Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spicy Ginger Lemon Soup with Mushrooms

Last night was my work's holiday party and we had it at a place called Cassidy's in downtown Portland.  I hadn't ever been there and was impressed with their drink and food selection, it was a jolly time indeed.  This week I am also attending the Nutcracker with my mom and aunt, I've gone almost every year since I was a child, it makes me miss doing ballet.  I made this soup with two of my lovely lady friends during last week's windy winter storm.  We wanted a soup that would cleanse and warm us up, so we adapted this recipe

Serves 5

The Ingredients

2 heads baby bok choy

6 cups vegetable broth

12 oz mushrooms, sliced

2 chicken breasts, cubed

1 package buckwheat soba noodles, cooked according to package, add to individual bowls (if desired)

1 bunch scallions thinly sliced; separate white from green parts

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 "1/2 piece ginger (from a big root), thinly sliced

4 tablespoon Braggs amino acids

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 organic lemon, half sliced for serving the other half squeezed into the soup

The Process

1.  Separate bok choy leaves from stalks; cut leaves into half and slice stalks.

2.  In a large pot, bring broth to a boil.  While waiting cook chicken in skillet until cooked through.

3.  Add mushrooms, scallion-whites, garlic, ginger and simmer for 7-8 minutes.

4.  Add bok choy stalks and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes or until bok choy stalks are tender.

5.  Turn heat down to low and add bok choy leaves, amino acids, red pepper flakes, and squeeze half the lemon into soup.

6.  Simmer for another 1-2 minutes and serve immediately with scallion-greens, a lemon slice, and noodles.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crockpot Beef Stew

While it is a Monday I am in a surprisingly great mood, I think the fact that I had an amazing weekend in Astoria paired with the fact that I get to leave work early today to attend our Christmas party may have something to do with it;)  We went to the Flavel House, Astoria Column, Goonies house, Maritime Museum, and did a fair amount of walking around, eating and thrifting.  We also spent time relaxing, laying in front of the wood stove, playing Scrabble, and having our pancetta stolen out of our cooler by a rascally raccoon.  I also have all my Christmas shopping done, presents wrapped and am ready the holidays.  I adapted this recipe for last night's dinner and it sure was a tasty and healthy way to end my anniversary weekend.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-5

The Ingredients

1.5 pounds pastured stewing beef

3 cups of beef stock

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups baby carrots

2 small potatoes, cubed 

4 cloves of garlic, minced 

2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 tablespoon of paprika

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, basil, and oregano

The Process

1.  Place meat into crockpot. Add liquids, stir in spices, then all other ingredients.  Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours or until potatoes are done.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lebanese Stuffed Onions

Yesterday my partner in crime and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary, it was a quiet and cozy night and I made this recipe to warm our tummies (Steamy Kitchen blog is one of my favorites).  The real celebration is happening this weekend, Friday we are headed to Astoria, OR to stay in an adorable Airbnb right on the bay.  It is a private apartment with a wall of windows facing the bay, a wood stove, and an awesome old antique wooden bed.  We plan to eat at all the local spots and do some touring including going to the Goonie's house.  Not sure how safe it will be to go down on the beach with all the storming that the NW is doing right now...but we will see.  I will definitely have to eat some oyster shooters but unfortunately my boyfriend is not a fan, so I will be doing this alone.  In other news who has heard of The Portland Kitchen?  It is an amazing non-profit  that offers free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programming to Portland high school youth, age 14-18.  Somehow I just learned about this place and am going to start volunteering there in January, definitely check it out and give a donation if you are feeling the holiday spirit!

Serving 10 stuffed onions

The Ingredients

2 extra-large onions (or 3 large onions)

1 cup white rice

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (reserve some for garnish)

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 pinches of brown sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

The Process

1.  The first step is to soak your rice in a bowl cool water. The rice will absorb some of the water -- we'll drain off the water in a later step.

2.  Fill a pot with water (enough to cover a whole onion by 1" and bring to a boil. Cut off the very top and bottom of each onion. Make a cut down one side of each of the onions, cutting into the center from top to bottom. This helps the onion layers cook evenly and make it easier to peel. Add the onions, and let them cook for 10 minutes or until the layers soften and separate easily.

