Sunday, August 24, 2008

Steak Panzanella

This recipe is from Cooking Light. I don't like to use beef/steak b/c of the environmental costs of raising cattle, but the steak was really the best meat to add to this salad. this is a classic italian bread salad recipe. also uses up garden tomatoes.

1/2 pound day old ciabatta bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomato
1 cup coarsely chopped english cucumber
1/2 c coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/2 c vertically sliced red onion
1/2 c julienne cut bottled roasted red bell peppers
1 1/2 tsp capers (i skipped this, i don't like capers. i think they are silly)
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbspn sherry vinegar (i used some sherry cooking wine and red wine vinegar since i didn't have this exactly)
1 tbspn olive oil
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c loosely packed arugula (i used spinach, it was cheaper)
Garlic rubbed Flank steak cut into 1 inch slices ( recipe for this : 1 two-pound flank steak, salt, pepper, 2 garlic cloves minced. rub steak evenly with salt, pepper, and garlic. grill till desired doneness.)

1. preheat oven to 400. arrange bread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet. bake at 400 for 8 minutes or until toasted.

2. combine tomato and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl. combine vinegar, oil, sugar, black pepper and salt. add vinegar mixture to tomato mixture, toss well. let stand for 1 hour (orhowever long)

3. add bread cubes, arugula, and garlic rubbed flank stead to tomato mixture, toss gently to coat. serve immediately.

*this will be one of my alltime favorites. it was so good. a couple side notes: i don't know what flank steak is. i looked at the grocery store and nothing said "flank steak". i ended up getting something sirloin i think, it wasn't too expensive which is fine for this since it is going into a salad.

also, do you use freshly ground black pepper? b/c if you don't, it's time to start. i keep a pepper mill right by the stove now and when a recipe calls for pepper i grind it directly into the dish. the flavor and spice of freshly ground pepper is 100 times better than something in a spice tin. i am thinking about using kosher salt next b/c everything i read about it says it tastes better and is better for seasoning. right now i use something from the great salt lake that also has some red bits in it. supposedly just buying morton's salt in the blue container with the umbrella girl on it isn't as good for you and doesn't have the same flavor. it's something to consider.

Brunch Casserole

this is from rachel ray's magazine and oh my goodness is it ever great! i just made it this morning before a night shift and it was very satisfying. i used chives and tomatoes from my garden.

4-6 slices bread, crust discarded, cut into 1 inch pieces, about 4 cups. (i used a couple days old ciabatta bread and left the crust on which i think made the texture better)
8 oz ham (i used a few slices of bacon here instead)
2 1/2 c cheese
3 tbspn chives
6 eggs
1/2 c milk
2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1. preheat oven to 350. grease 2 qt baking dish (i used a 2 1/2 qt corningware but it was too deep. you definitely need the 2 qt space, but i recommend using a long and shallow dish rather than a deep dish)

2. layer bread, ham/bacon, 2 c cheese, and 2 tbspn chives into dish

3. whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. pour into dish on top of other ingredients. top with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with chives and cheese (i ran out of cheese so i used some parmesian on the top and it was delicious)

4. bake 30 minutes ( my deeper dish took a lot longer)

this really was delicious! it tasted like we had gone out to a restaurant! you could substitute the ham/bacon layer with a layer of tomatoes if you wanted.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Honey mustard Chicken

i am marinating this right now and Eric will grill it outside tonight.

3 tbspn spicy brown mustard (i just used whatever i had in the fridge)
3 tbspn honey
2 tbspn olive oil
juice of 1 lime

*combine in resealable plastic bag. add chicken and let marinate at room temp 20 minutes or in the fridge for a while. it says to use 8 skinless chicken thighs. i just used some breast meat we had. after it marinates, just grill it up. i don't know how much i'll like it. honey mustard always sounds good and then i'm never a big fan. so we'll see. the magazine (rachel rays) suggest serving it with potato wedges. you combine potatoes and enough salted water to cover and bring to a boil. cook potatoes 20 minutes then drain and let cool slightly. slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1 inch wedges. transfer to a bowl and gently toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. add the potatoes to the grill, cover and cook 10 minutes each side.

this is supposed to be a cheaper dinner. it says you can make the whole thing for $10, but it's actually cheaper cuz you have most of the ingredients at home already. i like grilling potatoes that way. it's really yummy. you can squeeze an extra lime over the top of the chicken and the taters.

Baking Inside and outside

Even though it's so hot outside, i couldn't resist baking a few things. but that's also why i baked a FEW things at once, that way i only bake the inside of my house once instead of a few times.

Rocky Road Brownies
**these are phenominal**

1/2 c unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 bag semisweet choco chips
1/2 c gran sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 c flour
1 c miniture marshmallows
1/2 c nuts

1. preheat oven to 350. butter an 8 inch square pan

2. in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. heat, stirring occasionally just until melted.

3. remove mixture from heat. stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. spread batter evenly in prepared pan. bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean about 30 to 35 minutes.

4. remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining choco chips, then marshmallows and nuts. bake until chocolate is hiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes (i like to make the marshmallows golden to taste more roasted which takes about 10 extra minutes, i haven't noticed the brownie being burned so i guess the extra time is okay). remove from oven and cool completely. yum!!!

Banana Cupcakes with Honey-cinnamon frosting

1 1/2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, melted
1 1/2 c mashed bananas (about 4)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
Honey cinnamon frosting (to follow)

1. preheat oven to 350. line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. in medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. make a well in the center of the flour mixture. in well combine butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). spoon batter into muffin cups.

3. bake until toothpick comes out clean 25-30 minutes. remove and cool on wire rack. spread with frosting.

in medium bowl using an electric mixer beat 1 1/4 c confectioners sugar, 1/2 c butter at room temp, 1 tbspn honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon 4-5 minutes until smooth.

