I have always shown my love through the preparation and sharing of food. There are a number of reasons and choices for this expression of love, and each time I embark on cooking there is a story to tell.
This site will share recipes I’ve created or explored; my trials and triumphs. This will also curb my tendency to post everything I cook on social media, abusing the patience of friends and family 🙂
The need may arise to use up fresh ingredients, and no specific recipe comes to mind. Sometimes, I come across an ingredient to try, or a technique not yet explored. Or…in the middle of cooking I realize I’ve forgotten a key ingredient, and don’t have it on hand. These are the invitations to create, invent, improvise.
This is a quick meal that feeds a lot of people. It makes nearly a gallon of soup. It is all the food groups in one bowl, meats, dairy, vegetables, and grains. Served alone or with your favorite salad you can get a variety of nutrients in one sitting. The bean puree adds richness, fiber and flavor.
This is the kind of recipe that is meant to describe measurement and the process but is perfect for improvising with what you have on hand in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator. Some suggestions for change ups are in the notes following the recipe.
1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1 Pound ground Mild Italian sausage
1 Large Yellow Onion, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, diced
8 oz. Mushrooms, sliced thin
1 teaspoon of Salt
2 Carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry White Wine
2 quarts Chicken Stock
8-9 oz. fresh or frozen Tortellini (your choice of flavor - I used Spinach filled with cheese)
10 ounces hearty greens (spinach, kale, chard)
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup heavy Cream
Warm avocado oil in a 6-8 quart stock pot over medium- high heat.
Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks.
Remove cooked sausage from stock pot with a slotted spoon to a bowl, and set aside.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Typically the sausage is lean and you won’t need to drain any off. Otherwise, remove any excess.
Add the onions and celery. Cook til translucent and just starting to brown.
Add the mushrooms and salt and cook until they have released all their moisture and start to brown. Onions and mushrooms should start to carmelizing in the pot at thispoint.
Add the carrots and cook until they are soft, maybe browned in places.
Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to one minute. Do not let the garlic brown.
Add white wine to deglaze the pot.
Return sausage to the pot and add the chicken stock, Bring to a rapid simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium lower the simmer.
Add the tortellini and cook per package instructions.
While tortellini cooks, prepare bean puree. Combine drained beans, vinegar and water and puree using an immersion blender, food processor or countertop blender.
When tortellinis are done cooking, add the greens and cook until just barely wilted. This reduces the volume of the greens but doesn’t overcook them as you proceed to the next steps.
Add bean puree and cream and stir to blend.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper and vinegar as desired.
Use spicy Italian Sausage if that is your thing. You can also use meatballs, browning them as you would the sausage to make a meatball and tortellini soup. The seasoning and type of meat used in the meatballs will change the flavor of the overall dish.
Garnish with grated parmesan, red pepper flakes, pesto or fresh herbs if desired.
Avocado oil may be substituted with Olive oil.
Change it up and make it your own using different vegetable combinations. Fozen peas or corn would be a great add just before cooking the tortellini.
You can meal prep and freeze this soup by preparing it without the tortellini. When ready to use frozen portions, cook the tortellini separately and then add to the thawed soup base to finish the soup.
Soup will keep for about 5 days refrigerated, but the tortellini will continue to soak up the stock in the soup and get softer.
This recipe is not a traditional Pad Thai, but is very simple and can be made with things that are usually on hand. Traditional Pad Thai uses rice noodles and tamarind paste, two items I rarely have on hand. I used Linguine in place of the rice noodles and lime juice for the tartness usually provided by the tamarind. This is meant to be a weeknight dinner made from pantry staples typically on hand.
I keep frozen raw shrimp in the freezer at all times. It quickly defrosts at room temperature, and can be quickly stir-fried or grilled for fast dinners. This recipe takes advantage of the convenience of frozen shrimp.
This meal is fresh, full of colorful foods, packed with vitamin C and is and easy one-dish week night meal. Leftovers reheat easily.
8 oz. Rice Noodles or Flat Pasta
3 Tbsp. Lime Juice
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Avocado Oil
1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, Thinly Sliced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined (if using frozen, thaw completely and pat dry)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated.
