Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Korean Grilled Chicken

Have you been wanting to try some Korean recipes but have been too busy/scared/lazy to go buy all the crazy ingredients?  I feel ya.  This recipe is for you!

This recipe is for chicken marinated in a Korean marinade.  All of the ingredients for the marinade are at my grocery store (except for the Asian pear...I just use a regular one).  And besides the marinating time, it is pretty quick to throw it all together.  Yes!  Oh yeah, and this is a sweet marinade...doesn't have the usual Korean kick (has no chili oil or gochujang).  

You can just eat the skewered chicken, as is, with a few sides.  It would be great over some rice and with some grilled veggies.  You could also incorporate them into a lettuce wrap, taco or pita pocket.  You could top with kimchi, gochujang dressing, or any of the toppings for Korean tacos.  Or just make a little extra marinade and reduce that down for a sauce.  

We just had our with grilled veggies and potatoes (which I blanched).  Dinner on a stick!  

Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)

1 pound chicken breast (cut into bite sized pieces)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1/2 Asian pear (grated)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for at least an hour.

Skewer the chicken on wet skewers and set aside.

Strain the solids from the marinade and simmer the marinade until it thickens and becomes saucy, about 5-10 minutes.

Grill the chicken until cooked, about 5 minutes per side basting it with the marinade as you go.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 90 min., Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caprese Pasta

Scot and I both really enjoyed this pasta dish.  Scot was especially excited while eating it.  It has been a super hot summer here in Boulder.  Our place is really good at staying cool until I use the oven or cook for more than 30 minutes indoors.  

I love being non-AC-dependent.  I also hate it.  No I love it.

Anyways, this meal comes together quick!  So easy.  So good.  So fresh.  You are going to love it.  

Caprese Pasta

1 lb penne
olive oil
1 whole clove of garlic
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 pint of halved cherry or grape tomatoes
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella (mini balls), room temperature
handful of fresh basil

Boil pasta.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add whole garlic clove and cook until fragrant. Add vegetable stock and cook until it reduces a little and is slightly syrupy. Add cherry or grape tomatoes and cook until heated through and slightly broken down. Remove garlic clover and discard.  Add in cooked/drained pasta, mix to combine.

Remove from heat and toss with chiffonade basil and fresh mozzarella.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips (and salsa)

Special Guest Bloggers…The Darnall Sisters!

I couldn't be more excited to introduce you to the Darnall sisters.  Look them, aren't they cute?:

They embarked on their very own culinary adventure and I wanted to share it with you.  Nicole (left) is my bff and roomie from college.  She is a true foodie and can make a mean side of green beans.  In college, I could always count on her for sushi night.  Shelly (right), is Nicole's little sis and loves to cook (she is a big fan of Dave Lieberman).  She has great taste in food and was the one to introduce me to kosher dogs (my one true love).  So, here is their story:

Voice of Nicole:

The idea to make homemade tortilla chips originated from our herb garden. Several months ago, Shelly ever -so -nicely planted an herb garden containing rosemary, chives, cilantro and green beans.  Today, the garden is totally OVERRUN with cilantro. I mean, it’s like a cilantro forest out there.  Soooo…I asked,“What can we do with all this cilantro?” Shelly said, “Let’s make salsa! I have corn tortillas, we can make our own chips!”

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about making our own chips.  What if the salsa was amazing, but the chips were awful? Then what would we do? We decided to go for it.

The recipe calls for peanut oil to fry the tortillas in. I found peanut oil from 2008 in the pantry. Naturally, I g-chatted Shanon with this cooking dilemma. She said to ditch the 2008 peanut oil and just use regular old veggie oil. Sold.

We don’t have a deep fryer or anything, so we just heated up the oil in a small frying pan.  When we were sure it was hot enough (tested it with a small piece and it sizzled) we threw several slices of tortilla in there. To my amazement, they started to sizzle and cook immediately! Be sure to watch them good, they brown up real fast. Also, we used a flipper thing to turn them over and brown the other side.

