Wednesday, July 30, 2008

An All-American Favorite Variation

In Cook's Country magazine, they had a page on boosting flavors inside the burger patty instead of using toppings. They had an Italian one with sweet Italian sausage mixed in with the beef and Parmesan cheese, basil and parsley. When I was at Target I saw that Chorizo was on sale, so I decided to try to do something similar but Mexican. And it was tasty! Thanks to Blake who mixed it all up for me while I fed the baby:)

Mexican Burgers
makes 6 fatty patties

1 lb lean ground sirloin
3 raw chorizo sausage links, casings removed
1 large handful cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 C monterey jack cheese, shredded
4 t taco seasoning
4 t chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  1. Mix ingredients in a large bowl until fully encorporated.
  2. Separate into 6 equal portions. Mold into round patties and indent the middle to avoid having a swollen patty.
  3. Cook to well done. Serve with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, salsa, fresh cilantro, avocados, or other toppings to your liking.
And I put it on a whole wheat sandwich roll to make me feel deceptively better about the whole thing ...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I am so proud of myself!

... for 2 reasons. 1) I was able to almost recreate my sister's vegetable curry that I've been craving ever since she made it for me probably about 2 years ago, and 2) I actually got Blake to not only EAT cauliflower, but ENJOY it! That, my friends, is quite an accomplishment. And I am relieved, too, because I think cauliflower might be my favorite part of this dish.

When I was in high school in Japan, I got to take an "International Cooking" class taught by mothers of students at my school. My school was an International school, so you can assume the dishes we learned how to make were pretty authentic. And this dish reminds me of the Indian food day. It is pretty much the real thing, and I LOVE it! It's not the most visually appealing, but trust me, it is good. And the best part is that it is easy and the ingredients are really easy to find. Happy curry day!

Lisa's Vegetable Curry
serves 6-8?
5 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 3-in chunk fresh ginger, finely grated
3 T vegetable oil
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
2 t curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not cream of coconut)
1 head cauliflower, broken off into chunks
1 large eggplant, diced large
green beans (however much you want)

* vegetables should amount to about 8 C

1 C cashews (optional, but definitely suggested)
salt to taste
  1. Heat oil to medium-high in a large pot. Add onion and cook until soft.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, curry, cumin, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Cook until spices are fully incorporated and very fragrant. (about 1~2 minutes)
  3. Add tomato and stir constantly until slightly pulpy.
  4. Add vegetables and stir to combine. Cook until soft. Add salt and taste periodically.
  5. Add coconut milk and cook until the curry thickens.
  6. Add cashews. Serve over rice.
* you can add chicken to make it a little heartier.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Good Wannabe Asian

So I am not usually a fan of generic "Asian Food", but I found a recipe for Asian Sesame noodles using whole wheat spaghetti. And though I was a little skeptical of the spaghetti, everything else looked pretty good (well, for the most part), and it was healthy, so I thought I'd just try it out. I took out a lot of things and added a lot to make it more authentic, and I actually think this is a winner meal! So this is my own Americanized Asian dish ... if you can believe it.

Oh, and I used 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken just because I am making something else with it later this week, but by all means use the whole chicken if you want.

Peanut Sesame Spaghetti
makes 1 lb of pasta
1/2 C chicken broth
3 T creamy peanut butter
2 T fish sauce
3 T soy sauce
2 T mirin
1 T chili garlic sauce

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti

1~2 carrots, grated
bean sprouts (as much as you want)
4 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces (or thinly sliced, if you like)
1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded
3 T toasted white sesame seeds
juice of 1 lime
  1. Boil pasta to al dente with salted water. (probably about 8 minutes).
  2. In a sauce pan, heat the sauce ingredients together and whisk until peanut butter is dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Toss pasta, sauce, vegetables, lime juice, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Garnish with some more sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve hot or cold.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I have the best husband in the whole world!

