Zucchini Rigatoni Recipe

Zucchini Rigatoni is a light pasta dish that is perfect for the warm summer months. The zucchini, garlic, basil, onion, tomato, mushroom, and other vegetables combine to create a complex flavor mosaic. Zucchini rigatoni is an uncompromising vegetarian classic!


extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 Serrano pepper, chopped with seeds removed
3/4 medium yellow onion, diced
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp dry basil leaves
2 tbsp butter
1/2 of one large zucchini
2 1/2 tbsp dry porcini mushrooms, chopped fine
4 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped
14 fresh basil leaves, chopped
Rigatoni pasta noodles
Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. To a skillet over medium heat, add 3 tbsp of olive oil, 3 tbsp butter, and the Serrano pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the diced onion to the skillet and cook until the onions begin to change color and are translucent.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the tomato sauce into the skillet along with the dry basil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer.
  5. In a pot, boil water for the pasta. When water begins to boil, add pasta noodles and cook until al dente.
  6. Cut the zucchini into thin medallions. I like to cut the zuchinni at a diagonal to create medallions with a greater surface area.
  7. In a separate pan, add 2 tbsp butter along with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat.
  8. Add the zucchini medallions, porcini mushrooms, flat leaf parsley, and fresh basil leaves to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When the pasta is ready, strain it and pour it into a large bowl.
  10. Coat the hot pasta with a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese, mixing it with the pasta noodles.
  11. Next, pour the red sauce into the bowl and mix it with the pasta. You may not need to use all of the red sauce. Use enough to coat all of the noodles.
  12. Add the zucchini mixture to the bowl to combine with the pasta.
  13. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if needed.

Orange Chicken Recipe 陈皮鸡

orange chicken over riceOrange chicken is a dish originating from Hunan cuisine. It is similar to General Tso's chicken in appearance and in the way it is prepared. Orange chicken is battered chicken that is fried and then coated with a sweet, citrus flavored chili sauce.
orange chicken

1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp orange zest, grated
1 tspn fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/2 tspn red pepper flakes
3 tbsn corn starch
2 tbsp water
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn pepper
extra virgin olive oil

  1. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, and rice vinegar into a saucepan on medium high heat. Add the orange zest, ginger, brown sugar, chopped onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Put 1/2 inch pieces of chicken into a resealable plastic container. Pour 1 cup of sauce (after it has cooled) into the container with the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Save the remaining sauce in a separate container.
  4. In a resealable plastic bag, mix the salt, pepper, and flour.
  5. Remove the pieces of chicken from the marinade and put them into the bag containing the flour mixture. Seal the bag and shake the chicken so that it is coated with the flour mixture.
  6. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add some of the chicken to the skillet and cook it for about 4 minutes until golden brown. (You will probably need to cook about 3 batches this way in order to cook all of the chicken).
  7. After each batch has cooked, remove the chicken and place it on a plate covered with paper towels. Cover the plate with a piece of aluminum foil.
  8. After all of the chicken has been cooked, clean the skillet. Add the remaining sauce from step #3 to the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium high heat.
  9. Add 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch and slowly add this mixture to the sauce then reduce the heat to low.
  10. Add the chicken back to the sauce and stir so that all of the chicken is coated with sauce.
  11. Serve over rice with fresh orange slices.
Chinese flag China

German Coffee Cake Recipe

German Coffee CakeThis recipe for German Coffee Cake has been popular in my family for as long as I can remember. It was always baked on weekends when people were in town for a visit. German coffee cake is a great choice for a stand alone breakfast paired with a strong cup of coffee and fresh fruit.

