Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry Goodness

This will be the last post for probably two weeks, I am headed to Sweden for some much needed vacation. I will certainly take notes of what I eat and experience and share them soon :)

This sauce was the result of some late night ice cream hunger, strawberries on sale, and some extra bananas. It takes about 5-10 minutes to make and is great. I think next I'm going to try it on pancakes. I like spontaneous cooking.

Strawberry Sauce

1 pound strawberries, sliced
1/4-1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon amaretto
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a sauce pot over medium heat whisk together the cornstarch and water until no lumps remain. Add the strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thick. Add the vanilla and amaretto. Taste and add remaining sugar if necessary. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before serving. Try over ice cream, fruit, pancakes, or even yogurt.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Herb Frittata

Yesterday I stopped off at the farmer's market for my weekend haul of fruits and veggies. In addition to some yummy potatoes, snap peas, and free milk(which is so good I am now second guessing my purchase of all other milk), I picked up some spring onions. These are onions resemble large scallions but are actually just a white onion picked early. Or, if you refuse to let go of the whole scallion thing, really big bulbous scallions. I returned home and went about making breakfast with them. Onion pancakes don't sound good, so left was the incredible edible egg. I had leftover goat cheese and some fresh basil as well, so I decided to go with a frittata.

Eggs take very well to multiple vehicles, so this is by no means the limitation of a frittata. Ham and Swiss, tomato and Parmesan and sausage, the combinations are endless. I use this as a template for adding whatever you want into your tasty breakfast.

Fresh Herb and Goat Cheese Frittata

4 eggs
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 spring onions, diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper

Whisk the eggs, egg whites, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Add the parsley and basil and set aside. Preheat broiler to low

In a 12-inch non stick skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, stirring constantly. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions become wilted and start to caramelize. If you have a lid for the pan, clamp this on, it will speed up the process. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the eggs, stirring lightly with a spatula. Once the eggs start to set up, use the spatula to pull the eggs away from the edge of the pan and allow the runny part to run underneath the frittata. Continue doing this until most of the runny part has been removed from the center. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the top and place the pan in the oven. Broil until the top is just set, about 2-3 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I sometimes wonder if these had a better name if people would eat them more. What if we called them "little orbs of deliciousness" or LOOD for short. Would you eat lood or lentils? Well, as my fiancée will testify, she does not like lentils. Or rather, did not (I think it was the name aversion). I made them for myself in a "fine, but I'm still making what I want" moment, and she ended up eating half of them. That will show her. Well, this time at least.

I read a lot, and I enjoy reading cookbooks. I came across a recipe in Tom Collichio's book for lentils and it piqued my interest, mainly because it contained under 10 ingredients. Sign me up. However, cooking them with only a little bit of stock made them pretty crunchy. I have optimized the recipe and it has not failed me yet. Do not feel like you have to use all of the stock, it varies by lentil variety. I like green lentils, but other varieties will work quite nice.


1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed and picked through for stones.
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat until quite hot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and some salt to the pan, cook until the veggies begin to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Add the lentils to the pot followed by enough stock to cover them (it helps to use a more narrow pot here). Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the lentils until a good amount of the stock has been absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Repeat with more stock and some salt, cooking the lentils until they are tender, about 20 minutes more. You may have to repeat the stock adding process a few times (hence 3 cups of stock, it depends on your lentils). Discard the vegetables and serve.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

What E-Scapes Me

I never get tired of making horrible puns in the titles of my blog posts. And today is no exception! I was at the farmers market a few days ago (yummy) and was perusing through a booth when I was informed of these lovely little green strings called garlic scapes. Garlic, but green and long? Say what? Well, since I'm a sucker for pretty much anything that has the word garlic in it, away I went with my little bag of them.

When I got home I figured I should probably do something with them. But what? A trip to Mr. Google revealed that scapes (the green shoot that comes up from garlic in the late spring) are a relatively new addition to most people's kitchens. They make great pesto (note to self for the future), steam well with other veggies, and are nice in stir fry. I figured they would go well with the snap peas I got at the market, so stir fry was decided, dinner was changed (from chicken with almonds) and into the pan they went.

The result? Well, first I tried them raw. Not so good. Great flavor, but really tough. So I sauteed them in my wok and gave them a bit of a quick pan roasting. I might have gone a bit too long on the flavor (they actually cook pretty quickly) and from now on Im treating them like green beans. But the flavor, oh the flavor was awesome. It's all the garlicky goodness without the big bite at the end. Even though the season is short, I plan on picking up some more of these tasty tendrils.

