Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Favorites: The Rest

A few of my favorite things from How to Cook Everything:

1. Stock! I am obsessed with making my own stock now. I seem to use a lot more of it than I did before when I wasn't making my own. Maybe its because I know how delicious it is and secretly want to use up my stash so I can make my house smell so good again and again and again.

2. cooking in packets. I love how easy cooking in packets is. Choose your meat, throw in any veggies that suit you (or that you have on hand), add your seasonings and cook. I'd love to host a dinner party at some point with a spread on that Today Show segment where everyone makes their own packet.

2010 Goals:

- Branch out into other, less explored categories like: desserts, soups, and beans.
- Consistency in posting.
- Try things I don't like.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Favorites: Animal (Poultry and Meat)

Continuing with the theme, today I'll list my favorite poultry and meat recipes:

1. Broiled Skirt Steak. This was the first recipe I posted. It's been a while, but I still think about that deicious skirt steak. I plan on trying it again soon to find out if it was the meat, the local vendor, or the marinade that made it so

2. Steak Au Poivre. Another one I want to try again. The first round I could tell it would be delicious if not for the funky meat. Mark Bittman even made some on the Today Show this morning as an idea for an easy entree when entertaining.

3. Simplest Whole Roast Chicken. 2009 is the year of the roast chicken in our house. I love a roasted chicken. Its so easy and produces the most tender and juiciest meat. It also makes the house smell nice. And then I get to make a chicken stock (I'm seriously obsessed with making my own stock now)!

4. Pan Grilled/Oven Roasted Steaks. This is a recipe I've used several times since the initial posting. There is nothing more decadent to me than a nice steak. I never order steaks when eating out because I know I can perfectly cook a delicious steak at home. And I'd rather be at home than in a restaurant.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Favorites: Veggies

Bryan and I both love our vegetables... Okay, so I love all vegetables, and Bryan loves anything that isn't and/or touching: onions, peppers, mushrooms, or tomatoes. But other than that, we really love our veggies.

Here are the favorite dishes we tried this year from How to Cook Everything:

1. Creamed corn with cheese. Bryan's favorite vegetable is corn. And this is our favorite way to eat it. What's not to love: butter, cheese, and corn?! Its so good I may even make it again tonight.

2.Mashed Cauliflower with cheese. Oops, beginning to see a theme here. We need our cheese! Oh dear, this was the most delicious thing I ever made. Bryan was not happy when he discovered I had brought cauliflower into our home. I was even a bit skeptical myself. It only took one bite for both of us to fall in love. I think I actually made proclamations that what wasn't on his plate was all mine. I savored that cauliflower, like cauliflower has never been savored before.

3. Sweet Potato Gratin. This is dish is a double whammy: easy and scrumptious. Great for people who don't even like sweet potatoes, like me.

Overall I've attempted approximately 36 vegetable recipes. Pretty decent, but still have a ways to go.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Recap: Appetizers

For this last week of 2009, I thought I'd look back at the dishes I've completed and list which were my favorites. While I still have a long way to go before completing this project, I am proud of myself for sticking with this so far and trying a bunch of new things.

So for today we'll start with starters, appetizers:

1. Marinated Celery and Carrots, Chinese style. I had never had anything like this before, but have since made it twice. Bryan and I both really enjoy the flavors. Its a departure from regular crudities and still healthy.

2. Hummus. Hummus is not really something I typically like. I'll take a bite or two out of politeness at parties or gatherings. Homemade hummus is about two steps ahead of the store bought stuff. I've made it for several parties and received many compliments. Not only is it delicious, but its easy!

So far I've completed 8 appetizers. Which is pretty low, will definately being doing more appetizer posts in 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Potato and Leek Soup p. 131

Ingredients: butter, potatoes, leeks, stock.

This is a super easy and super delicious soup to make. Start off by prepping the veggies. Peel the potatoes and cute into small cubes. Then prep the leeks (if you do not know how to do so, like me a few months ago, please visit page 310 which shoes how to trim and wash leeks).

