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Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon

Pork Stuffed Bitter Melon
Serves 2
A mainstay of local markets in the Far East, Central and South America, Bitter Melon derives its bitter reputation from the abundance of Quinine it contains. Its flavor goes particularly well with spicy and hot dishes and is as often stuffed as used in stir fry dishes. Larger and more mature melons are less bitter. This recipe is a classic example of its use.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb. *Ground, Lean Pork
  2. 1/4 cup *Water Chestnuts, chopped
  3. 1 tsp. *Ginger, fresh, minced
  4. 2 Tbsp. *Green Onions, minced
  5. 1 tsp. *Garlic, fresh, minced
  6. 1 Tbsp. *Dry Sherry
  7. 1/2 tsp. *Salt
  8. 1/2 tsp. *Sugar
  9. 1 Tbsp. *Soy Sauce
  10. 1 large *Egg, beaten
  11. 1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  12. 2 Bitter Melon
  13. 1/2 cup Basting Sauce (see below)
Instructions
  1. Trim the ends off the bitter melons and slice into 1 inch slices. Using a small paring knife carefully cut out the pulp and seeds in the center of each slice, leaving only ¼ inch of the melon wall.
  2. Rub the inside of each slice with coating of cornstarch.
  3. Combine all of the stuffing ingredients* in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Stuff the cavity of each slice with a generous spoonful of stuffing, enough to completely fill the cavity.
  5. As the slices are stuffed, arrange them on a plate and set the plate in a steamer with water coming within an inch of the plate.
  6. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
  7. After steaming, baste each stuffed sliced piece of Bitter Melon with a heated mixture of 2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce, 1 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce, ½ tsp. Sesame Oil, 2 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce, 1 tsp. Chili Garlic Paste and 2 Tbsp. Hot Water.
  8. Serve with Rice.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Porcini Mushroom Cous Cous

Porcini Mushroom Cous Cous
Serves 4
Highly prized, Porcini mushrooms (or Cepes in France) are commercially sold fresh in autumn in central and southern Europe but are also dried and distributed worldwide. First described and classified in 1782 by the French botanist Pierre Bulliard, the Porcini (meaning ‘piglets’ in Italian as the young fruiting bodies resemble little piglets) are eaten and enjoyed raw, sauteed with butter, ground into pasta, in risotto, in soups, and in many other dishes. They are also featured in many cuisines, including Provencal, and Viennese & Thai. Porcini mushrooms have a chewy texture and a strong nutty-woodsy, sweet, and meaty taste. The sliced mushrooms are a rich brown color with hints of yellow. The dried Porcini mushroom’s flavors are actually enhanced when the mushrooms are dried in much the same way as sun dried tomato’s flavors are.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp. Butter
  2. 1/3 cup Sweet Onion, minced
  3. 2 tsp. Garlic, fresh, minced
  4. 1 stalk Green Onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 pkg. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  6. 2 cups Chicken Broth
  7. 1 pkg. Near East Brand Cous Cous (Original)
  8. To Taste Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Soak Dried Porcini Mushrooms in warmed chicken stock for 1 hour. Drain and reserve stock and chop the resulting Porcini mushrooms.
  2. In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, sauté both onions and garlic until softened but not browned.
  3. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté one minute longer.
  4. Add reserved chicken/mushroom broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add cous cous, immediately cover and remove from the heat. Allow to stand (covered) for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove cover, lightly fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Ponderosa Lemon Granite (Pink Snow)

