Monthly Archives: August 2009
|August 19, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Asian, Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Light|
Whenever I watch No Reservations, I get a craving for Pho. Which is funny, because until I made this, I’ve never really considered myself to be a pho fan. When we used to live in DC, there were a number of great Vietnamese restaurants that we would go to pretty often. Shawn would get pho and I would get some sort of noodle dish. The other night I thought if Anthony Bourdain loves pho so much, maybe I’m missing something. It had been a few years since I tried it, and I knew Shawn would be happy if I made it, so I did. And it was awesome.
It might seem silly to made soup in the summer, but then again it migth seem silly to make souffle in 90-degree heat, so chalk thus one up to me “doing something crazy” theme this week if you want. Anyway, I’ve heard that eating hot foods when its hot out actually cools you off. I don’t know how much I believe that, but it did make a good summer meal and it was light enoug that it didn’t make me really full. I hate feeling full when its hot out, so that was good.
I made the stock in the crockpot so that it could cook all day and get nice and flavorful without having to stand over a hot stove. Since the only other thing in the pho that is cooked are the noodles, this makes the final dish very fast and easy to prepare. It’s also fun, because everyone at the table can prepare their own bowl with whatever toppings they want. Don’t be nervous about the raw beef – the broth is hot enough and the beef is thin enough that the meat will cook quickly in the bowl. Just let is sit for a minute or two before you eat it.
- 3 lbs beef bones (I used about 4 neck bones and 2 marrow bones)
- 2 onions, cut in half (leave skins on)
- 3-inch piece of ginger, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbs coriander seeds
- 1 Tbs fennel seeds
- 4 star anise pods
- 1 Tbs cardamom
- 6 cloves
- 2 Tbs fish sauce
- rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 1 lb chuck steak, sliced into paper thin slices*
- lime wedges
- bean sprouts
- sliced jalapenos
To make the stock:
Put the bones in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a rolling boil. Boil bones for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse bones.
Meanwhile, broil onions and ginger for 5 minutes or until it begins to char. Toast spices in a frying pan on the stove.
Add bones, onion, ginger, and spices to your crockpot. Fill with water, and cook on low for 8 hours. Strain, discarding the solids and reserving the broth. Return the broth to a boil.
Place noodles into the bottom of each bowl. Ladle hot broth on top, then throw in the sliced beef. Let each diner add their choice of the remaining toppings directly to their bowl.
Serves: a lot.
*I shaved the steak by carefully slicing thin pieces off the top, holding the knife parallel to the cutting board. This resulted in small, very thin pieces of meat that cooked quickly when added to a bowl full of hot broth.
**If you make the broth a day ahead and refrigerate it, you can skim off the excess fat. I ate it as is the first night and skimmed the excess, there was a decent amount of fat but not a ton.
3 days left to enter my lunchtime giveaway!
i am submitting this recipe to Souper Sundays
|August 17, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under French, Lent, Light, Sides, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Sometimes I do crazy things.
We saw Julie and Julia this weekend, and I finally caught the Julia Child bug. I had some truffle butter that I bought a few weeks ago that I wanted to use tonight, so I bought a steak. I wanted to have something different on the side, so in true Julia form, I decided to make a souffle. Never mind that I’ve never made souffle before. Never mind that it’s 90 degrees in the house. Never mind that I can’t find the whisk part of my Kitchen Aid and the recipe required egg white beaten until stiff. Sometimes I do crazy things.
I ran into a few problems – my rammekin was the wrong size, I think the ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients in the recipe I used may have been off a little (my batter was very dry), I ran out of white flour and had to use mostly wheat, and I gave up beating those egg white a little before I should have because I thought my arm was going to fall off and I was drenched in sweat. But aside from that, this came out pretty good. It puffed up like it was supposed it. It was light and airy and slightly eggy. It had a great spinach flavor, without tasting very strongly of anything.
There were a few moments where I thought this wasn’t going to work out. I even started to cook up some extra spinach in case it was inedible. I shouldn’t have second guessed myself. Cooking isn’t difficult – it’s a science, but it doesn’t need to be perfect in order to taste good. I choked because souffles are supposed to be intimidating. I shouldn’t have cared. As Julia said, “you just have to have the courage of your conviction.” If we never attempt the crazy in the kitchen,we never learn new things. This souffle may not have been perfect, but I know where I went wrong, and I know that I can do better next time. So here’s my challenge to you: this week, do something new and scary in the kitchen; something that intimidates you. Don’t be afraid of failure. Even if it comes out horribly, what do you lose? A few eggs and some milk? Not the end of the world. Let me know what you make, and if you succeed. I’ll be waiting anxiously to hear your stories.