To cook, melt your butter (you can use olive oil if you wish), then add the veggies. After a few minutes, when they start to soften, add stock or water if you don't have stock. Let cook until your potatoes are soft.

One variation suggests pureeing the soup in a blender or immersion blender. One of the things that I've asked for Christmas is an immersion blender. I have a list of things to make once I have it. But this time I decided to use the blender. Did you know that you can't fill a blender up too close to the top and then turn it on? I learned the hard way last night. Oh well... Bryan asked for it lightly pureed... meaning with a few chunks.

The soup was hearty and delicious. Perfect for cuddling up to your significant other or cuddly pet on the couch to watch a movie.

BONUS: I finished off the leftovers and didn't heat them up, which qualifies this as the second variation: Vichyssoise. I'm not even going to try to pronounce that. It was just as delicious cold as it was warm.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fried Rice with Shrimp p. 468-470

Ingredients: endless possibilities

I've been on an oriental theme kick lately. I'm not sure why exactly. Bryan loves anything with rice, maybe thats why we've had rice with what feels like the last twenty meals. Oh well... all have been delicious.

Mark Bittman goes into great length with various tips, additions, and variations to make your own fried rice.

One great tip is to make your rice ahead of time. I only had time to cook mine about an hour before "frying" it. Which worked okay, but leftover rice is really the best.

We used rice, frozen peas, garlic, ginger, eggs, soy, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and seasame oil.

Bryan was impressed that I had made it myself and I thought it was a great, easy, fast comfort meal. Perfect for a weak night. The best part is that you can probably make this without even having to go to the store. You can use whatever you happen to have in your freezer, fridge, or pantry.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Edamame with Stock p. 424

I'm back! Although, if our busy holiday schedule doesn't settle down soon, I'm going to be out of posts... again. Yikes.

Ingredients:ginger, stock, carrot, snow peas, shelled edamame.

I just love edamame. Not only is it yummy, but it also just feels healthy as you eat it. Sometimes I just eat edamame for lunch.

For this recipe however, you sautee your ginger and scallion (I didn't use either because a) my grocery was out of ginger! and b) we don't like scallions). Then add your stock, carrots (I finely chopped it), snow peas, and edamame. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is tender, mine took around 10 minutes.

I served it over rice. It was delicious. However, since we didn't have the ginger we tossed ours with some Hoisin sauce, its my new love. I would like to thank Mark Bittman for introducing us. After opening the bottle last week we're halfway through the bottle... and we only ate at home two nights last week.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


My birthday was last Friday. As a result of all the celebrations, I haven't cooked in the last week. Posts will resume normally when my life gets back to normal. New posts coming soon, I promise!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stir Fried Beef with Onions and Ginger p. 731

Ingredients: steak or tender beef cut, peanut oil, onions, garlic, ginger, stock, soy sauce.

This is a quick dish to put together and on the table, but I felt lacking in flavor. Perhaps it is one of those that tastes better the next day, but I never got the chance to eat it the next day.

Slice your beef thinly. I like to prepare all my ingredients ahead of time with stir fries because they cook so quickly. First cook your onions until they are soft and set aside. (I liked this because I could cook the onions and put them on my dish and not Bryan's!) Then cook your galric and ginger before tossing in the beef. After a minute or two add in your soy and stock. Let it cook for a few minutes before serving.

This dish needs veggies or something to go with it. It is not a stand alone meal. Perhaps a bag of frozen stir fry veggies would be a good side with it. I don't know. I wans't overly impressed.

Bryan and I added a lot of hot pepper paste to our beef and rice, which made it a little better.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Braised Pork with Spicy Soy Sauce p. 758

Oh my, just thinking about this dish makes my mouth water. Being a bit behind in my posts, it has been well over a week since I made this delicious pork entree.

Ingredients: pork shoulder, soy sauce, sugar, stock, garlic, ginger, onion, lime juice, pepper.

I left out chiles, onions, and lime juice, simply because we either didn't have it or didn't like it.

Start off by combining almost everything (except lime and salt and pepper, if using). I just noticed that Mark Bittman notes that you can prepare this mixture up to a day in advance and let it marinade together for up to a day... That wouldn't be a bad idea, but not totally necessary.

