Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Rosti is a delicious potato dish that we frequently had while we were in Switzerland.  All of the signature Swiss dishes that we had are made of some combo of potato, cheese and pork.  

I guess it is a lot like hash browns, but I like to think the process is more refined.  This recipe calls for boiling the potatoes first and using a waxy potato (like yukon gold).  I thought both choices were key to Rosti, but apparently both issues are widely disputed.  I really enjoyed the waxy potato and also really enjoyed the fluffiness from boiling the potatoes before grating them.  

We had this with a winter kale salad and some cinnamon, apple chicken sausages.  

from A Taste of Switzerland by Sue Style

2 1/4 lbs firm waxy potatoes
salt and pepper
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp olive oil

The quintessential Swiss-German dish, a bit like has browns but crustier: boiled potatoes are skinned, grated and pan-fried till golden. Firm, waxy potatoes are essential, as is a heavy-based, preferably non-stick pan.

Boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, peel and grate potatoes coarsely and season with salt and pepper. Heat half the butter and oil in a heavy frying pan and press the potatoes in to make a cake.

Cook over moderate heat for about 20 minutes or until the bottom is golden and crusty.

Invert the Rosti on to a plate. Heat the rest of the butter and oil in the pan, slide the Rosti back into the pan and cook the second side – about 10 minutes more.

(Servings 4, Prep time: ~1 day, Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:  

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Monday, November 29, 2010

Paysanne Salad

While I was in LA (actually, in Long Beach), I met up with of my long-lost friends.  It was amazing.  And we ate at this little cafe, La Creperie, where I got this 'paysanne' salad.  It isn't clear to me if that is really a good name for this salad, but I just went with it.  

The salad is romaine lettuce, crispy potatoes, and bacon tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg and toasted goat cheese.  

I first had fried potatoes in a salad while I was working on a school project in Mali, Africa.  My team and I worked in a village during the day and some of the younger women in the village would bring us lunch each day.  It was always some sort of meat in a sauce with rice.  But there was sometimes vegetables or something different.  My favorite variation to the norm was the lettuce with fried potatoes tossed in some sort of vinaigrette.  Unfortunately, we were strongly advised not to eat uncooked foods like lettuce so that we didn't get sick from the water it was washed with.  I live on the edge, so I would nibble on it.  I figured they might not even wash it in the village.  Anyways, I just love the idea of fried potatoes in salad.  

Paysanne Salad

For potatoes:
2 medium sized russet potatoes
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

For dressing:
1.5 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
3-6 tbsp of olive oil

For poached eggs:
4 eggs
1 tsp of white wine vinegar

For salad:
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
5 ounces of goat cheese

Start potatoes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potato cubes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the water, stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the potatoes until the water evaporates, about 3 or 4 more minutes. (Every 1 to 2 minutes, open the lid long enough to stir the potatoes so they don't stick.) Lower the heat to medium, and saute another 1 to 2 minutes until all traces of water are gone. Toss in the butter and stir to coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp and browned to your liking, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how dark you want them.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Whisk together the mustard, vinegars, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil, to taste.

Poach the eggs: In a large, deep skillet or sauce pan, fill with water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Add vinegar. Poach one egg at a time for 4-5 minutes. Place in cool water bath while cooking the others.

To assemble salad: Toss half the lettuce, half the potatoes, and half the bacon with some vinaigrette. Put on plate. Top with two poached eggs and half the goat cheese (formed into a round ball). Optional: toast the goat cheese with a torch. Repeat for second salad.

(Servings: 2, Prep time: 10 min., Cook tie: 1 hour, Difficulty: Intermediate)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage with Egg Lemon Sauce (Lahanodolmades Avgolemono)

Well hi there.  

I left and now I am back.  

I went to LA for a bit.  Had some important business to take care of.  Most importantly, Jay Leno asked me to come to his show and sit in the front row and awkwardly bob my body (mostly foot action) to his band's music.  I am useful.

No but really, I have spent the last week eating out and getting less comfortable with my winter coat (the fat one).  As always, I have been eager to get back into the kitchen.  LA definitely inspired me in many ways.  You will see some of the fruit of that mental labor later on.  

