Saturday, May 28, 2016

Luz's Inspired Puerto Rican Turkey Empanadas (makes 19 dumplings)

these empanadas are great with cold beer
Most of the ingredients for these empanadas recipe came from Luz who is Puerto Rican born. I worked with her beautiful daughter, Kiara, a medical assistant at a Boston health clinic. It took me nearly 6 months for Kiara to tell me what her mother uses in her recipe! She was so busy she kept forgetting to ask her mother. On my last day of work at the clinic Kiara brought in her mother's delicious home-made empanadas. Kiara briefly went over how her mother made them. Of course who needs exact measurements anyway! She said her mother uses King Arthur flour (type unknown), water and oil for the skin. She instructed me to boil some water with a pinch of salt. Add water to the flour, a little at a time until a dough is formed, then add a little oil. Once everything has bound together, knead and flatten a little piece of dough to make a disc. The filling consists of turkey, cilantro, salt, adobo, sazon package, Kraft cheese (yellow and white), tomato sauce and/or vodka sauce. This recipe may seem vague to some people but really it is more specific and thorough than what I normally get even from family! Now that I have some basic information I will play around with these ingredients in my kitchen! It helps that I know how they should taste. Thank you Luz and Kiara for sharing this recipe with me!

Luz's Inspired Puerto Rican Turkey Empanadas (makes 19 dumplings)

Empanada Dough (makes 19 dumpling skin)


2 cups King Arthur flour (self rising flour), plus a little more to dust and roll
About 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil


Heat a cup of water to a boil. Turn heat off as soon as it boils and stir the salt into the heated water.
Put flour on a clean surface. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour a little water into the flour. Work the water into the flour. Add a little more water to the flour until a dough is formed. Knead until the dough is soft and pliable, about 10 minutes. Drizzle oil and knead until the dough is smooth and soft. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

*For the 2 cups of flour I used about 3/4 cup of water for this dough. It's best to plan on having a little extra water just in case.
*I have never weighed my dough out before but this time I want to try it in order to make equal pieces. I cut the dough and weighs each piece into 3/4 oz, this batch yields exactly 19 pieces.

Empanada Filling (makes 19 balls)


1/3 cup fried pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped scallion
1 medium tomato, deseeded, chopped (about 1 cup chopped)
1 package sazon con culantro y achiote (Goya brand)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chicken broth powder
1 lb ground turkey
2.5 oz shredded cheese
1 handful of cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)


1) In a medium sized pan add the pancetta, onion and scallion. Saute about a minute over medium high heat until the onion is soft.
2) Add tomato. Saute about 2 minutes until the tomato is soft.
3) Add sazon, pepper, and broth. Stir until everything is well blended and turn off heat. Let the contents cool completely.

4) Mix the cooled contents to the turkey, cheese and cilantro. You can use anything to mix. I use a pair of chopsticks and a spatula to mix everything together.

5) Form 19 balls with the mixture.

*For the cheese I use Market Basket "Mexican four cheese". This has shredded cheddar, monterey jack, asadero and queso blanco cheeses.

empanadas ready to be fried
Making Empanadas

Roll each little dough piece into a disc. May dust with a little flour if needed. Add a ball of the filling in the center of the disc. Fold the sides together and pinch the center close. Slowly pinch the sides to seal up and release as much air out as possible. Put the finished empanada on a flour dusted plate and cover to prevent it from drying out. When all the empandas are completed. Deep fry them by heating oil in a pot. Once the oil is hot then add 2-3 empanadas at time. Remove once they are golden brown, about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes.

*Any leftover can be refrigerated and put in the toaster oven to reheat and crisp up again.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cut Fruit Pieces with Salt and Chili Pepper (serves 1)

cut fruit with salt and chili pepper
What you remember eating as a child may be ingrained in you for the rest of your least it appears that way for me. This may seem strange to many of you but in Vietnam, especially in the Mekong Delta, it is common to eat fruits with salt and chili pepper. The spicier the better...perhaps so you can sweat and cool down! These are mango pieces (from one mango) with a sprinkle of crushed Hawaiian sea salt and a few drizzles of Sriracha hot sauce. Tasty!!