Recommended Equipment:
tube or bundt pan

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter (softened)
3 eggs
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1 1/2 tspn baking soda
3/4 tspn salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 tspn cinnamon

1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1 - 2 tbsp milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a tube or bundt pan.
  3. Beat eggs, sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla together.
  4. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  5. Mix the mixture from step #4 in with the mixture from step #3.
  6. In a separate bowl construct the filling. Mix together the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon.
  7. Pour a third of the batter into the tube pan. Top this with a third of the filling.
  8. Repeat step #7 two more times.
  9. Bake for one hour and then remove from oven and let cool.
  10. Construct the glaze by combining the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a sauce pan. Stir these ingredients over medium-low heat until they form a white, clear glaze.
  11. Drizzle over cake.
  12. Optional: Top with additional chopped pecans.
Coffee cake

German flag Germany [ print this recipe for German Coffee Cake ]

Chocolate Éclair Cake

chocolate eclair cake
Chocolate Éclair Cake is inspired by the French classic dessert. This version is fast and easy to prepare and will be a favorite of anyone that loves chocolate.

1 box graham crackers
2 packages French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups of milk
9 oz. cool whip
3 1 oz. squares semi-sweet chocolate
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 tspn light corn syrup
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1/8 cup of milk
5 tbsp butter

  1. Oil a 9 X 13 inch baking pan.
  2. Cover the bottom of the pan with one layer of graham crackers.
  3. Mix pudding powder, 3 1/2 cups of milk, and a 9 oz. container of cool whip in a mixer.
  4. Put half of the pudding mixture from step #3 over the first layer of graham crackers.
  5. Cover the pudding mixture with another layer of graham crackers.
  6. Put the remaining pudding mixture on top of the second layer of graham crackers.
  7. Put a third layer of graham crackers on top of the second layer of pudding.
  8. In a saucepan, add the chocolate, butter, corn syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/8 cup of milk. Heat this mixture over medium heat until it forms a smooth chocolate mixture.
  9. Pour the chocolate mixture over the third layer of graham crackers. You may need to spread it evenly with the back of a spoon so that it covers the entire top of the cake.
  10. Cover the top of the pan with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
French Flag France

Maryland Steamed Blue Crab Recipe

Maryland Steamed Blue Crabs
Sorry for the lack of posts last week but I was on a much needed vacation on the Maryland coast. The regional specialty there was steamed blue crabs. You could buy blue crabs almost anywhere already steamed. However, we decided to buy a couple dozen fresh from the docks and steam them up in our own kitchen.

It is a fairly simple process with only a few basic ingredients. The key is obtaining large, fresh blue crabs which may be difficult for anyone that does not live near the central Atlantic coast of the United States. If your fish monger is able to get you some blue crabs, give this recipe a try.

If you're in Maryland and don't have the time or desire to steam them yourself, you should visit Phillips Crab House. They have an incredible seafood buffet featuring all you can eat steamed blue crabs. Their Crab Imperial is not bad either. If you're in Baltimore, you should visit Lexington Market and go to Faidley's for blue crab cakes.

blue crabs for sale Faidleys
Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis is another great choice to get blue crab served at its finest.

Recommended Equipment:
large metal pot

apple cider vinegar
Old Bay Seasoning
live Blue Crabs

  1. Fill the bottom of the pot with equal parts water and vinegar. Fill to a depth of 1 1/2 inches.
  2. Heat liquid to a soft, steady boil over medium high heat.
  3. Add live blue crabs to the pot in layers. After each layer, sprinkle generous amounts of Old Bay seasoning.
  4. After all of the crabs have been added to the pot, cover the pot with the lid and steam the blue crabs for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not remove the lid during the steaming process.
  5. Cover the dining table with newspapers and serve the crabs hot with cold beer.
Steamed Blue Crabs

United States Maryland

Cajun New York Strip Steak

Cajun NY strip
If you're tired of grilling hamburgers and brats, try Cajun New York Strip Steaks at your next cookout. Cajun Style New Yorks are rich in flavor with just the right amount of spice. This marinade for Cajun Style New York Strip Steaks also works well with ribeye and porterhouse steaks.