1 Tbsp. Minced Cilantro
1/2 Cup. Roasted Peanuts, chopped
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, and tamari. Set aside.
In a large non-stick saute pan or wok, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and cook until tender. Stir in garlic and white part of scallions and cook for 1 minute.
Add sesame oil to the pan. Then add the shrimp and cook, continuously stirring, until shrimp is pink.
Push the shrimp and vegetables to one side of the pan, and pour in the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs until they just set, and then mix in with the shrimp and vegetables.
Add the cooked noodles and toss until everything is combined.
Pour in the lime juice mixtures and toss until the noodles are coated with the sauce.
Garnish with the green part of the scallions, roasted peanuts and cilantro before serving.
Rice noodles are traditional. Suitable substitutions are linguine, fettucini or another flat pasta noodle.
Substitute almonds or cashews if you don’t have peanuts on hand or if there is a peanut allergy to consider.
Pork or chicken can be substituted for the shrimp, or used in addition to the shrimp. Slice thin and insure raw pork or chicken is fully cooked before adding shrimp and eggs.
Elote is dish comprised of cooked sweet corn slathered in a spicy mixture of mayonnaise, crema, and chili powder and then sprinkled with cheese. It is often referred to as “Mexican Street Corn” because it’s a popular snack sold by vendors both on the streets and at festivals in Mexico. In Reno, I find it on food trucks.
This salad takes all the ingredients of Grilled Street Corn and makes it easy to transport and serve a crowd for BBQs, potlucks and other group celebrations. It really pairs well with grilled meats.
6 Ears of Corn, husked and silks removed
2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
1/3 Cup of Crema (see Notes for substitution)
1/4 Cup Fresh Lime Juice (approx. 2 limes)
Lime Zest, from 1-2 Limes
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder (see Notes for chili powder recommendations)
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Red Onion, Minced
1/2 Bunch of Cilantro, Finely Chopped
1/2 Cup Cotija Cheese, crumbled (see Notes for substitution)
Preheat grill to 450 degrees or medium high heat.
Brush corn ears with avocado oil, and place on the grill. Grill with lid closed, turning occasionally until corn is browned on each side. A bit of charring is OK, and imparts a smokey flavor. Too much will create a bitterness throughout the dish.
Remove corn from the grill, and allow to cool for easier handling.
While corn is cooling, prepare dressing by combining all the remaining ingredients except the cheese.
Cut kernels from the cooled corn cobs and place in a large bowl.
Pour dressing over the corn and gently toss with a spatula to coat.
Add Cotija cheese and toss to incorporate.
Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Garnish with additional Cilantro if desired.
I make my own Chili Powder, which has cumin in it, so I don’t add any cumin in this recipe. However, if you are using a purchased chili powder that does not contain cumin, you will need to add about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin (or more to your taste). I tend to use a lighter hand with this spice, as this suites my personal tastes and cooking style. However, you can be as light or as generous as you wish.
Crema and Cotija Cheese are found in my local grocery. They are also found in Mexican groceries around our valley. However, if they are not available to you locally, you can substitute a mix of equal parts sour cream and mayonnaise for the crema. Grated Parmesan cheese can be substituted for the Cotija, or even a mild crumbled Feta.
One of my favorite things about cooking is concocting. Making my own herbs and spice blends, flavored oils and vinegars is some of the fun. There is great joy in taking classic dishes and making them uniquely your own. Chili powder is one of the seasoning blends I think is much better crafted to your own preferences and result in a “secret ingredient.”
When I was taking culinary classes associated with my holistic nutrition degree, I was introduced to the Culinary Institute of America’s book, Techniques of Healthy Cooking. I still turn to it a lot for reference. The recipe below is based on one from this book.
Chili powder is simple to make, taking under 10 minutes. Most ingredients are easily located at the grocery store, and the flavor can be adjusted based on the type of chili you use. The result is far more complex and versatile than the store bought blends. I use this in tortilla soup, posole, meat rubs, various marinades, salad dressings, and of course, in a good hearty chili.
