Friday, June 28, 2013

Stir Fried Noodles and Steak

The wonderful thing about flank and skirt steak?  It used to be such a wonderfully cheap cut of meat that nobody wanted.  Sort of like chicken wings.  And then somebody caught on to how awesome this under appreciated cut of meat is.  Now I'm lucky if I can find the darn steak for under $8 a pound, if our butcher or grocer even has it in stock at all.  Ah well.  Other thin cuts of beef work equally as well when quickly fried and sliced across the grain.

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 4

The Ingredients:
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
8 oz soba noodles
1 Tbsp sesame oil
12 oz skirt or flank steak
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 green onions, whites and greens separated, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
1 large head of bok choi, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on the diagonal  
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce  
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup vegetable broth

The Process:
In a small, dry skillet set over medium heat, dry roast the almonds until evenly toasted.  Set aside.

Bring  a large pot of salted water to a boil, and noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain.  Rinse in cool water and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and sear until charred in spots, about 4 minutes per side. Remove form heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion whites, garlic, and ginger; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choi and carrots. Saute, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and broth together in a small bowl. In a large bowl toss together noodles, sauteed vegetables, almonds and onion greens.  Drizzle with dressing and stir to coat.  
Serve with steak.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Turkey and Red Bean Soup with Rainbow Chard

The peak of summer is upon us, with all of its muggy, hot glory.  So why does my mind drift to soups and chili?  I suppose the fixation has a lot to do with a small test batch of red chili beans that found its way into our CSA box last week.  The farm included a great recipe for a radish and bean salad, but I couldn't shake that thought of chili...

This dish didn't end up nearly as thick as most chilies I prepare, and I'm okay with that.  The addition of chard makes if far more reminiscent of a minestrone anyway.  But the flavors are all tex-mex.  If you'd rather not hover over the stove on a hot summer's day, this soup can be prepared in the crock pot as well.  Just plan on adding the chopped chard leaves right before serving.

The recipe is my own

Serves 6-8

The Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup dry red chili beans
1 Tbsp oil
20 oz ground turkey
2-3 bulbs green garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves and stems separated
1 - 8oz can tomato sauce
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

The Process:
Remove any pebbles or grit from the beans.  Rinse.  Place in a large bowl and cover with cool water.  Soak overnight.

Drain the beans.  In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil.  Add beans, reduce to a simmer and cook about 45 minutes or until beans are tender.  Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the turkey, onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently until the turkey is cooked through and crumbled.  Add the cumin, chili powder and oregano.  Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Coarsely chop the chard stems and add to the pot along with the broth, beans, salt, bay leaf and tomato sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Coarsely chop the chard leaves.  Add to the soup and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the chard has wilted.  Remove bay leaf and serve immediately

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Baked Coconut Curry Shrimp

The seafood pact Ross and I made is still going strong.  Shrimp hasn't made an appearance on our menu, which is odd given how we usually have some frozen on hand at all times.

The shrimp was picked before the recipe.  Jumbo and shell on.  I briefly toyed with a few Cajun inspired grilled recipes, but given our luck with the weather, an indoor meal was probably best.   We've both been itching for something breaded as of late, a splurge against the all of the CSA veggies we've been enjoying.  This baked version made the guilty pleasure a little more forgiving.  Quite frankly, it really didn't need any deep frying anyway.

The breading and cooking process itself is super quick.  The shrimp can ready in about 20 minutes.  However, if using shell on jumbo shrimp, plan an giving yourself a bit more time.  The peeling, deveining and butterflying can be a bit tedious and time consuming.

the recipe is my own

serves 3-4

The Ingredients
1 lb large raw shrimp (13-15 count)
2 eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup panko
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

favorite dipping sauce to serve

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 425

Peel the shrimp, leaving the last segment on the tail intact.  Slit the back of the shrimp and remove the vein.  Cut deeper along the center back to the tail segment, and gently splay the shrimp open.  Rinse and pat dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.  In a second bowl, combine the coconut, panko, flour and seasonings.  One at a time, dip the shrimp into the egg and press into the coconut coating.  Lay the shrimp, butterflied side down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet.  Lightly mist with additional oil.

Bake until the shrimp are opaque and begin to curl, about 10 minutes.

Serve with dipping sauce.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vietnamese Pork Chops

Meat.  Summer.  Grill.

And of course.  Rain.

So a slight change of plans.  These thick-cut marinaded pork chops would have been phenominal on the grill, but with the 20 minute windows of sunshine we seem to have been experiencing, the skillet will have to do.

And the marinade reduced into a dipping sauce?  Amazing.

