Monthly Archives: May 2009
|May 20, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Asian, Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Japanese, Quick Weeknight Meals, Reviews|
I made this dish up as I went along, and until the second it was plated and ready to go, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was making. When I planned my menu for the week, I thought that this was going to be a chilled salad, but when it came time to eat them, I really wanted something warm and comforting.
I really like the Japanese pan noodles at Noodles and Company, so I used those as a general guideline. As I was poking through the cabinets looking for ingredients to use, I saw a jar of crunchy Barney Butter, an all-natural almond butter that is very tasty and so much fun to cook with. I decided to use a little bit of that in my sauce, which gave it a little bit of a pad thai flavor. The pieces of almond also added a nice crunch.
The flavors in this dish were really light and summery, but the warmth and the sweetness from the almond butter made it nice for the chilly weather that we were having. I find that the weather really affects what I want to eat – if it’s cool out, I don’t like to eat salads! I want something that will stick with me. This dish definitely did the trick.
Udon Noodles with Sweet and Spicy Sauce
- 4 oz udon noodles
- 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 tsp chili oil
- 4 T teriyaki sauce
- 2 T rice wine vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 c crunchy almond butter, such as Barney Butter
- 2 T ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 carrots, shredded
- 2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
- 1 c bean sprouts
- 1 Tbs black sesame seeds
- 1/4 c cilantro
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions.
Toss steak in cornstarch. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high and fry beef until cooked through. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine next eight ingredients (teriyaki through red peppers). Mix well and set aside.
Return skillet to heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until golden. Add drained noodles, carrot, cabbage,and sprouts. Cook until carrot softens and cabbage wilts. Add dressing and mix well to distribute. Stir in sesame seeds and half the cilantro.
To serve, arrange noodles in a dish and top with steak. Garnish with cilantro and lime slices.
|May 20, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Desserts, Reviews|
I love the concept of Mix My Granola – picking out all sorts of fun stuff to include in my mix was a blast, and there were a lot of options that aren’t particularly cheap or easy to find. My mix included muesli, dried blackberries, gogi berries, hazelnuts, and chocolate covered espresso beans. Delish! It clocked in at 220 calories per serving, but a serving is A LOT. I weighed it out and it was 1/3 cup…. much more than I would ever eat in one sitting. I’ve been using about 1/4 serving in some greek yogurt for breakfasts.
Now, I know you’ve probably read a million reviews of this already so I’m not going to bore you with that. No, we’re gonna make stuff!
First up: granola! I ate all of this before I got a picture. Oops! Now I know what you’re thinking: why would I choose muesli if i was just going to turn around and make granola out of it? Because with muesli, I have options – that’s why! I love it uncooked and soaked in yogurt, but sometimes I want the crunch of granola. To make granola, measure out a serving of your meusli. Remove anything chocolate and set it aside. You can add it back in later, but you don’t want it to melt in the oven. Using your hands, combine with honey at a ratio of about 2 Tbs per 1/3 cup muesli. You can also throw in some cinnamon if you want. Work it through with your hands, leaving some biggish chunks. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool, break up large pieces as necessary, and store in a zip top bag.
When you get tired of muesli and granola, this also makes great cookies! Because of all the mix-ins, every bite tastes different. I thought the gogi berries were really outstanding this way.
Mixed Up Oatmeal Cookies
- 1.5 sticks buutter, softened
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 3/4 c flour
- 2 c mix my granola with meusli base
- 1/4 c dark chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, stirring to combine well. Fold in granola and chocolate chips (if using). Drop onto a cookie sheet by the rounded teaspoonful. Bake 10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Cool on a rack.
This dough can also be frozen for easy slice and bake cookies any time you want them! Just increase your baking time by about 3 minutes.
|May 19, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Desserts, Italian, Mexican and Southwestern, Quick Weeknight Meals, Special Occasions|
The cannolis may look innocent, but the pack a surprise punch with tequila and chilis!
When he heard that I had been tasked with creating a dish that used chili, chocolate, and cheese, my husband suggested that I make a cannoli with chilis. Since I’m a big fan of Mexican chocolate, I thought it sounded like an interesting enough idea. I’ve also been looking for an excuse to make homemade ricotta and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! I took it one notch gurther by adding tequila and lime ot the filling. They were awesome- even better than I thought they would be!
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how easy and delicious homemade ricotta is – it took me two tries to get it right, but now that I know what I’m doing it really is easy. My first batch didn’t curdle properly (or at all….) because my milk wasn’t hot enough. The milk should be 200 degrees – just under boiling. Keep a close eye on it or it will boil over and make a huge mess….
