Monday, July 5, 2010

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pasta with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce p. 525

This dish reminds of one of my standard meals at our favorite restaurant. Only without the chicken. The sauce is very easy, yet makes the meal.

Start by melting butter. Meanwhile mix crumbled gorgonzola cheese (the good stuff, don't skimp here) with milk. When the butter is melted add in the milk/cheese mixture. Stir this until its a nice creamy sauce. A few lumps are okay, but I found that as I stirred I tried to mash cheese lumps against the side of the pan and this worked well.

Once your pasta is cooked and your sauce done combine the two adding some Parmesan cheese as a final garnish.

One variation is to add arugula and cherry tomatoes. I'm not a huge fan of arugula, but it was tasty. Other things I thought of to add in include: frozen peas, chopped asparagus, and cooked chicken.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Egg Drop Soup p. 127

Ever since I was sick around Christmas when I was a young girl egg drop soup has been a comfort food to me. I didn't realize how easy it was to prepare until a few weeks ago.

Start with around 4 cups of stock (I used chicken stock)and bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile in a separate bowl beat 4 eggs together. When the water begins simmering add in the eggs and stir until the eggs are cooked (just a couple of minutes). Garnish with cilantro, soy sauce, etc. You will need to season with salt and pepper to taste. This makes two good size servings or four small servings.

I fell in love with how easy and delicious this soup was that I've made it several times since. My absolute favorite though was when I mixed in a cup of cooked, shredded chicken and leftover cooked leeks.

Words cannot describe to you how amazing it was. Definitely my favorite thing I'd ever made. Seriously. And it only took five minutes max.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms p. 113

I do not believe I'd ever had a stuffed mushroom. It seems like its a traditional appetizer at parties and such, but somehow I had missed it.

Several weeks ago I hosted a small gathering at my house and decided it was high time I try a stuffed mushroom.

They were fairly easy to prepare and turned out being a tasty snack. Great for a cocktail party or other gathering.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Curried Deviled Eggs p. 85

Oppsy. Its been a while. I didn't realize how long its been until I sat down with my book to look at the pages I've been meaning to post and realized that this one was made at Easter. EASTER! Yikes.

Deviled eggs is one of the staples, at least in my opinion, of an Easter meal. Something about eggs, I don't know for sure. But I wanted to try a variation, as there are mutliple good ones offered in How to Cook Everything. I'd also been craving some curry around this time as well.

Curried deviled eggs substituted yogurt for mayo (another reason for using this recipe to get rid of the large container of yogurt going bad in my fridge). Instead of mustard, use curry powder and garnish with cilantro.

They turned out very pretty, but I still prefer a traditional deviled egg for flavor.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cooking without a book: Potatoes au Gratin

For dinner last night I wanted to make potatoes au gratin. My mom made these occasionally while I was growing up, but I had never made it myself. So I called for the recipe. There isn't one. So I used my best judgement and threw it together.

I sliced 4 large potatoes. I'd place one potato (sliced) down, add some salt and pepper, add a few dots of butter, a handful of cheddar cheese, and light drizzle of heavy cream. Repeat until all potatoes are used. I topped it off with a lot of cheese. Put it in the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour at 350.

The result: probably one of the most fattening foods you can possibly eat... but worth every calorie. The whole meal I proclaimed my love for potatoes and made my husband jealous, it was worth it though.

The beauty of cooking without a recipe is you can do whatever you want! Tweaking it to you and your family's preferences. I added a shallot to my casserole. It added a nice flavor without totally repulsing my onion-phobic husband. You can change the vegetable, the cheese, the seasonings to whatever you heart desires.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Roast Pork with Garlic and Rosemary p. 754

Final meal of the planned week of meals saga. Closely tied with the ketchup stir fry for best meal of the week.

This meal was relatively easy, but it takes time. Every 15 minutes for over an hour I basted and added more stock to the pan and the pork.

We ended up with a beautiful and delicious pork roast. I had never cooked a boneless pork roast before and it was not my favorite cut of meat. Too fatty for me. Maybe next time I'll try the pork loin roast.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Garlic Fideo Soup p. 141-142

Day four of meal planned week I branched out to a pasta soup. I wasn't sure what Bryan was going to think, but I liked the idea of a lighter meal in the middle of the week.

