked porter or a maple-vanilla-coffee-bourbon barrel aged stout. Keep it simple!


Return meat to the pot. Don’t forget those sweet sweet drippings.


Throw in some thyme and some bay leaves, cover, and let the magic happen.



2 hours later… (I tasted it and added a little brown sugar because it tasted a little bitter. I think that’s the last time I’ll use an imperial stout for this recipe)


Great on it’s own… or of course with some risotto.


While the short ribs are cooking, you best be making your risotto.

Start with some dried wild mushrooms:


This was the first time I ever tried cooking with dried mushrooms and it was a REVELATION. So delicious. Even just adding the warm water/broth to the mushrooms created this deep, rich, umami smell. Believe me, I hate using the word umami but I’ll use it here. So yeah like I said, soak in warm water to hydrate for about 30 minutes.


When it’s re-hydrated, take it out of the liquid, squeeze gently, and if you want (and I highly recommend this), strain and retain that soaking liquid.


I’m using a paper towel in the strainer to make sure absolutely no grit remains.


You can use this liquid in the risotto, in a mushroom soup, or just to add some savory flavor to a gravy or other sauce you might make in the future.


Now for the actual cooking. Start by bringing some stock to a simmer:


Next, saute the mushrooms, starting with the fresh criminis.


When they look like this, add the wild mushrooms.



Take out the mushrooms, melt more butter, then add shallots.


Add the raw rice and stir to coat with the butter.  When the grains start to look translucent on the tips, that’s when you add some broth.



When most of the stock is absorbed (as below), add more. You’re gonna be doing this for a while.  Don’t stop stirring.


After about 15 minutes, add the mushrooms back in.


After another 10-15 minutes, your risotto should be al dente. Add some parmesan to finish it, and get ready for a party in your mouth.  Not some lame dorm floor party with pretzel chips and Smirnoff ice, but a sophisticated, scotch and smoking jackets type party with smooth jazz and local celebrities.


There it is.


Porter Braised Short Rib:

2-3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, each cut into thirds (2-3 inch segments)
1/2 large Vidalia onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz bottle of a mild porter or stout (such as Anchor Porter, Yard’s George Washington Tavern Porter, or if you’re in a bind, Guinness)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme tied together with butcher’s twine, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup flour for dredging
Salt and Pepa
Olive oil
Chopped chives, for garnish

Season the meat all over with salt and pepper.  Don’t be bashful.  Coat the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot with olive oil and heat on high until very hot.  Add flour to a shallow dish and dredge each piece of short rib in it, shaking off excess, and add to the pot (do this in batches, you should brown the meat in a single layer and DON’T CROWD THE POT).  Cook all sides of each piece until the flour becomes a brown crust, then remove from heat.  Continue cooking all the meat this way until it is all browned and then reduce heat to Medium-High.

Remove any excess oil from the pot so that 1 tbsp of grease remains, then add the garlic and onions to the pot, stirring until the onions just become slightly translucent.  Add another tablespoon of flour to the pot and let it brown. Add the beer, and as it begins to simmer add the meat back into the pot. Add the bay leaves and thyme.  Lower heat to low, cover pot and cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

After 2 hours, give the sauce a taste. If it is a little bitter, you can add a bit of brown sugar to balance it out. That’s it.

Wild Mushroom Risotto:

1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 oz dried wild mushroom mix (I think mine had porcini, morel, wood ear)
10 oz fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan or grana padano

Soak the dried mushrooms in about 1-2 cups of warm water for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and squeeze gently to get rid of excess moisture.  Chop roughly.  If you want, you can strain and reserve the soaking liquid, which is now super flavorful and can be a great addition to soups or sauces.

Bring 7 cups chicken broth to simmer in medium saucepan and keep warm.

Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add fresh crimini mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until tender and beginning to brown (3 minutes), then add the wild mushrooms. Sauté a bit longer until most of the moisture has evaporated but before the mushrooms get too brown.  If needed, at a little olive oil so they don’t burn. Transfer mushrooms to a separate bowl.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in the same saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and increase heat to medium. Stir to coat the rice with the oil until edges of rice begin to look translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3/4 cup warm chicken broth; stir until almost all broth is absorbed, about 1 minute. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is halfway cooked, about 15 minutes.

Stir in sautéed mushrooms. Continue adding broth by 3/4 cupfuls, stirring until almost all broth is absorbed before adding more, until rice is “al dente” (tender but still firm to bite) and risotto is creamy, about 10-15 more minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Transfer risotto to serving bowl. You’re done.

