MusingRI food, photography, musings

October 25, 2009

Julia meets Joy - Flank Steak, Brussels Sprouts & Fingerlings. Oh! & Apple Pie

Last night was one of those pure Fall, rainy, blowy nights - a picture perfect night for french onion soup or fondue. But we had flank steak, brussels, and fingerlings, for which it was also a perfect night!

Preheat oven to 400º
Coat potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, herbes de provence
On a cookie sheet, roast potatoes for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally

London Broil
The Joy of Cooking brief description on London Broil is simple preparation, simple cooking, and quick. 

2 lbs flank steak, seasoned with salt and pepper, rubbed with garlic (The Joy of Cooking's recommendation)
Let set covered for 20 minutes.
Julia's cooking method: 4-5 minutes in a hot pan, then flip for 3-4 minutes, rest for 5. Perfect outcome.

Brussels Sprouts
Luckily these take the exact same amount of time as the steak. Perfect timing means having a pot boiling, ready for the sprouts when the steak hits the pan. Boil 7-8 minutes. Drain, season with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Really, this is the cleanest purest dish I have made in awhile. olive oil, salt, pepper, repeat. Can you say Julia meets Joy?

Oh and Apple Pie
Preheat oven to 425º
1 frozen pie crust (clearly I have accepted that it does help occasionally to use pre-made)

3 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced and tossed in the mix below. Let it sit for 20 minutes, stir occasionally to incorporate.

3/4 cup sugar
2-3 TBS flour
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt

Spoon the apple mixture into the pie pan, dab with a little bit of butter across the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

What's in the Fridge - Chicken Penne with Lemon Padano Cream & Marinara

Hunger strikes with little left in the fridge...

2 halves chicken breast, cut into strips
vanilla toasted bread crumbs, with a little drizzle of vanilla extract
1 egg
Roasted Garlic Marinara (jarred)
Grana Padano, shaved
Parmesean, shaved
1% milk
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1/2 lb penne, slightly underdone (to finish in the oven)
1 lemon, sliced

Vanilla Chicken
It might sound terrible, but it adds complexity - the good kind. The vanilla toasted bread crumbs were left over from a dessert, I did not expect to notice the vanilla, but there's no denying it's presence. I might add a little cayenne next time...

Coat the chicken with flour, dip in egg and coat with vanilla bread crumbs
Pan fry chicken in olive oil, 3 minutes/side, keep warm in the oven.

Padano Cream Sauce
Sauté 3 cloves of garlic on medium heat, lowering to simmer 7-8 minutes
Add 2 TBS flour, stir and cook until color darkens (medium heat)
Gradually add 1 cup hot milk and blend
Add cheese, continue to stir as sauce thickens.
Season with salt and pepper (liberally)

You may need to keep this warm in the oven, I had to free up burners. If it gets too thick, just add a little milk and stir until incorporated.

Roasted Garlic Marinara
In a sauce pan, add extra chopped vegetables and/or cooked meats to olive oil. We had some leftover steak. Then add the 1/2 of a jarred sauce and stir to heat through.

The Dish
Preheat oven to 325º

Spoon penne and a light layer of sauce into the pan as the bottom layer
Drizzle with olive oil
Spoon another layer of penne, a light layer of sauce
Spoon cream sauce on top
Add chicken pieces
Top with any remaining cheese
Finish with lemon slices
Bake for 15 minutes, let stand for 5 minutes.

October 22, 2009

Restaurant City

I don't know what has come over me, I mean, I am NOT a gamer, never have been. The only games I truly have enjoyed are pac man, turbo and Adams Family pinball. I'm that much NOT a gamer that I include pinball in the list.

Restaurant City somehow has my almost undivided attention. As if it's not enough to manage my restaurant staff - keeping them fed and rested, my score keeps going up and they keep giving me more dining space. Then I have to decorate, now I don't have a large enough staff to accommodate the space, the patrons are p'od and tired of waiting. It is curious to me why the little diners (much like pac men) pee in one bathroom and sometimes wash their hands in another. Some little diners don't even wash their hands. How does the program determine who washes their hands and who doesn't?? Yesterday, reality got in the way and I didn't manage my staff as well. My rating dipped and I lost 1/2 of my second star - a terrible way to the end the day. My reward for checking in before bedtime? my first plot in the garden, of course they stiffed me 2000 points to plant a little seed. Now I need to check back and tend to watering that plot on top of tending to my tired and hungry staff! When will the novelty wear off??

October 20, 2009

Paper Chef #45 - Judgement

The added bonus of winning a Paper Chef challenge is the honor of judging the next competition. Last month's judge annointed my dish. My turn! This month's Paper Chef challenge was to drum up something different using the following ingredients: chicken, lentils, yams and green tea. What do you do with tea and chicken? lentils and yams?

