Saturday, July 25, 2009

Garlic Pork Soup

So, yesterday, I decided to experiment with pork, again. And I ended up with a lip smacking soup that will fill you up and leave you wishing you had an extra stomach.

Garlic/Ginger Pork Soup

3-4 pork chops with bone
1 large red bell pepper
1 large carrot
4 large red potatoes
4-6 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup cilantro diced
1 jalapeno
2-3 chicken boullion cubes (or if you want to get really fun...used 2 tsb Better than Boullion....though one jar will cost you $9)
1 tsp seasoning salt
4-5 diced scallions
1/2 tsp salt
20-30 pieces of fresh okra
1 tsb minced ginger root
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 large shallot minced (optional)

Begin by taking a medium to large sized sauce pot, place the pork chops into the pot and sprinkle the pork chops with the seasoning salt and salt. Fill with water and slowly simmer the pork chops over medium high heat for two hours. Make sure to check the pork chops regularly and continue to add water to the point to make sure that the chops remain covered with liquid. This will create a rich, clear broth. Once the pork chops have been cooked thoroughly and allowed to simmer, remove the chops from the pot, remove the meat from the bones, and discard the bones. With a large kitchen knife, dice the pork meat into munchable pieces, and return to the pot. Add to the pot the remaining ingredients (potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces; cilantro; diced jalapeno; garlic; bouillon cubes; carrot, also cut into bite sized pieces, okra cut into little circles and red pepper). Allow the soup to simmer for an hour. Remove from heat, and serve it up.

This soup is fantastic, and will easily feed a family of four for a couple of meals. The total cost for this meal, depending on where you are, will be roughly $10.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hell's Kitchen Collard Greens

Last night, I served up a mess of collard greens at my pal Norman's Easter dinner. It was a great crowd...including a Jew, a half Lebanese girl, a Russian gal straight from the gulag and shit, a Malaysian, a me, and a Southerner. It was all diverse and stuff.

Most of the folks in the room had never had greens before (let alone hamhocks). By the end of the night all that remained in the bowl was the skin of one of the hamhocks and there were calls for my recipe. Here it is.

This recipe will cook roughly a half stock pot full once full cooked and boiled down. It will comfortably feed four to six.

Brandon's Hell's Kitchen Collards

4 to 6 bunches of collard greens
1 red onion
1 to 2 jalapenos
Crushed red pepper
3 to 5 garlic cloves
4 smoked hamhocks or smoked turkey necks
black pepper
oregano (dried)

Cooking instructions:

Wash the collard greens and make sure there is no dirt and grit on them. Then, peel the leaf off the stock and away from the center stem. Discard the stalk and stem and set the leafy greens in your stock pot.

Once you have cleaned the greens and placed them in the pot, get your hands way down in there and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

Add the hamhocks to the pot.

Dice the onion and garlic and jalapenos and place those in the pot as well.

Fill the pot with water leaving about an inch of room at the top of the pot. Then sprinkle in the salt, pepper, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper. If you like your greens hot...use more pepper...if not...use less. Same goes for the jalapeno.

Turn the greens on medium high heat and bring to a low boil. Cover them bad boys up and then let 'em percolate for the next four to six hours. The longer you let them cook, the better the flavor...when you taste the greens...and they melt like butter on your tongue...they are done man. If you are in a hurry, you can eat 'em after about four hours cooking time.

You can do all of this in a crock pot as well.

Also, from time to time add water to the pot--make sure the greens are always covered...and stir occassionally to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.

For good luck, make you some black eyed peas and rice and serve 'em up with the greens.

And there you have...when folks smack their lips together and are rubbin' their bellies...tell 'em Brandon sent ya.

(PS Using smoked turkey necks will take away none of the flavor--though the flavor will be slightly different--but it will cut down on the amount of fat in the dish. Both items are comparably priced.)

The cost of this meal is roughly $10-$12. If you use organic collard greens, the cost of the meal rises to about $20. I say....use conventionally grown collards and make sure you wash them well. It cuts the cost by a half to a third.

Hot Suki Suki Shrimp Kabobs

Since posting my collard greens recipe many moons ago, I have had many more requests for recipes. So here is one that I made when David and I were in Bristol. Let me tell you...this won over David's Dad completely.

Brandon's Suki Suki Now Grilled Shrimp Kabobs


One pound fresh shrimp
Two red bell peppers
One package mushrooms
One red onion
Two large green peppers
Two cups soy sauce
Half cup honey
One table spoon crushed red pepper flakes
One teaspoon garlic powder
One orange
Six to Ten metal skewers
Olive oil

First you want to pour the honey into a microwave safe bowl. Add the soy sauce. Microwave the soy sauce and honey for 30 seconds on high. Pull out the mixture and stir thoroughly. Microwaving the honey makes it liquid and easy to mix. Add the crushed red pepper and garlic powder. Cut orange in half and squeeze both halves into the honey and soy sauce marinade. Stir again. Then add the shrimp to the mixture, cover, and let sit for four hours. You can marinate the shrimp for a shorter period of time, but the longer you let them soak the better they will taste.