Ponderosa Lemon Granite (Pink Snow)
Serves 6
First propagated under the name “American Wonder Lemon”. The Ponderosa Lemon resembles a common lemon except that they are much, much larger. They are grown primarily for their curious size and shape, but also make excellent juice and are great for cooking. The fruits are very juicy and have many seeds. The tree is small, (about 10 feet) and fairly thorny. It is thought to be a natural cross between another type of citrus and a lemon, possibly Citron. The flavor is excellent and fruits can reach the unbelievable size of a football.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Ponderosa Lemon Juice
  2. 2 cups Water
  3. 1 Egg, Extra Large (in shell)
  4. As Required Granulated Sugar
  5. 1 Tbsp. Grenadine Syrup
  6. 1 Tbsp. Mint, fresh, minced
Instructions
  1. Place lemon juice, ROOM TEMPERATURE water and grenadine in a deep bowl.
  2. Have 1 fresh egg (in the shell) at the ready. It will be used as a flotation device to test the density of the lemon and water solution as you add the sugar to it (there is an air pocket inside each fresh egg).
  3. Slowly whisk in the granulated sugar into water sugar mixture. After 1 cup of sugar, carefully place the egg into the solution (still within the shell). If the egg sinks, remove the egg and keep adding more sugar until the egg floats and until the exposed shell of the egg is the size of a U.S. Quarter.
  4. Add minced mint and place the solution in a shallow pan in your freezer.
  5. After 30 minutes, check the solution and scrape with a fork to create a slush. Repeat every 30 minutes until the mixture is a light pink, snow like, frozen “Pink Snow”.
  6. Serve frozen.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Pole Bean Salad with Mushrooms

Pole Bean Salad with Mushrooms
Serves 4
Pole Beans are not a specific variety of bean but rather a distinction of growth characteristic in which the bean plant itself grows vertically on trellises or poles rather than in a bush like form. Many different bean varieties can actually be grown as either “Pole Beans” or Bush Beans including many types of snap beans, lima beans and runner type “string beans”. Beans contain fiber and a lot of protein, including the essential amino acid lysine. (Most grains lack lysine; combine them with beans, however, and they form a complete protein.) Pole Beans also provide folacin (folic acid) and some minerals. All together, beans are a healthful vegetable, and they taste delicious.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Green Pole Beans, cut 2"
  2. 2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced 1/4"
  3. 1/2 Red Onion, cut in thin slivers
  4. 2 cups White Mushrooms, sliced 1/4"
  5. 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
  7. 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  8. 3 cloves Garlic, crushed
  9. 1 Tbsp. Tarragon, fresh, chopped
  10. To Taste Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Blanch beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking and preserve color. Drain, chill and place in a bowl with tomatoes, onion and mushrooms.
  3. In a small bowl, place mustard, garlic and tarragon. With a whip, whisk in olive oil and vinegar in a slow drizzle to create an emulsion.
  4. Season dressing with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour dressing over salad, toss and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Pluot Tart with Almonds

Pluot Tart with Almonds
Serves 4
Pluots have gone from obscurity with their first introduction in 1989 to gaining a premium image in the U.S. tree fruit market. So you ask “what is a pluot”? Here’s a breakdown of how the pluot (a trade name) was created by Floyd Zaiger. A cross between a plum and an apricot is called a plumcot, and the resulting hybrid is 50% plum and 50% apricot. Cross the plumcot with yet another plum and the result is a pluot: 75% plum, 25% apricot. If you cross a plumcot with an apricot the result is an aprium, which is 75% apricot and 25% plum, also created by Floyd Zaiger. The exterior of a pluot resembles a plum fairly closely; shiny smooth skin, round shape. However the skin isn’t as bitter as that of a true plum. Pluots are noted for their sweetness (due to a very high sugar content) and their intense flavor tends of course, to be more plum like than apricot. Although mostly eaten out of hand, Pluots can be used in just about any recipe that calls for plums.
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Ingredients
  1. As Needed - All Purpose Flour for dusting
  2. 1 Refrigerator Pie Crust
  3. 1/2 cup Almond Paste
  4. 1/4 cup Butter
  5. 2 Large Eggs
  6. 2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
  7. 2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  8. 4-6 Pluots, halved, pitted
  9. 2 Tbsp. Sliced Almonds
  10. 1/4 cup Apricot Preserves, melted, strained
Instructions
  1. With flour, dust 9 inch square tart pan with removable bottom (spring form pan).
  2. Press dough over bottom and sides. Prick bottom with fork; freeze 15 minutes.
  3. Place oven rack in bottom position; preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Crumble paste into food processor, add butter, eggs, flour and sugar. Process until smooth; pour into shell.
  5. Arrange cut Pluots over filling, in alternating rows; sprinkle with almonds.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  8. To serve, remove sides of tart pan; place tart on serving plate (you can leave tart-pan bottom on for support).
  9. Brush top of tart with melted & strained preserves. (Optionally, lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon.)
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Sweet Potato & Ham Hash Browns

