Sunday, January 31, 2010

Waffleized Hash Browns

I ran into this awesome website a few weeks ago that boldly and hilariously strives to answer the age old question: will it waffle?
I decided to take a stab at their waffleized crispy potato hash browns recipe this morning using purple potatoes from the CSA. Totally fabulous: a no-brainer recipe that doesn't involve carefully watching hash browns on the stove top to make sure they don't burn. The hash browns came out super crispy and delicious.
Give it a try!

Meringues with Berry Coulis

I wanted to give from-scratch meringue making a try after successfully making a pavlova with the pre-packaged mix. I used Ina Garten's recipe for Meringues Chantilly. They came out pretty well, but I think I still have some work to do to really perfect the right texture- these were a little too chewy!
I made a berry coulis to top off the meringues, using frozen blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, loosely based on this Emeril recipe. Tasty!

Topped also with whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

So I've wanted to make my own granola bars for a while, preferably peanut butter ones. Lots of recipes I looked up had corn syrup in them, which sorta defeated the purpose of making my own as opposed to buying the ones in the grocery store with all of the extra crap and preservatives in them.

This recipe from Giada DeLaurentis looked decent, and it was... but I wouldn't really call it a granola bar. It was more of a soft, crumbly, sweet bar cookie, as opposed to a crispy, crunchy, slightly sweet granola bar. Tasty, but not what I was looking for.

The search continues!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary

This was a simple marinade for a grilled or broiled flank steak, but actually finding flank steak at the grocery store these days: not so easy.

Soy sauce, honey, rosemary, garlic, olive oil... the usual. Simple and tasty. Served with roasted broccoli and mushroom risotto on the side.

Roasted Balsamic and Rosemary Mushroom Risotto

I saw this recipe on a blog I've been following lately after Joy the Baker introduced me to it. The photos were beautiful and I had mushrooms from the CSA, rosemary braving the winter on the roof, and like 4 bottles of balsamic crowding the cupboard (don't ask), so I gave it a try.

This was really good! Like the mushroom soup I made recently, it is very meaty and earthy. It could definitely be a main dish if you'd like.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Avgolemono: Your New Favorite Chicken Soup

Dudes... avgolemono is your new favorite comforting chicken noodle soup. It's a Greek chicken soup with lemon juice and orzo pasta, and it's awesome.

I first tried and liked the avgolemono at a Greek lunch joint near my office (can't beat the "Greek value lunch": cup of avgolemono, mini Greek salad and a fresh baked pita), but I had an inkling that I might be able to make it better... while theirs is tasty, the shredded chicken is a little dry and I don't love the celery and carrots they put in it. So I Googled some recipes, and decided this version looked really simple and really promising. It was definitely a winner!
The lemon juice is mixed with whipped up egg whites and yolks, and then is tempered with the chicken broth. The result is a super lemony, super creamy, super silky broth with soft orzo floating in it. I didn't have enough chicken broth in the pantry, so I supplemented with veggie broth and turkey broth leftover from Thanksgiving. Yum.

In order to keep the chicken moist, I roasted a couple bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper, a la Ina Garten. Took the skin off, pulled the chicken off the bone, chopped it into bite-sized pieces and dropped it in the soup at the last minute. Dry chicken problem solved!

Anywho... please give this soup a try!

Pineapple, Cilantro, Lime Rice with Black Beans

We made some jerk-esque chicken drumsticks and needed an easy side dish we could make from stuff we had in the fridge, freezer, and pantry... this pineapple rice dish fit the bill! I know it's not authentic Jamaican, but neither was the chicken. Plus, who's keeping track?
I tricked the recipe out a little bit: cooked the rice with chicken broth instead of water, and heated up a mix of about 1-1.5 cups of minced frozen pineapple and a can of rinsed black beans. Threw it all together at the last minute with lime juice, some lime zest and a bunch of chopped cilantro. Sweet, salty, tangy and a perfect side for the spicy chicken.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baked Butternut and Ricotta Pasta

We really liked this healthy baked pasta dish with butternut squash and ricotta... I've made similar butternut squash pasta sauces in the past, but baking the whole thing with some parmesan cheese and walnuts on top really made this meal much tastier than the non-baked version! It gave it a crunchy texture and saltiness in contrast to the soft and sweet butternut sauce.

The only changes I made to the recipe were to add a small amount of ricotta and grated parmesan into the sauce in addition to dotting it on top for baking.

Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry

This sweet potato and chicken curry is a super easy, super quick weeknight meal... very gingery with some lingering heat to it. We sprinkled some cilantro on top...
I bet you could substitute some canned chickpeas for the chicken to make it a veggie meal.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Smoky Shrimp, Hominy and Tortilla Soup

This smoky and spicy soup is an easy weeknight combo of tortilla soup and pozole (a spicy Mexican pork and hominy stew)... it's really delicious- hearty, smoky, spicy and jazzed up with a little bit of shrimp. It really didn't take much time at all.

We topped ours with salty queso duro blanco, diced avocado, lime and cilantro. Plus, rather than let the corn tortillas dry out overnight, I brushed them with a little olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt on top and threw them on a cookie sheet under the broiler until crispy.

Jicama, Beet, Carrot and Orange Salad

I made this crunchy, healthy salad to compliment/counteract the spicy richness of the smoky shrimp, hominy and tortilla soup. I used clementines rather than navel oranges because that's what I had in the house. Fresh, crunchy, good for you and very pretty to look at...

