Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dry Rubbed Ribs

I love BBQ.  Plain and simple.  But I admit that my version of BBQ in any form usually includes lots of gooey sauce.  However, in Texas, that's a no no.  Anything that is BBQd needs to be cooked in a dry rub.  Kind of like the whole no beans in chili (whaaaa??).  So when my friend Melissa brought me back some of the rub from The Salt Lick, famous BBQ house in Texas, I decided to try it out.  Also, awesome little present, eh?

I dry rubbed the ribs for several hours before, and they turned out awesome.  The rub is really fantastic; it is peppery and somewhat spicy and awesome for ribs.  Only issue was that these ribs didn't have as much meat as we would have liked.  But that's not too bad of a problem to deal with :)  I paired this with mashed potatoes and caramelized brussels sprouts.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

Up until about a year ago, I had avoided brussels sprouts.  I've always thought of them as the disgusting smelly mush that were served in cafeterias.  However, I had an awakening moment with brussels sprouts.  My friend invited us over for dinner and served some awesome pan sauteed brussels sprouts and my view on the tiny cabbage changed forever.

I've tried to cook them several different ways, and this way is one I would consider a success.  The natural sugars in the brussels sprouts allow for them to caramelize by simply cooking them in olive oil.  This can really be paired with most dishes.  Also this is extremely easy to execute.  Don't be afraid of words like "caramelized" it is not some sort of trickery or fancee cookin.  It just means to bring out and cook the sugars.  I hope you'll re-discover brussels sprouts and learn to love them again!

Garlic Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

One of my favorite comfort foods in the world are mashed potatoes.  They are so delicious.  I like them with skin on potatoes, and with a bit of chunk still left in them.  My mom made mashed potatoes all the time when I was growing up, but never instant potatoes.  I didn't even know that instant potatoes existed until I was older.

Real mashed potatoes are so simple to make and honestly totally worth the time.  And this recipe is for much healthier mashed potatoes.  Only a tiny bit of butter, with 0% fat greek yogurt...I did add the goat cheese because we had it in the house and I wanted to get rid of it.  The goat cheese adds a bit of tang, but you can omit it.  Don't go run out and buy goat cheese if you don't want to.  The recipe works just fiiiine without it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lamb Meatball Subs

So after making some lamb pizza the night before, I had a lot of leftover lamb.  And a lot of lamb meatballs.  But you know what is great for meatballs?  Meatball subs.  Slathered in marinara, with lots of meatballs, toasty bread....one of my favorite things to eat are meatball subs.  And I hadn't made them on my own before.  I like the change of pace with the lamb.  It makes the dish more savory, adds different layers of flavor, and were extremely quick and easy to make.

Additionally, if you had leftover lamb meatballs, these could easily be frozen to cook again at another time.  This recipe could easily be served over pasta, if you don't want the whole sandwich thing.  I'd recommend them at any time....super easy, quick and delicious.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lamb and Goat Cheese Pizza

I was reading the latest version of Bon Appetit and came upon an idea to make pizza with lamb meatballs.  Lamb?  Meatballs?  Pizza?  Go onnnn.

So when Brett called to tell me that a friend of his from Ohio was coming into town I though, PERFECT!, guinea pig for lamb pizza.  I trucked it on down to Whole Foods, found all of the ingredients and even discovered that they have fresh dough that you can take home with you wheee!  I didn't really have time to make my own dough.

In addition to this lamb pizza, I also made another pizza with slab bacon that was baked, a medley of mushrooms and caramelized onions.   But, you can try that on your own.  This is simply for the lamb pizza.  Which was delicious, if I must say so myself.

Caramelized Scallops with Sauteed Leeks

So to make up for our non-Valentine's day, Brett and I decided to have a meal in at home.  One of the things that Brett loves the most are sea scallops.  In fact on the night of our engagement, Brett and I went to the Tabard Inn in DC and he and I shared yes...sea scallops.  I don't know there is something special to us about them.  Or at least it is to me.  During important meals we have had them, so I associate them with Brett.  