Bring it to a boil then turn the heat down. Let it cook for a little while (I let mine cook about 30-45 minutes.) Add lime juice, salt and pepper at the last minute and serve over rice.

If there are any left overs they will taste even more delicious the next day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Broiled Lamb Chops p. 768

This is my first experience cooking with lamb. Bryan has cooked it once for us while we were married and I might have had it once or twice before in my life.

This is a very easy dish, as it is with most of Mark Bittman's simply cooked meats.

Simply heat your broiler and broil for a couple minutes on each side. It cannot get easier than that.

This dish is so easy and so quick to cook that its ridiculous that people even eat out. What are thinking? Are we really that lazy when there are dishes like this that are so easy to cook? I'm speaking to myself on this rant.

I did think they were a little lacking in flavor. Next time I make them, I might try a marinade for an hour or so. It couldn't hurt.

I served mine broiled lamb chops with steamed broccoli and rice.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shredded Pork p. 759

Ingredients: onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, chile, pepper, and of course, a pork shoulder.

I've cooked a pork shoulder before. It was so delicious slowly cooked and then shredded put over various dishes.

This recipe is very similar only with a shorter cooking time, less ingredients, and the pork is cut into smaller bites. Honestly, even though the cooking time was shorter and more convinent, I didn't like working with the smaller bites and didn't like the flavor better.

We didn't use the meat right away. In fact, we used it a night later and put it in quesadillas (look for those tomorrow). We used them another time over nachos and it was a tasty dish. But over all I feel this dish is lacking in flavor.

Maybe its because I'm a Memphian and am used to some very flavorful pork, but I was slightly disappointed in this one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quesadillas p. 109

I had made a shredded pork the day before and thought that maybe quesadillas would be a fun, casual dinner.

We started by putting a little oil in a skillet and putting on one flour tortilla. while it warmed we added some cheese, green peppers if wanted, some pork, and salsa. Then topped it with another tortilla. After a minute or two flipped it.

Viola! Your very own quesadilla!

They were a fun dinner. We had friends/family over for a relaxed evening and made each person make their own.

You could make them just cheese quesadillas as an appetizer, but I think adding a meat and making it your own really added a fun vibe to the evening... and no one could blame me if their meal wasn't good!

Turkey Curry

Last week I flagged this post by Mark Bittman for turkey leftovers. I am so glad that I did because Bryan and I both really loved it.

I don't think that I've tried a curry recipe before in the past, but it will become a new staple in our house. Prep and cook time was under 20 minutes, maybe even under 15 minutes.

Start by cooking minced garlic and ginger for a few seconds in peanut oil. Then add onions if you are using them. I skipped ahead to adding tomatoes, stock, and cream (I didn't have coconut milk on hand, so I substituted some heavy cream). Once the tomatoes have broken down enough for your picky non-tomato eater, add turkey and spinach. Once the spinach has wilted (about 2 minutes) remove and serve over rice.

This is by far my favorite way I've ever had turkey. I may make it again another night this wek.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Recap

Sorry I've been such a bad blogger last week. I didn't have time to put my posts together and then with preparing for Thanksgiving, I just let it slide. Sorry.

But today I have my Thanksgiving recap. I didn't use Mark Bittman's recipe for splatchcocking, or whatever it is, but maybe next year. Since it was my first year to cook the turkey, I wanted to do it up right... the traditional way.

Here she is:

I brined our little turkey for almost 24 hours. Moving the brine bag in and out of the fridge by myself was challenging, but I accomplished it.

Thursday morning I had to miss out on parade viewing to prep the little sucker, but it was totally worth it... in the end. Removing the neck was a traumatic experience, but we were able to move past that unfortunate ordeal. I stuffed it with some veggies and put some thyme butter under the skin. I'm not sure if this really did anything, but I was told to do it and I did.

I put little turkey in for one hour and then prepared to remove it to flip the bird breast up and start with my first basting. This is when chaos insued. I had bought a disposable aluminum pan as I did not have a roasting pan and thought this would help with the clean up. Little did I know that it would be too flimsy. When Bryan went to pick it up off the rack a hole was formed in the pan.

