Monthly Archives: May 2010
|May 31, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Asian, Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Weekend Meals|
Sometimes I find myself in an eating rut. For someone who loves to cook, I eat out or order in far too often. Even I’m surprised at how often I end up skipping the kitchen in favor of letting someone else prepare my meal for me. What can I say? I’m lazy. And by the time I get home from work I’m exhausted. While the idea of actually cooking doesn’t usually bother me, the thought of cleaning up afterwards is more than I can take.
So we get pizza.
Boring. And, to be honest, not all that tasty.
There’s no excuse. I have an entire category on here devoted to Quick Weeknight Meals. There are hundreds of great restaurants within in fifteen minute drive from my house. And, if I really wanted, I could make my own pizza in the amount of time it takes to get one delivered. That would taste better. And that wouldn’t require a ton of time spent on cleanup.
So. I recently made a resolution that if I was going to be lazy and not cook for myself, I at least deserved to eat something good. Not pizza. Not fast food. Not a salad with twelve million calories from a chain restaurant.
Which lead me to discover a great Vietnamese restaurant that I had never been to before, despite the fact that it’s practically walking distance from my house. (It probably is walking distance, but there we go with that whole lazy thing again.)
And that restaurant has lead me to discover that Vietnamese food consists of more than just pho. Like their mussel appetizer, where mussels are served on the half shell drizzled with a sweet and spicy coconut curry. Or Bun Thit Nuong, grilled pork served over vermicelli, which has quickly become my favorite thing to order.
When I received a gorgeous enamel coated, cast iron dutch oven the other day (keep reading to find out how you can get one too!), I immediately decided that I wanted to make something loosely inspired by that dish. It was too hot outside to eat soup or stew, so a richly flavored braised beef served over a cool noodle salad seemed like it would hit the spot. Which it did. Despite the seemingly simple ingredients, this dish was bursting with flavor. As it bubbled and sputtered away in the oven, the most incredible aroma filled the house – mysteriously, it reminded me of cinnamon!
|May 25, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breakfast, Reviews|
|May 23, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Italian, Reviews, Risotto|
I’ve been on a meatball kick lately. They aren’t something that I typically make very often, but lately I can’t seem to get enough. It’s funny, because when I was a little kid I actually hated meatballs. I remember sitting in my high-chair throwing them (and making a huge mess) and demanding that my mom rinse off the sauce and give me ketchup instead (ew). But lately, I’ve been craving the familiar comfort of this dish — from classic spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs to meatballs with sauerbraten sauce over egg noodles.
When I recently learned that there’s a restaurant in New York City entirely devoted to these tender balls of ground meat simmered in sauce (The Meatball Shop), I immediately browsed their menu and decided what I would order if I went. And then I made it. (PS I went to the Shop this past weekend and it’s every bit as wonderful as you’d expect!)
For as often as I make risotto, I never thought to pair it with red sauce. When I saw that The Meatball Shop offers it as a side dish though, I was immediately sold on the idea. It’s such a nice change from pasta, and it gives the dish an entirely different feel. It makes spaghetti and meatballs seem like kids food; this is for grown ups. Meant to be eaten lazily by candle-light while drinking red wine, served with a side of bitter greens (in this case, with some sautéed broccoli rabe).
|May 20, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Greek/Mediterranean, Italian, Lent, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals|
Every once in a while, I see orange and fennel salad in a magazine on a menu, or I hear people talking about it. I always thing it sounds fabulous, but I ever know what to serve it with. Plus, if you haven’t noticed already, I don’t prefer meals that contain multiple courses. Especially on weeknights when I don’t have a ton of time to get dinner on the table — it’s just easier to make one dish than it is to fiddle with a bunch of different components. Although I’ve never made the orange and fennel salad, the flavor profile always intrigued me and it’s something tat I think about from time to time when planning my menu for the week.
I was recently thinking that I wanted to try making something new and different, so I used orange and fennel as my starting point and created this recipe, which I enjoyed a lot. Throwing everything in a pan and roasting it together makes this shrimp, orange, and fennel dish super easy to make and brings out the natural sweetness of the fennel and shrimp. I was originally planning to use orange zest in the butter and deglaze the pan with orange juice and white wine at the end — but at the last second, I decided to roast orange segments right along with the rest of it. I’d never heard of roasted oranges before and I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it did and they were amazing. The oranges stayed nice and juicy in the oven, but the flavor became concentrated and vibrant — they added a really nice burst of fresh flavor to the dish. Instead of deglazing the pan with wine like I had planned, I decided to finish the dish with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar to add a touch of acid and round out the flavors.
|May 18, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, Mexican and Southwestern, Quick Weeknight Meals, Shawn's Favorites|
This taco casserole is one of the first “recipes” I created on my own and one of the first posts I ever put on this blog (all the way back in March of 2007!). Back when we were still on weight watchers, I was still a busy graduate student, and I wasn’t that comfortable in the kitchen, this was one of our go-to dinners. It’s easy to throw together, cheap to make, and tastes like junk food – in particular like those obscenely huge plates of nachos that you’ll find on the appetizer menu at a low-end chain restaurant.
I recently noticed that the pictures in this post could use an update, and since I hadn’t made the dish in a while, I decided to give it a bit of an update. While it isn’t as fresh-tasting as most of the recipes I make, it was every bit as delicious as we remembered it being.I prefer using ground chicken for this, because the delicate flavor allows the salsa and beans to take center-stage. I’ve made it successfully with turkey and beef though too – it’s also good with Morningstar Farms vegetable crumbles or a double portion of beans for a vegetarian version. For this version, I topped the casserole with a little bit of chunky guacamole. I was planning to throw some jalapenos on top of the cheese before I baked it too, but I was all out.
