Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back from Vacation with French Vanilla Ice Cream


Okay, I'm back from vacation. Took a while to get back into the swing of things

The wedding went amazingly well and the honeymoon was fantastic. We vacationed in Belize (such a beautiful country) with plenty of adventure, relaxation and gorgeous sights. We ate plenty of local food (recipes from a local cookbook to come, for sure).  It was very hard to come back to real life and back to real work.

I made this ice cream before leaving, but I didn't have a chance to share the recipe. It utilizes our new KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment (awesome wedding gift) and the recipe comes the included recipe book

French Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups half and half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2.5 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
Directions
  1. Simmer half and half until just before boiling, stirring constantly
  2. Mix yolks and sugar with wire whip until thickened and glossy yellow
  3. Slowly temper egg yolks with half and half. Return to stove and heat until steamy, stirring constantly.
  4. Mix vanilla, heavy cream and salt with egg mixture. Cover with plastic and chill overnight. 
  5. Churn according to ice cream maker directions. Freeze until desired texture is reached.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Grilled peach salad with balsamic drizzle



It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again and my partner in crime for this month is Jenna over at Painted Apron.

Jenna is super creative. Her blog is full of great recipes, beautiful tablescapes and ideas for party planning and easy home decor. There are plenty of great dinner party ideas for me to check out...later. (You know, when I'm not two weeks away from getting married, later. When you're reading this, I will be on an airplane to California for the wedding. Sorry if I don't respond to comments promptly)

I normally love SRC post dates, but this month was more difficult than usual. It wasn't Jenna's fault. Her blog had some awesome recipes like this great Stuffed French Toast and these Magic Potatoes made with so much butter and cheese. The one I must wanted to make was her Breadstick Pizza Rosette because it looked so amazing.

And then I realized we were leaving on vacation for two weeks (for our wedding, followed by honeymoon). By the time I found time to make a recipe we were already in the "We ain't going to the grocery store for shit" stage. You know...the stage where you're eating dry cereal because you refuse to buy milk, and a large amount of your dinners consist of pasta and whatever veggies you have in the fridge. Wanna put an egg on it? What about cheese? All perishable foods must go until we're stuck eating takeout for 3 straight days before vacation.

Given the timing of this SRC, I think I did a pretty great job with this recipe for Prosciutto and Peach Salad. I made mine as a combination of two of her peach salads and I think I did a pretty good job keeping the spirit the same, given all of my self-imposed food restrictions.

It was a really tasty dinner. We had a duo of salads that night: peach salad and caprese salad because everything must go! Thanks for the great recipes Jenna. I promise I'll come back and make that pizza rosette after we get back from vacation.

Grilled Peach Salad

Ingredients
  • 2 ripe peaches (either yellow or white)
  • mixed greens (anything with arugula and frisee is always great)
  • almonds
  • salted italian meat (prosciutto or pancetta would be great. I used sopresatta)
  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • balsamic glaze (I used an English Toffee infused balsamic vinegar that was on sale at my local olive oil shop)
  • goat cheese (I didn't have this, but I would use it next time)
Directions
  1. Pit the peaches and grill them either outside or on your grill pan
  2. Sautee your sopresatta or chosen meat until slightly crispy
  3. Lightly dress your greens with a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Lay them down on the plate
  4. Top with grilled peaches, sopresatta, almonds and a little balsamic glaze. Eat immediately and enjoy



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Eggplant


I love my CSA box.

I get so many amazing vegetables every week that I would never think to buy on a regular basis. I mean, I would buy french beans, but I probably wouldn't get Indian eggplant when Japanese eggplant was an option.

Most of the time, I would have probably just chopped up this eggplant for curry or a stir fry. This time, that didn't happen. My CSA company sends an email every week with a recipe at the end to give you inspiration. This week, they sent out an adapted version of Smitten Kitchen's recipe for stuffed eggplant.