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1/4 cup flour, sifted
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- salt and pepper
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 cup spinach, blanched and chopped
- 3 egg whites
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir a little bit of this mixture int you egg yolks to bring them up to temperature, then whisk all of the egg yolks into the mixture. Let cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach.
Beat the egg whites until they form medium to firm peaks. Fold egg whites into spinach mixture.
Butter a medium rammekin, then add the souffle mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the souffle puffs up, the top turns golden, and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the baking dish – about 20 minutes. Resist the udge to open the oven door white the souffle bakes- the vibration from it closing can cause it to fall. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
In case you missed it, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a great insulated lunchbox, some food storage containers, and a pack of the new FiberOne yogurt!
|August 16, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Reviews|
In honor of the newly launched FiberOne yogurt, MyBlogSpark has given me THREE of these great gift packs to give away!
I don’t know about you, but I always bring my breakfast and lunch to work. Its cheaper and healthier (and usually tastes way better!) than anything that I could get out. The insulated cooler in this pack is great! It’s really big, but not too bulky. Also that black part on the bottom zips open and it the perfect size to fit my 1.2 Qt covered pyrex, which is my favorite thing to pack soups and salads in. There’s also a zippered pouch on the top flap. The divided container has three sections, which is perfect for packing oatmeal or yogurt and toppings to make a parfait. The lids on the container and cup also fit really well, I tried them out a few times with no spills. You’ll also win two combination knife/fork/spoon things (kind of like sporks but with knives too) and a coupon for a free 4-pack of FiberOne yogurt.
So I know you’re wondering – how’s the yogurt? I tried it, and it’s pretty good! Definitely sweeter than the Greek yogurt that I usually eat, and I could detect an artificial sweetener taste in it (I don’t eat artificial sweeteners very often anymore). The texture was nice, and the vanilla flavor reminded me almost fo vanilla pudding. It was great with some fresh cherries on top! The nutritional information (50 calories and 5 grams of fiber!) and price on these can’t be beat – I’ll most likely buy them again, especially if I have a $1 off coupon.
I’ll pick three winners using the random number generator next Saturday (August 22). To enter:
- Leave a comment telling me what your favrrite weekday breafast is
- For an extra entry, become a follower of Healthy Delicious and leave a second comment (if you’re already a follower, leave a comment telling me so)
- For yet another entry, link back to this contest and leave me a comment letting me know.
Deadline for entries is 10pm on Friday, August 21. Good Luck!!
Unfortunately because this will be shipped directly from MyBlogSpark, only US residents are eligable.
|August 14, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Special Occasions|
I can never leave good enough alone. This recipe would have been perfect for Meat-Free Friday if I had resisted the temptation to add a little chorizo to it. But I didn’t so there’s no meat-free post this week. Unless you want to make this without the sausage.
For a daring cooks meal, I actually didn’t find this to be very intimidating. It has a lot of steps, but none are very complicated. I actually made it on a weeknight – and not even a night where I came home straight from work! (I will confess though that dinner wasn’t on the table until 9 – this took about 90 minutes to make). It’s all about time management- make the allioli with the sofregit simmers, then you can relax while the final dish cooks.
Flavor-wise this was pretty good. I’ll confess that I’m not a big fan of paella, and this was a very paella-y dish. I don’t hate it or anything, but I do find it to be a little bland for my tastes. I loved what the artichoke added to this though. I’ve never had cuttlefish before, and was a little intimidated to use it, so I bought some that was precleaned and frozen from the Asian market. It had a very mild flavor, and a texture similar to squid or octopus. A little chewy, but not really tough. If you can’t find or don’t want cuttlefish, you could easily substitute squid, any other firm white fish, or even chicken. i think it would also be great with mussels and clams, but we might be venturing more into paella territory with that.
I used tomatoes and a green pepper from my garden for this dish. I’m so happy that things are finally ready to be harvested! I had a garden tomato sitting next to a store tomato and the difference in the way they looked was astonishing. I wish I had thought to take a picture. The tomato from the grocery store looked fine until I put it next to the other one – then it looked pale and sickly and not very delicious.
Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish, and Artichokes
For the Sofregit:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 small onions, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Bay leaf
- Pinch of ground cumin
- Pinch of dried oregano
For the Allioli:
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- Pinch of salt
- Fresh lemon juice (a few drops)
- Extra-virgin olive oil- I used less than 1/4 cup
For the Final dish:
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
- 12 Baby Bella mushrooms, cut into 8ths
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1 glass of white wine
- Cuttlefish (I eyeballed the amount)
- Spanish Chorizo (I eyeballed it again)
- 2 cups short grain rice
- 6 cups seafood stock
- Pinch of Saffron threads
To make Sofrigit:
Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-high heat until vegetables soften and form a thick sauce. Set aside.
