This Dame Cooks A Collection of Recipes from Alaska to the South Pacific and Caribbean

Quick Seafood Pasta

06.12.2013 · Posted in Main Dishes

Seafood Pasta

Seafood Pasta

Italian pasta with simple or complex sauces is universal fare now-a-days.  The variety of pasta shapes is numerous also; everything from bow-ties, little hats, manicotti, gnocchi, and sea shells to linguini, spaghetti, fettuccine, and paparadelle noodles.  You can’t pick up a magazine without seeing a pasta recipe with a new twist, they simply are everywhere.  Even before the Romans, Italy grew the durum wheat for pasta.  The Romans baked their pasta rather like lasagna. However, it was some time before Italians boiled pasta.  Marco Polo is responsible for re-introducing pasta to Italy in a new form… Chinese noodles.  For a more complete history of Italian pasta and tomato sauce, go to

This quick and easy pasta sauce is ready in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta to al dente.  The mix of seafood includes squid, crab, shrimp, mussels and steamer clams.  Mixed seafood is available in most supermarket freezers or at your local fish monger.  This sauce also works with flaked marlin, swordfish, halibut, or tuna.  Get creative and add one of your favorite ingredients… perhaps capers, sweet peas, ramps, mushrooms, or cardoons.

Ingredients: – makes 4 servings

  • 1 pound pasta noodles
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 pound mixed seafood
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped tops and bulbs
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 sprig tarragon, chopped or ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • Pinch of marjoram or oregano
  • Couple dashes of Tabasco sauce or red pepper flakes to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Bring large pot of water with 1 Tbsp salt to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water until it is al dente.
  3. Drain and hold.
  4. In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter until it froths.  Add the scallions, garlic, shallots, and seafood.  Sauté until aromatic and the shrimp are pink, about 3 minutes.  The seafood will be slightly undercooked at this point.  Remove from skillet.
  5. Add wine to the skillet and reduce to half, about 6 minutes.
  6. Slowly add cream, whisking gently so that the cream thickens.
  7. Add tarragon, marjoram, salt and pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Stir  in seafood to combine.
  8. Toss with boiled noodles, plate, pour the remaining sauce over, and garnish with the parsley.

Navajo Fried Bread and Chili with Chorizo Sausage

05.25.2013 · Posted in Breads, Main Dishes, Recipes

Chile and Navajo BreadAnother rainy day in paradise complete with thunder that just about makes you jump out of your skin.  Hurricanes are swirling around Puerto Rico so its time to get out the lanterns, replenish the water supply and cook up some staples.  The Western side of Puerto Rico will probably just get the tail winds but it’s still a bit unnerving.

Comfort food is the ticket to soothe those frazzled nerves.  This chili is made with locally made  chorizo sausage, 3 kinds of mild chilies and red beans.  Make it as spicy hot as you like with jalapeno, habanera or cayenne but if you like your chili mild just use chili powder. In any case, it really goes down easy with Navajo fried bread…crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Whether you use the fried bread for a scoop or pile the chili on the bread and top it with lettuce, cheese and guacamole it is to die for. You can also split it open and fill the pocket with taco ingredients or honey and butter.  Yes, fried bread is just as good as a sweet pastry as it is a vehicle for savory bites.  Try it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream – WOW!

Fried bread is easy to make, doesn’t require any yeast or kneading, and puffs up like a pita bread.  You can pat them out to 5-inch in diameter or roll them out larger.  The thinner they are the faster they fry but the smaller the pockets.  Olive oil is not recommended because it will not hold up to high heat.  Use a vegetable oil suitable for deep frying.  Use a 10-inch skillet with 1/8 to 1/4-inch of oil in the bottom.  Heat the oil to 350° F. or hot enough to cause bubbles to rise when a tiny piece of dough is dropped into the oil.

Ingredients for 4 Navajo Fried Breads:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup tepid water
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Heat a skillet and oil over medium high heat.
  2. In a small bowl, place flour, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and mix together with a spoon.  Add enough of the remaining water to form a soft ball of dough.  Don’t over work the dough.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and place the dough on the flour.  Divide the dough into 4 even pieces.  Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a 4 or 5-inch disk.
  5. Fry each piece for 1 minute on each side until golden brown.  You may need to lower the heat if the bread fries too brown too quickly.
  6. Remove fried bread to paper towels.  If your oil was the right temperature there should be very little oil absorbed by the towels.

Check out this video demo

Check out my recipe for Chili with Homemade Turkey Sausage Just substitute chorizo or hamburger for the Turkey Sausage.