First cook chopped garlic for a few minutes. Then add in your broken noodles. (The recipe calls for fideo, which is a thin pasta, but our small grocery did not have that. The thinnest I could find was angel hair.) Add a ton of chicken stock and cook until the noodles are cooked through.

Mark Bittman suggests garnishing with bread crumbs and fresh herbs, this was my favorite part. I added an obscene amount of parsley to my bowl. Without the herbs it just too bland for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stir Fried Chicken with Ketchup p. 677

Continuing on with my planned week of meals, I made this dish one night during the week. It was a fast, easy dish to prepare after a long day of work.

First chop your chicken pieces (either breasts or thighs will do) and lightly coat in flour. Cook for a few minutes until cooked through. Cool garlic and cayenne for a minute , add a bunch of ketchup and let it cook for a few minutes. Toss chicken with ketchup sauce.

I served over rice and added some chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro. One of the better meals we'd had in a while.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pound Cake p. 906-7

In my last post I plotted out a meal plan for a week. I stuck to it, but it only took me 3 weeks to post it. Sorry. Without further ado... pound cake!

I felt like I wasn't a true Southern girl since I am a quarter decade old without ever attempting to make my own pound cake. Although, to be truthful, I'm not crazy about pound cake. But it was a Sunday and I wanted to bake something sweet. I also wanted to use some yogurt I had laying around.

It was not too difficult to make, just a bunch of steps to add ingredients at just the right time. I'm sure there's a science behind it that I just do not care to learn.

The cake turned out great and we enjoyed it for several days. I didn't get a chance to toast some, which I wanted to do. I'm sure it would have been really delicious with a little homemade plum preserves.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meal Planning

By nature, I am a planner. My life revolves around my iGoogle set up with my calendar and task lists. I get a thrill when I check something off my to-do list. And I get aggravated when something spontaneous comes up that is not on my calendar... well at least not a week in advance.

But when it comes to meal planning, I'm terrible. I'd like to plan more in advance - it would definitely help out with my avoidance of the grocery store. When I've planned for meals in advance it seems like something always comes up and then the food is wasted. And like my grandparents who survived the depression, I do not want to waste food!

Today I planned out a week's worth of food. I'm posting it here to keep me accountable.

- Lunch: pasta salad
- Dinner:Grilled marinated flank steak, corn, green beans
- Pound cake (from the book)

- Steak salad with leftover flank steak

- Stir-fried Chicken with Ketchup (from the book)

- Garlic Frideo Soup (from the book)

- Pork Roast with Rosemary and new potatoes (from the book)

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:
We're going on an anniversary weekend get-away to Little Rock, AR!

It was important to make sure we eat at home this week since we will be eating out the coming weekend. Total we spent just over $100 for a week's worth of groceries which isn't too bad. About the price of us eating out twice... which we normally do anyways.

So now the responsibility falls on you, will you keep me accountable to my meal plan and to follow up with posts?

(Also, does anyone know what to do in Little Rock?)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Light and Fluffy Pancakes p. 812

I flipped to this recipe first when Bryan requested pancakes one morning. It didn't occur to me that there was an Everyday Pancake on the page before. But it was a weekend morning and we had slept in and I hadn't even had my coffee yet, so light and fluffy it was.

First get out 3 bowls. This is not a "clean" recipe. You'll dirty 3 mixing bowls, various things to beat, whisk, and stir, a pan, and a spatula.

In on bowl you beat milk and egg yolks (the yellow part, I always have to remind myself of this). In the second bowl is your whites. You will whisk until stiff, but not dry. Please explain this to me. I still do not understand.

In the third goes the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder).

I made half the batch in small pancakes and then got tired of those so I made several pan sized cakes. This recipe will make enough to feed six hungry boys. So unless you are feeing a crowd, be prepared for left overs. Although I do love having left over pancakes. I will put a couple in a bag in the freezer and pull out for a quick breakfast on the run. Simply pop them in the toaster and they are good to go! Yum!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Steamed Artichokes p. 253-4

I do love a good artichoke. Steamed artichokes with a good dipping sauce are the perfect appetizer for an intimate meal.

The only tricky part is preparing it. You have to trim the leaves and scoop out the middle part. But all that work is worth it in the end.

