Friday, December 3, 2010

Quinoa with Beets, Red Onion, Shitake Mushrooms and Snap Peas + Roasted Potatoes

This is one of my favorite ways to eat. Super vegetable-y and delicious. First, I cooked the beets in vinegar, water, salt and sugar in the oven until they became tender but NOT mushy!! Next, I sautéed a small red onion in olive oil before adding in roughly chopped snap peas and shitake mushrooms. In a separate pot, I cooked the quinoa until just done. When the beets were ready, I mixed everything together with a little lemon juice, olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Served with a side of roasted potatoes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trout with Romesco Sauce + Roasted Asparagus and Yellow Squash

Sorry about the lack of posts, I haven't really felt like taking photos of my meals lately, although I can assure you that I've been cooking a lot. Last night I made some of the best banana bread I've ever made before (very exciting considering that I totally mixed up the measurements for baking powder and baking soda). I've tried about a billion banana bread recipes but I always go back to this one. SO GOOD but having said that, I can recommend a few adjustments.

1) Reverse the quantities of baking powder and baking soda (I need to figure out why this worked)
2) Substitute 1/2 cup of the flour for whole wheat flour
3) Add in some cinnamon
4) Also add in about 1/2 cup of dried unsweetened coconut

Anyways, onto tonight's meal.

One night when Lucas and I were in Barcelona, every restaurant we wanted to go to was either closed or packed. After wandering around for about an hour, we finally decided to settle on some mediocre touristy spot that we had remembered reading about on a blog somewhere. The food was mostly ok, but one thing that really stood out was a side of roasted asparagus with romesco sauce. It might have even been one of the best things I ate on the entire trip! Anyways, I've been thinking about that asparagus a lot so I decided to try making my own romesco.

I read a bunch of recipes for research and went with the following ingredients -
(most called for hazelnuts but I skipped them because I didn't have any)

- 2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced in half and roasted in the over at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes
- 1 dried ancho chile, toasted in a pan for a few minutes on each side
- 1 piece of stale whole wheat bread, chopped into cubes and then toasted in olive oil
- about a tablespoon of almonds, toasted
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped and briefly sautéed in olive oil
- a few pinches of dried chili flakes
- about 3 tablespoons of jarred pimientos
- a small handful of parsley
- a tablespoon of anchovy paste (apparently not traditional but it just seemed to make sense to me)
- a tiny bit of grated orange zest (maybe half of a teaspoon)
- a bunch of olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt
- pepper

I threw all of the ingredients into my food processor, blended until smooth and adjusted the seasoning with salt/vinegar.

Then, I roasted some yellow squash and asparagus at about 425 degrees until cooked but still a little crunchy and seared my fish briefly in olive oil. Turned out really well!

Looking forward to Thanksgiving! I'll be taking lots of photos!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I can't say that I've cooked a lot of Indian food before but when I came across this recipe on I couldn't resist trying it out. It's basically an Indian porridge. I did however make a few adjustments to the recipe. First off, I've started using more whole grains in my cooking ever since I started taking this class on nutrition and health, so that meant substituting the white rice for brown rice. Brown rice has about 100x more flavor than white rice (and is obviously way better for you). Brown rice does take longer to cook than white rice though, so I omitted the initial lentil soaking in the recipe. Also, the recipe only called for a 1:4 ratio of lentils to rice so I decided to increase that ratio to about 1:3.

I also caramelized some onions as a topping for the porridge. To the spice mix, I added a little minced ginger and a finely diced chili. I cooked the spices quickly in butter and vegetable oil (I had no ghee and didn't feel like making any). Next time, I would probably increase the amounts of each spice by about 1.5 times more than what is called for in the recipe. The recipe also doesn't specify this, but I finely chopped up the curry leaves before cooking them. Also, if you plan on making this recipe, do not omit the fresh curry leaves! They should be easy to find at a local Indian market and I found that they were a really integral part of the dish.

I roasted a little broccoli to go with the pongal but any other vegetable would do. Finally, I served it with a little plain yogurt. Wish I had some of my mom's favorite mango pickle to go with the pongal. Anyways, this recipe was sooo easy and sooo delicious. I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant on Toast with Homemade Aioli and Arugula + Bloody Ceasars

This was another one of my toaster oven creations from the two weeks when we didn't have gas in our apartment.