Feel free to play with this recipe and adjust it to suit your personal tastes. That’s half the fun of making your own seasoning blends from the basic spices and herbs on hand.
6 Tablespoons Chili, dried and ground (see notes)
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Mexican Oregano Leaves, dried
3/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/8 Teaspoon Chile de Arbol, ground (optional - can substitute Cayenne)
Mix all ingredients together and store in a tightly covered container.
Chili: I prefer Ancho chili over all other chili for this blend, but also use Pasilla. When mixing, I do a ratio of 2/3 Ancho to 1/3 Pasilla. Ancho gives it a bright red coloring and Pasilla offers a toasted brown. Ancho is sweet and smokey. Pasilla is hotter. The combo of the two makes for a great base for the rest of the flavors.
Cumin: I reduced the original recipe by 1/2 as I am not a huge fan of Cumin. It is necessary and if you don’t use it at all, you will find something missing, but since I don’t love it, I reduced the amounts. Go easy with this ingredient because it has a very distinct flavor and can overpower all of the rest of the ingredients. You can always adjust and add more to your liking.
Garlic: I love garlic. Also a heavy flavor. I increased the original recipe slightly. Modify to your tastes.
Oregano: Mexican Oregano is traditional here, and readily found in the international food isle of the grocery store. I grow and dry my own more traditional Italian Oregano, and use it in my blend quite successfully.
Coriander: Ground coriander refers to the seed, not the leaf of the plant also commonly known as Cilantro. I love the toasty, earthy flavor the addition of coriander brings to the blend and use it liberally.
Chili de Arbol: I also add Chili de Arbol to this recipe for an extra little kick. It can be reduced or omitted if you are sensitive to the heat of this chili. Cayenne can be used as a substitute.
Who knew that vegetables could be so subtly sweet, very moist, and pair well with coffee, tea and ice cream? This quick bread is a double hit of chocolate with a hint of orange and a sweetened cream cheese filling. It’s a great way to use up that extra zucchini that seems to be sprouting out of my garden right now.
Serve at room temperature, reheated or even chilled. This bread is more like cake and suitable for breakfast, coffee breaks, and a quick dessert. Imagine it ala mode…sigh.
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest
3 Tbsp flour
Chocolate Batter Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded zucchini
zest of 1 orange
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Grease and flour two 1.5 quart loaf pans.
Preheat oven to 325 Farenheit.
Make filling: Beat cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar, orange zet, and flour until smooth. Add egg and beat until throughly mixed. Set aside.
Make chocolate bread batter: Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla till creamy. Stir in sour cream, zucchini, and orange zest. Add dry ingredients and mini chocolate chips and stir just till moistened being careful not to over beat.
Spread 1/4 of the chocolate batter in the bottom of each pan.
Then add half of the cream cheese filling to each pan.
Divide the remaining batter between the two pans.
Bake at 325° for 60-80 minutes. Check after 60 minutes as oven temps and loaf pan sizes and materials can vary.
When the bread is done, a toothpick inserted into the chocolate part should come out clean. Cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks
This is one of the late summer rewards of the garden. I had a good crop of tomatillos, cilantro and jalapeno this year and it was all screaming at me to make some Salsa Verde and preserve enough for a variety of dishes over the winter months.
I am so glad I did. This version of Salsa Verde lets the sweet/tart flavor of the tomatillos shine through, and is forgiving enough to change your quanitites of jalapeno and salt to suite your own preferences.
1 1/2 lbs Tomatillos
1/2 Cup White Onion, chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1/2 Cup Cilantro Leaves, packed
1 Lime - Zested and Juiced
2 Jalapeno Peppers (or more to taste), stemmed and seeded
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt, or more to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Pat dry..
Place tomatillos and whole garlic cloves, on baking sheet. Optionally, add jalapenos.
Roast in oven for 10 -15 minutes until tomatillos are softening and beginning to brown. If jalapenos begin to darken, remove them from the oven before they start to brown. For this recipe you do not want to char the produce, it will create bitterness.
After tomatillos are soft and just starting to turn a carmel color, remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Place roasted produce and all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
Taste and adjust seasonings: Add more jalapeno if you want more heat, and additional salt if desired.