As dubbed by Paper Chef's Mikey, "4 brave competitors" have stretched their creativity in the kitchen. Brave for certain ~ from the looks of it we would all enjoy a nice chicken dinner together! Worth a visit to see this month's Paper Chef entries. Who is the winner of this chicken dinner? Dale from Home on the Range won with extreme creativity. Her dish was Lentil Naan Filled with Chai-Spiced Tofu and Surna Koot  (spicy yam chutney). 

Job well done! I enjoyed walking through making lentil flour naan and grilled green tea chai tofu! Thank you for sharing your Indian spice substitutions as well.

I had to join in the fun - these are indeed perfect fall weather ingredients.
TEA TEA TEA! Tea infused chicken, tea broth to simmer the lentils and tea seasoned yams.

I'll admit my crispy yam strings didn't turn out as I had hoped - I burned 2 batches! What was I thinking? obviously not about how delicious they would be if crisped to perfection. Lesson learned, doing too many things at once - results in burnt chips. Nor did I get the shape I wanted - probably only achieved by deep frying and I was baking. Ideally, curly thin long strips is what I was after... Nonetheless:

Crispy Yam Strings
With a peeler, cut strips from one Yam
Spread these on a cookie sheet and add:
1 TBS canola oil
1 tsp green tea leaves
Salt to taste
Bake at 325º for about 15 minutes (please let me know how long it took you not to burn your crispy yam strings!)

Tea Spice Rub
1 TBS loose green tea leaves
1 TBS oriental 5 spice (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, ginger)
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS red chile flakes
1 tsp red chile powder

Tea Salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp green tea leaves
mix the above ingredients

Tea Broth
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chardonnay
1 TBS tea leaves

Lentils and Chicken
Preheat oven to 325º
Pat the rub onto your chicken and let sit overnight
1 split chicken breast (skin on)
3 chicken thighs
When ready to prepare the rest of the dish, rinse the rubbed chicken and pat dry.

Parboil 2 cups of french lentils for 20 mins and drain
Spoon lentils evenly into a casserole
Top with 1 thinly sliced yellow onion
Top with Tea Salt
Top with Chicken pieces and any remaining Tea Salt
Add Tea Broth
Cook in the oven for 60 minutes, let settle for 10 minutes or so before serving, top with crispy yam strings.

October 11, 2009

Chicken Piccata

Tangy, served over a light cheesy pappardelle.

3 split chicken breasts, pounded thin
Dredge in the following:

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt, pepper

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in pan, medium high heat, when melted add 1/2 TBS unsalted butter
Add the chicken in batches, turning when one side is brown, 2-3 minutes, keep warm in the oven
Add oil/butter if necessary, save the pan drippings for the sauce.

To the hot pan, add juice from 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 small container organic button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp Salt, pepper to taste, allow to simmer 8-10 minutes
Turn heat to low and let rest until ready to plate.
Just before plating, add 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley to the pan and stir.

Cheesy Pappardelle
Prepare pappardelle, and drain
In the same pan, add 1/4 cup milk and 1/2 TBS  butter (medium low)
Add 2 ounces Reggiano, grated and stir
Add noodles back into the pan and mix
Add 2 ounces Reggiano, stir
season with salt and pepper

Top with a chicken breast and 2 generous spoonfuls of sauce.

Cheddar Scones

I used to get these regularly en route to the Design Center in Boston. Rosie's Bakery in South Station was the more than occasional stop. It has been 10 years since I have had one, but I can still place the smell. Inspired by an old favorite...

Cheddar Scones
makes 15 scones

Pre-heat oven to 400º

Mix together:
2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp salt

1 TBS unsalted butter, chilled
3 ounces cheddar cheese
At this point, work the ingredients together with your hands, pinch the butter into the flour to really work it together.

then Add:
1/2 cup chopped green onions, mix
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
4 ounces sausage (or bacon, ham, linguica.....) cooked/browned
I used kielbasa, quartered - the pieces were a little big, however. I think cubed is the way to go.
Now that you have a heavy sticky mound of dough, on a floured surface, roll the dough with your hands back and forth to form a log, about 2" in diameter. Then slice into the log every 1.5".

Place on parchment paper, set apart from one another to allow room to grow.
Bake 20 minutes, let cool. server with butter, yum.

October 9, 2009

Orange Mustard Greens

A great alternative to spinach as a use, but I wouldn't say that it tastes like spinach. It's more of a tangy bitterness, a good pairing with citrus, orange in this case.

Orange Mustard Greens
30-40 mustard leaves
The leaves will need a good soak and rinse to clean. They seem to close naturally on their own as if to show me where to slice the stem out in one clean sweep.

1 TBS olive oil heated in the pan, medium heat
Add 1 clove of garlic, chopped, sauté 2 minutes
Add 2 TBS orange juice
Add salt
Add 1/2 of the mustard leaves
Stir until wilted, 3-4 minutes.
Remove greens from the pan, add second batch and a pinch of salt.
Add a splash of orange juice if needed, stir until wilted.