Caution: make sure your kitchen is well ventilated when you start this process. We had the fan on over our stove AND windows open and two days later-the house still smells like the back of a McDonalds. Its getting better, but it seriously smelled gross after. 

We just seasoned the chips with kosher salt right away as they came out of the oil. They stay hot and sizzle for a while, so we put them on paper towels to cool.

I’m not going to expand about the salsa as I did not participate in making it. But Shelly said it was really easy and it did taste amazing. I think she used less onion then it called for.

Shelly chimes in:

A little bit about the salsa, it’s just your typical pico variety. 4 plum tomatoes, ¼ big white onion (I don’t like red onions, but choose your favorite), cilantro (I used plenty), ½ jalapeno (I would use more next time, I like spice), pressed garlic clove, juice of a whole lime and s & p. Done.  J 

Back to Nicole:

Oh, and did you know that you can freeze cilantro? I did not know this. Shelly did. Since we have that forest in our back yard, Shelly cut a bunch of it up and froze with some water in an ice cube tray. She said that later we can just thaw out the cubes and dry out the cilantro to use it. Crazy!

Here are the recipes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Shortcakes

We didn't have desserts a lot when I was growing up.  I mean, except for special occasions, of course.  But the one dessert I do remember having in the summer for no particular reason is strawberry shortcake.  And it is totally one of my favorite desserts of all time.  

It must be the perfect balance of everything I would ever want in a dessert.  The shortcake is kind of like a lightly sweetened biscuit.  The whipped cream is...well, it is whipped cream, duh.  And the strawberries are broken down with a little bit of sugar (but I like them still a little bit tart).  

We have had this twice (this shortcake recipe made 5 shortcakes for me), and the first time Scot had it as is.  Tradish style.  The second time, I melted some chocolate chips and drizzled chocolate over the shortcake.  I would never pour chocolate over my strawberry shortcake, but don't judge those who do (shoot, yes I do).  :)  Anyways, Scot recommends letting the chocolate re-harden before eating.  And he loved the chocolate version. 

Strawberry Shortcakes
from smitten kitchen adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons

1 2/3 cups (224 grams) all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (20 grams) baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest (optional)
2/3 cup (168 grams) plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Shortcake assembly:
1/2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and zest, if using, and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead a couple times to make it into a cohesive mass and then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1-inch thick.

Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges and arrange on a parchmentlined baking sheet. Alternately, you can use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Chill for 20 minutes (and up to 2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the shortcakes very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar. Bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.

While the shortcakes are baking, toss the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Let stand several minutes. (If the strawberries are extremely firm, do this 30 minutes in advance.)

Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.

(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 60 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Grilled Pizza!

We have become lovers of grilled pizza.  YUM!  Several people have recommend it to me.  And we finally gave it a shot.

Let me tell you about it:

1.  I am over heating up the oven to 500 degrees in our non-AC'ed apartment.  Dumb!  And hot!  Jk, I will probably still did it when I forget how much I hate it.

2.  Grilling pizza takes WAY less time than baking it.

3.  It tastes so good.  It gets nice char marks.  Blackened.

4.  After failing, we figured out a few good tips for doing it right.

First, you want to make smaller pizzas.  I would keep it to about an 8 inch diameter circle (or the equivalent for whatever shape you make).  Personal pan style.  Big pizza is hard to manhandle on the grill...flipping it and all that.

Next, how to grill it.  Oil the grill and over a medium heat, lay the rolled out dough (naked) over the flames.  Let it cook for about 1-2 minutes until it has nice marks.  Flip the dough over and cook until the raw dough hardens up slightly (about 1 minute).  You just want it to not be sticky anymore so you can easily slide it on and off a plate.  Take crust off the grill.

Now, top the crust with whatever you like.  Everything should be pre-cooked, since it will just be warmed up.  Then, slide the complete pizza back on the grill, close the lid, and cook until everything is melted and the crust is cooked through (about 5 minutes).  You may want to turn down the heat so the toppings have enough time to heat up before the crust is done.

We tried these two pizzas:

Shaved Asparagus Pizza.  This was our first shot and where we learned what not to do.  The shaved asparagus topping was delicious.  Really good with the two cheeses, fresh mozzarella and parmesan.  It was such a nice summer pizza.