Optional Canning Instructions
This recipe can be canned. It is easy to triple or quadruple the above ingredients and make a large batch.
Wash and sterilize canning jars and rings. use pint size, but you can use any size you desire. The above recipe results in about 3 cups of finished salsa, or 1.5 pints so you can estimate the number of jars to use when making a large batch. I triple the recipe, resulting in 9 cups, or 4 pint size jars and 8 oz. to eat immediately.
Bring water to boil in a large water bath canning kettle.
In a seperate small pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and put canning lids in hot water. Let soak while filling jars.
Fill hot, sterile jars with salsa verde, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Shrimp is less expensive and more attainable these days than its popular bisque cousins – crab and lobster. This is a rich and creamy soup with a more subtle flavor. It can be a meal in itself, or can be rounded out with a salad and a nice crusty bread.
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
5 Cups Seafood Stock, see recipe below
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
3 Cups Chopped Leaks, white and light green parts (about 3 leeks)
1.5 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
1/3 Cup Brandy
1/3 Cup Dry Sherry
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
3 Cups Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Tomato Paste
1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Madeira
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and Pepper to Taste
For Seafood Stock
Reserved Shrimp Shells
2 Bay Leaves
1 Lemon, cut in 1/2
1 Large Carrot, peeled and cut in to large pieces
2 Ribs Celery, cut into large pieces
1 Medium Onion
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Bouillon powder
2 8 oz. Bottles of Clam Juice
6 Cups Water
Peel and devine Shrimp, reserving shells.
Combine all ingredients for seafood stock in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour. Strain solids and reserve resulting stock. Add enough water to make 5 cups if necessary.
Meanwhile, dice shrimp into small pieces, keeping a few whole for garnish.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add shrimp and saute until pink and mostly cooked through.
Add leeks to dutch oven. Saute leeks until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the brandy and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes more. Transfer shrimp (except whole shrimp – reserve for garnish in a separate bowl) leeks, garlic and all pan juices to food processor. Use a spatula to get all the pan juices into the food processor bowl.
Add 1/2 cup of the seafood stock to the food processor. Pulse until shrimp, leeks and garlic are coarsley pureed. Let rest in food processor bowl and proceed to next step.
Melt butter in dutch oven. Add flour and cook over medium-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk to form a golden roux.
Add the cream and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened. Stir in the Madeira and cook for another minute. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the remaining stock, tomato paste, Old Bay Seasoning, and Worchestershire sauce.
Lovely, cool, and creamy this dessert is the perfect antidote to a sweet-tooth in the summer’s heat. The ingredients are usually on hand in my refrigerator and it takes a little over an hour to prepare, most of the time spent chilling the lemon custard.
4 Large Eggs, whole
4 Large Eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 1/4 cups + 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3 teaspoons Lemon Zest
3/4 Cup Lemon Juice, fresh
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
In a large, heat-proof bowl, whisk together the whole eggs and the egg yolks, the sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt.
Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10-15 minutes. A whisk is helpful in this stirring, especially as it begins to thicken, but should be applied gently. The mixture will thicken and lighten as it cooks.
Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour until it is chilled through. The result will be a thick lemon custard.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites for 1 minute, and then add two (2) tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Continue beating egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the chilled lemon custard.
Add the cream to the bowl just vacated by the egg whites along with the remaining two (2) tablespoons of sugar. Beat on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form.
Fold whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Spoon resulting mousse into serving dishes and chill thoroughly. Serve cold.
Crumble graham crackers, vanilla wafers, shortbread or lemon cookies in serving dish before spooning lemon mousse into chill.
Kombucha has been around for over 2000 years. It s a drink made by fermenting sweetened green or black tea. The sugary tea turns into kombucha with the help of a SCOBY—a.k.a. “a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast”—which looks a bit like a floating mushroom. Except it’s made of live bacteria.
During the fermentation process, the yeast and bacteria in the SCOBY feeds on the sugar in the tea, releasing probiotics as well as B vitamins, enzymes, and organic acids. The fermentation also naturally creates carbon dioxide gasses, naturally carbonating the drink. This is why it is so fizzy.
