Szechuan peppercorns are a spice produced from the husks of seeds of two species of the prickly ash shrub. Szechuan peppercorns can be used whole or ground into powder. The spice is one of the five ingredients that comprise five-spice powder (the others are star anise, fennel, clove, and cinnamon), and it’s used in many savory Szechuan dishes. Check the peppercorns and discard any twigs, leaves, and any tiny black seeds in the package. Then heat the peppercorns in a frying pan over medium-low heat until they become fragrant. Remove them from the heat and grind them or crush them when cool. The roasted peppercorns can also be saved in an airtight jar to grind when needed in a recipe.
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon crushed Szechuan Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Szechuan sauce (store-bought or homemade- see recipe below)
2 cups shredded napa (Chinese) cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 scallions, sliced
Chinese noodles or rice for serving
Reconstitute mushrooms with boiling water to cover. Drain and slice.
Gently mix beef, onion, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, five-spice powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Shape the mixture into 15 meatballs (use about 2 tablespoons each to make 1½-inch meatballs).
Whisk broth and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or nonstick wok over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring for 15 to 30 seconds. Add the reserved beef broth mixture, ginger. Szechuan sauce, cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, and mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the cabbage is just wilted, about 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to a simmer, return the meatballs to the pan, cover and cook until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through 8 to 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallions over noodles or rice.
Keeps for 10 days in the refrigerator
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns (or substitute black peppercorns)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar or sugar alternative
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced ( or use ginger paste)
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste (like sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
2 teaspoons cornstarch, to thicken
Toast Szechuan peppercorns in a hot dry skillet over medium heat, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Crush.
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl or small jar and whisk until well combined.
Whisk in 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
Makes a little over ½ a cup.
Some of the first arrivals were Filipino seaman who settled in Louisiana and California, at the beginning of the 18th Century. Migration patterns of Filipinos to the United States have been recognized as occurring in four significant waves. The first was connected to the period when the Philippines were part of New Spain and later the Spanish East Indies and they migrated to North America during this time.
The second wave was during the period when the Philippine Islands were a territory of the United States; as U.S. Nationals, Filipinos were unrestricted from immigrating to the US by the Immigration Act of 1917. This wave of immigration has been referred to as the Manong generation. Filipinos of this wave came for different reasons, but the majority were laborers. This wave of immigration was distinct from other Asian Americans because of the American influences and education in the Philippines; they did not see themselves as aliens when they immigrated to the United States. During the Great Depression, Filipino Americans were also affected, losing jobs, and being the target of race-based violence. This wave of immigration ended due to the Philippine Independence Act in 1934, which restricted immigration to 50 persons a year.
Later, due to agreements with the Philippines, Filipinos were allowed to enlist in the United States Navy; this continued a practice of allowing Filipinos to serve in the navy that began in 1901. Filipinos who immigrated to the United States, due to their military service, were exempt from quota restrictions placed on Filipino immigration at the time. This ended in 1946, following the independence of the Philippines from the United States, but resumed in 1947 due to language inserted into the Military Base Agreement between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines. In 1973, Admiral Zumwalt removed the restrictions on Filipino sailors, allowing them to enter any rate they qualified for; in 1976 there were about 17,000 Filipinos serving in the United States Navy.
The third wave of immigration followed the events of World War II. Filipinos who had served in World War II had been given the option of becoming U.S. Citizens, and many took the opportunity. Filipino War brides were allowed to immigrate to the United States due to the War Brides Act and Fiancée Act, with approximately 16,000 Filipinos entering the United States in the years following World War II.
The fourth and present wave of immigration began in 1965 with the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 into law. It ended national quotas and provided an unlimited number of visas for family reunification. By the 1970s and 1980s Filipino wives of military service members reached annual rates of five to eight thousand. The Philippines became the largest source of legal immigration to the United States from Asia. Navy based immigration stopped with the expiration of the military bases agreement in 1992, yet it continues in a more limited fashion. Many Filipinos of this new wave of migration have migrated here as professionals, such as qualified nurses. As of 2005, 55% of foreign-trained registered nurses taking the qualifying exam administered by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) were educated in the Philippines.
Filipino cuisine is composed of the cuisines of more than a hundred distinct groups found throughout the Philippine archipelago. The style of food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from their shared Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine origins to a mixed cuisine of Indian, Chinese, Spanish and American influences.
Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to fish curry, chicken curry, complex paellas and cozidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include: lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce), dinuguan (pork blood stew), kaldereta (meat stewed in tomato sauce), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), pochero (beef and bananas in tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork and vegetables simmered in tomato sauce), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, and tomato stew flavored with shrimp paste), crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls). Various food scholars have noted that Filipino cuisine is multi-faceted and is the most representative in the culinary world for food where the “’East meets West”.
Make some Filipino recipes at home.
Shrimp in Achiote Oil
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons achiote (annatto) seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1–2 Thai chiles, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
For achiote oil:
Cook oil and achiote seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the oil turns dark red, about 5 minutes. Strain into a jar and let cool. Cover and chill until needed.
Heat achiote oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chiles, garlic, lime juice, and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing often, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 4 minutes. Top with scallions and serve.
Substitute for Palm vinegar: 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part water with a squeeze or two of lime juice.
2 1⁄2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup palm vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cooked white rice
Patis (Philippine fish sauce; optional), for serving
Place the pork, vinegar, soy sauce, peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaf in a large bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Heat pork mixture and 2 cups water in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Skim the foam that rises to the surface, and then reduce the heat to medium-low; cover, and cook until tender, about 2 hours.
Pour the pork into a colander set over a bowl; discard bay leaf, and set pork and garlic aside. Return broth to the pot, and cook over medium heat until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Transfer broth to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Set the garlic aside, then, working in batches, add the pork, and cook, turning until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and stir into the pork mixture. Stir broth back into the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook to meld flavors, about 5 minutes.
Serve Adobo with rice. Season with fish sauce, if you’d like.
Bok Choy Stir-fry
Half of a head of bok choy cabbage, cut into diagonal pieces
1 small carrot, cut into diagonal pieces
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, quartered and separated into pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Fish sauce or salt and pepper to taste
In a deep skillet, heat oil and saute garlic and onion.
Add bok choy and carrot and stir cook for a minute then add oyster sauce.
Simmer for 2-3 minutes and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to a serving plate and serve with fish sauce.
Maruya (Banana Fritters)
1/2 cup flour, plus extra for coating bananas
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 ripe saba (banana plantain) or regular bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
Cut each banana strip into 3-inch lengths. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and egg, beat until smooth.
Heat oil in a frying pan (or a large saucepan) over medium heat.
In batches, roll banana slices in flour and then dip in batter. Fry in hot oil until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels. Roll in sugar. Place in a serving dish and serve for a snack or dessert.
For 2 servings
2 whole broccoli stalks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the broccoli stalks and trim off the bottom of the stalks. Spray a baking dish with olive oil spray. Add the broccoli stalks. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
Roast until the stalks are fork-tender, 25-30 minutes. Pour cheese sauce over roasted broccoli and serve.
To make the cheese sauce
Combine the ingredients in a glass dish and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk. Heat again for 30 seconds more until all the cheese melts. Let sit a few minutes to thicken.
Sauteed Cabbage And Franks
For a heartier meal, add a side of mashed potatoes.
For 2 Servings
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup sliced onions
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 oz all-beef hot dogs, knockwurst or kielbasa, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 oz or ¼ head of green cabbage, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion is tender.
Add red wine vinegar to the pan and mix.
Add the hot dogs and saute for a minute or two.
Add remaining butter, cabbage, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss to mix all the ingredients together and coat the cabbage with butter and seasonings.
Saute on low heat until cabbage is wilted and very tender.
Top with fresh parsley and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.
Serve the brisket with red cabbage coleslaw and baked sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries. Later in the week the brisket and coleslaw will make a delicious sandwich.
Spicy Chili Rub
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine the spice rub mixture and rub olive oil over all areas of the brisket. Then thoroughly coat the brisket with the chili rub. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. degrees. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and scatter the chopped onion around the brisket. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.
Combine the BBQ sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup. Pour the BBQ sauce over the brisket. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and lower the heat to 300 F degrees. Cook for another 4–5 hours or until fork tender.
Once cooked, slice the meat thinly across the grain and serve with the sauce.
Yield: 8 or more servings.
Red Cabbage Coleslaw
Half of a head of red cabbage, thinly shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
3 large scallions, minced
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl with a cover. Add the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and scallions. Mix thoroughly. Cover the salad and refrigerate several hours before serving.
Savoy Cabbage Gratin
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 head savoy cabbage cored and thinly shredded
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon flour or arrowroot
1 teaspoon dried yellow mustard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheddar or swiss cheese
Butter a shallow baking dish (8 by 8 in.) and preheat oven to 400°F.