Red Onion Marmalade Pizza.  This red onion marmalade is worth my life in coins.  I could just eat it as is.  Favorite!  Favorite!  The salty prosciutto and creamy ricotta cheese add nice balance to the sweet marmalade.  The onions are so good, it really doesn't matter what else is on here.  I think the prosciutto is totally optional.  And other cheeses would be great.  Goat cheese.  Mozzarella.  Something really creamy.  Or if you leave off the prosciutto, maybe add a salty cheese like feta or some parm.  I am going to play around with it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Posole

This is another one of my favorite dishes that I was introduced to while living in New Mexico.  It a traditional Mexican dish, but very prevalent in New Mexico.  I found out from Homesick Texan, that it is often served on New Year's day in New Mexico.  For me, summer makes me think of posole, since I was living in New Mexico during the summer.

I actually really like hot, spicy food in the summer.  It seems like I shouldn't.

I also am obsessed with all things brothy.  I love broth!  BTW, this tastes better and better the longer it sits in the fridge as leftovers.  

I made posole all the time while living in New Mexico.  Posole is a soup made up of pork, hominy and lots of spices.  If you have never had hominy, I highly recommend it.  It is kind of like a corny bean.  They are actually just big corn kernels that have been treated in such a way that the skin comes off and they sort of explode.   It results in a really nice texture.  You can buy them dried or canned.  They have them at the grocery stores here in Colorado, but I am not sure if they are available everywhere.  I would guess that they are available at most grocery stores.

But, this is by far the best recipe I have used.  And I love the vague directions like "cook for a couple of hours".  My kind of recipe!  

Red Posole

1 pound of dried posole or two 29 oz. cans of hominy, drained
1 pound of pork shoulder, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of lard, bacon grease, corn or canola oil
8 cups of water (can substitute part with beer or chicken broth for more flavor)
1 smoked ham hock
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (can substitute regular oregano)
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
9 New Mexico chiles, stems and seeds removed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime

For serving:
One avocado sliced
One lime cut into wedges
1 cup of cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup of diced onion
Tortillas and tortilla chips

If using dried hominy, soak the hominy a gallon of water for at least eight hours until it’s doubled in size.

In a large pot, heat up the lard and cook the onion for 10 minutes. Add the pork and brown on each side for a couple of minutes. Throw in the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Pour the water into the pot and add the ham hock, oregano, cumin, ground cloves and ancho-chile powder. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer.

Meanwhile, take your New Mexican chiles and cook on high in a dry cast-iron skillet until the pop, a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat, add water to the skillet and let the chiles soak until hydrated, about half an hour.

Drain the chile-soaking liquid, and place the chiles in a blender. Add one cup of water and blend on high until a smooth puree has formed. Stir the chile puree into the soup pot.

After a couple of hours, add the hominy to the pot along with the juice of one lime and the chopped cilantro. At this point, adjust your spices and add salt to the pot. Continue to cook on low for a couple more hours.

Pour into bowls and serve with diced onions, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, avocado slices and tortillas or tortilla chips.

(Servings: 8, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 4-6 hrs., Difficulty: Easy)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ina Garten's Sliders

I love sliders!!!  I actually can't believe the name has stuck around.  Sliders (or slyders) got their name from the mini burger served at White Castle (according to Wikipedia and me).    

Before college, I had never even heard of White Castle.  All the engineering boyz in my class introduced sliders to me sophomore year of college.  They basically tied me up and forced me to go experience White Castle.  Then, they continued to harass me to try these slyders.  All I remember is that there were HUGE boxes of 30 + slyders that they ordered,  each of them ate between 10-20, our lab stank so bad, they kept placing slyders in my work area hoping I would give in, and I never took one bite.  

First, they told me they were called sliders because they are so greasy that they slide right through your digestive system.  They explained it in a much grosser way.  Second, they were some ridiculous price like 10 cent each.  