Last night Blake made dinner. I didn't take a picture of it because it was home made pizza, which I already have on this blog, but I just wanted everyone to know that he actually made dinner for me. For no reason except that he is nice. And because he was so determined to have pizza finally, but Ella was fussy so I had to feed her, so he took it on his own hands to make sure we got pizza for dinner. It was perfect and super tasty and I can't wait to have leftovers for lunch today! If you want the recipe, it's already on here from May 16, 2008. It's really easy, so I recommend trying it out sometime.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Own Take On Another Classic

With the leftover Pissaladiére dough, I decided to make another non-conventional type of pizza. I was reading through the "Everyday Food Great Food Fast" cookbook (from Martha Stewart) that I b ought recently, and they made a mushroom and spinach tart that looked super good. They sautéed mushrooms and spinach and topped it with caramelized onions and goat cheese, all on puff pastry. But since I had this beautiful dough, I thought I'd try a combination of the 2 and omit the goat cheese (regretfully, though. I only omit because Blake doesn't like it and it's pretty pricey) and add Parmesan instead.

Oh, and with the left over dough from last time that I had frozen. It did work, but you'll need to knead it with a little extra flour once it's defrosted all the way, and it won't rise quite as much. But it still tasted great and worked just fine for this recipe.

So all I did different with this recipe compared to the Pissaladiére was that I omitted the anchovies and olives and added wilted spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and quartered cherry tomatoes and finely grated Parmesan cheese on top. I thought it was great, but next time I would caramelize the onions a little more. Because they were under other veggies this time, they didn't get a chance to brown in the oven. They were still really sweet and yummy, but a little more browning would have been perfect.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Own Take On a Classic

I've always loved the tangy but rich flavors in Shrimp Scampi, so I finally decided to make it one day. It turned out great and I loved it! The second time I made it I realized I didn't have parsley, only cilantro, and I really like shrimp with cilantro, so I decided to take my chances and substitute. And it was definitely a success! And since Blake loves cilantro so much, I always make it this way now. You have to try it!

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini
serves 4-6
1 lb linguini
1 lb shrimp, de-veined
1 big handful parsley, chopped fine
1 big handful cilantro, chopped fine
1~2 T dry white wine
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
3~4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
2 T olive oil, plus some to toss pasta at the end
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Boil the pasta with salt to al dente. About 8 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 C pasta water.
  2. In a separate deep pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant and red pepper flakes are incorporated into the oil, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pat the Shrimp dry and season with salt and pepper lightly on both sides. Place the shrimp into the pan and flip over as soon as it turns a slight pink. Don't overcook.
  4. Add the white wine and let it evaporate a little. Add pasta and toss to coat. Add lemon juice, zest, and herbs and continue to toss until it's all evenly coated. Add reserved pasta water if needed.
  5. Serve while warm and serve with Parmesan Cheese and small sprigs of parsley on top.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paris in Elkhart has arrived

For my birthday, as some of you may recall, Blake bought me a couple wonderful gifts, with a French Theme. After reading through Ina Garten's Barefoot In Paris Cookbook, I was determined to make Pissaladiére, and I finally broke down and made the dang thing! I meant to before Ella was born, but that never happened and then I didn't really have a chance to until now. Being a new mom is busy! It feels like I'm not doing anything but feeding and changing diapers, but then the day is over before you know it.

Anyway, I served it with a cucumber & tomato salad. I used small, seedless cucumbers, tomatoes (from the Amish farm!) parsley, fresh lime juice, olive oil, and salt.

For some reason this recipe makes enough dough for 2 but only enough topping for 1 ... so either double the topping or freeze half of the dough for another time. Apparently it works. I will report if it doesn't since I have a ball of dough in my freezer.

