Sriracha Tofu Skewers

Paul | May 30, 2016 in Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


1 16-ounce container extra-firm tofu
3/4 cup Sriracha
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white miso paste
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch scallions
1 container cherry tomatoes
bamboo skewers


Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. Drain well on paper towels.
Put Sriracha, soy sauce, and white miso paste in a blender with 3 chopped scallions and garlic cloves. Blend with 1/4 cup water until smooth.
Reserve a cupful for dipping; marinate tofu in the rest overnight.
Soak skewers in lemon water, at least 30 minutes.
Cut remaining scallions into 1 inch pieces.
Thread tofu onto skewers alternating with scallion and cherry tomatoes. Shake off excess sauce as you thread; keep for basting.
Grill tofu 3-5 minutes, brushing with sauce. Cherry tomatoes should be on the edge of bursting.

Notes: Adapted from a recipe by Richard Hales – Sakaya Kitchen Miami:


Ham follow-on #2: Split Pea and Ham Soup

Paul | December 27, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Split Pea and Ham Soup
Servings: 12 | Difficulty: Easy


1 ham bone
1/2 pound ham chopped
1 lb. bag dry split peas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups, plus 2 quarts water
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 lb. carrots cut into 1/2″ pieces (baby carrots cut in thirds work well)
1 can evaporated milk or 1 cup light cream
1 tablespoon flour
salt and white pepper to taste


Empty package of split peas into a colander or sieve. Sort through, removing foreign matter and imperfect peas. Rinse well.

Soak peas for two hours in 2 cups water. Discard any floaters.

Cut any remaining ham off the ham bone, reserve.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté minced garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until garlic is golden, but not brown in color.

Add ham bone, paprika, split peas, soaking liquid, 2 quarts of water, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil for 1 minute; skim.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. Skim, then stir.

Remove cover and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Skim again.

Remove ham bone and bay leaves. Pick any meat off the ham bone and add to reserve.

Process soup using an immersion blender. Add carrots.

Simmer soup for 30 minutes.

Remove one cup of liquid.  Whisk flour with liquid.  Add back to soup.

Remove one cup of liquid.  Puree with frozen peas and stir in to soup.

Stir in milk or cream.

Remove any fat or gristle from reserved ham. Chop roughly (to about the same size as the carrots) and add to soup.

Cook 10 minutes, or until soup is at desired consistency.

Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add additional paprika, if desired.


I hated this soup as a kid, but have learned to love it, especially with paprika.  Adapted from the recipe on a bag of split peas. I can’t even remember the brand.

Ham follow-on #1: Creamy Grits

Paul | in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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I’ll leave making ham with red-eye gravy up to the viewer.

Creamy Grits
Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


1 cup grits
4 cups milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon course ground pepper
1 stick butter


Place ingredients in a pot.
Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook partially covered until thick (about 20/30 minutes).
Stir often!!!


From the Colonial Charleston Kitchen “Mixed Grits” bag.
℅ Steve Dowdney
POB 363, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465

A somewhat backwards Xmas Eve dinner

Paul | December 24, 2015 in Family,Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)


Due to last minute popular demand (read my father-in-law), I’m making ham this year.  So all  the sides got changed around as well.  And I’m making the Harsha Family Midwestern Oyster Stew, guaranteed to be delicious even when you’re not near a coast.  I’m near one, but TRADITION!

The rest of the meal is Marion Cunningham’s Ham recipe (no, not the one from Happy Days, this one), Scalloped Potatoes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Lemon Green Beans. Kinda Easter-y, but so is the weather.

Happy Holidays.


Harsha Family Oyster Stew

Servings: 4 | Difficulty: Easy


8 ounces oysters canned
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch saffron optional
1/2 cup celery sliced very thin
2 cups milk hot
salt and black pepper to taste
paprika to taste
1/4 cup sherry


Put 2 cups cold milk in a saucepan on low.  Add white pepper and saffron.
Stir occasionally while preparing oysters.