Place the shredded cabbage in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Mix. Pour 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the cabbage and mix well.
In a large measuring cup mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, garlic, chopped thyme, mustard, and flour. Stir until thoroughly combined, add cream, stir and pour over the cabbage in the baking dish. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.
Leftover cutlets are great for sandwiches.
3 boneless pork loin chops (about 5 to 6 ounces each)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
3 cups plain panko crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, grated
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix all the ingredients for the sage butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Set aside.
Cut the pork chops in half lengthwise to make 6 cutlets.
Place each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and gently pounding them out with the flat side of a meat mallet until they are an even 1/8-inch thick.
Put the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the eggs and milk in another shallow dish. Put the panko crumbs in a third dish. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in flour, then in the egg and finally into the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs onto the pork gently so they adhere.
Lay the breaded pork cutlets in a single layer on a plate lined with parchment and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes or until ready to cook.
Heat the oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Gently lay the cutlets into the pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a serving platter. Melt the sage butter in the microwave and pour over the cutlets. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
3 cups frozen peas
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion and salt. Cook until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and then the peas and thyme and cook, stirring often, until the peas defrost and are heated through about 3 minutes. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.
Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce
1/2 lb. (about 8) tomatillos, husks removed and washed well
1 large or 2 small serrano chiles, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Half an avocado mashed
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon honey
12 large raw shrimp (16-20 count), peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
4 low carb/gluten-free/regular tortillas, heated
1 cup shredded red cabbage
For the tomatillo salsa
Dice the tomatillos. Put them in a blender, along with the chiles, onion, cilantro, salt, and garlic. Pulse until the ingredients are very finely chopped and combined (the salsa should be somewhat smooth, but still have some texture), 30 to 60 seconds. Place the salsa in a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature until serving time.
Yields about 1 cup.
For the avocado cream
Combine all the ingredients and chill in the refrigerator.
For the shrimp
Pat shrimp dry. Toss the shrimp with Cajun seasoning and a little salt in a medium bowl.
Preheat a stovetop grill over medium heat. Place the shrimp on the grill and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through about 4 minutes total. Place the cooked shrimp in a serving bowl and spoon several tablespoons of the tomatillo salsa over the shrimp. Toss.and serve the shrimp in tortillas, topped with red cabbage and avocado cream.
Serve a tomato salad on the side.
Alabama Sweet and Spicy Pork Ribs
2 racks meaty pork ribs
For the barbecue spice rub
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (sweet or hot)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
For the sweet and spicy glaze
1 cup tomato ketchup(regular or no sugar added)
½ cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon barbecue spice rub (see above)
Mix together the ingredients for the barbecue spice rub, and set 1 teaspoon aside for the glaze.
Pat both sides of the ribs dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, remove the thin membrane from the back of each by slicing into it and pulling it off with a paper towel.
Put the ribs in a large baking dish and sprinkle them all over with the spice rub. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Mix all the ingredients for the glaze together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
If using a charcoal barbecue, light it about 30 minutes before you want to cook. If using a gas barbecue, preheat it 10 minutes beforehand. Rearrange the coals or turn off the middle burner for indirect cooking. Put the ribs on the grill, bone-side down, making sure they are not directly over the heat. Cover with the lid and grill over indirect medium heat for 30 minutes each side, or until the ribs are tender and a deep reddish-brown.
Uncover the ribs and brush generously with the sweet and spicy glaze. Cook for 10 minutes, turn and brush with more glaze. Cook for a final 10 minutes or until caramelized and sticky – brush with the remaining glaze and serve.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake in the preheated oven until the meat begins to pull away from the bones but is not fully tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. (Do not remove ribs from oven.) Brush both sides of ribs with the glaze. Bake until ribs are very tender and caramelized, 35 to 45 minutes. Brush with the glaze several times during the baking time.
Alabama Hot Slaw
Half of a head of green cabbage (1 lb.)
2 celery ribs
1/2 green bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or low carb honey substitute
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Finely chop the cabbage, bell pepper, celery, and carrot.
Place the chopped vegetables and onion to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, add the vinegar, honey, and salt; whisk until clear.
Add in the black pepper, mustard, and Tabasco; stir to mix, then pour on the vegetables.
In a small skillet or in the microwave heat the oil until very hot.
Pour the hot oil over vegetables.
Let sit for 4 minutes.
Toss and let sit at room temperature until serving time.
Round out the meal Alabama style with corn-on-the-cob.