makes 1 cookie sheet size
For the topping:
1/4 C olive oil
2 lbs onions (I used red and yellow onions)
1 t herbes de provence
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
3 whole clove garlic

for the dough:
1 1/4 C warm water (100° to 110°)
4 t active dry yeast
1 T honey
3 T olive oil
4 C all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 t kosher salt

to assemble pissaladiére:
cornmeal, for baking
9 anchovie fillets
12 black olives (any black olives will work, other than California olives)
  1. For the topping, heat oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions, herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic on low~medium heat for 45 minutes, until onions are sweet & cooked but not browned. After about 30 minutes, take out the garlic cloves and chop/smash and put back into the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, for the dough, combine water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. Add 3 cups of flour and the salt on medium-low speed. mix in 1 more C of flour gradually. Let it mix for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth. Add more flour if needed. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°
  4. Divide dough into 2 equal parts, rolling each into a smooth ball. Roll the dough lightly with a rolling pin then stretch it to a 10/15 inch rectangle and place on a baking hseet sprinkled with cornmeal.
  5. Spoon on onion topping on the dough, leaving a border. Arrange anchovies and olives on top and brush with olive oil on the edge. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust is crisp. Serve hot.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Returning the Favor

We got a lot of help from church the first week we were home from the hospital, and I didn't have to cook at all until Friday, I think. (Thanks to Ward members and my amazing sister!) So, I thought it would only be fair to return the serving plates that people brought food in with some treats. I didn't have enough chocolate chips for chocolate chip cookies, and I made them yesterday for a ward party. And Lisa had some left over chocolate ganache frosting that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make Chocolate sandwich cookies. I used the rest of the chocolate chips I had (very few, maybe 1/4 C) and it turned out perfect! And they were sooooo rich, even I could only have 1. So here is my adaptation of the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, altered to be a "Death by Chocolate Cookie", as so appropriately titled by Blake.

Death by Chocolate Cookies
makes about 32 individual cookies, or 16 cookie sandwiches
2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C Dutch-processed Cocoa
2 eggs
1/2 C butter, room temperature
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 white granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1/4~1/2 C chocolate chips
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  3. In a seperate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients until combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon about 2 t of dough for each cookie onto a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. let cool completely.
*If you want cookie sandwiches, add chocolate ganache in between 2 cookies and serve. If making ahead of time, make sure and keep in the refrigerator or ganache will melt.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Dream Come True

I've always wanted a tomato plant. And today my dream came true! Thanks Mom!

I'm Back!

It feels so good to feel like I can stand long enough to make food again! My mom bought a huge steak at the Farmer's Market today (one good thing about that Market ... everything else pretty much was disappointing) and sweet corn at the Amish Farm, so to go along with that I decided to make some fresh green beans that we bought at another farm stand a couple days ago and another tomato salad. Ah, fresh produce. My tomato Salad pretty much is a Caprese Salad with Parmesan instead of Fresh Mozarella.

Tomato Salad
3 medium sized Beefsteak tomatoes
about 6 basil leaves
Parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 a lemon
olive oil
salt to taste
  1. slice and quarter tomatoes to desired thickness. roll basil leaves together and slice thin with a very sharp knife (to avoid bruising). Sprinkle basil leaves on top and with a vegetable peeler, peel pieces of Parmesan cheese on top. Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.
Challah Bread
(Sorry, no recipe ...)

Garlic Sautéed Fresh Green Beans
1/2 lb (?) fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1~2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
In a deep sauté pan melt the butter at medium/medium-high temperature. Add green beans and salt and pepper and sauté until parts of the green bean turn a bright green. Add minced garlic and continue stirring. Keep cooking until green beans are tender-crisp and slightly browned in parts. Serve warm.

Veggie-Rich Dinner

Mom came in on Wednesday and made us vegetable (or fruit, if you want to get technical) plentiful dinner. I made the Caprese salad and she made roasted asparagus, red bell peppers, and some sweet corn. All from the local farms out here. Yay for the Amish!

Classic Caprese Salad1 large beefsteak tomato
1 large yellow tomato
1 large ball of fresh mozarella cheese
about 10 good sized basil leaves
juice of 1/2 a lemon
about 2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch~1/2 inch thick.
  2. Slice cheese to match.
  3. Roll basil leaves up together, then with a very sharp knife, slice thin. Layer tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, alternating tomatoes and cheese, like photo. Sprinkle basil on top.
  4. Drizzle with lemon and olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

and p.s. since I was busy with little miss demanding baby, Blake actually took these pictures for me. Not bad, huh

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

One last hurrah

Lisa made us spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then this beautiful chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting for dessert. How am I going to live without her now?