Garlicky Linguine with Seared Shrimp, Chipotle and Queso Anejo

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When I saw the Mojo de Ajo episode of Mexico: One Plate at a Time I knew I had to make it. Rick Bayless calls it liquid gold and made several recipes with it on the show. His daughter even used it on popcorn!

This recipe is especially good as I always have shrimp, pasta and chiptles in adobo available.  I made the mojo a couple of weeks ago. It was a bit time consuming to peel four heads of garlic. No matter how good my aim is skins always end up on the floor. After that you just slow roast the garlic in olive oil and add lime juice. Your house will smell wonderful!

The shrimp dish has amazing depth of flavor and was not too spicy for my pepper averting boyfriend. And once you have the mojo made this couldn't be easier.

I've posted both recipes below.

Slow Roasted Garlic Mojo

Mojo de Ajo
Makes about 3 cups mojo de ajo (made with 2 cups of oil)
Recipe from Season 7  Mexico - One Plate at a Time


4 large heads garlic
       OR 10 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 or 3 cups fruity olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice


Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly. 

Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8x8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. 

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.  (If you’re using the larger quantity of oil, ladle off 1 cup—no garlic cloves—and store it in a cool dry place for use in salad dressing or sautéing.) 

Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree.  Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy some deliciousness. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.


Garlicky Linguine with Seared Shrimp, Chipotle and Queso Anejo

Pasta al Mojo de Ajo con Camarones, Chipotle y Queso Anejo
Serves 8 as a first course, 4 to 6 as a main dish
Recipe from Season 7  Mexico - One Plate at a Time


2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and (if you wish) deveined
1 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and finely chopped
1 pound dried linguine
2 or 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro
3/4 cup grated Mexican queso anejo, Parmesan or Romano


Fill a very large (6- to 8-quart) pot about 2/3 full of water.  Add 2 tablespoons salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, spoon 2 tablespoons of the oil from the mojo into a very large (12-inch) skillet.  Set over medium-high heat.  Pat the shrimp dry, sprinkle with salt and, when the oil is hot, lay them in the skillet.  Cook until the shrimp just lose their translucency in the center, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped chile(s) and the rest of the mojo. 

Slide the pasta into the boiling water, stir, then let boil until the pasta is as done as you like—usually about 6 minutes for al dente linguine. 

Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then pour the pasta into a colander set in a sink. Return the pasta and the 1/2 cup water to the pot.  Scrape in the shrimp mixture, sprinkle with the chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro, toss together and divide among warm plates.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve without hesitation.

Eating Well's Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce with Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

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This is definitely going on my regular rotation!!!

The chicken was moist and the sauce was creamy with a bit of tang. The recipe calls for the chicken to be pounded into paillards but I felt like skipping that step. They probably would have cooked faster but other than that I didn't see the point.

Jim thought the cauliflower was potatoes. Hahaha. I've made the South Beach diet version but I like these better. Definitely a great side dish.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Creamy Chive Sauce
Eating Well  December 2005 January/ 2006

4 servings | Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 pound), trimmed of fat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives, (about 1 bunch)


  1. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Season both sides of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow glass baking dish and dredge the chicken in it. Discard the excess flour.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour; stir to coat. Add wine, broth and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil, stirring often.
  4. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until heated through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard until smooth; turn the chicken to coat with the sauce. Stir in chives and serve immediately.


Per serving : 244 Calories; 9 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 72 mg Cholesterol; 1 g Carbohydrates; 26 g Protein; 0 g Fiber; 679 mg Sodium; 334 mg Potassium
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

From EatingWell:  February/March 2005, The EatingWell Diabetes Cookbook (2005)

4 servings, 3/4 cup each | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 8 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Snipped fresh chives for garnish


  1. Place cauliflower florets and garlic in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover and steam until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place florets and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup water, cover and microwave on High for 3 to 5 minutes.)
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower and garlic in a food processor. Add buttermilk, 2 teaspoons oil, butter, salt and pepper; pulse several times, then process until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and garnish with chives, if desired. Serve hot.


Per serving : 107 Calories; 7 g Fat; 1 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 3 mg Cholesterol; 10 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 339 mg Sodium; 288 mg Potassium

Momofuku Fried Chicken with Octo Vinaigrette and Asian Style Slaw

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OK this book is officially one of my all time favorites! Everything I have made has been excellent and there's only one dish I won't try because it involves a whole pigs head. Not that I'm opposed to whole pigs heads but I really don't want to make that effort. And I'm not sure my boyfriend is that open minded about cuts of meat you don't find at the grocery store. I suppose I should never say never though....

I wasn't looking for another fried chicken recipe but David Chang's version is supposed to be stupendous. And since I haven't shelved the book since I bought it I decided to make this one too.  I was wondering how it compared to the excellent Sukhamvit Soi Five Fried Chicken Recipe I made HERE. I loved that chicken!

As with Chang's pork recipes there are more steps with downtime; brining and steaming before frying and then tossing in a vinaigrette but it makes for some juicy fried chicken. The breast meat was not dry at all! I didn't fry in a pan because I like to use my Fry Daddy to avoid mess. So there!