A few years ago, sliders started showing up on menus as appetizers or happy hour food.  I was hesitant because, obviously, I have been slightly traumatized.  But, I eventually gave in.  And I have almost never been disappointed.  

I think making the burgers smaller makes it easier to perfectly cook the meat.  They are made small with the intention that you will eat more, but actually one is the perfect size really.  And they are just so cute.  I love mini things now.  I am turning into Giada!

These burgers are flavored with garlic and Dijon.  And then topped with melted Gruyere, tomato, red onion and baby arugula.  I made this sauce and really liked the horseradish with the rest of the flavors.  It was recommended as a dipping sauce for the oven fried onion rings that we had with these sliders.  But I didn't think the onion rings needed a sauce.  

Ina Garten’s Sliders
by Ina Garten via Food Network

2 pounds premium ground beef (80 percent lean and 20 percent fat)
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces grated Gruyere
12 small Brioche buns
4 ounces baby arugula
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving

Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients. Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until mediumrare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders more well done. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place 1/2-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil.

Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill. Divide the baby arugula among the 12 bottom buns, top each with a slider, and finish with a slice of tomato and red onion. Cover with the top of the bun and serve hot with ketchup.

(Servings: 12, Prep time: 25 min., Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oven-Fried Onion Rings

We had these with some Ina Garten sliders.  I would make them again just for the smell!  They were amazingly crunchy and the onions were perfectly cooked.  Just the way an onion ring should be.  And when you bite into them, the onion stays with the breading!  Scot and I really enjoyed these.  

I think the potato chip coating is genius.  It takes a little bit away from the health benefits of baking rather than frying, but it gives the onion rings such a nice crunch.  This could also easily be made gluten-free by using only potato chips and gluten-free flour.    

The baking was pretty hassle free, but the assembly does take some time.  

Oven-Fried Onion Rings
from Brown Eyed Baker, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 ground black pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
2 large yellow onions, cut into 24 rings (see Note 1)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees F. Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Beat egg and buttermilk together in bowl. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, salt and pepper into buttermilk mixture. Pulse saltines and potato chips together in food processor until finely ground; 8 to 10 pulses.

Place crumb mixture in second shallow baking dish.

Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off excess. Dip rings in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then drop into crumb coating, turning rings to coat evenly.

Transfer coated rings to large plate or tray.

Pour 3 tablespoons oil onto each of two rimmed baking sheets. Place baking sheets in oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes. Carefully tilt heated sheets to coat evenly with oil, then arrange onion rings on sheets. Baking, flipping onion rings and switching and rotating position of baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Briefly drain onion rings on paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately.

Note 1: Slice the onions into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, separate the rings, and discard any rings smaller than 2 inches in diameter. It will depend on the size of your onions, but both of mine ended up being sliced into 4 to get the 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

Note 2: The onion rings can be breaded in advance and refrigerated for up to an hour. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking them; if baked while still chilled from the refrigerator, the onions will not cook enough to soften and will remain crunchy.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 25 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll-Ups

I have been wanting to try these ever since Annie posted them.  In fact, one of my friends already tried them for me!  And she said everyone really loved them.  And I thought they were really tasty too!

They are a nice appetizer because they can be made in advance and can be served room temperature.  I put more cayenne pepper and chili powder in the filling than what was listed in the recipe.  I wanted them to be spicy.  I also seasoned the chicken with chili powder and paprika before grilling.  I would say, just add the seasonings to your own personal taste.  

It also helps to wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for about a minute.  It makes them much easier to work with when rolling them up.

And, maybe you all already know this...but did you know that green onions will re-grow if you put the white parts in a glass of water?!?!?  It works!  And it only takes a few days.  Look:

Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll-Ups

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, pepper jack, etc.)
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Handful of cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained well
4-6 8-inch tortillas

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium high heat until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

In the meantime, combine all of the remaining ingredients except tortillas in a large mixing bowl. Mix until well blended. Once the chicken is cool, transfer to a cutting board and chop or shred into small pieces. Add the chicken to the filling mixture and stir well to incorporate.

