Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fishy Business 2: Salmon and Rice Burritos

Fish tacos. 

... don't sound very good.  But everyone says they are.  Something to try?  I think so!  Cept we had leftover rice from last night's Thai Chili Glazed Salmon and Spanish Rice Pilaf, so we changed it up a bit and made burritos instead. And served em up street food style in our little blue baskets!

Also, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to make this a somewhat more useful blog, by trying to post more recipes and less "Hey look at pictures of the awesome food we make and be jealous" sort of posts... So if you have any requests for recipes or suggestions for how to improve the blog or recipes, let me know!

Salmon and Rice Burritos

1 Salmon fillet
2 oz (1/4 cup) Lime Juice
6 oz (3/4 cup) Water
Cilantro (to taste)
1 t Kosher Salt
Grapeseed Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh pico de gallo (recipe below)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (we used reduced fat)
Hot sauce (optional)
Cut salmon fillet into two pieces.  Combine lime juice, water, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Pour over raw fish and put in refrigerator to marinate for about half an hour. (The fish will start to whiten on the outside, but shouldn't "cook" completely with the acid.)
Just before you pull the fish out of the marinade is a good time to steam tortillas if you're going to do that. (We did, and trust me, it's easy and AWESOME.) To do this, dampen (don't soak!) a clean tea towel.  Stack tortillas in the center of the towel and roll up GENTLY.  Put the towel bundle into the basket of a standard vegetable steamer and set to steam for 10 minutes.
After half an hour, remove fish from marinade, blot off excess marinade with clean paper towel, coat lightly with grapeseed oil, rub on salt and pepper to taste (I used a "medium" amount of each), and sear 30 seconds on each side.  Transfer to a 400 degree oven for 5-6 minutes until done. Remove from heat.
Remove tortillas from the steamer and unroll (if you're prepping one at a time, take out one tortilla and gently roll the others back up in the towel to keep them warm).  To each tortilla, add rice, fish, pico, cheddar, and hot sauce. To roll up burrito style (not like in the picture...), fold in the two "short" ends first, then fold the two long sides over the filling and close.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
3 roma tomatoes
1/2 red pepper
1 small shallot
2 green onions
2-3 cloves garlic
Cilantro, Salt, and Pepper to taste
1 jalapeno (optional)
Dice/Mince all ingredients and combine.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
Happy Cooking!

Fishy Business 1: Thai Glazed Salmon

Yeah... original title, huh?  oh well.  It made me smile.

So this weekend's ingredient of choice was Salmon fillet. Dante has been wanting to try making a Thai Chili Glazed Salmon like the one he gets at Harvey's, so we picked up a couple fillets Friday (after waiting in line FOR-E-VER.  Stupid Labor day lines...)

Friday's dinner was Dante's Thai Chili Glazed Salmon.  Which he says tastes a lot like Harvey's, so... WIN!

Dante's Thai Glazed Salmon
Salmon Fillet
Thai Chili Glaze (we used Thai Kitchen brand)
Sea Salt
Grapeseed Oil
Jalapenos and Green onions for garnish

Coat the salmon lightly with grapeseed oil (or other high smoke point oil).  Rub on salt and pepper to taste, then drop into preheated cast iron pan (on high heat).  Sear without moving for 30 seconds on each side, then move to a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn the oven up to broil.  Brush on Thai chili glaze and put pan under the broiler for approximately two minutes.  Remove from heat, top with jalapenos and green onions, and serve with Spanish Rice Pilaf.

Spanish Rice Pilaf

(Modification of Alton Brown's Rice Pilaf)

1 T Olive or Grapeseed Oil
1/2 Red Onion, diced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Red Pepper, diced
2 cups Long Grain White Rice
2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 t Cilantro (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350.  Put oil in bottom of large pot/saucier (use an oven safe pot/pan with a lid).  Add onions and start to sautee.  When onions begin to soften, add garlic and red pepper.  Continue to sautee another 2-3 minutes.  Add the (dry) rice and stir, cooking for 3-5 minutes (it should just start to smell "nutty", per Alton).  Add chicken broth and seasoning and stir.  Do NOT add tomatoes or green onion.  Completely moisten a clean tea towel and drape over the top of the pot.  Put the lid on over the towel and wrap the corners of the towel up over the lid.  (The towel helps reduce condensation on the lid of the pan and moistening it first helps prevent it- the towel- from burning!)  Bake 15 minutes at 350.  Remove from oven and let sit WITHOUT REMOVING LID for an additional 15 minutes.  Uncover and gently stir in tomatoes and onions.

