Archive for June, 2008

Balancing Act.

Last night was dubbed a good time for a lighter meal. The morning’s brunch had involved hungry cousins, lots of bacon, and almond coffee cake. So yes, quite a lot was consumed. This shrimp recipe from one of my Food&Wine magazines looked fresh and light http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/vietnamese-style-jumbo-shrimp-on-sugarcane and it totally fit the bill. It was tasty, and so easy! I’m usually a little iffy when it comes to fish sauce, as a little can go a long way, but the flavors here were fabulous and not at all over powering. Paired with some steamed spinach/asparagus and leftover black lentils, it was a healthy but delicious meal all around.
So, you know how I just mentioned the fact that my dinner was extra healthy last night? Well, since that was the case, dessert’s role was to balance this factor out. From my “Flavors” cook book by Donna Hay (GREAT cook book, her recipes are simple but always delicious) I made chocolate truffle cakes, perhaps the most used recipe in my household. Like always, they were great. I suggest you try them ASAP:
10 oz dark chocolate, chopped
5 oz butter
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sugar chocolate glaze
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cream
3 oz butter

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line the base of eight 1-cup capacity non-stick muffin tins with non-stick baking paper.
Place the chocolate and butter in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted and smooth.
Place the eggs, vanilla, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and thick. Stir through the chocolate mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes are just set. Cool in the tins and then refrigerate for two hours.
To make the glaze, place the chocolate, cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until firm.
Unmold the cakes onto plates and spread with the glaze. Serves 8.

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Risotto

So, two nights ago I made artichoke, asparagua, and mushroom quinoa risotto, something that my mom and I have been dying to make for a while. We both love risotto, and are into quinoa (which if you haven’t had is DELICIOUS, and extremely healthy…its full protein, good source of fiber…the list goes on). We found the recipe in the July issue of Bon Appetit:
*6 main-course or 8 to 10 side-dish
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (such as chanterelles, stemmed shiitakes, oyster, and morels), thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups quinoa (about 13 ounces), rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1 pound asparagua, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 8-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (I used canned)
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shaved Manchego cheese (a Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk)

Melt butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; saute until brown and tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa; saute 2 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups broth; cook 10 minutes. Add asparagus and artichoke hearts; simmer until quinoa and vegetables are tender, stirring often and adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed, about 7 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and reserved mushrooms. Stir until cheese melts and mushrooms are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide risotto among bowls, garnish with shave Manchego cheese, and serve.
We cut the recipe in half since there were only two of us. It was GREAT, I would make this again and again. I didn’t use quite as much butter and oil as the recipe called for, and it was still fine. Also, Manchego cheese is really yummy, I had never had it, but it adds a lot to this dish, so don’t cut it out!

Irony

So here’s something ironic. About 15 minutes after I posted about my love for my manual Bodum milk frother, guess what happened….I broke it. Funny, huh? I really have a knack for breaking things. Not only did I break one at Aliza’s house this past winter (sorry again! but it’s been replaced, so all is well) but I also managed to knock over and break 2 ceramic dishes after dinner tonight. I’m skilled like that.

Anyway, point of the story is that I was devastated and almost cried and we immediately went to order a new one. Oh yeah, but they don’t make the manual ones anymore, remember? Crap. So we ordered an electric one. Come on, it is the 21st century, electric stuff is our friend, right? Haha total 180 from my previous post about good old-fashioned manual labor.
So everyone can anxiously await my review of the new milk frother in approximately 7-10 business days.
And also all my faithful readers (aka Aliza and my Mom) can look forward to a delicious Black Bean, Corn, and Shrimp Salad review tomorrow because my camera is downstairs and I am way to tired (err…lazy) to get it tonight.

Pretend dessert.

Well, to start, Sarah’s recent salmon dish looks SO good! I too am a HUGE salmon fan..its just versatile, easy and always delicious. Mm.

Anyways, yesterday I made “inside-out carrot cake cookies” from a recipe I found on Epicurious (LOVE it) http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/INSIDE-OUT-CARROT-CAKE-COOKIES-109346 I know, I know, carrot cake??? But, I wanted to make something as a thank you to a friend, and his absolute favorite dessert is carrot cake. Unfortunately. Besides banana creme pie, this is probably my least favorite dessert (if you can call it that). Although the frosting is pretty yummy. Anyways, these turned out well, as far as I can tell..I didn’t actually try one. I did make a few changes by following the 04/05/08 review on this page http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/reviews/INSIDE-OUT-CARROT-CAKE-COOKIES-109346. I also made a totally different frosting than was suggested. I used 8oz cream cheese, 3/4 stick of butter, roughly 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar, a bit of vanilla, and some cinnamon. Honestly, I can’t tell you of these were good, but if you like carrot cake, they were an easy alternative to making and frosting an entire cake.