Often times you will see people place the salt and mashed or chopped fresh chili pepper in a little sauce dish and serve it next to the cut fruit pieces. The street vendors in Vietnam will prepare a small portion of this combination of salt and chili pepper in a tiny plastic bag tied with a rubber band and attach it along with a larger bag of cut fruits. Of course I never recommend eating prepared (peeled and cut) fruits off the street...unless you are planning on staying inside a fancy hotel with a super deluxe bathroom!! The best way to prevent any bad outcome (from traveling) is to eat fruits you can peel or cut yourself.

Amanda Parks's Adventures at Sea--squid dragging off Nantucket

I contacted Amanda Parks when I learned that I could buy fresh off-the-boat squid from her. After working many hours on the fishing boat she still had energy to drive all over coastal New Hampshire to deliver bags of squid to lucky people like me. I am thrilled that she has agreed to be my guest blogger. Thank you Amanda for sharing your well written work adventures with us! If you are in or near seacoast New Hampshire and you would like to purchase the best tasting squid ever you may contact (text, call or email) Amanda at 603-707-7517 or Squid season is extremely short so don't miss out, call and reserve your share today! According to Rimrack Fish by June 9th (2016) the squid season will be over. You may find New England Fishmongers and Rimrack Fish on Facebook.
a happy day for Amanda Parks, Spencer C Montgomery and F/V Rimrack
(photo courtesy of F/V Rimrack, 2016)

Amanda Parks's Adventures at Sea--squid dragging off Nantucket

May marks the one year milestone of my transformation from consumer to producer. I set sail on the voyage to learn more about my fishing community and the sustainability of seafood and in a series of fortunate events found myself working as crew aboard the FV Finlander. Along with captain Tim Rider and the rest of the enthusiastic crew, we set out sixty to eighty miles offshore from Eliot, Maine to jig for pollock, cod, and haddock using rods and reels. No sooner than my first fish coming out of the water, I knew I was hooked. I now fish regularly on the boat and spend the rest of the time working with Tim on selling our catch to local restaurants in the seacoast region. 

Yearning for more exposure to the different styles of fishing, I reached out to the Anderson's who own and run the FV Rimrack out of Rye, New Hampshire and are famous across the Granite State and beyond for their pristine sea scallops they sell dockside after landing. When the scallop season ends they move the boat down to the Cape (Cod) to dock in Hyannis to harvest squid. They invited my boyfriend, another Finlander crew member and the director of seafood at Dole & Bailey, to join father and daughter team, Mike and Kelsea, for two days of squid fishing. We set out from Hyannis harbor at 3 AM and fished between there and Nantucket, docking up on the island for the night. This was their 8th consecutive day fishing but with such a short season, early May to early June, a day not on the water is a lost harvest. Kelsea would hook up the gear as Mike unrolled the net into the water as we towed along. We would leave this down for anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, monitoring the fish scanner to make sure there weren't any signs of undesired species schooling up in our track. As a batch of coffee brewed inside we settled in and spent the time discussing the history of Mike's career, Kelsea's adventures in Chile documenting local fishermen, how the Finlander operated, how the industry has changed, and plenty of stories at sea. The time to haul up the net calls for a change in pace as we set down our mugs and get into our oil skins, boots, and gloves. The net rolls up and we stand anxiously awaiting for what the net holds! The ball of squid in the net is hauled up and Mike releases the catch onto the deck and we get to sorting. Scup in one bucket, butterfish in another, and squid fill the rest. Once we finish the sorting the deck is washed off all the ink that was sprayed during the harvest and the net goes back down for haul number two. We continue this until sundown with lots more storytelling as well as sampling of the catch, including the captains famous chowder and the freshest squid and butterfish sashimi you'd ever be able to consume!