Crispy Beet Chips

I love the beet chips that come in the mixed veggie chip packs, so when I saw this recipe for baked beet chips in the latest issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, I thought I would give it a try.
The chips are really tasty- sweet, salty and crispy. I did have some problems getting them to crisp evenly, but I think that's my inexperience with my mandoline. These are a great snack, though, and pretty healthy- just a little bit of olive oil and some sea salt.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

I see food bloggers making these spicy crunchy roasted chickpeas all the time, so I figure they must be good. I made mine according to this recipe, sprinkling them with garlic salt and cayenne. Yum!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

The first time I heard of David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel ice cream, I had to wipe the drool off my chin. I've been waiting a while to make this ice cream, though, since I was a little bit intimidated by the caramel aspect of the recipe. I had visions of burnt sugar permanently stuck to all of my pots and pans...

Turns out making caramel is not that hard! You have to keep an eye on it, for sure, and you have to be careful not to give in to temptation and stick a spoonful of the liquid caramel in your mouth since it's searing hot, but otherwise, not as difficult as I'd imagined!
This ice cream is to die for. Super rich, buttery, and awesome. I had a little trouble getting it to freeze correctly in the ice cream maker for some reason, but even a little runny, it still tasted amazing. Nothing much too look at, but, as I said, a taste to die for.

12 Days of Christmas Cross-stitched Quilt

For this 12 Days of Christmas quilt, Chuck did the cross-stitching, I helped Martha pick out the coordinating quilting fabric, and Martha pieced it together. It's still awaiting its batting, backing and binding, but it's looking really good so far!

We used the same quilting pattern that we used for the seashell quilt we made for Grandmother last year.

The Bunnies Keep Coming...

Chuck's been working on these cross-stitched bunnies for a while now. There are 13 total, and she's done 6 so far. Ultimately they'll probably become a baby quilt.
Here are the latest...

Picnicking bunnies:
Flower watering bunny:

Honey Ginger Carrot and Potato Latkes

Remember when I made these honey ginger carrot and parsnip latkes? Well, I made them again, but substituted potatoes for the parsnips, and they were still excellent.
Served with sour cream and homemade applesauce.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chocolate Pudding!

I had a really random craving for pudding. Well, maybe not so random... Deb from Smitten Kitchen posted a drool-worthy blog about caramel pudding earlier this week that put pudding in my brain.
Using what I already had in the fridge, I decided a chocolate pudding would have to satisfy me until I could muster up the enthusiasm to go to the store to get the ingredients for Deb's caramel delight. Pretty simple to make, and pretty tasty. I think I concur with Tim, though, who said, "I wish I had some whipped cream."

Chicken Stir Fry with Red Peppers and Broccoli

Another Eating Down the Fridge challenge: used up frozen chicken breasts as well as CSA peppers and broccoli I had chopped up and frozen last summer when we had a glut.
Just like yesterday, I mashed-up two different recipes... Emeril's (which uses ginger and sesame oil) and my favorite stir fry, Jaden's from Steamy Kitchen (which uses oyster sauce and sherry). Came out pretty well considering I used all frozen veggies!

Lemony Shrimp Scampi

So my CSA is only delivering every two weeks this winter (which is fine since they are mostly selling root/storage types crops right now in the dead of winter), and last week it slipped my mind that I had to put in my order. So for the first time in a while our meals are not determined by the CSA box contents. I took this opportunity to attempt to do some eating down of our fridge and freezer contents...

We had a couple bags of frozen shrimp in the freezer, a bag of lemons in the fridge, some parsley on the roof, and some pasta in the pantry, so I decided a buttery, garlicky, lemony shrimp scampi was in order (plus a simple salad using the last of some lettuce we bought last week).
I used a combination of a couple Ina Garten recipes... her linguine with shrimp scampi and her lemon pasta with roasted shrimp. I roasted the peeled shrimp in olive oil and S&P, and then added them to the butter/garlic/red pepper flake/lemon juice/lemon zest mixture. Tossed with whole wheat spaghetti and sprinkled with parsley and a little bit of grated parmesan. Yum.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mushroom and Chive Toasts

Deb from Smitten Kitchen raved about these creamy mushroom chive toasts so much that I had to give them a try. Simple ingredients (stuff you probably have in your pantry), easy preparation, but luxurious tasting. Like the gougeres, perfect for a cocktail party.
I only had regular button mushrooms and simple white bread, and that worked just fine.

Linguine and Prosciutto Mini Frittatas

Everybody loves getting his or her own personal treat... that's why I thought these mini-frittatas I saw on Food Network would be good for our post-Christmas brunch. The mini-frittatas are a Giada recipe, so it's obligatory that I provide you with a video, in case you'd rather watch her (and/or her boobs) make the recipe, than read about it.

This recipe was tasty- the smoked mozzerella is essential, for sure. You could easily substitute veggies for the prosciutto, I bet- sauteed spinach and mushrooms, perhaps? I also think you could make it ahead of time and shove them in the oven in the morning if you're having guests for brunch.

Gougeres: Fancy Cheesy Poofs

I've made these gourmet cheesy poofs using an Ina Garten recipe several times... gruyere cheese plus pate a choux dough (the same light and puffy dough used for cream puffs, eclairs, etc.). Seems intimidating, but is actually pretty simple. Definitely fun and fancy enough for a cocktail party or dinner party appetizer. We served it on Christmas Eve. Yum. Next time I'll try some different cheeses... blue cheese or cheddar, perhaps?