Monday, August 31, 2009

Pizza Night


Sunday night was pizza night. I whipped together a batch of dough from this recipe. Made a quick, chunky & slightly spicy tomato sauce with one 14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained and one 8 oz can of tomato sauce. A healthy splash of olive oil, one TB of oregano and a few fat pinches of red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Simmer, taste, adjust seasoning as needed. 2o minutes in the oven. Perfect. The crust was light and crispy, almost a "thin crust." The sauce was zippy and a great foil to the cheese and sausage. Very satisfying.

Hopefully it will be our last meal before our new fridge!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Icy Conditions

We are still waiting for a fridge. Last week one was ordered. Supposed to be delivered yesterday, Thursday. We got a call. It's damaged, someone will call you later. Manager called later: it's cosmetic, on the back of the fridge. We'll take it. Delivery rescheduled for today. Call received again this morning. Nope, it's not cosmetic, the engine is damaged. Two weeks after the fridge died...we're back to square one with no fridge! More shopping tonight...crap.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yep...so?!!?!?

With fingers crossed, last night was the final night of College Week at Parkway Manor. When you haven't sustained yourself on Ramen for a long time, there is a certain amount of reminiscing that goes on while having that first bowl. But enough is enough.

Word on the street...our fridge is in the vicinity...but it sounds like it's damaged and we might not be off the hook yet...?!?!???!!!!! I really hope I can have homemade ice today!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Two meals

Here are two meals we've done in the past few days. The first is a so-so recipe from Everyday Food. Thai Beef with Chile and Basil over Coconut Rice. Something needs to be worked on in this recipe to balance the flavors some. Fish sauce was too dominate. Also, this is strange coming from me, but I need to kick up the veggie component to this meal. Perhaps additional peppers? Green beans or broccoli? I was excited about the coconut rice, but the recipe didn't work, I had to add additional water part way thru the cooking process. I also ended up with something more like a coconut risotto. Not the best meal.


Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice
1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
Salt
2 TB plus 1 tsp fish sauce
2 TB plus 1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 TB vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 long hot peppers or red jalapenos, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
lime wedges for serving

1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk and 3/4 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

2. When rice is almost done, combine fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Heat a skillet or wok over high. Add oil and heat; add garlic and half the chiles. Cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon until completley browned, about 4 minutes. Add soy mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Add basil and remaining chiles and stir to combine. Serve beef over coconut rice and with lime wedges.

