Search This Blog

*All recipes on this blog (unless otherwise noted) are Martha Stewart's from the Everyday Food Cookbooks here and here, they are not my own. If other than this I will post links to the recipes or indicate that they are originals*

Sunday, August 28, 2011

As I have said in past posts, I have been trying to improve my photography for you all.
One of the things that makes a huge difference between a good photo and a bad photo is lighting. 
My basement apt has ZERO natural light, which gets very frustrating at times.
However, I have found the sweet spot in my kitchen!  
The spot where the soft light shines in from the window through the curtain and bathes my food in all its glory, making for much better pictures, like the one above.  
There is only one problem.
The sweet spot in my kitchen is not actually in my kitchen at is in our guest bedroom...on the floor.
So now, I will be bringing all of my food at various stages of completion into my guest bedroom and taking pictures of it on the floor.
I guess its no worse than taking it outside.  
So hopefully the pics will only continue to get better.
Until winter, at which point I will have to figure out how to cook dinner at 3pm, before it gets dark. :)
About the food...this recipe was way different than I thought it would be.
I thought it would be a hit for sure, but Logan didn't really like it.  Partially because he hates peas, but also because he just wasn't a huge fan of the flavor.  Don't get me wrong, he ate it.  He just didn't LOVE it as much as I thought he would.
Part of this could be my fault, because I have an aversion to cooking with heavy whipping cream, I won't do it unless I have to...the fat and calories are just ridiculous.
So I substitute with fat free half and half.  Which usually works great...but maybe made the difference in this one.
Also it has you add the prosciutto way too early in the cooking time if you ask my time I would add it closer to the end and definitely AFTER I add the parm...because most of the cheese stuck to the prosciutto...which was really weird.
Anyway I liked it and think it is worth a second try and definitely a first try for all of you!

Pasta with Prosciutto and Peas
S&P (lots of pepper, it made all the difference for me)
12 oz fettuccine
1 T butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 package (10oz) frozen peas, thawed
8 slices prosciutto, about 4 oz, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 T finely grated lemon zest
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water; drain pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, make the sauce; in a large skillet melt the butter over med low heat.
Add the shallot and cook until softened, about  5 min.
Add cream, peas and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer over med heat.  Simmer until peas are heated through, 3-4 min.
Stir in lemon zest and juice.  Pour the sauce over the pasta; add the parm and season generously with salt and pepper.  Add enough reserved pasta water to thin the sauce as desired.  Serve immediately; top with additional parm if desired. 
Serves 4.

Logan Rating: **

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spicy Soba Noodle Salad

I don't know if you can all tell, but we have been on a bit of an Asian kick.
It honestly wasn't intentional, but no one in our house is complaining, that being Logan or I.
For this recipe I got the opportunity to use my new smaller food processor that also has a shredding attachment, which I must tell you is AMAZING to have.
It does add some extra dishes, but so far my dishwasher (Logan) hasn't complained.
This was a hit in our house, Logan loved the spice from the red pepper flakes and I loved the tang from the dressing.  Next time I think I will do less noodles, add some crisp lettuce and use chicken instead of pork.  I like white meat better than the other white meat.
All in all this was a great recipe and I imagine I will be asked to make it again.  
Poor Logan, my response to all of his inquiries for repeat meals is "not till the blog is done".
Which as we all know could very well be YEARS! 
Maybe I could make it for a birthday meal...I guess I could concede another repeat for a birthday  meal.

PS...did anyone notice I am now a featured publisher for!?!
Very exciting new venture in my blogging.
You should all check out foodbuzz, it is such a great community of bloggers.
Just don't forget to come back here, because I would miss you!

Pork and Soba Noodle Salad
6 oz soba noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb roasted pork tenderloin (recipe found here)
3 carrots, coarsely grated
1 red bell pepper ribs and seeds removed, cut into strips
3 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2 in pieces

Bring a large pot of water to boil; add a generous amount of salt.  Cook noodles until tender according to package instructions; drain and rinse under cold water until cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lime juice
sesame oil, ginger, honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes
Add pork
bell pepper, noodles, and scallions.
Toss to combine.  Serve at room temp or chilled; garnish with lime wedges.
Serves 4.