How to make your own home brew:
First, get your hands on a SCOBY, fermenting jars and some reusable bottles for the finished product. So far, I think Amazon is great for economy, 2-day shipping, and availability of supplies. Local home-brew shops also carry these supplies. Glass, stainless or ceramic are good choices for brewing kombucha. Some people use wood barrels and claim it adds wonderful dimensions in flavor to the brew, which I do believe, but I have an aversion to anything I can’t sterilize and wood barrels aren’t as readily available. Avoid plastic, and any metal that is not stainless steel. Kombucha can cause leaching during the brewing process with these materials.
You can order your SCOBY from Amazon or speciality sites that sell the organism. It should come in a packet surrounded by kombucha starter liquid (DO NOT DISCARD THIS LIQUID). If you are lucky enough to have a friend that can supply you with a healthy SCOBY, all the better. If you have to purchase your SCOBY, you may also wish invest in a bottle of live, raw, unflavored Kombucha to serve as your starter. If getting a SCOBY from a friend, ask them to include 2 cups of starter kombucha. Keep your SCOBY in a sealed, sterile environment at room temperature prior to brewing. Never refrigerate your SCOBY.
Next you will sterilize all your equipment. You want to promote the good bacteria but not introduce anything unwanted that could lead to contamination of your brew. I run everything through the dishwasher, using non-reactive pots for steeping tea, and glass fermenting jars and bottles. Then I rinse them after the come out of the dishwasher to insure that there is no soapy residue at all, as it could kill the lovely organisms you are trying to feed.
With a healthy SCOBY and sterilized equipment, you can begin your brew.
1 Gallon Chlorine-free water
4-6 Black or Green tea bags or 1-2 tablespoons loose leaf tea (I use 3 Ice Tea size Black Tea bags as my preference)
1 Cup Sugar
1 full-size kombucha SCOBY
1-2 cups mature kombucha starter liquid
1.25 Gallon Brewing Vessel
Pot or Kettle for boiling water
Large Rubber Band
Instructions for brewing
Heat 1 quart of the water to just below boiling in a non-reactive pot. You can either steep in the pot, or add to your brewing vessel. Allow your tea to steep for 10-15 minutes, and then remove tea.
Add cup of sugar to brewed tea while it’s still hot and stir until it is completely dissolved.
If you did not use brewing vessel to steep your tea, transfer it to the brewing vessel now.
Add remaining cool water. Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding. Cover loosely with clean muslin cloth to prevent impurities from getting into the tea while it cools.
Once the tea is cooled below 100 degrees Farenheit, you may add your SCOBY and the starter liquid. If you are using your hands, make sure they are clean, but don’t wash with anti-bacterial soap, or use a clean stainless spoon to transfer SCOBY to the tea. Add 1-2 cups of mature, raw kombucha on top of the SCOBY, either provided from a friend or from a verified raw, unpasturized source.
Cover the jar with a breathable cloth and secure with rubber band.
Place in a dark storage space, that will maintain a temperature of 65-85 degrees Farenheit. Ideal range is 75-80 degrees. In the winter, this may be hard to maintain, but not to worry, komucha will ferment acceptably at lower temps, but it will require a longer brewing cycle.
Allow tea to ferment for 7-21 days. You will need to taste your brew to get the desired level of sweetness/tartness. I slip a clean straw below the SCOBY about 5 inches and take a sip. You can do this as early as 5 days after you begin your brew. In warmer temps, it will brew faster.
Once your kombuchas is fermented to your prefered taste, it’s ready to harvest.
Remove SCOBY to a clean sterile bowl and loosely cover with a cloth. Collect at least 1-2 cups of mature kombucha from the top of the brew to use as the starter for your next batch.
The rest of kombucha is available for drinking, either straight from the vessel, or you canbottle it with or without adding flavors.
Start a new batch repeating steps 1-10. If your SCOBY has replicated itself, you can separate the new SCOBY and start a second batch or store it in SCOBY hotel.
