About Mastering and Enjoying Home Cooking. Drink, Cook, and Live Well!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Basamic, garlic dip, (Ailio, Basilica e Balsamica ala Piacere)

This recipe is based on the dip served originally at the Piacere Restaurant in San Carlos, Califor- nia. This bread dip was the brainchild of the Kurd owner. It was so immensely popular, patrons would literally fill up on bread hence the restaurant soon discontinued serving it.

1⁄4 cup very finest fruity olive oil
18 Cloves coarsely chopped garlic
1 Cup of freshly chopped basil
1 Cup of very good Modena* balsamic vinegar

Heat frying pan until hot, then add and heat oil until it begins to glaze. Add all the garlic. Cook exactly 1 minute while stirring constantly. Add basil. Cook 20 seconds. Add vinegar. Store in jars in refrigerator but serve at room temperature for dipping bread.

* Aged Italian balsamic

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Chili Garlic Black Bean Hot Sauce Reprinted

Chili Garlic Black Bean Hot Sauce 

The recipe came from Chinese Garden Restaurant in Santa Clara California. I had been dining there for lunch for near 18 years. I would order the pot sticker just to have a good excuse to eat the hot sauce. Unsuccessful at gaining access to the recipe no matter what I tried, I finally succeeded only when the Mandarin chef and his wife retired and sold the restaurant. The recipe sounds very simple (because it is) but the sauce gets increasingly more complex and more delicious as it ages. My Chinese friends are as crazy about this sauce as I am. 

1 cup peanut or grapeseed oil
1 cup crushed red pepper1
6 ounces of minced fresh crushed ginger
8 cloves minced crushed garlic
1/3 cup fermented black beans (douche), chopped a bit

Heat oil until hot (300 F, a wooden chopstick begins to bubble) Drop in all the crushed red pepper. (Avoid putting your face too close to the sauce pan as a breath of this could knock you flat out and require paramedics.) Heat to very hot again. Add all other ingredient. Stir once and cook for two minutes on high. (At this high temperature the moisture is driven off and is sterile.) After the mixture completely cools,  ladel into a sterile jar and seal lid tight. Refrigerate and allow to age for a minimum of three months (is best six or more months). Once opened, keep refrigerated. Keeps at least a year. Especially great on pot stickers.


  1. How hot do you like your hot sauce? crushed red pepper could be a comination or New Mexico Pods (mild or hot), California pods (very mild) and arbor peppers (very hot), or a mix of these.
  2. grapeseed oil's high smoke point means you can also use it in shallow frying without destroying its essential fatty acids, natural antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

Turkey Vegetable Minestrone Soup

 When using prepared stock, use the salt free so as to not end up with soup too salty. This is made out of the home stock from a Turkey dinner. I use the gravy too. You may want to thicken the soup with wonder flour to suit you desired thickening. Add port, and Madeira to add flavour.

2 quarts of turkey stock or beef stock
1 medium yellow squash, quarter length wise, then cross slice 1/4 thick 1 medium zucchini, quarter length wise, then cross slice 1/4 thick
3 large tomato, coarsely chopped or diced tomatoes 
1 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
1 cup very finely chopped cabbage leaves (remove heavy stems first) (use coleslaw)
3 cloves garlic, chopped or more, if preferred 
1 peeled large  sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 or 2 large carrots, peeled quarter length wise, then cross slice 1/4 thick 
8 ounces fresh green beans cut in 1 inch long sections
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans or white kidney beans
1 package of frozen lima beans or mukimame (shelled edamame)
16 ounces of Orecchiette pasta, (little ears)

Olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
Graded Parmesan cheese 
Warm Ciabatta bread or toast rubbed with garlic
Balsamic vinegar

Prepared all vegetables as noted above. In a large stock pot, bring turkey stock to high boil. Add tomato, squash, zucchini, garlic, carrots, onions, kidney beans, lima beans and cook for 35 minutes. Now add fresh cut green beans, cabbage and pasta. When the pasta and green beans are tender, the soup is done.