I got to stand here like this for 10 minutes while Bryan ran to the grocery for backup.

There was also this mess to clean up:

All was cleaned up and forgiven and with three pans we were ready to get back to cooking.

At hour two, our sweet bird looked like this:

And finally she was ready.

(Ignore the whoppy skin on the bottom left.)

Once Bryan carved the turkey, we were ready for the feast everyone had put together.

We had a great meal and have so much to be thankful for this year.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Roasted Carrots with Cumin p. 278

Ingredients: carrots, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper.

Cumin is a not familiar with until I began cooking from this book. I am so thankful to Mark Bittman for introducing us. Cumin is one of my now most used spices and it works wonderfully with carrots.

Mark Bittman suggest roasting your carrots, cut into slices, on a cookie or baking sheet. I was using my big oven at a lower temperature, so I put the carrots in a smaller pan that fit into our small oven.

Either way, roasted carrots with cumin are delicious.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crisp Sauteed Leeks p. 312

Ingredients: Leeks, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

This dish couldn't be more simpler or delicious. Julienne your leeks - I'm a terrible julienne-r, but it worked. Heat up your oil add in your garlic, after it becomes fragrant... or you can start to smell that delicious garlic smell... only about 20-30 seconds, toss in your leeks. Cook until brown. I tossed all mine in at once and just tossed them about occasionally, but they were delicious. So delicious I ate every last piece... with my hands.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pasta Carbonara by Bryan

Bryan cooks! Here's the proof:

I tried to get him to write a post, but he didn't want to. And when I finally convinced him he said to get everything ready. Which is about the same time that my computer decided to not upload pictures. So I'm throwing this together a few minutes before I leave for work. Sorry. But I thought it would be a treat to show ya'll how Bryan does it.

Sour Cream or Yogurt Dip p. 89

I forgot to take pictures of this dish. Sorry.

I was putting together some snacks for a party at Bryan's work place last week. I purchased a large fruit and a large veggie trays. One of them came with ranch, but I thought a nice dip like this would be a good alternative.

I used half sour cream and half yogurt. I think it'd be better with just yogurt. I mixed in a cup or finely chopped cucumber and some fresh parsley. This makes a lot so don't be fooled if you are preparing for a party.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Skordalia p. 94

Ingredients: bread, stock, EVOO, pine nuts, garlic, cayenne, lemon juice.

First soak your day old bread in a little stock. While it was soaking I put the other stuff in the food processor. The recipe calls for walnuts, but Mark Bittman suggests you can use other nuts and pine was one of them.

Whizz your olive oil, bread, nuts, and garlic until the nuts are finely chopped. Then add in your stock or water, if you don't have stock, slowly until it is a fine milky mixture. It should make two cups.

I had make chicken stock the day before and saved the chicken to tear up and make a chicken salad. One of the suggestions Mark Bittman makes for using Skordalia is as a mayo substitute for things like chicken salad.

I used about one cup of the Skordalia for the chicken salad. Bryan was really impressed, saying something about the best chicken salad he's had. He put his chicken salad on top of the slice of bread and ate it as an open faced sandwich. Bryan suggests serving it as a light lunch option for a party. Maybe even on toasted baguettes.

I have one cup of Skordalia left. Any suggestions?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Garlicky-Lime Cooked Fish p. 608

Ingredients: garlic, fish, lime juice, avocado, cilantro.

I love fresh fish. And I love cilantro. I also love garlic. Why haven't I tried this recipe before?!

Start off by cooking your garlic a smidgen. Just a few seconds really. (I burned my first batch because I was multi-tasking and overlooked it.) Then put your thin fish fillets in a pan with hot oil. After about two minutes add in your lime juice, this really infuses the flavor into the fish. If you are working with thin fish like me it will only take a minute or two before they are fully cooked.

