Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fog City Diner Sirloin and Black Bean Chili

What better thing to make on a cold, cold day in LA (that means below 60 degrees during the day, with the windchill making it feel like 32 degrees to our thin blooded bodies) than a big pot o' chili?  This weekend looks like another cold and rainy one, so stock up on the ingredients and make this Sat. morning for yummy chili whenever you want all weekend.  It takes about 2 hours to make, including all the chopping, but you can pretty much sit on your tush for about an hour of it.  If you need masa harina, you can either pick it up at your supermarket in the flour/sugar section or feel free to stop by and pick some up from me...I have a giant bag full.

2 lbs boneless sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/3 c olive oil
2 med. yellow onions, chopped
2 T finely chopped garlic
5 (yes, 5) jalepenos, seeded and finely chopped
3 T chili powder (the chili powder mix, not pure ground chili)
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t cumin
1/4 c masa harina
3 1/2 c beef broth
2 c cooked black beans (can use canned...rinse and drain.  I used two whole cans because I misread the recipe, but it was still so awesome!)

Heat the oil in a large pot over moderately high heat and brown the meat in batches. Remove the meat using a slotted spoon and set it aside.
Using the same pot, reduce the heat to moderate and saute the garlic, onions, and chiles until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spices and stir for another 3 minutes.  Add masa harina and stir for 2 minutes (mixture will be dry.)

 Add the broth, water and beef to the masa harina/onion mixture and simmer for 45 mn uncovered, stirring occasionally.   Stir in beans and simmer 10-15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to taste. 

 Serve the chili with sides of cheese, lime wedges, avocado and/or cilantro.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shitake and Scallion Lo Mein

This is a fairly quick, surprisingly good weekday dish from Food and Wine Magazine. It is vegetarian, but you could add braised tofu or some sort of meat to the finished product if you so desire.

1 pound wide lo mein noodles (I used the Chow Mein noodles from the Asian section of the supermarket)
1/4 pound snow peas, halved diagonally
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (Asian market or Asian section of supermarket)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
6 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (totally forgot to add this, still good)

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the noodles until tender; add the snow peas to the noodles in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles and snow peas and rinse under cold water until cool.

In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the mirin and sesame oil.

In a very large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil until shimmering. Add the shiitake and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil, the scallions and ginger and stir-fry until the scallions soften, about 3 minutes. Add the water and cook over moderate heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, 1 minute. Add the noodles, snow peas and soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook, tossing the noodles until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the cilantro and serve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup and Chipotles

I pulled this recipe from the NY Times back in 2003 and have made it every Turkey Day since. It is pretty easy, once you get past the scooping of the flesh from the roasted potatoes and it is fantastic: sweet without being cloying and balanced with the heat of the chipotle chiles. You can puree the chiles and keep it in a tupperware in the back of the fridge until the cows come home (or it develops fuzz, whichever comes first.)

Adapted from Bobby Flay, Bolo and Mesa Grill

Time: 45 minutes

5 pounds (about 10 medium or 5 large) sweet potatoes, scrubbed

1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup

3/8 cup crème fraîche (yeah, its ok to go 1/2 c with this one.)

4 teaspoons purée from canned chipotles (i.e., take a can from the Latin Foods section of the supermarket, throw it in the blender or the mini food processor, and dump it into a tupperware. If you are scared of the heat, put in less.)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Salt to taste.

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes on large baking sheet, bake until soft, 35 to 40 minutes for medium potatoes, up to 1 hour for large.

2. Meanwhile, combine syrup, créme fraîche, chipotle purée, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

3. When potatoes are tender, remove from oven, slice in two lengthwise. Scoop hot flesh into a potato ricer or food mill, purée into bowl with other ingredients. Stir with rubber spatula to combine. Potatoes should be light and fluffy. Taste for seasoning, transfer to warm serving bowl, serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veronica's Persimmon Salad

I got this amazing savory fruit salad recipe from my friend, Veronica.  Her salads are amazing and if you are ever lucky enough to be invited to her house for lunch, you will find yourself begging for the recipes.  She will put out 3 or 4 salads, some bread, maybe some wine and it becomes a meal more elegant than you would receive in most restaurants.  The funny thing about this particular salad is that I never actually sampled it at her house.  She sent me the recipe just for fun and I made it for a Friends of Westwood Library Board meeting (insert plug for the Facebook fan page here) without bothering to test it first.  And it was great.  So great that I was secretly very happy that there was one serving left after the meeting for me to scarf down at home. 