Spread a thin layer of the filling mixture over a tortilla, leaving a small border clear around the edge. Roll the tortilla up tightly into a spiral. Place the rolled up tortilla on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into 1- to 11/2-inch thick segments. Transfer to a serving platter and serve chilled or at room temperature.

(Servings: 10, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gemelli with Fennel and Hot Sausage

We eat lots of pasta.  And I really like simple, quick pastas.  I also need to change things up.  All the time with pasta.  

This is roasted fennel, carrots, onions and sausage.  Then tossed with any short pasta.  Deglaze the baking pan with some of the pasta water.  Add that.  Done.  It is really easy.

I loved the sweet carrots and all the roasted-ness.  And the sausage is important, otherwise I am thinking it would be too bland.  

I will note that I could have roasted everything for about 25 minutes rather than 30 minutes.  So, make sure you check the roasted-ness as you get closer to 30 minutes.  

And I realize I didn't use gemelli pasta.  But who cas.  Scot just told me you can't spell cares with an accent like that.  See ya!

Gemelli with Fennel and Hot Sausage

3/4 pound hot italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large bulb fennel, cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced on an angle
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound gemelli pasta
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425°. On a baking sheet, toss the sausage, fennel, onion and carrots with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.

Add the sausage-vegetable mixture to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the baking sheet, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to the pasta mixture. Toss in the parsley; season with salt and pepper.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bread and Veg

I would argue that there is nothing better than bread and butter.  Softened salted butter, obv.  But also, good, good bread.  And I am picky about bread.  If it lasts longer than a few days, I probably am not going to like it.

Bakeries aren't big in Boulder.  I mean there are a few.  There aren't any near me.  The best I can find is Panera, which is great, but it isn't on the bike ride it is not convenient.  Therefore, I have been trying to see how hard it really is to bake bread.   Can I do it on a regular basis?  Is it worth it?  Do I have the skillz to make Panera quality bread?

I tried the No-Knead Artisan bread baked in the dutch oven a few weeks ago.  It was delicious. took about 24 hours.  And the dutch oven gets extremely hot (needed too layers of oven mitt).  And I got corn meal on about ever square inch of my kitchen.  I knew I would make it again, but not regularly.

So, I have been searching for something easier...and I think I found it!  EEEEE!!!!

I found this recipe that makes 4 1 lb. loaves of bread total.  The dough takes about 5 minutes to make. Then it rises for two hours.  Then you put in the fridge and can use it anytime after 3 hours up to 14 days.  All you do is cut of a piece of dough, shape, let rise for 40 minutes, bake for 30 minutes on a pizza stone.  Easiest thing ever!

I made the first loaf today.  It was so so so good.  I will wait to do a full post until I make the rest because they say that it gets better as it sits in the fridge.  But here is the recipe if you just can't wait.

It is a different texture than the other Artisan bread.  It was less holey.  I honestly liked both.  It was probably more moist.  The crust was still nice and crisp, but not has hard as the other.  Mostly because this one didn't have any corn meal.  Again, I really like both for different reasons.

The main point:  this bread was too easy.  It is almost easier than going to the store and buying it.  And it cost 40 cents a loaf to make.  Big fan.

We ate this bread for dinner with grilled veg and a caprese salad.  And I loved every second of it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cheese and Potato Pierogies

I have made it a goal of mine to try out the many different "dumpling" type recipes popular in different cultures.  This goal is just in my head and not very organized.  Just something that has always been interesting to me.  There are Chinese pot stickers, Italian ravioli, American chicken and dumplings, Italian gnocchi, and many more.  They are all made from different types of doughs and can be boiled, steamed or fried (often some combination).  There are also many other dough pockets that are usually not boiled or steamed like Spanish (and many of nationalities) empanadas, Italian calzones, Indian samosas, various meat pies, and...the American Hot Pocket.  These are usually baked or fried (or microwaved in the case of the Hot Pocket).  And there are a million more.  

Pierogies originated in Eastern and Central Europe.  Places like Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, and a lot of countries that end in 'ia'.  I feel like I know very little about the food in this part of the world.  My advisor is Russian and I always ask him what Russian food is...I have never received a satisfying answer.  