 Well, hopefully that all makes sense, feel free to comment or email me with any questions!  I definitely recommend you try both of these recipes!

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Steak Mania!

Hmm, so I don't know how to place pics where I want them in the post on my phone, and I'm updating from my phone cuz it's been way too long since our last post. This week's post is brought to you by STEAK. Juicy, red, flavorful, awesome steak.  For reals, this is good eats, folks.

So we finally broke down and bought a cast iron skillet yesterday to cook up the highland beef strip steaks we got at the farmer's market this weekend.  We sat down like good little culinary students and watched the Good Eats episode about steak (Steak Your Claim: season 1, episode 1).  Then we went out, put our new pan in the 500 degree oven, got it piping hot, moved it to the burner on high heat, got our steaks ready with some oil, salt, and pepper, popped the steaks into the super hot pan...and found out how quickly we can fill an entire apt with smoke. I kid you not. PLUMES of smoke billowing out of the pan the instant we put the meat in. Apt filled in less than 60 seconds. And it turns out our kitten REALLY doesn't like smoke. She hid behind the elliptical meowing pathetically until I locked both cats in the bathroom and opened every window in the apt and disabled all the smoke detectors.  Fortunately that worked, the fire dept WASN'T called, and the apt cleared out in half an hour or so. In the meantime, we enjoyed some AMAZING steak. Despite all the smoke it turned out really well. Dante seared his for 30 seconds on each side then put it in the oven for two minutes per side. Currently the second pic in the lineup at the end of the post, like I said, not sure how that's working on my phone. For mine, given the smoke insanity, we opted to just put it in the hot pan in the oven.  It still turned out really well.  Just no crust. Oh, and we had them with baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar, bacon bits, and green onion.  No sauce on the steak. Didn't need it.

Tonight, Dante wanted to try again with a less glamorous cut of meat to see if it was just the really good beef that was to credit for the amazingness of the dinner.  I, I will freely admit, was a little nervous about the whole idea after the smoke debacle of last night. So... we went to the store, picked up some loin ball tip steaks (very cheap and relatively lean cut of meat), and some GRAPESEED OIL!  Grapeseed oil, unlike vegetable oil, has a very high smoke point, which is good for high heat cooking.  We also used less oil and slightly lower pan temp, and it worked amazingly. No billows of smoke.  There was smoke, but it was a manageable amount.  Dante's were again two minute rare (very good, very tender, a little rare for my taste). Mine was three minutes per side in the oven and came out a beautiful medium, and despite being a cheap cut, they were once again mouth-wateringly amazing.  Tonight with sauteed mushrooms with wolf moon garlic and shallot and a side of smashed yukon gold potatoes with garlic, shallot, and asiago cheese.

So... live long, prosper, and eat more steak!

Happy cooking!

Monday, July 9, 2012

BBQ Bean Quesaritos

Yup.  BBQ Bean Quesaritos.  Nifty, huh?

Basically, I was hungry when I got back from a walk, watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on Food Network, thought the BBQ Chicken Quesadillas looked good, one thing led to another, and ... well... these happened.  But apparently they were a hit, cuz I gave Dante a bite of mine and he immediately asked "Can you make me one!?"  So, score one for improvising!  Pics will have to come later, since I wasn't sure how mine would turn out and I forgot to snap a shot when I made Dante's.

1 can Great Northern Beans WITH liquid
~2 Tbsp Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce
~1/2 tsp Weber Kick'n Chicken Seasoning
~1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
~1/2 tsp Onion Powder
Dash Kosher Salt

1 Med. Flour Tortilla
1/2 cup beans (above)
~1/2 cup spinach
~1 oz Fontina Cheese, shredded

1. Fold tortilla in half.
2. Sprinkle one side with the Fontina cheese.
3. Place open tortilla into a hot pan (sprayed with nonstick spray).
4. Spoon beans on top of cheese.
5. Add spinach on top of beans.
6. Fold tortilla over on top of filling.
7. Cook until lightly browned/crispy on one side.
8. Flip and cook until lightly browned and crispy on second side.
9. Transfer to plate and top with extra juice from beans.