This is a beautiful late fall salad that makes great use of Southern California foods.  AND it is low tablespoon of walnut oil...that's it!  One last tip.  Instead of purchasing already seeded pomegranate seeds, buy a whole one (99 cents at Trader Joes), cut off a bit and submerge it in a bowl of water.  Break it apart and the non seedy parts will rise to the top.  Your seeds will be a much brighter color and it is a lot less expensive to use the whole thing.

2 lbs Fuyu persimmons (these are the flat, hard ones)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 serrano chili, stems and ribs removed, minced
1/4 c pomegranate seeds
3 T toasted walnuts (I totally forgot this step and it was still fantastic.)
2 T chopped cilantro
1 T walnut oil

Slice off the top of the persimmons, then cut in half lengthwise and then chop into 10-12 wedges per persimmon. 

In a small, lidded jar, combine lime juice, cumin, chili and walnut oil along with a dash of salt.  Close it up and shake it furiously to emulsify. 

Combine persimmons and dressing, then toss with walnuts, pomegranate seeds and cilantro.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa's 1st book:  The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

I am not a huge meatloaf fan.  There are way too many bad versions out there.  A lot of folks have some sort of sentimental attachment to the dish, but my mom was more apt to make overcooked broccoli and stinky salmon than meatloaf (too much veggie chopping, probably) so I harbor no such longings.  But, I did try the BC turkey version some years back and, surprise surprise, it was quite good.  So when the weather turns a little bit chilly, I break this one out.  The BC version makes enough meatloaf to last for weeks on end, so I halved the recipe:

1 yellow onion
1 T olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t dried thyme
1/6 (just eyeball 1/2 of the 1/3 cup measure) worcestershire sauce
just under 1/2 c chicken stock/broth
3/4 t tomato paste
2 1/2 lbs ground turkey (do NOT get the extra lean as the loaf will dry out.)
3/4 c bread crumbs (yes, I use panko)
2 eggs, beaten
just under 1/2 c ketchup

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Saute over medium heat the onion, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme for about 15 min.  Add the worcestershire sauce, chicken stock and tomato paste and mix well.  Take off the stove and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs and onion mixture in a bowl.  Mix well and shape into a rectangular loafish shape on a rimmed cookie sheet covered with foil.  Spread the ketchup evenly on top.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours.

You can put a pan of hot water under the meatloaf in the oven if you don't want cracks to appear on the top of the loaf.

Keep leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Red Lettuce with Balsamic Onions

Adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

I know it sounds super simple, but it is sooooooo good. And you can use any leftover onions to throw on top of a cheese pizza or shove into a sandwich or top your bag o' lettuce the next day. This makes a crazy amount of dressing, so save for use throughout the week!

3 small red onions (or 1 great big one)
1/4 c good (but not your best) balsamic vinegar
1 c olive oil
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground pepper (I use my coffee grinder for this since I don't drink coffee anymore)
6 T minced shallots (2 large)
2 t dijon mustard
1/4 good red wine vinegar
2 heads red leaf lettuce (or a bag or two if you are lazy like me)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cut onions in half and then into 1/4 in or so slices. Toss with balsamic, 1/4 c olive oil, 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. Spread out on foil covered rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12-15 min.

Remove from onion and toss with 2 more T of balsamic (I skip this step, personally.) Allow to cool.

Whisk shallots, mustard, red wine vinegar, 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper in a small bowl. Add 3/4 cup olive oil while stirring (I just shake everything together in a lidded tupperware cup until emulsified, but I already admitted I am lazy.)

Put out your lettuce, dress with vinegrette to taste (I don't put much on), top with onions, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and serve. You can also add avocado if you are feeling fancy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad w/Arugula and Hazelnuts

This fall salad is adapted from Suzanne Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Luques." It is especially good as the salad at Thanksgiving dinner.

2/3 c hazelnuts, toasted
1 T plus 1 t hazelnut oil (I use walnut, but in a pinch, olive will do it.)
1 T finely diced shallot
3 T pomegranate juice
1/3 c pomegranate seeds (just buy the darn thing from the market, split it open and pop out the seeds while submerging it in a bowl of water...the seeds are much, much fresher and juicer than any pre sorted seeds you buy at TJs or any other market.)
1 T sherry vinegar
2 t rice vinegar
3 T olive oil
2 small fuyu (the flat ones) persimmons
1/2 lemon
1/2 pound of arugula

Chop the hazelnuts after toasting and toss them with the hazelnut/walnut/olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.

