Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thanks, Mama. (and you're welcome)

This past Mother's Day, I was unable to spend it with my mama, so I made her a belated Mama Day dinner tonight. Thanks to a good buddy of mine, I had a t-bone steak and some black garlic (which I've never used), so I decided to have a little fun with this meal for my mama.

I was pretty set on most of the dish (steak and salad), but I took on the additional task of making risotto since I needed a starch. Due to my obsession with Anthony Bourdain, this was what took most of my time because I was obsessed with getting just the right consistency where it spreads across your plate when you spoon it out. What did I learn? Risotto is still needy.

Spice rubbed steak salad with risotto

I used bright spices on the steak to try and balance the earthiness of the charred lettuce and steak. It was complemented really nicely by the pungent sweetness of the vinaigrette.
(I did a basic version of this risotto, except with just garlic and onion)

1 t-bone steak
1/2 tbsp whole coriander seed
1/2 tbsp whole fennel seed
1/2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tbsp pepper

1 head romaine heart
1 head black garlic
Rice vinegar
Vegetable oil

Take the steak out from the fridge and make sure it sits for at least 15 min before heating it. Preheat oven to 450. Place ovenproof skillet on medium high heat. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the spices together. Rub half on one side of the steak. When pan is hit, put steak seasoned side down and sear. Season the other half while it's down. After a few minutes (there should be nice caramelization) flip over and place in the oven. Cook in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and let rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from the bone and slicing.

While steak is cooking, prepare the dressing. Squeeze black garlic out and add a small squeeze of honey (about 1 tsp), small squeeze Sriracha to taste, splash rice wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Mash garlic with a whisk and start streaming oil in until it's a dressing like consistency.

Split the romaine heart in half. Heat grill Pan to high, and rub inside of lettuce with oil, salt and pepper. Grill cut side down until you get nice chat marks and lettuce is minimally wilted, about 2 minutes.

Slice avocado, serve with the charred lettuce, dressing, and sliced steak. Make mom happy. (Well, at least as much as you can without getting a husband and grandchild for her...)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife...I'M BACK

Thanks to the prodding of my co-workers, I'm back on the blogging bandwagon. This means you shall see pictures of food, likely accompanied by words about food after them. Some people refer to these as "recipes".

Since it's been a while, here's a photo of what I've been up recently, as well as my new obsession: random babies from the Internet in costume. You're welcome.

More to come...

Friday, March 13, 2009

midweek dericiousness

(sorry, kids...i've been slacking on the blogging. i know, i know. i'll be better, i promise!)

i was very disappointed to learn that there was no new lost this past week, but this was NO reason to not have a delicious midweek meal. jim was coming over for dinner, so it of course had to be something uber healthy. kiran was eating too, though, so it had to be something deceptively healthy. my solution?

turkey burger paninis & grilled asparagus
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (i used 99% lean for jimbo)
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 whole garlic loaf (or any loaf of bread), sliced into 16 slices
8 slices muenster cheese, each slice cut in half
1 bunch asparagus
4 tbsp olive oil
nonstick spray
1 lemon

put 2 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan over medium low heat. warm the oil for a minute, then place the onion in the pan. sweat them and toss around in the pan occasionally until all the slices are covered in the oil, then pop a tightly fitting lid on it and lower the flame. allow it to caramelize while preparing the turkey meat, checking on it occasionally and stirring. when the onions are soft and a light brownish color (about 15 minutes), add the balsamic vinegar and pepper to taste and stir into the onions. set aside.

preheat a grill pan over a medium high flame. combine the turkey meat, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, dijon mustard, and some salt & pepper. score the meat with your hand into 4 equal sections, then divide each section into 2 for 8 small patties. spray your grill pan with nonstick spray. form each patty to fit the shape of your sliced loaf and place on the grill. since they are small, they will only take about 2 minutes per side. in the meantime, set up an assembly line with your slices of bread, cheese on each piece and caramelized onion on each sandwich. once the turkey patties are cooked through, your assembly should look like this:

1/2 slice muenster cheese
caramelized onion
turkey patty
1/2 slice muenster cheese

use one side of the grill pan to grill and press the sandwiches to melt the cheese and toast the bread while you prepare the asparagus on the other side (or use a panini press and use the grill for the asparagus). the bread should have nice grill marks on both sides and the cheese should be slightly melty to bind the whole sandwich together.

