pnj's grilled sirloin tips (serves 2)

(note this dish really makes a cabbage salad and tips, so cook up 1/2 cup of basmati rice when you begin and you can have room temperature rice on the side to make a whole meal).

marinate 3/4 pound sirloin tips in: 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, juice of 1/2 a lemon (use the whole thing if your lemon is on the dry side), 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp grated ginger, 3-4 cloves of garlic minced fine or mashed through a press, a big pinch of kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (dried, and 1 Tbsp of honey. Leave the tips in the marinade for an hour or so. When you go to grill them, save the marinade.

Cook about 12 shitake mushroom caps, sliced, in about 2 Tbsp of peanut oil (or veg oil) with a big pinch of kosher salt until golden. Add the marinade that you saved to the pan along with another Tbsp of honey and 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for a minute or two (make sure and bring to a boil since the meat was in there before) and then take it off the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

When the mushroom mixture has cooled down toss it with a head of chinese (napa) cabbage sliced thin (use chinese cabbage definitely -- a regular cabbage would be too tough for this recipe and a chinese cabbage is super easy to find), 3 scallions sliced thin, 1 firm pear or apple or asian pear (peel and slice thin), and 3/4 cup of cilantro sprigs (its also yummy with a handful of peanuts tossed in, if you have them on hand).

Serve the cabbage with rice and the tips on the side.

soba noodles salad (a favorite of Hazel)

cook one package soba noodles, while waiting for the water to boil and cooking:

(these are the veggies pnj likes to use, but you can use anyones you want). cut up about 8 or so shitake mushroom caps, saute in 2 Tbsp peanut oil and big pinch kosher salt, add 2 Tbsp grated ginger, 3 cloves garlic minced, 1 head bok choy chopped. cook 3 minutes or so. add 2 cups frozen baby peas and corn cut off two cobs, cook another minute or 2. (if noodles aren't done yet turn off the pan for a minute). When the noodles are ready add them to the pan with the vegetables over low/medium heat. sprinkle with 1&1/2 tsp sugar, 2 Tbsp sesame oil, 3 Tbsp mirin (its some kind of yummy japanese wine vinegar, i think -- but pnj bought hers at the A&P so its not a super weird thing to find), and 2 Tbsp soy, turn off the heat. add a few julienned radishes, a bunch of chopped cilantro, and a few sliced scallions. mix well and chill.

pnj's new oatmeal cookies -- (makes 15 cookies)

1 stick unsalted butter, scant 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1 cup oats (not instant), 3/4 cup chocolate chips (pnj likes milk chocolate), 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup dried cherries. cream butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla and mix, add flour, salt, and soda and mix well, stir in oats nuts and cherries. Bake at 325 about 15 minutes or so.

veggie fried rice with ginger and scallions (serves 4-6)

Note -- you need to have the rice cooked ahead of time (about four cups cooked for the proportions below)-- so either make this when you have left over rice (or cook a cup of rice up ahead of time).

in a big pan saute diced veggies in 4 Tbsp sesame oil (i usually use some combination of broccoli - make sure and cut it up small as it needs to cook all the way through just by sauteeing, green beans, peas, mustard greens, fresh corn, and shitake mushrooms -- but you can use whatever is fresh and looks good. cook, stirring for a few minutes. now add 4 TBSP minced fresh ginger and 2 Tbsp minced garlic. cook and stir another minute or two. Then add the rice and 4 Tbsp soy sauce, keep stirring and cooking till mixed well -- a few more minutes. then make a well in the center of the pan and crack two eggs in and scramble them around in there for a minute to mix them up and get them really cooking, then start mixing the egg into the whole rice mixture and keep cooking. Add one bunch of scallions (thinly sliced) stir and remove from heat. Presto!