In another saucepan, simmer celery in 2 Tbs butter until tender.

Add Worcestershire sauce and oysters, with their juice.

Heat just until oysters begin to curl.

Add hot milk with saffron and white pepper, plus remaining butter.

Bring to simmer, season with Sherry and salt and pepper.

Serve steaming in bowls, garnished with paprika.

Notes: Adapted from Oyster can, per family guidelines.

An oldie, but a goodie

Paul | August 14, 2015 in Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Pan-fried Salmon Steaks with Lime Basil Butter
Servings: 6

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
6 eight-ounce Salmon steaks
paprika to taste
basil to taste
juice of 1 lime

In a frying pan melt the butter.
Lightly flour the salmon steaks.
Place the steaks in the frying pan over medium heat, and cook 4-5 minutes on each side.
Season each side of the steaks with salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and basil.
When you flip the steaks to cook the second side, ad the freshly squeezed lime juice.
Place cooked salmon steaks on a serving tray, and pour pan drippings over them.
Serve immediately.

Notes: From “Cooking in the Shaker Spirit” by James Haller.


Happy Boxing Day!!!

Paul | December 26, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Seelbach Cocktail

Recipe By: Imbibe Magazine
Serving Size: 1


Named after the Louisville, Kentucky hotel where it was first crafted in 1917, the Seelbach cocktail is a classic mix of bourbon, Cointreau and both Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters.


1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Ice cubes

Tools: mixing glass, barspoon, strainer
Glass: flute
Garnish: lemon twist


Stir ingredients briefly over ice, strain into a chilled flute, top with Champagne and garnish


Happy Holidays

Paul | December 24, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (2)

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Tonight’s menu (in addition to Oyster Stew, of course)

Mustard-and-Herb-Butter-Rubbed Prime Rib

Recipe By: Lynne Curry (from Fine Cooking)

Serving Size: 8


A butter, Dijon, rosemary, and thyme crust hugs this juicy roast. The genius “reverse-sear” method lets you roast the meat hours ahead of the final sear, so you can pull the rest of the meal together without worrying about when the meat will be done. Plus, you can do the final sear either in the oven or on the stovetop, depending on what’s going on with the rest of the menu. Finish each slice with a pat of the same savory butter that coats the roast.


4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
6 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 5- to 6-lb. boneless beef rib roast, patted dry
2 tablespoons olive oil, if needed for searing


1. Make the butter

2. Melt the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Let it foam until it turns light brown and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the butter into a small heatproof bowl, leaving most of the milk solids in the bottom of the skillet. Refrigerate the butter until solid, about 1 hour.

3. Purée the garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper with the solidified browned butter in a food processor to make a thick paste. Reserve 1/4 cup of the butter and rub the rest all over the roast. Put the roast fat side up on a rack set in a roasting pan and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.

4. Roast the beef

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F for rare, about 1-1/2 hours, or 115°F for medium rare, about 10 minutes more. Remove the roast from the oven. Let sit, tented loosely with foil, for up to 2 hours (or continue with the recipe).

6. Sear the beef

7. To sear in the oven: Heat the oven to 475°F. Roast until 125°F for rare or 130°F for medium rare, about 10 minutes.

8. Or, to sear on the stove: Heat the oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet until shimmering hot. Sear the beef, turning and pressing down with tongs, until browned all over and cooked to desired temperature, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. If there was no earlier rest between roasting and searing, let the roast rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and serve with the reserved mustard butter.




Paul | November 25, 2014 in Food,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Southwestern Turkey Noodle Soup

Adapted from the Food Network
Serving Size: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 cups leftover cooked turkey, chopped roughly
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly into rounds
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cloves garlic, whole
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8-10 cups turkey stock
12 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles, use half for thinner soup
1 cup frozen peas, (optional)
2 tablespoons parsely, chopped (optional)


1. Heat oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add celery, carrots, onion, and minced garlic. Sauté 4 minutes, until onions are soft.