Top your fish with fresh avocado, your garlic oil, and fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stewed Tomatillos and Tomatoes p. 359-360

This is my first major failure as I've worked my way through this cookbook. I was particularly sad about it because I was so anticipated the deliciousness of two forbidden vegetables that Bryan doesn't normally let me cook.

Things didn't work out from the beginning. The first step is to cook the onions and let them soften. They nearly burned up. Then you add the tomatillos. They need to cook for a long time until they are "mostly dissolved." Mine refused to dissolve at all. In fact, they stayed in tact the entire time. I even tried to mash them with the back of my wooden spoon, only to fail with most of them. After you're impenetrable tomatillos dissolve add in the tomatoes to cook for a little while til they are soft. Not quite as long. Since the onions almost burned the pan had turned almost black and caused some discoloration in the whole dish.

I was utterly disappointed the way this dish turned out and in the flavor of it. If Julia Child says there are no mistakes in cooking just variations, this is a variation you do not want to try.

Served with garlicy-lime fish, coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hummus p. 93

Hummus is super easy to make. Simply combine your ingredients in a food processor, whizz away, adding water or reserved cooking juices, until it reaches the desired consistency.

Then put the hummus in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over it. I added a little paprika and parsley to the top of mine for a little color.

Its a healthy snack as well as an impressive appetizer. Make it for your next gathering... or bean craving.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pasta with Broccoli p. 516

Ingredients: broccoli, olive oil, garlic, pasta, salt and pepper.

Most recipes I have an idea of what they'll be like before I begin. This one I wasn't so sure about. Just broccoli and pasta?

First boil your broccoli for about 5 to 10 minutes. In a seperate pan put your olive oil over the heat and add your garlic. Once the broccoli is boiled add it into the olive oil and garlic. You'll cook it for a few minutes while the pasta is cooking. While it is doing so, smash the broccoli with the back of your spoon. Yeah, I know, a bit different.

In the previous pot with the water, boil your pasta. Once your pasta is cooked add into the skillet with your broccoli and garlic.

Then serve. I topped mine with a bunch of Parmesan cheese, which was nice. Overall it was very easy to make, but just lacked a little pizazz or something. I don't know.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Buttered Cabbage p. 274

Ingredients: salt, pepper, butter, cabbage.

Following my coleslaw dish, I had a whole head of cabbage and no idea what to do with it.

So I made this dish as a side to meatloaf and twice baked potatoes. Hopefully cabbage added some nutritional value to our delicious meal.

First you tear your cabbage head up into leaves. For the inner part I just cut it into chuncks. That's what my mom did growing up, so hopefully Bittman approves. Boil it for about 5 minutes. Drain. Cover in melted butter and salt and pepper.

Bryan and I aren't huge fans of cabbage, but we are out portions. If you like cabbage this is a great and easy way to serve it. If you don't like cabbage, I haven't found a way to cook it so I like it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chunky Vegetable Soup p. 123-4

I think this is one of the first soups I've ever made. I'm not sure how I haven't made one before, but this is the first. Its turning cool in our area and soup is a natural comfort for Bryan and I.

This soup is one that you can vary a million ways. Mark Bittman suggests different "hard" and "soft" veggies to use. I opted for potatoes and green beans, some of our favorite veggies. I wasn't pleased with the green bean selection at the grocery, so I decided to use canned. And that was a big mistake. The green beans tasted canned and that ruined every bite I took with them. So learn from my mistake: NO CANNED STUFF!

Other than the green beans, the soup was delicious and easy and nutritious, everything a good soup should be.

Day after update: Bryan and I both thought it was better the day after. Bryan thought the overall taste was better. And I thought the green beans had lost the canned taste.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw p. 206

I made this dish to take to a potluck. I'm not a huge coleslaw person, mainly because I don't like mass produced salads, especially containing mayo, which coleslaw usually is. There has only been one coleslaw to capture my heart, and its also a spicy vinegar based coleslaw. (For anyone reading this in the Memphis area, I've found it available at Easy Way.)

This recipe calls for 6 cups of shredded cabbage. I'm not sure how much I ended up with, but after I shredded one cabbage head the largest serving bowl I had was full. I sorta tweaked this recipe by combining the main recipe with the mexican style. Opting out of the bell pepper and adding in the cilantro, carrots, and lime juice as well as everything else in the original recipe (except parsley).

