Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sun-Dried Tomato Bacon Parmesan Pasta

Hello Red Couch Readers!  We have been making this pasta, on and off last summer and this summer.  It was a recipe that my daughter Talley and I came up with last summer.  It is filled with some of my favorite ingredients.  Even those that don't like fresh tomatoes, love the sun-dried tomatoes in this pasta.  The sun-dried tomatoes just gives the pasta a wonderful zing.

Here is a close-up of the pasta.

Sun-Dried Tomato Bacon Parmesan Pasta

1 (16 - ounce) package of pasta -- we used Rotini, but any pasta will do
1-1/2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, cut in small pieces -- we use the tomatoes in a plastic pouch (not in oil)
1-1/2 cups onion, diced -  we used a sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 (12-ounce) package bacon, cooked until brown and then crumbled
1 (5 ounce) container shredded Parmesan -- we use the kind from the deli.
Basil, for garnish, optional

In a large pot, cook pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.  In a large dutch oven, put sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, and olive oil.  Saute the onion, sun-dried tomato, garlic, and olive oil in the dutch oven for about 6 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Add the ground pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Add the bacon and heat thoroughly.  Remove from heat.  In a large serving bowl, add pasta and sun-dried tomato mixture.  Cool, then add Parmesan cheese and garnish with basil.  Serve hot or cool.

Note:  This is a really, no-fuss recipe, and it can be adapted to your needs --  add less oil or more sun-dried tomatoes.

Thank you for dropping by our Red Couch.

Lemon and Lime Cookies

Hello, I thought I would share a few pictures of some cookies that I made.  Making lime or lemon slices are just about the easiest cookies to make, using the wet-on-wet technique, and I think that they are so cute!  

The lime cookies have a sad tale.  My daughter wanted to bring some to a friend.  So we had a few errands to attend to before bringing them to a friend,  It was a hot day, and we left them in the car.  You guessed it!  They got soft and mushy and they kind of melted!  Lesson:  Do not leave cookies in the car.

We also made some lemon ones.  

I just haven't posted in months, and all of a sudden today, I thought I would make a post.  I am sorry for not posting more often.  It is not that I haven't been up to things, it is just a factor of time and priorities.  I hope that you are well.

Thanks for dropping by the Couch.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Steamed Chinese Pork Dumplings

Dear Readers, thank you for taking the time to stop by my little corner of the world that has been really quiet lately.  Today I bring to you a recipe for Pork Dumplings.  You will love it because you can make it up in a flash in a bamboo steamer.  They are delicious and such a fun treat to make.
Years ago I received a steamer from a co-worker for a wedding present.  As the years went by, and we had many moves, it disappeared.  I never, ever used the steamer.  Recently I dropped by World Market and picked a steamer up to make some Pork Dumplings for a Chinese Feast we were holding.

Chinese Pork Dumplings
Inspired by Leeann Chin, author of Betty Crocker's Chinese Cookbook; we have used her recipes for years.
Pork Dumplings:
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (include some green)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 egg white
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on whether salt has been added to pork)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Round wonton skins
Note:  We have also used Trader Joe's Gyoza Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the pork, onion, cilantro, egg white, corn starch, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil and ground pepper.  Mix well.
Place one tablespoon pork mixture in the center of the circle.  Bring edges of the wontons up around the pork mixture, pleating the wontons as you work around the pork; leave the top open.  Note:  If you do not pleat enough the wonton skin will pull away from the pork as it steams.
Here is a picture of the pleating process.  Don't worry.  The process goes quite quickly.

Place steamer in a non-electric wok.

Place a single layer of lettuce in the bottom of the steamer; the lettuce will help so that the dumplings will not stick to the bamboo steamer.  You can also buy liners for this purpose, but lettuce works just fine.  

Add water to the bottom of the wok, making sure that the water level does not reach the bottom of the bamboo steamer.  Bring the water to a boil and then add the covered bamboo steamer.  Steam for about 15 to 18 minutes until pork is done.  You will have to add more water.
The dumplings happily cooking in the steamer.
I hope you try making these dumplings, and I hope you try cooking with a steamer.  Thank you for dropping by my Red Couch.