News headlines of declining stocks, fraud, corruption, and fishermen leaving the industry paint a dismal picture of the future of New England fisheries. While, yes, there are these things happening, I want to paint a brighter narrative for the fate of our region and this long lived and important industry. We have the power to shift who is fishing, what we fish for, how much we catch, and how the catch is treated. I encourage people, especially young people such as myself, to push for our right to have access to this beautiful natural resource that continually gives us and our communities sustenance not only in food, but in the culture that shapes us.

out at sea
(photo courtesy of Amanda Parks, 2016)
Mike Anderson and his catch
(photo courtesy of F/V Rimrack, 2016)
sorting the catch (Spencer C Montgomery, Amanda Parks and Kelsea Anderson)
(photo courtesy of F/V Rimrack, 2016)
a beautiful freshly caught squid
(photo courtesy of Spencer C Montgomery, 2016)
clear squid eye = freshness
(photo courtesy of Spencer C Montgomery, 2016
Spencer and fresh squid
(photo courtesy of Amanda Parks, 2016)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Maine Mussels in Lemongrass and Garlic (makes 4 pounds)

Maine mussels in lemongrass and garlic
After work this week I stopped at a market on the way home. It's nice to have a large grocery store between my work and home. I noticed fresh Maine mussels on sale for $2.99 (USD) for a 2 pound bag. I got greedy and bought 2 bags! I cut up a lemongrass stick into thin rings and put it in a coffee grinder (the one I strictly use for herbs and spices). It came to about 1 /3 cup of ground up lemongrass. Mussels taste best when they are cooked with few ingredients and for a short time. Here is a quick and tasty appetizer!

Maine Mussels in Lemongrass and Garlic (makes 4 pounds)


2 Tbsp oil
1 lemongrass, chopped and ground (about 1/3 cup ground)
4 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
4 lbs large Maine mussels, rinsed well
4 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
A small handful of parsley leaves, chopped


1) Heat a large pot over medium high heat.
2) Add oil. Once the oil is hot add lemongrass and garlic. Stir and saute about a minute. Avoid burning the garlic.
3) Add mussels and rice wine. Saute about 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Cover the pot if needed. Turn off heat once the mussels are cooked through.
4) Add parley leaves and serve.

fresh Maine mussels
*Try not to overcook the mussels. As soon as you think they are cooked you may taste one to check.  
*The mussels release their liquid during cooking providing this dish a natural salty taste.
*If you do not have rice wine you can use other drinking white wine.

Mushroom-Spinach-Sauerkraut Pierogi (makes about 32 dumplings)

mushroom-spinach-sauerkraut pierogi
mushroom-spinach-sauerkraut pierogi
Over a month ago I made Monika's Inspired Polish Cheese and Potato Pierogi. While working on that post I noticed that the hand rolled dough makes thicker and more unique looking dumplings, using the pasta maker creates super thin ones. Most of the Polish pierogi that I ate in the past had thicker skin. This time I decided to make an all vegetarian and egg-less pierogi. For the dough I want to make a green dough using spinach for a different look and taste. I bought a one-pound bag of frozen chopped spinach. After cutting the bag open I gave everything a rinse and just squeezed most of the liquid out. Half of the spinach goes into making the dough and the other half goes into the filling. Since the spinach contains some water the dough does not require as much water. This spinach dough makes about thirty two 4-inch dumplings. If you have extra filling you can make a nice omelet for yourself the next day!

Spinach Dough (makes about 32 dumplings)


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup to dust and roll the dough
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed most of the liquid out
About 1/4 cup lukewarm water


Combine 2 cups of flour and salt either on a flat clean surface or in a large bowl. Add the spinach. Work the spinach into the salted flour until well incorporated. Slowly add water (a drizzle at a time) until a dough is formed and there is no more flour left. Knead the dough until it is soft and pliable, about 10 minutes. Let the dough rest under a towel for about 20-30 minutes.

*For the dough I keep a cup of lukewarm water next to me but ended up using 1/4 cup. The spinach already has some moisture so I did not need much extra water. Each of my dumplings is about 4-inch in diameter. I cover the rest of the dough that I am not currently using under a moist towel to prevent it from drying out. You may add a few drops of water if the dough appears to be getting hard or a little dry. Remember the dough should always be soft not hard. After making the dough a few times you may not even need a recipe. My recipes are created to provide you with a basic idea and I am happy if you can improve them!

mushroom-spinach-sauerkraut filling
Mushroom-Spinach-Sauerkraut Filling (enough for about 40 dumplings)