Steam your whole artichoke(s) for 20-40 minutes until done.

Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. I personally like melted butter with lemon and garlic, or a nice rouxemalade or comeback sauce.

If you've never had an artichoke like this, you take off a leave, dip the end in your sauce, and bite off the end, scraping the leaves with your teeth (much like a crab claw).

I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank my best friend Allyn A. Sossaman for introducing me to the glories of a fresh artichoke. Thank you, Allyn.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pan-Cooked Thin Fish Fillets p. 564

Do you ever get those thin frozen fish fillets at Sam's or grocery? I usually get tilapia. They are great to have on hand to make a quick dinner after a hard work day.

This recipe is perfect for those little fishies. And the sauce is to die for.

Dredge the thawed fish fillets in flour and add to a warmed pan with melted butter. Cook for a few minutes on each side. Once the all the fillets are cooked, add more butter to the pan. Add lemon juice and cook scraping the bottom of the pan. Drizzle of your fish.

Bryan and I literally faught over the last bites of the fish with sauce.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eggs Benedict, Unleashed p. 799

This is really a triple whammy recipe as you are really just assembling several seperate things.

First toast your english muffins. I hate english muffins and didn't have any (I made this spur of the moment one Sunday morning) so I used regular bread. A nice french bread or something fancier would probably have been better, but I was a poor planner for this meal.

Make a hollandaise Sauce (page 59-60). This mixes egg yolks, butter, lemon juice and some cayenne. Careful with the cayenne, I made mine too spicy. Keep it warm while you prepare the ham and eggs.

Next you will heat up your Canadian bacon. It only takes a minute or two, you just want to get it warm and crispy. Once done, let it drain on a paper towel.

Final step, poached eggs. I must admit a deep fear of poaching eggs. I've never had a poached egg before, but I've witnessed the process on cooking shows and read about it on various cook books. It seems weird and a freak of nature. So I was very hesitant about this step. But it ended up okay. The water had a milky foam over it, but my perfectly poached eggs were still in there and okay!

Finally assemble. Toast, bacon, eggs, and generous spoonful of hollandaise. Enjoy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Broiled Lamb Ribs p. 778-9

Bryan and I never had much lamb growing up, so I've had fun experimenting with a "new" meat. We've had it a couple of times since we were married and it always makes a "special" meal.

This recipe is all about the glaze. I'm surprised it doesn't have more of a prominent roll in the title. It should be something like Tangy Glazed Lamb Ribs.

Since the weather is yucky, I broiled these ribs. First you have to parboil them. This seemed odd to me, but when you broil them you are really just finishing off the cooking and adding flavor.

Mix together orange marmalade or syrup (I used plum preserves because that is what I had and it turned out amazing), Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, and ground cumin. This little glaze is your best friend. I've put similar glazes on pork chops. It'd also be amazing in chicken. Bryan almost liked the bowl clean.

Glaze your lamb on both sides, broil, turn and re-glaze a couple of times until brown and crispy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Classic Pot Roast p. 742

Yes, somehow after two years of cooking for myself I had not managed to cook a pot roast. I've done stews, which I consider similar, and briskets, but never a pot roast. Determined to change that, I held a family dinner at my house last week serving a classic pot roast. I had to wait to make it for company because there is no way Bryan and I would be able to eat a whole pot roast on our own.

This version of pot roast is cooked on low over the stove top. I always thought it was cooked in the oven, but I was wrong.

I won't go in depth about each step, but my main concern with this recipe is that there aren't nearly enough veggies. Mark Bittman calls for 2 carrots, 1 celery stick, and 2 onions. I intended to follow the recipe to a T since I was nervous feeding a crowd. But the onions were over powering. So I added at least on more celery stalk and 3 or more carrots, I forget now. I've made a note in my book so I remember to add more when I make it again.

The end product was delicious, flavorful, and tender. I served the meat and veggies over homemade mashed potatoes. The perfect causal dinner for a casual get together.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mashed Potatoes p. 339

I'm not sure why its taken me this long to try Mark Bittman's mashed potatoes. Maybe because its such a simple thing.

Last week I made pot roast for the first time. It just seemed natural to make mashed potatoes to go with it.