Place the diced shallot, pom juice, both vinegars and 1/2 t salt in a bowl and let sit 5 min. Whisk in the olive oil and pepper (I hate to whisk, so I put it in a bowl with a lid and shake shake shake it like a polaroid picture until blended.)

In a large salad bowl, toss the persimmons and pom seeds with the dressing (not all of it...use your judgment) and that lemon juice you squeezed out of the 1/2 lemon. Gently toss in the arugula and taste for seasoning. Scatter the nuts atop and beam with pride at the beautiful salad you just made.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oven Fried Panko Chicken

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

For those of us who will not deep fry for love or money, this is a terrific alternative. It is still not crazy healthy because you are, after all, still eating the calorie laden skin. But, if you really care, you can always eat a little bit of this crusty yummy skin and toss the rest. The chicken itself will be very moist. You can serve it with rice or potatoes and a salad.

2 c Panko (available at Ralphs OR Trader Joes)
1/2 t cayenne
1 stick butter, melted in the microwave (you can probably get away with 1/2 a stick)
1 chicken, cut up (I'm lazy, I bought it already cut up from TJs)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with the rack in the middle

Stir together the panko, cayenne, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper in a shallow wide bowl.

Stir together the butter, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper in a small bowl and brush all over the chicken pieces. Press each piece into the panko mixture on both sides and place on a foil covered baking sheet.

Cook for 40 min or so, then let sit 10 min to crisp up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lamb Chops with Mint Chutney

Adapted from Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from the NYTimes

Ok, the great thing about this dish (assuming you like lamb, which I realize, not everyone does), is that is it lickety split quick and that you can make the sauce whilst the chops are on the grill. Leftover sauce actually tastes quite good on salad, too. Ooh, versatility!

Juice of 1 lime
1 peeled garlic clove
1/2 piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped a bit
fresh or dried chile de arbol
1/2 c whole milk yogurt (I used 2%, it was fine)
1 1/2 t sugar
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Salt and pepper
4 shoulder or leg lamb chops or 12 rib or loin chops (about 1 lb.)...I got mine from T.J.s.

Preheat grill (or broiler) to moderately hot.

Make chutney: throw lime juice, garlic, ginger, chile, yogurt, sugar and mint leaves into a food processor or blender and blitz it (Bittman's original recipe says to blitz everything but the mint and then stir it in, but I am a bit lazy and I don't like big chunks o'mint.)

Grill/Broil chops (which you have already seasoned with salt and pepper, right?) for 3-4 min per side. Serve with the sauce on the side.

Really yummy with rice or roasted potatoes and some veg if you must.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Adapted from via

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes (or buy the already peeled and cut stuff from Trader Joes)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed ( is bitter if you don't)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 orange, juiced
Cumin, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the squash with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread onto a foil covered baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup lightly salted water and 1/2 cup quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.

In a separate saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic is soft, but not browned. Add the orange juice, cumin, and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the orange juice mixture with the quinoa. Add the butternut squash and toss to combine. Serve warm, garnished with sage leaves if desired.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Ok, this one isn't crazy simple, but if you have an ice cream maker way in the back of the closet of neglected appliances, it isn't so hard, either. But it is very different and very, very delicious. I mashed up two recipes, one from Gourmet Magazine, and the other from the NY Times magazine which adapted its recipe from Nicole Kaplan at Eleven Madison Park in NY. The inspiration was the heavenly pint procured by my lovely cousins in San Francisco at the Mission's Bi-Rite. Note that you need to start preparing the day before you want to eat it for best results.

1 cup sugar
1 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt (can go all fancy and use fleur de sel, or go all basic and use kosher)
1 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
6 large egg yolks

Cook sugar and corn syrup in dry 4-5 quart saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt (you can swirl it around, but don't stir.) Continue to cook until it becomes a dark golden brown color. Carefully pour in the will vigorously (love that word) bubble and steam.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt and milk. Whisk a little of the caramel into the bowl to temper the eggs (so they don't cook when they are added back into the caramel in the next step.)

Pour the egg mixture into the caramel in the pot and stir. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and stick in the fridge overnight to cool completely.

Freeze in your ice cream maker and sprinkle with sea salt or the fleur de sel before serving.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blueberry Nectarine Crumble Adapted from Chez Pannise

The point of my putting the recipes on Facebook is to get dinner on the table, not to showcase dessert, which can be satisfied on a weeknight by pulling the ice cream out of the freezer. But this dessert is so simple and so Summer in a Nutshell that I would be doing you a disservice if I failed to let you in on it. Prep is simple and it cooks while you are eating dinner.