Logan Rating:*****

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beef Curry RE DO!

Photography is something I have always had a passion for, but I've never really been great at it.  A friend of mine from high school made me realize that anyone with some passion can be a great photographer, when she started this blog...
Thanks Natalie for the inspiration and the great tips!
So I've been trying to improve my photography for this blog so that even if my dishes don't look anything like the picture in the cookbook, at least they look somewhat appetizing.  
I'm sure my neighbors think I'm crazy, carrying trays of food in different stages of being cooked, sliced, chopped, and stirred out to the front step in an attempt to get some natural light or which my basement kitchen has none.  But hopefully this extra effort has been making a difference, or else all my craziness and eating cold meals because of photo shoots gone too long, would be for naught. 
This curry is the first meal from this challenge that I knowingly repeated.  We had beef to use up and I saw this when searching for our weekly meals.  I remembered how much we both loved it so decided to repeat the meal and try to improve the pics.  I didn't take a ton of pics, because well, you have already seen this recipe.  But I did, I think, improve on those that I took the last time.  
Recipe and old pics can be found here.

So I don't get to put another X-mark in my cookbook, but sometimes life is about the small victories right??!  
Thanks so much for reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Melon Balls

(Warning there is a lot of discussion about melons and balls in this post) 

NO NOT THOSE kinds of melons and balls!  
GEEZ!  Get your minds out of the gutter! :)

Doesn't this melon ball salad look delicious?
In short, it was.  However, next time I wouldn't use such ripe cantaloupe, twas mushy.
Don't you hate that?
I can never tell when a melon is ripe...anyone have any tips?
In general the flavor combo was awesome.
I'm not a huge fan of mint, but it was very refreshing in this recipe and a great compliment to the salty sweet combination of the fruit and prosciutto. 
Try this one...I'm going to try it again once I learn how to tell a good melon from a bad one. 

Cantaloupe and Bocconcini Salad with Mint
1 ripe cantaloupe
8 oz bocconcini or fresh mozzarella cut into 1 inch cubes
2-3 thins slices ham or prosciutto cut into strips
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup torn mint leaves

Scoop the cantaloupe into 1 in balls with a melon baller; you should have about 3 cups.
Who needs a melon baller when you have a TBS. 

In a large bowl, combine cantaloupe balls, bocconcini
prosciutto, and lemon juice
Season with Salt and pepper.
Toss salad with the mint, and serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Logan Rating: ***

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Banh Mi

Are you running out to get the ingredients for this looker right now?
You saw the pic and you said "I have to have that"
I knew it!
This, ladies and gentlemen is a Vietnamese steak sandwich, AKA Banh Mi
and let me tell you it was delicious!
This is only one variation of the very versatile sandwich so beloved in the Vietnamese culture, as well as here in the USA.
We fell in love with the flavor combo immediately.
Cilantro, tangy dressing, fresh carrots crunchy bread and marinated steak.
If you aren't going to get these ingredients ASAP, you are making a huge mistake!
I highly recommend trying this version,
we are going to try some other variations...because I am convinced that the Vietnamese people know what they are doing in the kitchen.
I didn't use flank steak because I couldn't find one at the store that was less than 1.5 lbs and we cannot eat that much meat...after all there are only 2 of us people.
Also, my trusty grilling machine (aka Logan) accidentally overcooked the steaks.
The sandwiches were still delicious but I missed the extra tenderness of med-rare meat.

Flank Steak with Lime Marinade
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 T soy sauce
2 scallions thinly sliced
2 T minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs flank steak
vegetable oil for grates

In a resealable plastic bag, combine lime juice, soy sauce, scallions, ginger and red pepper flakes.  Add the steak and seal the bag.  Marinate the steak in the fridge for about 30 min.
Heat grill to high; lightly oil grates.  Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off.  Season with S&P.  Place on the grill; cover and cook turning once until meat has reached desired doneness, 6-8 min for med-rare.  Let steak rest before slicing for about 10 min.