A pierogi is one of the "dumplings" I have been wanting to try.  It is made from unleavened dough.  These were filled with a mashed potato and cheddar cheese mixture.  They are then boiled for about a minute and pan fried in butter and olive oil to crisp up the outside.  I served them with sauteed onions and sour cream.  

I was very impressed!  It is amazing that such simple ingredients like potatoes, cheese and a simple dough (made from only 3 ingredients) can be so good.  And all things I usually have around.  I think a dish like pierogies needs a lot of love.  Whenever I am working with such basic ingredients, I know there has to be a trick to make it taste not basic.  

It is important the filling is well seasoned.  Taste it and probably put a little more salt in it than you would for mashed potatoes.  It is important to not over cook them. Boil them only until the float to the surface of the water.  Finally, I like to add some olive oil to the butter when pan frying.  Butter burns so easily that the oil allows you to fry the pierogies at a higher temperature, which helps them not soak up as much fat but still get a nice crisp outer shell.  

And I really liked the topping of sauteed onions and sour cream.  I think this plate of dumplings looks ridiculous.  Don't worry, we didn't eat them all.  

Cheese and Potato Pierogies

Dough Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup water

Potato & Cheese Filling:
1 lb. russet potatoes
3 oz. grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. dried chives

Other Ingredients:
1 onion, sliced thinly
butter (for sautéing)
flour (kneading and rolling dough)

To make the dough: Combine flour and salt. Add beaten eggs and water. Mix the dough until it becomes elastic and can be molded into a ball. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Wrap ball of dough in plastic and set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Cut potatoes into cubes. Boil until soft. Mash with grated cheese, chives. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature.

To fill pierogies: Generously flour a cutting board and form the dough into a long roll. Add flour to the board and your hands as needed. Form 24 balls of dough from roll. Flatten a dough ball with your hand and make it large enough to place a heaping teaspoon (or more) or potato filling in center. Fold dumpling in half, and seal edges by crimping the sides together with a fork. Set on a floured surface and repeat until finished.

Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter on a large skillet. Sauté onions until browned, set aside.

To cook pierogies: Boil a large pot of salted water. On another burner, add 1 tsp. of butter on a skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add pierogies to the boiled water, 4-5 at a time but don’t overcrowd the pot. Boil for a few minutes until they float up, use a slotted spoon to lift them out onto a plate. Place drained pierogies onto the skillet and cook both sides until golden. Set on a plate and repeat process until finished. Top pierogies with sautéed onions and serve with sour cream.

(Servings: 24, Prep time: 1.5 hrs., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Intermediate)

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

I really loved this salad.  We had it a few weeks back with the burgers and I never posted the recipe.  It is so delicious.  

I am almost never drawn to buttermilk dressing.  And this buttermilk dressing was amazing.  With all my dressings, even creamy ones, I like them to be fairly runny.  And this recipe has the perfect consistency for me.  

Also, I try and try to eat raw whole radishes.  My dad always does.  And it seems like something cool people do.  But I always fail.  At being cool.  And at eating whole raw radishes.  Maybe someday I will acquire the taste.  However, cut up in this salad, they are so amazing.  It is such a good combo of the radish, cabbage, celery and the sweet buttermilk dressing.  

And check out my new pages!  I added some info about me and about this blog.  I also added a recipe index.  

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
adapted from Gourmet, November 2007 via smitten kitchen

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 pound Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
6 radishes, diced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced diagonally

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives.

Toss cabbage, radishes, and celery with dressing.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 0 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Macleid's Rockcastle Chili

What!?!?  Chili?  I know it is weird.  What is weirder is that I ended up making it on the hottest day so far this year.  Whoops!  Everyone loves to eat chili and sweat a little.  

Actually, I am looking for a good chili recipe for this Fall.  For a soup bar for my sis-in-law's wedding.  She claims that the groom considers chili one of the five food groups.  Therefore, my number one goal is to make a form of chili that he likes.  I know a bit about his dietary preferences.  And I know he loves beans and beer.  When I saw this recipe, I thought it might be perfect.  