Happy cooking!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The best chowder ever... and a darn good grilled cheese!

So, still behind.  Always behind.  le sigh.  BUT... Catching up!

A while back, despite the beautiful weather, a creamy chicken soup sounded good.  And if I remember correctly, the weather actually cooperated and cooled down a bit the day we made it.  Thanks, Mother Nature! (This was at the end of May, not terribly recently.)

A lot of this was "What do we have in the kitchen that would be good in this soup?"  But I was really REALLY happy with how it turned out.  It was DELICIOUS.  But it took us a while to figure out what to call it, so we're settling on "Earthy Chicken Chowder" for now.  If you make it and come up with something better, comment and let us know! (Also, not the best picture, but believe me, it tastes better than it looks.)

Earthy Chicken Chowder

3 Chicken Breasts
8-10 c. Water
4 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 Potatoes, Cubed
2 Carrots, Chopped
3 Stalks Celery, Chopped
3-4 Cloves Crushed Garlic
1/3 c. Green Onions, chopped
1-2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 c. Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 large sprig Rosemary
1 pkg Dried Wild Mushroom Mix
1 T. Black Truffle Pieces in Oil
2 c. Fat Free Half and Half
1/4 c. Rosemary Asiago, shredded
4 T. Butter
1/4 c. Flour
1/2 c. Fat Free Half and Half (Yes, it's here twice on purpose!)
Salt and Pepper to Taste 
(1 T. Onion Powder)

  1. Boil chicken in large pot.  Remove from water and dice. 
  2. Put dried mushrooms and 1 cup of the water the chicken was cooked in into a bowl to soak.
  3. Boil remaining broth to reduce to 4-6 cups.
  4. Add bouillon and potatoes.
  5. In skillet, sautee carrots, celery, onions, and garlic in olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter with salt.
  6. Chop soaked mushrooms and add to soup.
  7. Add sauteed vegetables, rosemary, parsley, truffles, and any other seasonings you desire (we added onion powder) and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add half and half and asiago.
  9. In a small pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter.  When melted, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes.  Add 1/2 c. Half and Half while stirring.
  10. Add roux (flour mixture) to the large pot and stir in. 
  11. Add chicken meat.
  12. Remove rosemary stem (needles will have cooked off into the soup).
  13. Warm through and serve.
SOOOoooooo worth making.  Really.  Would I lead you astray?

We had ours, as you might have noticed from the images above, with grilled cheese.  Cept our grilled cheese had a roquefort parsley butter (to be explained in a later post by Dante), Swiss cheese, and Morel and Leek Jack cheese.  It was a little rich, but very good.  Especially dipped in the soup.

So... there's an actual recipe for you to make up for not posting for so long!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Anniversary Dinner

Dante cooked this awesome dinner for me for our anniversary.  Cuz he's awesome like that.

On the left are yukon gold potatoes cooked in a foil packet in the oven with butter and olive oil and topped with rosemary asiago cheese.  On the right is chicken stuffed with red pepper and smoked gouda, topped with bacon, creme fraiche and caviar.  It was an awesome dish, although I have since decided that creme fraiche is not my favorite. (Which Dante thinks means I didn't like dinner at all.  not true.  dinner was AMAZING).

We followed this up with a really tasty crumb-topped pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company.  Mmmmmmmm.

Edit: This is our 50th blog post!  YAY!! Go us!
Happy cooking!

Orange Chicken

This is one of Dante's creations.  And it is TASTY.  And super easy to make!

Basically, we had some oranges to use up, and this is what he came up with.  He cubed up some raw chicken, dipped it in beaten eggs then rolled it in crushed Club crackers mixed with chicken seasoning from Frankenmuth.  He fried these up in some oil on the stove to get a nice crust on them, then put them in the oven to finish off the chicken, which wasn't quite cooked through yet. 