Chop your bell peppers, mushrooms and onions into roastable sizes. Then, create your skewers by adding a shrimp followed by one of each vegetable including the onion, followed by shrimp and repeat until skewer is full. Brush each kabab with a light layer of olive oil.

Roast the skewers over a charcoal grill until the shrimp turn bright orange. Salt. Serve. Enjoy.

I am telling you...these grilled skewers will make your loved one take off their panties and win the hearts of your inlaws.

Remember to always always always use uncooked shrimp. If you live near a Trader Joe's, they have great large uncooked shrimp, frozen, for around $7.99. The total price for this meal will run you $15 and will make six to ten skewers depending on how you put them together and the size of your skewers.

Yellowfin Tuna Steaks

Hello chilluns:

So, I have had another recipe request, and I thought I would post it here for your consumption.


2 Eight oz Yellowfin Tuna Steaks
1 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 garlic cloves
1 small piece of fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon of fresh rosemary

In a flat pan or large bowl mix the soy sauce, oregano, chili powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder together. Dip your steaks in the sauce on both sides. Marinate the steaks for 30 minutes to two hours. If you are going to marinate the steaks for more than 30 minutes, cover and sit in the refrigerator. If for 30 minutes, then leave them out at room temperature.

In a large frying pan, add two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat the oil over a high flame. Mince your ginger and fresh garlic and add to the hot oil. Stir the oil, ginger, and garlic together until the garlic begins to brown. This is to infuse the ginger and garlic into the oil. Remove the steaks from the marinade. Add the steaks to the skillet, and then pour the remaining marinade on top of the steaks. Sear the steaks on each side for approximately two and a half minutes. Add fresh rosemary to the steaks, and then remove from heat. This will cook the steaks roughly half way through and leave a rare center.

Take my advice...while you can cook the steaks the entire way through, tuna is an exceedingly dry fish...and the flavor will be so much better if you leave a rare core to the steaks.

Serve the steaks over brown rice with steamed broccoli and enjoy!

Please note...Trader Joe's, if you happen to live near one, has an excellent assortment of vacuum sealed and frozen fish. You can get quality tuna, snapper, salmon, shrimp (always buy uncooked!) and others in their freezer section, and they are at VERY affordable prices. The total cost for this meal $8-$10 if you are able to get frozen tuna steaks. Fresh tuna steaks will raise the price significantly to $15-$20.

Tilapia a la Prima Anitra with Grilled Asparagus

So, today my cousin, Miss Anitra Brown, emailed me to ask me if I had any recipes for tilapia...and if I posted my recipes any place. I was SUPER flattered that she would come to me for some I am just an amateur cook up in the kitchen. So, I sent her a tilapia was actually my ocean perch recipe, but it is just as good with tilapia.

Check it out:

Hey Cuz:

I sometimes post my recipes to my blog, but I haven't pooled them all into one place. I thought about starting a second recipe blog...maybe I will do that.

This is how I love to cook me some tilapia.

Tilapia a la Parilla (Grilled Tilapia) con Grilled Asparagus

Tilapia Fillets
3 cloves garlic minced
1 to 3 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup diced scallions
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 lemon cut into halves
Tin foil
3 to 4 fresh basil leaves minced

Get your grill going real nice like...if it is a charcoal grill (which is the best)...get your coals nice and toasty. If you are using a gas grill, turn the heat to medium.

Lay your tilapia on a sheet of tin foil. Sprinkle on top of the fillets your salt and pepper, lay on each piece of fish a pat of butter. Sprinkle on top of the tilapia the scallions, red pepper flakes and basil leaves. Then, squeeze your lemon all over the fish.

Place another piece of tinfoil on top of the tilapia and seal the edges by curling them up.

Place the fish in the foil on the grill and cover.

Cook on the grill for about 5-8 minutes, then open the foil, flip the fish, reseal the foil, and then grill for another 5-8 minutes until the fish is done, is flaky, but don't overcook it or it will dry out.

Grilled Asparagus Recipe

This great served with roast corn on the grill or asparagus.

If you get some of those wooden skewers, you can line up your aspargus side by side...about six to eight pieces, then, near the tip of the asparagus, insert one stick through all six to eight pieces and then insert another stick through the asparagus down near the bottom. Brush some olive oil in a thin layer over the asparagus, and lay them bad boys on the grill. Let 'em cook for a good 5-10 minutes...and then eat 'em up.

You can do the same thing with the tilapia in the oven, if you don't feel like grilling. But the charcoal is fabulous. Also, poke a few holes with a fork into the top and bottom of the foil...not too many...but enough to let the grill taste get up in there.

Bill Jr.

Again, if you live near a Trader Joe's or a decent fishmonger for folks on the coast (or, in Minneapolis, Coastal Seafoods near the Target on Lake Street), you should be able to get tilapia very affordably. Asparagus is seasonally priced and is best in the mid to late summer. This dish should run you about $9-$12.