Assembly: Place risotto in a shallow dish, top with 2-3 pieces of braised short rib as well as some of the braising liquid (which is delicious), and garnish with chopped chives. It should bring a tear to your eye.

beer pairing recommendation: let’s go with a big stout for this one, like Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.

(Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)

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Chili-Lime Tilapia – Black Beans – Brown Rice

Let’s be real here. Tilapia is boring. On its own, it’s really just a cheap, tasteless source of lean protein. If tilapia were a Simpsons character it would probably be Milhouse.  Or maybe Hans Moleman. Poor, poor tilapia.

But eating tilapia does have its pros.  Like I said, it’s cheap (I got over a pound for less than three dollars), lean, and it’s fish so it’s a good source of omega-3s (although most would agree that farm-raised fish tends to have less omega-3 fatty acids than wild caught). Tilapia also has decent texture and holds up well to pan frying or even grilling. Finally, but most importantly, tilapia is bland and doesn’t even taste fishy, so you can basically make it taste like whatever you want depending on how you season it.  It’s like a blank protein canvas for your palette! Yippee hooray!

So here’s what I’m gonna do.  We’re gonna go a little Tex-Mex with this dish, starting with my chili seasoning:


We’re going 2:1:1:1:1 for the seasoning mix, starting with a 1/2 tsp of chili powder (then 1/4 tsp for everything else in case math isn’t your strong point). Add some beef, a little Mexican oregano, a pinch of cocoa powder, and a can of tomatoes, and baby, you got a chili going. But that’s for another day.


Got some nice looking tilapia filets right here.


Here’s a tip: season from a good height above your meat, this will allow for more even seasoning rather than splotches of heavily seasoned areas next to essentially bare meat.


Searing is easy. Check out my post, why don’t you!


Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid to let it steam while it’s searing. Uncover and squeeze lime on the filet and flip it over.


Squeeze some more lime on the other side of the fish, cover again, and continue cooking.


That’s pretty much it for the fish.  Let’s get the beans and rice going. All you need for this is a can of black beans, some chopped onion and jalapeño, some chicken broth, and a little cumin.


Heat some oil, saute the onions and jalapeño, add a tsp of cumin, then add some broth and the beans. Simmer, stir, and occasionally mash the beans until it’s thickened and the onions are soft (about 10 minutes).


As for the rice, all I did was cook some brown rice in a rice cooker with chicken broth instead of water, and about half a cup of diced onion.  Easy. Serve the rice and beans with the fish, garnish with avocado and some kickass salsa. Qué Rico!


Chili Lime Tilapia with Black Beans and Brown Rice


1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped Spanish onion

METHOD 1: Rinse the brown rice and drain. Throw all ingredients into a rice cooker and press “Start.” Boom. Done.

METHOD 2: Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil and saute the onions. Once the onions are translucent, add the brown rice and coat with the oil and onions.  Add the broth, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until rice is fluffy and tender, about 45 minutes.


1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chicken broth1/4 cup chopped onions
1 jalapeño, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
Olive oil

Heat a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Saute the onion until translucent, add the cumin and saute a little more. Add the jalapeño, chicken broth, and beans. Cook and stir, mashing the beans occasionally, until onions are soft and the whole thing is thickened. That’s it.


1 lb tilapia filets
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 lime, cut into quarters
Olive oil

Coat the tilapia filets with about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil. Combine chili powder cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and kosher salt in a small dish. Season the tilapia filets well on both sides with the spice mixture and let marinate for an hour.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and coat the pan. Add the tilapia to the hot pan (it should sizzle as soon as you put it on). Immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for about 90 seconds. Remove the lid, and the edges of the top of the tilapia should start to look cooked. Squeeze one quarter of the lime on the top of the filets, flip the filets, cover, and continue cooking for another 90 seconds.

Remove the lid again, squeeze another quarter of lime over the filets, and remove from heat. Serve with the rice and beans, garnish with salsa, avocado, and cilantro.

(beans and rice based off of bon appetit’s recipe)


Here’s the order you should do everything so it’s all done in about an hour. You can do it!

1. Start with seasoning the fish
2. Start the rice
3. While rice is cooking, make the beans
4. Once the rice and beans are done, cook the fish quickly and serve everything warm.

beer pairing recommendation: Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. But really, what wouldn’t go well with this beer?