Start off by boiling your potatoes. When done, drain. Melt butter and warm milk in the drained pot, then add your potatoes back for mashing. At this point I veered from the recipe. I just added milk, butter, cheese, and salt to it satisfied my taste buds. I don't think you could mess mashed potatoes up. Unless you over salt them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spaghetti with Butter and Parmesan p. 506

Out of my lazy few weeks, I prepared this dish with things I had on hand. I just adore recipes like this one. So easy to adapt to whatever you might have on hand.

It really can't get easier than this. Cook pasta. Toss with softened butter and parmesan cheese. Yes, that is it.

As always, Mark Bittman gives plenty of additions to your spaghetti dinner. I added frozen peas and a fried egg.

Easy, delicious, and I didn't have go shopping. Beautiful.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leeks Braised in Oil or Butter p. 311

I've made leeks a few times, and I love them. Each time I made them I grow to love them just a little bit more.

For this recipe simply melt some butter and throw in your leeks. Add salt and pepper and some stock. Cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until tender and liquid is gone. Add a bit of lemon juice before serving.

This is a great, easy recipe to keep on hand for a simple weeknight meal.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Detour: Salad Dressing

I think I was around the age of 12 when I was introduced to salads. I don't know how it happened, but I was at a restaurant with my family and it suddenly dawned on me to order a salad. Ever since, me and salads have been best pals. I order them out regularly, I take them for lunches, I make them for dinner. But I haven't been brave enough to make my own dressing until the last year or two.

I happened upon this recipe a few months ago and bookmarked it for further use. Finally, I made a mason jar of creamy dressing last week. It was an inspiration. So simple and so delicious.

I've since made it three times... in only 7 days. Its that good. While its not part of How to Cook Everything or the project this blog is dedicated to, I feel it my duty to pass it along to the public. Try it. Today.

Since I'm not one to measure when making things like dressing, I've included my eyeball measurements. They are probably not accurate, but I just made a jar and it turned out good.

Creamy Salad Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise (about 1/4 a mason jar)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (heaping, I love things tangy)
1-2 gloves garlic, minched (or more... I used 4, but they were small)
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (or 1 juice lemon)
3 tablespoons water
freshly ground pepper

Put in a mason jar and shake vigorously.

Originally stumbled upon here.

Pictured here with pork tenderloin, risotto, and braised leeks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cleaning House

So, this is not a recipe post, but I think it goes along the theme of this blog.

I love buying in bulk and it doesn't help that I work only a few hundred feet from a Sam's. What I love about buying in bulk is splitting it up and putting some in the freezer for later. I tend to hate going to our local grocery store, but I don't mind Easy Way, which sells fresh produce. So if I can pull a meat out of the freezer and just stop at Easy Way to fill in with a veggie or two, I'm a happy camper.

But I tend to buy more than I use, which leads to a cluttered freezer, fridge and pantry. For the last few weeks I've made an effort to use what we have already and I've been impressed with the outcome.

We've had pork tenderloin, various chicken dishes, taco salad, lamb, beef tenderloin, fish, and much more. Bryan and I have been downright impressed with what we can put together without even going to the store. I haven't been to the grocery store for three weeks now! (Don't worry, I stock up on milk and eggs at Easy Way once a week.)

So not only is it decreasing my grocery bill, I'm also cleaning out the old. I am loving how easy it is to find things in the freezer and pantry now. Hopefully I can keep things on a minimum, buying only what I need.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oven Baked Ratatouille p. 373

Lately I've had a craving for fresh vegetables. Probably because we've been eating out as well as eating our of the freezer a lot lately.

I was never sure what exactly Ratatouille was, but I guess its more of a mixture of vegetables. For this dish I used onions, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic. Chop your vegetables up and layer them in a deep casserole dish generously adding olive oil.

After an hour in the oven you have a delicious mixture of vegetables.

I served ours over rice, which Bryan appreciated since he had maybe two bites of the vegetables.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flash-Cooked Collards with Lemon Juice p. 308

This was Bryan and my first time to have collard greens. My mom never served them growing up since she didn't like them herself. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I went into this experiment with an open mind.

This recipe is much the same as how I cook fresh spinach. The exception though is that Mark Bittman suggests cooking the stems as well. Collard leaves are much thicker than spinach and that didn't change after they were cooked. Bryan actually liked that the leaves were thicker and distinguishable as opposed to spinach.

