Category Archives: Ethnic

Spicy Stir Fried Celery

I don’t know if you are like me, but it often bothers me when I go to the store and buy a bunch of celery, let’s say for just using it in chili, and granted it is a bit pricey (as far as I am concerned), and then you are left with a bunch of leftover celery. The celery is placed in my bottom refrigerator door, and if not opened in time, well it gets forgotten and then tossed. Never a good thing. So recently I decided to combat that waste and do something different with the celery, and turn it into a spicy stir fried celery.

Spicy Stir Fried Celery

I wanted to have the celery shine and as I was thinking about what I could do with the ribs of celery, I looked over to my lazy susan filled with condiments, and immediately looked at the Chinese fried red chili oil I had made in the summer.

Let’s get started.

  • 4 ribs of celery, but into large match sticks
  • 3 tbsp Chinese chili oil
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts, optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt, to taste

Start by heating a large skillet, on medium-high heat, for about one minute.

How to make spicy stir fried celery

Add the chili oil, and toss in the celery. Cook for about 3 minutes, tossing and stirring along the way. Remove and pour onto a plate. Season with salt, and shower with the crushed peanuts.

Dig in.

The result is really, really good. If you have not made the chili oil yet, please do it. IT’S AWESOME. The great thing about this recipe is that it goes really quick, and it is a great use of celery. The subtle spiciness, along with the peanuts, really make this a great side dish, or snack for that matter. Hope you enjoy.

Pickled Thai Chilies

I’ve been in a pickling mood for some time now. No clue why, but I have been. It’s most likely because I have had an abundance of chili peppers growing in the garden, and as I normally freeze them and use later, I also love doing a quick pickle and use the chilies on pizza, rice bowls, and omelets. I wouldn’t say that I am a true chili head, but I do love the spice, and the vitamin content that normally goes with them.  One of my favorite peppers has got to be the Thai bird chili pepper.  They have a great punch of hit along with some really nice citrus notes, and when used in sauces such as Nuoc Cham, well, hands down it’s a real winner.

Pickled Thai Bird Chilies

I know, big deal, these just look like regular Thai chili peppers right? Well, yes, but then again, they have been pickling for a couple of weeks in a great, and simple pickling mixture that makes these chilies pop even more.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Thai bird chilies
  • 1 1/2 inch fresh lemongrass, lightly smashed
  • 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

That’s it. Great stuff.

Start by adding everything but the Thai chilies in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and let the sugar melt with the vinegar and water. Remove and let cool.

How to make pickled Thai Chilies

Once the mixture has cooled, add the chilies to a small, sealable container, and pour the vinegar solution into the container, making sure you have covered the chilies.

Seal, and place in the refrigerator for about two days. Then use freely.

Again, I love Thai bird chilies, but with the addition of the vinegar and sugar, and lemongrass really makes these shine even more. They are great sliced and served  (if you like that type of heat), with any type of dishes where you want to add a bit of heat. If you like chili peppers, you will most likely love these. Hope you enjoy!

Mexican Red Sauce

I don’t know about you but we have tomatoes that are just growing off the charts right now. We planted a variety of tomatoes back in May, and now they are finally beginning to ripen. We have bowls of cherry tomatoes, as well as these great roma tomatoes sitting on our kitchen counter right now. In the meantime, I am pulling these great, large tomatoes off of the vine. With that said, I’ve been creating things such as loaded bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches, simple pico de gallos, and recently came up with this Mexican red sauce.  I’m calling this a sauce because it is so diverse that I have been marinating with it, topping omelettes with it, and well, pretty much using it on a majority of things, including drizzling it on pizza.

Mexican Red Sauce

What turned me on to creating this sauce is some dried chilies I recently purchased, the Puya pepper. After reading Pok Pok, I was interested in the puya pepper as Chef Ricker was using them in his Thai cooking.

The puya chiles have an intense heat that is somewhat pungent and have a light fruity flavor profile with an almost berry flavor. Puya chiles are grown in Mexico, and are somewhat similar to the guajillos chilie. I thought they would be perfect in a sauce, and they were.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato, such as Beefsteak or Better Boy
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 4 puya chilies
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • additional water

Start by adding the puya chilies to a skillet, and cook on medium heat, flipping along the way for about 4 minutes. Remove the chilies, and let cool.  Once cooled, slice, and remove the stem and seeds.

Mexican Red Sauce with Eggs

During this time, bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Add in the tomato and the chilies. Cover, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Remove the tomato and chilies with a slotted spoon, and let cool on a plate.

How to make Mexican red sauce

Add the chilies to a food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Remove the skin from the tomato. The skin should easily come off.

Pulse until you have a smooth sauce.  Taste and adjust any salt to your liking.

Pour into a large mason jar, and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

This sauce had just the right amount of heat to it. A subtle punch of heat in the beginning, and then that fruitiness from the chilies, along with the garlic and onion. It’s really good. If you are looking to try a new Mexican chili, give the puya a try. I’m certain you will love it. Enjoy!

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

I often think of making Filipino cuisine on a more regular basis, much like when I make Mexican food, or Thai for that matter.  The reality is that I have not been exposed to many of the diverse dishes that Filipino food offers. Now sure, I’ve rocked out many of the go to comfort dishes such as tinola, arroz caldo, lechon manok, crispy pork belly, giniling, and my wife and kids favorite, lumpia shanghai. As you can tell, I’ve done plenty, however this year, I want to be able to explore more cuisine and get some lessons from my father-n-law, who is from the best part of the culinary parts of the Philippines, the town known as Pampanga.  With all of this said, there is one go to dish that my wife, and kids always agree, and that is grilled pork chops. That’s right, it’s not Filipino (just yet), but if I were to ask my wife what she wanted for dinner, the default almost is always ‘pork chops and rice’. I’m down for that, and that’s why I turned the boring pork chop into something magical; the Filipino adobo pork chop.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

If you have never tried Filipino adobo, well, in my opinion it is a must. My wife grew up eating Adobo chicken, so you can pretty much use the basic marinade (which is amazing) and use it with probably any protein.

Let’s get started.

  • 5 pork chops, bone-in, medium cut
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp Filipino vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Cooked rice

Combine all of your ingredients and place in a large, sealable bag. Seal, and swish everything around. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or my preference, overnight.

You can bake these if you want, but I preferred to grill the pork chops just to get some smokey flavor introduced.

Pork Adobo Ingredients

When you are ready, heat your coals in your grill until they become nice and white.  During this time, remove the pork adobo from the refrigerator and let them come up almost to room temperature, or at least get some of the chill off of them.

Lightly oil the grill grate.

Add the pork chops to the grill, removing any peppercorns that might stick to them, if you desire, and cook until they are just a bit under temp, turning over along the way to get some nice grill marks. Once cooked to your liking, remove and place them onto a plate.

Let these rest a few minutes before serving.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

The result is awesome. Now generally you would stew this within the marinade, however not for this guy. The result is very similar to what you would get with the stewed version, but with just some great smokiness from the coals. It’s sweet, slightly sour, and slightly spicy. A winning combination in my book. Give these a shot if you are looking to explore a bit in your kitchen and outdoor grilling. Hope you enjoy!