Valentine’s Day Ideas: Home cooking is Best!

The dish I’m proposing for your Valentine is surprise, surprise – an Italian dish made in my wok!  Valentine’s is all about the table presentation and ambience!  A simple table setting with pop of color from red napkins, centerpiece with low flower arrangement, a must are red candles and you’re set!


This pasta dish coincides with a theme for this month’s #LetsLunch, a virtual lunch with food bloggers from around the world (see below for lots more noodle dishes!)  I’ve also been experimenting Italian dishes in my wok to prepare for my first cooking class hosted by a fabulous new Italian wine bar and gourmet deli in Wynwood, Miami called Made In Italy Gourmet, I’m so excited to expand my repertoire. Just a little tidbit…you know that Marco Polo discovered noodles in Asia and brought it back to Italy and called it pasta, you knew that right?

Wok Star - marinara-criminiWok Star-chicken

Few notes about this dish…
I make marinara sauce in my cast iron wok. It is acid so don’t do this if you’re a new Wok Star, build up your patina first. Having said that, your cast iron wok will build its patina quickly if you do use it for acidic dishes, just not when it’s new. If you don’t have a wok, your best bet is to use a wide stainless steel flat pan but you’ll need to use a lot more oil. Please NO nonstick because it cannot handle high heat that’s required for cooking meat.

Remember to wash out wok and dry with paper towels, then dry on stove.  Always use a clean wok otherwise food or liquid stuck on will burn and create a crust and ruin your dish.

Marinading meat using my basic marinade: TSPC (see below under ingredients) I teach in class and on my DVDs. You only need to know these 4 seasonings because you can use it for any style of cooking whether it’s Italian, Hispanic, Greek etc. tamari is a liquid salt but doesn’t make your food taste Asian!

Hope you’ll branch out and try making Italian in your wok, and if you do, please share with us. Here’s a sausage and rapini pasta dish for you to try!


3 easy steps to Marinara Chicken in a wok….

Marinara sauce:
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 ripe beefsteak tomato or 4-6 plum tomatoes, cubed
4 cloves garlic smashed whole
handful of crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
handful of flat leaf parsley for garnish, chopped

1 lb. organic chicken thighs or breast, cut into medium chunks
2 scallions cut into diagonals

thin pasta (whatever pasta you like!)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
red hot sauce
T – tamari (San-J brand is best)
S – sherry (medium drinking sherry NOT cooking sherry)
P – pepper (white pepper)
C – cornstarch

1) Make pasta in a pot, add a few drops of oil and salt. The oil prevents pasta from sticking together. Drain and set aside. When ready to serve, run under hot, hot tap water.

2) Heat wok on medium high, when you see first wisp of smoke, add 2 swirls of olive oil, then immediately add chopped onion and cook till transparent. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook till they just become soft but not too watery. Set on dish.

3) Marinade chicken with TSPC. Heat wok on high this time for chicken! When you see first wisp of smoke, add in 4 swirls of olive oil, add garlic, then spread chicken out in one layer so they all get some heat love. Test piece of chicken at base of wok to see if it’s golden color before flipping. If ready, flip chicken back and forth quickly so they don’t burn. Add in marinara sauce and scallions, warm through and you’re done!

Plate pasta, top with chicken marinara sauce, sprinkle chopped parsley if you like. Light the candles, kiss your honey,  SLURP your pasta and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Go check these other amazing noodle dishes from my Let’s Lunch buddies and if you want to join us, use #LetsLunch on twitter or leave a comment below and we’ll connect! It’s so much fun…

Annabelle‘s Emergency Anti-Hibernal Salad at Glass of Fancy

Betty-Ann‘s Chicken Noodle Soup with Roast Barbecue at Asian in America

Demetra‘s Southern Style Ramen with Bacon at Sweet Savant

Juliana‘s Grilled Tofu Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad at J. Loh

Linda‘s Taiwanese Hot Pot at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Lokshen Kugel at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Naomi‘s Biang Biang Noodles at The Gastrognome

Pat‘s Korean Stir-Fried Glass Noodles (Japchae) at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook

Tammi‘s Thai Glass Noodle Salad at Insatiable Munchies


5 Responses to Valentine’s Day Ideas: Home cooking is Best!
  1. Lisa G
    February 17, 2015 | 1:57 am

    Eleanor I have #wokenvy!!! Looks amazing. On my list to try…
    Lisa x

  2. Annabelle
    February 15, 2015 | 3:55 pm

    I don’t use my wok nearly as much as I should; I love that you’re being broad-minded about what you can use it to cook.

    • Eleanor Hoh
      May 3, 2015 | 3:10 pm

      Once you start using your wok to cook up a few things, you’ll find more ways to use it! It’s the most versatile pan in your kitchen!

  3. linda @spiceboxtravels
    February 15, 2015 | 2:21 am

    Love it! Bringing back Marco Polo into the wok! 🙂

  4. Betty Ann Quirino @Mango_Queen
    February 13, 2015 | 5:41 pm

    I must make this Marinara Chicken! My family will absolutely adore this one. Glad you made it to our Noodle Party for Let’s Lunch, Eleanor. Have a Happy Valentine’s weekend!

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