The flavor was nice, I added some red wine vinegar as well as a little lemon juice, which, to me at least, made the collards edible.

It may not be my favorite vegetable, but at least I gave it a fair shot.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Vinaigrette p. 199-200

The basics of vinaigrette are these: oil. vinegar. salt. pepper. You can use different oils, different vinegars, and whatever other mixins you have on hand.

The other night I added whocestershire sauce, parmesean cheese, and honey as well as a smashed garlic clove.

Simple, yet delicious.

The beauty of vinaigrettes is that you can use whatever you have and whatever your tastes prefer. I had thought about added some fresh yogurt, but I when I went to fetch it from the fridge, discovered it wasn't fresh. Mark Bittman lists more than 20 different things you can add to your vinaigrette to spice it up. I had a hard timed editing the items I wanted to add to our dressing.

The proportions for this vinaigrette make enough for about 6 salads.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Sorry guys, I haven't done much cooking lately. Will have some new posts in the near future. Until then, check out a few of my favorite blogs:

The Pioneer Woman: always amazing. Her photography of cooking steps is how I learned to overcome my fear of cooking.

Food in my Beard: His recipes always impress me. I've bookmarked about a dozen to try later.

Recipe Deviant: My best friends blog about how she doesn't follow recipes.

Swanky Aprons: Where I get my cute aprons.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bechamel Sauce p. 57

I was a little intimidated at first by the fancy name, but this is not a complicated sauce. In fact, I don't even need to look back over the recipe to remember how to do it.

Start off by melting two tablespoons butter (you can use olive oil if you want). When its melted, add in two tablespoons flour and whisk quickly. Whisk for a couple of minutes. The book says it should turn tan, but mine never really did. Then slowly pour in milk or cream. I used about a cup and half. Whisk while adding a bit at a time. Let it cook until the sauce is a thick. Season to your liking and serve.

I wish Mark Bittman would have given a few suggestions for use of the sauce because I would love to use it more in the future. I had purchased some creamy pumpkin ravioli from a local shop and served the sauce over it. It was perfect together. Creamy and rich.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shrimp Stock p. 159

After making spicy shrimp, I saved the peels to make stock. Put your shells in a pot with onion, carrot, and celery or whatever you have or not. I love it when things are optional. I had carrot and celery and that's all I used. For this stock you only add about 5 cups of water, so it doesn't make as much as say chicken stock.

Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Once cool you can refrigerate or freeze it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chili con Carne with Tomatoes p. 429

We had some very cold weather not too long ago and every time it gets really cold I crave chili. My mom makes the best chili, but I had never tried making it myself before.

This recipe calls for using dried beans, which is not how Mom makes it, but I was up for the challenge. Put the beans in a pot and cover with water. Let it boil then turn the heat down and let it simmer until the beans are soft. Drain the water once the beans are tender. Add in chile (if you want), cumin, oregano, and garlic. I opted to add tomatoes, so I added 1 can of chopped tomatoes. I also opted for ground beef. Throw your browned meet in at this point as well. Let it come to a boil and then cover and turn to low. Let it cook for another 15 minutes before serving.

Mark Bittman suggests serving with cilantro, which was nice, but I can't have a bowl of chili without a huge sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mixed Spicy Vegetables, Thai Style p. 374

This is an interesting vegetable dish for a week night. Its also very flexible to what you have and what is in season. While not exactly in season, I used squash.

Start by cutting your vegetable into chunks. The recipe calls for onions, but of course, I had to leave them out. Heat some oil in a pan and throw in your onions if using. Let them soften. Then add chopped garlic, chiles, and your vegetable. Cook until the vegetable softens. Add coconut milk and lime leaves (I used zest. I had never heard of using leaves before.) Let it simmer for a few minutes and add soy sauce or fish sauce. I had recently purchased fish sauce out of curiosity and found in this dish that I do not like the flavor. Use soy sauce instead.

Serve warm.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pizza!! p. 178-181

Bryan loves pizza, I don't care for the chain pizza or the frozen stuff, so I'm never really up for pizza. But one night, I wanted to surprise him. So I prepared some pizza dough and got out a variety of toppings.