The Stuff you Need:

½ cup almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 ripe nectarines, pitted and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
zest of one lemon, chopped fine
1 tablespoon aged rum (optional...I didn't do it.)

For the Topping

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toast the almonds until they smell nutty and are slightly more brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Chop the almonds to a medium to fine consistency (I used the food processor.) Combine the flour, the sugars, the salt and spice in a mixing bowl (or, add to the nuts in the trusty food processor.) Add the chilled butter in pieces and mix with your fingers until it becomes mealy (or blitz in the food processor a few Pulses until mealey.) Add the nuts (if you didn't use the food processor) and mix until the flour mixture holds together when squeezed. Put aside. (The topping can be prepared up to a week in advance and refrigerated).

For the Crisp

Mix the fruit in a medium-sized bowl and then add the sugar. Dust the flour over the mixture and stir gently. Spoon the topping into a small cooking dish is just big enough to hold the fruit. Mound a small amount in the center of the dish. Then, gently add the crisp mixture on top. Lightly push the crumble on top of the fruit mixture.

Place a cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven (to catch any overflow juices) and put the crisp dish on top. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the fruit juices are thickened and bubbling. The delicious smell of baked fruit will help you know when it's close to being ready.

Serve with rum flavored whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Finish the ice cream with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt. Yeah, I didn't do this...I just did fresh whipped cream with a bit of sugar because I had it in the fridge. for the archive.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chili Egg Puff

This recipe came from my friend, Angela, who nabbed it from a craft service. It is a great brunch or light dinner option. EVERYONE loves it and it is crazy easy.

6 eggs
1 c cottage cheese
1/4 c melted and cooled butter
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c shredded jack cheese (I use the TJ's Shredded Mexican Cheese)
1 small can diced green chilis (I use the TJ's Hatch Chilis)
green salsa for serving (optional....I often forget this step and it still turns out great.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in everything else, mixing after each addition. Bake in an 8 inch square pan for 35 min or so. Recipe easily doubles, just remember to use a bigger pan!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kylie Kwong's Fried Rice

I totally love really good fried rice and I totally hate lazy bland fried rice. This is one of the best recipes I've tried and the ingredients aren't too tough to procure (e.g. bacon instead of charshu pork.) A bit of effort in the chopping department, but the result is delish.

3 T peanut oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten

4 thick cut slices of bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2 ince pieces (the better the bacon, the better the dish...go for the thick cut applewood smoked stuff!)

4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 medium onion, diced
2 T dry sherry
1 t sugar

6 c cooked white rice (use the leftovers from the chinese restaurant for best results, but DO NOT use freshly cooked rice. Worse comes to worse, cook your rice earlier in the day and shove it in the fridge to chilll.)
2 1/2 T oyster sauce
2 1/2 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
5 scallions, thinly sliced

In a large wok, heat 2 T peanut oil over high heat until very hot. season eggs with salt and pepper and pour into wok. Scramble for a minute or so until the eggs are just cooked through. Transfer eggs to a paper towel lined plate.

Add bacon to wok and cook about 4 minutes, stirring all the while. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to the egg plate. Drain off the bacon grease and wipe out the remainder from the wok with a paper towel.

Heat the remaining T peanut oil and add garlic and for 30 secs or so. Add the onion and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in the sherry and sugar and cook for another 30 secs or so. Add the rice, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil, eggs, bacon and most of the scallions and toss, breaking up the eggs until combined.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with remaining scallions.

Yum Yum Yum Yum Yum.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chicken Salad #2

This fantastic salad is from Nancy Silverton's "Twist of the Wrist" book. Amazing book and great recipe. Chicken Salad #1 is good also, but requires bacon, which I just don't do too often. But this entree salad is terrific for a hot day (like today!)

1 1/2 lb roasted chicken meat, shredded**
1 c. chipotle mayo (recipe below)
10 c watercress and or arugula
sea salt (can use kosher if you don't have sea salt)
1 avocado, chopped
olive oil

Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add 3/4 c of the chipotle mayo (you can do less...I usually do 1/2 cup) and toss to coat.

Divide the greens evenly among 4 plates and sprinkle with sea salt. Mound some chicken onto the greens and then top with 1/4 avocado. Drizzle oil and squeeze a few drops of lime juice on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with more sea salt and pepper to taste.

