Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
The best pizza in StL, at least in my opinion :)
The whole gang. Happy Father's Day!
Thin crust samplings. We had them bring the thin ones while the deep dish was still cooking, just in case someone would starve in between... Good call :)
My cute sister and her finace, all excited for true Chicago style Pizza.
Does this even need a caption?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 cup walnuts (2 1/2 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed cilantro sprigs
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
4 slices multi-grain bread, toasted
Cook half of onion with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in beans and soy sauce.
Pulse bulgur mixture, walnuts, garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Form rounded 1/2 cups of mixture into 4 (31/2-inch-diameter) patties. Chill at least 10 minutes.
While patties chill, stir together mayonnaise, zest, and juice.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas). Put perforated grill sheet on grill and preheat 10 minutes. Brush patties all over with oil. Oil grill sheet, then grill burgers on grill sheet, covered only if using a gas grill, carefully turning once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes total.
Serve burgers open-faced on toast with lime mayonnaise.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
For my potstickers I made two batches of Jen's dough. I did a batch of potstickers with her shrimp filling, which was fantastic! I also made a vegetarian version, which I've listed below. It was not as flavorful as I'd hoped, but they were still good. I think next time I'd skip the tofu and just add more veggies. See what you think.
· 2 tbsp olive oil
· 1 block tofu, well pressed, and crumbled
· 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, diced small
· 1/2 cup Napa cabbage, diced small
· 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 3 scallions, diced
· 2 tbsp soy sauce
· 1 tsp sesame oil
· dash red pepper flakes (optional)
· 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Sautee the crumbled tofu, mushrooms and cabbage in olive oil along with ginger and garlic for a few minutes. When the tofu and mushrooms are almost done cooking, add the scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes, stirring well to combine.
Allow to cook for one or two more minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the fresh cilantro.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I was surprised when I came to work one day and found out we would be making empanadas using pre-made dough. This seemed like a Sandra Lee shortcut, and not the way a professional would do things. I came to find out that one of my favorite restaurants in Andersonville made their amazing empanadas using this pre-made dough, and I was very intrigued. At the end of class I got to taste the final result, and I was sold! The dough tasted fresh and authentic, and could be fried or baked.
Recently I stumbled across this empanada dough at the Mexican grocery store by my house, and I figured it was time to try my hand at making empanadas at home. I picked two recipes online, and went to work. I figured since it was my first attempt it was best to start with a recipe someone had already created, but now that I'm more comfortable I think empanadas are the type of thing where you can invent your own filling combinations. I would highly recommend these fillings-- both were very flavorful! Even if you can't find these empanada dough discs around where you live, I recommend you try to make you own. Either recipe yields great results!
Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Empanadas
By Emeril Lagasse from foodnetwork.com
2 slices of yellow squash (1/2-inch thick, sliced vertically)
2 slices of zucchini (1/2-inch thick, sliced vertically)
2 slices of eggplant (1/2-inch thick, sliced into rings)
1/2 head of endive
1 red onion ring (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 green onions
Essence, recipe follows
3 small tortilla rounds, julienned (I skipped)
1/2 to 1 cup goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup roasted garlic puree
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the grill. Preheat the fryer.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, toss the vegetables with olive oil and season with Essence. Place the vegetables on the hot grill. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove the vegetables from the grill and dice. Place the diced vegetables in a mixing bowl. Fry the tortilla strips for about 2 minutes or until crispy. Remove from the fryer. Stir in enough cheese to bind the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the roasted garlic and crumble the tortillas into the filling. Stir in the parsley.
Roll out each disc so it's a bit bigger.
Green Chile Chicken Empanadas
By Tyler Florence from foodnetwork.com
8 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds), husked and rinsed
1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed
1 Spanish onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 cups finely shredded, cooked chicken, preferably dark meat
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, and garlic. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the tomatillos are soft. Drain and cool slightly. Combine the tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender. Add 1/4 cup of water and process to a coarse puree; season with a generous pinch of salt. You should have about 3 cups of this salsa verde.