1 Tbsp oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 package (7.05 oz or 200 g) enoki mushrooms, trimmed ends and cut in half
1 package (5.3 oz or 150 g) brown beech mushrooms, trimmed ends and cut the long ones in half
1 large king mushroom (0.91 lb), rinsed, julienned
1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed out liquid
1 cup packed sauerkraut (preferably Polish), squeezed out liquid
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar


1) Heat a large pan over high heat. Add oil once the pan is hot.
2) Add onion and saute about a minute.
3) Add mushrooms and saute until wilted and the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.
4) Add spinach and sauerkraut. Saute about a minute.
5) Season with pepper, salt and sugar. Turn off heat and stir until everything is mixed well.
6) Set aside and let cooled completely before using.

*I prefer the Polonaise sauerkraut (from Poland). The cabbage is thinly sliced instead of chopped and it is more flavorful than any other types that I tried.
*The mushrooms will shrink by a lot once you cooked them. 
*As in all my recipes you should adjust the seasoning according to your own taste and preference.

To form the Dumplings

Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each quarter (of the dough) into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces to make the dumpling skins. Take a small piece out and keep the rest in the bowl and cover with a towel to prevent from drying while you work. Dust the surface with a little flour and roll the dough out as thin as you can using a rolling pin. The disc will be about 4-inch in diameter. If you do not have a rolling pin you can use a bottle. Add about 1 1/2 tablespoon of filling to the center. Fold the sides together and pinch at the center. Slowly pinch the edges together while removing as much air out as possible. Gently boil the formed dumplings for about 3-4 minutes. Once cooked remove with a slotted spoon and lightly fry in a little oil to brown the sides. Serve with sour cream and lightly fried onions if interested. 

previously frozen pierogi
You can freeze these pierogi and they will taste as good as freshly made ones. Boil them and let them cool down completely before wrapping them in a plastic wrap. Try not to have the dumpling touch each other. When you are ready to eat them just drop the dumplings (minus the plastic wrap) in boiling water. Let them boil gently for about 4-5 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and fry them lightly in a little oil to brown the sides and serve hot or warm.

mushrooms-spinach-sauerkraut omelet
*I cracked 3 eggs to the leftover filling and created another tasty meal. I drizzled the top with some Sriracha sauce and przyprawa w plynie (Maggi).
*The cooked dumplings may be in placed single layer on a plate and store in the refrigerator. They may be reheated using a microwave.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Stir-Fried Chicken, Squid, and Four Vegetables (serves 3-4 as part of a shared meal)

Recently I met Tony, salesman for Myco Terra Farm at the farmer's market in the South End (Boston). I have always wanted to try to grow mushrooms so the opportunity came when I met him. After talking to him I purchased a shiitake mushroom kit (which came with clear instructions) for $25 (USD). I brought it home and thought I would wait a week or two before growing them. Things have been a bit hectic with me since I am in the process of transferring to work in a clinic closer to my home (6.5 miles to be exact!!). My days off have been consumed with filling out lots of paperwork in order for me to practice in New Hampshire as a Nurse Practitioner. However, these mushrooms were not waiting for me! After about 2 days I noticed the mushroom caps were already sprouting. Luckily the growing process is very simple and these mushrooms are low maintenance. I remove the plastic bag that it came in. I poke tiny holes in the bag (for the mushrooms to breath and keep the environment humid), mist the block with water (using a spray bottle), and gently place the bag over the block. Every day I spray the block with water a few times to keep it moist. Once the mushrooms grew bigger I had to use another larger plastic bag. Within 2 days some of the mushrooms were large enough to harvest. I keep the block on my kitchen counter so when I come home from work I can see how it is progressing. It has been a really interesting experiment and I have already made 3 different dishes with some of the harvest! These mushrooms are fresh, tender, safe to eat, and clean. If you have an interest in learning more about mushroom farming you can check out Myco Terra Farm's website:

Little caps sprouting on the block. I prop this (block) on 4 chopsticks
in order to yield more mushrooms.

