Kattys chicken curry salad

Nothing like a cool sandwich on a hot day. It’s a tasty way to use up leftover roasted chicken to boot! I make chicken curry salad¬†all the time and thought you might enjoy it, too. Well, except for my friend Pamela, who hates raisins. ūüôā

trust issues
Not a raisin fan? You could use a similar amount of seedless grapes, quartered. No more trust issues. And we all live happily ever after.


¬Ĺ pound roasted chicken (leftover, cold) cut in small pieces
half a red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to plump them (or sub seedless grapes, quartered, if you prefer), then strained

¬ľ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¬ĺ teaspoon sugar
¬ĺ teaspoon sesame oil
¬ĺ teaspoon hot curry powder (or whatever curry powder you have is fine, too)

In a medium bowl or pitcher, whisk together dressing ingredients till smooth. Add chicken, pepper, pecans and raisins and stir to blend thoroughly. Enjoy as a sandwich or on top of your favorite greens for a salad.


Sloppy Joe

There’s nothing like a meal of old school nostalgia on a bun. Back in Macdonough School days, Sloppy Joe was always a favorite. Something in the air on a recent bike ride reminded me of that comforting dish. It got me thinking about our old friend,¬†Sloppy Joe, and how to¬†make¬†a homemade version.

I kicked it up a bit with Sriracha ketchup–one of my new favorite ingredients–and some chopped bell pepper because it tastes good. It’s a flavorful trip down Memory Lane. See if you think so, too.


1.25 pounds ground chuck
1 small sweet bell pepper, diced
half a large sweet onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 10.5 oz. can Campbell’s condensed French onion soup (strange, I know, but seems to be key to the familiar flavor we all remember)
heaping 1/4 cup Sriracha ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

To a large sauté pan over medium heat, add chuck, along with bell pepper, onion and celery. Break up meat as you go, cooking till meat is browned and vegetables are tender.

Remove fat, then add remaining ingredients: soup, ketchup, water, tomato paste, mustard and Worcestershire. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes so flavors meld and sauce thickens a bit.

Serve on your favorite hard rolls. I find mine at Tri-Town Foods in Portland, Connecticut. They’re whole wheat. And these Sloppy Joes definitely ring my bike bell. May¬†they do the same for you. ūüôā



I’m back again to talk about the Cubano–a sandwich so tasty, it deserves a few more pictures (and a song!) to tell its¬†story.

Start with club rolls. Around here, let me save you a trip or two and tell you Tri-Town in Portland sells them. Stop & Shop and Price Chopper do not.


Now, remember that pork tenderloin from the other day? Slice it. Then, send it on a quick trip in the microwave (about 20 seconds or so) to warm it up.


Now, let’s load up the rolls: spread mustard on one side, then layer:

  • Swiss cheese (or provolone, if you prefer)
  • Thinly sliced ham (I used Boar’s Head habanero ham)
  • A Vlasic stacker
  • Pork


And now, you’re ready¬†to grill. Melt some butter in a pan and have another pan ready for pressing purposes.


Do you like my fancy press? In case it’s hard to tell, it’s a frying pan covered by¬†a teakettle filled with water for weight on top. And now, amici, we grill, flip, grill again and it’s time to eat! What else can I say but ‚ôę I like it like that!¬†‚ôę


I got my mojo back–and am back with mojo! If you’ve seen “Chef,” maybe you, too, were inspired by some of the food you saw in the movie¬†and thought: I wanna eat¬†that!¬†Or maybe even, I wanna make that! And, if you haven’t seen the movie, puh-LEASE¬†go out for something delicious to eat, then go see it.

Shortly after I saw¬†“Chef,” I found an article with¬†recipes from the movie. I used that as a jump-off point, crossed it with some good ideas from Epicurious,¬†et voil√†–a delicious mojo for pork tenderloin. A meal so nice, you’ll enjoy it twice–once as a main dish, and the next day as a delicious Cubano!

So, let’s get the party started with a “Bang Bang”–did I mention¬†you’ll love the¬†soundtrack, too?

adapted from Roy Choi, Matt Lee and Tedd Lee

Juice of 3 orange, zest of two of them = 1 1/2 cups juice
1 1/2 lemons and their zest = 1/4 cup juice
2 limes and their zest = 1/4 cup juice
2 tiny jalape√Īos, sliced thin (one normal jalapeno would be great)
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 cup fresh oregano (I just bought a new hot & spicy oregano plant–highly recommend!), finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients. Set aside 2/3 cup of this mixture and refrigerate.


Pour the rest into a sealable plastic bag (a gallon Hefty OneZip works beautifully) with two pounds of pork tenderloin.


Let marinate about eight hours. Remove the pork from the bag and place on a large baking sheet. I put plenty of the chopped herbs, zest and jalapenos on top.

Cook in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F until the pork’s internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, then let the meat rest for three minutes before slicing. I have one of those handy thermometers that beeps outside the oven when it hits the set temperature. In my kitchen, that took somewhere between 30-35 minutes. But, don’t just take it from me, the National Pork Board will tell you no different!


Don’t forget to serve with the 2/3 cup of mojo you set aside. Not only is it crazy delicious as a main meal–it’s a total treat as part of a delicious Cubano the next day.


Club rolls (sorta like these)
Thinly sliced ham (try the habanero ham from Boar’s Head, NOM, NOM!)
Thinly sliced Swiss cheese (or provolone, if you prefer)
Vlasic Stacker dill pickles
Mustard (I prefer Grey Poupon Harvest Coarse Ground)

Slice the rolls in half, spread one side with mustard. Place a layer of cheese, two slices of ham, several slices of warmed-up pork (send on a quick trip to the microwave) to go from end to end, then a pickle. You’re pretty much making a fancy Cuban grilled ham and cheese. Double the pig, double the fun!