This was an absolutely delicious dish! The flavors all went so perfectly together and the eggplant was beautiful. The recipe I used was altered in order to fit what came in the box that week. I highly recommend you all try it.

Lebanese stuffed Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 12 indian eggplants (or 6 baby bell Italian eggplants)
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice (rinsed, but uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb ground beef or lamb (uncooked)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped flat parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Cut the bottom sliver off each eggplant and hallow out the eggplant with a melon baller, leaving about 1/3 inch eggplant flesh on all sides. Take the interior of the eggplant and roughly chop it.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in large skillet. Sautee onion and garlic until tender. Add the eggplant interior and cook until tender.
  3. Place half the onion mixture into a bowl with nuts, ground meat, rice, allspice, lemon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix together.
  4. Leave the other half the onion mix in the skillet. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Simmer gently uncovered
  5. Stuff eggplants with the rice filling mixture. Filling will expand, so don't stuff it too tight.
  6. Place eggplants in the simmering sauce and simmer covered for about 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until rice is cooked through.
  7. If necessary, remove eggplant and reduce sauce to desired consistency.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl with Fish Sauce Dressing


Vietnamese noodle bowls are a summertime staple in our house. This is the main thing I order at Vietnamese restaurants (even when everyone else is ordering pho). There aren't very many rules when you make it at home (this one had corn, because we had fresh white corn) but it always needs to have rice noodles, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, mint, basil and noum cham (citrus fish sauce dressing).

It's great for summer because it doesn't heat up your kitchen. It's light, very flavorful and refreshing. We love it and I hope you do too

Ingredients

  • rice noodles
  • desired lettuce
  • cucumber
  • carrots, seeded tomatoes, celery, or whatever you desire
  • chicken breast
  • cilantro
  • mint
  • basil
  • fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • palm sugar (or brown sugar, or cane sugar syrup)
  • sesame oil
  • warm water
  • thai chilis
  • garlic
Directions
  1. Begin by marinating the chicken in some fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. It doesn't have to be very long (half hour at most). Slice thin and cook quickly in a skillet. Set aside to cool.
  2. Next, make the noum cham sauce. Mix equal parts fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together. Dilute the sauce with some warm water and a touch of sesame oil until it's appropriate strength. Thinly slice one clove garlic and one thai chili to mix with the sauce.
  3. Julienne all your vegetables and begin by layering your lettuce at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Cook rice noodles until done and chill in ice water. Drain and place on top of your lettuce
  5. Top with your desired fresh vegetables, chicken and herbs
  6. Drizzle fish sauce dressing over the top. Toss all ingredients together and eat immediately.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roasted Whole Snapper with Ginger and Cilantro


I grew up eating whole fish from time to time. We would eat fillets mostly because it was easier and it is more difficult to find whole fish at regular grocery stores like Safeway/Food Lion/Giant/whatever. We only ever had whole fish when my grandfather caught some. I thought it was a little weird back then, but as I've gotten older I've learned that whole fish is the way to go.

This was my fiance's first time ever having whole fish. He grew up in a very Caucasian household, so I understand. I brought it out to the table and he said "How do you eat it" and I laughed. I had to explain that we would just take vegetables and pull of some fish in our rice bowl and come back as we desired. He enjoyed it, and it was a cute experience.

Ingredients
  • 1 whole red snapper (1.5 lbs or so)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro
  • touch of sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • desired vegetables (I used bean sprouts, napa cabbage and carrots)
  • Rice for serving
Directions
  1. Clean and scale your fish. Cut about 3 or 4 diagonal slits in each side almost to the bones.
  2. Mix together the fresh ginger, garlic, cilantro, sesame oil. Rub mixture in the slits in the fish
  3. Season inside and out of fish with salt and pepper.
  4. Prop the fish up by splaying the belly flaps on a sheet pan. Prop a ball of aluminum foil under the tail if necessary. The fish should stand upright. 
  5. Roast fish at 350 for about 25 minutes. The skin should be a little crisp. You can crank the oven higher at the end if you desire for extra crispy skin.
  6. Cook your vegetables as desired. Serve fish with vegetables, rice.
Note: you can also make a dipping sauce with equal parts rice vinegar and light soy sauce, but it's really not necessary.



