Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mami's Hot Italian Sausage (Fenway Style)

The Mo and I were in the Fenway area twice this week, once just meeting up with some friends who were at the game and the later, actually going to the game.  Despite the horrible season, the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 6-4 and David Ortiz hit a home run!

Both times we went to Fenway, the Mo wanted an Italian sausage and both times, mission failed.

The first night, we spent too much time at the Yard House that all the Italian sausage carts surrounding Fenway park closed after the game which led to some of us taking advantage of the 2 pcs chicken and biscuit meal for $2.50 at Popeyes.  On the second night at the Tiger's game, we didn't have cash for the "cash only" sausage guy.

I felt bad about the Mo losing out on one of his favorite things to eat, so I decided to surprise him tonight with some home made Italian sausages.  It's probably not up to par with Fenway, but it sure was homemade, cheap and delicious! Plus we didn't have to shell out extra for the booze!

The going costs of Italian sausages around the Fenway area and in the stadium ranges between $7.00-9.00 from what I've seen.  The below sausage/roll cost only $2.25 each using ingredients from Market Basket (obviously I'm certain the ball park vendors have to pay all sorts of licensing and overhead fees). Most importantly, it had a crisp casing with a juicy filling and loads of flavor from the garlic sauteed vegetables.


  • Italian Sausages (Long Links)
  • Sub Rolls
  • Bell Peppers (all colors)
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • Optional: Hot Sauce
  • Cooking spray

Grill sausages on low heat on a covered grill for 15 minutes, periodically checking to make sure it doesn't burn.  

While the sausages are on the grill, cut up the garlic, peppers and onions and saute them on a greased skillet on medium heat. Since I cook the sausages on the grill, I use the side burner to cook the vegetables so I can keep an eye on both cooking stations at the same time.

After the sausages are cooked, turn the grill on high heat to sear the sausages.  (Please note this is the opposite of searing a steak then turning down the heat).  I prefer to do this to keep the sausage casing intact.  Sometimes when a sausage or hotdog is overheated for too long, the casing rips and the sausage expands.

It's optional, but I prefer my rolls toasted.  Everyone has their own preferences to a soft roll or a slightly crispy roll, we prefer the latter.

When both the sausages and vegetables are cooked, removed from heat and assemble the roll.  I prefer to put all the vegetables on the bottom of the roll and top it with the sausage so it doesn't fall part.  The Mo has to have pickled jalapenos.

1/2 a roll & sausage for Mami eggroll and 1 1/2 for the Mo.  Leftovers for lunch tomorrow?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pickled Sour Mango

Picked mangoes are a great snack for any warm weather outing, whether its at the beach or a back yard BBQ.  I was inspired to make this since the Mo's aunt and mom always makes this in the summer for the family gatherings.

Unripe mango was on sale for $ 1.00 each at the Cambodian stores so I decided to make this delicious salty summer treat.  I bought 10 mango and washed them and removed the thick skin with a hand peeler.

I cut wedges of the mango trying to maximize the pulp by cutting around the big seed in the center.

To make the chili paste, I mashed up 7 Thai Chilis in a mortar and pestle.  You can definitely use more or less chili peppers based on your heat preferences.

In a large mixing bowl, add the mangoes, chili paste, salt, sugar and msg.
Put the marinated mangoes in an airtight container and fridge for a day or two then enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Big Fat Greek Christening

lamb spit
Whole Lamb on Spit
(I didnt' make or prep this, but I thought it was cool)
Today was my first catering gig for a good friend that I met through work. It was her daughter, Ayanna's Christening.  I have to admit I am exhausted and I couldn't have done it without the Mo.  While I was in the kitchen cooking, he was doing everything else outside.  We make a pretty good team!

Overall, I think it went pretty well.  I guess the dishes were all pretty simple to make but the hardest part was prepping, packing, and presentation.  Everything had to be out a specific time at its peak freshness.  I had to multitask a few times, like fry the eggrolls while mixing the salad or laying out the shrimp.

Shrimp Cocktail
Oh I almost forgot, cleaning is also a bitch as well as packing up the chafing dishes.

I was signed up to prep a few appetizers and side dishes as well as help set up the buffet table before the guests arrived at the reception.  While everyone was at the church, I prepped the food so that it would still be warm and fresh when patrons arrived.

I also helped out with picking up beverages and extra things as well as loaned my chafing dishes, platters, tables and chairs.  (My mom really stressed that we had enough tables and chairs to accommodate our family gatherings when we bought our house)

The Greeks definitely know how to throw a party.  The booze kept flowing while the Greek music blared in the background.  The mouth-watering fresh lamb on the spit roasted for hours while flavorful skewers of chicken and pork were readily available to snack on in addition to the grape leaves and spanakopita.  If you haven’t busted your belly by then, there was an array of delectable desserts including home made Greek pastries and a delicious cake from Konditer Meister.

Spinach Dip
Vegetable Crudites with Spinach Yogurt Dip in a bread bowl
Today I made/prepped the following:

  1. Shrimp Cocktail
  2. Vegetable Crudites Platter
  3. Steak & Cheese Eggrolls with Cheese Dip
  4. Parsley and Lemon Rice Pilaf 
  5. Greek Salad
  6. Fruit Salad
  7. Chicken Fingers  (For the kids)
  8. Coffee ( I ALMOST forgot to make it and had to be reminded, oops)

  9. Greek Salad
  1. I also warmed/cooked the aleady prepped dishes below.
  2. Spanakopita
  3. Roasted Potato Wedges
  4. Famous Peas
Kid's Chicken Fingers and Sweet & Sour Sauce
Steak and Cheese

Grape Leaves by Athina Giogas
"Diples" Greek Pastry with nuts and honey

Anne, the bartender
Beautiful tent set up
Chef grilling up the Chicken Souvlaki or as I call them kebabs
Ayanna playing with another baby girl

Beautiful Ayanna

Buffet Line
Pork Souvlaki
Christening Cake Girl
Konditer Mesiter Cake

Cake Balls
Rum Log

Greek Diples
Dessert Buffet

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mami's "Philly" Cheesesteak

Steak and Cheese
Mami's "Philly" Cheesesteak
Cheesesteaks are among the highest calorie/fat/sodium sandwiches you can eat but they are delicious! They are one of the best late night meals after a long night of drinking.  The Mo and I used to eat it all the time when we were younger and just started dating many years ago.  We would bar hop in downtown Lowell and end up at Santoro's on Gorham street or grab one to go from Fio's.  My favorite place was Suppa's by the UML campus that had an amazing teriyaki steak and cheese.  Their Suppa's "Steak Stick", which is wrapped in pizza dough and fried to "perfection" was also featured on the Phantom Gourmet weekend TV show.

I'm glad we put our bar hopping, midnight indulging weekends behind, but I guess, ONCE in a LOOONG while I can swap all my WW extra points and activities points and indulge in this tasty sandwich.  I rarely make this sandwich, maybe 2 or 3 times a year at MOST.

Shaved Steak
There's too many renowned cheesesteaks joints in philly including Geno's and Pat's  which has been featured numerous times on a variety of food broadcasting.  Obviously, we are 6 hrs away from Philly, so I have no choice but to make one at home.

The shaved beef caught my eye at Market Basket over the weekend when the manager announced the sale and the case of the shaved beef was adorned with Fantini sub rolls and sliced peppers and onions.  I decided the sale was good enough so I bought a couple of packages to make sandwiches and steak and cheese eggrolls.


  • Frozen or freshly shaved beef
  • Cheez Whiz or Velveeta 
  • Optional: Mushrooms, Peppers, Onions
  • Sub Rolls
  • Pepper
  • Optional: Dry Italian Seasoning

I like to quickly rinse the shaved beef before I cook it to remove any excess blood from the raw meet.  When cooking beef with excess blood residue, it leaves behind an unpleasant "gamey" tasty.  After rinsing, set aside in a colander to drain.

Cut up vegetables into slices and roast them in a small pan until they are almost over cooked (or to your liking) 

In a large hot skillet, add the shaved beef, a dash of pepper and a dash of dry Italian seasoning.
It is very important that the skillet is large so that the beef evenly coats the pan and there aren't "hills" of beef that doesn't cook evenly.  After about 8-10 minutes on high heat, the beef should be done.

Add the cooked vegetables to the beef mixture and set aside.

In a small saucepan, warm the Cheez whiz or Velveeta cheese until a creamy smooth consistency.  Optional: You may use the microwave also.

Slice the sub rolls lengthwise and toast in a toaster oven on 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes until warm.

Remove from oven and add the beef/vegetable mixture.

Top it off with the melted cheese and serve with fries. In our household, I have to make 2 different batches of fries since the Mo likes steak fries and I prefer seasoned fries.

Market Basket Frozen Fries
Enjoy ! I also make a to go box for my little brother.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mexican Chicken Cacciatore Stew

Latin Chicken Cacciatore StewIn honor of Cinco De Mayo tomorrow, I decided to make a "Mexican" inspired dish.  This isn't an authentic Mexican dish but just a potpourri of ingredients and flavors that I think are 'Mexican-ish."  The dish features the wonderful commonly used spices such as Adobo, sazon and features herbs such as cilantro and scallions.  The chicken is cooked so tender that it literally falls of the bone while maintaining a rich wonderful tomato based flavor.  
Since its a bit time intensive, I rarely make this dish
  •  5-7 pieces of Chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 2 packets of Sazon seasoning
  • Adobo seasoning 
  • 1 Small Red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 sprigs of cilantro
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 can of pasta sauce (26.5 oz)
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn, salted
  • 1 can of beans (black or kidney)
  • 4 Strips of thick cut bacon
  • 2 oz of red wine of choice, I used Shiraz
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Optional: Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Cheese
  • 1 Box of  Goya Spanish Rice or white long grain rice

I marinated chicken thighs for 2 days using Sazon and Adobe seasoning generously.  
Prepare box or bag of rice separately. I cooked Carolina long grain white rice with chicken stock and Sazon seasoning in my Cuckoo rice cooker and set aide.

In a large skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Sear chicken on both sides to a golden brown.

In another skillet, add chopped red onions, bell peppers (I only had orange) , 1 jalapeno and 2 cloves of garlic.

After a few minutes, remove from heat and add set aside.

In a large sauce pan, add 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of chicken broth, and 1 can of water and bring to a boil, 1 packet of Sazon seasoning.

 Add the vegetable mixture and continue to simmer on low heat.

Cook 4 slices of thick cut bacon and coarsely chop.  Wash and cup up 2 sprigs of cilantro and scallions.

Add all the ingredients into the pot including and placing the chicken thighs evenly in the sauce. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for  1 Hr.

After 1 Hr, add 1 can of corn and 1 can of beans. Let it simmer for another 30
 minutes.  Gently stir occasionally so the beans do not stick to the bottom of the pot.

After 30 minutes, plate the chicken, sprinkle cheese and serve with rice. The chicken should be "fall of the bone" tender.