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Leena Cooks: Dan Dan noodles

By on Mar 13, 2014 in Chinese food, Leena Cooks, Main, Meat, noodles, Pork, Spices | 0 comments

The first time I tried dan dan noodles was at a little Chinese dumpling and noodle shop in Australia. It had a very dry sauce, made only of meat and spices, and was probably one of the hottest dishes I’ve ever eaten. My husband loved them, but I found the heat to be so overwhelming, I couldn’t concentrate on the other flavors in the dish. Indeed, this dish hails on the Sichuan province of China, one of the spiciest regions in the world. I decide to research my own dan dan noodle recipe, one I could tailor to both my husband’s and my own heat preferences. According to Fuchsia Dunlop’s book, Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper, dan dan mian is a dish that is made differently by every street vendor. Her version includes no sesame paste, and focuses more on the clean flavors from the Sichuan peppers. While Food52’s recipe used douban chili paste, a spicy,...

Leena Cooks: Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy

By on Dec 14, 2011 in Gluten-free, gravy, Holidays, Leena Cooks, Main, Mains, Poultry, Recipes | 2 comments

A few years back, my sister in law started getting really sick. Everything she ate seemed to go right through her, and she lost a lot of weight for an already skinny person. After a lot of testing, they discovered she was a celiac who was allergic to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat and other cereals made into flour. It is what helps give bread it’s structure, and apparently, what makes celiacs sick. And after reading my food blog, she realized that a lot of foods she loves have gluten in them. Boo. So in honor of her, and the upcoming holiday dinner we are going to make together, I am on a mission to research and find delicious and uncomplicated gluten-free recipes. Today’s recipe: gluten-free turkey gravy made with pureed roasted vegetables.Recipe and photos after the jump. : Leena’s Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy : Inspired by my sister in law...

Leena Cooks: Three Meat Chipotle Chili

By on Dec 7, 2011 in Beef, chili, Leena Cooks, Main, Meat, Pork, Recipes | 0 comments

Man, I am so glad I had my latest chili cook-off. As a cook, it is easy to get stuck in your own ways and your regular recipes, so it is always a blessing to have as many cooking inspirations as I did from my cook-off. I mean, I actually WANT to make a vegetarian chili! Hell hath frozen over, folks. One of the cook-off prizes was a book written by Jane and Michael Stern called Chili Nation, featuring regional chili recipes from all 50 states. My friend Matt made a killer beef chili with chipotle and chunks of beef stew meat, and it inspired me to try something similar. I found the “Serious Capital Punishment Chili” from the District of Columbia (also the International Chili Society’s top winner in it’s 1980 cook off), which not only had cubes of beef round and chipotle in it, but also hints of dark chocolate and two kinds of ground meat in it. I made a few...

Leena Cooks: Food Porn Daily: The Cookbook’s Chorizo Bistro Salad!

By on Jan 10, 2011 in Leena Cooks, Main, Mains, Meat, Pork, Soup/Salad, Vegetables | 0 comments

I am not really one to follow a recipe. I always start off with the best intentions to, but soon I realize I am missing an ingredient or have a better ingredient/idea/method in mind than the author of the recipe, and all hell breaks out. Sure, I may end up with a delicious dish, but who knows what mysterious, tasty delights the actual recipe held? So when my gal Amanda over at Food Porn Daily published her first cookbook, I figured once, JUST ONCE, I could try to follow a recipe. I picked her chorizo bistro salad with caramelized crimini mushrooms, poached eggs and sherry vinaigrette…and I pretty much followed her entire recipe, save for some avocado I threw in at the last moment (old habits die hard…and avocados rock). There are a few elements that really make this recipe a great dish. First, you have salad. The recipe calls for frisee, which is slightly bitter, and...

Leena Cooks: Spicy Chicken Tikka Masala

By on Dec 6, 2010 in Leena Cooks, Main, Mains, Meat, Poultry | 0 comments

If you’ve ever eaten Indian food in a country outside of India, odds are you’ve tried chicken tikka masala. It’s a slightly spicy, slightly sweet and creamy tomato curry with chunks of yogurt-marinated chicken, and if legend is correct, it is about as authentically Indian as 7-11. Britain has claimed it as it’s true national dish, Glasglow thinks it comes from a tried and true Scottish recipe, and a few believe it originated in Punjab in the 1950s.  Authenticity aside, CTM is a delicious dish I couldn’t wait to tackle. The recipe and food porn a-plenty after the jump. Most CTM recipes required you to marinate the chicken in a yogurt mixture overnight, but the Cook’s Illustrated recipe only needed the chicken to sit in a spice rub for 30-60 minutes, making this an easy, any night of the week recipe. Score. And you want the yogurt mixture to be thick...

Leena Cooks: The Perfect BBQ Main: Charcoal Smoked Pork Chops with homemade bbq sauce

By on Aug 23, 2010 in BBQ, Leena Cooks, Main, Mains, Meat, Pork | 0 comments

When I was young, a pork chop equaled a very thin patty of tough pork coated in shake and bake. I hated it. This pork chop? I do not hate. I LURVE this pork chop. I would like to institute a national day in honor of this beautiful piece of pork, but I can’t, so please, instead, enjoy the food porn and recipe. Recipe: Leena’s BBQ Sauce Summary: Inspired by a Cook’s Illustrated recipe Ingredients 1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup mild molasses 2 TB grated onion 2 TB Worcestershire sauce 2 TB Dijon mustard 2 TB cider vinegar 1 1/2 TB Brown Sugar Instructions Place all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook while stirring the mix occasionally, until it is reduced and thicken to around 1 cup, roughly 7 minutes. Set aside around 1/2 cup to baste the pork chops, and save the other 1/2 cup to serve with the chops on the side. Quick Notes Yields 1...