Sweet Potato & Ham Hash Browns
Serves 8
Not a "hashed brown" in the usual sense, sweet potatoes & ham offer a unique twist on an old favorite. If you wish, adding more ham, or even bacon can make this side dish an entree to enjoy!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. Sweet Potatoes
  2. ¼ cup Vegetable Oil
  3. 1 cup Sweet Onion, Chopped
  4. 1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, Chopped
  5. 1 cup Smoked Honey Ham, Julienned
  6. 2 Tbsp. Chives, Chopped
  7. To Taste Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Rub whole sweet potatoes (with skin on) with 2 TBSP of the oil and then roast in a 375 F oven until tender. Cool, remove skins and dice into ½” cubes. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat in the remaining oil until softened.
  3. Turn the heat to medium high and add the sweet potatoes and ham. Allow the mixture to rest, unstirred for 2 minutes at a time to promote browning, then gently fold over and repeat until the potato mixture has some color. Avoid stirring to keep potato pieces intact.
  4. Just before serving, season with chives, salt and pepper.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Sauteed Fresh Pumpkin with Bacon & Onions

Sauteed Fresh Pumpkin with Bacon & Onions
Preparing fresh pumpkin as a vegetable side dish is a familiar but unique and welcome choice. With the added ingredients of maple bacon & green onions it's a sure bet they'll want seconds.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Pumpkin, Raw, Cut Julienne
  2. ¼ lb. Maple Bacon, Raw, Cut in ¼ inch pieces
  3. ½ Red Onion, Medium Size, Cut in Thin Slivers
  4. ¼ cup Green Onion, Cut in ¼ inch bias cuts
  5. ¼ tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  6. to taste Kosher or Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In a sauté or fry pan, sauté bacon pieces until nearly crisp.
  2. Add red and green onion and sauté one minute.
  3. Add pumpkin and sauté 2 to 3 minutes longer or until pumpkin is tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes
  1. Yield: approximately 4 cups
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Maple Roasted Baby Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon, Green Onions & Fresh Thyme

Maple Roasted Baby Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon, Green Onions & Fresh Thyme
Serves 4
One of my go-to potato side dishes, I love the taste of maple, bacon & potatoes. Feel free to substitute red skin potatoes if you wish.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Lb. Fingerling Potatoes
  2. 6 Strips Bacon, cut in ¼” pieces across the width
  3. ¼ Cup Green Onions, Cut ¼” on the Bias
  4. 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, Chopped
  5. 2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  6. To Taste Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Roast fingerling potatoes in a 400 F approximately 20 minutes or until softened to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crisp then remove all but 2 TBSP of bacon grease leaving the bacon pieces in the pan.
  3. Add potatoes and maple syrup and sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and sauté 3 minutes to cook green onions and thyme.
  5. Season to taste and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Tempura Batter