The chili is a nice change from the traditional tomato chili (which is usually my favorite, go to chili).  While it still has tomatoes in it, it doesn't have a lot .  

Macleid’s Rockcastle Chili
from Joy of Cooking

Cook in a large skillet until the cracklings are golden brown:

8 ounces of bacon, diced

Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon. Cook briefly in the drippings:

1.5 pounds beef round steak, coarsely ground or chopped in food processor
6-12 large cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped

Add, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and stir until the foam disappears:

One 12-ounce bottle dark beer

Remove all to a Dutch oven or other large pot. Stir in:

One 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, with their juice
One 16-ounce can kidney beans, with their liquid
One 16-ounce can Great Northern beans, with their liquid
One 16-ounce can pinto beans, with their liquid
6 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon black pepper
1.5 cups water or one 12-ounce bottle dark beer

Simmer for about 3 hours, covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Season to taste with:

Salt and black pepper
Hot pepper sauce

(Servings: 8-10, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 3 hrs., Difficulty: Easy)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Scones

I made these for Scot's exam a few weeks ago (along with the amazing coffee cake).  I wanted something simple and quick that I could make the morning of the exam.  And these were perf.  

These are totally better the day thet are made.  By a lot.  So, I recommend serving them the same day.  

I have made some biscuits in the past with green onions and/or cheese in them.  When I saw a scone version of the same idea, it sounded so so good.  And they really were.  Probably my favorite scone ever.  But a cinnamon scone with coffee is a close competitor.  

This recipe also strongly encouraged me to buy an electric pepper grinder.  Recipes can encourage.  Don't worry.  Hand grinding tsps or even a tbsp of pepper sucks.  Stinks.  Shucks.

Bacon Cheddar Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper (depending on your preference)
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
11/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly slices
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to 1/2 cup extra, if needed)
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 400° F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper; mix briefly to combine. Add the cubes of butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are about the size of small peas. (Alternatively, this can be done in a regular mixing bowl, using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.) Add in the grated cheese and mix just until incorporated.

Mix in the green onions, bacon, and 1 cup of the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture. Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated. If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in the remaining buttermilk a tablespoon or two at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch disk. Slice the dough into 8 to 10 wedges.

In a small bowl combine the egg and water and whisk together. Brush each wedge lightly with the egg wash. Transfer the scones to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

(Servinngs: 8, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Monday, June 7, 2010

No-Knead Artisan Bread

I have been wanting to take a stab at baking bread for a very long time now.  I did the burger buns a few weeks ago.  They really weren't so hard to make, which gave me a boost of confidence.  

This recipe seems like a good next step.  Maybe the easiest bread recipe out there?  

My sister gave me this recipe last Christmas.  Since then, I have seen it come up a lot.   It seems like it was really popular when it came out in 2006.

The concept is a no-knead crusty loaf of bread.  Instead of kneading, the dough spends lots of time rising to develop the gluten and flavor.  Something like that.  And it really works!

I had Scot throw together the ingredients (which is really most of the work).  He got everything all set up, found a good spot to display the recipe, etc.  It wasn't until after he did the first step that he realized his job only took about 10 minutes.  And that is 5 minutes in non-Scot people time.  

After mixing the 4 ingredients together, there is just a lot of waiting and a few times you do need to move the dough to a new location.  Not bad.  

It is baked in a dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid.  My dough was way too soft to shape so I just kind of threw it in there.  I also went a little heavy on the corn meal because I didn't want it to stick.  And turns out I probably didn't need it.  But tasted really good.  My loaf is also kind of wider than the pictures I have seen.  Again, it was just so soft.  Maybe because it like 400 degrees outside.  And we don't have AC.  Good thing I was baking, huh?  Smart.  But, it still tasted completely delicious and Scot thinks we should make it every night.    

No-Knead Artisan Bread
originally by Mark Bittman, posted in New York Times

3 cups all purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
cornmeal as needed

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about two more hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

(Servings: 1 loaf, Prep time: 10 min., Rise time: 14-20 hrs., Bake time: 45 min. – 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)