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 2

The Ingredients:
2 - 1" inch thick cut pork chops (about 1 lb)
1/2 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ground pepper
olive oil
salt to taste
lime, quartered

The Process:
Whisk together the shallot, brown sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and pepper.  Pierce the pork chops all over, place in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over.  Seal and marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, or chill 4 hours to overnight

Remove chops and reserve marinade.  Generously salt the chops with salt.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Sear, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from skillet, cover to keep warm and allow to rest for about 9 minutes

While the chops rest, add the reserved marinade to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced until about 1/4 cup.

Serve chops with reduced marinade and lime wedges.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cheesy Corn Porridge with Garlic-Chives and Bacon

A few months back I made up a batch of pale ale corn muffins, and ever since this recipe has been kicking around in the back of my head.  The muffin recipe started out with a polenta-like base.  The green chilies, butter and cornmeal smelled so amazing as I stirred up the thick mixture.  I briefly contemplated eating the first batch straight from the pot, and mixing up a second one for the muffins.

It took a few weeks, but I started toying around with a few variations until this corn porridge came to be.  The dish is equally as wonderfully with a bit of diced jalapeno sauteed up with the bacon, but that heat is a bit too much for me first thing in the morning.

Feel free to play around.  One stalk of green onion and a clove of garlic is a great fragrant base, but with the arrive of our first CSA box, I had to give the garlic chives a whirl

the recipe is my own

serves 1

The Ingredients:
2 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 Tbsp chopped garlic chives
1/3 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup shredded cheese (pepper jack, colby, cheddar blend)

The Process:
Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the bacon and saute until the bacon is crisp and most of the fat is rendered.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Add the chives and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the cornmeal to coat in the bacon grease.

Add a small amount of the water, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining water, bring the mixture to a boil.  Promptly reduce heat and simmer until the cornmeal is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and reserved bacon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Seared Scallops with Apple Pan Sauce

I'm on a bit of a Bon Appetite kick.  Have you noticed.  I'm sorry.  It's hard not to devour each issue cover to cover.  With our l
ate late LATE starting spring, many of the seasonal veggies and dishes featured had to be put on the back burner until the just recently.  Oh dear lord, I am looking forward to our CSA boxes.  Summer is a coming...

It is hard to screw up scallops.  Truly.  They are not that hard to make, and rarely require more than a touch of salt an pepper.  The sauce sounded interesting...I love simmering apples with a touch of brown sugar and bourbon for a quick pork or chicken dish.  Topping scallops, why not?

In end result was good, but the scallops really could of held up on their own.  The apple pan sauce was a touch to sweet and almost overpowered the mollusks.  A little bit went a long way...

adapted from Bon Appetite

serves 2

The Ingredients:
1 Granny Smith apple  
1 Tbsp lemon juice  
2 Tbsp hard cider, cream ale or apple juice
1 Tbsp olive oil  
6 large sea scallops
salt and pepper to taste 
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter

The Process:
Peel and core the apple, cut half into 1-inch cubes. Combine the chopped apple, lemon juice, and cider in a blender and purée until smooth. Strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Cut the remaining apple into 1/4-inch cubes. Add to the puree and set aside. 
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season scallops generously with salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add butter to the same skillet. Cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Strip the thyme from its stem and add to the butter. Stir in the apple mixture and cook, until juice is thickened and apple pieces are tender, about 4 minutes. Spoon over scallops.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Buttermilk-Brined Roasted Chicken with Kale Cress and Bread Salad

Dishes that come to the table in one large glorious dish never fail to impress.  The chicken and the bitter, hearty and slightly tangy salad accompanying it create a beautiful rustic dish.  It is a hair tedious to prepare, between the 8 hours to marinate and the number of dishes that the salad prep seems to make.  Trust me, dinner will be worth it.

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 lemons
1 quart buttermilk
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 chicken, 3-4 lbs
1 bunch fresh marjoram
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 baguette, ripped into 1 1/2 inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1 bunch watercess, thick stems removed
1 bunch of kale, tough center stem removed

The Process:
Thinly slice one half of a lemon.  Combine the buttermilk, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl.  Place the chicken in a large zip top bag (1-gallon bag will accommodate a 4 lb bird).  Cover with the lemon slices and buttermilk mixture.  Seal, pressing out any excess air.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425.  Remove the chicken from the marinade.  Rinse in cold water and pat dry. Thinly slice an additional lemon half and quarter the remaining halve.  Working carefully, loosen and peel back the skin of the chicken from the breast.  Place the lemon slices under the skin.  Stuff the chicken with the remaining lemon and the marjoram.  Rub the chicken all over with butter, season with salt and pepper and place on a wire rack set in a large baking dish.