fish stew ala pnj (serves 4)

slice up a green banana into chunks and drop it in some water with 1 tsp salt. (leave it there soaking for 15 minutes -- then drain). meanwhile in a big stew pan saute in 1 Tbsp olive oil -- 2 cups chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic -- till translucent. then add 1/4 tsp thyme and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. then add 1 big potato (peeled and chopped into big chunks), 1 sweet potato (peeled and chopped into big chunks), a big handful of green beans, 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh), 1 cup fish stock (use veg stock if you dont have fish stock -- but it is better with fish stock and it should be sitting right there in the freezer case at the fish monger), 1/2 cup water. Simmer (with the lid on) for a good twenty minues. (add more water at any point if you think you need it) Add 1 pound fish in big chunks (pnj used bass and haddock), corn from two ears of corn, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, and the bananas. Simmer another 10-15 minutes or so -- or until you think it is done. yummy.

pnj serves this stew over bogobe americano (which is setswinglish for american style stiff maize porridge)

boil a cup and a half of water with 3/4 tsp salt. while you wait for it to boil put a cup of yellow cornmeal into a cup of whole milk and stir it up, then add this milk/meal mix to the boiling water, reduce heat to barely a simmer and stir with a wooden spoon, until cooked, stiff, and pulled away from sides of pan.

Pinky's Pear Muffins

makes ten muffins

butter tins and preheat oven to 350

sift 1 and 3/4 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 cup sugar in a bowl and mix. Add 6 Tbsp of butter cut into little pieces. With hands or with two knives used like scissors, cut butter into flour mixture until it is the consistence of coarse crumbs. Add 1 egg, 3/4 cup of milk and 1 tsp of vanilla. stir (not too much or they will be tough), and add 1 and 1/2 cups of diced pears. spoon into pans and bake for 20-25 minutes. muy rico!!

Minestrone Soup (adapted from Marcella Hazan -- Classic Italian Cooking)

This soup is easy, cheap, and delicious. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge (which is good, because it makes a lot). I like to have it with a poached egg on top, or with some fresh grated parmesan.

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup carrot, diced

1 cup celery, diced

2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced

1/3 lb. green beans, ends off, and diced

1 head broccoli (remove stems, separate into very small florets)

1/2 head savoy cabbage -- shredded

1 small can plum tomatoes in juice

2 cans beef broth (or veggie broth if beef grosses you out)

4 c. water

rind of a piece of parmesan, scraped (optional)

1 can beans (cannelini or kidney)

heat 1/3 c. olive oil and 3 Tbsp butter. add onion and a big pinch of kosher salt, cook 2-3 minutes medium heat, add carrots, cook 2-3 minutes. repeat this with each new vegetable, adding only one new vegetable at a time, in the order listed above (this sounds ridiculously specific -- but it does matter). End with the cabbage and cook 5-6 minutes more. Add the rest except the beans, crushing the tomatoes in your hands as you add them. Add some fresh ground pepper and kosher salt. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to a very slow simmer, cover (lid slightly askew) and cook 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add beans, cook a half hour longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. (this should make a nice dense broth -- but if you find it getting too dry at any point just add a little water).

Makes a lot.

Ranger Cookies. (these cookies remind me of **Ranger Rick** -- they are better the next day, but still pretty good straight out of the oven)

350 F

2 c. flour 1 t baking soda 1/2 t baking powder 1/2 t salt 1 cup shortening (you can use butter -- but they are better with shortening) 1 cup sugar 1 cup light brown sugar 3 eggs 1 1/2 t vanilla 2 cups oats (quick) 2 cups Special K 1 small bag milk chocolate chips 1 cup shredded coconut (i use the big flake stuff from the health food store) 1 cup dried cherries (if they are really dry I soak em in some hot water first)

mix the flour, soda, powder, salt. in a separate bowl beat the shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla together. (i do it by hand -- but if you have a mixer you are psyched) try to keep going until they are kind of fluffy. Add the dry mix and stir. Add the oats, coconut, chips, Special K, cherries.

Drop batter onto greased baking sheet (you only need to grease it the first time, not for subsequent batches)

bake 15-18 minutes, until golden.

Hot Mug Of Corn

1 mug

1 cup frozen corn

1 pat butter

salt & pepper to taste

Put ingredients in mug. Place in microwave, nuke for 3-5 minutes.

(this is Thatch's signature dish -- well along with "farts on a raft" -- that's an "idiomatic expression" for beans on toast)

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