I would have liked there to be more dressing, but it was a fresh, easy salad and side dish to provide. Perfect for taking to a potluck or party.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Salad p. 222-223

We had some left over chicken and decided to make some chicken salad. We were torn between the traditional chicken salad with mayo or the header chicken salad in the book, Chicken salad with olive oil and fresh herbs. Bryan suggested a taste test, so I made small batches of each one.

For the Olive Oil and Herb Chicken Salad I added lemon juice, olive oil, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to my shredded chicken.

For the Traditional chicken salad, I mixed in some mayo, Dijon mustard, parsley and a few chopped pecans.

We liked both versions. Bryan favored the traditional and I favored the olive oil and herbs. I would recommend and remake either recipe.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quickest Chicken Stock p. 157

I just love having homemade stock on hand. Its so flavorful and simple. I've officially been turned into a believer now. Gone are the days when I would pick up some stock at the grocery.

For this stock, unlike my last foray into stock making, I just used what I had on hand. The remnants of an onion, several carrots, part of a celery stick, and fresh parsley.

While I haven't actually tried it yet, the smell alone was enough to justify how amazing it is. In fact, I recommend realtors to make chicken stock to entice buyers when looking at a house.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baked Tortilla Chips p. 97

These are one of those things that make me feel like super woman. Yeah, who makes their own chips. Ridiculous.

I was wanting to feel ridiculous and super woman, so I made a big batch recently. I had read several different versions in various places and decided to experiment with both corn and flour tortillas. I cut each into 6 triangles. Brush them on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.

Now Mark Bittman recommends adding your salt and seasonings after baking, but when I did this to the first batch, most of it fell off. I wanted highly seasoned chips, so with the next batch I rubbed the seasoning (I mixed up some Mexican seasonings.) in after add the oil. This worked out nicely. But I think my favorite way of seasoning was to mix the oil and seasonings and brush it on simultaneously.

In the end the flour tortillas were our favorite. Bryan loves them and insists that I make them again. And to be honest, they really aren't that much trouble.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Arroz con Pollo p. 653

Ingredients: chicken, EVOO, onion, rice, stock, parsley, lemon.

I had never attempted a dish like this, but knew Bryan would love it.

Start by cooking your onions in oil until they are softened and clear. Then toss in your rice to coat with the oil. After that you add your chicken pieces and stock. Let it bubble and then cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken and rice are both cooked.

I tossed in some frozen peas the last couple of minutes to add some color. Garnish with parsley and lemon juice.

We both liked the dish, but I thought it could use more flavor. Next time I'll probably stick a bay leaf or other seasonings in as it cooks to infuse it with more flavor. But in the end it was a delicious, weeknight dish.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Stir-Fried Pork with Spinach p. 748

Ingredients: pork, spinach, peanut oil, garlic, soy sauce, lime, stock.

I marinated the pork after I chopped them with soy sauce and white wine vinegar while I did other stuff. I can't testify that it was a huge improvement, but I always enjoy marinated meat and it probably did contribute to the end flavor.

Mark Bittman suggests getting all your ingredients ready before beginning any cooking as stir-frying can go pretty fast. No time in between steps to mince your garlic or juice your lime.

Start by cooking your pork until they lose their pink color. This should only take a couple of minutes. Remove from pan when done.

Next cook your garlic for a few seconds. I tossed in some hot pepper sauce during this step. Bryan likes things spicy. After about 30 seconds add in your spinach to let it wilt. Once it is all wilted add in the pork for a minute or so and remove from heat.

Serve over rice.

Bryan and I enjoyed this dish, but both thought that adding chopped peanuts would really kick it up a notch.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sorry I've been out of it this week. I didn't do much cooking last week and I just cooked something yesterday. BUT... We are getting internet at the house tomorrow and I'll be able to post easier! Whooo! I'm pretty excited about. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette p. 201

Ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey.