Tonight, I made this dish from elly says opa!.  She has said on her blog that this is one of her two favorite dinners to have at home.  It is steamed cabbage leaves stuff with a rice and ground beef mixture.  We def. enjoyed the dish.  I always love a good sauce and this is a very lemony sauce, which was delicious.  I must admit that it would be a little difficult for me to eat the stuffed cabbage without the sauce.  Not enough moisture and flavor in the stuffed cabbage alone.  But with the sauce, it is very good.  Please remember, though, that I like my meat full of fat (and this calls for a lean ground beef, which I did use).  I would rather eat no meat than lean meat.  It ain't my style.  So:  do I like white or dark meat t-giving turkey?

You are right, I do prefer the dark meat.  However, with a good gravy, I don't mind the slightly drier white meat.  And if there is a good cranberry sauce...even better.  Sometimes, it is the sauce and condiments that make the dish.  

Stuffed Cabbage with Egg Lemon Sauce (Lahanodolmades Avgolemono)
adapted from elly says opa!

For Stuffed Cabbage:
1 cabbage
1 large onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup white rice
1 egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, minced
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
2–2.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

For Avgolemono Sauce:
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Meanwhile, peel the outermost leaves of the cabbage off and discard. With one hand on the cabbage to steady it, use a small paring or utility knife to cut around the core of the cabbage. Pop the core out with the tip of your knife. Then, add the cabbage to the boiling water and boil until the leaves are tender, about 12 minutes. Carefully peel the cabbage, layer by layer, reserving the leaves. If they are big, cut them in half.  The inside of the cabbage will not soften as much as the outside leaves, set those inside leaves aside (save about 10-13 of the outer leaves to stuff).

While the cabbage is boiling, juice the lemons for the Avgolemono sauce, set aside and save the rinds. Cut the large onion in half. Finely dice one half to use for the cabbage filling and cut the other half into about 5-6 pieces.

In a pot or dutch oven (I just use the same one as I did for the cabbage), put in the inside pieces of the cabbage (cut into 5-6 pieces), the large pieces of half the onion and the lemon rinds.

Lightly mix your ground beef, rice, beaten egg, finely diced half onion, dill, parsley, salt and pepper until the ingredients are incorporated. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on your work surface and place about two heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture at one end of the leaf. Tuck in the sides of the leaf and then proceed to roll it up. Place the rolled up cabbage seam side down on top of bed of veggies. Continue stuffing/rolling the remaining cabbage and placing them next to each other in the pot. When you have one layer completed, make another layer of the stuffed cabbage.

After you have made all your rolls, pour water or broth into the pot. The cabbage rolls shouldn’t be submerged completely, but you should be able to see the liquid coming up from the sides. I also place an inverted plate on top of the rolls, to
keep some pressure on them so they don’t open during cooking. Bring the broth to a boil and then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 60-75 minutes, until the cabbage is very tender.

To make the avgolemono, mix together the eggs and lemon juice and then add the corn starch to make a slurry. Remove all the cabbage rolls from the pot and put on serving platter. Remove all the veggies from the broth and discard. Take a
few ladles of the broth from the cabbage rolls and slowly add it to the egg-lemon mixture, beating continuously. Then, add the avgolemono into the pot, again stirring continuously. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over cabbage rolls.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time 75 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  6/10
Scot (taste):  6/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Virginia Willis' Cola Glazed Wings

Did you know I used to be a diet soda pop drinker?  Did you know I really call it pop but REALLLY wish I called it soda because I think it sounds way cooler and more sophisticated?  

Back to the diet thing...I used to do diet.  If I drank soda, it was diet.  And I put sweet n' low in my coffee.  I ate light yogurt, which apparently has aspartame in it.  

Then, I moved to Boulder.  

In Boulder, I learned how weird and creepy all that fake sugar is.  Why was I eating it?!?!  I am not even on a diet!  

It kind of makes me angry that I was putting that crazy stuff in my body for all those years.  Not to mention, I can't even stand the taste of that fakey sugar.  Why didn't anyone tell me that real Coke is so amazing?  Mexican Coke is even better!  