Chipotle Mayo:

1 cup mayo
1/4 c finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t pureed chipotle peppers (buy can of chipotle peppers from supermarket, like Ralphs in Latino section, dump contents of can in food processor and blitz. Put in tupperware container in fridge where it will stay good for a long long long time...even years if you put a thin layer of oil on top.)
1 t kosher salt

Blend together in a bowl. You can save the rest in the fridge for sandwiches and more salad throughout the week.

**for those of you who don't have a roasted chicken around, you can take two bone in and skin on breasts (I suggest kosher), put them on a cookie sheet lined with foil and spread olive oil on top. Salt and pepper them and put them in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40 min. Best roast chicken ever. Sometimes, I just eat these for dinner with a veg.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Orzo with Broccoli and Feta Cheese

A family favorite, even with the dreaded broccoli. If you have been to my house for dinner more than once, you have eaten this. If you are a vegetarian, it my favorite thing to cook for you. Really, the only thing I will cook for you. While I love my vegetarian friends, I am not so inventive for them.

From Bon Appetit

1 1/2 c orzo
1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets

1/4 c olive oil
3 T pine nuts
1/2 t red pepper flakes

3/4 c crumbled feta
3/4 c pitted halved black olives (I leave this out since my family is a bunch of haters.)
1/2 c grated parm cheese
1/4 c basil, chopped

Cook orzo in salted boiling water 8 min. Add broccoli to pot, cook for an additional 2 minutes, then drain, reserving 1/2 c pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat oil in small frying pan over med. heat. Add pine nuts and red pepper flakes. cook until golden brown (remove from heat when done as it will continue to cook a bit in the hot oil.)

Mix orzo, oil w/ nuts and remaining ingredients in a big bowl and toss everything together, adding pasta water in increments to make sure it isn't too dry. Season with lots of salt and pepper.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Soba with Chicken and Peanut Sauce

From Gourmet Mag

yield: Makes 4 servings
active time: 10 min
total time: 25 min

"It's no surprise that American cooks have adopted Asian peanut sauce as their own. The tantalizing balance of creaminess and heat has universal appeal." 3/4 of my family loved this easy dish (the 3 who can stand a little heat.)


* 1 pound chicken cutlets or tenders
* 1 pound soba noodles
* 1/2 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped)
* 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
* 1/4 cup soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
* 2 teaspoons Chinese chile garlic paste (preferably Lan Chi) or Sriracha (Southeast Asian chile sauce) plus additional for serving
* 1/4 cup chopped scallions


Cut chicken into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cook in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water , stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken with a slotted spoon to a bowl (drain any excess liquid), reserving water in pot.

Return water to a boil, then cook noodles, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 8 minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup noodle-cooking water and drain noodles in a colander. Rinse noodles under cold water to stop cooking, then drain well.

While noodles cook, cut cucumber lengthwise into julienne strips. Pat dry.

Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste, and reserved cooking water until smooth. I used an immersion blender because I am lazy.

Divide noodles among large serving bowls. Spoon about 1/4 cup peanut sauce over noodles in each bowl, then divide chicken, cucumber, and scallions among bowls. Serve immediately with remaining sauce and additional chile paste. Stir noodles just before eating.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Salmon with Agrodolce Sauce

from Melissa Roberts at Gourmet Magazine

Makes 4 servings
active time:
15 min
total time: 35 min

"This classic Italian sauce, with its combination of balsamic vinegar and a touch of sugar, lends deep sweetness and a hit of acidity to the meaty sautéed fish." It is super crazy easy and quick to boot. I served it on Father's Day after coming home from camping. Put the salmon and the red onions on the grocery list and you should be good to go.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (1 inch thick) with skin
  • 2 medium red onions (about 1 pound total), each cut into 8 wedges
  • 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar (use the cheap stuff here)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pat salmon dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then cook, skin side up, until undersides form a golden crust, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn fish over and cook until just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions until golden brown and crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until sauce is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Spoon onions with sauce onto plates and top with salmon, skin side down.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poached Eggs with Mushrooms 2 Ways from Gourmet Mag

This is a very simple but delicious light can serve it with a simple salad and some bread.