To make the dough you mix flour, yeast, and a pinch of salt. I mixed mine with my new stand mixer to make it easier. Once it turns into a ball remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for just a minute until its a nice ball of dough. Put it in a bowl, cover it, and let it rise for an hour or two.

Once its risen, divide it in half. Each batch of dough makes two decent pizzas. Bryan ate his in one sitting, but I saved a few pieces for lunch the next day. So prepare accordingly. I made two batches of dough at the same time (different bowls though) because we were having company for dinner.

Once divided, wrap it in a towel and let it sit for another 20 minutes. I'm not sure why, thats just what the book says.

Now we're ready to make pizza. On a floured surface or on a pizza pan, roll or form the ball of dough into your pizza. I rolled out one, but found the best way for me t was to work it out with my fingers. It was also, weirdly calming.

Mark Bittman gives lots of variations and ideas for pizza toppings, but I just pulled out anything I thought might work and let each person make their own pizza. Once topped put it in the oven for only 6 -12 minutes, keeping an eye on it. Pretty easy.

We used pepperoni, left over cooked chicken, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, marina sauce, and fresh rosemary.

The crust was delicious. I love a bread-y crust and thoroughly enjoyed each bite.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spicy Broiled Shrimp p. 574

Ingredients:garlic, salt, cayenne, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice, shrimp.

This was an easy recipe that is great for either appetizer or light entree. I'd love to try this at the beach with really fresh shrimp or scallops.

Mix together all ingredients except for shrimp. Then dip or coat your shrimp in the sauce. Broil or grill until cooked.

Yep, that's it. It was indeed spicy, but you can control the heat by how much cayenne you choose to use.

Be sure to drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the finished product for an added zing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken with Yogurt and Indian Spices p. 650

Ingredients: chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, cayenne, cumin, coriander, cardamon, tumeric, cinnamon, yogurt, cilantro.

Start off by heating your oil. When hot, throw in your chicken pieces (I used boneless breasts) and brown them on all sides. Remove from the pan. Next you will cook your onions if you are using them, I did not. Next you will throw in your chopped garlic and ginger as well as spices. Stir in the yogurt. (I have tried several similar recipes and those all called for the yogurt towards the end with minimal cooking time. I was worried about this step and I think my fears were not for nothing.)

Add in your chicken pieces and lower the heat. You will cook until the chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked through. I had to rearranged my chicken pieces every 5 minutes so that they were all evenly cooked.

In the end, my dish had a very weird consistency that I fear was from over cooking the yogurt. Everything tasted fine and it was delicious, but I just don't think it was supposed to end up this way.

Served over Rice Pilaf

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rice Pilaf p. 460

This is a simple post for a Wednesday.

Melt butter or heat olive oil over medium heat. Throw in your rice so they get a nice coating of fat and wait until they start to change colors to a nice bronzey color. I used basmati rice because I was serving an Indian chicken dish over it. (Hopefully to post tomorrow.) Salt and pepper and then add water. Cover and let simmer until the rice is done and liquid is gone. Let the rice sit off heat for 15 to 30 minutes before serving. I'm not sure why, the book just says so, okay?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Braised and Glazed Radish p. 348

Braised and glazed radish... say that 10 times fast. For weeknight dinner, I was searching for some new vegetable to try. I was feeling experimental. So I happened upon radishes. I'm not sure if I've ever really had a radish. If I had it was on a salad and I had missed a piece to pick out. But I was feeling adventurous and so we wrote down what we needed from the grocery and headed out.

Once we arrived at the grocery we were unprepared to begin our radish hunt. Neither of us could think of what they looked like and it took several tours of the produce section to find them.

This is what a radish looks like. (Image:

Back in the kitchen, it was smooth sailing. Wash your radishes and then cut into chunks. Which isn't easy given their size. One cut was all that was needed for some of mine. (It was unclear to me in the book if I was to peel them or not, so I did a few and then realized it was a big pain and decided against doing the rest.)

In a pan put your radishes, some butter, and stock or water. (I used water because we have been going through stock faster than I can make it.) When it gets to a boil, cover it. Let it simmer until all the liquid is gone and the radishes are tender.