Super Salmon

I LOVE salmon. Ok, I guess my declaring my love for (insert food here) is getting pretty repetitive because looking through my posts I seem to say “I LOVE this or I LOVE that” a lot. But it’s true. I just love food so much. Except jello—gag.

But really, around here salmon and asparagus is always a go-to meal for us. There is something about the combination that just goes so well together. 
We’ve tried making salmon tons of 
different ways, and they are usually all successful. This recipe was really exceptional however, my mom and I decided it is definitely one of the best. And of course, like most things, simple is better.
All we did was coat the salmon in 4 Tbsp dijon mustard, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper. Then we threw it on the grill-pan
 for about 5 minutes per side. FABULOUS.
It was perfectly cooked and very moist. Usually we stick our salmon under the broiler, so maybe using the grill is key. I’ll have to do some more experimenting which obviously makes me happy as it means MORE SALMON!
After dinner I made my mom a cappuccino:
I seriously love my espresso machine, we got it at Bed Bath & Beyond for $19.99, and figured it probably wouldn’t work well but was worth a shot since it was so cheap. Well we were pleasantly surprised since it works great. Too bad I’m the only one that took the time to learn how to use it, so now I’m the “barista” of the family, and am getting pretty sick of hearing “hey Say, make me an espresso”. Nah, I’m kidding, it’s fun : ) I bet Starbucks is really regretting not giving me a job last year…..
Oh, and see that amazing frothed milk on the top? Yeah, don’t expect that from the attachment on the machine—that thing really was a piece of junk. Good thing I have my Bodum milk frother. This thing is seriously amazing. When I was looking at the website to get a link I couldn’t find the exact one I have, it seems they’ve upgraded to electric ones. Mine is a hand pump, but you know, a little bit of manual labor never killed anyone.

Fridge inventory.

MMM. I couldn’t agree more with your sweet potato assessment, they really are amazing! That chicken looks pretty good to, another thing to add to the “must try” list. So much to cook, so little time!

So last night we hardly had any food in the house, as we just got back from vacation. Something had to be done about dinner though, obviously, so I threw together what turned out to be a pretty yummy affair. I found some fresh lemon pepper pasta I had in the freezer (I never used to get fresh pasta, but I almost swear by it now, its really great), so I cooked that up. Then I heated some olive oil (EVOO as Rachel Ray says in that annoying voice AH) in a medium frying pan, added some minced garlic, crushed, halved cherry tomatoes, and the juice of 1/2 lemon and sauteed that for a few minutes. Then I added a few pieces of chopped basil and a few handfuls of fresh spinach, let it cook for a few more minutes, and dupped it in with the pasta. After a generous smattering of parmesan, salt, and pepper, it was all set. I had put some asparagus up on the grill (with just a smidge of olive oil, s&p) so that was added to the plates as well. It turned out to be really good, I must say, and it was more than easy. And it was made from stuff already in the fridge! Always a plus.

Dessert was obviously part of this picture as well. As it had been a stressful day, I figured something insanely chocolatey would be necessary. So I made “supernatural” brownies, from a New York Times recipe I had cut out of the paper a while ago http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/11/dining/111brex.html?em&ex=1177905600&en=c469827842fe6568&ei=5070
They were amazing! I of course added atleast a cup of chocolate chips (and omitted the walnuts, but I’m sure they would have only added to the glory). Needless to say, these were the perfect remedy to a hectic day, but I should warn you: if you plan to eat less than 3, you had better be well armed.

"Jamaican Jerk Chicken Kebobs" with Sweet Potato Fries

Now I love food so much, all kinds of food. Basically everything except for Jello. So when I tell you that if I could only live on 1 food for the rest of my life that it would be sweet potato fries, that is a pretty bold statement. But I’m serious, I’m just obsessed with sweet potatoes and baking them like fries is just to die for. In a way it’s a shame for whatever other food I pair with them because I just rush through that so I can get to and enjoy the fries and definitely don’t pay whatever else is on the plate the respect it deserves.
That being said, as a side-kick to my heavenly fries I made “Jamaican Jerk” Chicken from the Good Housekeeping cookbook. It was a pretty good recipe, I enjoyed eating it but it was nothing to die for, especially when compared with my sweet potatoes.
Like all the recipes in this book, it was so simple to make. The marinade was made by blending together: oil, rice wine vinegar, worceshire (spelling eekk!) sauce, ginger, green onion, poblano pepper (*calls for jalapeno but my mom doesn’t like too spicy), thyme and allspice.
I marinated the chicken, then stuck it on kebobs with red peppers and stuck it under the broiler.

It was fun to play with flavors that I don’t use very often and the chicken came out incredibly moist. I think I would give it 3 stars, it was good but not fantastic. I would definitely eat it again but would not break my “no repeating a recipe this summer” rule for it.
Sweet Potato Fries on the other hand—those you WILL see again. Soon, I’m sure.

Email Me

Email me any questions, comments, concerns, or if you just want to chat! ourkitchenadventures@gmail.com
June 2008
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