Monday, January 30, 2012

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken and Turnip Potato Hash

So tonight I wanted to take a crack at roasting a chicken tonight.  However, our condo is not a fan.  Every time the oven is on over 400° the smoke detector goes off.  It's more of a heat detector than a smoke detector.  But would I let that alarm deter me?  NO.  I would still roast a chicken.  Like a good wife?

The chicken was pretty good.  I still need to figure out how to make the skin crispy.  Like a roasted chicken in the stores.  But for now, this is pretty darn good.  The chicken was pretty moist, and had a good lemon flavor.

This weekend I got another order from Washington's Green Grocer and with it came turnips.  They're super pretty but I had no idea what to do with them.  So I decided to grate them and take my hand at making a hash brown with some of the potatoes that also came the order.

I think it was good, but in the recipe I'm putting up, I'm omitting the white pepper.  I think it made it all too spicy.  The hash though did pair well with the chicken.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Healthy Herb Egg Salad

Is there anything better than a fluffy egg salad?  One of my favorite things to eat during grad school was this egg salad made by a deli on GW's campus.  But I know that enormous amounts of mayo is really no good.  So I've been trying to get a good egg salad recipe down that doesn't make me think OMG MY ARTERIES!

Well.  I think I may have found a new favorite egg salad, but this egg salad is packed with herbs and made full with mostly 0% fat greek yogurt and only a touch of mayo to give some tang.  And not only did I have it for lunch today, I'm looking forward to eating more tomorrow.  

You can put this on a sandwich or on lettuce.  I put mine on spinach because I have some awesome organic spinach handy.  Win!  

Momofuku Bo Ssam

A few weeks ago, my mom mentioned that there had been a piece in the NY Times on a Korean dish, Momofuku Bo Ssam.  I checked out the recipe and decided it sounded like something I could make.  Although I figured it was a bit of a gamble, as I've never even had bo ssam.  Not a big thing here in DC, I supposed.

Turns out, I love bo ssam.   As did Brett and our friends who came over to enjoy it.   The pork was tender and the accompaniments gave this whole dish an amazing range of flavors ranging from spicy to tangy.  And while it had a good spice to it, it didn't overwhelm the dish.

Also I used romaine lettuce for the lettuce wraps, which worked well for me as I had a beautiful head of lettuce, but normally I would go with Boston bibb lettuce or another buttery lettuce.

And personally, I can't really eat very spicy things.  I would like to, but my stomach has punished, or er, taught me otherwise.  But this was NOT super spicy, so don't be afraid.

Another note, while 5 lbs of pork shoulder sounds like a ton of food, that is in fact a wrong assumption.  It fed four easily, and we were pleasantly full, but not dying.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crispy Greek -Style Chicken Sandwiches

I've always loved crispy chicken, but not so much when it comes to the fat and calories that come along.  So over the years, I've made different versions of "fried" chicken.  In a pan with oil, sauteed before baking, just baking with flour, some baking with egg and panko.  I've tried all of it.  When I fried it in the pan, it just came out kinda heavy and greasy.  And with flour, it still tasted too heavy.

This time, it worked.  The trick?  Egg and panko, and baking on a baking rack, rather than directly on the baking sheet.  It helped to eliminate one of the problems I'd constantly faced, the sogginess of one side of the chicken.

But rather than just plain breaded chicken, I decided I wanted a Greek flair.  This past year Brett and I went to Greece for our honeymoon.

Unfortunately, two weeks before the wedding I broke my ankle, so we were a bit stationary in Greece.  No hiking or walking around.  Mostly crutching.  But know what that meant?  MORE FOOD!  And we ate a lot.  And I tried to pick up on and remember the flavor profiles.