Its hard to describe the taste, other than a savory root vegetable cooked in butter. But it was good and we both ate our share. Served here with spicy broiled shrimp and roasted asparagus.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roast Chicken with Herb Butter

I love a roast chicken. Its so easy to cook and produces a pretty and delicious meal. Not to mention, the left over bones are great to make chicken stock from. I've made the simplest whole roast chicken several times, but I was curious to try different versions.

For this variation, I mixed chopped fresh parsley with softened butter. You will use most of the butter to stuff between the chicken meat and the skin. Which reminded me of what I did with our Thanksgiving turkey. I find it difficult to get it to spread evenly underneath the skin, but I guess it doesn't have to be perfect. Once it gets hot, the butter will melt into all the crevices. Also smear some butter on the outside of the bird.

Roast until the chicken is done.

While, its not the prettiest, it was one tasty bird.

This dish was served with quick glaze carrots and simply cooked spinach.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beef Daube p. 738

Apparently this is a classic French stew. I had never heard of it before. Nor had anything quite like it. But its always excited to try new things. Especially things you aren't sure of how to pronounce. It makes me feel fancy.

Start off by cooking some bacon in a dutch oven until it is crisp and then remove, leaving the fat behind. To the fat add about 2 lbs brisket cut into cubes. Our brisket was seemed fatter than usual, and our end product had a lot of fat. I would suggest using beef chuck instead. Brown all the cubes, this might take a couple of batches to get them all done evenly. Remove once browned.

Next you are going to cook chopped onions, carrots, celery, as well as thyme rosemary, orange peel and salt and pepper. Let it cook for a few minutes and then add red wine and red wine vinegar as well as your browned meat. Let it simmer covered for about an hour. Add your bacon at that point and cook for a while longer.

Now I'm not sure if this is traditional, but we added some cooked shell pasta to our bowls. We had it on hand and the dish by itself seemed to need something. The flavors were amazingly delicious, but overall seemed really fatty. Again, it could be the cut of meat, or the bacon, but I found it difficult to finish. Also, I sliced my carrots pretty thinly. Cutting them thicker might be a better idea for next time.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jim Lahey's No- Work Bread

Homemade bread is one of those things that I have always felt was over my head. Or overly domesticated. I mean, unless you use a bread machine, who has the time to deal with making your own loaf of bread.

I had heard and read several things about Jim Lahey's No-Knead bread both here and here. And as much as we love and eat bread, I figured it was about time I face my fear of homemade bread. Plus I was out of work for a week and had time to let it rise.

I'm not going to go through the whole process. Other than to say it had to sit for 18 and then about 2 hours. Which isn't a big deal, but not do-able when you work and have an hour to get dinner on the table. So I guess this is a weekend deal for us work people.

After rising, it bakes in a dutch oven. I found this provocative. But then again, what do I know about bread making? Nothing.

The bread turned out totally edible. Not the most delicious bread I'd ever eaten, but good.

It was excellent lightly toasted, with some jam or pumpkin butter smeared on it.

Overall, my first bread making experience was a success!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Noodle Soup

Just after Christmas and at the new year, I was sick, for almost a week. Sick people need soup to get better and unfortunately, I had to make it for myself.

Ingredients for noodle soup: noodles, oil, onion, carrot, celery, stock,parsley, parmesean cheese. I also added chopped, cooked chicken to my soup.

Start off by cooking your noodles seperately. In another pot saute your onion, carrots, and celery. I skipped onions, as usual. Once they are soft, add your stock and bring to a boil. Add your noodles and chicken once the soup is warm. Serve garnished with parsley and parmesean cheese.

This noodle soup is easily amenable to many variations. I added some chopped canned tomatoes as well as sugar snap peas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Herb- Roasted Chicken Cutlets p. 672

This was one dish I wasn't too crazy about. Perhaps it was the herbs I used and the flavor.

Start off by heating the oven and then mix herbs. The recipe calls for tarragon, dill or chervil (what is this? I've never heard of or used before) and parsley. I used everything dry because that was all I had. Cover chicken breasts with herbs and cook with a cup of stock to roast in the oven.

It is a super easy dish to make, however, I don't think I care for the flavor of tarragon. I will tweak the flavors to my liking next time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baked (Shirred) Eggs p. 798

I've seen several baked egg recipes circulating cooking blogs lately. It was a totally new concept to me. Baked eggs. Eggs are usually scrambled or fried ... but baked?