NOTE: The rice didn't cook properly. I had to add almost an additional cup of water to the recipe. I'd either go with plain rice or try using more water and less coconut milk. See if that works. As for the beef. I'd add some veggies as I suggested, maybe pre-cook them, then stir into the beef at the end. I'd also cut back to 1 TB of fish sauce next time. This was too much.


~~~~~


Last night I made Italian Sausage & Peppers. I was looking forward to using up the vegetables. They are on their last leg in our un-refrigerated house. But when all was said and done. I was very unsatisfied with the meal. This can be traced directly back to the Italian sausages I had purchased. Quality ingredients are key. So for your viewing pleasure, I will only give you sauteing peppers and onions. This would have been a far more satisfying dinner just like this! Oh well.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fun Combo!

While we continue to live without our full sized refrigerator, I have to use up what groceries we were able to save. This was a lot of fun and a delightful mean. I look forward to trying it again. The recipes came from different sources and I thought they would be great together. They were!

Roast Pork Sliders with Asian Carrot Slaw

Thinly slice your roast pork. This hunk of meat was marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, olive oil and a blend of herbs. Roast in a shallow pan for 50-60 minutes. Rest for 30 minutes or more, thinly slice.

While you're slicing the roast, take the reserved marinade and bring to a boil for five minutes. Pour over the sliced pork until ready to serve.

To top the sandwich, I made a carrot slaw. Instead of shredding carrots, this recipe had you make carrot ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Not necessary, but a fun presentation!

The carrots are simply dressed in rice wine vinegar, oil, lime juice, shallots, salt, pepper and toasted sesame seeds.

Make a full sized sandwich or "Slider" sized. I found slider buns at the store and thought it would be fun for a quick meal. Thing in...slider buns are the size regular buns used to be! Regardless...this was a lot of fun. The pork was tender, juicy and full of some mild, yet complex flavors. The carrot slaw added a light and refreshing crisp texture to the sandwich.

Next time I make this, I might punch up the heat level (personal choice) to the pork marinade and add a small bit of chopped cilantro to the carrots for some extra zinginess!


Roast Pork

(adapted from Penzey's spice catalog)
2 1/2 pound pork loin roast
2 TB "Italian" seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
1 TB mild vinegar (white wine or rice wine vinegar)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 TB brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)

Place the pork roast in a zip top bag. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over the roast, seal the bag, make sure the roast is coated. Place in a bowl (to catch spills) and refrigerate over night, or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350.

Drain the roast from the marinade. Place in a low baking dish (Pyrex baking dish). Add some water to just cover the bottom of the dish. Roast for 50-60 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 150 degrees.

Remove, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise to the USDA recommended temp of 160, without over cooking and drying out the roast.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining marinade to a simmer for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the roast and place back into the roasting dish. Pour the marinade over the meat. Serve immediately OR, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, reheat prior to serving.


Asian Carrot Slaw

(adapted from Everyday Food)
1 pound carrots, peeled and shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 scallions, thinly sliced (I substituted 2 medium shallots)
2 TB rice vinegar
1 TB vegetable oil
1 TB sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp lime zest, plus 1 TB lime juice
1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)
Salt/Pepper

Combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Greek Casserole

The other night before the fridge collapsed and died in front of us, I went grocery shopping. I came home with bags and bags of stuff to get us through about 10 days. Sadly, we lost a lot of that food. However, I did manage to squeak out one amazing recipe. This is a keeper and I look forward to making it again!

Greek Pastitsio
with "meatloaf" mix instead of lamb (I don't like lamb!)

Brown the ground meat. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Add some onions, red wine and tomato paste. Simmer and bubble until delicious.

Mix the ground meat mixture with cooked pasta, in this instance I used ziti. Tubular pasta would be best.

Keep the pasta mixture in an oven proof dish. I used my Dutch oven. Top the pasta with a cheesey, cream B├ęchamel sauce.

Bake until golden brown and delicious.

Serve hot! Enjoy.

A quick note, I cut the recipe in half. That was enough for two people to have two hefty servings each and I believe there was one left over for lunch the next day. Also, as noted, I used a package of "meatloaf" mix from the store (beef, pork and veal). This worked great and had a wonderful flavor. If you don't like lamb, try it. Also, I'm sure you could use ground turkey, chicken, beef...whatever. It's a great dish and versatile.

Pastitsio
from Everyday Food

This is the ultimate Greek comfort food, a hearty casserole of cinnamon-spiked ground lamb baked with penne and a Parmesan cheese sauce.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 8

Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne, cooked and drained
2 pounds ground lamb
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 TB butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3 cups milk
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta, and drain; reserve. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook lamb, breaking apart pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer to a colander; drain fat, and discard. Return lamb to pan; add wine. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, and 2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (***This step only took about 3-5 minutes, I probably had the heat too high, but there were no adverse affects...save yourself the time, when the mixture has thickened, move on...no need to force it to simmer for 20 minutes!)

4. Make Parmesan Cheese Sauce while mixture is simmering: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated, about 30 seconds. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.

5. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cayenne, if desired, and Parmesan.

6. Add pasta to lamb mixture; transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Chill Out

In one week I'll be a new papa. I'm looking forward to the arrival of our new baby.

In the meantime, we live out of a mini-fridge. I'm still planning on doing some cooking. Hopefully I can keep the plans I had in place for some of the meals this week...we'll see. I know for sure tonight will be a simple, but hopefully tasty new dinner recipe!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

STRIKE