3.  Drain the rice completely. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained rice, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cilantro or parsley and ground meat. Mix well.

4.  When the onions have finished cooking, remove and drain from the boiling water. Let cool and separate out the layers individually and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, wrap onion around filling, but not too tightly to allow rice to expand during cooking.

5.  In a large, oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil. When pan is hot, place the onions seam-side down. Let cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms have browned slightly.

6.  Add vinegar to the pan and sprinkle the tops of the onions with sugar. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the meat and rice are fully cooked, rotating the onions halfway during cooking.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs

This last weekend was pretty eventful, Friday my uncle and I went through a bunch of my grandmother's things to talk about memories and come up with a plan to preserve/archive many delicate items (especially the books). Then that night we all watched the Duck game and we won!  Saturday I had a wonderful time meeting up with some of my favorite librarians to try tasty and rare beers at The Beermongers and The Commons Brewery (and it was their 3 year anniversary party).  Both of these places were awesome and I would highly recommend checking them out, and try the sour beers...they are so so yummy.  And then on Sunday we went and got our Christmas tree from a place I've been going to since I was a child, Skyline Tree Farm.  They have grand nobles and are untrimmed which is what I prefer, and the owner is my parents neighbor and he is an awesome individual.  So if you haven't purchased your tree yet check this place out, you won't be disappointed.  Below is a picture of our decorated tree!  I found this recipe while seeking out a simple yet paleo dinner to cook a little while back, enjoy!

Serves 3

The Ingredients

6 chicken thighs

1/8 cup melted butter (for AIP: use lard, tallow or coconut oil)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. tamari sauce

1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp pepper

6 average carrots, peeled and halved

The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 350F. In a large roasting pan with a lid, put the peeled carrots on the bottom of the pan. On top, arrange the chicken thighs skin-up in a single layer.

2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the warm melted butter, the lemon juice, tamari sauce, minced ginger, garlic powder and pepper. Pour this mixture evenly over the chicken thighs.

3.  Cook covered for 60 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes. The chicken is done
when you cut into it and the juices run clear.

4.  Broil chicken for 10 minutes until skin is crisp.

5.  Plate, served over the  carrots. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stuffed Flank Steaks

Where do I start there has been a whirlwind of emotions over this last week...Thanksgiving was wonderful we had a total of 15 people which made for a very cheerful time.  The food was excellent and my stuffing (which I will share soon) turned out fabulous, although I realized for the first time I am in need of a large tall stock pot so I am able to mix very large batches of food.  Thanksgiving was also hard because it was the first one without my grandfather so I made sure to make a toast to him and we all shed some tears.  Another sad event happened in my life recently, my family dog Dominic was diagnosed with cancer just a little over a week ago and went downhill so fast that we had to euthanize him last Saturday the 29th.  He was 14 which means he was 98 in dog years and he had a wonderful full life but it is never easy to say goodbye.  Dom Dom (his nickname) was always rambunctious, he would chase deer and coyotes in the tree farm below my parent's house and he was constantly jumping the 5ft + fence of the backyard where he was suppose to stay during the day.  Dom Dom thought he was a person and definitely made sure that he was in fact my parent's 4th child, I sure will miss that wonderful old pup but I must remember now he no longer has pain and we were all there by his side till the end.  This recipe came about after I decided I had a lot of semi random things to use up, so please enjoy!  Also below is a picture of Dom Dom and I,  I sure will miss him.

Serves 2

The Ingredients

4 thin slabs of flank steak

2 oz goat cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded

1 cup fresh spinach

6 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

4 tablespoons pesto

1 tablespoon tamari

2 cloves garlic, minced

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


The Process

1.  Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat add onions, cook for about 5 minutes then add mushrooms, garlic, tamari, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about another 5 minutes or until both mushrooms and onions are soft.