2 - 4 New York strip steaks
1 tbsp sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp oregano leaves, chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup canola oil

  1. In a container large enough to hold all of the steaks, combine all of the ingredients.Cajun spice
  2. Let steaks marinade in the refrigerator overnight.
    NYs in marinade
  3. Light grill. Place cast iron skillet on grill.
  4. When grill is hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle, put steaks on the grill.
  5. Cook steaks for about 8 to 9 minutes on one side.
    NYs on the grill
  6. Flip steaks and cook for another 8 to 9 minutes.
  7. Remove and let steaks rest for about 8 minutes. Do not cut into the steak to check how much it has cooked.
  8. Serve hot.
USA flag United States Louisiana flag Louisiana

Caipirinha Recipe

caipirinhaThe Caipirinha is the Brazilian national drink. From the most exclusive restaurants in São Paulo to unlicensed vendors walking Copacabana Beach, you can buy this drink almost anywhere in Brazil. Caipirinhas feature the most basic ingredients, all of which come from Brazil. From the sugar and cachaça produced from Brazilian sugar cane to the fresh limes grown on coastal plantations this drink is Brazil.

Cachaça is the most important ingredient in Caipirinhas but their is a great ongoing debate about which brand is the best. My favorite is Cachaça Salinas from the state of Minas Gerais. This brand is difficult to come by in the Unites States, however, so for this drink I had to settle for Cachaça 51 . If you want to learn more about cachaça, check out Cachacagora a comprehensive blog about this spirit.

1/2 lime
1 shot of cachaça
1 heaping tbsp sugar
crushed ice

  1. Chop a half of a lime into medium sized pieces and put them into a tumbler glass.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, crush the lime pieces against the side and bottom of the glass.
  3. Pour a shot of cachaça into the glass.
  4. Pour a heaping table spoon of sugar into the glass and stir.
  5. Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass to 3/4 of the way to the top of the glass.
  6. Stir and serve.
51 cachaca

Related Posts / Recipes:
Caipiroska de Kiwi
Batida de Maça


Potato Pancake Recipe (Reibekuchen)

potato pancake
The potato pancake is a quintessential German dish. Until I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, however, I did not realize that there were two major types of potato pancakes. Regular potato pancakes, or reibekuchen and Siegerländer reibekuchen.

Here in the Midwest, it is pretty easy to find restaurants that serve at least one of these two varieties. For example, here in Cincinnati, you can get regular potato pancakes at Mecklenburg Gardens or Christy's and Leinhardt's. Siegerlander reibekuchen can be found at Izzy's. If you are ever in Cincinnati, you should try to visit each of these establishments. They are sehr gut!!

Siegerländers differ from the regular potato pancakes in that they are made with wheat flour and yeast in addition to potatoes so they are a less dense and more like a deep fried potato bread hybrid. The recipe that follows is for the traditional regular potato pancake.

5 waxy potatoes (like these)
waxy potatoes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
oil or butter for frying

  1. Skin potatoes and then grate them coarsely.
    grated potatoes
  2. Wrap the potatoes in a clean dish cloth and squeeze out the water.
  3. Put the potatoes into a large bowl along with the onion, eggs, salt, and pepper.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour enough oil in a cast iron skillet to cover the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Preheat the skillet over medium heat.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the pan and pat them down with the back of the spoon to form a pancake.
  8. Cook on both sides until golden brown.
  9. Serve hot.
This dish goes really well with various condiments such as sour cream or apple sauce. If you can find some, they also go well with an ice cold bottle of Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold.
Hacker Pschor Bier

German flag Germany

Brigadeiro Recipe

Brigadeiro is a famous Brazilian dessert that is often served at birthday parties. I was first introduced to Brigadeiro by 3 Brazilian exchange students that came to visit me in Chicago. While I was at work, they went to the convenient store on the corner and bought all of the ingredients that they needed to make this dish. If you like the taste of chocolate and caramel, you will love Brigadeiro.

14 oz. can condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
confection sugar or chocolate sprinkles

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together condensed milk, butter, and cocoa.
  2. Keep stirring until bottom of the pan is visible. This usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Pour onto a small greased pan or bowl and then refrigerate for about 2 hours.
  4. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and oil your hands with olive oil or butter and then roll the mixture into small balls.
  5. Roll each ball in a bowl of chocolate sprinkles or confection sugar and then place it on a plate or in a paper wrapper.
Brazilian flag Brasil
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