Brandon's Pork Chop Ramen Fabulous

Any of y'all that grew up broke or went to college or went broke in college or went to college broke or broke down while broke in college cuz you had to grow up...will know of the great and powerful $.25 meal called ramen.

Now when I was a kid...all I knew about was Top Ramen and Smack Ramen and Cup-o-Noodle Ramen. By adulthood, I had discovered an entire world of imported ramen from China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. I once believed that ramen came only in pork, chicken, beef, oriental, and shrimp flavors. Only to discover, thanks to many an Asian grocer, that there is roast duck flavor, hard boiled egg flavored, and some flavors that don't even have a translation in English.

Now that I am officially too old to actually eat a package of ramen as a meal. And, considering I personally made several ramen manufacturers extremely wealthy as I packed away two packages of ramen AS A SNACK through most of my teen years, I thought I would combine my love of ramen with my love of half-way good for you food.

So, I created this recipe, and let me tell is so good that I am going to ask the Ramen Gods to include it on the backs of all my favorite brand's packages.

Brandon's Pork Chop Ramen Fabulous

3 Packages Chicken Flavored Ramen
3-4 small to medium sized pork chops, lean cut, with some marbling
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tsp salt
1 bunch of scallions
1 large sweet red bell pepper
1 large jalapeno
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil

First, lay the pork chops in an oven safe cooking pan. Sprinkle the seasoning salt and salt on the pork chops, then pour the soy sauce over the pork chops. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30-45 minutes. Turn once about half way through cooking.

Once the pork chops are done, remove the pork chops from the pan but SAVE THE JUICES in the pan. Slice the pork chops off of the bone and then dice into strips or bite size pieces. Set the bones aside.

In a sauce pan, bring six cups of water to a boil. When you put the water on to boil add the pork chop bones to the water. Once the water begins to boil throw the ramen noodles into the water and let them boil up for two minutes or until al dente. Drain the noodles into a strainer, and then remove the bones from the noodles in the strainer.

In a large wok, heat olive oil, then add garlic (minced), jalapenos, and onions, allow to sizzle and snap and fry up for a good three to four minutes. This allows the onions and garlic to caramelize and sweeten. Then add the noodles. To this add TWO of the three chicken flavoring packages from the ramen....DO NOT use all three or it will be tooooo salty. Stir the noodles, onions, jalapenos, and garlic together. Then pour the juice from the baking pan into the mixture. To that add the sweet bell pepper, cut into bite size pieces, and the chopped pork chop meat to the mix. Keep the dish stirring for about 3 minutes, just enough time to let the bell pepper soften up a bit...and then get you a bowl, put some of the food in it, and eat it up. Lemme tell ain't NEVER had ramen like this before.

With pork prices at an all time low (thanks H1N1 virus!), this dish is mega cheapy. You can put the whole thing together for $6-$7.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Welcome to the Fairy Chef!

Food is something that is and has always been important to me. As a child, I would stand around in the kitchen, watching my Mom fry, chop, broil, and bake. The smells of homemade bread often filled our small apartment, and, though I grew up dead damn broke and on welfare, my Mom made low cost sumptuous fare...and she was so adept at it that she fooled us into thinking common dishes, like buttered egg noodles, were expensive delicacies to only be eaten on occassion.

From my Mother's kitchen to my Grandmother's kitchen, from watching my Step-Father cook to learning to avoid my Birth Father's cooking at all costs, I learned how to experiment, recreate, and create anew old time recipes and create new recipes of my own.

Please note, I am not in anyway a trained chef. As a matter of fact, I am a writer. My recipes usually come with stories. I cook at home for my partner, and it is the greatest honor I can think of bestowing on a loved one to cook for them. Knowing that I have created a palate pleasing recipe that sustains the amazing people in my life, gives me a deep glowing satisfaction that is spiritual in nature.

I also post these recipes on my established blog, My Feet Only Walk Forward, which is a funny and silly and serious and ranting journey through life, love, politics, poetry, art, sex, and queerness.

While I now live a comfortable life, I am in no way a wealthy person. And so it is important that I am able to make good food, with fresh ingredients, cheaply. I understand how difficult that can be in a fast food world in a fast pace life when individuals, let alone families, juggle a million responsibilities on ever shrinking budgets. The recipes you will find here should all run you no more than $10 to $20 in ingredients, and, since I grew up in a large family, all of the recipes you will find here will make more than enough to feed two to four people (depending on your appetites).

I will post a number of recipes I have posted on my other blog, and, starting this week, I will post one new recipe a week. Some will be oldies but goodies and others will be new experiments I've whipped up and force fed to my beloved partner David. He didn't know he was signing up for guinea pig duty when he signed up for the life time gig with me.

So, grab your oven mitts and strap on your favorite cooking gear...cuz it's time to cook it up with the Fairy Chef.