Archive for the ‘Yummy Recipes’ Category

New Adventures: 12 of 30 – Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.

Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Then sear the meat on a super hot nonstick pan until crisp and golden brown on the outsides.

You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)

After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…

Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.

Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:

Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.

Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!

I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!

You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago.  But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.

12 of 30 completed!

 

Recipe: Curry and Yogurt Braised Chicken Thighs

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

This is a new recipe I came across from Food & Wine, that I altered a bit. It was absolutely delish, winning approval from D and my mom. It tasted just as good, if not better, than a curry from my favorite Thai restaurant. It’s pretty easy to make, relatively healthy, very satisfying and it looks beautiful when it’s plated.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup  canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 anaheim chile(green chile pepper), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper—cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (I used half 9 spice curry from Thailand, half McCormick Brand)
  • A little over 1 pound tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup Greek-style plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, chile and bell pepper to the skillet and cook over high heat until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, yogurt and water; stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat until the chicken is tender and the juices are slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with cilantro.
  4. Serve with steamed rice.

Recipe: Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Monday, September 1st, 2008

With the eventual move back to Boston quickly approaching, I’ve found myself needing to go through closets & cupboards to get rid of stuff that we don’t want or need & also use stuff up that’s sitting around if we can. Like finally eating those canned peaches that I bought a year ago, or putting that half empty tub of risotto rice to good use.

On FoodAndWine.com you can type in ingredients that you have & the site will pop up recipes that use them. I was looking for a recipe that might use up some long grained basmati rice, a can of crushed tomatoes,  a can of unsweetened coconut milk and an onion. Low and behold, something actually popped up and it looked really yummy: Brazilian shrimp soup. I did some minor tweaking to their recipe & the result was delicious, easy and cleared out some cupboard space. :)

Brazilian Shrimp SOup

Brazilian Shrimp Soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3/4 cup long grain Rice
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 28-ounce can of crushed Tomatoes (about 3 1/2 cups)
4 cups Water
1 cup canned unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 1/2 lbs medium Shrimp, shelled & cut in half horizontally
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
1/2 cup fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice, cayenne pepper, salt, tomatoes and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Serve.

Recipe: Apple Pie Bars

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Apple Pie Bars

My man likes apple pie. He also loves cookies. In addition, he also adores apple crisp. So when I came across a dessert that combines all of those things, I figured that this was a home run. :) There’s a buttery shortbread crust, topped with apple pie filling, topped with an apple crisp sort of crumble. There’s tons of butter and sugar, but omg! This stuff is wicked good!

 

Ingredients:

Crust-

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling-

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 9 mixed apples — peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup water, as necessary

Topping-

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

 

Directions:

  1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 13×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling: In each of 2 large skillets, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter with 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Add the apples to the skillets and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir half of the cinnamon and nutmeg into each skillet. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillets and add up to 1/2 cup of water to each pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.
  3. Make the topping: In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the walnuts and press the mixture into clumps.
  4. Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.
  5. Die happy. :)

 

Recipe: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Chicken noodle soup!

It’s cold and flu season. My poor husband with an apparently beaten down immune system has had 2 nasty colds within 3 weeks. So I realized that it was definitely time to pull out my super awesome homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe again. I though you guys might appreciate a new recipe to add to your collection… Or at least compare it to your own version of this classic home remedy. :)

For me, homemade chicken soup is all about making your own stock if you have the time… I dunno what it is. Maybe it tastes better, or has more cold-fighting properties, but it’s possible that I just love it because it always makes my entire house smell amazing. Now if you’re in a rush or just not in a super patient mood, feel free to use cans or cartons of premade chicken broth from the store. :)

Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients:

- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 cups or 4 quarts of water
- 8 Chicken thighs & 1 Chicken Breast, halved (w/bones & skin)
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 ½ tsp. black pepper

Soup Ingredients:

- Chicken stock
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- ¾ to 1 package of Egg Noodles
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- Hot pepper sauce, (ex. Tabasco)
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. To Make Stock: Lightly sauté onions and garlic in butter for about 2 minutes. Add water and chicken and bring to a boil. Skim off froth. Add carrots, celery, dried parsley, bay leaves, salt, thyme and pepper. Reduce heat to low/medium and simmer, partially covered for about 1 hour, or until juices run clear when meat is pierced.

2. Remove all solids (chicken, veggies, bay leaves, etc…) from the broth with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Separate bones, fat and skin from chicken. Pick apart or chop the good chicken meat and throw it back into the stock. Discard cooked veggies and leftover chicken parts.

3. To Make Soup: Add fresh onion, carrots and celery to stock & chicken. Cover pot and cook over medium/high for about 8 minutes.

4. Add noodles and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until noodles and veggies are tender. Add more salt and pepper if desired.

5. When dishing out bowls season to your liking with hot pepper sauce (It sounds kinda weird but I highly recommend it! Even Devon, the “anti-condiment of any kind” man thinks that the soup tastes way better with Tobasco. Also for all my sickly homeboys & girls, it helps clear you up if you’re congested.) Top bowls with some fresh parsley and serve!