while you're grilling the sandwiches, prepare the asparagus. toss with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on the grill for about 5-6 minutes while you grill the sandwiches on one half. when they're done grilling, squeeze the lemon juice on top and there you go...the perfect side dish to a healthy sandwich!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

man, risotto is needy

there are many things that i have yet to make. most of these things are either labor intensive or take way too long. examples: a whole turkey, fresh pasta, and until last night, risotto.

i bought a pack of arborio rice at the store about a month ago, thinking that i would take a stab at it one night when i had some extra time. unfortunately, i didn't get that extra time until a month after it was purchased, but no matter. it was all good. i still had some leftover homemade stock, so i decided that this would be a great way to use it. since i'm still on my "don't be a fatass" plan, i was looking for a way to make it with minimal amounts of (read: no) cheese. also, i didn't have any cheese left in my place and was too lazy to go to the store to get any.

surprisingly, the risotto didn't even need the cheese! it still turned out super creamy and delicious. i added lots of pepper and some lemon juice to cut the extra richness of it and came up with something that i will definitely make again. it's even healthy, so you don't have to feel guilty eating it! guilt free risotto - i think my life is complete. if you decide to make this (which i recommend), just make sure you have a good book to read while you're stirring, because you will be hovering above your stove for at least 30 minutes making sure your risotto is cooked just right. (it sounds like a nightmare boyfriend.)

i've named this risotto in honor of the book i was reading:

harry potter's risotto of secrets (and by secrets, i mean it has no cheese!!!)
4-6 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of arborio rice
1 bundle of asparagus, tough stems removed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 lemon
salt & pepper

pour the stock into a pot and bring it up to a low simmer. keep it heated throughout the process, but don't let it go crazy boiling.

in a deep pan (i used my deep skillet), heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. add the garlic and onions and sweat them, being careful so they don't start browning. if they do, knock back the heat. when the onions are translucent, add the rice and coat in the oil. cook for 1-2 minutes, until the rice is lightly toasted.

once the rice is toasted, add 1/2 a cup of the heated stock. stir the stock into the rice and continue stirring until the stock is absorbed. when all the liquid has been absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of stock and the asparagus. remember the stir the rice frequently. (if you don't...i'm not sure what will happen, but i bet it won't be as good as mine. so listen!) once the liquid is absorbed, add another 1/2 cup of stock. repeat until the risotto is a nice, creamy consistency. it will take between 30-45 minutes. about halfway through the process, add the artichoke hearts & season the mixture with salt & a good amount of pepper. when the risotto is about ready, add the carrots and zest & juice of the lemon. test the seasonings and see if it needs more salt & pepper.

enjoy the healthy, creamy goodness!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

fiesta in a bowl!

our good friends asion and jason decided to take over heroes/dinner party night. asion made the one thing he says he makes well: cheesy chicken empanadas, courtesy of paula deen. jason, who never disappoints, made some awesome mushroom dip stuff. kiran made some bombin' 7 layer dip (actually, 6 layers because she omitted the beans). i was brainstorming at work (because i think about food ALL day) and realized that i still had a ton of homemade chicken stock to use up from my roasted chicken last week. what makes more sense that chicken tortilla soup? nothing, i say!

this was my first attempt at making chicken tortilla soup. i browsed a few recipes and this is what i came up with based on what i had in my kitchen on monday. it was slightly spicy with a nice consistency that was a bit thicker than broth (but not too much) and had the tasty sweet pop of corn and roasted red peppers going throughout the soup. sooooo good!

chicken tortilla soup
2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced
1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup corn (frozen or canned - i used frozen)
1 can black beans
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
crushed tortilla chips
chopped cilantro, chopped red onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese for garnish

heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. after a minute, add the diced chicken and brown. after about 5 minutes, add in the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook the veggies with the meat for about 4 minutes, until the onions start to get translucent. add in all the spices and the tomato paste and mix in until the spices and paste are fragrant (about 2 minutes). then add in the chicken stock and the tomatoes, with their juices. break the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon in the pot. allow it to come up to a boil, then knock it back to a nice simmer. (SIMMA DOWN NOW!) add in the corn, black beans, and roasted red peppers. be sure to get all the starchy bean juices out of the can and into the pot as well. this will help the soup thicken up a little bit. simmer the soup for an additional 6-7 minutes.