For the sauce, he squeezed the juice from half a bag or so of oranges and cooked it down on the stove with garlic, onion, ginger, tarragon, coriander, allspice, kosher salt, and a bit of cayenne pepper.  It wasn't thickening as much as he wanted, so he added a little bit of powdered gelatin and cooked it a little longer.  This was drizzled over the finished chicken, rice, and a little bit of crumbled bacon.

Alton's Galette

Yup.  Alton Brown again.  He MAY be one of our favorite Food Network personalities.  Oh who am I kidding, he is Mr. Food Network.

At any rate, in Season 2 of Good Eats, he makes a galette, which is a free-form pie.  We decided it looked and sounded WAY too good to not make.  So.... We made it.  But with Apples and mixed berries rather than pears and blueberries.  It was truly GOOD EATS.  And, as promised, had a tender AND flaky crust.  Easily the best pie crust I've ever made, if not exactly low fat...

This was also super easy to make.  I highly recommend you try it, and here's the recipe if you want to make one up for yourself! 

Happy Cooking!

The English Inn

Thanks Grandma!!

My Awesome Grandmother, as a stupendous thank you gift for our help with events for her business, Fresh is Best (Go check it out!), got us a gift certificate to the English Inn in Eaton Rapids.  For us wannabe foodies, that was pretty awesome.  It took us a while to actually get down there to use it, but we decided it would make for a GREAT anniversary dinner.  And we were right! ;-)

We didn't actually take any pictures of our own, cuz it seemed a little tacky for the elegant dinner.  Maybe next time!  In the meantime, I'll link to a couple external images.

This is the building (a photo by Anne Ruthmann that I found via Google Image Search and am borrowing for the purposes of showing you where we were).

This is the room in which we were seated.  Very adorable, in my opinion.  We were seated right in front of the fireplace, which, being May, wasn't on, but was still quite pretty.  (I think it's actually the table in the lower righthand corner of the image, which is from the English Inn Website).

We started off with two appetizers: a Smoked Salmon Crostini, which had tomato and basil, and a Baked Brie with strawberries, crackers, etc.  Both were AMAZING, although the crostini actually had a tad too much basil for my taste. 

For dinner, Dante had Braised Duck with saffron risotto and seasonal vegetables.  When asked for comments, he says "It was DELICIOUS".  I agree.  lol.  He did then elaborate, saying "Each of the parts was basically what you would expect, but the best thing was eating them all together."  The risotto was creamy and the duck was amazing, and it was all around just awesome. (I'm noticing a very complementary theme here.... lol).  Unfortunately, they haven't updated their online menu to include this dish, or I might have a few more details for you.

My dinner was the Pork Gratinee, which IS on the online menu.  It is described as "Grilled bone in chop, caramelized onion, gruyere cheese, port wine reduction, daily vegetable, crisp polenta cake".  It was more than amazing, and like Dante's Duck, best when eaten together with the pork and some onion on a piece of the crispy polenta cakes.

By the time we got to dessert, we were both full, but there was NO way we were leaving without trying at least one dessert.  Unfortunately, we were a little too full to try more than one, so we opted for the lightest and most unique dessert on the tray, a white chocolate mango mousse.  It was very light and smooth, and a perfect end to our awesome dinner.

So in summary..... amazing food.  Thanks again, Grandma!

Cabbage, cabbage everywhere...

And so much stuff to eat!

So, given its versatility, amazing "healthiness", and super cheap price tag, we felt cabbage was something we should explore, since neither one of us really knew what to do with it beyond boiled dinner (which is also pretty amazing). 

So, we started with some awesome coleslaw which, due to the red cabbage in it, turned a pretty pink/purple color! lol.  But it was also quite tasty.  We blended a couple different recipes, though it was mostly based on Alton Brown's Coleslaw recipe, with a little tweaking here and there.

We then took said coleslaw and put it on the sandwiches in the above picture.  They were a grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's, of course), Roasted Red Pepper, Coleslaw, and honey mustard on a pretzel roll.  We served these tasty, but super-messy, sandwiches up with the coleslaw and a home version of the Bavarian Inn's butter noodles.  Basically, homemade fettuccine with a sauce of melted butter and Frankenmuth chicken seasoning, topped with lightly-toasted pulverized Club crackers.  Dante says they're just like the ones from Bavarian Inn.