Combine the shredded chicken and queso fresco in a large mixing bowl. Pour in 1 1/2cups of the salsa verde and fold the ingredients together to moisten. Use as a filling for empanadas. Serve the remaining salsa verde on the side.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The flour tortillas have always been my favorite, and they're a dinner request pretty much any time I visit my parents. I've helped my mom make them, and I've seen how simple the recipe is. Last spring my mom typed up the recipe for a friend, and emailed a copy to my sister and me. I have had this recipe sitting in my inbox ever since! I have no idea what took me so long, but these are the best tortillas EVER! They are not hard to make, and the taste is worlds away from the boring, dry tortillas you buy at the grocery store. You have to make them one at a time, so I put my oven on low and kept the cooked ones in there as I kept working. They stayed warm without drying out, and I put Joe to work on the fillings while I flipped the tortillas.
vegetarian meal. We were disappointed when we got full, because
everything was so good we wanted to just keep eating!
On a Chicago note-- I got the supplies for my guacamole and pico de gallo from Maxwell Street Market, down in the South Loop. It's a Mexican street market with a ton of different vendors. You can dine on amazing tacos and quesadillas, buy fresh fruits and veggies, and browse a LOT of (fake? stolen?) purses and clothing. It was beautiful weather last Sunday when we went, and I really enjoyed shopping around with about half the residents of Chicago! I thought I didn't have my camera, so I didn't take any pictures... then I got home and realized my camera was in my purse the whole time! But this picture, courtesy of google images, gives you a good idea:
from "Breads of the Southwest" by Beth Hensperger
4 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ cup Crisco ( or butter, lard or bacon drippings... I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 ½ cups warm water
Combine flour , baking powder and salt in bowl of heavy duty mixer. Cut in fat until crumbly. Gradually add water, stirring just until dough sticks together, clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. (too much water makes it tough so go slowly). Give the dough a few kneads – fewer than 10, no longer than a minute) to make a smooth ball. Form into cylinder and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest at room temp. for 30 mins. to two hours, until slightly puffy and shiny.
To shape tortillas, divide dough into 15 equal balls. Let them rest 20 – 30 mins covered (To be honest, I usually skip this step when I am in a hurry). Drape each ball around your forefinger, making a depression on the underside. This makes a mushroom shape and help in rolling it into a round. Flatten the ball with you hand then roll it out to form a thin round 8 – 9 inches in diameter. You can stack these between waxed paper and store in fridge for up to six hours. I just make them up two or three at a time and cook them. Then roll more as they are cooking.
To cook: heat an ungreased heavy cast-iron skillet, griddle or “comal” over medium high heat until drops of water sprinkled on the surface “dance”. Bake for 30 seconds – the tortilla will form bubbles, flatten them slightly with the spatula.
Turn and bake for 30 seconds longer. Remove and stack in a warm towel. Keep them warm so they stay soft and serve them as soon as they are all cooked.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Before I give you the recipe, I feel like I should give some life updates, too! There have been exciting changes in my life lately, and I figured my blog friends should be updated :) I left my full-time office job last week to go back to school! I taught elementary school after college, and decided to try the business world out when Joe and I moved to Chicago. After a year and a half in the business world, I've determined that I do belong in the classroom. So I'm headed back to college for some additional certification, and will be in school and doing some random part-time job for the next year. There have been some hiccups as I've sorted out the teaching certification, but I am so excited about getting back to teaching! During this upcoming year I'll have to see how less money and more free time affects my cooking and this blog, but I'm sure we'll all come out ok in the end!
Cod with Leeks and Tomatoes
from the Everyday Food Cookbook by Martha Stewart Living
- 2 medium leeks, white and light green part only, thinly sliced, rinsed well, and patted dry
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 sprigs thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 12 oz)
- 4 cod fillets, each 6 to 8 oz and 3/4 to 1 inch thick
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a 9-by-13 inch baking dish, toss together the leeks, lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cover with foil, and bake until the leeks just begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven. Add the tomatoes, and toss to combine. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper; place on top of the vegetables.
Cover the dish and bake until the fist is opaque throughout, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
- I used Tuna Steaks, because that's what I had around. It was good that way, although I think a more flakey white fish like cod would be even better.
- I had two large steaks that I cut into four pieces, but they were a little small. To serve to guests I would do a better job of having adequately sized pieces of fish.
- I served this with couscous, which was ideal for scooping up the tomato and leek goodness :)