Sunday, September 28, 2014
I found a new cooking magazine at the store the other day. It's called "Fine Cooking." I was perusing the latest issue earlier today when a recipe caught my eye. I say it was a recipe, really it was a technique. It consisted of roasting a pan of whatever veggies you have on hand, then wrapping them in a cream cheese based pastry and baking until golden brown. I knew right then, I had a winner of a dinner.
I don't remember what veggies the magazine used. I used summer squash, red peppers, potatoes, onions and swiss chard. I chucked in some rosemary, thyme and lemon set, and roasted them in a foil covered brownie pan at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. I put the veggies aside to cool while I made the crust.
The pastry crust was pretty simple. I put 1 1/2 cups of plain flour, 6 oz of unsalted butter (cut into little pieces), 6 oz of cream cheese (also cut into little pieces) and about a teaspoon of salt in my food processor. I pulsed it about 20 times, then added maybe 3 tablespoons of water to get the dough to hold together. I rolled it out in a huge circle- ok. It really wasn't a circle. I don't have that much talent. It was more like an amoeba.
I had a 5 oz container of goat cheese that had been softening on the counter for about an hour. After I rolled the dough out, I used the back of a soup spoon to spread the goat cheese on the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border around the outside. Then I piled all the roasted veggies in the center, and brought the edges of the crust up over them, pleating as I went along.
Into a 400 degree oven it went for about 45 minutes. I let it sit for 10 more while I threw together a simple salad of cucumbers and tomatoes.
Next time, I won't use as many veggies. I think it was too heavy for the crust. I think roasted potatoes and onions with a little gruyere would be fabulous! The crust was incredible, though. It tasted so rich from the butter and cream cheese. And really, as far as pie crusts go, this was almost too easy!
I will most definitely do this again, with the aforementioned changes. It would also be amazing with fruit!
My childhood version was slightly less cosmopolitan.... It usually consisted of a piece of white sandwich bread, a swipe of Ragu Pizza Sauce straight from the jar, and a pile of shredded cheddar cheese. Popped into the toaster oven for about 5 minutes- this constituted gourmet after school dining!
Fast forward about 30 years (really? ouch!) and I've updated it a bit. I mentioned in an earlier post today that I bought a loaf of soft French bread to make the bananas foster French toast. It worked like a charm, but that means I had more than half a loaf of bread left to do something else with. Whilst rummaging around in the ice box searching for something to throw together for lunch, I spied the wrapped loaf on one of the higher shelves. Suddenly, I had a blast from the past, and thought about making some pizza toast!
Here's what I did: I lightly buttered both sides of the pieces of bread and toasted them in a skillet (mostly because I was going to use it to heat the other ingredients and I was too lazy to reach the toaster). I had a small container of pizza sauce left over from making pizza the other night, so I swabbed both pieces of bread with a healthy amount of the red sauce. In the same skillet, I put a small knob of unsalted butter, and after it melted and frothed, I added half a green pepper, chopped, about 3 mushrooms, thinly sliced, and 2 pieces of leftover breakfast sausage from the other morning, also chopped. As soon as everything was softened, I piled the veggies and sausage on the bread, then covered the toasts in a mixture of cheddar and swiss cheeses (because I had tiny ends of both in my cheese drawer). I put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until the cheese was bubbly and the edges were nice and brown.
Honestly, it's the best lunch I've had in a while! :)
A few weeks ago, we went to my favorite new restaurant in Glenwood Springs, Smoke. We went on a Saturday, so they were serving brunch. Devin ordered the bananas foster french toast. He has a wicked sweet tooth, and this played right into it.
When I tasted it, I knew I could recreate it at home, I just needed to do a little research. I went to Pinterest and searched "bananas foster french toast." I saw lots of recipes, but none of the pictures really grabbed me. So, I took off the french toast part of the search. Low and behold, I found a pin I really liked, and it was from an old favorite- Pioneer Woman. She had the recipe for bananas foster, which she intended to serve over ice cream.
Fast forward to this morning. I purchased a loaf of soft French bread (because I can't get challah in my little dinky town) and decided to try my luck.
For the french toast part, I sliced the bread on the diagonal (fairly thick). Then I beat 4 eggs with a splash of heavy cream and milk, then added some vanilla bean paste for good measure. I soaked the bread slices in the custard mixture, then griddled them in my 12 inch cast iron skillet. I put them in my oven on warm, then set about making the bananas foster part.