Next, in a large frying pan, melt about a teaspoon or so of butter to coat the bottom. Swirl the sandwiches around to get ’em buttered up, then put another frying pan on top to press them. You can also weigh them down with a teakettle on top of the second frying pan. After a few minutes or so, add more butter and flip them over. Once again, press down. And now, we have Cubanos. ‚ô¨¬†BEEP-BEEP, HAAAAAAA!¬†‚ô¨




Wait, what’s your Italian friend going to tell you about making Vietnamese pork meatball banh mi? Plenty because I just made them and they’re delicious! Do you already know about these tasty Vietnamese sandwiches, served with pickled vegetables and a generous slathering of sriracha mayo on a baguette? Or maybe you’ve eaten them out, but never made them at home. Either way, read on!

We’ve got three things to make first–(1) sriracha mayo, (2) pickled veggies and (3) meatballs. Here we go.


Sriracha Mayo
Can make 1 day ahead

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 green onions, sliced thin

Whisk together mayo and sriracha. Stir in onions. Cover and chill.

Pork Meatballs
Can make 1 day ahead–see a pattern here?

1 pound ground pork*
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I used part cinnamon basil, part Basil of Siam)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
3 green onions, sliced thin
1¬Ĺ teaspoons fish sauce* Note: just 1 teaspoon would be fine, too.
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

a tablespoon or more of toasted sesame oil for pan-frying the meatballs
1 cup or more of panko breadcrumbs to roll the meatballs in before cooking

Combine ingredients (EXCEPT sesame oil and panko) gently with your hands. Do not overmix. Roll meat by the tablespoonful to form a ball. Place in a container for storage–I used my roasting dish.

Chill in the fridge. Before you cook them, roll them in panko.

Preheat oven to 300¬įF. Heat sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saut√© until outer edges are nicely golden brown, turning meatballs often and lowering heat to simmer as you go, about 10 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet. Drain sesame oil onto baking sheet; bake in oven 10 minutes.

Pickled Vegetables
Aw, heck, you could make these a day ahead, too.

2 carrots
2 2-inch lengths English (seedless) cucumber, sliced as matchsticks
¬Ĺ daikon radish, sliced as matchsticks
¬ľ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
¬ľ cup sugar
¬ľ teaspoon Kosher salt

In a low dish, toss together the carrots, cucumbers, daikon, vinegar, sugar and salt.

Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. If you won’t be using them right away, you can store them in the fridge.

fresh cilantro
fresh mint (optional)
slices of lime (optional)
jalape√Īo slices (if you like things extra spicy)

Now, let’s put it all together!

Our baguette was easily longer than a foot–cut in thirds to make three sandwiches. If you’d like to make four sandwiches, you’ll want either a bigger baguette or another loaf altogether.

Pull out some of the soft bread to form a shell, which we will slather and stuff as follows. Generously spread sriracha mayo on each baguette half (both sides). Arrange jalape√Īos, then cilantro (and/or mint), in bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of meatballs. Drain pickled vegetables; place atop meatballs. Press on baguette tops. Serve with slices of lime to squeeze over the top of the meatballs, if you like. And don’t forget to include any extra pickled vegetables on the side.

Et voil√†! If you don’t want to eat all the meatballs as banh mi, you can serve some of them over rice or rice noodles with pickled vegetables and some of the pickling liquid (ooh, and chopped cashews or peanuts on top) or throw the meatballs in chicken broth with a bit of rice, a squeeze of lime and some sriracha.

*Local shopping help for those in central Connecticut:
Three Crabs fish sauce – Kien’s Oriental Market, Hartford, CT – they make banh mi, too!
baguette – Hartford Baking Company, Hartford, CT–find them on Fridays, July through October, at Middletown’s North End Farmers’ Market
ground pork – Lino’s Market, Durham, CT

A few months back, a local grinder chain set up shop in my hometown. As the granddaughter of a great grinder maker, I figured I’d be a tough customer. But I quickly became hooked on Nardelli’s and their¬† “classic mix”–chopped olives, onions, peppers. I’m really not sure what else is in the mix, but much as I usually loathe raw onions on a sandwich, it really works! So much so, I had to play at home and put my own spin on it.

First, allow me to introduce one of my favorite sammich-worthy ingredients–hot pepper relish!

If you’re a heat seeker, you’ll want to find some shelf space in the fridge for the Sclafani! Spread it across one piece of bread.

So thin, thin, thin it’s almost transparent–slices of hot soppressata from Public Market and some nice Canadian prosciutto, too. I usually look for prosciuttini (peppered ham), but “prozhutt” is even better! Canadian prosciutto is half the price of Parma, too.

Remember that classic mix I mentioned? Here’s my simplified version: chopped onions, olives and red bell pepper. Tomatoes on the flip side complete the picture. Oh, and since we’re grilling, how can we forget the provolone? It’s hiding under the meat, but you’ll see it later.

This is no small sandwich. See the flecks of rosemary in the olive oil bread, too?

Now, a toast! To lovers of great sandwiches everywhere–CENT’ANNI! And let us toast this panino. But how to do it?

Space prohibits me from having all the toys my heart desires in the kitchen. Luckily, a very clever cat showed me how to make panini without a press.

Drizzle with olive oil.

Got two pans? Look how easy! Give it a gentle squeeze.

That’ll get you this!

But wait–slicing in half shows you just how good it gets!

It’s the good life! May you enjoy it, too–every last bite!