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Pesto Couscous Salad

So I actually just made this recipe up as I went along and it turned out to be pretty good, so I decided to put it up on the blog. Sorry I didn’t take any prep pictures, but… it’s a salad.


Pesto Couscous Salad

2 cups couscous
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
½ bunch of kale, tough stems removed, chopped
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or more to preference)
¼ cup basil-arugula pesto
1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a 2-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the couscous for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned, then add hot chicken broth. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 12 min, or until all the liquid is absorbed. The couscous should be firm but tender, like the Old Spice guy. Or like al dente pasta.

As soon as the couscous is cooked, and while still hot, add the chopped kale and toss until it is wilted and bright green. Add all the other ingredients and toss, season with salt and pepper, serve at room temperature.

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Wings: 2 Ways

Taking a break from this stupid game to post my baked wings recipe. Hashtag Worst Super Bowl Ever.


Wings are pretty easy to make and pretty cheap too.  Usually around Super Bowl time you can find huge packs of wings like this for like 50% off. You can cook them whole, but I like eating my wings the classic wing and drumette way. Here’s a quick primer on how to divide the wing:


I don’t know what a butcher would call those 2 views but for the sake of simplicity I’m calling the thicker skinned side “outside” and the thinner skinned side “inside.”


Start by cutting off the wing tip by placing the wing “inside” up and finding the joint. You can feel the joint with your fingers, it will feel bony and protrude like a knuckle (Fig 1). Find the middle and cut straight down (Fig 2).  If you have a good knife, it should cut through pretty easily.  If not, you’re probably on a bone and you need to try again. Flip the wing over so the “outside” is up, find the knuckle between the drumette and the wing (Fig 3), and again cut straight down. I like to cut through the skin between the two sections first and spread them apart to allow for a cleaner cut (Fig 4), but it’s not really necessary.


Season with Lawry’s and toss with vegetable oil


Line a baking sheet with foil and put a cooling rack on top. The rack will allow the dry heat in the oven to contact all surfaces of the wings and let it get nice and crispy all around. Here’s a tip: spray the rack with some non-stick cooking spray before putting the wings on.


See you boys later.


50 minutes later… skin crispy, kitchen smelling awesome.


Now for the sauces. This is my Buffalo Bacon sauce. Yes that is 1 tbsp of bacon grease on the right. GO BIG OR GO HOME! DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT ME!


Here’s the other sauce. Not much of a secret here, except that The Salt Lick makes some mighty fine sauce.


Once the wings come out, coat half in the Buffalo sauce, half in the BBQ sauce.  Throw the BBQ sauce wings back in the oven for 8-10 minutes so the BBQ sauce becomes a little caramelized and more like a glaze. Serve the Buffalo wings right away (no need to bake again).


Packed up and ready to head out for the game!



Bacon Buffalo Sauce

1/3 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Texas Pete’s)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp bacon grease, melted
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
In a warmed bowl, whisk all ingredients together.

BBQ Sauce

1/3 bottle of Salt Lick Original BBQ Sauce


5 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack over a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread wings on the rack in a single layer and as evenly spaced as possible. Try not to let pieces touch.

Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45–50 minutes.

Add half of wings to BBQ sauce in a large bowl and toss to evenly coat. TIP: Use a large spoon to toss so you don’t break the skin. Place wings back on the rack in a single layer and bake again until sauce is glossy and lightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes.

Toss remaining half of wings in Buffalo sauce. Serve immediately (no need to bake).

(Adapted from bon appetit)

Beer pairing recommendation: Racer 5 IPA.  Is there anything better than wings and IPAs? Yes. Pizza and IPAs.

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Smokey Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

The Super Bowl is coming. You’re gonna need salsa. And if you’re gonna bring salsa, you gotta bring it like a MAN.

Back in San Francisco, there was a taqueria called Papalote.  They had decent burritos, but the thing that kept bringing me back was their crazy delicious salsa. Now that I live on the opposite side of the country, this recipe has held me over.


Roasting your own peppers is really pretty easy, if not a little time consuming.  All you need is a gas stove (or any broiler) and some tin foil.

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You steam the peppers in foil pouches for 10-15 minutes after charring them on the stove, then the skin should peel off easily under some running water.


