Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

Butterbean and Chorizo Bruschetta

amazing recipe.

tried it earlier this summer. only necessary change i made was balsamic instead of red wine vinegar.

so so so easy and so so SO good.

sometimes cooking is like writing. brevity is key. if you need 823498572396 words/ingredients to express yourself, you’re probably not very good…

hm. must learn this lesson on both accounts.

*image and recipe not mine!

September 29, 2010

Cheese of the Week!

For the past month or so, i’ve been buying a different cheese each week to sample.

they make a great snack or breakfast accompaniment with a plate of fruit and nuts. yum yum. not to mention an effective and tasty way to learn about all the different types of cheeses out there.

with this strange little hobby of mine, along with the ever present tub of Fage greek yogurt in my fridge, you would never guess that i’m lactose intolerant.

anyway. i digress.

I regret not writing down the types that i’ve already tried, but i guess it’s never too late. I’ll start with what i remember:

Comte

  • the one that’s been all over my recipes lately. good for grating.
  • french, cow’s milk
  • firm, hard, and nutty. almost crumbly. slightly sweet. mildly strong.
  • creamy yellow color.

Blue Brie

  • according to my new friend the local cheese monger, both blue and brie go well with apples. and i had apples abound at home. i’ve also tried several kinds of both blue aND brie. so i figure i’d try a blue brie. and it’s exactly what you’d expect.
  • strong stinky taste of blue, but VERY creamy and rich like a brie. super soft.
  • and this sounds gross, but it’s made of white mold on the outside like a brie, but blue mold on the inside like a blue! food factoid of the day.

Chimay a la Biere

  • firm but not hard. creamy but not soft. it’s complicated. your finger wont sink into it like a brie, but it’s definitely got give when you poke it. (yes, i poke my cheese.)
  • it’s made with beer! belgian beer.
  • just got this one today and only had the sample the cheese monger gave me. will update my review as i finish it of this week.
September 29, 2010

Tomato Seitan Ragu with Rapini and Basil Gnocchi

i am not a spontaneous person.

90% of the time when i set out to make a dish, i do mental preparation. at the least, i research existing recipes. at the most, i research technique, ingredient pairings, make and remake shopping lists. then spend way too much time at the grocery store buying shit i don’t need. but that’s another story.

70% of the time out of that 90%, the dish never turns out how i imagined.

i inTENDED to do a baked broccoli rabe and italian sausage casserole-like dish. in a basil-y tomato sauce. mmm.. perhaps with some ricotta and melted mozzarella on top. then i realized i don’t have a casserole dish and my le creuset doens’t come in until next week (and a week is so sO long when waiting for a le creuset…). so i decided perhaps i’ll do a cavetelli or ricotta gnocchi and screw the whole low carb business. but sadly enough whole foods HAD no ricotta gnocchi. or cavetelli. OR basil (wtf man.). so i got basil gnocchi. ok. fine. good compromise. but thEN i remembered i don’t even LIKE italian sausage. so i got me some seitan with italian seasoning. (if i’m gonna be eating carbs tonight, might as well cut back somewhere else, right?)

ANYway.

this was the result.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pack frozen gnocchi *
  • large batch of broccoli rabe/chinese broccoli**
  • 1 pack (8 0z) of italian seasoned seitan.
  • 1 can tomato sauce (pre-seasoned)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • thyme, parsley (optional)
  • comte cheese* **
  • salt

*shelf kind is powdery and gross.

**6 inch diameter, or roughly 25 small individual stalks. keep in mind, less flowering = less bitter. so says Mother Chen. i hack off the stems. leaves have more nutrition anyway.

