Zucchini, Corn, Black-Bean, and Jack-Cheese Quesadillas

In Mexican On April 11, 2010 2 Comments

Zucchini, Corn, Black-Bean, and Jack-Cheese Quesadillas (photo and recipe by

These quesadillas are a light, healthy, vegetarian entree. They are surprisingly easy to make. My only regret is that I didn’t have a dollop of Daisy to serve with them! Try them with home made salsa verde.


Pasta with Goat Cheese, Lemon, and Asparagus

In pasta, seasonal On April 6, 2010 0 Comments

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Lemon, and Asparagus (photo and recipe by Bon Appetit, June 2010)

I’m not a big fan of goat cheese, but this was really good! It’s seasonal cooking, vegetarian, and fast food all in one, and the  perfect reason to buy a pound of fresh asparagus. I served it with leftover Sauteed Chicken Paillards With Artichoke Hearts and a fruit cup of strawberries and pineapple.


Mary’s Hummus with Toasted Pita Chips

In appetizer, Middle Eastern, snack, vegetarian On April 5, 2010 6 Comments

Mary’s Hummus with Toasted Pita Chips (recipe by “Oishii!”)

My friend Mary from Klassy Cut in the Andersonville neighborhood taught me how to make her hummus. It’s as easy as pulsing a food processor, and unlike the flat flavor of store bought hummus, the individual flavors of the garlic, tahini, and lemon come alive when you make it fresh. The only trick is finding tahini, which I purchase at a local Middle Eastern grocery store.



  • 1 can garbanzo beans (drained)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more to garnish
  • little bit of warm water
  • kosher salt
  • optional garnishes: fresh parsley, paprika, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, etc.

pita chips:

  • 5 small loaves of pita bread, or 7.5 ounces
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano



Add to food processor garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, and kosher salt. Process all ingredients. Adjust olive oil to taste. Put in serving bowl and sprinkle extra extra olive oil on top if you wish. Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley, paprika, tomato slices, etc.

pita chips:

Preheat oven to 375 °F.  Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Tear by hand the double-layered pita into single layers of bread. Cut these half circles of pita into bite-sized triangular pieces. Spread out pita pieces onto baking pan sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, kosher salt, and dried oregano. Bake in oven 10 minutes or until toasted light brown.


Great with falafel sandwiches, or for a healthy snack or appetizer serve with pita chips, cucumber slices, and carrot sticks. For a similar recipe, try Mary’s Baba Ghanoush and Toasted Pita Chips. If you like tahini, Jersusalam Salad is nice too.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review:

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Michael’s Wisconsin-Style Fried Rice

In asian, Japanese, Thai On April 2, 2010 1 Comment

Michael’s Wisconsin-Style Fried Rice (recipe by “Oishii”)

This is my interpretation of fried rice, with a Wisconsin flair. OK–there isn’t such a thing as Wisconsin-style fried rice. This is my idea of humor, and it comes from a strange place because I am a Wisconsinite who has lived in Japan and has adapted some interesting culinary habits. I usually make fried rice with smoked sausage or bratwurst, and it is a time-tested master recipe of mine. Note that fried rice requires “day-old” rice, which is not as sticky, and I detail how to make it below.  Like any Japanese household I cook my rice in a rice maker, but if you prefer to follow stove-top directions that is fine.


  • 3 cups cooked (“day old”) Japanese rice (Kokuho Rose, Botan, or Nishiki brands)
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 ounces of cooked bratwurst or smoked sausage, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1  1/2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup frozen mixed vegetables (corn, peas, and carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 scallions, chopped (use white and green parts)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • kosher salt


Make “day old rice” one day in advance: Measure out rice and water according to package directions and add to rice maker. Rinse several times with water until the water is no longer chalky. Add water back to rice maker to the measured level and let it set for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. Cook rice. When rice is finished, let it cool, and then put it in a freezer bag. Break up the rice in the bag so it doesn’t stick together. Put freezer bag in refrigerator or freezer to allow rice to dry out over night. This is crucial. Take rice out of refrigerator or freezer. Thaw if taking out of freezer. Break up the rice inside the bag again.

Beat eggs in a small bowl. Set aside.

In another small bowl mix bratwurst or smoked sausage with cornstarch and sesame oil. Heat a very large fry pan or wok on high heat and coat with vegetable oil. Fry bratwurst or smoked sausage mixture until it starts to brown. Add garlic and stir. Fry a minute more.

Stir in the rice and push contents of pan over to one side. Almost half of the pan will be empty. Add beaten eggs to empty side of pan. Pretend you are making an omelet. Let eggs set on edges, push edges down a bit with flat rubber spatula, swirl runnny eggs under edge, and fold set eggs over runny part. When omelet is still a little runny, gently fold rice mixture on top of it.