Seeding and removing the white pith of the peppers is really easy after roasting. You can use a knife or your hands, but just a quick word to the wise: if you decide not to wear gloves while handling the inside of the jalapeño or the chipotles (which are essentially jalapeños that have been smoked and dried), do yourself a favor and DO NOT rub your eyeball for the next hour or so afterward.


Fire-roasting the rest of the ingredients is a little simpler, you just gotta keep an eye on them under the broiler.




When your veggies look like that, they’re ready! (Note: I already peeled off the burnt layer of onion on top, but it basically looked like the tomatoes)

Cilantro is kind of a controversial herb.  People either love it or hate it.  I really don’t get the hate, I think cilantro is the best, and you should too. Cilantro is usually pretty dirty when you buy it, so a quick way to wash it is to put it in a bowl, fill it with water, shake the cilantro around and let it soak for a few minutes, then take it out.  You’ll see all the dirt and sand that sunk to the bottom of the bowl when you dump the water.


Now the fun part. Chop everything up (minus the cilantro), throw it in a food processor, add some lime, and have at it.  By the way, if you don’t have one of these lime juicers you do not know what you are missing.



Process to a pulpy consistency, chop the cilantro and add that in, then turn the processor back on. This time add a little olive oil while it is processing, similar to making pesto.




Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

2 medium-sized tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ medium Spanish onion
1 ½ cups cilantro, thick stems removed, packed
1 large lime
3 cloves garlic, skin on
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp pepper
Olive oil (about ¼ cup)

Turn broiler to High

Place the red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper directly on a stove burner and turn it on to char the skin (if you don’t have a gas stove you can broil them on high as well, but it will take longer to get charred on all sides). Rotate the peppers so each side gets a good char. When the pepper skin is mostly blackened, wrap each pepper in a foil pouch and allow them to steam for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and place on the rack closest to the broiler, and allow to blacken as well. Once the top vegetable skin gets nice and charred, flip them over to allow the other side to cook. The garlic will take much less time than the tomatoes and onion, so flip them first and remove them as soon as their skins get dark. The rest of the vegetables should take about 3-5 minutes each side.

Once they are blackened as in the picture, remove and allow to cool.

Remove the peppers from the foil pouches, then rinse them under cold water to remove the charred skin.  It should come off easily if you allowed it to steam long enough. Cut each pepper in half and remove the pith and seeds (or you can leave the jalapeño whole if you want it spicier). Do the same with the 2 chipotle peppers.

Give the peppers, onion, and garlic a rough chop and add to the food processor. Carefully add the roasted tomatoes in whole, skin and all. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the processor. Add salt and pepper, cover the food process and pulse until it looks pulpy.  Scrape any large chunks that may have gotten stuck on the sides down into the pulp. Turn the processor to ON, and while processing carefully drizzle olive oil in a steady stream through the top. The color of the salsa should go from a deep red to an almost creamy orange. Once it gets to that color stop adding oil.

Finally give the cilantro a rough chop, throw it in to the food processor and process for another 15 seconds or so until the cilantro is incorporated.

Eat with chips or with your next burrito.


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Soy Braised Spare Ribs with Bok Choy

As delicious as a Panda Express Bowl with orange chicken on a bed of chow mein is, I’m sorry, it’s just not Chinese food. Here’s something you can make relatively easily at home with not too many exotic products that is DELICIOUS and (I’m assuming) slightly healthier than Panda. Or P.F. Chang’s. But don’t get me started on P.F. Chang’s.  Just know that we probably can’t be friends if you enjoy eating there.


Chinese cooking and ginger go together like peanut butter and jelly. It just works. Although I like the taste it gives to certain dishes, I never liked biting into a big chunk of it during dinner growing up, so I’m keeping the slices pretty big and easily removable.  After slicing, pound each piece gently with the back of the knife to release more juices and flavor from the ginger.


I’m using a wok to make this dish because I’m too legit. If you don’t have a wok you can definitely use a Dutch oven. Just make sure whatever you use has a good fitting lid.


There’s alcohol in this dish, so if you wanna impress the ladies you can ignite it with a lighter… or if you got the skills you can tilt the pan slightly towards the flame from the stove to ignite.  Tutorial to come, Casanova!



Hoisin sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. People use it as a dip for roasted pork, slather it on flour pancakes for mu shu, or (my personal favorite) on steamed buns for Peking duck. So good. Here it adds a little sweet and savory boost at the end of cooking, and also serves to thicken the sauce a bit.




Okay, this bok choy may be the easiest recipe I’ll ever post but it’s so good and manlier than your adorable wedge salad.