Combine all ingredients in the blender. Serve.
I just love homemade dressings. It makes me feel oh so talented and put together. I don’t know why. Maybe its because my mother never did it, and I just love out doing my mother. Sorry, Mom.

We had roasted garlic on hand from a Pioneer Woman recipe and as I was forbidden from ever eating roasted garlic on its own ever again (apparently it causes bad breathe and when consumed in large portions causes other digestive issues). So I decided I’d go ahead and make the vinaigrette to go with my chicken escabeche. It was delicious and easy and I had all the ingredients on hand, which really makes me happy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broiled Boneless Chicken Escabeche p. 669

Ingredients: chicken, vinaigrette.

I was amazed at how easy and fast this recipe was. Faster than the 20 minutes Mark Bittman estimated. I like to buy the big packages of frozen chicken breasts from Sam’s. They are so handy to have around. I pulled out some breasts to defrost and started looking for an easy recipe. This has to be the easiest.

I rinsed off my chicken breasts from their defrosting juices and dried them. Then rub them with a little olive oil and broil 3-4 minutes per side until cooked. Then take your prepared vinaigrette, whether is store bought, the Roasted Garlic Vinaigarette as suggested, or another dressing of your choosing, and cover the chicken.

You can serve immediately, or let it sit in the vinaigrette for a few hours or days in the fridge. I served almost immediately (well, they sat for about 10 minutes while I roasted my asparagus) and then served. Total preparation time, under 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Braised Pork with Red Wine p. 757

Ingredients: pork shoulder, red wine, stock, carrots, garlic, butter.

Mark Bittman suggested cooking this dish in a crock pot. Well, maybe suggested isn’t the right choice of words, but it was an option. And I just love the idea of crock pots. Fixing it and forgetting it. So handy.

I couldn’t find the exact cut of meat suggested and honestly, have no idea what I bought and used. But that was a mistake you should learn from. Neither Bryan and I really liked this dish and we chalked that up to the meat. It was an alright stew-type dish, perfect for winter. But we just weren’t crazy about it. Perhaps the correct choice of pork would have suited it better, I don’t know.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fish steamed over Summer Vegetables p.587

Ingredients: garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, thyme, fish fillets (I used Tilapia), fresh basil.

I just love summer vegetables and as it is slowly becoming fall, I decided to have one last hurrah with summer veggies before they leave.

Simply chop up your veggies and cook. I think the suggested cooking time was a bit much as many of the veggies were basically mush at the end of the cooking. After your veggies are almost fully cooked add your fish on top, cover and let the fish steam for a few minutes.

Bryan ate the fish, but not the vegetables as he finds all summer vegetables disgusting. Oh well. More for me.

Mark Bittman offers a chart on page 588 with more vegetable and pairing suggestions. Bryan will probably love the potatoes with beer and chives. I’ll have to try that next.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Real Beef Stroganoff p. 739

Ingredients: butter, onion, mushrooms, sirloin, Dijon mustard, tomato sauce, stock, sour cream.

I don’t know the difference between this and “Fake” beef stroganoff… but this is a good dish. I know my mom made beef stroganoff a couple of times while I was growing up and I think it had ground beef, but I can’t be too sure. Maybe a can of mushroom soup.

This dish involved browning onions and mushrooms (Bryan was not a huge fan.) And then your beef. After a few minutes add in your mustard, stock, and tomato sauce. After cooking stir in some sour cream and serve over egg noodles.

Real Beef Stroganoff is a hearty dish. I know I would make more of it if Bryan wasn’t so opposed to onions and mushrooms.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Roasted Asparagus p. 258

Ingredients: asparagus, oil, salt, lemon

I’ve roasted asparagus since I started cooking. Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. I say it frequently. When friends and family east asparagus they think of me. True story. Its healthy and delicious, never mind what happens after you digest it. That’s just a freaky coincidence.