Roast the chicken until the skin begins to crisp, 35-40 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165 (about an additional 20-25 minutes).  Transfer the chicken to a large serving casserole and loosely tent with foil.  Keep the oven on.

Pour as much of the pan juices as possible into a large bowl (reserve the baking dish).  Whisk in the shallot, vinegar and oil. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour half of the dressing in a small bowl and set aside.  Toss the torn bread into the large bowl with the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat.  Spread the bread in a single layer on the baking sheet and toast in the oven, turning once or twice until the bread is slightly golden brown but still soft. 

In same large bowl, toss the toasted bread with kale and watercress.  Drizzle the reserved vinaigrette over top. 

Toss to coat and arrange in the serving dish alongside the chicken.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Savory Bread Pudding with Rapini and Prosciutto

Breakfast for dinner?  Certainly!  But this dish is also a twist on what is typically thought of as dessert. Perhaps the end result is more strata than bread pudding.  But with as inexpensive, yet full of flavor dish is, that seems like a minor detail worth overlooking...

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 4-6

The Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 medium bunch rapini, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 large baguette, torn into 1 inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
6-8 thin slices of prosciutto

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Butter a casserole or baking dish and set aside.

Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat.  Add the garlic and pepper flakes, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the rapini and cook, stirring frequently, until the wilted.  Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk salt and pepper.  Add the rapini, bread and 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Toss to coat.  Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Evenly place the prosciutto over the top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

Bake, uncovered, until the pudding is puffed, beginning to brown and is set in center, about 50 minutes.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chorizo Spiked Clams with New Potatoes

Ross and I seem to be making good on an attempt to cook seafood with more regularity.  With the exception of weeks I am in dress rehearsals all evening, we've stayed a steady course.  This week's seafood dish: clams steamed in a flavorful broth with enough fresh bread to sop up the juices.  Littleneck or a similarly small clam work best for this.  We had to settle for the larger and slightly grittier ringneck clams as the fish monger was fairly picked over wen we arrived to pick out our dinner.

But hallelujah!  The smoked and cured Spanish chorizo we had such a hard time locating for previous recipes?  Despite the old world meat markets, full service butcher shops and amazing ethnic markets that fill our city?  Turns out the fish monger stocks it on a regular basis.  Paella will not be a problem in the future...

As with any clam, tap the shells on a hard surface.  Any shells that do not snap shut should be discarded.  Place the clams in a bowl of fresh cool water and allow them to rest for at least twenty minutes.  Longer is better.  They will spit out sand and grit during this time.  One at a time, remove the clams from the water and scrub with a soft brush to remove any external dirt.  Continue with your recipe.

adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 2

The Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz Spanish chorizo
3/4 lb small new potatoes
4 green onions, whites sliced crosswise and greens sliced on the diagonal
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup wheat beer
1 1/4 water or vegetable stock
2 lbs littleneck clams
1 baguette, cut crosswise and lightly toasted

The Process:
In a high sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and fry, stirring often, until the chorizo begins to crisp and some of the fat has rendered, about 4 minutes.

Add the potatoes, garlic, and onion whites.  Saute, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add the beer and cook until reduced by half.  Add the water and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 5-8 minutes longer.

Add the clams and half of the onion greens.  Tightly cover the skillet, and steam until most of the clams half opened, about 10 minutes.  Discard any clams that have not opened.

Divide clams, potatoes and broth among bowls.  Sprinkle with remaining onion greens.  Serve with toasted bread.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Banana Beer Bread

Yard work is futile today.  The sun teased me for about an hour before the dark clouds rolled in and the downpours began.  At this rate, I may never get our front yard redone and our trees planted.  But at least a good chunk of weeds are gone.

So now that I've been forced indoors, what better to do than whip up some banana bread with those three gloriously be-speckled bananas starring at me forlornly from the corner.  It may be a bit too late for breakfast, but it may make up for the lacking of grilling this evening, should the rain decide to not move along.

The banana recipe base is one I've been using for years courtesy of my sister.  I have no idea where the original came from.  I did increase the flour to accommodate the extra liquid, as well as decrease the sugar from the original.  I like my banana bread extra fruity, so in went another banana.  And for an added twist, the pan is dusted with a 50/50 blend of flour and dry malt extract.   If you do not have access to malt extract, all-purpose flour works as well.

I used Lakefront Brewing Company's Wheat Monkey.  It only seemed appropriate.

adapted from my sister's beer-less banana bread recipe.
yeilds 1 loaf

The Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350.  Generously grease a 9x5 loaf pan and dust with a 50/50 blend of flour and dry malt extract.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.  In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in the egg, one at a time, until well incorporated.  Mash in the in the bananas.

Fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is just moistened.  Stir in the beer.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan.