Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lemon Ricotta Ravioli & Raviolo Al Uovo

I love homemade ravioli. Firstly, you can make the dough really thin, which is something you don't get with the store bought stuff because it would just be too delicate and fall apart. Secondly, you can control exactly what goes in the filling and there are no preservatives or mystery ingredients involved. Lastly, I think it's a lot of fun to make and the reward is most certainly worth the effort.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
½ batch pasta dough
1 cup lemon ricotta
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 clove garlic, minced
3 sage leaves, finely chopped
½ cup grated asiago
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spicy Tuna Poke Bowls

We had a really nice Easter weekend and had some really delicious food. I can't wait to share that here. My timeline is always a bit messed up because I don't always get around to editing posts as quickly as I would like. Plus, because I work full time, I cooked like a fiend on weekends (and for dinner on weeknights) and I'll cobble multiple posts out of those sessions and space them out in my timeline so that I don't have weeks of emptiness on the blog.

So, today's post is somewhat dated in that poke bowls have been a thing for a while and I'm only just now hopping on that bandwagon. However, I really have been seeing poke bowls everywhere lately. They're the new cronut or something. Anyway, I had poke for the first time when I visited Maui in 2012. We were just shopping at a FoodLand and in the deli department, they had a fridge full of various pokes. (By the way, "poke" is pronounced "poh-kay.") I tried one made with a soy sauce based seasoning and kind of fell in love. I mean, it was like a giant bowl version of sushi.

Since I enjoyed my hwe dup bap so much much, I thought, why not try this Hawaiian equivalent? But, because I'm me and I always want to tweak things to suit my palate, I took the flavors I remembered from the version I tried over four years ago (the soy and the sesame and the slight sweetness) and upped the spice factor with lots of jalapeno and wasabi. Well, it turned out yummy enough to share.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup water

½ teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ onion, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 scallion, chopped
2 teaspoon sesame seeds (white and black)
1 tablespoon wasabi
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon black salt (or pink Himalayan salt)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tuna steak (8 oz), diced
1 avocado, cubed
+ cilantro leaves

Friday, March 25, 2016

Korean-Style Fried Red Snapper

Sometimes I think about going vegetarian. Lately, I've been thinking about it a lot. I have a guilty personality - I feel bad about so many things - and lately the guilt has been concentrated on animal welfare and the environmental repercussions of factory farming and I think having a dog (who I love like a son) really gnaws away at my conscience. Sometimes I think I could give up beef and poultry and pork, but the one animal protein I think I'd have the hardest time giving up is fish. Wow, what a depressing introduction; my apologies. And I say that knowing that this weekend (Easter weekend), I'll be chowing down on a crapton of meat.

Anyway, I grew up eating a lot of fish (it's basically Korea's staple protein so my parents were really into it) and I love that depending on the type of fish you get, it not only tastes totally different, it has a completely different texture. Red snapper is high on my list for favorite fish because it's tender yet meaty, lends itself to several cuisines, is light enough to take on some bolder seasonings, and is accessible and affordable.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
1 snapper filet
¼ cup potato starch
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 scallion, chopped
2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
4 Thai chilis, chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BBQ Pork Pizza

We kind of overdid it on the ribs I think. So, a few weeks ago, there was a rack of ribs on sale at the grocery store so I bought it and made them and we all loved it. It was on the smaller side so none of us really got our fill. So the following week, I bought another rack; this time, it was a bigger one and we really gorged but there were still leftovers so we had them again later that week and there were still leftovers. Basically, we ended up kind of sick of them; there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

There was one evening where our options were either to get takeout or eat the leftover ribs. I decided we should eat the ribs because I didn't want them to go off and end up wasting them. So we did some brainstorming and my sister suggested pizza. Well, that yielded a super decadent dinner that I'm still dreaming about.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
batch of pizza dough
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
8 oz. tomato sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon grated horseradish
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1½ cups grated mozzarella
½ lb. shredded pork ribs
1 cup grated cheddar

Monday, March 21, 2016

Black Eyed Peas & Rice

I love black eyed peas. Though let me be clear, I do not like The Black Eyed Peas; I'm on April Ludgate's side. Anyway, I especially love peas and rice. These aren't terribly different from my black beans & rice but I used dried beans for this recipe (and added bacon) so I thought it was worth sharing.

I made this rice a couple of times in a row to eat as a side dish with the meal I shared on Friday (chicken & waffles and collard greens) as well as some ribs that I did in the oven (because it's not quite grill season yet) but I feel like I could just eat this on its own and be satisfied.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 cup dried black eyed peas
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 oz. salt pork, diced
3 pieces bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, diced
1 cup long grain rice
1½ cup chicken stock

Friday, March 18, 2016

Collard Greens (with Chicken & Waffles)

I probably should have posted this recipe yesterday, because hello, green is perfect for St. Paddy's and collards are much better than cabbage; no offense, cabbage.

I've been really into collard greens lately. As much as I love a bright, fresh salad, sometimes I want my greens in a warmer, more comforting form. To be fair, this past winter hardly even qualified as winter. We had one crazy snowstorm (which required multiple shoveling sessions that yielded several blisters on my hands) but after the groundhog saw its shadow, we were lucky enough to have milder weather. It even creeped up to 60F the last weekend of February.

Still, when there's even a hint of a chill in the air, I love eating comforting foods and collards definitely fall in that category. But, they get bonus points because they're not bad for you either. They're full of protein and good fat, lots of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, and calcium and fiber. With all that good nutrition going on, one can hardly feel guilty about cooking them up with a smoky ham hock, right?
1 smoked ham hock
3 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
½ onion, diced
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
2 bunches collard greens (1½ lbs.)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gnocchi with Mushroom & Sage

Every time I buy a little bundle of herbs at the grocery store, I feel like I'm just wasting money. I can't wait for it to warm up enough to plant our garden. I love having the option of grabbing some super fresh produce and herbs right out of my backyard.

We haven't planted sage in a while, mostly because I didn't see it at the gardening center the past few years but after making this gnocchi with sage, I'm going to put a bit more effort into recruiting a sage plant this year.

This gnocchi looks rather autumnal, with the sweet potato bits and the dark green sage and I realize we're heading into spring. But, I must make it a point to say there is never a bad time for pasta. Also, this particular post is kind of fun because I made a video of the gnocchi making process.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
white potato gnocchi
2 lbs. russet potato
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
½ to ¾ cup flour

sweet potato gnocchi
2 lbs. sweet potato
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1¼ to 1½ cups flour

gnocchi with sage & mushroom
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, diced
handful sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grated asiago cheese

Monday, March 14, 2016

Homemade Spicy Ramen

I love the artificial MSG-ridden flavors of instant spicy Korean ramen and I could probably eat it weekly but I show a lot of restraint. I hadn't had it in a while and was kind of craving it for dinner but I just couldn't justify eating a bowl of salt and fat in the first quarter of the year while everyone's still discussing their weight loss resolutions.

So, I decided to make a homemade version, which to be honest doesn't taste that much like the instant kind but is still delicious, in order to quell the craving whilst still maintaining a guilt-free headspace.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 lb. chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ onion, diced
6 cups water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
4 oz. firm tofu, cubed
2 bunches baby bok choy
1 long hot pepper, sliced
8 oz. ramen noodles
4 eggs
scallion, chopped

Friday, March 11, 2016

What I Ate: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately, I've been drinking warm lemon water in the mornings to improve my skin and my health and my digestion.

And then, I go and make cookies. But I ate them with a glass of cashew milk so that's good, right? Life is about indulgence and balance.
Recipe: Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever, made with Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips using the new Kitchenaid.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chicken & Vegetable Udon Soup

It is going to be unseasonably, record breakingly warm today. A high of 77F? Yes, please!

As much as I was ready for winter to be over, I have to admit, I love having a reason to sip on hot soups. This particular recipe was a completely spontaneous move that turned out to be rather delicious. I was planning on making some sort of chicken stir fry to eat with rice but when I left work that evening, it was 14F so I decided I needed a really comforting bowl of soup. So, I repurpose the stir fry ingredients into soup ingredients and grabbed a few blocks of udon noodles and made this glorious dish.

It's a quick one pot dish that comes together in about half an hour.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 lbs. drumsticks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, sliced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
6 cupz water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon miso paste
½ onion, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
4 servings udon noodles
4 eggs
2 cups baby spinach
scallion & sesame seeds

Monday, March 7, 2016

Elote Corn Dip

Back in January, I went to Arizona for a long weekend and had the best time chowing down on lots of Mexican food. On our second night, we went to a restaurant called Elote Cafe in Sedona because the Yelp reviews were screaming with praise.

We dealt with a 30 minute wait at almost 9PM, which speaks to the popularity of the place, but it was all worth it for their delicious namesake dip: elote. It was so good that I decided that I needed to make it the second I got home. So, the weekend after I'd gotten back, I went to the store and bought out-of-season corn to whip up some elote.

I believe there is a recipe out there (I think the chef has his own book) but the reviews were less than stellar and most people said it didn't quite taste like the dish served in the restaurant so I branched off on my own and worked with the flavors in my memory. It came out really good and I can't wait for summer and corn season so I can make this (at least) weekly.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
6 to 8 ears of corn
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon hot sauce
½ cup grated Manchego cheese
2 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
+ lime wedge
+ chopped cilantro
+ crumbled cotija cheese
+ ancho chili powder
+ tortilla chips

Thursday, March 3, 2016

An American Girl's Full English Breakfast

The UK really knows how to do breakfast right. Even when I stayed in a £10 per night hostel, the complimentary breakfast spread was insane. There was bread, all sorts of cold cuts, gherkins, jams & jellies, porridge, cold cereal, cheese, and pastries. I feel like breakfast in England was always so hearty that I wasn't hungry until dinner time.

Anyway, I was introduced to the full English breakfast in 2008 during my first trip to London. We were out in town exploring and popped into a little pub-ish eatery and I chowed down on a massive plate of what was basically just a pile of protein and toast. It was so satisfying.

I hadn't eaten a full English since 2010 (which was my last visit to the UK; I'm pretty sure I also had a full Irish on that trip too; yum). So, when I got a sausage maker and made it my business to make some mini bangers, I decided I also had to do a proper full English breakfast. I even went out of my way and made "Heinz" baked beans. If I wanted to go crazy, I might've baked my own brown bread and maybe I could've grown a potato, tomato, and mushroom in the garden and collected eggs from home-raised chickens. But I'm definitely not crazy.
Ingredients [for 1]:
1 egg
1 tomato
1 white button mushroom
1 slice brown bread
3 mini bangers (or 1 regular sized pork sausage)
¼ cup shredded potato (or diced potato)
¼ cup "Heinz" baked beans
+ ketchup or HP sauce
+ hot sauce
+ jam

streaky bacon
black pudding
white pudding

This isn't a typical recipe post. I'm just going to walk you through this fry up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Heinz" Baked Beans

As a kid, I was not a fan of beans. My mom used to put these giant black beans in our rice. They were disgustingly crunchy and had no taste so I used to purposely just throw them on the floor or stick them to the bottom of my chair. I would of course get in trouble so after a while, I would pick all the beans out and eat them at the start of the meal so I could better enjoy myself. Once, I tried swallowing them like pills and I got in a ton of trouble.

Anyway, that traumatizing experience made me write off all beans as horrible. I would ignore the pile of black beans at Mexican restaurants, I would avoid the pasta e fagioli at Italian restaurants, and I would never even look at baked beans. Fast forward to high school: my dad made a batch of chili and asked me to try it and I fell in love with the kidney beans. I discovered that I actually love black beans and red beans and refried beans, pasta e fagioli is one of my favorite soups, and baked beans are one of my favorite barbecue sides.

Across the pond, they eat Heinz baked beans all the time. At first I thought it was a little gross but after trying beans on toast, courtesy off the hostel I was staying in, I fell in love. It's a hearty enough snack that will quell my hunger enough to take me to my next meal; and when doubled to two slices, it's enough to be a complete meal.

I was tempted to add some salt pork to the pan, but I wanted to stay true to the flavors of the beans on toast I enjoyed in London - you know, trying to be authentic to the country and to my memory - so I left it out. However, if you're looking for a little more protein, you can add in some diced salt pork or bacon to the pot before anything else to render out some fat and then continue on with the recipe.
Ingredients [yields 3 cups]:
1 cup dried navy beans
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
14.5 oz. tinned whole tomatoes
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
¼ cup ketchup
pinch nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
+ toast (for beans on toast)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mini Bangers & Mash

Even though the days are starting to get longer (I love that it's no longer pitch black when I get to the office) and spring is just around the corner, I'm still in comfort food mode. It's still really chilly out and I still want warming, cozy food, the type of food that is the equivalent of an extra 30 minutes in bed in the morning, if that analogy makes any sense.

I figured that with the mini bangers deserved to be served on a bed of really soft mashed potatoes and then smothered in a warm gravy and that would make a super comforting lunch or dinner. But, because the sausages are so cute and small, it makes this meal seem a bit lighter and little more bikini body-friendly.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1½ lbs. mini bangers (or regular sized pork sausage)
batch mashed potatoes
onion gravy
buttered haricots verts

mashed potatoes
1½ lbs yukon gold potatoes (3 to 4 medium sized potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
2 oz. cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, smashed
salt & pepper to taste

onion gravy
2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, sliced
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup beef stock
dash Worcestershire
1 teaspoon pepper
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