Thursday, June 28, 2012

Southwestern Noodles

We struggled on what to call this recipe. This is actually just thrown together based off of what is in our pantry most of the time. We only used one pot, which was a nice change of pace for us. We're going to add this to our "week-night meals that don't stink" list.

Here's what you need:
1 lb ground beef (you can substitute ground turkey, chicken or venison)
1 stalk of green garlic (or 1 shallot and 1 clove garlic)
1 can diced tomatoes (get the low-sodium ones!)
1 small can of green chiles
1 can black beans
about 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
about 1/2 cup of light sour cream
Zest & Juice of 1 lime
1/2 box of penne 
Kosher salt & black pepper

Here's what you do:
Start your water boiling for your pasta. Whenever you get to a boil, drop the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Start by browning your ground beef completely in a 12" skillet. 

While that's browning, slice up your green garlic, or garlic/shallot.

Add that to the pan with the browned beef.

Drain your can of tomatoes and add those to the mixture.

Next, add the green chiles.

Rinse your black beans, and dump them into the skillet as well.

Now, add the cumin. We were very precise with the measuring, as you can see.

Let that cook together until your pasta is ready, then dump the pasta in and give it a stir. Be careful, because your pan is going to be quite full at this point.

Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. Right now, you're just letting all of the flavors combine.

Once that's done, pour into a large bowl, and add the sour cream, lime zest, and lime juice.

Mix to combine everything.

There you have it. This whole process took about 30 minutes.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Breakfast Hash

Well, we're back. Sorry for the extended absence. We've been VERY busy lately. Why is it summers are always so crazy?

Here's a simple one for you today. Zack threw this together for breakfast the other day. It was really tasty for an impromptu brunch. It's possible we weren't awake enough when this meal was made to remember to snap some pictures. 

Here's what you need:
4-5 potatoes, diced (we used Yukon Gold. If you're using a baking potato, remove the skins first) (Or, if you want to go the easier route, buy the pre-cut hash browns)
2 scallions, sliced on the bias
4 eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Here's what you do:
Start by cooking your potatoes in a little bit of olive oil. Use a 12 inch skillet, it will make things easier. 

Salt and pepper the potatoes to your liking. You want the potatoes to get crispy on the outside, and soften on the inside. This may take up to 10 minutes to fry them. After the potatoes get a bit crispy on the outside, we cover with a lid to help steam them. It will cook the inside of the potato faster.

Meanwhile, beat 4 eggs thoroughly (like you would for scrambled eggs).

Once your potatoes are fork tender, pour the eggs into the skillet. Next, add the scallions. Stir this mixture a bit to help cook the eggs, but don't over mix. You mostly want to let this hang out and cook on its own.

Finally, eat.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Alright, soup is probably not the first thing that crosses your mind when the temperature is nearing 100 degrees outside. That being said, we wanted to do something different with the beautiful sweet corn we picked up at the store, so we crafted a delicious corn chowder.

We based this off of Ina Garten's recipe. Ina's never led us down the wrong path in the past, and she didn't this time either. We halved the recipe, though, because it makes a TON!

You could easily make this a vegetarian chowder by taking the bacon out altogether and swapping the chicken stock for vegetable stock.

Here's what you need:
3 strips of bacon (omit this step if making vegetarian)
2 large onions
1/8 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock (vegetable stock if making vegetarian)
1 lb boiling potatoes, skin on
5 ears of fresh corn (or 1 1/2 lb frozen corn)
1 cup half and half
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we used medium cheddar, but you can use what you want)

Here's what you do:
Start by dicing your onion.

We also cleaned and diced our potatoes at the beginning, so we had less to do later.

Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat.

Cook the bacon until crispy, then set aside. If you're making the vegetarian version of this dish, just start by cooking the onions with the butter in the olive oil.

Reduce the heat to medium, then add the onions and butter.

Let the onions cook for about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, boil water for your corn and salt well.

Slice the corn off the cob.

Blanche the corn in the boiling water for about three minutes. If you're using frozen corn, you don't need to boil it.

Drain the corn and set aside.

When your onions have become translucent, like this:

Add the flour, tumeric, salt and pepper to the pot.

Give it a good stir and let the mixture cook for about 3 minutes. This will take the raw flour taste out of your chowder.

Once your roux is cooked, add the chicken stock. (Vegetable stock for vegetarian).

And, add the potatoes.

Return the heat to medium high or high and bring to a boil. Let boil for 15 minutes, or until your potatoes are tender.

