Sunday, September 28, 2008


You have to have a good meatball recipe committed to memory. Meatballs are so versatile that if you keep a few basic items on hand in the pantry and the fridge you can whip up a good meal on the fly without searching around for a recipe. Start with a good basic recipe and then modify it as needed to suit what you are cooking. From meatball subs and spaghetti and meatballs to Swedish meatballs, it all starts with a good base recipe. Whether its a camping trip, a weekend on the houseboat or unexpected company, you'll be ready to make a great meal on the fly and look good doing it .Oh, and it might not be a surprise that a cast iron skillet is the perfect way to cook meatballs.
Today's meatball recipe is meatball subs so I used Italian breadcrumbs, grated parmigiano reggiano and Italian seasoning. If I were making Swedish meatballs I could use my base recipe or maybe add some fresh chopped parsley and ground nutmeg.

My base recipe
1Lb Ground Round
½ C bread crumbs
½ onion minced
1 large egg
2 cloves minced garlic
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Szechuan Shrimp Stir-Fry

Stir-Fry is fast, fun and delicious. If you are getting a little bored with soft, steamed vegetables, try stir-frying for vegetables with some crunch and zing. Add some meat or seafood and you have an entrée. The best part is you don't have to get hung up on recipes and measuring. Once you know basic stir-fry techniques you can experiment with different combinations of vegetables and meat/seafood and come up with something unique on the fly.
Here's the basic techniques for stir-fry. Heat a cast iron wok over high heat until smoking hot. Add a small amount of oil and then the ingredients that will take the longest to cook. If your stir-fry has meat add this first as it will take the longest to cook. If you are using shrimp or fish add this after you have cooked the vegetables. If you see liquid pooling at the bottom of the pan while cooking the meat either the heat is too low or you have crowded the wok with too much meat. Don't get me started on a tirade about crowding meat and stewing! Once the meat or vegetables are cooked push them up on the side of the wok. A good wok with have indentations on the sides that will hold the food in place when you push it up the side of the wok. Once your second cooking is done stir all of the ingredients together and add your sauce and stir-fry for a couple of minutes more.. You are probably looking at seven to eight minutes total cooking time.

Szechuan Shrimp Stir-Fry

¾ lb shrimp
1 cup snow peas
½ cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper julienned
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3 tbs water and 2 tsp cornstarch mixed to a smooth slurry.