So I decided to use the yogurt sauce I made when I made the halal chicken as a substitute for tzatziki (personally...I like it more!), tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese and a cucumber mash.  If you choose to do another kind of flavors, this chicken is pretty malleable.  But this combo, I'd be happy to order in a restaurant no problem.  And Brett's first reaction?  MMM!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lemon Cheddar Baked Cauliflower

I love cauliflower.  It's great plain, baked, sauteed, or pureed.  It's a perfect vegetable that really can be altered so that anyone will love it.  And in our house, we do love it.  This recipe is flavorful but not overpower and it is simple to execute.  A fantastic side dish that I pair with anything.  It's pretty similar to my broccoli recipe.  But grated sharp cheddar makes this dish shine.

Curried Lentils

So lentils are another one of the new hot things to cook.  But I hadn't made them before.  I enjoy them in Indian food, but hadn't really cooked them that much myself.

Packed full of protein, they're a healthy option for any meal, and they're pretty malleable in terms of what to cook them in.

This lentil recipe has almost the consistency of fluffy refried beans, take little effort, and have a great curry flavor that doesn't overpower.  And it makes enough for dinner and lots of leftovers.

Oven Baked Bluefish

Yesterday I saw bluefish for only about $3/lb, and so I figured, well, why not try it.  Then of course, I scared myself by reading about how to prepare bluefish, with most people just saying eh, not worth it.  Well, I like more "fishy" fish, and figured that I could deal with the consequences.

I combined a few techniques that were designed to make bluefish more palatable.  I think the combination worked well.  The marinade was fragrant and acidic, and the fish was not too fishy and in fact was moist and pretty complex.  I'd recommend this to really anyone, although people who do not like fish and only prefer very very white fish may not like it. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cheddar Curry Whole Wheat Cheese Puffs

Oh the beauties of the twitter world.  A couple of days ago, one of the chefs I follow, the amazing Chef Ludo Lefebvre, posted some football recipes.  The three recipes included a recipe for cheese puffs, which can be found here.

So in full disclosure, I am not much of a baker.  In fact, I am not a baker.  This recipe is the first "baking" experiment I have undertaken in my life, other than things that come in a box that I just have to add an egg.  

And they turned out light, hollow (unexpected, and makes sense for "poof"), and had a great cheesy taste.  So even if you are a "not a baker" like me, and half way you through you think, yeah right these stupid little disks will NEVER poof...fear not...THEY DO!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Store Review: Smucker Farms (& Lunch)

One of the movements DC has been heading towards is the inclusion of more farmers markets, more organic food, and more farm-to-table shopping options.  The latest one of these is a place called Smucker Farms.  It's a store that is stocked with products from Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.

From their website:

Smucker Farms makes a direct connection between the producers of food and products in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and consumers in Washington, DC. We focus on small farmers and producers, stocking our shelves with the best that Southeast Pennsylvania has to offer. Many of the small farmers in Lancaster, who are primarily Amish and Mennonite, have distanced themselves from the corporate food chain and are, instead, focusing on high quality artisan food and products.

So along with my friend Melissa, we went out to check out the store.

Easy Poached Eggs

I guess this is the week where I start trying to poach things.  I love eggs any way, really, but I think poaching is my new favorite.  Also, as I have poached eggs like maybe once in my life, I can say with all certainty that this is an amazing method.  I pulled the poaching method from Simply Recipes' poached eggs method.  And I paired it with some of my favorite foods...whole wheat toast, a soft blue cheese, and fig spread.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bone in Lamb Chops and Marsala Spiced Spinach Risotto

One of the great things I got for Christmas were amazing spices from near where my sister lives in the BK.  One of them was ras el hanout.  It's a spice mix I've never worked with, but it was recommended for lamb.  So this morning, I decided I would use some of the spice on the round bone in lamb chops and pair with a risotto.  The spices were incredibly flavorful, and I'll be happy to use them again.

Grilled Salmon with Basil Lemon White Sauce

Growing up in the Northwest, I was spoiled by the amazing salmon.  Rich, full of nutrients, and by far my favorite fish, having eaten so much great salmon makes me pretty picky about salmon.  Additionally, after living in Alaska for 2 summers, and actually catching it on my own (an awesome adventure), I repeat....I'm pretty picky about salmon.