Of course things are about to move along and the fridge goes on strike after we went grocery shopping. Hopefully we were able to move the most extreme perishables into the mini-fridge. Fingers crossed, things will be back to normal tomorrow!!!! If not, we'll be dealing with getting a new fridge.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Murder Burger


The only thing I can call this is a Murder Burger. The consequences of consuming this beast is nothing short of deadly. Ground beef, a variety of seasonings, grilled on a skillet and covered with cheese, bacon and sauted onions (in bacon fat), then put on a buttered bun (Mmm, Butter Burgers from back home in WI). I love a good burger and I will do what I can to put a full one away. This, was just too much. I couldn't finish!!!! After dinner I had this heartbreaking feeling. I think my arteries were clogging and I could feel it. It will be awhile before I try this again. The fries...those aren't so bad. A little olive oil, salt, pepper and a few other seasonings of your choice! Oven roasted until crispy and golden. Just writing this made me feel 'heartbroken' again, I need to go lay down...

Oh, it was a whole wheat bun!!!! That's a bonus point!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Market Fresh Tomatoes

Hello everyone. I'm back from my week long sabbatical. It was nice to not worry about the blog. But I have to admit, I still thought about it a lot. But I did nothing for it!!!!

But I did do some fun stuff around the kitchen, including a new batch of fresh tomato sauce. It's brilliant! You must try it. There is nothing to awesome as taking several pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes and simmering them down for an afternoon until you have rich, delicious, bright, tangy, sweet and luxurious tomato sauce to use to your heart's desire! It takes some time, but if you're planning a lazy Saturday at home, why not!

Give your tomatoes a dip in some water to rinse off any dirty. Then place them on their heads and take a sharp knife and cut an "X" into the bottom of each one. Then give them a dip in boiling water, usually about 30 minutes. These were some large tomatoes, so they took a minute. Pull them out quickly. You can give them a secondary dip into some ice water, or just let them sit on the cutting board or a bowl. I skipped the ice water this time around...I had some rubber kitchen gloves on my hands, so I was able to work with the hot tomatoes. The reason for the "X" and the boiling water is to remove the skins. It's highly advisable to do so! Once the tomatoes have had a dip in the hot water, the skins slip off! For more instructions on peeling a tomato check out this entry I did awhile back. Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them open, squeeze out the seeds and dice them up. Dump them in a large pot and simmer!

Simmer the sauce for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. Stir every 15-20 minutes. Make sure you have the tomatoes at a steady simmer, but not a boil. They can burn to the bottom of the pot. After about an hour you're start to want to taste the sauce. Here's what you need for seasoning. Salt. That's it. Give it a few pinches until it tastes right to you. Keep simmering and tasting. You'll find the right moment. Careful if you're going to salt the tomatoes right up front, when you start simmering them. You may think there's not enough salt and want to add more...then as the sauce simmers and reduces and thickens...that extra salt will start to become more and more obvious. The water will evaporate from the sauce...the salt wont. If you want you can add some fresh cracked pepper.

In the last few minutes you can dress the sauce a little more. I tossed in some fresh chopped basil. No garlic. No onions. Nothing, but pure tomatoes, salt and basil. Brilliant. Beautiful and absolutely delicious. Here's hoping I make a few more pots of sauce over the rest of the summer.

BTW: I think I had 14 large tomatoes. That was about 12 cups of peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes. That cooked down to 4 cups of finished sauce. That in turn gave us two meals.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Quick Chicken & Couscous

All right folks...last post before I commence radio silence for a week! Wish me luck. Hoping to find my mojo while I'm away.

Last night's dinner was fast, quick cooking and fairly tasty.


Chicken with Rum Mojo Couscous

I started with two boneless/skinless chicken breasts. The chicken received a coating of olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Cook over medium high heat for about three-four minutes per side. Remove to a plate to rest while you get your mojo going.


The Mojo in this recipe starts with 2 medium shallots, diced and one medium bell pepper, diced. Cook until the shallots are soft and the peppers are just getting soft. Deglaze the pan with about 1/4 cup of spiced rum. Make sure to move the pan away from the heat/flame, or you can get a flare up and toast off your eyebrows...and everyone knows that's the source of your personal mojo! I kid...but please do becareful! Allow the rum to reduce by half and add 1/2 cup of chicken broth.


Add about 1 cup of grape tomatoes, which have been cut in half. Simmer until the chicken broth has reduced by half.


Add some cooked middle Eastern couscous, stir to combine and season with some extra salt & pepper if needed. I think I had about 1-1 1/2 cups of cooked couscous here.


Enjoy! The rum brings a playful flavor to the Mojo Couscous, which pairs nicely with the warmth of the paprika spiced chicken.





See you all in a week. Behave yourselves. If you cause any trouble, please tell me the dirty secrets!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Don't Forget!

Julie & Julia
Opens in the US on August 7, 2009
Make sure to get your tickets!!!!


Two of my favorite things in one...
it's my own Reese Peanut Butter Cup...
Meryl & Julia in one!



Just a few of Julia's bits of wisdom:


“Life itself is the proper binge.”

“The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.”

"Fat gives things flavor."

"It's fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That's what human life is all about-enjoying things."

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a 'What the hell?' attitude."

“Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.”

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients."

AND MY FAVORITE:

“Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”


Gawd I'm gonna cry watching this movie, I just know it!!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Update



I'm here....I'm here...I just haven't been blogging much. Sorry to the regular 5 people who tune in daily to see if there are new drool worthy photos or miraculous photos that add 5 pounds to your hips by looking at them!

My schedule has been kind of wonky since last week and will continue to be so this week.

I'm excited for shopping at the Cheverly Community Market this weekend and I'm totally excited for my vacation that starts at 5pm this Friday! I will be making what updates I can between now and then, regardless of what happens in the next two days, starting at 5pm on Friday, I'm going into radio silence on Eat With Me until Monday, August 17.

I will be cooking and photographing next week...but I'm not going to post anything. The past month or two have stressed me out by not posting with the frequency I would prefer...which only makes me post fewer and fewer times. So, hopefully by taking a blog-cation while I take my stay-cation...I will get my kitchen mojo moving again.

Thanks for your patience.