Cornmeal Biscuits

1 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/8 c sugar
1/2 tablespoon b. soda
1/2 tsp b. powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 c buttermilk

1. preheat oven to 450

2. combine flours, cornmeal, sugar, b. soda, b. powder, and salt in a large bowl. cut in butter with pastry cutter until coarse. add buttermilk, stir just until moist.

3. turn dough out on lightly floured surface. roll dough into 3/4 inch thickness. cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. place on baking sheeet covered with cooking spray. bake 10 minutes until golden.

the recipe numbers are a little weird b/c i cut the recipe in half. it was too big before. i just made there. i think i accidentally forgot to half the sugar as i was adding it (i was on the phone with you at the moment and got distracted!) so they turned out a bit sweet. they are actually pretty good. i used a pampered chef baking stone and did not grease it. they just taste like cornbread muffins though, nothing to write home about but since i made them i thought i'd post them. the dough was very sticky too so i had a hard time 'rolling' it out. i patted it out rather and then kinda lumped them together to make a biscuit shape. they're good though.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Garden Freshness with Greek Kebabs

I made these kebabs from martha stewart's recipe magazine. i don't have the recipe with me right now, but i'll post it later. it invovled marinating the zucchini, onions, and chicken in red wine vinegar, olive oil, s/p, and oregano. then grilling. but i also made a dipping sauce with feta cheese, plain yogurt, red wine vinegar, and mint. i'll get the exact ratios to you later. the green beans, zucchini, mint, onions, and tomato were from my garden! it was so delicious, i could feel my body getting strong and healthy just eating it!

on a side note, i've been fighting buying a food processor b/c it's just one more gadget in my kitchen that needs to be stored, that invovles being plugged in, etc. but i had a hard time making that dipping sauce without one. you really should process the mint in with the rest of teh ingredients. as it was i just chopped it finely and whisked it all together. but i'm thinking about buying a food processor...

Friday, August 08, 2008

no buttermilk? no problem

you know when you get excited about baking a dish and you are reading down the list of ingredients, just to make sure you have everything? and it's going great, you have every ingredient in your own kitchen until you read that last ingredient: buttermilk. i suddenly become deflated as i realize in order to have my spontaneous baking desire i'll have to still go to the store first. well i saw this thing on the food network the other day about how you can substitute and make your own buttermilk. it's 1 cup of milk with 1 tbspn of lemon juice or white vinegar. let it sit for 5 minutes and wha-lah, you have buttermilk. i guess the thing that's actually important about buttermilk is that it's got an acidic base, so if you add the vinegar, you've got that. the cooking show i saw this on even made biscuits with the homemade buttermilk and they didn't look any different than the ones with buttermilk.

so i'm home sick, and for the first time in about 6 days i am able to eat some real food ( my throat has never been so sore, i still need a good dose of ibuprofen to get the food down though...) and this morning i am craving cinnamon rolls (those are still pretty soft actually, maybe that's why i want them) i have this recipe from rachel ray's magazine:

Monkey Bread Minis

1 1/2 sticks butter, chilled
3 tbspn maple syrup
1/3 c plus 2 tbspn granulated sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
1 tbspn cinnamon
2 c flour
1 tbspn b.powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c buttermilk, chilled

1. preheat oven to 425. in a small bowl, microwave 4 tbspn butter and the maple syrup until melted. stir. in another small bowl, sitr together 1/3 c sugar, the brown sugar and thecinnamon.

2. in a food processor combine the flour, baking powder, the remaining 2 tbspn granulated sugar and the salt. pulse to combine. cut the remaining 1 stick chilled butter into small pieces and pulse with the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. pulse in the buttermilk until dough just comes together. transfer to a lightly floured work surface. pat into a 10 inch square (the dough will be sticky). quater the dough, then cut each quarter into 16 equal pices. roll into balls.

3. dip each ball in the maple butter, then coat with the sugar mixture. place 5 to 6 ball sinto each muffin cup and press to compact.

4. bake until cooked through and golden 15-17 minutes. transfer the muffin pan to rack and cool. using a knife, loosen the sides of the moneky bread, invert onto a platter and then turn right side up. serve warm. stir together 1 cup confectioner's sugar and 2 tbspn milk and drizzle ove rthe bread as it cools, if desired.

i think i have enough energy to make these. they sound good and the picture looks good.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Seared Chicken with Avocado

I made this the other night. It is an instant favorite! I'll be making this for a long time, it is delicious and very easy. it comes from Cooking Light superfast suppers which i just ordered off of amazon.

Seared chicken with avocado

1 1/2 tsp blackened seasoning (i found this in the spice isle at smith's. it's got some paprika and other spices in it. very tasty)
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
olive oil
1 diced peeled avocado (i used two cuz i like 'em!)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno seeded and diced ( i left it out cuz i can't take the heat)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/4 tsp salt
1 lime, cut into fourths

sprinkle seasoning on both sides of chicken. heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. add chicken to pan, and cook 1 minute until seared. reduce heat to medium, cook until lightly browned.

combine avocado, cilantro, pepper, lime juice and salt. squeeze one fourth lime over each piece of chicken before serving. serve with avocado mixture over each chicken breast as a salsa.

so easy! i added more lime juice and cilantro b/c i love those flavors. it turned out really well. i served it with fresh farmer's market new red potatoes boiled and then coated with butter, salt and pepper and some fresh chives from my garden. i've also discovered grilled corn this summer. you shuck just the outter leaves, leaving the inner ones still attached but pulling the silks out of the middle. soak for a few minutes. grill in the attached husks until those are browned. then peel back the husks and grill the actual corn ear until charred. it's delicious!