While I've made bay scallops before in seafood mixes, I hadn't attempted sea scallops on my own.  So it was off to the googlin.  There are a lot of sea scallop recipes out there, but I kept coming across Thomas Keller's caramelized sea scallop recipe.  Being that in a short while (SQUEEEEE) we will be dining at the French Laundry, I decided his recipe for carmelized scallops would be the best to work with.  

There is something about sea scallops that are just delicious.  While it may be a bit pricey to purchase all of the ingredients, it was totally worth it.  

I made my own touches, like adding leeks that were also slow sauteed.  I also paired this with my roasted balsamic asparagus.  

And as another personal note, Brett proclaimed this to be the best thing I have ever made.  Yeah.  This coming from the guy who says "it's good" for 99% of what I make.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Glazed Asparagus

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables in the world.  And paired with balsamic vinegar, it's a match made in heaven.  This is one of my favorite go tos for a side dish.  It pairs well with chicken, seafood, and pork. This instance I made it with carmelized sea scallops, which will be my next posting!

Asparagus is also packed full of good proteins.  And honestly, I don't know many people who are foolish enough to not like asparagus.  So serve and delight.

Cheese Fondue

So Valentine's Day is kind of a strange holiday.  I think personally some people put way too much emotional investment in it.  Thankfully, since I am not a huge "HAS TO BE LOVEZ DAY!" when Brett told that he had a work dinner on Valentine's Day, I decided instead to make Valentine's Day a ladies night.  I gathered three of my very lovely friends and had a fondue night.  

And disclaimer, this is not a recipe.  It is my tips for fondue.  Over the last few years I've made different variations of fondue.  From scratch, from a box, a combo of both.  I've used swiss, gruyere, parmesan, and cheddar.  But I've actually found that my favorite is from a *GASP* box.  Whole Foods usually sells it, I wouldn't really trust other boxed fondue from other stores.  Yes, cheese snob, right here.  

The original recommendation to buy fondue from a box actually came from my mother.  And as I've mentioned in other posts, she's got pretty good taste.  

I decided also not just to use bread, but also roasted broccoli.  I had some in the fridge, but also I love broccoli cheddar soup more than most, so I knew that broccoli + cheese = love. 

Fondue is a great meal for a group.  We had a great time and were happily full of bread, cheese, champagne, chocolate....everything.  And it's a great Tuesday night special.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Joe's Special

My fridge was looking a little sparse.  Having come back from Vermont, I didn't have a ton of food, but I  left out some ground beef to dethaw before heading to work and hoped inspiration would come to me.  So in my quest to find a new ground beef recipe, I came across "Joe's Special." 

There are various forms of Joe's Special to be found.  Originated in San Francisco, it's a combination of ground beef, onions, spinach, and eggs served on garlic bread.  So I figured I could take a spin on it and come up with a good dish.  This was a cheap and easy way to get rid of some of the things in my fridge and it turned out great for dinner and great the next day for breakfast.  Versatile and filling.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Beef Marengo

This past week we made a visit up to my parents' place in Vermont.  Sometimes I wish I lived up there full time.  The beauty of the outdoors, a more peaceful surrounding, and awesome Canadian cheese.   I also cooked for my parents, Brett, my cousin Bruce and my Aunt Heather while up there.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pesto Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

So whenever Brett leaves for work traveling, I tend to eat a little bit like I'm back in college with zero culinary skills and a penchant for cheese.  Usually I will make macaroni and cheese from a box, dumping a whole lot of extra cheese in the mac.  Mmmm.  Carbs and cheese.

So when Brett left to go off to Cleveland for the night, I was about to reach for the box of mac and cheese, but instead reached for....the box of whole wheat pasta.  I mean...it's a little better, no?  And since we were planning to leave town a few days later, I wanted to get rid of some of the things in my fridge.  That included grape tomatoes, feta, and fresh italian parsley.

I enjoyed my big bowl of pasta.  It was awesome.  And the flavors came together nicely, this is a super easy pasta dish.   And would make for great leftovers!