2 days later (glad that I prop this on sticks!!)
home grown shiitake mushrooms
This Stir-Fried Chicken, Squid and Four Vegetables dish is quick and easy to make. I add chicken thigh to this dish for extra protein and the bell peppers for colors and vitamins. Spring is asparagus season and these are amazingly tender and tasty. I barely had to trim much off the ends of this bunch. Traditionally I eat my stir fried dishes with freshly steamed rice. However, you can eat this with another type of grain or pasta.

fresh asparagus: peel 1 1/2 to 2 inches at the base of each stalk
and trim off the woody end
(this process will yield more asparagus!)
cut each asparagus stalk into 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths
cut vegetable pieces (asparagus, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms)
cleaned whole squid
cut the squid into bite size pieces
stir-fried chicken, squid, and four vegetables
Stir-Fried Chicken, Squid, and Four Vegetables (serves 3-4 as part of a shared meal)


1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
About 1 Tbsp grated ginger
4 pieces of boneless chicken thigh fillet (about 12 oz), cut into bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into bite size pieces
1 orange bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into bite size pieces
1 lb asparagus, peeled the ends (roughly the last 2 inches of the base), trimmed, and cut into about 1 to 1 1/2-inch lengths
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms (about 15 mushrooms), trimmed the tip of the stems and cut in half
7 squid (about 13 oz), cleaned, cut into bite size pieces (see How to Clean Squid post)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed sea salt
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water (thickener)


1) Heat a large wok (pan or pot) over high heat.  Add oil.
2) Add garlic, grated ginger and chicken. Saute about 2 minutes.
3) Add peppers and saute about a minute.
4) Add asparagus and saute about 3 minutes or until the interior of the asparagus is somewhat cooked.
5) Add squid, season with sugar, salt, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir and cook about a minute.
6) Add cornstarch mixture and cook another 1-2 minutes until the squid pieces curl up and turn opaque. Stir and turn off heat.

Sauteed Vegetables in Bone Marrow (serves 4-5)

sauteed vegetables in bone marrow
This dish has a few of my favorite vegetables. My local market has some very tender and tasty asparagus so I have been eating them more frequently. I have never sauteed anything in bone marrow before so this is my chance since I had an extra cooked one in the kitchen. I love eating bone marrow and I don't eat it all the time despite having normal cholesterol levels. As soon as the marrow is cooled down to room temperature you will notice any liquid inside turns it probably will do once it is inside your arteries too! 

Recently I served this Sauteed Vegetables in Bone Marrow with Stuffed Squid--my style and Home-Made Squid Ink Pasta. Tasty!!

Sauteed Vegetables in Bone Marrow (serves 4-5)


1 beef marrow (6 1/2 inch long), boiled for about 15 minutes, marrow removed and saved
1 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
1 bunch asparagus (a little over a pound), prepared and cut into 2 inch lengths
6 oz baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tomatoes, seeded, diced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup clam broth (preferably home-made, unsalted), plus more if you want this dish to have more sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water mixture (to thicken the sauce)
1/2 cup chopped (flat) parsley leaves


1) Gently boil the bone marrow with just enough water to cover the bone for about 15 minutes. Scoop out the marrow and reserve in a large pan.
2) Heat a large pan with marrow over medium high heat.
3) Once the pan is hot add garlic and onion. Saute about a minute.
4) Add asparagus and saute about a minute.
5) Add mushrooms and saute about 2-3 minutes or until the asparagus is just cooked.
6) Add tomatoes, salt, clam broth and cornstarch mixture. Saute about 1-2 minutes.
7) Remove pan from heat and add parsley leaves.

Home-Made Squid Ink Pasta (about 3 servings)

I enjoy jigging for squid especially when they are actively running right towards my fishing line! :D 
I find it thrilling when I pull up my line and there are several squid making hissing sounds and squirting me with their ink! However, due to a busy schedule (and partly due to laziness) it is easier to purchase them from a trusted seafood distributor. I recently bought 10 pounds fresh off-the-boat squid from my local fishmongers (New England Fishmongers). These squid were part of (roughly) 3,000 pounds that were pulled out of the clean cold water off the coast of Cape Cod (from just one trip out to sea this month). Amanda and her boyfriend Spencer teamed up with the Anderson family on F/V Rimrack to provide fortunate people like me with their fresh catch. Recently she delivered to my home 2 large bags of these sweet and succulent ocean creatures. Thank you Amanda, you ARE the best 'squid runner' (a term I borrow from someone who called her this)!! If you want the same thing you may contact (text, call or email) Amanda at 603-707-7517 or The next time she will go out squidding will be in June 2016. Because these were just caught they have not been cleaned yet. So when you get them I would recommend you eat a moderate size meal, change to some old clothes and get your hands dirty. There is no other way around this process! If this is the first time you have to clean squid you will soon understand why you need to eat first before cleaning them! :D