Baked eggs are incredibly easy and perfect for weekday breakfast or a leisurely weekend breakfast. There are also many ways you can vary them.

Mark Bittman gives a 30 minute prep and cook time in the book, but it shouldn't take you longer than 16 minutes, 15 of those are cooking.

Start off with a ramkin or small baking dish. Butter it or rub olive oil all over. Then break an egg in there and bake for 10-15 minutes.

He also suggests adding a bit of cream to the bottom of the bowl if you wish. When its done add a little salt and pepper to taste.

There are tons of ways to spice it up or vary it:
- You can add cooked or uncooked meats or vegetables. I've used proscuitto. But I'd love to try some asparagus with baked eggs.
- Add cheese!
- Fresh herbs
- Your favorite spices.

For this particular baked egg dish I add proscuitto to the bottom, cream, and a little parmigano on top. With both the proscuitto, cheese, and salt it was way way too salty, but still delicious.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hot and Smoky Corn Gratin p. 332

I was looking for a casserole type dish to take to a holiday potluck and came across this dish. It is more of an appetizer/dip than a casserole or side dish, but it was definately delicious.

The main recipe is Chile Cheese Gratin, but I have a fear of peppers, both of picking them out and having to actually cook with them. One of the variations suggests using corn and canned chipotle chile with adobo. That sounded do-able to me, so I set to work.

Ingredients: corn, canned chipotle chile with adobo, tomatoes (I used two cans of diced tomatoes), cheese, salt, pepper, cilantro, tortilla chips.

Layer your corn, tomatoes, cheese, and chiles several times and top with crushed chips. Bake for about 25 minutes or until is bubbly.

Mark Bittman suggest using 2-4 tables of the chipotle chiles. Be sure you know your tolerance for chile because I failed to taste it until after I put together the whole dish. Ooops. It was a bit spicy, but everyone seemed to like it.

I would recommend it as an appetizer dip for a potluck or other gathering.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Aunt Big's Gingersnaps p. 897

Ingredients: butter, sugar, molasses, baking soda, flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt. (No kitty cats are called for this recipe and none were injured in the making of these delicious cookies.)

I'm not entirely sure if I'd ever had gingersnaps before. I've had one or two gingerbread men, but that's different.

Start off by creaming the butter, sugar, and molasses. Then add your baking soda and water. In a separate bowl add flour and spices together and slowly add to the dough.

When its combined put your dough on wax paper to refrigerate for a few hours or few days. Helpful tip: Try to spread the dough into an even log. The dough is very sticky and messy and I just tried to get it on there without making too much of a mess.

Once you have refrigerated the dough for at least a couple of hours, take out and slice. If I had an even dough log I wouldn't have ended up with whoppy cookie shapes.

Bake for about 10 minutes and cool. A vanilla frosting or orange glaze would be good, but I was lazy. So lazy I even forgot to take pictures of the after product.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cookies p. 896

Ingredients: butter, confectioners sugar, flour, salt, pecans (or any other nut you prefer), vanilla extract.

I was excited about getting to use my new Kitchen Aid mixer. Start off by beating the butter until fluffy before adding the powder sugar. In a bowl combine the flour, salt and nuts. Then you'll add those to your mixer. Once everything is mixed together it needs to refrigerate for a while. Mine sat in the fridge for a few days.

When you are ready to bake, shape the dough into about 1" balls.

Bake them for about 10 minutes until they start to brown. Let them cool for a minute or so and then cover in powdered sugar. Let them sit on a rack for another minute while you powder all the balls and then give them all a second coat of sugar.

I'm not a fan of Mexican Wedding Cookies or powdered sugar. Actually its probably the powdered sugar I don't like about Mexican Wedding Cookies. But I tried one and it was good. I promptly gave the rest away as gifts. Our neighbor raved about them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mocha Glaze p. 919

As I mentioned yesterday, I went on a huge baking spree before Christmas. One of the confections made were butter cookies. I decided to spice them up with a mocha glaze.

To make a glaze you simply stir together fresh coffee, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and confectioners' sugar. Then brush on your cookies.

We had some glaze leftover after brushing all the cookies twice. Bryan made me save it and we'll top some vanilla ice cream with it. Or drizzle it on some cake. Or cover a finger with some and lick it off.