Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cheese Whiz is not health food- but what do I care!

So, In spite of our desire to eat less processed, more local food (and we did a good deal of this in the last two weeks)... tonight.. we used what we had on hand, plus just a few fresh purchases to make an unhealthy, delicious dinner.

First we bought good, very fresh, incredibly soft hoagie rolls.
Then we bought some Malbec.
Then we got some mushrooms (Max's favorite food-- no joke).
We then sauteed said mushrooms in three tablespoons of butter and a little bit of the malbec until they were carmelized and delicious.

Then we took the steakums and the cheese whiz from the fridge-  cooked the "steaks"... nuked the cheese whiz and spread both across those beautiful rolls.
With some steamed greenbeans and a full glass of Malbec (or milk if you are one of the little people).. it was fabulous.

The little girl here is eating hers sans steak, and with extra mushrooms.  Cheese and mushrooms- that's all she needs to be a happy.  She is her mother's daughter!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fried things...

So, we are trying to fit all of our "junk foods" in before we go back to healthier eating.  Saturday we ordered a pizza, tonight we will be making cream chipped beef on toast, that means that last night-- Sunday night was meant for fried food.  Spring Rolls are beloved at our house-- so that's what we went for.  We really used the things we had around and left out a bunch of yummy things we just didn't have (like bean sprouts which would've been a nice addition).  So - this adapted recipe is really ours at this point, since we stole from at least four different spring roll recipes and two separate cuisines (Thai and Vietnamese)

Spring Rolls
2/3 cup onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 lb ground chicken (we actually ground our own since the market didn't have any already ground)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of diced mushrooms (any kind you like.  We've used wild mushrooms, button, or baby bellas)
3/4 cups of grated carrots
1 cup of softened noodles
(follow the directions of the package to soften-- it can take from 2 minutes to 12 depending on noodle type--we used a mix of glass or mung bean noodles and vermicelli noodles)
3 T Oyster sauce
1 T Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Fish Sauce (all the recipes we have call for more-- but we like oyster sauce better)
2-4 T. of Olive Oil
A drizzle of sesame oil if you have it.
A small bottle of canola oil or peanut oil to fry in.
2 T. flour
3-4 T. water
Spring roll wrappers
Sweet Chili sauce, honey or marmalade for dipping


I chose to begin by adding some of the oil (2 tablespoons or so) and the mushrooms to a skillet and cooking the mushrooms until they were partly done (cooked down a little bit, and a little darker in color) could just leave them raw and mix immediately with carrots, noodles and "sauces", but we like our mushrooms to be "really done".

So take mushrooms either cooked or raw and place in a medium size bowl.   Add to that same bowl the carrots, softened noodles (cut with scissors into 1 inch lengths) oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and pepper to taste.  Mix that all together.

Take a large skillet and add approx. 2 T. of Olive oil  and onions.  Cook until they started to caramelize, then throw in the garlic and ground chicken and cook the chicken until almost completely cooked.  Move the chicken and onion mixture to the sides of the pan, cracked 2 eggs into the middle of the pan and scrambled them up with a spatula in the pan, then mixed it all in with the chicken. Then add the mixture of mushrooms, carrots, noodles and "stuff" into the skillet.  I drizzled a little sesame oil across the top of this while it cooked because I love sesame oil, but a little bit goes a long way- so be careful and light handed if you use this.  Cook for about 4 minutes until everything is combined well and mushrooms finish cooking.  Remove from heat and let it cool a little.

When the mixture is cool enough to handle, mix together a few tablespoons of flour with a few tablespoons of water to form a slurry that will work as a "glue" to hold together your spring rolls.


 Cut the wrappers in half diagonally. You will have two equal triangles. Starting with the longest side toward you, place about 2 tablespoons of filling on the bottom area of the triangle. Using your fingers, mold the filling into a cylinder 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Fold the two pointed ends of the wrapper in and roll to enclose. Dab a little flour mixture along the edges (do not use too much "glue") and seal the roll. Set aside while you finish making the remaining rolls.

To fry, preheat a large wok or fry pan. When hot, pour enough oil in to completely cover the spring rolls. Heat to about 325 degrees. Carefully place the rolls into the oil. Do not crowd the pan or place the rolls on top of each other. Fry the spring rolls until filling is cooked, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, turning often until they are nicely brown and crisp. If they brown too quickly, reduce the heat as the oil is too hot. Remove the cooked spring rolls from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

We served ours with two choices for dipping - orange marmalade (which we heated for 20 seconds in the microwave to make it runny) for the kids.  And sweet chili dipping sauce (store bought) for the grown ups.  So fried, so delicious!  And even our picky non-mushroom eater had some.  He likes Thai and Vietnamese flavors, and they pretty much hide the flavor of mushrooms. So this was a clear win.  Yummy fried things!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tiramisu at Home

So, since we were already trying a few lovely lemon recipes for the Friendship Feast blog (more about those some other time), I decided we should make dessert as well.  Since I don't currently have an oven (my husband is being a complete and total PIA on this one, and so that plus my stubborn streak = No Oven for me!) I had to find something to make that was oven free.  Tiramisu seemed like a great choice-- and oh was it ever.   Here's the recipe... we couldn't even wait for it to finish setting, so ours was still a little runny, but completely delicious. And yes, we gave it the kids even though it had raw egg and kahlua.  They are hardy little people, and the risk seems minute.  I also hoped the Kahlua might make them sleepy, but Scott noted, two tablespoons of Kahlua doesn't put very much in a single serving, as opposed to the SUGAR and TWO CUPS of Coffee... duh.  :-)

Adapted from a Recipe from Gourmet Magazine- March 2003
            3 large eggs, separated
            3/4 cup sugar
            1 (8-oz) container mascarpone cheese (1 scant cup)
            1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
            2 cups very strong brewed coffee or brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature
            2 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
            18 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers, 6 oz)
            1/4 cup fine-quality bittersweet chocolate shavings (not unsweetened; made with a vegetable peeler) or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

            3 large eggs, separated
            3/4 cup sugar
            1 (8-oz) container mascarpone cheese (1 scant cup)
            1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
            2 cups very strong brewed coffee (I used a swiss chocolate almond flavored coffee that is just fantastic) cooled to room temperature
            3 tablespoons Kahlua
            18 savoiardi (crisp Italian ladyfingers, 6 oz)
            1/4 cup fine-quality bittersweet chocolate shavings (not unsweetened; made with a vegetable peeler) or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.
Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.
Stir together coffee and Kahlua in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 4 seconds on each side, and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish (2-quart capacity). Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Chill tiramisu, covered, at least 6 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate.
Cooks' notes:
• The eggs in this recipe are not cooked, which may be of concern if there is a problem with salmonella in your area. • Tiramisu can be chilled up to 1 day

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Odd things kids eat

This is one of the little people who lives with us.  And he is odd... Let me give an example.  We had leftovers and odds and ends for dinner last night.  There was some fajita chicken from a local Peruvian/ Mexican Place mixed in with some scrambled eggs, some Queso and Blue Corn chips, some sugar snap peas and a little bit of leftover malfalda noodes.  We also had fresh good bread for anyone that wanted some and I offered up some PB & J for the little people.  Our girl child ate eggs, eggs and more eggs, picked over the chicken, had a few noodles and ate two corn chips.  The boy child ate sugar snap peas.  Blanched sugar snap peas.  And just a little pasta.  He is so very odd.  Tonight for dinner: Broccoli and half a baked potato.  He is a funny funny little man who LOVES green veggies.  And I love him for it.
Meanwhile his sister tonight had noodles and mushrooms.  She LOVEs mushrooms.  Odd.  Very Odd.

Earlier this week I made a wildly interesting attempt at gnocchi. It was too eggy in my opinion and too potatoey in Scott's opinion.  The little people inhaled it, loved it, and were mad when we ran out.  The pictures of it aren't great, but the gnocchi wasn't either- so - I'm not posting either and we'll try again soon.  In the meantime, the sauces that I whipped up were FABULOUS!  here are the sauces, they are stupidly simple (yet, I had never thought to do them before-- so I throw that out there for ya'll)  and they are good on bread or, I think, probably anything.  I might eat paper if coated in brown butter. :-)

Brown butter "sauce":
Brown 1/2 cup of butter just slightly in a pan, transfer to a little serving dish along with two tablespoons of any fresh herb you love (I divided the butter in half and used one tablespoon of chopped sage in one dish, and one tablespoon of fresh thyme, with 4 tablespoons of butter in each dish. Yum!)

The other sauce we made (I knew three of our eaters would HATE this-- so I only made enough for scott and I, and still had some leftover) was the Blue Cheese sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium heat I put half a cup of milk and half a cup of heavy cream.  I let it come up to a simmer and threw in two tablespoons of parmesan, two tablespoons of blue cheese (a mild one) and lots of pepper.  It was light and lovely (for blue cheese).  Anyhow-- I will be trying that pasta again-- it has potential. :-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Risotto for Omo

So, My friend Omo (through sadness and sorrow and biological need) has had to become vegan.  She has been searching for tasty things that are vegan friendly and this is one of my favorite things and is so easy to adapt for her needs.  So I will put up a version that is adapted from what I make in two ways- 1.  I normally use chicken stock and 2.) I usually throw in a bunch of parmesan cheese (cause who doesn't like more cheese in their food).  That said-- this is the risotto we love.  It is an adaptation of a Recipe by Giada Laurentis on the foodnetwork website.  Hope you like it Omo!

8 cups vegetable broth
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.
Heat olive oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas.(or any kind of veggie- roasted asparagus is nice in here too)  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.