Two favorites from the Coast Guard galley in San Pedro:
Baked Cajun Pasta (serves 6-8)
1 quart heavy cream
1 red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco
2 cups Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1 yellow bell pepper
1 onion, small dice
3 links andouille sausage
2 chicken breasts (boneless/skinless)
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 pound pepper jack cheese, shredded
Place heavy cream in a medium sauce pot on medium heat and reduce by half.
While heavy cream is reducing, roast all of the peppers over an open fire, being careful to char only the outside skin. Once roasted, peel away the charred skin and take out the seeds. Reserve.
Add cayenne pepper, Gorgonzola, mascarpone and the roasted red peppers to the reduced heavy cream. Stir in with a whisk to mix thoroughly. Finish sauce with Tabasco and salt. (Note: Sauce should be a little salty because you will be adding pasta to it later.)
Boil pasta until two-thirds of the way done, drain and reserve.
In a wide shallow pot, cook the sausage on low heat until a lot of the fat has melted out. Add the onion to the pot and cook until transparent. Add the roasted yellow pepper and cook an additional five minutes. Reserve.
Combine garlic powder, paprika, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl. With your spice mixture, season the chicken. Pan-fry or grill the chicken to an internal temperature of 170 degrees or until the thickest part of the breast is completely white. Cut the chicken into small strips and reserve.
In a large baking dish combine pasta, vegetable and sausage mixture, chicken and the sauce until ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the pan. (Note: The mixture should be pretty loose and very moist. The pasta will absorb a lot of the liquid as the pasta finishes cooking in the oven.) Top with the shredded pepper jack cheese and bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.
Bread Pudding (serves 4-6)
1/2 loaf rich bread (brioche or Texas toast style)
1 quart heavy cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup rum
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup raisins
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Cut bread into half-inch cubes and place on a cookie sheet pan.
Place bread into oven at 325 degrees and cook until golden brown.
In a large mixing bowl combine heavy cream, eggs, 1 1/4 cups of sugar and the salt. Separately combine 1 1/4 tablespoons of cinnamon and 1/4 cup of rum, and then mix into egg mixture.
In a hotel pan combine the egg mixture, dried bread and raisins. Mix until the bread has become soaked, then let sit five minutes.
Place into a casserole or cake pan. Choose a baking container that gives you a 2-inch depth for the bread pudding. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees covered with tin foil. Bake until the bread pudding is lightly firm to the touch but still slightly moist, approximately 45 minutes.
Combine remaining cinnamon and sugar. Uncover the bread pudding and brush the melted butter on the surface, then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture evenly over the top, then bake again for an additional five minutes.
Once baked, allow to cool for up to three hours.
For sauce, combine sweetened condensed milk and remaining ingredients.
Drizzle sauce over the top and serve warm.
Recipes by U.S. Coast Guard Food Service Specialist Second Class Ryan Rainstar.