How’s this for a Panda Bowl?


RIBS (adapted from

2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1.5 lbs pork spareribs cut into 1-inch long segments (if you can’t find them ask the butcher to cut them for you)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
5-6 thin slices ginger, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Chinese rice (michiu) wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 green onion, sliced thin for garnish


Heat the oil on in a wok or dutch oven, on high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides (a couple minutes each side or until it’s browned and caramelized). Add garlic and ginger and fry briefly, until fragrant. This will really help impart those flavors into the dish. Add the stock before the garlic and ginger start to burn, then add all the remaining ingredients. If you are cooking with a wok and want to impress a chick or something, you can tilt the wok towards the flame and flambe the ribs after adding the wine. Once the flames die down, cover the wok and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the ribs are tender, adding more water or stock as needed (that is, don’t allow all the liquid to evaporate and burn at the bottom of the pan). During the last 10 minutes, remove cover, add hoisin sauce, and simmer for the remainder of the cooking time. Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.


1 2-lb bag of bok choy tips, aka baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (2 good glugs into the pan)


Heat oil in wok on high heat, then add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the bok choy. Toss around in the wok, then add salt. Toss a little more to distribute the salt, then reduce heat to medium low and cover for 4-5 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Since there’s so much vegetable in the pot, it will kind of fry and steam at the same time while covered, so cooking time is minimal.

Serve bok choy with spare ribs on steamed white rice.

Beer pairing suggestion: Rising Tide Daymark American Pale Ale, or simply a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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Herbed Brussels Sprouts Hash

Mmm, weekend hash.  Weekend hash is a staple in my house, and today I had some leftover roasted Brussels sprouts to add in. I tend to throw a lot of random leftovers into my hash, some common ones being: peppers, asparagus, onions, oh, and fried SPAM (my personal favorite).

I also cheat a little when I make hash. Usually I just throw the potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes to cook them first to save on cooking time. Hopefully I’m not zapping all the nutrients out of them.

There are 3 tricks to making a good hash: 1) A good amount of oil/butter, 2) A heavy skillet, 3) Pacing. When cooking on the stove, potatoes will take a long time to develop that crispy, delicious crust we all love, and if you throw everything into the skillet all at once, everything else will burn before getting that crust. Also, you need a good amount of oil and a nice, heavy, thick-bottomed skillet that will disperse heat evenly and retain that heat so the potatoes don’t burn. I like using a cast-iron skillet for hash and I recommend you do too.

One more thing. I’m definitely not an all-organic Whole Foods nut, but one thing I try to always buy organic are potatoes. Apparently non-organic potatoes have the highest pesticides content among all conventionally grown fruits and veggies. Also I really think they taste better, and they’re not that much more expensive.


Start with heating up the skillet on medium heat. Melt some butter, add your potatoes, and season. Toss a little to evenly coat, then just let it sit. I guess I forgot one more trick: 4) Resist the urge to keep tossing around your potatoes. They need prolonged contact with the skillet to develop a crispy crust, so wait about 30-45 seconds between tosses.


Once the potatoes brown a bit you can add the Brussels sprouts and garlic.


Let everything brown and crisp up a bit more, then add your herbs. I had some rosemary, sage, and thyme leftover from a poultry blend I bought so I threw that in.


Last but not least, add your green onions.


What a fine looking hash.


Of course no hash is complete without a couple fried eggs on top. Let that yolk run all over the hash, throw a little hot sauce on, put on some Saturday morning cartoons, and you’re good to go.


Herbed Brussels Sprouts Hash

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium-sized organic yellow potatoes
1/2 lb (about 1 1/2 cups) leftover roasted Brussels sprouts (recipe below), quartered.
3 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme (about 3 sprigs, leaves stripped off), finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
2 eggs

Wash the potatoes in cold water, then arrange them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave on High for 5 minutes. The potatoes will be too hot to handle after microwaving, so it will be a good time to wash and prepare all the other ingredients while they cook and cool. Once the potatoes are cooled, cut into 1″ cubes.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Next, add the cooked potatoes and season well with seasoned salt and pepper (give them a good dusting all over the top). Toss to combine and to evenly coat each piece with seasoning, then let the potatoes sit.  Toss every 30-45 sec until the potatoes start to get crispy all over, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts. Again toss and let sit between tosses, until everything gets browned and crispy on the sides, about 3-4 more minutes. Add the herbs, toss gently, then add the green onions.  You might need to add a little olive oil at this point so the herbs and onions don’t burn.  Also, if the vegetables start to get too browned, you may need to lower the heat to medium-low.