So I was pretty thrilled to see Coho salmon, wild caught at Whole Foods for $13.99/lb (please, don't do farmed salmon...it's often dyed, and really one of the least good farmed fish for you...go for wild caught, and insist on knowing if it really is - retailers like Whole Foods is a good bet if you can't look the fisherman in the face).

And since this was a rare night with access to a grill (we are not lucky to have our own boooo because we have no outdoor space) I decided that salmon would be an awesome choice.  And I decided to experiment with a roux based sauce with white wine, to make it fish appropriate.  And our friends and Brett enjoyed it.

Just remember that salmon doesn't take long to grill, so make the sauce way before making the salmon.  You can also do this pan grilled or bake.  Any way that you want to make salmon.  It's a forgiving fish.

Basil Lemon Broccoli

One of the greatest vegetable dish sides I've discovered as a of late is Ina Garten's baked broccoli recipe.  While I stick somewhat to her basics, I've modified it a bit over time.  And I decided that it would be a great dish to make at our friends' place last night.  Unfortunately I didn't have my good camera with me, so these are modified phone pictures.  Same goes for the salmon dish.  But as always, this dish turned out amazingly.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Halal Chicken with Yogurt Sauce

A couple of days ago I was reading a review by the website Serious Eats on recipes that were their favorite for 2011 and I came upon their Serious Eats' Halal Cart-Style Chicken And Rice With White Sauce.  Upon glancing at the ingredients, I saw that all of what it called for I already had at home, and I was already defrosting chicken, so Halal Chicken for the win!

I made several modifications to the recipe, and served it as a rice and chicken dish rather than a stuffed pita.  If you want their original recipe, the link will take you to it.  But I thought I'd share my recipe and my experience. It was really good, and I will absolutely make this again.  And the yogurt sauce?  Divine.  I shall replace all of my ranch-style dips with it, and it serves as an awesome alternative to tzatziki as well.


Monday, January 16, 2012

French Toast with Cinnamon Maple Poached Apples

Most of the times I'm a savory girl.  Particularly when it comes to breakfast.  But this morning I decided to make something sweet.  I always loved french toast, but seem to have dropped it from my breakfast rotation.  Well, this morning, it came back.  And it was delicious.

In addition to the french toast, I wanted to try poaching some apples, which I hadn't done before.  The result was great, and I'm going to use the method again.


The combination turned out well, and Cody was insanely jealous.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chili Half Smokes

There are just some times when a chili drenched half smoke is just the best thing in the world.  Usually I'm not a huge meat eater...I stick usually to fish and chicken.  But I can't turn down a good half smoke.

If there is one thing I certainly love it's Ben's Chili Bowl in DC.  World-famous and incredibly delicious, Ben's is a DC staple, and their chili half smokes are just amazing.
Photo via Ben's Chili Bowl 

I usually make my chili with lots of beans and tomatoes, but Ben's is different.  No beans, no chunky tomatoes, just thick chili slathered on half smokes.  And half smokes are unique to DC.  It's usually a smoked half beef and half pork larger version of a hot dog.  And delicious.  And we picked some up last week from Eastern Market.

So tonight, as a meal to go along with watching the NFL playoffs (ugh Packers, you broke my heart), I decided to try to replicate Ben's chili. I looked up a few recipes, and found a basic recipe through google researching, on the website, RecipeFork.com, here.

However, I found as I made the recipe, it needed some modifications.  And the result?  Well, Brett called it a major success, and I think I managed to make some damn good chili half smokes.  This recipe makes enough for four half smokes with chili.

Oh also, happy times, I finally have official measuring spoons!  I figured I should be more specific about how much I use by measuring :)

Ingredients
4 half smokes, or sausages or hot dogs
1 T vegetable oil
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
3 T chili powder
1 T sugar
1 t cumin
1 t cinnamon
1 t curry powder
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 lb ground beef
2.5 T tomato paste
3 T corn meal
3 t salt
1 t pepper
1 & 1/2 C mushroom broth (or chicken or beef)
1/2 C water
1 bay leaf
4 hot dog buns
1/4 C cheddar cheese, shredded

Chop the onion and mince the garlic clove.  Save about 1/4 C of the onions raw and set aside.  Heat up the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven (anything that can be covered) on medium heat.  Add the garlic and the onion and sautee  for about 9 minutes.