This is a photo of Amanda and Spencer looking very happy
with their catch of squid and being surrounded by many hungry seagulls!!
(photo courtesy of F/V Rimrack, 2016)
When I have fresh squid I like to save the ink to make gnocchi, pasta or risotto. I think I am the only one in my family who actually eats the ink. According to my mother her late father (my Ah Con) told her that the ink is poisonous and never to eat it. According to him the squid uses the ink to defend itself so therefore it must be toxic. This was the same man who refused to eat eel, catfish or any other fish without scales. He thought these type of fish were bottom feeders.

Here is my Home-Made Squid Ink Pasta. I find that it is best to eat the pasta as soon as I make it. Honestly I have not found a good way to dry them and still retain their taste and texture later. I dry the pasta strands (see photo below) but they tend to be brittle and are not as tasty as just made--from cutting the pasta to the desired strips and dropping them to the pot of boiling water. If you do not eat all of the pasta then keep the dough wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator until ready to use over the next 1-2 days. 

I use the same liquid that I steam the stuffed squid with to boil my pasta. Fresh pasta cooks quickly--about 3-4 minutes. I check for doneness by eating a strand. This flavored liquid makes the pasta tastes even more rich. This recipe makes about 1 pound and 6.5 ounces (good for about 3 servings). A few friends asked me if the ink provides any extra flavors. Honestly I think the ink is more for the black color. If you ever eat squid ink pasta and there is a fishy smell then you may want to stop eating. That may be a sign of bad seafood! Check out my Squid Ink Gnocchi post. To me they look like charcoal brickettes. Although some people may think they resemble something else! :D

You can also use the dough to make ravioli (see below). I save stuffing from one squid to use inside the ravioli for experiment...and it turns out very tasty. The black color dumplings are very striking when served along the bright color vegetables; diced tomatoes and ribbon of yellow summer squash quickly sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with a little salt. Right before eating I drizzled a little of the Maggi brand przyprawa w plynie sauce on the ravioli. Yum!!

I separate the strands and dust them with flour
so they do not stick together.
home-made squid ink pasta
squid ink ravioli
Home-Made Squid Ink Pasta (about 3 servings)


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and rolling the dough
1 cup fine semolina (flour)
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
25 fresh ink sacs from 5-7 inch squid (see How to Clean Squid)
About 6 Tbsp lukewarm water
A few drizzle of olive oil


1) Mix flour and salt together. Pour the flour mixture onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the center and add all the egg yolks and white in the center of the well.
2) Stir the eggs with a fork and then slowly incorporate the eggs into the flour. Then with your hand (s) mix until the eggs are well blended into the flour. Add the egg sacs. May add water a tablespoon at a time to keep the dough soft and pliable. Add a few drizzle of oil towards the end of kneading. Knead with your palm (s) until everything is well blended (about 8-10 minutes). Wrap the dough loosely or put it in a plastic bag and let it rest about 30 minutes to 1 hour before using. The dough may be kept overnight in the refrigerator; before using let the dough return to room temperature.
3) Cut the dough into manageable pieces (about 6 to 8). Keep one dough out to work and the rest in a bag, plastic wrap or container to prevent them from drying out.
4) Take one piece of dough, sprinkle with some flour as needed, roll it into a log shape, and flatten it slightly with a rolling pin or your palm. Then feed the dough (using the widest setting on the pasta machine) through a few times. Sprinkle more flour if needed. After this, run it through a thinner setting 2-3 times. Sprinkle more flour if needed.
5) Run the final sheet of pasta to the desired final cut or fold the pasta sheet and cut with a knife. Separate each strip individually by hand, dust with a little flour.
6) Once all the cutting is complete cook the pasta in gently boiling water for about 3-4 minutes (depending on the thickness of your pasta).