- 4 c milk (I used skim)
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c white v1negar
Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until it reaches 200 degrees. Stir in vinegar. It should begin to forms curds immediately. Continue to stire for one minute, then let sit one minute. Transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander and allow the whey to drain away. If your cheese is too dry, you can add a little more cream.
Yield 1 cup.
- 1/4 c dark chocolate chips
- 1 chili pepper, minced
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 c ricotta, preferably homemade
- 1/4 c confectioner’s sugar
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 Tbs mini chocolate chips
- 1 Tbs tequila
- 6 premade cannoli shells
Melt dark chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir in chili and cinnamon. Dip ends of cannoli shells in this mixture. Allow to cool on wax paper.
Combine rictooa, sugar, lime zest, mini chocolate chips, and tequila. Stir until smooth. Pipe into chocolate dipped cannoli shells.
I am submitting this recipe to the Mystery Box Challenge at Uncovering Food.
|May 18, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, Soups and Stews, Weekend Meals, Winter|
Last November, we went to NYC for a few days and I had an awesome bowl of matzo ball soup at the Manhattan Diner, which was across the street from our hotel. I’m not normally the biggest fan of chicken soup, but it came free with my sandwich so I figured I’d give it a try. Much to my surprise, I didn’t only like it – I loved it! Ever since, I have had the occasional craving for matzo ball soup. I tried some premade stuff from the grocery store, but it wasn’t the same and I knew that I’d have to try making my own. This weekend was rainy and a little on the chilly side, so I decided it was the perfect soup weather.
Not too long ago, I was watching throw down and the theme was matzo ball soup! Perfect! I definitely picked up a few tricks from the episode – like using schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) in the matzo balls. Bobby Flay also threw a jalapeno in his broth, which I thought sounded like a good idea. I wasn’t going to do it myself at first, but I hada chili pepper left over from another recipe and at the last minute I decided to throw it in to cut through some of the richness. It was a really nice touch – for the most part it was undetectable, but then once in a while you would get a little bit of the heat. Very nice.
This is definitley a weekend meal since it involves making broth from scratch. I did it all in one day, but it would be best spread over two days. If you make the broth ahead, you can allow it to simmer all day and really get a nice flavor (mine could have used another hour of so). You can also cool it enough to skim the fat off the top (I only had time to chill mine for about 2 hours, so it didn’t fully serperate). The next day, you just have to add the veggies, reheat, and make the matzo balls. Easy! You’ll have plenty of leftovers with this one- it makes a lot! Store the matzo balls seperate from the soup and add them just before reheating- otherwise they will soak up too much broth and turn to mush.
Matzo Ball Soup
- 1 chicken (approx 4 pounds)
- 1/2 c. fresh parsley, divided
- 1/4 cup dill, plus more to garnish
- 1 Tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 turnip, peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots, peeled and divided
- 3 celery stalks, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 c schmalz (skim this off the top of the broth after you allow it to chill)- can also sub oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 c matzo meal
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 1 chili pepper, minced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine chicken, 1/4 c parsley, 1/4 c dill, onion parsnip, 2 celery stalks, 1 carrot, and bay leaves in a large stock pot. Go ahead and throw some onion skins in for color too. Cover with 10 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer 1.5 hours. Remove chicken from stock. Remove chicken from bones, shred, and reserve. Discard skin. Return bones to pot. Simmer 2 more hours. Strain solids from pot and discard. Allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating several hours or overnight.
Skim off the layer of fat that has risen to the top of the broth. Reserve 1/4 cup.
Make matzo balls: whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add schmaltz, 1/4 cup broth, a little dill, salt, and pepper. Stir in matzo meal. Cover and refridgerate 30 minutes. Bring a medium poot of water to a boil. Form matzo dough into 16 1-inch balls. Drop one by one into boiling water and allow to simmer about 15 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, reheat broth, adding reserved chicken, 2 chopped stalks celery, 2 chopped carrots, leeks, remaining 1/4 c parsley and chili pepper. Allow to simmer 30 minutes, or until vegetables soften. Stir in lemon juice just before serving.
To serve, place 2 matzo balls in a bowl, then ladle in soup. Garnish with dill.
Yields approz 10 cups.
I am submitting this recipe to Deb’s Souper Sunday’s (which now includes salads and sammies!) at Kahakai Kitchen.
Two random tips I thought might be of interest – not sure if either of these are new, but they’re both new to me!
1) yogadownload.com is now offering several of the 20 minutes classes for free! These are really nice workouts for when you want something relaxing or are in a time crunch. I was actually going to download a new one today when I noticed they are free now! I get bored doing the same workout all the time, so this lets me mix it up very easily.
