Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sun dried tomato, basil pasta!

Well, I have had a few complaints that I haven't posted anything lately, so this is what I made for supper tonight, keep in mind that I have consumed a bottle of wine before writing this post.
My future brother and sister in law came over for supper tonight with their soon to be three year old. It was such a nice evening and the food was fantastic!
It was decided the night before that Shawn wanted spaghetti for supper, of course I just can't make spaghetti for supper so I made a new kind of homemade pasta. I am sure that this has been done before but it was my first time not following a recipe for pasta. I started with the traditional four eggs in my mixing bowl, I then added about three tablespoons of minced sun dried tomatoes in oil, I also added about 1 ounce of fresh basil and oregano. I mixed this until the eggs were slightly beaten. I proceeded to add flour until I had a nice ball of dough. I would say about four to five cups of flour. I took the dough out of the bowl and wrapped it in saran wrap and let it rest for about a half an hour.
After it rested I divided it into quarters and rolled it out with my pasta roller, five times on the largest setting folding it into thirds each time before rolling it out again. Then once the dough was all smooth I gradually started rolling it out thinner without folding it, until it was to the smallest setting. Then I put on the angel hair pasta cutter and cut the dough. I did the same thing with all four quarters of dough. Once the dough was cut I dusted it with semolina flour so it wouldn't stick together. I wrapped it up on a cooking sheet and kept it in the fridge til our company arrived. When it was time to cook it I threw it in boiling water for about a minute and that was that! Fabulous pasta!
Meatballs! Scott is my official meatball maker. As long as we have been together he "makes" the meatballs under my close supervision and recommendations but he does a very good job, and someday soon could probably do it himself. He started with a pound of hamburger and a pound of raw Italian sausage, then added, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, Tabasco, soy sauce, tons of fresh garlic, some very ripe Parmesan Romano cheese, and about two tablespoons of spaghetti sauce. We were out of eggs so I suggested we use the spaghetti sauce as a binder instead and they were by far the best meatballs he had ever made! The real secret is to barely mix the mixture or they will be tough meatballs. To cook them I just bake them on a cookie sheet at about 300 degrees until they are done.
Sauce! For the sauce I always just use a fresh canned one and doctor it up or mix two different brands together. I know I am a cheater like that, and proud of it!
Garlic Bread! I bought a loaf of Italian bread and sliced it three quarters of the way through. I then buttered each side of it and sprinkled it with garlic salt. I threw it in the oven for about ten minutes and it was perfect. Crunchy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside!
Dessert! I cheated and bought a Sara Lee frozen pound cake but I added fresh locally grown strawberries to it that were soaked in sugar. I also topped it off with some fresh whipped cream that had cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and real vanilla in it!
This was a great evening shared with great company! Can't wait to do it again!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Boneless Beef Ribs

So after Wendy's suggestion about boneless beef ribs I decided to give it a whirl! I headed out to the grocery store in my hometown on Saturday. I was a bit under the weather and didn't want to travel far. I had decided that I was going to go oriental on this project. I walk into the store, into the produce department to find the first thing I wasn't going to find, fresh ginger. I think to myself not the end of the world I can use ground ginger even though I don't want to but whatever, I am a go with the flow kinda girl. Then I go to the meat department and you guessed it, no boneless beef ribs, so I think to myself what other semi badish cut of meat can I buy to substitute in place of the ribs. Well my choices were ground beef, a not so fresh looking roast or a steak. I decided on a flat iron steak. This is not a bad cut of meat it can be fatty and really shouldn't be cooked past medium.
I decide to marinate the steak over night. My marinade includes random amounts of the following items; soy sauce, ground ginger, a ton of garlic, sesame oil, and some fresh ground pepper. I put this in an airtight container and forget about it. I also cook off two cups of white rice, so I will have it ready to make fried rice.
I fire up the charcoal grill and start to prepare my veggies for the fried rice. I am all about using what is laying around in the fridge so my fried rice veggies included; morel mushrooms, asparagus, fresh chives, and fresh carrots, all diced in to uniform small pieces.
To make the fried rice I heat some oil in a pan, once it is hot I crack two eggs into the pan and scramble them around. Once the eggs are cooked I take them out add some more oil and throw in the rest of my veggies. When the veggies are tender I put in the cooked cooled white rice and stir it around until it is warmed through. I then add soy sauce and some pepper, then throw the scrambled eggs back in and it is done. While all this was happening I put the steaks on the grill whole and cooked them to medium rare, or how ever you like it. When they were done I let them rest for a few minutes then sliced them and served them over fried rice.
Overall the dish was a big success, just ask Scott I do believe he had three servings, next time though I would have saved some of the marinade and made a sauce. I would have cooked it and either let it reduce until it was thick or thickened it with cornstarch. I will be making this dish again. I also believe that it could be done with just about any cut of meat, beef or poultry. I remembered to take a picture this time too! I am not a photographer but you get the just of it. Enjoy

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Of course the weekend that I have off I get a horrible sore throat, instantly I think soup! Now what's in my fridge... nothing! Luckily my fabulous fiancée is extremely frugal and has been picking asparagus from the side of the road by the truck full. This only means one thing.... you guessed it, creamy asparagus soup.