- 2 ounces Tortilla Chips (about 24), plus additional for serving
- 1 Tbs Chili Oil (or olive oil and red pepper flakes)
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 pound Ground Chicken
- 2 Tbs Taco Seasoning
- 1 can Black Beans, drained
- 1 cup Hot Salsa
- 1 cup shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
- Optional: Other toppings such as jalepenios, olives, etc.
- Heat oven to 350.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until soft. Add meat and taco seasoning. Cook, breaking up meat with a spatula, for about 5 minutes. Add beans and salsa. Mix well and continue to cook until salsa thickens.
- Line the bottom of a large baking dish with tortilla chips, pressing down on them lightly to break them into bite-sized pieces. Spread the meat and bean mixture over the chips and top with cheese. Add sliced jalepenos or other toppings that you ant to be cooked. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey.
- Scoop up with additional chips if desired.
|May 14, 2010||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Indulge, Mexican and Southwestern, Shawn's Favorites, Weekend Meals|
When I saw the May 2010 Daring Cooks Challenge (hosted by Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food), I had to laugh. I’ve owed Shawn a stacked enchilada for probably close to 10 years now. Back when we were only dating for a year or two, we went out to dinner one night and the restaurant that we frequented had one as their daily special. It sounded amazing, and he ordered it, but I wanted something with more vegetables so I got the pasta primavera. Which was awful. Apparently I was a budding foodie even at 16 or 17 years old. But I remember it well — the pasta and vegetables were overcooked to the point of mush and the whole thing was very bland. So I pouted, and we traded entrees. He had already taken a few bites of the enchilada and he knew how delicious it was, but he still gave it to me because he’s that awesome.
BUT I haven’t heard the end of it since. I vaguely remember trying to make a stacked enchilada a few years ago, but it wasn’t very good at all and didn’t count toward settling the debt. This one on the other hand? It’s been repaid. Ten-fold.
At first I was a little intimidated by the recipe, which calls for making your own enchilada sauce, but it really isn’t very difficult or time consuming at all. And it’s totally worth it – I’ve never had an enchilada that was so incredibly fresh tasting, bursting with flavor in every bite. The original recipe was for just a plain chicken and green chile stacked enchilada, but I decided to mix it up with pork and pineapple in the filling and a fresh corn and avocado salsa over top. It sounds like a lot of different flavors, but they didn’t compete with each other at all. They blended the perfect amount while still retaining their own identities. A think the crunch of the corn and the creaminess of the avocado really contributed a lot to this dish. While it’s a very versatile recipe and the flavors can be changes in an infinite number of ways, I do think that it needs a fresh salsa on the top.
It’s already been decided that I’ll be making this again, but I think next time I’ll use smaller tortillas (that might mean having to make them myself) or larger tortillas. The size that I ended up with here was just a little too much. I could have made one for us to split, but I knew that wouldn’t go over very well. So I made two and planned to eat just half of mine. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I have no sense of self-control when I have a plate full of food in front of me that tastes this good. So I’m thinking smaller tortillas for individual servings or larger ones to make a huge enchilada that you can cut up and serve like a pizza.
I know that I’m gushing, but words really can’t describe how amazing this tasted. I made this and my strawberry-rhubarb tart in the same evening and let’s just say that if I wasn’t married already, I’m pretty sure that this meal would have sealed the deal. It also inspired Shawn to ask if I could create a new category of recipes called “Shawn’s Favorites” so that he could look through them and pick something when I ask him what he wants to eat or when he needs to come up with something to cook. You’ll see that category over in my sidebar — it’s pretty empty for now, but it will grow. He’s already told me a few others that he wants me to include. Not all of them are my favorites, but if you’re looking for a recipe with some third-party validation — or just something likely to make a man happy — you might want to check that out.
- 3 Anaheim chiles (about 6-8 inches long)
- 2 tomatillos
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ onion, mined
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 boneless pork chop
- ½ fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 small corn tortillas
- 3 ounces queso quesadilla, shredded (you could also use mild cheddar or Monterey Jack)
- 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 ear fresh corn
- 1 avocado, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 dash salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Begin by making the enchilada sauce: Light a grill and set it on high. Place the chiles on the grill and cook for several minutes until the skins turn black and begin to blister. Remove and allow to cool. Remove the papery leaves from the tomatillos and add those to the grill. Cook 1-2 minutes or until they just begin to soften. Remove and let cool. While the grill is on, grill the pork chop and the corn (keep the corn in the husk and cook over indirect heat — if your grill has an upper shelf that works well).
- Remove the stem and seed core from the chiles. Use a knife to scrape away the outermost layer of skin (it will be very thin a film-like and should peel off fairly easily). Chop.
- Use a blender or food processor to puree the tomatillos. Add the tomatillo puree, chopped chiles, broth, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk in the cornstarch and let simmer another 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened.
- While the sauce is cooking, use two forks to shred the grilled pork chop.
- Assemble the enchiladas: Ladle a little bit of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a large baking dish. Place two tortillas in the dish, side by side. Top each tortilla with ¼ of each the pork, black beans, and pineapple. Spoon on a little bit of the sauce and add a little shredded cheese. Top with another tortilla and repeat to make a second layer. Top each stack with a third tortillas. Cover with the remaining sauce and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, or until the cheese had melted and the sauce has thickened.
- While the enchiladas bake, prepare the salsa: Cut the corn away from the cob. In a large bowl, combine the corn, avocado, tomato, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro. Season to taste with salt.
- Serve the enchilada stacks topped with the salsa.
Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found onwww.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.