Add the chili powder through the cayenne pepper and stir frequently.  Sautee for 2 minutes.

Add the ground beef to the mix and sautee until the meat is browned.

Once the meat is browned add the remaining ingredients and turn the heat to low.  Cover the chili and let simmer for at least 40 minutes, stirring once every 10 minutes.

Using a griddle or a sautee pan, or if you're one of those who are super lucky, use a grill, to heat up the sausages.

Turn the sausages fairly frequently.  I cook mine at about medium to medium low heat so that they cook low and slow.

Char the sausages all over.  Make sure all the juices are trapped inside.

While the sausage grill, shred the cheese if you don't have preshredded cheese.

To prepare the half smokes, put the half smokes on the buns, and split in half.  Add prepared mustard and some raw onions (about 1 T of each).

Then add the chili, make sure to smother it real good, and add a couple pinches of the cheese.

I might be a wimp, but I needed a fork and knife for mine!  But if you want to get all messy, no utensils needed.  This is a perfect football watching food, or really....a good food for indulgence.  Mmmmm.

Baked Eggs with Parmesan and Tomato Sauce

A couple of months ago, I discovered a great recipe for baking eggs.  Since then I've been experimenting with baking eggs in the oven.  It's a good way to make eggs that requires little to no attention.  And honestly, some mornings, I'd rather be lazy.

A few days ago I saw a recipe on Food & Wine's website for a  baked egg recipe with tomato sauce, and so I thought I'd give it a try.   It turned out great.   We really enjoyed it, and it was a recipe that I will absolutely make again.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tangy Asian-Style Slaw

Although I like creamy coleslaws, I love the bite of a good tangy coleslaw.  This one turned out pretty good, although in hindsight, I'd leave it to soak in the vinegar for more time.  It tasted good after only chilling for an hour, but was even better the next day.

Spice Rubbed Slow Braised Short Ribs

Is there anything better than meat that falls off the bones?  Braising tough cuts of meat is such a great way to create a beautiful meal that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  One of my favorite cuts to slow cook are bone-in beef short ribs.

Last weekend I picked up about 2 1/2 lbs of short ribs and decided that I would prepare them this weekend.  Usually I just throw them in the slow cooker with some BBQ sauce.  But, given that I had time yesterday, I thought I'd try braising them, but in keeping with the BBQ theme, I wanted to give them a dry rub that had some "traditional" spices and flavors.

The result?  Fall off the bone and totally succulent short ribs.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Restaurant Review: Jaleo

I've always loved Restaurant Week.  It's a great opportunity to see some of the restaurants that are top notch in your city for a reduced price.  And it's interesting.  Some places put together some really inventive and amazing menus that highlight their food, while others do mediocre menus that wouldn't bring me back.  Ever.  Whereas restaurants that I've liked while trying them during RW, I've tried again.

For lunch, some ladies and I decided to try Jaleo.  José Andrés is an amazing restauranteur, as well as a chef, and while I have been to his other places in DC (Zaytinya and Oyamel, both of which I would absolutely recommend), I had never been to Jaleo.

Prior to the visit, I could see the menu here. It looked varied and good, so I was excited about trying the menu.

The group I went with to Jaleo decided to sort of split everything, so I we tried several dishes.  I'll review some of them, but I should say that our overall experience was awesome.  And I would recommend going to Jaleo for or not for RW.