You can flavor your finished kombucha with fruit juice, fresh fruit or leave it unflavored. To increase the natural carbonation of kombucha, you may choose to bottle condition it. Fill your bottles leaving head room and seal. Let sit another 3-7 days in a dark storage area at room temperature, and then transfer to the refrigerator. The kombucha will continue to ferment as it sits in the dark, increasing carbonation, and maybe even developing a little SCOBY. Placing in refrigerator stops the fermentation. I like to stop my second fermentation after 5-7 day, longer and the brew gets more tart (which might be your preference) and a lot of pressure from carbonation can build.
There are a lot of great resources on the web and e-books or written books. I’d encourage further investigation and suggestions from other reputable sources. Suggestions on locating a healthy SCOBY, choices in fermenting vessels, flavorings, and maintaining SCOBY health are plentiful on the internet.
The SCOBY Hotel
Depending on your rate of consumption, once you get going, you can use the new SCOBYs produced by the process to increase your production. Or you can keep it smaller by storing SCOBYs in a SCOBY hotel. This is basically a vessel that allows you to store live SCOBYs, occasionally feeding them a bit of fresh kombucha from a newly brewed batch. Keeping extra SCOBYs will let you experiment with your brewing conditions knowing you have a back up in case something goes wrong. You will have your own healthy SCOBY on hand to start again. You can also gift a SCOBY to an interested friend from your SCOBY hotel.
Tips for the best fermentations
Do use properly steeped tea. Under steeping will result in a weak brew, oversteeping a bitter brew.
Do sterilize all your equipment to make sure that the good bacteria and yeast are not contaminated by unwanted organisms.
Do keep your fermenting kombucha in a dark place until you are ready to harvest.
Do use chlorine free water in both your tea and when cleaning your SCOBY or setting up your SCOBY hotel.
Do use unflavored, non-pasturized starter for your first batch. If purchasing brewed kombucha from a store for this purpose, please check to make sure the cultures are live. I’ve used the GT brand with good success.
These “lobster” rolls are made with Langostino tail meat. Langostino is not really a lobster, and costs significantly less. Its flavor and texture are very similar, and restaurants sometimes substitute Langostino to offer lobster-like dishes at a lower price. Some species of langostino look somewhat like a flattened lobster, while others resemble a prawn. What we call Langostino in the US is the meat of the squat lobster, which is neither a true lobster nor a prawn, but more closely related to porcelain and hermit crabs.
I love lobster rolls, having first enjoyed them on the East Coast when visiting family. Sweet lobster in a light lemony dressing on a soft roll with a side of slaw is about as New England as it gets. The recipe here uses langostino for cost savings, but can be made with regular lobster if that is your preference. If I want to splurge, I’ll make this with real, fresh lobster.
For a twist I added spring peas. They are purely optional and may offend a lobster roll purist, so leave them out if they are not your thing. I like their fresh sweet taste, and happened to have an abundance of them on hand. They bring additional texture and flavor, but if they are not available or desired, the recipe is delicious without them.
3 Cups cooked Langostino or Lobster meat
1/2 Cup Spring Peas, shelled (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives, minced
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, minced
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
6 Sausage Rolls, Hot Dog Buns or other soft sandwich rolls, Split
2 - 4 Tablespoons of butter
Combine langostinos or lobster, peas, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, parsley, Old Bay, and cayenne if desired, in a mixing bowl.
Taste the salad and adjust seasonings; adding salt and pepper if desired.
If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate salad; it will store well for several hours if needed before moving on to next step.
Butter preferred rolls and toast, butter side down, on a preheated grill or in a skillet on the stove top, working in batches. Alternately, you could place in a toaster oven and toast with butter side up on a bagel setting. Toast until inside of bun is a golden brown.
Fill each bun with about 1/2 cup of the langostino or lobster salad.
These sandwiches can be used as either a main course or an appetizer. Slicing the filled rolls into three pieces will make a nice appetizer sized serving.
I initially frowned on the use of hot dog buns when experimenting with this recipe, but they have the right balance of flavor and texture so they don’t overpower the delicate texture and flavor of the filling.
Use the freshest ingredients possible, this sandwich has well balanced flavors and fresh juice and herbs are the key.