Left-over Kasha’s New Life

I made kasha the other day and overestimated its appeal on my urban hipster dinner guests (strictly meat and potatoes crowd). So having made a nice side of kasha to accompany the main course, I found myself with three cups of left overs. So, with the help of a couple of cans of provisions from the pantry, I was able to turn this side dish onto a secondary main course in itself.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three cups of cooked kasha
  • Two small cans of chicken or one cup of left-over chicken
  • One can of chicken gravy
  • One can of peas
  • One can of corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Open those cans! In a large skillet empty the chicken gravy, chicken, peas and corn and heat thoroughly over a low to medium heat. Wait for the mixture to bubble before turning the heat to low. Remember to keep stirring this so it doesn’t settle.

Take the kasha and nuke it in the microwave oven for about three minutes. Transfer it to a nice deep bowl and ladle the chicken and gravy mixture over it.

Serve with a nice deep lager.


Bread Pudding with Apples

Although we are currently sweltering in the heat and humidity of summer. I’m optimistic that the cooler weather of fall will be here in just a couple months. Aha.. Autumn, fall leaves cool air and crisp apples. I would suppose that this dessert would be wonderful on a crisp Autumn evening. It’s a season that brings about an excess of apples from upstate.



Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three cubes of cubed stale bread nice and dry
  • Three tablespoons of apple butter
  • Two Macintosh apples
  • Two tablespoons Fangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
  • Two cups of milk
  • Two eggs
  • One stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees


Heat the milk on a low flame and melt the stick of butter into in. Once this is done let it cool to room temperature. In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, brown sugar, liqueur, apple butter and cinnamon. Then slowly add the milk and butter mixture stirring it in. You want to make sure the this mixture is cool enough so that it doesn’t start cooking the egg mixture its being added to. Once all the this is combined add in the bread cubes. Use your fingers to mix this up making sure the bread absorbs all the liquid. Trust me, it’s perfectly acceptable to use your clean hands as kitchen utensils!


I grease an eight inch square pan with butter, then pour the bread mixture in and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.


Once you remove it from the oven, let it cool just a bit and serve warm with whipped cream.


A Nautical Asian Cream of Mushroom Soup

Rummaging around H-mart (my local Asian market) the other day, I happened upon a nice price on a big bag of dried shiitake mushrooms. As mushrooms go these are practically indestructible and have a strong flavor. They are often considered medicinal in East Asia. I have been hungering for a nice rich bowl of mushroom soup. So, let’s put these guys in a hot liquid to rehydrate them and cook them in some fish stock for a nautical cream of mushroom soup.


Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 4 ounces dried shiitaki mushrooms
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water
  • 3 quarts fish stock
  • 1 cup pearl barley (optional)
  • 2 cups light cream or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper


Combine mushrooms and hot water in a large, heatproof bowl. Let stand 1 hour. With your fingers, work mushrooms to release any grit. Let stand until very pliable, about 1 hour longer. Then, lift the mushrooms from the liquid and cut them into large pieces and set aside. Reserve the bowl of soaking liquid.

Dice the two large onions. In a 5- to 6-quart pot, sauté the onions in a little olive oil. When they are translucent add the stock and chopped mushrooms. Pour the reserved soaking liquid into pot, taking care not to disturb grit in bowl. Make sure that stays behind. Then, rinse and drain barley and add to pot, if you’re using it. I tend to like the barley in the soup to give it a bit more body. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until barley is tender to the bite, about 1 hour.
In a medium bowl, mix the cream, or half and half, with the flour and temper by whisking in a little hot soup. Pour contents of bowl into hot soup, whisking constantly on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. This is where the thickening of the soup occurs. Adjust seasonings and heal t through.

Serve this up in nice deep bowls and serve with crusty bread, like a baguette.


Jalapeno Breakfast Hash

I was going through the produce section over at Cherry Valley market the other day, and there were these jalapeno peppers that were simply irresistible. They were plump, lustrous, green and at a dollar twenty nine a pound! Well, I couldn’t pass them up. But now… what to do with these treasures? Hmm.. seems I have some left-overs in the fridge that could use a little pepping up…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two boiled potatoes
  • about eight ounces of left over corned beef
  • one medium onion
  • two jalapeno peppers

Nothing could be simpler. Dice the onion and toss it into a non-stick fry pan on a low to medium heat. Dice the potatoes, the colder they are the easier to dice, and toss them in a bowl with a splash of olive oil. Then add them to the pan. Dice up the corned beef, mince the jalapenos and toss these into the pan. Heat this through thoroughly. Pat the mixture down and let it brown a bit on the bottom before turning it over and repeating the process. Give the potatoes time to brown and then serve this with a poached egg on top.