Again toss to combine, cook for another 2-3 minutes, and serve it on a plate with 2 fried eggs.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

1 lb bag of large Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
Garlic Salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 deg
Wash and halve all Brussels sprouts lengthwise, place in a baking pan, coat with olive oil, season with Garlic salt and pepper, and throw in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until sprouts are tender. Great, healthy side dish to go with any pasta or meat dish. You can also add some feta and balsamic vinegar if that makes you happy.

goodwilltasting beer recommendation: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little brunch beer. A nice beer cocktail would be even better. I’m thinking something with Allagash White, a little ginger syrup or ginger beer, and orange juice. I’ll see if I can find a recipe for this.

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GWT Mapo Tofu

Tofu gets a bad rap. Maybe because people try to parade it around like it’s something that it’s not. I’m looking at you, Tofurkey! Here’s a traditional Chinese way to cook tofu that is comforting, easy, and DELICIOUS.


Listen, don’t be intimidated by the Asian ingredients.  These days, this stuff can be found in most grocer’s Asian/Spanish food aisle. It always makes me laugh when I see those two food categories right next to each other at the market. Do we both really have to be marginalized to just half an aisle in the entire store? Also, why so pigeonholed, America? Where’s the half aisle of Moroccan food products? Or Portuguese products? I feel like I should start a petition. Also, if you really just can’t find that stuff, you can always order it online at Lee Kum Kee.

Anyway, three of the most versatile Chinese ingredients you can buy are up there: black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, and the ubiquitous oyster sauce. Throw some black bean sauce into your next stir fry for a great savory boost, use chili garlic sauce in place of any hot sauce you might use, and any vegetable can be made better with oyster sauce.

Or you can mix them all together and make mapo tofu.


Start with cutting up the tofu right in the container if you like. I usually use soft tofu for this dish so I keep my chunks pretty big at the beginning since it will pretty much break apart by itself as I cook.




Next I fry up the garlic and pork, add the sauces and chicken stock, and let that all simmer a bit before adding the tofu:


Keep simmering then add the corn starch water to thicken. Make sure you mix it good, it should look like milk before you pour it in. Dissolving the corn starch in water rather than just throwing it straight into the sauce will keep it from clumping up into disgusting snot-like corn-starch boogers wading in your tofu. So DO IT.


Finally add the Sichuan pepper sauce and oyster sauce and stir to combine. Many traditional recipes will have you start with whole Sichuan peppercorns, crush them up with a rolling pin, then toast them in the wok first before cooking everything else. You can definitely do that too, you’ll get the same effect.

Note: If you’ve never had Sichuan peppercorns in a dish before, you might be in for a surprise. They’re not so much spicy as they are “tingly.” I don’t know the biochemical reaction that happens once it hits your tongue, but Sichuan pepper has this tingling, numbing effect that will give your tongue a buzz.  It’s wild.


Note: Try not to overstir, and use folding motions each time you mix rather than circular motions.  Every time you stir you run the risk of breaking apart the pieces of tofu, and over-stirring can really leave you with tiny bits of tofu.

Serve with steamed rice, and if you have a friend who is not a tofu fan, I dare you to challenge him to try this and still tell you he doesn’t like it. CHALLENGE HIM! Because he just might get embarrassed.



GWT Mapo Tofu

1-lb block of soft tofu, cut into 1” cubes
1/3 pound ground pork
1 cup chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp. garlic black bean sauce
1 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp schezuan chili sauce or schezuan peppercorns crushed
Chopped scallions for garnish

Heat oil in wok over high heat and add pork, breaking it up so it is crumbled. When pork is browned, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add black bean sauce, chili garlic sauce, and chicken stock to the pork, stir until combined, then add the corn starch+water so the liquid thickens into a sauce.  Add the tofu to the sauce and toss GENTLY to coat the tofu, being careful not to turn the tofu into mush. Cover pot and lower heat to a simmer for 5 min, uncover and add oyster sauce and Sichuan pepper sauce, stir again to combine.  The tofu should have firmed up a bit by this point but still be careful not to break it apart.

Sprinkle with scallions, serve with steamed rice.

goodwilltasting beer pairing suggestion: Brooklyn Lager

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