Container Herb Garden with Recycled Plastic Containers

05.07.2013 · Posted in What's New with This Dame


Don’t throw those plastic jugs away…they make perfect self-watering containers for growing herbs.  With the right soil combo and seeds you can grow your own herbs on your patio, porch or balcony.  It really is easy, cost effective and nothing beats cooking with fresh herbs.

There are a number of videos on YouTube demonstrating how to make a plant container with a water reservoir so that the plants soak up the water they need and you don’t have to worry about over-watering or under-watering them.  Also, the soil nutrients will not wash out from watering them from the top.  The soil mixture I used is Miracle Grow Potting soil and Peat Moss in 4:1 ratio.  In just one week all the seeds geminated.  The photo above was taken today, just 3 weeks since sowing the seeds.  There are half-gallon milk jugs with tarragon and sage, 1-gallon juice bottle with thyme, and  a Clorox bottle with cherry tomato.  I also have a milk jug of mint and one with dill.  Five gallon containers are holding Roma tomatoes and basil.  I also have rosemary and chives growing in regular planters.  Cilantro and Italian parsley will be added shortly.

Bugs are a major problem here in the tropics and diatomaceous earth which is food safe and organic works well.  A mosquito net works the best for big bushes like basil and tomatoes keeping the bug problem well under control.

I have a new solar dehydrator that a friend built from my plans and it will get a workout when the tomatoes are harvested.  Can’t wait.  I love sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, on focaccia and in couscous.

And so these herbs don’t go to waste I’ll be drying some for storage and preserving some in olive oil with feta cheese and olives and  selling some fresh herbs at the Sunday Farmers Market.

Check out this video on how to make self-watering containers…

Next up -  Salad for National Salad Month

Teriyaki Chicken Made with Orange Marmalade

05.06.2013 · Posted in Main Dishes

Teriyaki ChickenThis simple recipe is from runnyrunny999 on YouTube.  Its just 3 ingredients all of which I had on hand and thought it would be a good way to use up my last jar of homemade marmalade and a few chicken tenders.  The teri is the shine and the yaki is the grilling and hence teriyaki is barbequed chicken but for a quick preparation you can do this in a non-stick skillet in about 15 minutes.  Its caramelized sweet soy and tangy orange glazed chicken without all the basting and waiting.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.  Serve with jasmine rice and your fav veggie.


  • 1 lb chicken boneless thighs or tenders
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I like Kikkoman)
  • 1/3 cup Orange Marmalade (homemade is best)


  1. Salt and pepper chicken and heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Saute chicken until lightly browned on all sides.  Remove chicken to a plate.
  3. Add soy sauce and marmalade to the center of the pan and stir until smooth.  Cook sauce until it thickens and add back the chicken.
  4. Continue cooking and turning the chicken pieces in the sauce until the chicken is done and the glaze is shiny.

Spinach Soup with Greek Yogurt in a Mug

04.25.2013 · Posted in Recipes, Soups

Spinach SoupYou can’t get much healthier than fresh baby spinach soup with Greek Yogurt laced with plenty of fresh dill.  This is pure comfort food and all homemade!  Often I grab a mug of some soupy concoction for a quick lunch.  It may be tomato soup, chicken noodle or minestrone but always homemade so I know what is in it.  Fresh vegetables in season are just the ticket to a quick, delicious and nutritious soup like this spinach soup… loaded with iron and vitamins.  A mug lends a little portion control which is my major food challenge.  Even healthy food can be fattening if you over-do-it.

Spinach was pretty common in our house when I was a kid.  The Popeye cartoon series was all the rage then and parents exploited it so we had no choice but to eat it and learn to like it.  Mom drizzled a little vinegar on canned spinach to give it a little bright flavor and she  made fresh spinach frittatas (quasado) and spinach salads which were full of flavor. Early exposure is the trick to teaching children to eat vegetables.  Growing your own vegetables with the kids is another way to develop their taste for vegetables.  They’ll love eating what they have helped to grow…back in the day, we certainly did.


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and sliced thin (or shredded)
  • 1 package prewashed baby spinach (about 12 oz.)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (homemade is best)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • Greek yogurt or creme fraiche to garnish


  1. Warm a stock pot over medium heat, add oil and when oil is warm add garlic.  Saute for 30 seconds and add potato.  Salt and pepper lightly and cook until potato starts to soften.
  2. Add all the spinach at once and stir fry until its soft.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to a lively simmer.
  3. When the potatoes are done, remove from heat, stir in the fresh dill and lemon juice.  Whiz with an immersion blender or puree in a blender or food processor.
  4.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Garnish with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of dill.