Saturday, September 03, 2016

Amy's Luscious Larb

From the kitchen of the lovely Amy Langenstein

Larb is the national dish of Laos. This is a relatively easy, lowfat and delicious recipe, and great for a light summer meal. Don't worry about making too much - it makes great leftovers as the ingredients marinate together.


  • 1-3 pounds of ground turkey
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • Fish sauce
  • 1 red hot peper or red chili flakes to taste
  • ~10 limes, juiced
  • Romaine lettuce (for lettuce wraps)

Cook turkey in broth or water and then strain liquid away. Chop veggies and mix with the turkey. Add Fish sauce, chili and lime to taste. Serve with romaine lettuce for wraps.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

First dinner in my new house - Tilapia in Red Curry

New research says that eating fish just once a week contributes to overall brain health and staves off dementia. I've never been very adept at cooking fish, so I thought I'd use this as a catalyst to get myself going and damn if I'm not proud of the first attempt!

Tilapia with Red Curry Sauce

  • .5 lb Tilapia filet (fresh from Whole Foods)
  • One fresh Cherokee tomato (thanks, Mom!)
  • A handful of green beens 
  • One lime
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 bottle of Trader Joe's Red Curry sauce
  • Salt to taste
Make the farro first - simmer 1 cup of farro with 3 cups of water and a couple of pinches of salt for 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

Trim the green beans and cut into 1" sections. Put 1" of water in the bottom of a frying pan (to be used for fish later), and bring the cut green beens to a simmer, then shut off the heat. Strain the beans and set aside. Chop the tomato into bite-sized sections and set aside.

Sprinkle the Tilapia filet with salt and squeed a section of lime on each side. Heat ~1-2 tsp of olive oil in the frying pan, and cook the Tilapia filet for 3 minutes per side. Once the filet appears to be mostly cooked (flesh is opaque), add the tomatoes and green beens back into the pan.  Pour 1/2 of the bottle of red curry sauce over the fish and vegetables and squeeze in the remainder of the lime. Simmer for a minute until all ingredients are heated through.

Serve the fish and vegetables over the top of several spoonfuls of farro. Makes two servings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Day in Madrid

Sometimes traveling for work is a blessing; sometimes it's a curse. But, I am truly grateful for the opportunities I've had for excursions big and small, and to have my eyes opened to daily life in other countries, even when it comes in the midst of a whirlwind of flight connections, hotels, meetings, and three countries in as many days.  Today, I started one of those weeks, and to boot, I'm traveling to two cities that I would love to spend more time in, Madrid and Lisbon, with just a skosh less than 36 hours to allow either city and their respectively rich histories.

My concession to the bucket list was to take an afternoon stroll around the sights in central Madrid. With some recommendations from my favorite Spaniard in hand, off I toddled for a tapas lunch at Taverna Almendro 13, tucked away in La Latina. The "Oferta" del dia was a tasty selection of tuna salad with marinated tomatoes, peppers, and chopped hard boiled eggs, and lomo de ajo (pork cooked with garlic) atop a mound of homemade potato crisps. The waiter looked a bit offended and asked if I hadn't liked the salad when I didn't finish all of that, plus the four potato croquettes he gave me. They say Americans go crazy with portions, but Almendro was giving the Cheesecake Factory a run for its money with this menu-for-one.

After lunch, I wandered through the Puerta del Sol, and the spokes of streets filled with shops that hub off of the plaza. I treated myself to lovely painted abanicos (fans) at Casa de Diego as a souvenir to take home - I may need to learn some flamenco moves so that they can fulfill their purpose in life, but they were too lovely to pass up. After a thorough exploration of the shopping and monuments around the plaza, I ponied up to the standing coffee bar at La Mallorquina for some cafe con leche and an ensaimada with three Madrid matrons wearing mink coats - the Spaniards do not want for style.