To roast asparagus, put your trimmed vegetable on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, drizzle some olive oil on top and stir it around so it gets good and coated. Then sprinkle with salt. I used kosher salt this round and it was delicious. Once its prepped pop the pan in your preheated oven (450 degrees) and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Once you are ready to stir, garnish with some fresh lemon juice. Mark Bittman offers a nice list of classic ways to serve your roasted asparagus. I opted for hard boiled eggs this time. It was nice, but didn’t really add anything special to the asparagus. But I would recommend adding a classic garlic if you are entertaining. It really ups the ante. On their own, though, roasted asparagus is the best, most tender and delicious vegetable you can put in your mouth.

Served with Chicken Braised in soy sauce and lemon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chicken Braised in Soy Sauce and Lemon p. 646

Ingredients: oil, chicken, garlic, lemon, cayenne, soy sauce, sugar.

This was a very easy dish to prepare and dirtied very little dishes, which made Bryan really happy.

First brown your chicken, but you don’t have to. I did this time and will probably skip it next time. Then soften your garlic, and add in the other ingredients including the chicken. Cook over medium to low for about 20 minutes.

Take out the chicken, add in lemon juice and serve over rice. Simple and delicious.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beef Stew p. 724

Ingredients: oil, garlic, beef, onions, flour, stock, bay leaf, thyme, potatoes, carrots, peas, parsley.

Bryan was sick with a cold last weekend and I offered to make him some chicken noodle soup. He didn’t want that… he thought stew would make him feel better. So I set out to make a stew.

I don’t really want to go into the how with this post. It’s a basic stew, but cooked over the stove. I must have let mine cook a little bit long because the potatoes were a bit mushy. But all in all it had a nice flavor and was very hearty, as a good stew should be. Bryan loved it, but it did not have magical powers to cure him of his cold. Oh well. That’s probably expecting too much.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stir Fried Broccoli p. 267

Ingredients: oil, broccoli, salt, sugar, stock, soy sauce.

This dish is easy to prepare and also delicious. We love fresh broccoli and this is a recipe I will add to the weekly rotation. More flavorful than steamed broccoli and moister than roasted broccoli.

First you heat the oil in the pan and then add your chopped up broccoli. I wasn’t not sure how small or large to leave my pieces, so I did a variety of sizes. What I found that worked best was about bite-size. That way you don’t have to cut it later when its on your plate.

After a few minutes in the oil add your salt, sugar, and stock and let it simmer until most of the liquid is gone. This is where the broccoli picks up the flavor of your rich stock. Do not skimp here. Its much better when you use a hearty stock… preferably homemade. Water would be a big disappointment in taste.

Once its finished cooking, add a little soy sauce in there and serve.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I'm going to take this week off due to being sick and recovering from hosting a party last weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fried Eggplant p. 245

Ingredients: eggplant, salt, flour, bread crumbs, eggs, pepper, EVOO.

My grandmother makes the best fried eggplant. The best. In the whole wide world. But I haven’t had any since I was in 7th grade. That’s been a long time, friends. (Mimi, please make me some fried eggplant!)

So I anxious to make it myself to see if it was as delicious as I remembered. Mark Bittman suggests cutting your eggplant in ½ inch slices. In my humble opinion, I think that’s too thick. Mimi’s wasn’t that thick. And in the end the pieces were too big to pick up and were just too thick. So if you make it at home, I would recommend cutting it about ¼ of an inch thick.

I’m really getting better at this frying thing. My mom never fried when I was growing up, so it’s a new concept to me, even though I was raised in the South. Bryan really didn’t take to the fried eggplant, which was a bummer, because we now have a large stack of left over eggplant.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Olive Oil Salt Bread p. 830

Ingredients: EVOO, flour, baking powder, salt, water.

So this was my first run-in with actually making a bread. I was cooking spaghetti the other night and wanted some bread to go along with it. This looked easy enough.

The recipe says to put the flour, baking powder, and salt in the food processor. I found out the hard way, that my food processor is exactly 3 cups. So I dirtied it without even getting to use it and mixed up the dough by hand, which wasn’t difficult.
I put the dough in a cast iron skillet and put it in the oven. It didn’t turn golden brown and looked kinda blah. And it tasted kinda blah too.

This is a very easy recipe, but I wasn’t impressed with the results.