put some crushed tortilla chips at the bottom of a bowl and ladle the soup on top. serve with any of the garnishes listed above, and you have yourself a mighty tasty bowl o' soup!


as you can see, it looks a little bit different around here. thanks, cmoore! in honor of the new look, i'm dedicating a song to her by one of my favorite groups ever - flight of the conchords!

this is for you, cmoore!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

chicken showdown

our monday night heroes sessions has turned into a weekly potluck party. with the addition of my friends asion and jason (chocolate!), we've been able to make our pre-heroes meal a scrump-diddly-upmtious spread. with so many people, i decided the easiest main course would be roast chicken. being the good korean girl i am, i made 2 roast chickens since running out of food is the worst thing that can happen in a host(ess)'s night.

zuni's style on the left, same-day prep on the right

for one of the chickens, i prepared it the same day - rinsed, dried, then rubbed down with oil and herbs. for the other chicken, i was excited to prepare it in a way i had read about on smitten kitchen. for this one, i had to season the chicken a couple days before and let it hang out in the fridge until monday, when i roasted it. between the two, the one i salted 2 days before was definitely tastier. the skin was super crisp and golden brown, and the meat was incredibly moist. on smitten kitchen, they advise you to use a smaller bird (3 to 3 1/2 lbs), but i used a 4 1/2 lb bird and it was fine (i just had to cook it a little bit longer). the same-day prep was still really good, but the clear winner in this battle of the pre-prepped (zuni style - that's the restaurant it came from) chicken. extra bonus? you don't need to use any additional oil in the zuni-style chicken, so all the flavor comes from the chicken itself. oh snap!

i've included simplified versions of each recipe below. super easy, i promise!

zuni's style chicken (2 days before prep)

zuni's style chicken (simplified)
1 roast chicken, between 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 lbs
salt & pepper
4 sprigs of rosemary
baby red potatoes

start your prep at least 2 days before you roast the bird. rinse the bird, inside and out, and dry it very well. this will probably be the part that takes you the longest because that bad boy likes to hide water all over the place. drying it well is extremely important in this preparation, so make sure you do it well!

after the bird is dried, season the outside all over with salt & pepper, seasoning the thicker parts of the bird more liberally than the skinny parts such as the ankles. season the cavity of the bird a bit, but you don't have to go crazy. take the sprigs of rosemary and put one each between the skin and meat of the bird on the thickest part of the thigh and on the breasts. to do this, just slip your finger between the skin and meat and loosen it so you can put the herb in. then cover the bird on a platter and stick it in the fridge.

on game day, take the chicken out of the fridge. preheat the oven to 475. over a medium flame, preheat a large skillet until it is nice and hot. dry the bird off again, then put into the skillet, breast side up. it should sizzle when you put it in. once it's in the pan, put it in the oven and let it go for about 25 minutes. it should be browning already. at this point, flip the bird over (it shouldn't stick if you preheated the skillet and dried the chicken) and put some potatoes in around the side of the skillet so they can roast in the chicken drippings. oooooh yeah.

let the chicken cook for another 30-35 minutes, until the leg moves easily when you wiggle it around. flip over the bird one more time during the last 5 minutes of cooking. take the chicken out and let it rest on a cutting board for 10-15 minutes before you cut it up. serve with the potatoes. YUUUUMMMM!!!

close-up of zuni's style chicken

same-day prep bird

procrastination bird (or same-day prepped bird)
1 roast chicken, between 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 lbs
salt & pepper
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
4 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
baby red potatoes
2 small onions (or 1 large onion), chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 lemon

preheat oven to 475. rinse the chicken, inside and out, and dry thoroughly. cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the whole chicken. season the bird (inside and out) with salt and pepper and the chopped rosemary. drizzle the oil over the bird and rub it down.

put the juiced lemon halves inside the bird. stuff the bird with a mixture of the celery, carrots, and onions (as much will fit). you can scatter the remainder in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan along with the potatoes. nestle the chicken on top of the veggies and roast in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. flip the chicken over and roast an additional 25 minutes, then flip over for the last 5 minutes of cooking to re-crisp the skin. let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes, then cut it up and serve with the roast veggies. oh yeeeeeeah.

close-up of same-day prep