Archive for April, 2014

Balsamic chicken pasta

Well, here’s another pasta recipe so soon after the last. I just enjoy making pasta too much, I guess, so here it is:


  • 3 Tbsp. butter (I prefer unsalted)
  • 3 small chicken thighs, boneless skinless, cubed (raw)
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 small-medium yellow onion, sliced into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ~ 150g wide egg noodles (about half to a third of a bag)
  • 1.5 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • Basil, marjoram, oregano, red pepper flakes to taste


Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to cook the pasta; meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Heat a cast iron skillet over low heat, and once it’s warmed add butter to melt; once butter has melted add herbs; shortly after, increase the heat on the skillet to medium and add vegetables (reserving the spinach), stirring regularly. Once the onions are softened, add the chicken and stir regularly; now is a good time to add the noodles, which in my experience take about six minutes (as opposed to the 10-12 that the packaging said.) Check the noodles regularly, while stirring up the chicken and vegetables on occasion. Once noodles are ready, drain them off, then add the spinach to the chicken and stir slightly to incorporate, adding the balsamic vinegar and finally the noodles. Stir to incorporate, then cook for a short time so that the butter and balsamic vinegar coat everything. Turn off heat and serve; this should serve two, with some bread or a side salad. I recommend adding some parmesan or similar cheese.


Scallops and soba

I’d tried out this recipe a few times before, but tonight I cooked it for friends the first time; I’ve determined it’s a keeper. I enjoy the tinges of East and West it combines; an option to increase the umami hit is to top it with a small amount of parmesan, but that’s by no means necessary to enjoy this dish. Because of its overall colour, I recommend serving it with a bright side salad. 


  • 1/2 pound Soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles)
  • 1.5 pounds medium frozen scallops (I haven’t tried with fresh scallops, only frozen so far)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced (optionally minced)
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Rice wine vinegar (alternately, Sake could work; I haven’t tried it yet.)
  • Tamari soy sauce
  • Basil
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Sesame oil


Scallops should be defrosted; when buying frozen, I find that placing them in the fridge the day before leaves them completely defrosted and bathing in brine by the time dinner rolls around.

Prepare a plate with a sheet of paper towels, and remove scallops from brine, laying them in as close to a single layer as possible across the plate; once all scallops are out of the brine, add another towel on top so that scallops can dry out slightly. Discard the brine. Put water up to boil; cook the soba for about 6 minutes, until just barely tender. Pour off the noodles and rinse in cold water to halt the cooking process.  While the soba is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add herbs and when sizzling add onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are translucent, and add scallops. Increase heat slightly until outsides of scallops are just done, then add tamari, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Once the broth is simmering, add the noodles and stir to combine. Cook until broth has formed a reduction, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.

In my experience, this serves three.