Vietnamese Steak Sandwiches
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 T rice vinegar
2 carrots, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 hero rolls
1 lb sliced flank steak with lime marinade
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, and 1 T water. 
In another bowl, toss together the carrots,
and cilantro leaves.

Toss with half the vinegar mixture.
Split and lightly toast the hero rolls.
Layer the hero rolls with the carrot mixture and steak.
Drizzle with the remaining vinegar mixture, if desired.  (Highly recommended).
Serves 4.

Logan Rating: *****

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another Summer Salad

Although summer is coming to an end, I'm not quite ready to let it go.
So I am grilling and putting fresh fruit in salad as much as possible.
This salad was divine, absolutely perfect actually.
The watermelon added a nice crunch and sweet flavor, while the onion added a necessary bite.
The dressing is perfectly tangy and the feta adds that extra flavor layer...seriously one of the best salads ever, I could have eaten an entire plate of it.
I did end up using fresh lettuce from the garden instead of arugula...I bet the arugula would add the perfect bite to this salad though.
I served it with a terryaki pork chop, which was also great.
I love this pic, but I hadn't put the feta on I didn't want you all to miss out on that in the final product picture.
Anyway I hope you are all enjoying these dog days of summer.
Soon there will be snow on the ground and I will be slow cooking stews and baking in the oven again.

Watermelon and Feta Salad
2 T white wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
2 bunches arugula, washed and dried 
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs chilled seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into small chunks
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil; season with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine arugula and onion; toss with dressing to taste.  Add watermelon and feta and gently toss.
Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a starter salad.

Logan Rating: ****

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beef Stir Fry

You can't tell me that doesn't look good!
Not to mention what a quick and simple meal.
The only thing that takes time is cooking the rice.
But if you like the red boxed minute rice...then this meal won't take more than 20 min.
Nice way to end a weeknight.
Reminds me of the Mongolian beef from PF Changs...
Oh man now my mouth is watering.
I love that stuff.
Ok peeps, try this and let me know what you think.  

Beef and Scallion Stir-Fry
3/4 cup water
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T rice-wine vinegar
1 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
1 T plus 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 lbs flank steak, cut diagonally across the grain
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches scallions, trimmed, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 in thick, white and green parts separated 
cooked rice, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.
Heat 1 T oil in skillet over high.  Pat dry steak with paper towels.  In two batches, cook steak until lightly browned, turning once, about 2 min per batch.  Transfer meat to plate.
Add remaining oil to skillet along with garlic and white parts of scallions.
Cook, tossing often, until fragrant, about 1 min.  Whisk hoisin mixture to combine; add to pan along with scallion greens.
Return meat to pan; cook, tossing to coat steak with sauce, 1 min.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately over rice and sprinkled with more red pepper flakes, as desired.
Serves 4.

Logan Rating: ****

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Easy Steak Salad

This is a super easy and super delicious steak salad.
In the time that it takes you to grill the steak, BOOM this is done. 
Maybe "Boom" will be my signiture word
Emeril has "BAM", why can't I have BOOM!?!
I like it!
Anyway, seriously you guys have to try this salad.
The dressing is super easy, just stir together and BOOM...done.
Are you tired of that yet?
Too bad, I'm not...BOOM!
So stir dressing together, grill steak, throw together, toss, top with feta.
Hopefully you keep ready...I promise there will be less BOOMS in the future!

Flank Steak and Arugula Salad
1 cup salsa homemade or store bought
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 large bunches arugula washed and dried
1 lb cooked flank steak thinly sliced against the grain
1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Grill steak on med 5-8 min per side, depending on thickness and preferred doneness...that is not a word.
In a large bowl, whisk together salsa and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
Add arugula.
Toss to coat.
Divide among four plates; top with steak and goat cheese.
Serves 4.

Logan Rating: ****