Two Roads & A Recipe with Yakisoba

IMG_1402This week while sifting through more of my son’s things I found two memory cards in a camera hard case. As I dusted some fine golden sand out of the case I remembered sending him the cards in a care package while he was stationed in Afghanistan.DSCN0487

Seeing more than a hundred photos up on the screen it reminded me of the adventurous boy whose travels took him far and wide to some places I did not recognize. The photos of him and the places he had left a footprint on tugged at my heart, but only a smile emerged. His story may have been short, but his journey so full. I am thankful for that. Yes, I have travelled a long way, too. So, I continue to share.DSCN0459

In light of recent events in Orlando the only advice I have for parents who have lost their loved ones is to hold tight to each other. You will travel the grief road as individuals, but you will need the support of each other to keep you on the path to peace. Honor your loved one, have Courage and make a Commitment to love and kindness always. Share it.DSCN0367

Time to share some good food. Two roads and a recipe is always a fun challenge especially when fusion of foreign cuisines is involved. It’s a wonderful creative distraction that I get to share with all of you in this blogger’s challenge contest. It makes me smile. I hope you like what I prepared with Fortune Brand Yakisoba Noodles. Coming in a variety of flavors check the refrigerated section of your grocery store (Von’s, Pavilions and Safeway in Pennsylvania) for this easy to prepare product that inspired so many other recipes that I had to share at least two of these new family favorites. Today, it’s Asian gone Italian in two tasty noodle dishes. First up is a mandarin orange stir-fry twist on chicken picatta. Enjoy the harmony.

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Citrus Chicken Picatta & Noodle Stir-Fry

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 Package Fortune Brand Yakisoba Noodles with Mandarin Orange Flavor Packet

2 cups diced boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup dry white wine or chicken broth*

½ cup chicken broth

1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-tablespoon small capers, rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Garnish: fresh lemon and oranges slices and fresh herbs, optional

Puncture inner bag of noodles a few times with the tip of a sharp knife to allow steam to escape. Microwave noodles on HIGH for 1 minute; set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper and toss with flour to coat. Heat olive oil over medium-high. Add chicken; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Add garlic, shallots and pepper flakes; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add wine; cook for 2 minutes or until reduced by half stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add loosened noodles, Mandarin Orange flavor packet, chicken broth, lemon juice and capers; stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Garnish with lemon and orange slices and fresh herbs, if desired.

*Note: If you prefer not to use wine use additional chicken broth as a substitute

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caprese noodle burger

 

My second recipe includes a classic summer Italian salad topping your favorite burger on a most surprising noodle bun. The bun is a play on an omelet my mom used to make with leftover spaghetti. They not only make a great burger bun, but also delicious as the base for an opened-faced sandwich, too. The noodle buns can even be made ahead and re-warmed on the grill, stove-top or in the microwave.

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Caprese Noodle Burger

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 package Fortune Brand Yokisoba Stir Fry Noodle Mandarin Orange

¼ cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

8 leaves shredded fresh basil

½ cup diced vine ripened tomatoes

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-teaspoon balsamic syrup

2 hamburger patties

4 slices fresh mozzarella

Place the noodles, water and half the sauce base in a microwave safe dish. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Mix well and spread out on a plate to cool. When noodles are cool mix with eggs, parmesan and 2 leaves of shredded basil. Divide noodles into 4 portions and shape each portion into a 4-inch “bun” on plastic wrap lined plates. Bring plastic wrap up and over the buns to cover. Weight down with another plate and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil, 2 teaspoons olive oil and balsamic syrup in a bowl; mix well. Sprinkle hamburger patties evenly with remaining sauce mix; grill or pan-fry to desired doneness topping with mozzarella during last few minutes of cooking time. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Unwrap noodle buns and add to skillet. Cook, 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through. Arrange a noodle bun on each plate. Top with a burger and some tomato-basil salad. Cover with remaining noodle buns.

For more delicious yakisoba noodle ideas check out JSL Foods on Twitter and Facebook

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My son’s favorite poem inspired “Two Roads and a Recipe”

Two Roads & A Recipe

Ricotta chive gnocchi with brown butter, lemon and chive sauce

Ricotta chive gnocchi with brown butter, lemon and chive sauce

Moving forward on this grief journey I am taking a bend in the road and celebrating my William and his favorite Robert Frost poem……..

Two roads...photo by William Keys

Two roads…photo by William Keys

…..with the concept of “two roads and a recipe”. If ever there was a book title that is it. I will be twisting up one recipe and featuring it in two ways. In addition, I hope to highlight what is growing in my garden path. While the poem may highlight looking back with regret these recipes will only have you sighing with satisfaction. Which sauce do you choose?

gnocchi with meat sauce

gnocchi with meat sauce

And while we are out in the garden lets pick some joyful moments to add to the menu. The more joy you add the better life tastes.

beautiful, fresh from the garden, chives

beautiful, fresh from the garden, chives

Caitlin and Sam are celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary next week. I wish them a long life of commitment to each other and no regrets. May they make each other better people every single day. Thanks for bringing such joy to our families. They love gnocchi and I love them, so from my heart to yours enjoy.