These cola wings actually taste nothing like cola.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to post this recipe.  I am definitely a wing girl.  I love dark meat.  I love meat on bones.  Unfortunately, though, I am a spicy wing snob.  These are sweet, sweet wings.  And even though I thought they needed a super hardcore kick of spice, I thought I would share them because I know lots of people love sweet wings.  

Also, I used the broiler method to cook these (as indicated in the recipe), and my wings cooked in about 6 minutes per side.  They would have burned fast if I didn't keep an eye on them.  If you would rather, you can bake them at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes on the first side and 10 minutes on the other side.  

Virginia Willis' Cola Glazed Wings

1 cup cola
Juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 jalapeno, finely minced (discard the seeds)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 pounds chicken wings
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To make the glaze: In a small sauce pan, bring the soda, lime juice, brown sugar and the minced jalapeno to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to mediumlow and simmer until the mixture is syrupy, about 30 minutes; keep warm over low heat.

To prepare the wings: Cut off the wing tip (reserve the tips to make stock), and separate the wings at the joint. Place the wing pieces in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour about half the glaze over the wings and toss to coat.  Keep the remaining sauce warm over low heat.

To bake the wings: Position an oven rack 4 inches below the broiler element in the oven. Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the glazed wing on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes per side, brushing twice on each side with the reserved glaze. Transfer to a platter.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time:L 20 min, Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  5/10
Scot (taste):  6/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Did you guys know that they took cherry out of Runts?  

a.  Not ok.  That was my favorite.
b.  What were they thinking?  
c.  I hate Runts.  Now.

Ok, so Scot and I went and saw The Social Network this past weekend.  The theater we went to had this little candy shop where you can fill a bag with a variety of candies and pay $300 per pound.  Which was definitely worth it.    

I love candy.  And I can't figure out why because I am so sensitive to things being too sweet in every other thing I eat.  My favorites are sweet tarts, hot tamales, skittles, licorice, and gummy bears.  For some reason, if I eat candy during a movie, it has to be sweet tarts.  And they did not have any.  So, I went with Runts.

Now, I haven't had Runts since like...6th grade.  During the movie, I kept reaching in my bag, hoping to finally pull out a cherry Runt...and I never did.  As I lost all the taste buds on my tongue and roof of my mouth, I started to wonder if maybe they changed their flavors.  Finally, I looked it up on Wikipedia.  Turns out, they did.  Three times since the last time I had Runts.  Not only do they not have cherry, but they all took out lime.  I don't know who is running Runts, but big mistake...big.

I just had to get that off my chest.  It is the only reason I haven't been blogging lately.  I have a really stressful life.  

Moving on (not really sure how else to transition my awkward blogging), I have been excited to try this pasta dish that Annie posted a few weeks ago.  You should go read her post on it.  She tells an amazing story of how her mom used to make this for her family.  Annie's family found out that her mom had a terminal illness when Annie was still very young.  Before her mom lost her battle, she made sure Annie's dad had recipes like this to make for the family.  Hearing the story, gives me such an appreciation for this dish and respect for all the hardworking parents out there trying there best to feed their children home cooked and healthy meals.  And of course, all the rest of us, doing the same for ourselves too.  :)  

Linguine with Clam Sauce

12 oz. linguine pasta
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams, juices reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved clam juice to the pan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by about half. With the heat on medium-low, stir in the clams and the heavy cream. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Portion the pasta into warmed serving bowls. Spoon some of the sauce over the pasta and top with grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.

(Servings: 3-4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  6/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort: 1/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spaghetti with Chickpeas [Spaghetti con Ceci]

I think you can probably tell that I like tomatoes.  And tomato sauces.  It is surely my comfort food.  

I also had a rough start with chickpeas in my life.  But, I am definitely getting into them the more I eat them in different ways.  And in this sauce, they are delicious.  They give this sauce almost a creaminess.  A great texture too.  With the addition of some pork fat, crushed red pepper flakes and basil...this dish is awesome.  