We started out with some bread and an olive oil poured over rosemary and garlic and something a bit spicy. The olive oil was great, although the bread was good, but not as crusty perhaps as I would have liked.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chili Lemon Kale Chips

One of the things I've come to love, particularly due to my lovely vegan gluten-free sister Katie, are kale chips.  I find them delicious and intriguing.  But I've never been all that good at actually executing them.  Thankfully, I saw a blog post on Inspired Kitchen ( http://www.inspiredtaste.net/10207/chili-lime-kale-chips-recipe/) about chili lime kale chips.  Seeing their recommendations on how to make kale chips, I decided that I would try it out again.  And I have to say, this time was very well executed.

Adobo Chicken and Sauteed Kale with Crispy Shallots

When I first started really cooking (beyond heating up things) a couple of years ago, one of the recipes I stumbled upon was a recipe for  adobo chicken.  Sweet, yet savory, and a really simple dish that only required an ounce of patience.  

A good friend of ours comes over about once a month; I cook, he brings the wine, and Brett cleans.  This was the first dish I made for him, and really was the first protein dish I had made for anyone, outside of my family.  

Since first discovering it, I've made it at least a dozen times.  I have the people of Cooking Light to thank for the original recipe for adobo chicken. 

In addition to the adobo, I have recently had a thing for kale.  Chips, sauteed, anything.  I think it's a fabulous vegetable that has a great flavor to it.  So I decided to play around with the recipes I've seen, and add another one of my recent favorites, shallots.  

This pairing ended out faring pretty well.  I'd recommend either dish as a standalone, but paired they work well together.  I am going to split up the instructions for the adobo chicken and kale, but I recommend cooking the kale while the chicken cooks uncovered for the last 20 minutes.  Also start the rice basically when you start the chicken if you're doing brown rice.  Otherwise, if you're doing white rice, you can start it when you start the kale.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Asian Style BBQ Sausage and Julienne Vegetables

So this dish was actually an offbeat pairing to the lobster ravioli that I made on the same night, but stands on its own as a really good and simple dish.  There is nothing complicated in its preparation....really it is far more about the ingredients.  I generally am lazy about preparing vegetables...chopping is fast and easy.

But I wanted something that would produce thinner sliced vegetables, so I decided to julienne the vegetables.  That basically means thin vertical cuts.

This dish also made for a great open faced sandwich.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lobster Ravioli with Creamy Gruyere Sauce

I have a thing for all foods that include lobster.  Steamed, in mac & cheese, any way you give it to me, I'll eat it.  So when I saw fresh made lobster ravioli in the market this weekend, obviously how could I turn it down.  I mean...come on, pasta and lobster?  My heart just can't say no.

However, having never actually prepared any lobster ravioli before, I didn't know what to make it with.  Just butter?  Lemon butter sauce?  Oh the options!  I instead decided that, particularly due to the coldness outside, the best sauce would be a creamy one.

I've only recently been messing around with bechamel sauce, so I decided to make a variation on the classic white sauce.  It turned out pretty darn amazing.  In fact, Brett, who rarely says anything beyond "mm" or "this is good," proclaimed that he would even be happy if he ordered this in a restaurant.  So I guess this one is a winner!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Whiskey Cider One Pot Chicken

Earlier this week in the New York Times Food & Drink blog, they featured some twists on a one pot chicken. Inspired by the technique, I was determined to make my first one pot chicken.  Overall, I consider the endeavor pretty darn successful.  My only change I would make would be to further brown the chicken, and hope for some crispy skin.  But the chicken turned out moist and delicious, and proved to be a hit.  And I'm happy that I took my own spin on the recipe.  Taking a chance on a flavor profile worked out great.

Turkey and Blue Cheese Sandwich

I'm a bad DC resident.  We have this amazing market in Eastern Market, yet today marked only the second time I've gone in the almost 6 years.  And it's pretty much a crime.  I really should go more often.  So many great vendors.  And so much good food.  We bought all sorts of meats, like lean beef short ribs and lamb chops, cheeses, produce.  It'll be a good week of eating.  And now I have all sorts of produce again!