***or whatever cheese floats your boat. but i find parmesan does not melt very well…i like comte because the nutty, slightly sweet flavor offsets the bitterness of broccoli rabe and the acidity of the tomatoes.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • dice tomatoes and mince garlic
  • if using sausage, remove from casing
  • pan fry sausage in some olive oil, making sure to break up the pieces evenly.
  • add tomatoes, sauce, garlic, stir and simmer until tomatoes disintegrate.
  • wash broccoli. cut off stems and chop leaves so no piece is larger than ~ 3 inch
  • blanch for 1 – 2 min until just wilting. remove into ice bath.
  • check on sauce. add milk and sugar. stir and continue simmering.
  • re-boil the water and cook gnocchi as per package instructions.
  • drain broccoli and stir into sauce.
  • salt to taste. add more milk/chicken stock if sauce is too thick. add any other seasonings you like. (i added thyme and parsley)
  • plate sauce and grate on a generous topping of cheese. i mean like melting all over the place. this is not a garnish, folks.
  • top with gnocchi.
  • serve and EAT.

the gnocchi is kinda grey and ugly, but it tasted nice and basil-y! i think i would’ve been happier with a lighter, fluffier ricotta gnocchi. guess i’ll have to make some from scratch next time. you knoW… i DID find a rather promising recipe… perhaps i’ll start planning take II.

September 23, 2010

Veggies and Steamed Egg in a Ginger Miso Sauce

sometimes when i cook, my main intent is to create something healthy and not tasty. this is not to say that i try to make it taste bAD… i just don’t try very hard to impart any particular flavor.

anyway. these are meals created out of necessity:  i just need something to eat for dinner, and living alone, without anyone to impress, i might as well make something quick, easy, and healthy. you cut back some oil here, some butter there, and the meal just isn’t going to be the same as if you prioritized taste over health.

or so i thought.

i know “good for you” and “tastes good” aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but when i don’t inTEND to create something particularly yummy and it turns OUT yummy, i find it is my duty to share it. 😀

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 med head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, julienne
  • 3/4 pack of extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 green onion, chopped finely
  • soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice of ginger, julienne
  • 1 pack of dry miso soup mix (i had no miso paste and compromised)
  • chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. cube, dry, and marinate tofu in soy sauce.
  2. chop up veggies, set aside.
  3. lightly fry tofu in large nonstick pan/wok until golden brown. set aside.
  4. re-heat pan, saute garlic in a little bit of oil until fragrant.
  5. add in, mix, and saute veggies in following order: carrots, onions, broccoli.
  6. pour 1/2 cup of broth, toss in ginger, half a pack of miso powder, mix and cover. steam for 5 min.
  7. in a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs, mix in green onion and rest of the pack of miso powder.
  8. remove cover on veggies, salt to taste if needed, then pour in eggs on top. replace cover and steam until eggs are done (~3 min)
  9. remove from heat and serve!

edit: It wasn’t until after i finished consuming this concoction that i realized i drew my inspiration from a certain meal i had at Souen, an organic/microbiotic restaurant in NYC. look it up! good eats.

September 20, 2010

Pork Liver Stir Fry

I swear I’m becoming more domestic everyday.

And more absent minded as well, so it seems.

After reheating something in the microwave the other day, I set the plastic cover thing on the stove top, forgetting that I had just usED said stove top. Midway through eating my dinner the smell of burning plastic finally got my attention. Luckily enough I remembered a tip I read somewhere long ago that flash freezing melting plastic will pop it right off the hot surface. Dumped a bowl of ice cubes on it and voila! whaddya know. some sizzling, some popping, and a sheet of plastic really did just pop right off.

Go me.

now back to dinner.

my doctor says i’m anemic and need to eat more liver.  a good reason to stop putting off learning how to cook this gastronomical delight of an organ, no? (yea yea. some of you may disagree, but liver is AWESOME.)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pork liver
  • 1 med zucchini, sliced
  • 1 med carrot, sliced
  • 1/2 med yellow onion, sliced flat
  • ginger, julienne
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 capfuls of rice wine
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • hoisin sauce
  • black pepper (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. cut liver into thin, even slices
  2. dissolve corn starch in rice wine, soy sauce. add liver and ginger. set aside to marinate.
  3. heat wok or a large nonstick pan, add oil, fry garlic until fragrant.
  4. add carrots, saute 1-2 min, then add onions and zucchini. squeeze in some hoisin sauce and continue cooking until almost soft. empty into a bowl and set aside.
  5. reheat wok. add liver, quick sear until no longer pink. reintroduce veggies into pan. add more soy sauce (or hoisin if you prefer a sweeter taste) if needed, mix evenly until liver cooked through. remove and serve with rice (although i find veggies are a tastier and healthier alternative.) 
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September 18, 2010