Tempura Batter
Serves 2
Tempura originated in Japan, but it’s said that Europeans actually introduced the idea to the Japanese, who adopted it and refined it into a style of cooking. Typically, a tempura meal is one of fish, shrimp, and vegetables served with a dipping sauce.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Flour / Flour Mixture (see Notes below)
  2. 1 Extra-Large Egg White
  3. ¾ cup Soda / Seltzer Water
  4. ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  5. 2-3 cups Oil for frying (of your choice), see notes below
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oil to 350 F. Be sure your pot has sufficient room to accept your batter-dipped foods and cook them without the boiling oil spilling over the edge. That would NOT be good.
  2. Have a second bowl with another cup of your flour mixture to pre-flour your products before dipping in your tempura batter.
  3. Pre-cut fish into 1” x 2” pieces and not too thick (about ½” to ¾” at best). Vegetables (all raw) such as green beans should be whole; broccoli and cauliflower should be 1” florets; and sweet potato and eggplant should be cut in small wedges or sticks. Shrimp should be peeled and deveined, with the tail on.
  4. Now, in a small bowl, beat the cold egg white until frothy and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Mix with a fork or chopsticks until generally mixed with small lumps. DO NOT OVERMIX. Depending on your preference, a thicker batter (like the consistency of a pancake batter) will coat easier but be chewier when fried. A thinner batter (almost like heavy cream or egg nog) will give you a lighter, crispier final product.
  6. Flour each product and then place it in the tempura batter. Briefly shake off excess and place them (carefully) in the hot oil. Avoid crowding the products or placing them one on top of another.
  7. Fry about (3 to 5 minutes) or until crispy and light golden in color. Then remove with a skimmer and drain excess oil off of the products by placing them on absorbent paper towels.
  8. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of choice.
To make the BEST tempura, you want to do this
  1. 1. Use ICE cold water (or soda/seltzer water) and keep the batter cold.
  2. 2. Don’t mix it too much. Leave small lumps. The purists use chopsticks to mix.
  3. 3. Make your tempura batter JUST before you use it.
  4. 4. Fry in 350 F oil.
  5. 5. Serve immediately.
As for the ingredients, to make the BEST tempura, use these
  1. 1. Cake flour or all-purpose flour (low-gluten flour) — I also like rice flour, and sometimes I mix it in ½ and ½ with either of the above flours. You can also use a tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of flour to lighten the batter and add crispness.
  2. 2. Soda or seltzer water instead of tap water — The carbonation will make the batter lighter and lacy-like (which is good).
  3. 3. Sea salt (avoid using iodized salt) — It tastes better.
  4. Use neutral oil. Either canola or vegetable is fine. If you’re looking for something even MORE authentic, my recommendation would be peanut oil with a splash of sesame oil (about 1 TBSP sesame oil per cup of peanut oil).
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Sparty Chicken Dog

Sparty Chicken Dog
A healthy version of a "Hot Dog", my Sparty Dogs can use either ground chicken or turkey. Choose a spinach lavosh or any Flatbread "wrap" for a sandwich you're sure to enjoy.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ lbs. Ground Chicken
  2. To Taste Salt & Pepper
  3. 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  4. 1 – 10 oz. Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  5. ½ cup Sweet Onion, Chopped
  6. 1 Medium Poblano Pepper, Chopped Fine
  7. 1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, Minced
  8. 6 oz. Queso Cheese, Shredded
  9. 4 – 8” Spinach Lavosh
  10. 4 cups Baby Forest Greens (Spring Mix)
  11. As Desired Mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Saute onion, poblano pepper and garlic on medium heat until softened. Cool.
  2. Lay out a sheet of plastic film about the size of a piece of paper.
  3. Divide ground chicken in 4 equal amounts.
  4. Place one portion of the ground chicken in the middle of the plastic film and flatten into a rectangle shape of uniform thickness, approximately 5” x 5”.
  5. Season surface with salt and pepper.
  6. Press all excess juices out of the chilled spinach mixture and divide into 4 equal portions.
  7. Sprinkle / spread 1 portion's worth of the spinach mixture on the chicken leaving a ½” border of NO filling all the way around the perimeter.
  8. Sprinkle approximately ¼ to 1/3 cup of the shredded queso cheese on top of the spinach mixture.
  9. Roll the chicken into a pinwheel roll shape by using the plastic film as a tool to lift the leading edge over the filling and then pulling back the plastic film away from the log as you continue to roll forward (or towards you if you find it more convenient).
  10. Finally, after the entire panel as been rolled into a log, roll the plastic film around it and twist the ends to make a firm, sausage shaped roll.
  11. Chill until ready to cook.
  12. To cook the “Sparty Dogs”, heat a grill or flat, non-stick skillet to medium high, spray with a non-stick vegetable spray and cook approximately 5 minutes on each side or until firm, opaque and cooked through.
  13. To serve, cut spinach lavosh to the size of the length of each dog. Spread surface with mayonnaise then top with a small handful of Forest Greens. Place the cooked Sparty Dog at one end of the lavosh and roll up to create a sandwich-like wrap.
  14. Guacamole or avocado slices may be added if desired.
Notes
  1. Makes 4 Dogs
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/