First, I cut up the eggplant into about 1 inch cubes and tossed them with salt, pepper and olive oil before roasting them at about 425 dergees. Next, I sliced a few roma tomatoes in half, again, tossed them with salt, pepper and olive oil, plus a few sprigs of thyme and roasted them at about 425 as well. For the aioli, I crushed up some garlic and then in a separate bowl, combined an egg yolk, sherry vinegar, dijon mustard and salt before slowly streaming in a combination of vegetable and olive oil. I then toasted a few slices of bread, spread on a little aioli, next lay on a roasted tomato and a few pieces of eggplant and then topped it with a handful of arugula and a little of my fancy balsamic vinegar that Lucas bought for me.

Now, for drinks we had a couple of Bloody Ceasars. Apparently it's a SUPER Canadian drink that doesn't really exist in the US, but think of it as basically the same thing as a Bloody Mary but with Clamato juice instead of tomato juice. Clamoto juice is tomato juice mixed with clam juice. Sounds really gross, I know, but it's just soooo delicious, you have to trust me!!! Instead of using store-bought Clamato juice, I opted to buy separate bottles of tomato and clam juice to make my own. This way, it's easy to control how clammy it gets... So anyways, the other ingredients are lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, tabasco (not pictured), horseradish, tons of pepper, vodka and celery salt around the rim of the glass. I don't have a recipe, so it helps to just put in a little of everything at a time and keep tasting until it's just right. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bone-in Ribeye Steak with Béarnaise + Oven-fried Potatoes + Turnips and their Greens + Dirty Gin Martinis

This was my first time ever cooking steak at home and probably the most meat I've ever eaten in one sitting so I decided that I had to go for toooppp quality stuff. Lucas and I went to this really cool butcher shop here in Williamsburg called Marlow & Daughters where they only sell free range meat and dairy. We spent a pretty penny on our steak so I had to be extremely careful about cooking the thing! The whole experience was completely crazy and I almost lost my mind, but thank god for my new instant read thermometer!

I've always wanted to try steak with béarnaise so I decided to give that a try. Here's what I did -

First, I cut up a bunch of potatoes and tossed them in salt, pepper and olive oil before roasting them at 425 degrees until they turned nice and crispy and brown. For the béarnaise I combined about 1/4 c of sherry vinegar (only vinegar I had, but you could use whatever kind you'd like) about 1/4 c of white wine with a sliced shallot, some thyme and a bay leaf. I let that reduce down to about half. Next, I whisked in two egg yolks off the heat and then slowly emulsified about 3/4 of a stick of butter. I added in a ton of chopped tarragon, and although not traditional, I also added in a bunch of chopped parsley.

Cooking the steak was crazy and you really don't even wanna know what I did. Well, it actually started out pretty well. I got a ton of advice from Lucas' dad Stephen who cooks a mean steak but after that everything got a little crazy. Basically, what he does is cook the steak in the oven at 300 degrees until it reaches 90 degrees. From here, he sears the steak for a minute or two on each side and by then it should reach an internal temperature of about 115. From here he rests it and during this time the steak should then reach 125-130 degrees for a nice rare-medium rare.

So, I did the whole oven thing and then seared it and then it just wasn't a high enough temperature on the inside, so I let it sear a little longer. I then took it out of the pan and rested it and it was still less than 110 degrees. Then I put it back in the oven for a little while, took the temperature and from there everything was ok. Phew. This might not sound that chaotic but I can promise, it was. The steak turned out pretty great but the béarnaise was definitely the star!

Anyways, while the steak was resting, I cooked the turnips and their greens in a little of the leftover fat from the steak. And that was our meal! I'm looking forward to next time, after having learned from my first experience with steak.

As for drinks, we had a couple of dirty gin martinis, my favorite drink of all time!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Toaster Oven Challege Pt. 1 - Broiled Branzino with Lemon and Fennel + Green Bean Salad with Red Onion, Sherry Vinegar and Toasted Almonds

Not really being able to cook for two weeks was serious torture but we finally got gas today!! I did make a few good meals with my semi-trusty toaster oven though, and this was one of them. Pretty simple and straight-forward but tooootally delicious!

For the green bean salad - I sliced up a little red onion and tossed it with some salt and olive oil before roasting at about 350 degrees until tender. Next, I tossed the green beans in salt and olive oil and roasted those for 8-10 minutes. I chopped up a handful of almonds and toasted those for a few minutes. next I mixed everything together with a little sherry vinegar and a little more olive oil.

For the fish - This was suuuper simple to prepare. First I patted the fish dry with a little paper towel. I seasoned the fish with salt and olive oil. Next I sliced up a little fennel and some lemon and then stuffed it inside the fish, laying the leftovers around the fish. It was about 1.4 pounds and I broiled it for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Finally, I plated up the fish and sprinkled each serving a little salt and drizzled over a little olive oil and lemon juice.