Monday, July 21, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust



It's secret recipe club time again. Awesome. I get so much enjoyment out of seeing what everyone else posts every Monday. I find so many amazing recipes and it forces me to be creative. It helps so much when I'm not feeling inspired (which has been happening a lot lately with 90 degree days and lots of wedding shit. So much wedding shit to do in the next 5 weeks).

This month's assigned blog was Debbie Does Dinner Healthy. Debbie is a Mom of 3 living in Minneapolis MN and is also the leader for Group C. Almost all of her recipes are low calorie while still looking so delicious. I knew this could be a perfect blog to pick up some guilt-free recipes.

There was only one problem with Debbie's blog: there were just too many options! I wanted the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya. I wanted the Crockpot Chicken Mole and the Twice Baked Cauliflower. I ended up settling on the Quinoa Egg and Vegetable Bake (which wasn't really settling, since it's really an amazing sounding low calorie quiche)

I loved it and could have eaten the whole pan (correction: ate like half the pan over breakfast and lunch, but that's okay because the whole thing is only 1300 calories). It had the texture I wanted, allowed me to use up a lot of veggies in my csa box, and allowed me to use up some leftover egg whites I had after making ice cream. My fiance...not so much. He already doesn't like quinoa unless I mix it with ground beef/chorizo for stuffed peppers or squash. Give me thirty years of marriage and maybe I'll convert him.

I'd change a couple things for next time, but not much. First, I'd bake the crust for 10 minutes before putting in the egg mixture. I loved the crusty texture of the edges and wished it carried through for the entire dish. I would also cook the quinoa in chicken stock like I normally do (cuz then maybe the man would like it a little more)

Great dish Debbie! Not sure if this will make it into our regular breakfast rotation, but I know I'll make it when I have a weekend on my own.

Spinach Ricotta Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Ingredients for crust

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for filling
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 extra large handful of fresh spinach (2 cups? about?)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used green because that's what I had. Red would have been much nicer)
  • 4 spears asparagus, sliced (not necessary, I just had some I needed to use)
  • 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix cooked quinoa with egg white, cheese, salt and pepper. Press quinoa into sprayed 9 inch pie pan and push up the sides.
  3. Sautee onions, peppers, asparagus and spinach until onions are slightly translucent and spinach is wilted.
  4. Mix eggs, egg whites, ricotta cheese and cheddar cheese together. Add vegetables and mix.
  5. Pour into quinoa crust. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until cooked through
  6. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


I used to drink coffee every morning (not always with a biscotti). In the last few years, the acid from coffee has begun to bother me more and more, to the point that I can no longer drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach because it will upset my stomach too much.

I usually drink tea in the morning and in the afternoons now. I like it better than coffee anyway and always have. I'll only have coffee when I make biscotti, because sometimes things just go better together.

These biscotti have a very tropical flavor and a great salty-richness from the pistachios. They are not too sweet and just delightful with a cup of coffee. I highly recommend this recipe. (Do you file this under cookie or breakfast? I don't know)

Enjoy! And enjoy my favorite coffee mug teaching you how to eat a lobster.

Coconut Pistachio Biscotti


Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup coconut
  • 1 cup pistachios


Directions

  1. Toast coconut and pistachios for 5 minutes and remove to let cool
  2. Fist together flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and coconut extract, then add flour mixture and mix until it comes together. It will be very stiff
  4. Mix in coconut and pistachios.
  5. Divide into two parts and form each into a loaf about 10 inches long. Flatten biscotti until it is about 3 inches wide and place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Slice loaves into individual biscotti (about ½ inch thick). Place cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Allow cookies to cool and store in airtight container