Chicken Curry Noodles

I’m not normally one to brag, but man. i totally rocked this one. adapted from this awesome site.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb chicken, cubed
  • 1 med sweet yellow onion
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour (i used oat flour)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 five oz can coconut milk
  • 2 servings of noodles (i used korean egg noodles. chewier.)
  • 2 limes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. mix soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, tumeric, paprika and coat chicken evenly. set aside
  2. saute onions in 3 quart pot until soft and translucent. *
  3. add chicken, stir and cook until pink not visible.
  4. add coconut milk and broth, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer ~15 min
  5. spoon some hot broth into bowl of flour, mix until pasty consistency, then slowly incorporate it back into the pot. bring up to med heat and cook ~10 until soup thickens. reduce to simmer once thick.
  6. while waiting for the soup to thicken, bring another pot of water to a boil, cook noodles per instructions
  7. place noodles in serving bowls, top with soup, a squeeze of fresh lime, and a hard boiled egg. serve!

*i find adding a bit of broth quickens this process.

September 17, 2010

Mushroom and Leek Barlotto

I always thought risotto was one of those fancy complicated dishes that I couldn’t possibly have the skill to learn. It requires such precision in timing, proportions, and balancing of flavors that a hobby cook like myself just doesn’t have the training or experience for. And while I would love to tell you all of the above is true, it simply isn’t.

Basically, besides picking what ingredients you think will go well together, you’re just ladling in soup until the rice cooks.

That simple, folks.

Now shhh. don’t tell anyone, whip yourself up some amazing risotto, and then tell all your friends you slaved away at the stove for hours.

This is my healthier take on risotto: sans butter, and with barley instead of arborio.

INGREDIENTS: (for two)

  • 3/4 cups of pearled barley*
  • 1 med leek, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (combining different types = more complex flavor)
  • 1/3 cup white cooking wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth (left over from poaching, so pre-seasoned)
  • 1.5 cups water (or mushroom water**)
  • thyme
  • salt (i used truffle salt)
  • comte cheese (or any other semi hard, sharp buttery cheese)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. soak barely in water over night.
  2. if using dried mushrooms, soak in hot water over night.
  3. heat broth and water to a boil in a small sauce pan, then bring down to a simmer.
  4. in a separate shallow 2.5 quart pot, saute mushrooms until soft. season with thyme and salt. remove and set aside.
  5. reheat pot, add more oil, then saute garlic, leeks, shallots until fragrant.
  6. drain barely and add to pot to toast ~ 3 min
  7. add 1/3 cup of wine, stirring until liquid is absorbed.
  8. add a ladle-full of warm broth into barley mixture. stir for 3 min or until broth absorbed, then repeat. ~20 min or until barely is slightly chewy, not crunchy.
  9. add in mushrooms from earlier.
  10. start adjusting for consistency/soupiness. add more salt if needed.
  11. remove from heat and plate.
  12. grate cheese directly over plate and serve!

* barley takes significantly longer to cook than rice. presoaking will cut down cooking time by at least half. it also makes for a less creamy/soft risotto, but i like everything al dente anyway.

** if you used dried mushrooms, go ahead and use the water you soaked them in. never throw this away! it is mushroom infused goodness! risotto absorbs and concentrates the broth you use. never use just straight broth sans water -> too salty

September 13, 2010

Curry Chicken Salad

No pics. Sorry. I ate it all.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cubed poached chicken*
  • 1/2 cup  plain greek yogurt
  • golden raisins
  • crushed walnuts
  • 1/3 onion
  • curry powder
  • cinnamon
  • lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. place walnuts, raisins, yogurt in a big bowl.
  2. heat oil in pan. add curry powder. fry curry, then add to mixing bowl. with remaining curry paste in pan, quick saute onions for a few seconds (removes pungent raw onion taste).
  3. add onions and poached chicken to bowl.
  4. add a dash of cinnamon and some lemon juice.
  5. salt to taste, mix and serve over bed of greens.

*Poached in chicken broth, onions, carrots, celery, thyme, parsley, salt. discard solids after poaching and freeze broth in ice tray for later use!