NB: you should have roughly the same amount of each vegetable and each piece should be roughly the same size.

2. Add turkey, bay leaves, whole garlic, thyme, spices, salt, and black pepper and stir to mix well.

3. Add 8 cups stock and bring mixture to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer 10 minutes.

5. Return mixture to a boil and add egg noodles. Cook 10 minutes, until egg noodles are just tender.

6. Add additional stock, if needed. Adjust seasonings. Cook 1 minute to let blend.

7. If using peas, Stir in and cook until peas are just heated through, about 1 minute.

8. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves and garlic cloves.

9. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.


If you have stock left over from Thanksgiving, use that.  If not, use the leftover turkey carcass:

Put half an onion, a few stalks of celery, some carrots, some garlic, a bay leaf, and several peppercorns in a large pot with two tablespoons of oil.  Heat on high.

Pull any easily removable meat off the carcass and reserve.  Break up the carcass and add to the vegetables.

Cover with 8-10 cups water, bring almost to a boil, skim, then turn down the heat and let it simmer on low for a few hours.

Toss out the bones and vegetables, degrease the stock, reserve any usable turkey, and start your soup.


today in ordering off menu

Paul | August 22, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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“I like poached eggs on an English muffin for breakfast. So simple to make, too. Why can’t you do it?”


Greg Marchand, Paris chef and author of the cookbook Frenchie: New Bistro Cooking

“A poached egg is much healthier than a fried one and much more pleasurable to eat,” says Marchand. “But you must follow a few very important rules.” Use the freshest eggs you can find—“as the egg gets old, the white begins to liquefy”—and make sure they’re at or close to room temperature when they hit the water. “Otherwise, the egg will stay too cold.” Bring a pot of water to a simmer (not a boil) and add a dash of white wine vinegar, but no salt: “It will break the egg,” Marchand says, “but vinegar will help it stay nice and round.” Carefully crack the egg into a small ramekin or bowl, making sure not to break the yolk, “then take a whisk and create a whirlpool before pouring in the egg.” Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes and use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to a paper towel. Serve on salads, in soups, or with a piece of toast and a drizzle of olive oil. 


July 4th 2014: stuff on sticks

Paul | July 5, 2014 in Food,Fun,Recipes | Comments (0)

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Courtesy Hurricane Arthur, it was too wet to grill outside, so we improvised and used my Yakitori grill to make stick based foods: Suya, Yang Rou Chuan, and Eggplant Rollups.  Plus hotdogs (not on sticks), baked Mac and Cheese, Orzo and Shrimp Salad, green salad, and ribs from Redbones. Guests brought watermelon gazpacho (amazing), sangria (also amazing), and potato salad (fabulous).  All in all a wet, but successful 4th.


Suya (Nigerian Beef BBQ)

Recipe By: Funke Koleosho
Serving Size: 8


Suya is an all time Nigerian favourite and it is gaining much popularity internationally, as was quite evident in one recent CNN documentary/report. Suya is so popular, you find a mai suya (suya vendor) on every street corner you turn in major Nigerian towns and cities!

As we all know, quite simply, suya refers to any meat seasoned with the unique blend of traditional Nigerian spices and condiments, collectively called Yaji, and barbecued over hot smoky fire. Even though we are more familiar with the more popular beef suya, nowadays, there is chicken suya, fish suya and even veggie suya!

This unique spice used to make suya, Yaji, literally translates “the hot or temperamental one”. It’s supposed to be a really spicy mix with its main ingredients being chilli powder and ground ginger. The name suya itself is believed to originate from the sound you make when your mouth reacts to the fiery heat that hits you when you eat it….(shuuuuuuu….yaaaahhhhhh).

Now, I really love suya but am not a fan of the overbearing fiery heat of the spiciness (from the chilli powder), which apparently some people really enjoy, especially with super chilled lager (beer)!