Allioli (do this while the sofregit cooks):
Place the garlic in a mortar along with some salt. Use a pestle to mash the garlic into a thick paste. This might take a few minutes. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a coffee mug and a heavy spoon). Add a few drops of lemon juice. Add the oil, drop by drop, while you continue to mash everything with your pestle. Keep adding oil and mashing very slowly until you have a thick sauce, about the consistency of mayonnaise. This will take about 20 minutes. Chill until ready to use.
To prepare the dish:
Cut the cuttlefish into strips and slice the chorizo into thin rounds. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the fish and chorizo and cook until heated through. Add the artichokes, mushrooms, and bayleaf. Cook until artichokes begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of the wine. Add the sofregit and the seafood stock, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and let boil for 5 minutes. Add the saffron, reduce heat to low, and cook an additional 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit several minutes before serving. To serve, top with a dallop of allioli on each pate.
The original recipe says this will serve 4, but I say it serves at least 6-8.
|August 12, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals, Salads|
Last week was a little heavy on the cheese and carbs, so I’ve been craving vegetables. This salad hit the spot, and was a great way to use up some random ingredients that I had around the kitchen.
I actually made the chicken the night before I ate the salad. I had this planned for dinner on Monday night, but I had a sore throat and didn’t want to eat, but the chicken needed to be cooked. The chicken doesn’t take long to make at all, but preparing it ahead of time made the salads super easy to prepare.
In order to make the chicken tenders extra crispy but cut down on the fat, I started with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I coated them in panko breadcrumbs and browned them quickly in some oil before finishing them in the oven. The breading came out really well this way – nice and crispy, but not greasy. They chicken also satyed nice and moist.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
- 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 Tbs whole wheat flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp Essence
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp butter, melted
- 1/3 cup Franks red hot
- 1 head red-leaf lettuce, chopped
- 1 handful parsley
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1/2 large tomato, diced
- 1 slice red onion, diced
- 1 avocado, slightly mashed
- 2 oz good-quality blue cheese (I used Rosenburg Danish Blue)
Preheat oven to 400. Cut each chicken breast into 4 pieces. Stir Essence into the panko breadcrumbs. Lightly coat with flour, then dip into egg and dredge in breadcrumbs. Heat oil in small skillet until very hot. Cook chicken in batches until browned and crispy – about 1-2 minute on each side. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through – about 10 minutes.
Combine butter and hot sauce in large bowl. Wokring with one piece at a time, add chicken to the bowl and gently toss to coat with sauce. Remove to a plate.
Combine lettuce and parsley. Top with chicken, onions, celery, tomato, avocado, and blue cheese.
I apologize that my posting has been a little sporadic lately. In addition to being sick, last week we got a new dog! He’s a bit of a handful, but we love him anyway. Meet Leonard:
I’m submitting this to Souper Sunday over at Kahaki Kitchen
|August 10, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Lent, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals, Salads, Sides, Summer, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Lately the amount of food that I end up throwing out has been annoying me. I get tired of foods really quickly, so I don’t generally like to have the same vegetable multiple times in one week. Since a lot of vegetables are sold in bunches or packages, I end up with way more than I need. I recently got a huge bag of green beans at the farmer’s market and I knew that I would never be able to eat them all before they went bad so I turned half of them into pickles. I also threw in some radishes that were starting to get shriveled.
The color from the radish skins seeped into the brine, which gave it a strangely cool pink hue, but I really like the way these turned out – the green beans stayed really crispy and have more “snap” to them than any cucumber pickles that I’ve had. I couldn’t decide if I wanted more traditional dill pickles or if I wanted garlic, and I eventually decided to just mix to two. I also threw in some coriander seeds for additional spice. The combination of flavors is great – I think it’s really the best of both worlds.
These pickles were really simple to make, and are a great way to use up any vegetables that you might not eat otherwise. They only take about 10 minutes to prep, and they’re ready to eat after one night in the refrigerator. They’re delicious on their own as a quick snack, on a salad or sandwich, or anywhere that you might enjoy a more traditional pickle. They also make great gifts.
Pickled Green Beans
- 1/2 pint green beans, ends trimmed
- 1/2 bunch radishes, sliced
- 1 Tbs coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 large cloves fresh garlic, sliced
- 2 Tbs coriander seeds
- 1 handfull fresh dill
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch green beans 1 minute. Drain and allow to cool.
Divide green beans and radishes between 2 jars – you can pack the jars pretty full but make sure you allow some room for brine.
Combine vinegar and salt in a seperate container. Stir so salt begins to dissolve. Pour this mixture over vegetables into each jar, filling halfway. Add garlic, dill, and coriander to jars, then add enough water to fill them and completely submerge the vegetables. Seal tightly and give them a good shake. Refrigerate overnight.
Yields 2 pint-sized jars.