6. Eat your super awesome Homemade Chicken Soup and relish in the fact that you’re enjoying a cold remedy that tastes way better than that nasty green Nyquil. ☺

Recipe: Peanut-y Soba Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Ever order delicious peanut noodles from your favorite local Thai Take-out place? I found this recipe in Gourmet Magazine’s June 2007 issue. It’s absolutely amazing and super delicious. I totally recommend it if you’re into peanut-y noodle goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken cutlets or tenders
  • 1 pound soba noodles
  • 1 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped)
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese chile garlic paste (preferably Lan Chi) or Sriracha (Southeast Asian chile sauce) plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions

Directions:

Cut chicken into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cook in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken with a slotted spoon to a bowl (drain any excess liquid), reserving water in pot.

Return water to a boil, then cook noodles, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 8 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup noodle-cooking water and drain noodles in a colander. Rinse noodles under cold water to stop cooking, then drain well.

While noodles cook, cut cucumber lengthwise into julienne strips, slicing until you reach core, then rotating cucumber a quarter turn, continuing to slice and rotate until left with nothing but core. Pat dry.

Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste, and reserved cooking water until smooth.

Divide noodles among large serving bowls. Spoon about 1/4 cup peanut sauce over noodles in each bowl, then divide chicken, cucumber, and scallions among bowls. Serve immediately with remaining sauce and additional chile paste. Stir noodles just before eating.

Ginger Sole Rolls with Lemon-y Soy Sauce

Saturday, March 24th, 2007
Ginger Sole Rolls with lemon-y soy sauce

I found this dish while searching for new low-calorie dishes to make our gyming & dieting more plesant. This dish is FABULOUS!!!! Quick, super flavorful and satisfying! Each serving is only 197 calories! I would suggest making a side dish to go along with this main and/or throwing in another carrot and some more mushrooms to round out a dinner. (Or if you want to wait a little bit, I have a really awesome stir-fryed asparagus side dish that I’m going to post about soon..)

Anyways, this dish is relatively easy to throw together, but it ends up looking pretty fancy… Plus I learned a new way to cook fish! Enjoy!
Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 11 mins
Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 bunches scallions, whites and greens separated, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 (6-ounce) sole fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large Napa cabbage leaves
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 8 shiitake mushroom, stems trimmed and discarded
  • Special equipment: bamboo or collapsible steamer (we used this but it only fits about 2 sole fillets in it at a time.)

Directions:

Whisk the soy sauce, lemon zest and juice, and the sesame oil together in a small bowl. Add the scallion whites to the sauce.Mix the scallion greens with the ginger in another small bowl.

Lay the sole fillets on the work surface, skin-side up (look for the side with the herring bone pattern). Cut the fillets lengthwise along the natural seam that runs down the center of each piece. Lightly season the skin-side of the fish with salt and pepper. Then scatter the scallions and ginger on top. Starting from the narrow tail end, roll up each piece of fish into a tight spiral with the scallion on the inside. Secure with a toothpick.

Pour an inch or more of water in a wok or skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lay the Napa leaves in a steamer. Stand the fish rolls on the Napa, and scatter the shiitake mushrooms and sliced carrot around. Set the steamer over the water, cover, and cook the fish until it is barely cooked through, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the fish covered to finish cooking in the residual heat of the steamer, about 5 minutes more.

Divide the Napa, sole, shiitakes, and carrots among 4 plates and drizzle with the sauce. Serve.

Tangy-Sweet Baked Ziti

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007
Tangy-Sweet Baked Ziti

This recipe makes 8 servings. I tweaked a recipe I found on allrecipes.com to make this variation. It received rave reviews at my “dinner and a movie” night.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta (1 box)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 TBLS olive oil
  • 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Traditional, which was kinda sweet, but went perfectly with the sour cream)
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream (I used light)
  • 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, brown onion in olive oil over medium heat until it is translucent and almost caramelized. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. Take off heat and mix sauce with cooked pasta
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 ziti and sauce mixture, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 ziti and sauce mixture and mozzarella cheese. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

Chicken and White Bean Chili

Friday, October 13th, 2006

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 chopped mild green chile pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (cumin seed also works)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans, drained, cannelli (white kidney) beans
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • sour cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chile pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and white beans. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the mixture from heat. Slowly stir in the cheese until melted. Add a dollop of sour cream. Serve warm.
Chicken and white bean chili

I found a similiar recipe on allrecipes.com and altered it a bit to make this one. Its super tasty, easy to make and pretty darn healthy. Plus Devon likes it, and he was skeptical about it tasting good from the get go.

Chicken and Pesto Pockets

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

I found a yummy looking recipe online and made some subsitutions to it to create this one. It’s a super delish and easy recipe that looks uber fancy.
Stuffed Chicken in Puffed Pastry

1 box puff pastry (not Phyllo)
4 chicken breasts
3 ounces goat cheese
3-4 TBSP pesto

Partially defrost puff pastry. While puff pastry is defrosting, mix together goat cheese and pesto. Set aside. Cut chicken breasts to create a “pocket” out of them. Stuff chicken breasts with pesto mixture.

Spread out 1 sheet of puff pastry and cut in half. Place 1 chicken breast on the section of puff pastry. Fold up and seal with water, making little packets. Repeat with remaining puff pastry, chicken, and pesto mixture.

Place on greased cookie sheet and brush with milk or egg (optional). Bake at 400 for 40 minutes, until puff pastry is golden brown. Serve with a salad.