* 3 pounds white mushrooms, divided (I used one pack TJ's sliced mushrooms and 1 pk whole mushrooms)
* 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
* 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley sprigs
* 4 garlic cloves
* 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
* 8 large eggs (I just did 4 eggs for me and Jeff)
* 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
* Flaky sea salt such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel


Prepare mushrooms:
Preheat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Thinly slice two thirds of mushrooms 1/8 inch thick (or use the TJ's sliced ones.) Toss with 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then spread evenly in 2 large 4-sided sheet pans (I line them with nonstick aluminum foil to help with cleanup.) Roast, switching position of pans and stirring mushrooms occasionally, until all of liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are golden and crisp, 10-15 min.

Meanwhile, cut remaining mushrooms into 1/2-inch wedges. Finely chop parsley with garlic. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sautémushroom wedges with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper 1 minute. Add red-wine vinegar and sauté 1 minute. Stir in parsley mixture and butter and sauté until butter has melted. Season with salt. Remove from heat and keep warm, covered.

Poach eggs while mushrooms roast:
Bring 1 1/4 inches water to a boil in a deep large skillet or saucepan with distilled vinegar. Break each egg into a cup and slide egg into water, spacing eggs apart. Poach at a bare simmer until whites are firm but yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve:
Stir together mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin in a large bowl, then divide among plates. Lift eggs out of poaching liquid 1 at a time with a slotted spoon and drain briefly in spoon on paper towels before transferring to mushrooms. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and remaining toasted cumin to taste.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lasagna w/ Chard

Lasagna w/ Chard from "Simply Organic" by Jesse Cool

12 oz lasagna noodles
2 T olive oil
4 c. very thinly sliced red or green chard
2 shallots, minced
2 T flour
4 c milk
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c parm cheese
1 lb ricotta cheese
8 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 c grated jack cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 T fresh oregano, chopped
3 T fresh italian parsley, chopped
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Coat 13 x 9 pan with oil

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil over med heat in med saucepan. Add chard and shallots and cook 4 min or so. Remove to a large bowl. Whisk flour into remaining liquid * and cook, stirring frequently for 3 min. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, stirring often, for 15 min or so until sauce reaches a simmer and thickens. Stir in the chard, shallots, nutmeg and parm. Simmer 1 min.

In med bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, jack, egg, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 of the chard sauce on the bottom of the pan. Layer 1/3 of the noodles on the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on the lasagna. Spread another 1/4 of the sauce over the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining lasagna, ricotta and sauce.

Bake for 45 min, or until golden brown on top. Let stand 10 min before serving.

* When I made this, there was no remaining liquid and so I just mixed some cornstarch with some water and mixed it into the milk mixture instead.

Scallops a la Plancha

1 1/2 lbs scallops (I like the frozen Japanese ones from TJ's)
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
2 T olive oil
1 T sherry vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Toss scallops on a plate with garlic, oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let sit for 10 min.

2. Preheat large nonstick pan over high heat and add oil. When really hot, add scallops (leave liquid behind.) When bottom is seared, flip over. Take care not to overcook...middle should still be rare.

3. Serve with happiness.

Spicy and Savory Shrimp

Serve with Rice

Serves: 2 but you can increase the shrimp to feed more

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (or more if you can take it)
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 plum tomato, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine (I actually forgot to add this and it was still delish)
20 medium shrimp
Salt & pepper
A splash of lemon juice
2 basil leaves, chiffonade
Lemon slices to garnish

1. In a sauté pan over medium/high heat, combine the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the hot pepper flakes and onion. Sauté for 1 minute.

2. Add the lemon zest, tomatoes, garlic and white wine. Sauté for another 2 minutes.

3. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Remove the shrimp to the serving plate and top with a splash of lemon and basil leaves.

5. Serve shrimp with lemon slices.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta

Israeli Couscous Salad w/ Feta (from either Bon App or Gourmet...I forgot.)

1 garlic clove
3 T lemon juice
1 t dijon mustard
1/2 c olive oil (I used less.)

2 1/2 c chicken broth
2 c israeli couscous

2 c 1/2 inch pieces asparagus, blanched 2 min, or roasted whole and cut into smaller pieces
2 c 1/2 inch pieces cuke
1/2 c chopped olives (optional)
2 large scallions, chopped
1/4 c mint, chopped
1 1/2 c crumbled feta

press garlic into a mall bowl and add lemon juice/mustard. whisk in oil. season w/ salt and pepper.

bring broth to boil, add couscous, cover and simmer for 10 min. transfer couscous to a bowl and sprinkle w/salt and pepper. let sit until it comes to room temp., tossing occasionally.

mix asparagus, cuke, olives, scallions, green onions and mint into couscous. add dressing, toss. mix in feta.