fresh squid ink sacs
(on plastic wrap)

Stuffed Squid--my style (about 12 squid)

stuffed squid ready to be cooked
Many people think of fried calamari when it comes to squid. However, in my Teochew/Vietnamese family we eat squid prepared in a number of ways. One delicious treat is stuffed squid...a dish I rarely see on a restaurant menu. Some of my family and relatives typically use ground pork, vermicelli (or green bean thread), wood ear fungus, and season with salt, black pepper, sugar, chicken broth powder and sometimes MSG. Well, for me the fun part of cooking is simply creating something tasty using new or different ingredients. I headed to my local market with a vague idea of what to put in my stuffing. As usual when I arrived I noticed a few other ingredients that caught my wandering eyes. So, what would make my stuffing taste more amazing...hmmm...of course...pancetta and bone marrow--my favorites!! Before I continue blabbing on let me stop and put this out there, these stuffed squid are not for anyone who has a severe cholesterol problem. As with any food just eat in moderation...even if you believe you are healthy and you have not seen a health care provider for 50 years.

When I was at the local market this week I noticed the bone marrow pieces were about 6-7 inches long. I asked the person who was working in the area if she could cut these into "canoe style", a term I learned from my recent trip to Toronto. In the Toronto market the long marrow bones were cut lengthwise--resembling a canoe. When I saw this I thought what a great idea. This cut will make it easy to scoop out the marrow! Why is it that I have never seen this type of cut in New Hampshire? Well, as it turns out according to the staff at the meat department too many butchers have lost their fingers or a part of their hand making these dangerous cuts. So instead of inventing a special tool to cut the bones safely minus the person's digit(s) there is a law to prevent everyone from making these cuts. So, if you want your canoe cut then you should travel to Canada.

In the past I lightly fry my stuffed squid with a little oil. Recently I chatted with a cousin in Vietnam who informs me she steams them first before frying. Her reasoning is to ensure that the stuffing is cooked thoroughly. However, her brilliant idea gave me this thought of making them ahead--a day or two prior to serving. Once they have been steamed and cooled down completely, store these in a container in the refrigerator. When you are ready to eat, let them warm up to room temperature before lightly frying them in a little oil. Although these are so yummy you may just have to eat them all in one day! Cam on Ngoc!

Check out my previous postings on Stuffed Squid with Tomato and Dulse Sauce and How to Clean Squid.

steamed stuffed squid
(I save the liquid and squid dripping from below to cook my pasta
--for extra flavor!)
Pre-Cooked Squid Stuffing


1 tsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta, finely diced
1/2 medium onion (about 1/2 C chopped)
2 large garlic cloves, smashed and finely minced
1/2 C chopped green scallions
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp chicken broth powder (non-MSG)


1) Heat oil in a small pan over medium high heat.
2) Add pancetta and saute for about 2 minutes.
3) Add onion and garlic. Saute about a minute.
4) Add scallions and season with pepper, salt, sugar and chicken broth powder. Saute about a minute and turn off heat. Remove the contents from heat and let cool down completely before using.

lightly fried stuffed squid
lightly fried stuffed squid
Stuffed Squid--my style (about 12 squid)


1 beef marrow (about 6 1/2-inch long)
1 recipe of Pre-Cooked Squid Stuffing (see recipe above)
12 squid tentacles, chopped
1 lb ground veal
1 bundle (1.7 oz dried) vermicelli (or green bean thread), soaked in hot water for 15-20 minutes, squeezed out excess liquid and cut into 1 to 2-inch lengths
12 cleaned squid (ranging from 5-7 inches)
Toothpicks or skewers
1 Tbsp oil for frying


1) Boil the bone marrow with just enough water to cover the bone for about 15 minutes. Scoop out the marrow and reserve in a large container. Let cool completely.
2) Use your hand and gently mix the cooled cooked marrow, cooled Pre-Cooked Squid Stuffing, squid tentacles, ground veal, and vermicelli until well blended.
3) Stuff each squid with the mixture.
4) Use 1-2 toothpicks or skewers to hold the opening.
5) Steam the stuffed squid for about 10 minutes over gently boiling water with the lid covering about 95% of the pot.
6) Right before eating lightly fry the stuffed squid (you may remove the toothpicks or skewers at this point) with a little oil (about 1 tablespoon) until lightly golden brown.

