Angry Asian’s Pasta

For as long as I can remember, my favorite way to dress pasta is with a big ol’nub of butter.  That’s it.  Pasta and butter.  Maybe some grated cheese.  Maybe.  That’s how I make it when I’m by myself.

I believe this started way back in childhood when my grandmother would take leftover spaghetti and fry it up with butter in her cast iron skillet.  Not quite spaghetti.  Kinda, sort of, almost a pancake.  If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money down on this being the spark of my love of pasta and butter.

But sometimes the refrigerator needs to be cleaned out and you’re faced with asparagus and mushrooms that are on their last legs.  And sometimes when that happens, you just happen to have spaghetti on the menu.  So instead of having pasta and a salad, you incorporate the salad into your pasta.  At least, that’s how it went down at my house.

So now that I’ve stumbled into the wonderful world of pasta with mushrooms and asparagus, I may have to plan a return visit.

Pasta with Mushrooms and Asparagus

Adapted from Angry Asian Creations

BAH Note:  If you happen to have a fancy finishing olive oil in your pantry, you’ll want to pull it out for this.  And if that fancy finishing olive oil just happens to have been kissed with meyer lemon, even better.  To really fancypants it up, use any of Cipriani’s pastas.  They are absolutely sublime and cook in three minutes.

  • 1/2 pound pappardelle pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 8 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • grated parmesan cheese

Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat.

While the water comes to a boil, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Cook the mushrooms until they release their liquid and begin to brown. Add the asparagus and cook until it is done to your liking.  Add the lemon juice and zest, taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Remove the pan from the heat while you cook the pasta.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente.  Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Toss the pasta in with the vegetables and add cooking water if the pasta starts to stick together. Taste for seasoning again and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve garnished with grated parmesan and a bit of finishing oil if you have some.

{printable recipe}

Gingered Peach Marmalade

To say that I’ve taken a shine to small batch canning would be an understatement.  I plan my weekends around what jam I might whip up next.  I scour the stores for canning related items – jars, lids, pectin.  You might say I’ve been stimulating the economy one small batch at a time.

While this may not lead to an actual economic recovery, I think these jars are worth their weight in gold.

Gingered Peach Marmalade

Adapted from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving

BAH Note:  The recipe in the book calls for this to be cooked up in the microwave.  Me, I prefer to have large containers of molten hot sugar on the stove top where I can easily monitor the jamming progress and where I’m not reaching up over my head to take hot bowl of said molten sugar out for a stir.  So that’s how I’m presenting it.  You want to make it in the microwave, go order the book.

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups chopped peaches, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped

Zest the orange and lemon and place the zest in a dutch oven with the water.  Place the lemon and orange pulp in a food processor and pulse until it is well chopped.  Transfer the lemon and orange pulp to the dutch oven and cook over medium heat for five minutes.

Add the peaches, sugar, and ginger to the dutch oven.  Bring to a boil and continue to cook, stirring, occasionally, until it gels.

Ladle the jam into heated jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space, and process for 10 minutes.

Let the jars cool for 24 hours before checking the seal and storing the jars. Any jars that have not sealed should be refrigerated or immediately reprocessed using new lids.

{printable recipe}

One Pot Chicken Bake

not my actual kitchen. image from

I have carried this recipe with me for the last 11 years.  That would be two apartments and one house for those of you wondering.  Making this still makes me think of that very first apartment.  It was the second floor of a house that had been converted into an apartment. Not that that is at all unusual; people convert single family homes into multi-unit dwellings all the time.  The unusual detail is that from my bedroom window I could look out and see my grandmother’s front porch.  From my living room, I could see her laundry hanging in the back yard.

My apartment was in the house right next door to the house I had grown up in.  So there was always this sense of being at home.  My apartment living room was where my grandmother’s bedroom was.  The kitchen was where my brother, then I, then my sister had our bedroom.  My bedroom was where my grandfather’s room was.  Everything about the space was familiar, from the polished wood floors that creaked in the nights to the black and white tile in the bathroom to the curving line of the ceiling in the back rooms.

I spent seven years there, eating my meals off of my grandmother’s old kitchen table.  Those meals were cooked on a tiny, half sized stove.  The oven was barely wide enough to hold a cookie sheet and the stovetop was so narrow that I couldn’t have two big pots on it at the same time.  Despite all that, and my general lack of cooking skills at the time, I occasionally managed to produce a meal that stood out.  They truly were few and far between but I promise you they were real.  As real as knowing that my next door neighbor would always check to make sure I got home safely at night, that she would call if she saw my car parked at home on a work day, and that it took less than 60 seconds to get from my living room to hers.

I remember that apartment fondly; it was where I needed to be at the time.  It makes me sad to see strangers coming out of there now when I go over to my grandmother’s.  I still feel a sense of ownership over that space on the second floor.  When I look up at the bedroom window, I half expect to see my younger self looking back down at me.  Who knows, maybe now the ghost of that younger me is what makes the wooden floors creak in the night.

One Pot Chicken Bake

Adapted from Baltimore Sun

BAH Note:  The original recipe has you bake this in a 10×15 dish.  I personally don’t own a 10×15 baking dish and even if I did, it works perfectly well to bake it in a dutch oven or other large pot.

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 to 3 pounds bone in chicken thighs, skins removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and combine the flour, paprika, and cayenne in a shallow dish.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.  Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and, working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides.  Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the remaining oil to the dutch oven and cook the onions for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquid.  Stir in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and marjoram and bring to a boil.  Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until the chicken is done.

{printable recipe}