Spaghetti with Chickpeas [Spaghetti con Ceci]
slightly adapted from smitten kitchen

15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained or about 2 cups, freshly cooked
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pancetta, diced (a little shy of 2 ounces)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch chile flakes
1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes
10 to 15 basil leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
1 pound spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

Set 1/3 cup of chickpeas aside. In a blender or food processor, combine remaining chickpeas with chicken stock and pulse a few times until chickpeas are chopped.

Place a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil and diced pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned; a splatter screen will make your stove look better than mine did after this. Add onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Continue cooking until onions and garlic are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add chickpea mixture, tomatoes, and basil, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. While sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, or tastes like it could use an additional minute’s cooking time. Reserve one cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Toss pasta with chickpea sauce, reserved chickpeas and half of the reserved pasta water until evenly coated and heated through, about one minute. If sauce still feels too thick add reserved pasta water as needed. Season again, as needed, and serve with grated Parmesan to pass.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kenyan-Style Kale and Tomatoes

This is another one of those recipes that I was really hesitant about.  I wouldn't label myself as a "health nut".  I do donuts.  But, I do love being healthy and eating healthy food.  

And I never know what I am going to get with hearty greens like kale.  They scare me. 

Don't worry, though, I faced my fears and went for it.  And I loved this dish.  I think it is all the acid from the tomatoes and the lemon juice that does it for me.  It is a great winter side dish.  

I actually made it a main course by adding a fried egg and some toast.

Kenyan-Style Kale and Tomatoes

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
3 ripe but firm tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 bunches kale or collard greens (about 1 pound total), ribs removed, leaves
thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño (if using) and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until collapsed and juicy, about 10 minutes more. Add kale, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper, toss once or twice, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender and flavors have come together, 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve.

NOTE: In Kenya, this dish is called sukuma wiki, named after the dark, leafy greens from which it's made. The name translates roughly to "push the week," implying the ingredient's stellar ability to stretch meals, making them last to the end of the week. Throughout the country, the popular dish is eaten without utensils, with chapati (a variety of flatbread) or ugali (a type of cornmeal mush) used to scoop up bites instead. This recipe was inspired by a Whole Planet Foundation microcredit client.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 35 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  1/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5

Monday, November 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Navigation is one of the most highly sought after talents of mine.  Turn right, turn left.  Merge on to US-36.  I can do it all.  

Oh, wait.  No, I can't.  You do not want me as co-captain of your ship.  Now, I used to be slightly more skilled in the navigation department.  But as soon as I met Scot, captain of every ship, lover of maps, with his manly "sense of direction" ... I lost any skills I may have built up.  

What IS a sense of direction anyways?  How would I know what way I am facing when I am INSIDE?  I turned like 400 corners and went inside many locked doors.  Cardinal directions should not be used indoors, right?

Well, Scot knows.  Always.  Which way north is.  And lots of other weird people too.  

I have a hard enough time keeping track when I have the mountains as my guide, which "apparently" are always west of me in Boulder.  

So, on the rare occasion that I do drive nowadays, it is often torture.  And I drove all over the Boulder metro area these past couple of weekends running errands and trying to find amaretti cookies (no luck), and I decided that I should probably practice more.  Or something.  Or at least pay attention when I am not driving.  Nah.

This recipe and another one I made recently called for amaretti cookies.  But they don't exist in Boulder.  I found some almond cookies that worked just fine.  I found that I was indifferent about having almond cookies in either recipe.  However, I still wish I could try the real deal!

Regardless of my navigational imperfections, I can always fall back on the fact that I can cook a mean butternut squash lasagna.  Seriously!  When I first saw this recipe, I was grossed out.  It sounded so heavy and too sweet, no texture.  But I saw that it had very good reviews.  I thought I would give it a shot.  And it really was amazing!  I love the balance of flavors.  Definitely not too sweet.  I especially enjoyed the whole milk mozzarella, which I felt was tangier than a skim or part-skim mozzarella.  Maybe I just made that up, though.

As Scot has recently been saying (possibly too often) "nailed it".

We had this with a nice fall salad with pomegranate seeds, apples, blue cheese, pecans and baby arugula.  