Our next use for the coleslaw (and one of the motivating factors for MAKING coleslaw) was Reubens.  MMMMmmmmmm Reubens.  I worked in a bakery/deli that served reubens and was never at all intrigued by them, but fortunately, Dante had me try one a while back, and I'm completely addicted.  Course, ours and the ones from the deli down the road are MUCH better looking than the ones I used to serve... Anywho... our reubens were on a rye/pumpernickel swirl bread with corned beef and Dante had pepper-crusted pastrami on his as well, with our fresh coleslaw (strained of some of its liquid), Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing, assembled and grilled on the Foreman.

Since we used less than half of each head of cabbage and made a  GIANT (and I mean Giant... largest one we have) mixing bowl FULL of coleslaw, we needed a good way to use up some more of the cabbage before it went bad (which fortunately, isn't too fast).  So we decided to try a beefy cabbage soup.  And oh my goodness did we have a lot of soup.  The picture below is the very pretty "before" picture, and that's an 8 Quart Stockpot.  Like I said, a lot of soup.

Our soup had red and green cabbage, carrots, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, celery, onion, and garlic with a little browned beef steak all cooked up in a beef broth base with two packets of Lipton Beefy Onion Soup mix and assorted spices.  Unfortunately, what started as this beautiful, colorful mass of vegetables cooked down to look rather less appealing and very ... brown (See below).  But it was VERY tasty.

We ate this with a slice of the leftover swiss melted on top and cheater (from a mix) biscuits.  YUM!

And that about wraps up the cabbage post, although we still have 6 pints of this soup in the freezer, so we'll be reliving it for a while! (In fact this may be dinner for tonight... hmm........)

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Valentine's Day French Toast

ok, short post because right now I have Valentine's Day breakfast and then all much more recent stuff left to catch up on from my phone, so... here goes!

I made heart-shaped french toast with fresh raspberries for Dante for Valentine's Day. :-)

More fabulous food pics from the last 6 months

Turns out I have a LOT of old food pics.  And I like flooding the inboxes of my few followers. :-)  Don't you all feel special?

Fall Bento: Carrots, Celery, Dip, and snack mix of Teddy Grahams,
Rainbow Goldfish, and Harvest Mix candy corn

Spice cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and cinnamon chocolate leaves.

Spa-Day Breakfast: Chicken Sausage and sauteed peppers
with garlic cream sauce and fresh biscuits (I think...)
(Dante decided that I was too stressed out and planned a
spa-day for me.  It was quite awesome.  Love you, Dante!)

Spa-day dessert (by special request)
Chocolate raspberry pastries.  Puff pastry with sauce
made from fresh berries and dark chocolate.  Mmmmmm.

Honey pork heaven: Pork loin (I think) with honey mustard,
Prosciutto, and bacon. with pepper and parmesan pasta.

Homemade pasta (made with the Kitchen Aid pasta roller set
Dante got me for Christmas), Tilapia, and roasted asparagus with a
fried egg and low-fat hollandaise.

It was a RASPBERRY Souffle the kind you find in a second-hand store...

ok, not so much.  But, raspberry souffle anyway.  From the Zakarian cookbook.  Made in January.  And oh so delicious.  And actually super easy to make.

Going into the oven

Oh so pretty.  1970's Dinner party powdered sugar and all.

Half eaten.  YUM!

Fall Food Festival!

Also known as... I just found pics on my SD card from NOVEMBER!  yikes!  So, just to showcase the awesomeness, here goes!  Back to more detailed posts soon, I promise.  Playing MAJOR Catch-up right now.

#1: Gruyere potatoes with cream sauce and green onions

#2: Brunch, inspired by Geoffrey Zakarian's "Ballpark Brunch" on Next Iron Chef
Includes tomato and fresh mozzarella toast, Creamy avocado with egg yolk, and shrimp

#3: Sandwiches: Tomato, garlic, basil, and ham with fresh mozzarella on french rolls

#4: Pumpkin Apple Soup.  DELICIOUS. Not sure of the link,
but I can look it up if anyone wants the recipe.