I start by putting about two tablespoons of bacon fat in a hot sauce pot. By the way you absolutely need to be saving your bacon fat and keeping it in the fridge! I can't tell you how often I use my bacon fat, it can add that extra something to what ever it is your making. Then I put about three cups of washed and diced fresh asparagus in the fat. I let this sweat for a few minutes until it is bright green. Then I add about two tablespoons of minced garlic. I also add about a quarter cup of chicken base, then about half a cup of flour to make a roux. I stir this until it is mixed in and there is no visible flour left in the pan. I then pour about three to four cups of skim milk in to the pan. I let the milk heat up and once it does the roux starts to work and it gets nice and thick and creamy. Then I cut up about 3/4 cups of fresh chives, they grow randomly outside in the woods by my house from the previous owners I assume. I take half of the mixture out and puree it with my immersion blender, shout out to my future mother in law for the awesome x-mas gift. I then add it back to the soup, call Scott inside for dinner and enjoy the hot soothing soup on my horribly sore throat!

Side Note: I currently have some beef marinating for my boneless rib dish that I am creating for Wendy. Stay tuned, I plan to have it for supper tomorrow night. I will try to remember to take a picture this time before I pig out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Famous Chicken Salad

Everyone always asks for this recipe after they eat it! Really it is one of the easiest things that I make!
So I start by baking off a bunch of chicken breast in the oven on a cookie sheet with a generous amount of salt and pepper. In the meantime I chop up some red grapes, red onion, celery, and toast some walnuts in the oven. Once the chicken is cooked all the way through i chop it up into bite size pieces and place them in a large bowl, along with the previous ingredients. I throw in a good amount of mayo, not miracle whip or any thing light or fat free I am talking about 8 grams of fat per tablespoon mayo, all I ever use! Then I put in about a quarter cup of red wine vinegar, about a quarter cup of sugar, some more salt and pepper. Mix this together and TASTE! Don't be afraid to add more seasoning, I really think that in general people under season their food. Any way like most salads this always tastes better the next day so try to plan ahead and enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Scallops, Bacon, and Strawberries

So I start by browning some bacon in a nice heavy skillet. Once the bacon is nice and browned I add some nice jumbo scallops that have been seasoned with salt and pepper. I cook these until very nicely browned on both sides. I take the scallops out of the pan to rest a minute. To the bacon in the pan I add diced strawberries and de-glaze with a balsamic reduction! I then spoon this over the plated scallops. I served this dish with a nice seasoned wild rice. I really need to start taking pictures before everything gets eaten! Enjoy!

Homemade Ginger Ale

So, took a chunk of ginger and peeled it, sliced it into thin pieces. I then added about four cups of water and boiled it for awhile. I stuck my finger in the pot and the water was very sharp and gingery. In a different pot I made a simple syrup, equal parts sugar and water, I let this come it a boil and shut it off, I think that I did two cups of each. Then I strained the ginger out of the first pot and put it in my compost bin. Then I added the ginger infused water and the simple syrup together. This was very potent. I then mixed the ginger syrup about 50/50 with club soda and ice. It is awesome, and worth all the work. It's kinda nice cause you can mix it how you like it! I can't wait to make some more infusions!


After many people asking questions about my food creations I have decided to start a blog. Scott thinks that this will be good for me, how I don't know.
Some background, I am 26, I have a culinary arts degree. I supervise a kitchen at a local hospital where I don't always get to display my talent. Luckily I am engaged to a bottomless pit who absolutely loves everything I have ever cooked him. Either he is a good liar or I do some pretty cool things. I love to cook, feeding people puts a smile on my face. This is not some knock off Julie Julia thing this is just want I love to do, cook and invent. I will share with you some crazy things that go through my head in the kitchen. Not everything works but at least you will know what not to do.

Where to start, where to start.

Monday May 10 2010
My version of Duck Con fit!

So I broke down and bought a duck at the local grocery store for $20.00. I quartered the duck with some kitchen shears and laid it skin side up in a casserole pan. I cut slits in the skin not the meat so the fat could seep out as it cooked. I totally covered it in salt and pepper. Then I covered it in vegetable oil. I put it in a cold oven covered with tin foil. The oven was turned to the lowest setting, warm. This was at eight in the morning, I then went to Madison and spent my day off thrifting! Came home at about four o'clock not knowing if the house was going to be on fire or if I would have a raw duck. I was very shocked to find a well cooked almost falling apart duck. I then turned the oven to 350 to let it crisp up. In the meantime I rendered the fat out of some pork belly in a pan, then added two diced up onions, some garlic, salt and pepper. I let the onions caramelize then added some arborio rice. I let this heat through and de-glazed with some crappy white zinfindel that was in the fridge. I then slowly added chicken stock and let it cook in then added more stock, etc etc. Risotto! I also diced some butternut squash and sautéed it in butter in my new cast iron skillet from grandma Monroe.(thank you again) Once it was tender I added walnuts, craisins and brown sugar. By this time the duck skin was crispy and dinner was ready. Mom and Dad pulled in the driveway just in time and we enjoyed a delicious dinner!

If any of you have been to Sushi Murimotos in Hilldale mall you may find this whole meal as an appetizer. I got inspired there and decided to try it myself at home. It was very close! Theirs has a chili chocolate sauce that I did not attempt but it was just as good without it!

If you are wondering about amounts and times I can't give you any. I just do what looks and tastes good. That is the only way to know, taste your food.