Once your potatoes are tender, reduce the heat back to medium and add the corn.

Add the cream.

And finally, add the cheese.

Stir everything to combine it and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

While the cheese was melting and the chowder is coming together, we whipped up a garnish by crumbling the bacon, adding diced avocado, and some cilantro.

Serve hot.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Turnip Puree

While we were shopping for our duck, we decided that in lieu of mashed potatoes, we wanted to try our hand at a turnip puree. Turnips are tasty. And, just as simple, if not easier than mashed potatoes. 

Here's what you need:
4-5 medium turnips (or 3 large ones)
2 cups milk (enough to just about cover the turnips in the pot)
3-4 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 stick of butter, cut into tablespoons
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Here's what you do:
Start by peeling your turnips and chopping into 1" pieces.

Throw all of the turnips in a sauce pot over medium heat and pour in milk until the turnips are just about covered. We didn't really measure it, so just eyeball it.

Add the thyme sprigs and smashed garlic.

Cover, but not completely. You want some of the steam to be able to escape. Bring that up to a simmer - not a boil. Let it gently simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the turnips are fork tender.

Once they're tender, remove the turnips and put in a mixing bowl. Don't pour out the cooking liquid yet! You'll need some of it to loosen the puree to your liking. Add the butter to the bowl with the turnips, and add milk from the cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

We started by mixing this up in our stand mixer, but ended up buzzing it up with our immersion blender. You could also use a food processor.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roasted Duck with Honey Soy Glaze and Red Wine Reduction


We got adventurous one day and decided to try our hand at roasted duck. It was quite an experience. You see, duck, by nature, has a large amount of fat, so you have to cook it at a high temperature to render out the fat and to crisp up the skin. It sizzles in the oven the entire time. Our dog was not a fan of the noise coming from our kitchen.

We will probably never make a duck at home again. The terrified look on our dog, Olive's face was enough, but also, duck fat splatters... a lot... all over the inside of our oven. Yes, we have a self-cleaning oven, but cleaning the roasting pan alone was an adventure. That being said, the duck turned out beautifully, even if the skin didn't get as crispy as we'd hoped. Zack did most of the cooking on this one while Michelle threw together the turnip puree we paired it with. That post will be coming in a couple of days.

We based our duck adventure off of Alex Guernaschelli's Whole Duck with Green Peppercorn Glaze, but we changed a couple of things - like we didn't include green peppercorns at all

Here's what you need:
1 5 1/2 lb duck
Kosher salt
6 cups water
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1/3 cup honey, plus 1/4 cup
1/4 white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp dry Marsala

Here's what you do:
Defrost your duck up to a week ahead of time. Remove the innards and save for another day. You can make a nice broth with them. Wash your duck thoroughly and place in a dish in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it.

Move your oven rack to the center of the oven and pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees.

If there are any loose pockets of fat, remove them and discard. Season the inside of the duck with kosher salt.

In a large pot, combine the water, 3/4 cup of low-sodium soy sauce and 1/3 cup honey and place over low heat. Bring to a simmer. 

Pat the duck dry with paper towels.

Submerge the duck, breast side down. Let your ducky hang out for about 30 seconds. 

Then, give him a flip.

Remove the duck and place breast side down on the roasting rack.

Put your duck in the oven and turn the heat down to 400 degrees. Roast, breast side down for 20-25 minutes.

After about 20 minutes, remove the roasting pan from the oven and flip the duck over. Baste with the fat drippings at the bottom of the roasting pan.

You'll need to cook the duck for 15 minutes per pound of bird, which worked out to about an hour more for us.

About twenty minutes before you're ready to pull your duck from the oven, start your wine reducing in a small sauce pan. We started with about a cup of wine, since there are only two of us.

Now, get started on your glaze. 

Combine the white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of low-sodium soy, 1/4 cup of honey and Marsala in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil.

Once you have a rolling boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, letting the mixture reduce.

Just let that glaze hang out and reduce until your bird is ready.

Once your bird is cooked, move to a cutting board with a drip ring and pour the glaze over the top.

We did this on a cutting board with a ridge around the edge to try to catch the drippings. Speaking from experience, you'll want to put a cookie sheet under that to stop the overflow of glaze that will run out.

We just removed the breast meat for this meal and saved the rest of the duck for leftovers.

Your wine should have reduced by half. If this process happens faster than 20 minutes for you, just turn the heat down to low.

Now, plate everything and drizzle the reduced wine over the top.