...and we had just a little pumpkin to use up... I think there were 12 of these initially, though as I strained some of the water out, I think i cut it down to about half that.

So there are the lost food files from November.  Hope you enjoyed, and stay tuned for more, because it's been a DELICIOUS week here, and I'm not even kidding...

Happy cooking!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Superbowl Food!

It's only been three months since the superbowl... time to post about our AWESOME food!

Tradition in my family is subs for Superbowl Sunday.  So we decided to do a variation on the theme this year and make meatball subs FROM SCRATCH!  That's right.  We made the bread.  We made the meatballs.  We made the marinara.  We made the CHEESE.  There was a lot of making.  But it was legen... wait for it... dary.  yeah. We also made Jambalaya and Potato Salad to go with. Yum!

So, a meal in photos:

Meatballs, mid-browning.

Believe it or not this will eventually be Mozzarella...

Fresh homemade bread.  Is there anything better?

The whole thing.  DELICIOUS!

So, anyway... that was Superbowl. Expect lots more awesome pictures from the last three months over the next few days!  Playing catch up again.

Happy Cooking!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pear and Jarlsberg Pastries with Ginger Green Tea Ice Cream

Hiiiiii.  So.... yeah.  Never did finish posting the cheesecake results.  Apparently eight days in a row was WAY too much for me.  I'll post the rest of those later.  Once I relocate the list of results...

Inspired by the AMAZING NEW COOKWARE Mom got us for Christmas (THANKS MOM!!!!), I picked up some bosc pears, fresh ginger, and lite jarlsberg cheese.  I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them, but I knew we had some puff pastry in the freezer and I was feeling adventurous. So here's what I ended up doing:

How I did it:

NB: all measurements are VERY approximate.  I didn't measure.  at all.

Ice Cream:
Pour about 2 cups of fat free half-and-half into a small saucepan. Peel and slice a small piece of fresh ginger (I would guess just under 1/4 cup of slices, 1/4 inch thick? about 10 cents worth at Meijer!) and put the slices into the milk along with the contents of one green tea bag.  Heat gently until hot, but not boiling.  Set aside and let steep at least half an hour. After steeping, strain or scoop out the chunks of ginger and mix with 1 can sweetened condensed milk.  (You can add dried ginger here if you want more ginger flavor.  I added a little.) Pour into an ice cream machine and freeze according to the directions that came with the machine. Mine came out pretty soft, so I stuck it in the freezer for a while and it hardened up nicely.

If using puff pastry SHELLS, bake shells according to package directions (mine were 20 minutes at 400 or something like that, but I pulled em a couple minutes early because they looked done to me. While the puff pastry is in the oven, melt ~1 Tablespoon margarine and add 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar and dried ginger (to taste).  Stir and add 1 pear, sliced thin.  Toss the pears in the syrup until coated.  Add the juice of one lemon (watch for seeds!) and mix.  Cook until the pears are tender (but not mushy!) and the sauce has started to thicken.

While the pears are cooking down, remove puff pastry shells from the oven.  Gently pull the top layer of the pastry up and push down on the center of the inner layers to form a well in the middle of the shell.  Put 2 Tablespoons (? Total guess) shredded jarlsberg cheese into the well and replace the top layer of pastry to cover the cheese and trap in heat (which will melt the cheese...).  Let sit while pears finish cooking.

To plate:
Put one cheese-filled shell on a plate and spoon cooked pears into/over the pastry shell and serve with a scoop of the fresh ice cream, topped with some of the ginger lemon caramel sauce from the pear pan. (The sauce is not on the ice cream in the pic, just a little bit of lemon zest, but let me tell you... the sauce is the way to go.  AWESOME on ice cream.)