Quickly stir in oyster sauce and soy sauce. Add scallions and mixed veggies to rice and omelet mixture. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with additional soy sauce if desired.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I develop in my test kitchen. My inspiration comes from cooking magazines (Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine), cookbooks, blogs, online food communities such as, popular restaurants, tv shows, friends, and family.

Now it’s your turn. Do you make fried rice? In what variations? We would love to hear from you if you enjoyed this post. -Michael

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Sauteed Chicken Paillards With Artichoke Hearts

In poultry, seasonal On March 31, 2010 6 Comments

Sauteed Chicken Paillards With Artichoke Hearts (recipe by Bon Appetit, April 2010)

I think I have discovered a kitchen prep task more dreadful than peeling pearl onions, getting to the heart of the artichoke. I had always been intimidated by the prospect of preparing fresh artichokes. So much for being a fearless chef. My friend Steve noted that “somebody had to be pretty hungry to figure out how to eat one of those.” Not only is it a daunting task to reach the heart, but it left me scratching my head wondering “is that all?” I’ll admit I’m not even sure if I did it right. Maybe there is a YouTube video to watch. Luckily I compost. I quickly filled up my kitchen compost bucket with the leaves and fuzzy mess, and proceeded to finish off with what is a delicious chicken dish.

I did follow the recipe closely, including using the fresh tarragon which the recipe called for, instead of reaching for my favored fresh thyme growing in the window. However, next time I will probably use frozen artichoke hearts instead of the three fresh ones. I have finally found a source for frozen artichoke hearts at Trader Joes.

pairing ideas: Serve the chicken paillards with roasted asparagus, long grain or basmati rice, or Israeli Couscous With Asparagus, Peas, and Sugar Snaps.

another recipe idea: While I was making this I recalled another chicken recipe I love Zesty Braised Chicken With Lemon and Capers.

update: I remade the chicken paillards with 2 cups of frozen artichoke hearts and it also turned out well.

Thai red curry beef

In asian On March 24, 2010 0 Comments

Thai red curry beef

If you can find a few basic asian ingredients such as red curry paste (which comes in a small can), fish sauce, and coconut milk, you are in for a real treat. This is what I would consider Thai fast food. Reheats great for lunch at the office too.


Fresh Strawberry Pie With Whipped Cream

In desserts On March 20, 2010 0 Comments

Fresh Strawberry Pie With Whipped Cream

I love strawberry pie. It reminds me of my Grandma Beyer, who made all sorts of fruit pies. I also have fond memories of helping my grandpa pick strawberries in his patch during my summer vacations as a kid. I like this recipe because I find making standard pie crust to be a chore, and this one uses crushed up shortbread cookies, which are delicious and easy to use. I purchase Pepperidge Farm ones, but some day I’m going to try making my own cookies to use in the crust. I had problems with the gelatin filling setting (“mounding”), so I stuck in the freezer for awhile and that seemed to do the trick. If the filling doesn’t set properly the crust will get soggy. This isn’t the prettiest pie at the state fair, but the taste earns it a blue ribbon in my opinion.


Pork and Poblano Tamale Pie

In Mexican On March 13, 2010 0 Comments

Pork and Poblano Tamale Pie (recipe by

New taste sensation, at least for me. This one dish wonder with pork filling and cornbread topping tastes like a chicken pot pie that is re-imagined with Mexican flavors. It was quite time consuming to make, but I broke it up into parts this week, including prepping and making the filling ahead. It worked out quite well. I popped it into the oven after coming home from the gym this morning, and “presto magic,” it was done. I would definitely try it again. Next time I’ll make sure the filling is somewhat thicker before putting the cornbread topping on it.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review:

Join “Oishii!” on Facebook

Spaghetti Carbonara with Green Peas

In pasta, seasonal On March 11, 2010 0 Comments

Spaghetti Carbonora with Green Peas

I love spaghetti carbonara, but only make it on rare occasion due to the high amount of cream and fat contained in it. I splurged and tried this version with green peas. In addition to the robins singing and daffodils poking their heads out of the ground now, these kinds of recipes are a reminder that spring is almost here. I substituted bacon for pancetta and did not discard the garlic.


Chicken Parmesan Burgers

In favorite, poultry On March 6, 2010 0 Comments

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

These are the best sandwiches I ever made. They have ingredients I love such as fresh parmesan and mozzarella, marinara sauce, basil, and french bread. I turned them into sliders. I did substitute spinach for radicchio. This will definitely be a recipe I come back to over and over again.