A different take on the classic

Carbonara. Just the name sounds scrumptious. I mean the first syllable is “carb”! It’s rich and comforting and it includes pork fat. Pasta Carbonara is so easy to make and is very adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge. The only necessities are eggs, a hard aged cheese, pasta, and some pork belly (bacon, pancetta, etc).

Then your refrigerator is your inspiration. You could add in any sauted veggies – peas, zucchini, eggplant, any alliums (onions, leeks, shallots, etc). What combinations do you like together? Try them out in this rich and creamy pasta dish.

This take on carbonara embraces the approaching Fall weather by incorporating leeks and mushrooms into the recipe. Seriously, this is so good. You’ve gotta try it.

I found the recipe at How Sweet It IsĀ 

I didn’t have any portabello mushrooms but I did have crimini. That was really the only adaptation. Enjoy!

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Chinese Chicken without the headaches

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty wary of going out for Chinese. For some reason, the Chinese restaurants around me can’t leave the MSG out of their ingredient list. Me and MSG do not get along.
So, it’s either head to the city for some decent Chinese or cook it at home. With a little one at home, there really isn’t an option. Chinese Red-Cooked Chicken is served at the G Beach Bungalow.

Chinese Red-Cooked Chicken (adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Slow Cooking book)

  • 3 whole chicken legs (skin pulled off)
  • 4 strips orange zest
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TBS packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • 1/4 dry sherry
  • 1 1/4 TBS cornstarch

Put the chicken, zest, star anise, cinnamon, ginger and brown sugar in a Dutch oven on the stove top. Pour in the soy sauce and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to very low and partially cover. Cook about 45 mins flipping the legs halfway through the cooking time.

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Transfer the chicken to a platter and brush with sesame oil. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add sherry to the cooking liquid. In a small cup, stir cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup of broth until it’s dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the cooking liquid and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens (about 10 mins). Remove and discard the zest, star anise, cinnamon and ginger. Pour the sauce over your red chicken and serve with rice and your favorite stir-fried veggies.

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This was a big hit with the family. It’s very fragrant and so I was worried the little one wouldn’t like it. I was wrong.

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Enjoy!