If using puff pastry SHEETS: You can either try making shells as above by cutting out circles of puff pastry dough and cutting most of the way through (but not ALL the way) with a smaller circle in the center (bulls-eye style) then baking them until they puff up and turn golden, or make your pastries turnover style, like below.  To do this, prepare pears as above, cut the puff pastry into squares, and put both shredded jarlsberg and pears onto one half (diagonal halves!  so... one corner) of the pastry.  Fold the opposite corner over the filling and bake until puff pastry is golden brown, then remove from oven, brush the top of the pastry with some of the sauce from the pears, and serve with a (melty in this case, this pic was BEFORE the freezer hardening) scoop of your homemade ice cream.  (And in this case, I sprinkled a few SMALL bits of crystallized ginger on top of the dessert.  Good, but fair warning, if you've never used the stuff, it is STRONG.)

So, I hope you all (all 3 of you...) enjoy reading about our culinary adventures, and perhaps trying them for yourself (hint hint hint... you should totally try this, it was fantastic, if I do say so myself).  Let me know if you try making these!  And sorry I didn't take any progress shots.  I wasn't originally planning on posting a how-to, or I would have done that AND measured... at least a little.

Happy baking!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary Butter and Olive Oil Pasta

Okay... So this recipe is NOT from my man-crush Geoffrey Zakarian.  This one is just me having to use up some chicken breasts before I had to freeze them. I also wanted to use up the last of the homemade pasta.  So here is what I did.

Chicken Prep

1. Heat olive oil in a pan. 
2. Season chicken with kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and some Frankenmuth All Purpose Seasoning
3. Cook the chicken on medium-high heat until desired browning is achieved, adding a little bit of olive oil or butter to keep the breasts moist
4. Heat oven to 375 and let the chicken finish cooking in the oven

While chicken is finishing, add the following to a sauce pan

1. A couple of tablespoons of butter
2. Fresh rosemary
3. Kosher salt
4. Garlic Powder
5. Onion Powder

Melt the butter with the other ingredients and have the pan ready to pour over the chicken breasts when they hit the plate. 

Pasta directions aren't going to be included here because I'm assuming everyone knows how to boil pasta.  When the pasta is cooked, toss with olive oil and whatever seasoning you like.  I used rosemary, salt, and pepper. 

There is a serious "rosemary" motif going on in this dinner, and I thought it was alright.  The chicken ended up extremely moist and delicious.  I love pasta, especially fresh pasta... so this dish couldn't really go wrong for me.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Eric and Geoffrey! Town and Country Journey Town Recipe 1

So Rowan got me this fantastic Christmas present... a signed copy of Geoffrey Zakarian's cookbook Town and Country.  I've been watching Chopped on Food Network for a long time now, but I really really loved Zakarian on Next Iron Chef.  When I started thumbing through the book it made me think of that movie, Julie and Julia, where the girl goes through and blogs about making all of Julia Child's recipes from her French cooking book.  People probably don't know that Julia Child actually didn't like the project because it was mostly a stunt and there wasn't anyone there to judge the food being made.  I pretty much agree with that... HOWEVER.. I very much want to work my way through Zakarian's cookbook and blog about it because I think it will be fun and frankly I love the guy.  Anyway, here is a shot of the book....

The first recipe I made is from the "Town" section.... which is supposed to be slightly more elevated food that you get to have once a week as a special treat.  I'm not really sure about all that, but I trust Zakarian's judgment.  The recipe I made tonight was Zakarian's adaptation of ravioli nudi, a dish served at River Cafe in London.  You need the following ingredients: Acorn squash, kosher salt, pepper, serano ham, fresh mozzarella, brown sugar, butter, honey, and olive oil.  To paraphrase Zakarian's process... heat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place acorn squash (cut into 8 pieces) on a baking sheet with olive oil.  Put salt, pepper, honey, sugar, and butter on squash wedges.  Cook for 15 minutes, turn the pieces on their sides, cook for another 15, and then return the pieces to their original position for a final 15 minute cooking time.  Take the squash wedges out, remove the skin while maintaining the wedge shape as much as possible, and place a piece of mozzarella and ham on the wedge.  Drizzle with olive oil.   Now, when I did this tonight, I couldn't find serano ham, so I used prosciutto.  Anyway, here was the end product.

We didn't eat this alone... we served it along with homemade pasta with a lemon-garlic cream sauce and roasted-garlic bread, as pictured below...

Thanks for reading, and happy cooking.