Makes 1 cup

I also added it to a linguine dish with walnuts, polish sausage, carmelized onions and pecorino. It would be good in so many things...

October 6, 2009

Paper Chef #45

Paper Chef is a monthly cooking challenge that caught my attention before I had a food blog and was just the encouragement I needed to get started. Cooks from all over the world check here for the month's featured ingredients, then submit their recipes 1 week later to be judged by the previous month's winner. Lucky me won last month with Ginger, Ricotta & Pumpkin Wontons (chocolate required!)

What a thrill to win the last challenge! Now it is my pleasure to announce October's challenge. There are 4 total ingredients - 3 from the Paper Chef plus 1 chosen by me. From the list of suggested ingredients: Lentils, Green Tea, and Chicken.

The random fourth: Yams!

There are so many varieties of each ingredient and subtleties of flavors in each - so many possibilities! I look forward to seeing your entries, and nobody loses points for swapping out the chicken for a vegetarian substitute.

You have until Tuesday midnight (where you live) to send your entry to paperchef@gmailcom . The roundup will be posted on Paper Chef (where you can also view the rules) and the winners will be announced first here and on Paper Chef.

Allez Cuisine!

October 5, 2009


makes 8 Samosas
Potato and Pea Filling
Prepare peas and potatoes:
1/2 cup green peas, simmered in 2TBS water, a little bit of butter
2 baking potatoes quartered in boiling water until tender, mash lightly with 1/4 cup milk.

Heat 2TBS canola oil, season with 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Add 1 jalapeno pepper, minced, sauté
Add mashed potatoes and peas
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Mix all the above, cook 8-10 minutes, add juice from 1/2 lemon, set aside to cool.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup water
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Mix all of the above until a firm dough, add water as needed. Divide into quarters and cover with a towel.

Roll the quarters into 6-8" discs, cut each into half moons for 8 semi-circles.
Wet the straight edge of a circle and roll into a funnel shape
Fill each funnel with 2TBS of potato/pea filling
Close the open edge by pressing the open ends together, seal with water

Fry in 1/4" canola oil - turning frequently for about 3-4 minues, 2 batches.
Drain on paper towels, serve with dipping sauce, cilantro mix or chutney.

Dipping Sauce
sauté 3 cloves of garlic, chopped in 1TBS canola oil
add 1" chopped ginger
Add 1/2 tsp chili sauce
1/4 cup wine vinegar
Add 3TBS brown sugar

Add 1 tsp kosher salt
Bring all the above to a simmer, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves, simmer 10-15 minutes.

Cilantro Mix
1 cup cilantro chopped
2 TBS mixed hot peppers, minced
1" ginger, minced
1 TBS rice wine vinegar

October 4, 2009

What's in the Fridge - Sausage Potato Crisp Lasagne

I have returned from a hearty work trip - long enough that there is little left in the fridge.
It's one of those things - I am happy to be home and prefer not to leave if I don't have to.
Plus it has been days since I have cooked anything although I enjoyed lots of Dallas good eats. The seafood enchiladas at Pappasittos and Sonny Bryans' pulled pork bbq sandwich and onion rings top the list if you're interested...

So what do we have? very little pasta and that is what I want of course. We are left with a measley 6 sheets of no-boil lasagne. But there is enough 'stuff' to make some interesting layered thing.

chicken sausage links
roasted/marinated peppers
vegetable broth
bread crumbs from last week's rustico
no-boil lasagne

Baked Hash Browns
Pre-heat an oiled cookie sheet at 300º
Shred 1 potato and add to the cookie sheet
Salt liberally, had fresh cracked pepper, olive oil and mix together.
Finally match the shape of the lasagne pan and bake 20 minutes, scoot a spatula around the edges occasionally, flip (virtually impossible) and bake 10 minutes longer. I just reassembled mine into the shape - the goal is crisp and brown in the general shape of the lasagne - tough to do without frying.

Walnut Tomato Sauce
Heat 1TBS olive oil over medium heat.
Add 3 garlic cloves, loosely chopped, 2-3 minutes
Add 2 carrots chopped, sauté until browned, 5-6 minutes, stir occasionally
Add 1 cup chopped walnuts and stir, heat 5 minutes
Add 1 cup vegetable broth,  2TBS sofrito, turn heat down and simmer 20 minutes
Salt/Pepper to taste, stir in 1TBS balsamic and set aside

Meanwhile, slice 2 links of sausage (1/2" pieces) and brown in a skillet

Sausage Potato Crisp Lasagne
Spread 2 TBS walnut tomato sauce in the pan
Add slices of provolone across in line with the noodles
Add sausage for first layer
Add marinated roasted peppers on top
Top with a little more sauce
Add more provolone slice, top with crispy hash browns
Final pasta layer topped with any leftover sauce, bread crumbs, provoloneBake for 35-40 minutes at 375º