Butternut Squash Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 amaretti cookie, crumbled, optional
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookie and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 1 layer of lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/3rd of the sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 2 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the
vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

(Servings: 6-8, Prep time: 1 hour, Cook time: 1 hour, Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  9/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  4/5
Dishwashing Effort:  4/5

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Seared Steak and Mushrooms on Mixed Greens with Asian Ginger Dressing

We really enjoyed this salad.  We got great quality (expensive) ribeye steaks from Whole Foods.  They were amazing.  And I used Alton Brown's method for cooking them.  They came out perfect.  

This asian ginger dressing is also delicious.  It is very strong, so dress the salads lightly.  And I like having the mushrooms on the salad (as long as they are cooked!)  

Sorry vegetarians for showing red meat in all its glory.  (If you are going to cheat, go for the steak!  :)

Seared Steak and Mushrooms on Mixed Greens with Asian Ginger Dressing
adapted from Bon Appétit and Alton Brown

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, plus extra for steak and mushrooms
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
Sriracha, to taste
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
2 12-ounce rib-eye steaks
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
8 cups mixed greens
salt and pepper

*Rib-eye steak is also known as Delmonico steak, Spencer steak, or New York strip. It's sometimes called a boneless rib eye, because the steak is a sliced prime rib with the bone removed.

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable oil, grated ginger, grated garlic, Sriracha, and sesame oil in small bowl. Add cilantro and stir to blend. Set dressing aside. Heat vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until browned, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer sautéed mushrooms to plate.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over medium heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steaks in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time
is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.) Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 3-5 minutes.

Transfer steaks to cutting board. Slice steaks. Toss mixed greens with dressing in large bowl; divide greens among plates. Top with steak slices and mushrooms and serve.

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

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  2/10
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chicken Lo Mein

I am kind of relieved that all the election hullabaloo is over.  No.  Extremely relieved.

As you probably could guess, I am not exactly into politics.  Maybe I could be.  But I am so turned off by:

1.  The ridiculous amount of junk mail, flyers and stuff hung on my door.  
2.  The phones calls.  Oh...the phone calls.  And the millions of recorded voicemail messages.
3.  The radio and TV commercials.  All they talk about is why I should NOT vote for certain candidates.  All they taught me is that Ken Buck is super annoying.  
4.  And finally, the many people who came and knocked on my door and reprimanded me for not sending in my mail-in ballot yet.  (I mean, I guess I appreciate the citizen volunteer's hardwork...)

Election season makes me feel like I am in kindergarten.  Except I have 300 different moms, dads and teachers telling me what to do.  And making me feel bad for being the worst citizen ever.  

It makes me wish I could choose someone else to vote for me.  Then I realize that is exactly what I am doing by voting.  Dang.  Why does it have to be so hard?  Why can't they explain the issues in real life language?  I am a fairly educated person but I got a headache trying to read through all the issues.  Not to mention, I don't care much about them.  I don't care who is treasurer of the secretary of the city of the state OR if taxes should be raised .00004% for the people who have horse farms and make more than $98, 456 per year.  

Anyways, I voted.  But barely.  And I didn't even feel good about it.  

And I also made this Chicken Lo Mein.  And I did feel good about that.  Good transition!  Yes!  Score!

I found out the past weekend that Scot didn't know what lo mein was.  I mean he did but he didn't.  That is kind of always the story with him.  It makes me sad when I have made something for him and he doesn't remember (this is the way it is about 75% of the time).  But I usually get over it because I know it hard for him to remember all the new foods he eats.  Most of the things I have been eating all my life, plus I am obsessed with food, so I remember every detail about every crumb I eat.  Anyways, that is why I wanted to make lo mein for him.  This was a delicious recipe.  Much better than take out.  It is fresh, the noodles can be perfectly cooked, and there are a lot more veggies!  