I used the recipe straight from the Pioneer Woman blog. I didn't have enough rum, so I just used what I had. It made the flaming part rather disappointing, but it still tasted amazing.
And I do plan to make some vanilla ice cream, because I have about 2 cups of the sauce left, and I'm not about to let it go to waste!
So this is sushi salad, or as the blog I stole it from called it, "Lazy Sushi". I like this idea for several reasons. First, I'm lazy. Second, it would make it possible for me to eat sushi way more often than I presently do. Thirdly, there are literally thousands of variations you could dream up for this.
I pinned the recipe from a blog called Lea's Cooking. I followed her recipe pretty exactly and it turned out great. The only change I will make next time (and there WILL be a next time) is, I will leave out the canned tuna. It was ok, but honestly, I would just use the crab or maybe even throw in a few sautéed shrimp. The tuna didn't see to fit in. I think I might also throw in some edamame next time.
I added the baked egg roll wrapper crackers. I like the different crunchy texture they brought to the party. You could fry them, but I was trying to be somewhat healthy, so I baked mine instead.
This was a great find. I am absolutely positive I will make this again. I think it would be ideal for school lunch, or quick dinners during the week. It's almost like an Asian spin on a Mexican burrito bowl- only better!
To that end, we headed to Glenwood Springs yesterday for their little Oktoberfest celebration. Our friends Greg and Jan went along for the ride.
The event itself was fairly low key. It was really more like a craft fair with German oompah music, than an Oktoberfest. There was only 1 beer tent. Wha???????
That said, though, I had a nice time. We went to one of my favorite new restaurants in Glenwood, Smoke, for lunch, then walked down the street to the festivities. I was designated driver, so no beer for me.
We watched some older couples dancing to the traditional German music, and ate donuts from a relatively new bakery in town, Coloradough. I had an apple fritter, which was arguably the single biggest pastry I've ever seen. I couldn't eat all of it, because it was so sweet and greasy and yummie, I'd have died right on the spot if I'd finished it. So that makes it pretty much the perfect festival food. :)
Sunday, August 10, 2014
I made a batch of plan quinoa in my rice cooker (1 1/4 cups of quinoa and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth/water).
I then used the same technique I use to make fried rice. I stuck with leftover veggies for this, but if you wanted, you could put any kind of protein you wanted in it.
I usually don't include traditional recipe formats with my blog posts, but I'm going to give it a go here.
Spicy Fried Quinoa
1 large egg
Coconut Oil- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
Onion- half of one small, chopped
Garlic- one clove, minced
Thai Birds' Eye Chile- thinly sliced
Fresh Ginger- about 1 tablespoon, grated with a microplane grater
Corn- 1/4 cup (I used frozen white shoe peg corn)
Peas- 1/4 cup (I used frozen)
1 cup of cooked quinoa
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
Cashews- 1/4 cup (unsalted)
Sesame Seeds- 2 tablespoons
Cilantro- one handful, roughly chopped
Put an 8 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat, and toast the cashews and sesame seeds. When they are fragrant, park them on the plate off which you plan to eat your dinner. Put skillet back on the heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil. Lightly beat the egg, then scramble it in the skillet. When it is done, add it to the plate with the cashews and sesame seeds.
Put the skillet back on the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, chile and ginger. Allow the oil to come up to temp with the aromatics. This builds a layer of flavor for your finished dish.
After about a minute, add the corn and peas and allow them to warm up. Stir in the cooked quinoa and allow to heat for a few minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin and sriracha. When it is evenly distributed, stir in the cashews, sesame seeds and scrambled egg.
Put it on the plate and garnish with the fresh cilantro.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
I love wings. My husband doesn't. So when he goes out of town, I always make sure I grab some at the store so I can gorge on them while he's gone.
This was another one of those clean out the ice box deals.
I bought a big bag of frozen wings at the grocery store. They were huge!
I grabbed 4 of them and put them on a foil lined baking sheet and threw it in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. I didn't even defrost them! I did rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper before they went in, though.
After about an hour I pulled them out of the oven and began contemplating what flavor I wanted to make them.
I put about some olive oil in a skillet and grated about a tablespoon of fresh ginger in the oil. Then I minced about 5 cloves of garlic, zested a lime and dropped some Thai red chile paste in with it. I turned the heat on medium and let the oil and seasonings begin to sizzle. After about a minute, I put the wings in a bowl and tossed them with the seasoned oil.
These were great! I think I'm going to pull a few more wings out of the bag and have these again tonight!