One of the great purchases was this amazing Italian farm bread, from the bread people at Eastern Market (highly recommend).  We also got some fresh sliced turkey and Cambazola (a soft blue cheese).  So rather than do something complicated for lunch, I figured that I'd capitalize on all the yummy ingredients.

Ingredients
8 oz sliced turkey breast
1 oz cambazola
1 tomato
1 avocado
4 slices of any good bread
2 T light mayo
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Assemble.  Simple.  Just wanted to propose a new flavor profile.  And it was goooood.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mozzarella, Tomato and Egg Sandwich

One of my favorite things in the world is a mozzarella tomato basil salad.  At any time, I will eat massive quantities of this salad.  So I figured, if it's a great flavor profile already, why not make it a breakfast sandwich? This is obviously a bit of an easy meal, but a delicious brunch option that I wanted to share.

Restaurant Review: Founding Farmers

So I've decided that in addition to my recipes, I'm going to review restaurants and takeout.  Because, I mean, why not?  And so I figured I'd start now.  One of my favorite places in DC is Founding Farmers, and we went there on Friday night.  The first LEED certified restaurant, and a farm to table concept, Founding Farmers is amazing.  I have honestly say that in the last few years as we've gone there, I've never had a bad meal.

I took a deviation from the norm tonight - my mainstay of the lobster mac & cheese - and we decided to get some flat breads and a salad.  We had the deviled eggs to start, but then had the Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onion and Goat Cheese flat bread, the Prosciutto, Fig and Marscapone and flat bread, as well as the Late Harvest saald.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vegetarian Lasagna

Some of our friends came over last night, and my friend is vegetarian, so I wanted to cook something that would please everyone.  Brett's not always so big on vegetarian, but one of the things he still loves absent meat is lasagna.  Plus, lasagna makes for awesome leftovers.

Also I have the best secret ever to lasagna....no boil noodles.  No, it's not because I don't want to take an extra few minutes to boil lasagna noodles, it's because the Bertolli noodles are so thin.  My complaint with most lasagna is that the noodles are thick and kind of gummy.  But not these noodles.  Just trust me on this.  I credit my mom, who made us some lasagna this year with the no bake noodles....and bam, I was converted.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

DC weather can be so unpredictable.  A few days ago, it was gorgeous, and 55 degrees outside.  Today?  Freezing.  So I decided to make some chicken noodle soup.  It was warm, comforting, and delicious.  And a great prelude to the Sugar Bowl...which is still on.  I'm too nervous to watch it with full attention.  Anyway, this was a great soup, so enjoy on a cold night.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Beans & Spinach

According to the Washington Post, in 2012 quinoa is "out."  Respectfully, I disagree.  I think that quinoa is such a fantastic grain.

Hot & BBQ Wings

Every Saturday, or what feels like it, during college football season, we have people over to watch games.  And of course, I cook for people who come over.  It's a really fun way to spend a Saturday, and honestly, I love cooking for other people.  There's a real certain sense of enjoyment when I cook for others...particularly when others like it.

One of my more recent staples has been cooking chicken wings.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

So for New Year's Eve this year, Brett and I had about 15 people over before heading out to an 80s cover band concert.  But the concert started at 8:00, leaving us to try to figure out what to do for dinner.  I decided to make one of my favorite dishes, a pulled BBQ chicken to make sandwiches.  Unlike most recipes for BBQ, this one is pretty quick.  And being that I woke up very late in the morning, I didn't exactly have time to put anything in the slow cooker.  Plus...my slow cooker is super tiny and no chance that anything made in there would feed 15 people.

I'm posting the recipe for 4 sandwiches, but I had to actually make about 10 times the recipe.  And as a disclosure, this recipe is from cookinglight.com, but I double the sauce.  Because who doesn't like lots of BBQ sauce?  Anyway, it was a hit, everyone loved it.  Also with the pictures in this post, remember I made 15 times the recipe, so if you're wondering when you make this why it looks like I have SO MUCH MORE....it's because I do.  I had to cook the chicken in not only my huge All-Clad pan, but also in my Le Cresuet.  Hungry people.