Late afternoon was casting long shadows as I strolled through the Plaza Mayor and onward to el Museo Prado.  Madrid, washed in the deepening light of a Fall sunset is truly lovely.  There were corridors of trees with gold leaves and occasional glows of red foliage. Church facades and statues lit up as the sun dropped behind the skyline and the sky blushed toward evening.  I gave my feet a rest, sitting on one of the stone benches outside el Prado, soaking it all in, and then wandered through the church, unable to resist the play of light that was turning its stones the loveliest shade of pink.  I finished my walking tour by answering the siren's call that no American in Europe can long resist - a big cup of coffee and the wifi and easy chairs at Starbuck's. Then, it was onwards to the metro and back to our briskly efficient, but welcoming Hotel Maydrit, to meet Antonio and a partner for a surprisingly excellent meal of grilled asparagus with jamon iberico, fideua, and tiramisu at the hotel restaurant.

Business accomplished, and a bit of culture soaked in - now on to Lisbon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Georgia's Garden Spaghetti Sauce

Hearty meals, canning and putting up soup for quick dinners to be had later all seem like home to me. And, now that Tahoe is my sometime home, it's a part of the cabin experience as well.  I always seem to have more time for cooking and enjoying family dinners when I'm up in the mountains.  It's part of what has made the last few ski seasons wonderful, and hopefully is the beginning of a lifetime of memories.

A few weeks ago, Mom came up and lent an expert hand to the process by making homemade spaghetti sauce.  In true Mackh-family style, the recipe is a dash here, a handful there, a smidge of this, and a dab of that, but you may attempt to replicate it at your own risk, using the ingredients below.  It was (and is) delicious, thanks to my super-talented mother.  Grandma Enid would have been proud of us!


4 cans of Trader Joe's tomatoes
2 cans of Trader Joe's tomato paste (rinse cans and put water in the sauce)
1 can of organic pumpkin (plain, unsweetened)
Fennel seed, Oregano, Marjoram, Basil, Pimenton, to taste
4 cloves of garlic
2 big onions
2 large packages of mushrooms - shiitakes and baby Portabellas
3 big carrots, grated
3 zucchini, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 cup red wine
2 packages (8 links) of spicy chicken Italian sausage
Chopped greens, parsley or kale, added just before serving

Carmelize the onions and garlic in a bit of water at the bottom of your stock pot.  Shred the carrots and zucchini and add them to the mix.  Slice the mushrooms and add to the pot, then add your spices, pumpkin, tomatoes, red wine, lemon juice and tomato paste.  Allow the mixture to cook on low or medium heat for a few hours.  Add more liquid (water, wine, lemon juice), to thin the sauce if desired. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated and thoroughly cooked, the pasta sauce is ready to serve.  Immediately before serving, chop fresh parsley or other greens and stir into the hot sauce to provide fresh green color and contrast. Boo-yaa!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Chicken Shooting Star

There is something cozy about making soup in the winter, and what better place to do it than at a mountain cabin? Lauren and I were inspired by two leftover roast chickens and a partially unfinished bottle of white wine, et voila! Chicken Shooting Star Soup

Do you remember the Indian shooting star icon,
 that would get you a free Tootsie Pop
if you found one on the wrapper?
  • Two chicken carcasses
  • Two onions
  • Two lemons
  • Fresh thyme (4-5 sprigs)
  • Star pasta (one package, from Fresh & Easy)
  • 5 large carrots
  • One small/medium bunch of celery
  • One leek
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white wine

Caramelize the onions slightly at the bottom of a stock pot.  Add in 1 cup of white wine and simmer for a few minutes.  Add your chicken carcasses and cover with fresh, cold water until fully submerged.  Strip the thyme from its twigs and add the leaves to the pot.  Add one tablespoon of salt and ~1 teaspoon of ground pepper.  Squeeze the two lemons and add the juice to the soup. If desired, you can cut 2-3 lemon slices and float them in the pot, removing them later at the straining stage. Bring the soup to temperature and simmer for several hours, or overnight.

Remove the chicken bones using a handheld strainer, or by pouring through a colander. Cut any chicken meat into bite-sized pieces and return them to the broth. Slice the carrots, celery and leek into slender pieces and add them to the broth, stirring each element into the soup.  Add the package of star pasta, stir and cover the pot.  The soup can either cook slowly over low heat for several hours, or if you have time to watch the pot, you can turn up the temperature to reduce cooking time.  Taste the soup and add additional salt, pepper and lemon if needed.

The end result is a hearty chicken and vegetable soup.  We served it with homemade pizza and got solid reviews from the guests.  I will definitely try this concoction again!