Though there are some fantastic mai suya’s out there selling some excellent tasting suya, there are some equally not so good ones…I figured that making my own would be a sure way to get the right taste for me every time. I tell you, it’s so so easy. All you need is a good yaji blend and good cut of meat. Slicing the meat could be daunting but fear not, get your butcher to do it for you and if not, freeze the meat for a while and when its semi-frozen, slice thinly with a very sharp knife….. Give it a try.


1 pound Beef with some streak of fat (the fat will prevent burning when on the grill)
5-6 tablespoons Suya mix – yaji (use more or less depending on chilli content)
2-3 tablespoons Groundnut oil (or any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon Groundnut paste or peanut butter, (optional)
1 Beef seasoning cube
bamboo skewers

Iceberg lettuce
2 or 3 Salad tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 Red onion, thinly sliced

1. Soak skewers for at least 30 minutes
2. Combine  the suya (yaji) mix and seasoning cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add some groundnut oil (the amount depends on the amount of beef used) and groundnut paste. Mix into a wet paste.
3. Thinly slice beef into sheet-like pieces. Rinse and place pieces and add to mixing bowl. Work spices into the meat and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.
4. Skewer the beef pieces as you desire. Heat up an iron griddle (you may also use an open barbecue grill), and place the skewered beef.
5. Allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until meat is cooked to your preference. Avoid burning by regularly turning.
6. For the perfect presentation, remove the suya from the skewers used to barbecue (I expect some burning to have occurred) and string onto new satay sticks.
7. Serve suya with sliced onions and tomatoes on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce. Enjoy eating it with your preferred cold drink. 


Afro Food “Suya Meat Rub” is available from Amazon and is quite tasty.



Lamb Kebab 羊肉串 (Yang Rou Chuan)

Recipe By: Saveur
Serving Size: 8

1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 white onion, minced
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
kosher salt
bamboo skewers

1. Cut lamb into 3/4 inch pieces.
2. Whisk 2 tbsp chile flakes, 2 tbsp cumin, the oil, Sichuan peppercorns, white pepper, garlic, onions and salt in a bowl.  
3. Add lamb, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
4. Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
5. Heat charcoal grill to high.  Bank coals on one side. 
6. Remove lamb from marinade and thread onto skewers.
7. Sprinkle lamb with remaining cumin, chile flakes, plus salt.
8. Grill lamb on hottest part of the grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through 2-3 minutes per side, 10-12 minutes total.



Eggplant Rollups with Chili, Mint and Feta

Recipe By: Paul Harsha (Adapted from Veggie BBQ Ideas)
Yield: 25 rollups
Olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggplants
1 red chili (jalapeño, serrano, or habenero), deseeded
1 bell pepper (yellow or orange), deseeded and cut into chunks
6 oz. feta cheese, cut into cubes or crumbled
1 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
Cocktail sticks (or toothpicks)

1. Put the lemon juice in a food processor and add the chili.  Pulse until finely chopped.
2. Add the bell pepper and pulse until  just chopped.
3. Add the feta and pulse until just blended.  Taste and add more lemon juice, if needed.
4. Add the mint and pulse until incorporated.  You still want to be able to see the mint and bell pepper. The feta should be creamy.  Cover and refrigerate.
5. Cut the eggplant lengthways, discarding the ‘outside’ slices. Each slice should be about 1/4 inch thick.  It’s easiest if you use a mandolin, but a sharp knife will do.
6. Brush olive oil over both sides of the slices Grill on a hot area of the barbecue for around 2 minutes on each side or until lightly colored. A kitchen grill also works well for this.
7. Remove from the barbecue and let cool.  Cut the eggplant into uniform strips ~2-3 inches x 5 inches.
8. Place a spoonful of the feta mix onto each of the eggplant slices. Roll the eggplant around the mixture and push a cocktail stick through to secure it.
9. Place rolls on a clean plate and serve chilled.