The chicken was very good with the vinaigrette but I prefer a breaded skin.  My boyfriend agreed on that point but thought the chicken was excellent without breading and went back for seconds.

I served the chicken with Jasmine Rice and Dave Lieberman's most excellent Asian Style Slaw found HERE. Seriously if you don't try the chicken try the slaw. Yum!

Momofuku Fried Chicken

4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
One 3- to 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces - 2 legs, 2 breast halves with wings attached (I used 2 split breasts and 4 thighs)
4 cups grapeseed or other neutral cooking oil
Octo Vinaigrette (Recipe follows)

  1. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a large container with a lid or a large freezer bag, and stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Add the chicken to the brine, cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and no more than 6.
  2. Set up a steamer on the stove. Drain the chicken and discard the brine. Put the chicken in the steamer basket (if you are using a stacking Chinese-style bamboo steamer, put the legs in the bottom level and the breast on the top). Turn the heat to medium and set the lid of the steamer ever so slightly ajar. Steam the chicken for 40 minutes, then remove it from the steamer and put it on a cooling rack to cool. Chill it in the refrigerator, preferably on the rack, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you fry it.
  4. In a deep skillet, heat enough oil for the chicken to be submerged to 375F. Fry the chicken in batches, turning once, until the skin is deep drown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  5. Cut the chicken into a few pieces: cut the wing from the breast, cut the breast in half, cut through the knee to separate the thigh from the drumstick. Put in a large bowl, toss with the vinaigrette, and serve hot.

Octo Vinaigrette:

2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 fresh bird's eye-chili, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
2 tbsp grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/4 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
Fresh ground black pepper
Combine the garlic, ginger, chile, vinegar, soy, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, sugar, and a few turns of black pepper in a lidded container and shake well to mix. This will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days, and is good on everything except ostrich eggs, which is really more the ostrich's fault than the vinaigrette's.

Note: When preparing the garlic and ginger for this recipe, make sure to take your time and work your knife skills: small, even pieces of garlic and ginger (not the mush that a garlic press or a ginger grater creates) really make a difference. Big bits of raw garlic can have an acrid sting: chunks of ginger will deliver a too-spicy blast can be unpleasantly fibrous.

Momofuku's Pork Buns

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I really wish I could try these at the Momofuku restaurant for a point of reference. I know people who have and they've said they couldn't stop eating them and even had dreams about them. With endorsements like those how could I not try the recipe in the book?

The verdict....

Holy crap are they ever good!!!! David Chang's are probably better but my little buggers are addictive! I'm really glad I only kept 4 buns out and sent the rest of them and the meat to the freezer. These are totally worth the full day commitment and there's plenty of inactive time to get things like laundry and housework done.

I made the pork in the early morning. The pork recipe is really simple.Rub, bake, refrigerate and slice.

The buns were a bit trickier for me because I sucked at rolling them into the perfectly formed clamshell buns in the book. I used my food scale which helped and despite their non uniformity they still tasted good.

Chang says cutting the recipe in half doesn't work. That's OK because we'll definitely finish these off and I'll make another batch.

Full recipe and picture of Chang's prettier bun is HERE. I think these directions for the buns are a bit easier than in the book. I also used my bamboo steamer. I also should have stuffed mine with more pork belly.

It doesn't mention to quick pickle the cucumber slices, which I thought added more flavor than plain cukes. All you do is slice 2 kirby cukes into 1/8 inch slices (the mandoline is my friend here). Toss with 1 tbs sugar and 1 tsp salt. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Taste and if the slices are too salty or sweet, rinse in a colander and taste again and adjust sugar or salt and let sit for an additional 5-10 minutes Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Greek Salad with Sardines

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 This is fantastic even without the sardines! And healthy. I used the sardines since I've overcome my ambivalence. I actually like them now. I do prefer Crown Prince Brisling in olive oil as they are milder.

I marinated the stinkers in the dressing while I was chopping the vegetables. And I used grape tomatoes because regular tomatoes are gross when they're out of season. The salad was great in a pita or you could serve it on a bed of greens. Or just eat it as it is.

Recipe courtesy of Eating Well Magazine May/June 2010.

The fresh, tangy elements of a Greek salad—tomato, cucumber, feta, olives and lemony vinaigrette—pair well with rich-tasting sardines. Look for sardines with skin and bones (which are edible) as they have more than four times the amount of calcium as skinless, boneless sardines. If you’re lucky enough to have fresh sardines available in your supermarket, try them in place of the canned sardines. Lightly dredge them in salt-and-pepper-seasoned flour and sauté them in a little olive oil. Serve with: Warm pita bread and a cold beer. 

4 servings, about 2 cups each
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 1 large English cucumber, cut into large chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons sliced Kalamata olives
  • 2 4-ounce cans sardines with bones, packed in olive oil or water, drained


  1. Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, oregano and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Add tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, feta, onion and olives; gently toss to combine. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with sardines.


Per serving: 320 calories; 19 g fat (4 g sat, 10 g mono); 67 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber; 686 mg sodium; 587 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (35% daily value), Calcium (26% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Potassium (17% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 3 fat