*I used six 5-inch, four 5 1/2 inch, and two 7-inch squid. As a rule I tend to make extra stuffing for something such as this. I find that I can always make another dish out of the extras (if I have extra).

Monday, May 2, 2016

Curry Goat (makes about 5 1/2 quarts)

curry goat with toasted baguette pieces
Many years ago I stumbled upon the Puritan Beef Company located on the edge of Haymarket (Boston, Massachusetts). Scott is the current owner and he is friendly and helpful. His grandfather started this meat business over a 100 years ago. When I am in the area I would visit Scott's store to get a glimpse of what is available...and often time I would buy a goat leg. He has other types of meat and animal parts in the store. Recently I learned that you can even purchase a whole goat!

This is how things are done at the Puritan Beef Company. You pick out the meat you want. You bring the meat to the counter located on the left of the store where someone (usually it's Scott) weighs what you have, cuts it however you want, and gives you a slip. For the goat leg he had one of the men in the back room cut it up to according to my preference. He will bring out the cut goat in a bag after a few minutes. You bring the slip to the cashier and then pay for your purchase. You then take the paid slip back to the counter and use this to exchange for your bag of goodies. If this process sounds too confusing don't worry someone at the store will direct you! If you have an interest in visiting Scott's store please check out the website:

I have made this type of curry stew for about three decades. As usual I have several versions depending on what I have available at home. Sometimes I add some kind of root vegetables such as carrots and/or potatoes. My curry tends to be mild so I can feed people with different tastes. If you prefer a spicy curry just add some chili peppers either at the beginning or after it is done cooking. I started making this when I was a teenager. I made it more frequently (about once every few months) when I was working as a young nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Back then I would make a huge pot using chicken legs, thighs and wings. I found that cooking with the bones in make the curry much more tasty. When I moved to Massachusetts and discovered Puritan Beef Company I started making different stew dishes with the goat meat. I prefer to buy a whole leg and have it cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces before I take it home. The leg is tougher so it needs to be cooked for several hours before it is tender. I love using my cast iron pot for this since it cooks faster using less heat. Check out my previous goat dish, My 4-Hour Goat Stew--Vietnamese Style.

Curry Goat (makes about 5 1/2 quarts)


About 6 Tbsp oil
6 1/2 lbs goat meat, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces, fat trimmed
1 large white onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
2 large lemongrass, chopped (about 1/2 cup chopped)
1 Tbsp Madras curry powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 can (4 oz) Masaman curry paste
6 bay leaves
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
30 oz beef broth (low sodium)
30 oz water
6 large Roma tomatoes (about 2 lbs), seeded and quartered (peeled if interested)
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or according to your taste)


1) Use oil to brown the meat and set aside.
2) In the same pot, saute the onion, garlic, lemongrass, curry powder, and pepper for about a minute.
3) Add the Masaman curry paste and saute about a minute.
4) Return the meat to the pot. Add bay leaves, coconut milk, beef broth and water (if the meat is not submerged in the liquid then add a little more water).
5) Once the liquid come to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Initially you may want to cover partially until you see a light simmer then cover the pot completely. This will prevent the liquid from spilling outside the pot.
6) Cook about 2 hours. Scoop and discard any foam that floats to the top.
7) Add the tomatoes and cook for another 1/2 hour or until the meat is tender to your preference
8) Season with fish sauce to your taste.

cut goat pieces
*I like eating this curry goat with rice, rice noodles or toasted baguette. 
*This pot may be enough to serve 8-10 people.
*Instead of adding water you may use all beef broth. If you use only beef broth you may not need to add the extra fish sauce.
*You can substitute beef cubes or oxtail for the goat. When I use beef cubes I like to add some bone marrow pieces for extra flavor. When they are cooked in this stew they (the marrows) are so delicious. Be sure to fish them out as soon as they are cooked or the marrows will disintegrate in the stew. 
*When the tomato pieces are cooking the skin will come off. You can remove and discard the skin if you want a prettier stew. Eat them if you want extra fiber in your diet.