Wedding Day photo by Campli Photography

Wedding Day photo by Campli Photography

Ricotta Chive Gnocchi with Two Sauces

1 (15 oz) container part-skim ricotta

3 egg yolks

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons finely snipped chives

few grinds grated nutmeg

pinch white pepper

1¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting board

the dough

the dough

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with semolina flour. In a bowl, combine all ingredients adding just enough flour for dough to hold together. It will be a bit sticky. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Cut dough into 6 portions. With floured hands and using just enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking, roll each dough piece into a rope about ½-inch thick. Cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Roll each cut piece on the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board. Place on prepared baking sheet making sure gnocchi don’t touch each other. Cover and chill until ready to cook. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to a month. Cook gnocchi in boiling salted water for about 1 minute or until they are floating. Serve with lemon brown butter or bolognase sauce.

gnocchi board is made in Philadelphia by

gnocchi board is made in Philadelphia by

To make Lemon-Chive Brown Butter: melt 1 stick of unsalted butter over medium-low heat until it turns a toasty brown color, about 6 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a tablespoon of snipped chives and a pinch of salt and ground pepper. Add cooked gnocchi, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

To make Bolognese Sauce: In stock pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add ½ cup each diced onion, small dice carrot and chopped celery; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add 1 pound ground beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon and cooking until no longer pink. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and few grind of pepper. Add 1-cup dry white wine. Increase heat to high and continue cooking until wine has evaporated. Add ½ cup of milk; cook until mixture again appears dry. Add 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, on very low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Spoon over cooked gnocchi. Sprinkle with shards of parmesan cheese.

the ridges create places for the sauce to cling onto the dumplings

the ridges create places for the sauce to cling onto the dumplings

Good Grief: Lasagna Two Ways

Joyful activities. We need them. Remember what makes you happy and start filling up your bucket. Celebrate you and you celebrate those you have loved and lost. “Good Grief” in the blog title. Whenever you see it, going forward, something joyful will follow including, as always, a most delicious recipe and maybe a bit of a surprise. These are “no more tears” blog posts.

stop & smell the roses

stop & smell the roses

First, the fun surprise. It is a D.I.Y. project perfect for this time of year known as lasagna compost gardening. It is a no-till (aka no back-breaking work) method of turning a sunny grassy area into a new garden. “Lasagna”, in this case, refers to the layering of nitrogen rich green material like grass, vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and manure with carbon-rich brown elements like cardboard, dead leaves, straw and newspaper. Continue alternating green and brown layers, watering in between, until the pile measures 2 to 3 feet.

6 months later you will be ready to plant your new garden

6 months later you will be ready to plant your new garden in a loamy soil loaded with earthworms

Now for some real lasagna. This is one of my favorite recipes from Epicurious. As always I tend to tweak things according to my taste. For instance, I did not have porcini mushrooms, so I used dried shitakes and I used a large enough skillet to cook all the button mushrooms, zucchini, onion and garlic at once. Make the filling the day before to stream-line the whole process.

wild mushroom lasagne

wild mushroom lasagne

from Epicurious.com

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

For mushroom filling
3 cups water
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms (about 1 cup)
2 pounds fresh white mushrooms
2 large zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons Sherry
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For sauce
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
eighteen 7- by 3 1/2-inch sheets dry no-boil lasagne (about 1 pound)
1/2 pound freshly grated mozzarella (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (about 1/2 cup)
preparation

Make filling:
In a small saucepan bring water to a boil and remove pan from heat. Stir in porcini. Soak porcini 20 minutes. Lift out porcini, squeezing out excess liquid, and reserve soaking liquid. In a sieve rinse porcini to remove any grit and pat dry. Chop porcini and transfer to a large bowl. Simmer reserved soaking liquid until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Pour liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into bowl with porcini.

Quarter white mushrooms and in a food processor pulse in 3 batches until finely chopped. Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch dice. Chop onion and mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and cook one third white mushrooms with 2 tablespoons Sherry, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they begin to brown. Add mushroom mixture to porcini. Cook remaining mushrooms in 2 batches in butter with remaining Sherry in same manner and add to porcini mixture. In skillet cook zucchini in 1 tablespoon butter until tender and stir into porcini mixture. In skillet cook onion in remaining tablespoon butter, stirring, until softened. Stir in garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir onion into mushroom mixture until combined. Filling may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Make sauce:
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes and whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, mustard, and salt. Remove pan from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring sauce to room temperature before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter a 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) baking dish.

Assemble lasagne:
Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce in baking dish and cover with 3 pasta sheets, making sure they don’t touch each other. Spread one third filling over pasta sheets in dish and top with 3 more pasta sheets, gently pressing down layers to remove air pockets. Top pasta sheets with one third mozzarella. Continue layering in same manner with sauce, pasta sheets, filling, and mozzarella, ending with mozzarella (dish will be filled to rim). Spread remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with Parmesan. On a foil-lined large baking sheet bake lasagne in middle of oven until bubbling and golden, about 45 minutes. Let lasagne stand 20 minutes. Lasagne may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring lasagne to room temperature and reheat before serving.