Chicken Lo Mein
from Joy of Cooking

Stir together in a medium bowl:
  1 tsp cornstarch
  1/2 tsp salt
  1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Cut across the gain to make very thin slices (more easily done if the chicken is partially frozen):
  1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
Toss in the cornstarch mixture and let marinate for 10 to 20 minutes. Stir together in a small bowl:
  1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
  2 tbsp oyster sauce
  1 tbsp soy sauce
  1 1/2 tsp sugar
Cook in a pot of boiling unsalted water just until tender:
  6 ounces Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Drain again and toss thoroughly with:
  1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. When hot, pour in:
  1/3 cup peanut oil
Swirl the oil around the pan until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and stir-fry, flipping it in the oil to separate the slices, and cook just until white. Drain in a sieve or colander and discard the oil. Heat the pan again until hot. Pour in:
  3 tbsp peanut oil
Swirl and heat until very hot but not smoking. Add:
  2 heads of baby bok chop cut into 2 inch pieces
  3 scallions, chopped
  1 cup of shredded carrots
  1 cup of sliced mushrooms
Stir-fry until the vegetables are well coated with oil, about 45 second. Pour the stock mixture down the side of the pan; stir and cover to steam the vegetables in the sauce for 1 minute. Uncover, add the noodles and chicken, and stir and toss
for about 30 seconds. Add:
  1/2 cup bean sprouts
Stir for about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

(Servings: 3, Prep time: 30 minutes, Cook time: 20 minutes, Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  7/10
Scot (taste):  7/10
Effort:  3/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Balsamic Reduction

We lived in Switzerland for about two months.  Not sure if that counts as "living".  But, I think so.  We were working at ETH in Zurich with our advisor.  Scot and I had an amazing time.  We wanted to stay forever.  Except that we missed our dog way too much.  I think we have an unhealthy attachment to him.  Sorry...he is the best dog in the whole world.  

Now, the food in Zurich was basically forgettable.  Mostly because it was so expensive we didn't eat any.  We lived off of bread, nutella, yogurt, and butter.  And this pasta!  

See, the cafeterias at ETH were amazing.  Better than most restaurants in America.  The cafeteria in our building (and, therefore, the one we mostly ate at) was different from most because it only served pasta and rice dishes.  However, they did it so so right.  First, the pasta was homemade and freshly prepared.  Can you believe it?  Homemade pasta at a cafeteria?!?!  And there were several different sauces to choose from.  My favorites were this salmon dish and the bolognese sauce.  And even though I ate one of the two, pretty much every day, I actually never got sick of them.  And I had to try my hardest to eat all of it because I needed to get the calories in, because who knew what our dinner would be.  

I have made my own version of this pasta a few times.  It is a short cut pasta with a light cream sauce (with some finely chopped veggies in the sauce).  It is topped with plenty of grated parmesan, smoked salmon and a balsamic reduction. I chose this time to make a flourless white sauce.  And I really liked it.  It is much thinner than a traditional cream sauce.  Instead of making a roux, you just reduce the liquid to thicken the sauce.  Once the sauce is combined with the pasta and parmesan, I think it is the perfect thickness.  I apologize for the four pans and pots.  But nothing gets that dirty so it isn't too bad to clean up.  

Lastly, if you can't find a bottled balsamic reduction, you can easily make your own.  Just reduce balsamic vinegar over medium high heat until it has reached a syrupy consistency.  I would start with about a cup.  

Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Balsamic Reduction

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
salt and white pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of finely diced carrots
1/4 cup of frozen peas
1 lb short cut pasta like Campanelle
handful of grated parmesan
4 ounces of smoked salmon
drizzle of balsamic reduction

Fill a large pasta pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil.

In a large, deep skillet heat the chicken stock over medium high heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and reduce to about 1/2 cup.

In a separate small saucepan, add the heavy cream. Over medium to medium high heat, bring cream to a simmer and let it foam up. Reduce by half, whisking often to prevent burning.

Add cream to the chicken stock and whisk to combine. This will be thinner than a traditional cream sauce, but it will all work out when you add the parmesan when serving. Season with salt and white pepper.

While the sauce is going, add the butter and olive oil to a skillet. Add shallots, cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add frozen peas, leave skillet on burner and turn off heat. Stir occasionally.

Once pasta water is ready, add pasta and cook until done.

Add vegetables to white sauce. Drain pasta well and add to sauce and veggies. To serve, place pasta and sauce in shallow bowl. Sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan. Put 1 ounce of smoked salmon on top. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 25 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  3/5