2) If you use google reader, you can easily set up a bookmark that allows you to click through your unread blogs by visiting the actual pages! I love that it saves me from having to click through if I want to comment, plus I really prefer looking at the actual pages rather than reading the posts in the reader. The instructions to set this up are under settings and then goodies. The only downside is that I don’t think you can star posts (but you can just bookmark them instead if you want to remember to go back!)
|May 15, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Italian, Lent, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals, Reviews|
Trust me when I say that this pizza taste way better than it looks.
I recently received some samples of all-natural whole in the wall pesto to try out. This stuff is AMAZING!! It comes in all sorts of neat flavors, and I look forward to trying them all, but the one that immediately caught my eye was “garlic spike.” Garlic spike is a seasonal flavor made from garlic scapes. I could tell when I took the cover off that this was going to be delicious- the smell was divine. Then I looked at it – there are whole pine nuts and the olive oil was a beautiful color so you could tell it was good quality.
I immediately knew that I wanted to pair this with shrimp, and I wanted to keep the flavors simple to let let the pesto shine. I didn’t feel like pasta (although that would have been great!) so I went with a pizza. This pizza was absolutely indulgent. It was incredibly delicious, but also super rich – two small slices was plenty for me.
I did run into one small problem in making this – I rolled my crust pretty thin, and the oil from the pesto soaked through the middle and turned it to mush. It was delicious, but it needed to be eaten with a fork and knife and it was a little hard to get it off the pan. Next time, I think I would keep the crust a little thicker and maybe bake it dry first, then put the toppings on and heat it just enough to melt the cheese. Of course, if you do it that way you’ll need to pre-cook your shrimp. Either way, this tastes delicious.
Shrimp Scampi Pizza
- 2 Tbs cornmeal
- 1 pizza dough of your choice
- 5.5 oz whole in the wall garlic spike pesto
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 plum tomato, roughly chopped
- 1 small handful shredded romano
- about 5 large basil leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 375. Spray cookie sheet or pizza stone with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough on pan. Spread dough with pesto, then top with mozzarella, shrimp, and tomato. Sprinkle romano and basil over the top. Bake 15 minutes, or until crust browns and shrimp is cooked through. Cut into 9 slices.
Whole in the Wall also has a natural foods restaurant in Binghampton, NY that looks fantastic! If I ever find myself in that area I’ll be sure to check it out! You should too! If this pesto was any indication, the food will be well worth it. You can also purchase the pesto on their website or locally at Eats Market or Honest Weight Co-op. I look forward to playing with the other flavors.
|May 14, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breads, Desserts, Special Occasions|
When I was a little kid, one of my uncles would always bring rugelach to Christmas. I never knew what it was or what it was called but I loved it. It had been years since I had it, and I had honestly forgotten about it. But then this Christmas, my grandma gave me a big thing of it as a gift. It lasted about 2 days. Not one of my proudest moments.
This recipe iis sort of a cross between a cinnamon bun and rugelach. I followed Deb’s recipe fairly closely, but I lightened up the fillings considerably in an effort to keep it healthy enough to call it breakfast. I also left off the icing- although it sounded wonderful, I didn’t think they really needed it and it would just add more calories. The rolls came out wonderfully- just sweet enough, with a great combination of apricot and chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. I wouldn’t eat these for breakfast every day, but once in a while they make a nice treat. I only made a half batch, but I think they would also freeze well wrapped individually.
note: I just realized that I totally forgot the baking soda and baking powder in this recipe. Ha! They came out fine (obviously) but you might want to add 1/2 tsp of each.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 2 c fat free milk
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 pkg (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus plenty of extra for flouring the surface
- 1/2 c apricot preserves
- 1 Tbs agave nectar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 c finely chopped dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup raisins
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a large pot, and heat it until just before it boils. Turn off the heat, remove the pot from the burner, and let it cool for 45 minutes to one hour. When the mixture is lukewarm, sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for a minute or two before adding the four cups of flour. Stir the mixture together, cover the pot and let it sit for at least an hour.
Generously flour a counter. Dump half the dough onto it, flour your rolling pin well, and roll the dough into a large rectangle about 24 inches wide and as thin as you get it in the other direction.
Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with a cooking spray.
Spread one half of your jam evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch margin at the wider ends. Drizzle half the agave nectar over the dough, creating three lines running the length of the rectangle. Sprinkle with half your cinnamon, half the raisins, and half the chocolate.
Starting with the wider side of the rectangle begin to tightly roll the dough, incorporating the filling. Once it is fully rolled up, cut it into 12 segments with a sharp knife. Place one in each muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with a little more cinnamon and set the tin aside to puff some more, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough, and the remaining filling ingredients.
Bake 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.