Spicy Chicken Stir-fry with Scapes and Snap Peas

1 pound chicken sliced thin
1 egg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili paste with garlic
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 pound snap peas, ends trimmed
1/3 pound garlic scapes or scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil or hot sesame oil (optional)

Combine the egg, cornstarch, and salt until smooth. Add to chicken in bowl or bag, marinate for 30 minutes. Combine the sugar, sherry, soy sauce, chili paste, hoisin, and water in a small bowl or cup and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Oil should be shimmering, or about 375°F. Add the chicken, stir frying until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 1 1/2 tablespoons oil (you can pour out the oil and refrigerate for another later use). Add the ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the scapes and peas, stir frying for about 2 minutes or until just starting to soften (I actually like to cover them for about 30 seconds of this process). Add the sauce followed by the chicken and stir fry until the chicken is warmed through. Add the sesame oil if desired. Serve over rice. Serves 4


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Romesco Sauce

There is a pub here in Lafayette called the Black Sparrow. They serve a delicious romesco and goat cheese dip that I have had quite a few times. However, during this past weekend the pub was not an option, so I went about making my own. I started with a recent recipe from Bon Apetit magazine that dealt with a good paring sauce for pork. I made the pork (delicious) but the romesco sauce was a little heavy on ingredients that I do not usually have around in the kitchen, such as Spanish salted almonds or fresh marjoram.

This posed a problem, but nevertheless, I was determined to make something (and if that failed, there was always take-out). Thanks to a few substitutions, some alterations, and the labors of my food processor I was soon rewarded with a thick sauce that was really really good. And not only does it keep well, but I have started putting it on all kinds of things. Burgers, crackers, rice (oh yeah, that makes a good lunch), stuffed in pita bread, all kinds of things. This sauce will now probably take a place next to fresh salsa as something I always try to keep on hand.

The sauce itself is a bit non traditional (as I do not live near a supermarket that carries some of the more exotic ingredients). But I find it fully rewarding and pretty easy to make.

Romesco Sauce

15-16oz jar roasted red peppers (about 4 peppers)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 ripe plum tomato, chopped or 1/2 can diced tomatoes drained
2 T olive oil
2/3 cup roasted almonds (see below)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 T sherry or red wine vinegar
pinch dried oregano
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 425°F. Place red peppers in pie dish, sprinkle garlic and chopped tomato over. Drizzle with olive oil. In a seperate pie dish add the almonds and a bit of salt (you can use peeled or unpeel almonds, it does not really matter). Place both dishes in the oven. Roast the almonds for about 20 minutes, the peppers for about 30-40. Remove and let cool slightly.

Combine the now roasted almonds and the breadcrumbs in a food processor, chop until fine. Add the contents of the pie plate with peppers, the vinegar, the oregano, and some salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper.

Alternatively, if you make this dish with roasted meat, put the pan you roasted the meat in over a burner over medium heat. Add 1 cup sherry to the pan and reduce down to 2 tablespoons, scraping up the bottom bits. This will replace the vinegar.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Woo, exciting times! I am now a featured publisher on Foodbuzz (see the big banner to the right). It's a great community for online foodies where I have managed to find some great recipes and ideas. This leads me one step closer to my goal of world domination. Ok, not so much, but I'm still really happy about this :)

You might notice some changes to the site over the next week, the layout and such is a bit dark so I might be messing around with it some.

Oh, and on the food end of things, I have a great recipe for romesco sauce to share tomorrow.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bolognese (that has nothing to do with bologna)

Pasta has, and always will be a great comfort food to me. I love eating it, and I love having an easy sauce to throw together (along with carbonara) to smother it in. This recipe is one I have adapted over the past few years and is my primary red sauce. I prefer the turkey simply because it lets the tomatoes and the body of the sauce shine through more. So beef is totally an option for you if you prefer. The sauce also freezes very well for a rainy day.

Turkey Bolognese (Inspired by Emeril Lagasse)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 pound ground turkey (at least 90% lean)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon red pepper flake
2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup milk

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until soft, about 3-5 minutes. Stir the celery, carrots and garlic into the pot and cook until the vegetables are slightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Next add the ground turkey to the vegetables, breaking up the meat, and cook until starting to brown and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, oregano, red pepper, and salt, to taste. Add all remaining ingredients except the milk, lower the heat and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring from time to time. If the sauce reduces quickly add a bit more stock and continue to reduce

About 10 minutes prior to serving, add the milk to the sauce and stir well to incorporate. Season to taste.

Serve over cooked pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni. Serves four.


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