2.  Preheat oven to broil and grease a baking sheet with edges.  Layout flank steak pieces and tenderize with a mallet.  Then spread 1 tablespoon of pesto over each slab, sprinkle each slab with goat cheese, and divide the mushroom/onion mixture between the 4 pieces of meat.  Then layer on spinach and sprinkle each piece with a thin layer of mozzarella.

3.  Roll each meat piece up like a pinwheel and secure the seams with toothpicks so they doesn't unravel while cooking.  Next place meat pinwheels in the oven and broil for about 10 minutes each side or until steak is cooked to your liking (8 minutes a side would give you rare steak).  When meat is cooked take out toothpicks and serve.  I paired mine with a nice simple salad.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This is the amazing and time consuming dish I made for my amazing mother's 60th birthday, here is the original recipe.  For my mother's 60th my father, her and a bunch of their close friends all went to Silcox Hut which looks breathtaking, above Timberline lodge over 7,000 feet up.  It is an adventure I hope to take one day although I do get really bad vertigo and wonder how flat it is that high up...  In other news I don't even know where to begin when it comes to discussing how disgusted and sad I am about the state of #Ferguson, but this article from the Washington Post sheds some light on the reality of the situation: "Ferguson isn't about black rage against cops.  It's white rage against progress."  On that note eat well and don't forget that love is what it is all about.

Makes 16 rolls

The Ingredients

Cabbage Rolls:
1 large head green cabbage, about 2 to 2¼ pounds

2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs (not necessary, you can leave them out, but they do make the meat fluffier)

1 large onion, grated or minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup raw long-grain white rice

Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped (medium dice)

2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce or one 32-ounce can whole tomatoes, pulsed in a food processor with juice until pureed.

juice of one lemon or 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup golden or regular raisins (optional)

Chopped parsley, for garnish

The Process

1. Core the cabbage. Carefully separate the leaves. Blanch 16 large leaves in boiling water for about 1 minute, or until bright green and just softened. Immediately refresh the blanched leaves in ice water. Drain and reserve. OR, freeze head of cabbage for two days then defrost, core, peel off leaves and roll cabbage rolls. Another method is, place the cabbage in the microwave for 6 minutes. The core will slip right out and the leaves will be perfect for rolling. (I used this method)

2. Chop some of the remaining leaves to make 1 cup of chopped cabbage and reserve.

3. Mix the ground beef with the eggs, grated onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and rice. Divide this mixture into sixteen 2-ounce balls. Using moistened hands, form the balls into cylinders.

4. Place a cylinder of filling near the bottom of a cabbage leaf. Begin to roll it up, folding both sides over the filling, and finish rolling to enclose the filling, like an egg roll. Continue, filling and rolling all the cabbage leaves. Place them, seam side down, on a tray or baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Sauté the second onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the reserved chopped cabbage and sauté briefly.

6. Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Increase the heat until it comes to a boil, then lower it and simmer for 5 minutes. Add raisins now, if using.

7. Line of the bottom of a 13 x 9 roasting pan or glass dish with a layer of sauce. Place cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of sauce. Top cabbage rolls with remaining sauce then cover the whole pan with tin foil.

8. Bake for 2 hours in a preheated 350F oven.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Cantonese Egg Custard with Minced Pork

Friendsgiving (picture below) and my mom's 60th birthday were both a huge hit this weekend and in the midst of it all I got to see the new Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1(you should definitely see it).  Luckily this week will be short and sweet due to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!  I didn't get enough down time this past weekend and I really need some me time/home time.  I made this recipe last Thursday for one of my best friends and we both enjoyed it very much, NomNom Paleo is an amazing cooking blog.  The one thing that caught me up was trying to find a heat safe dish to fit in the biggest pot I had...so my custard actually had to lean as it cooked that is why it looks so uneven in the picture.  I served this with lemony asparagus.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

For the filling:
1 teaspoon bacon fat

1 small shallot, minced

½ pound ground pork (or your favorite protein)

3-4 asparagus stalks, thinly sliced

3 fresh cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce

2 teaspoons tamari

freshly ground black pepper

For the custard:
3 large eggs

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon Red Boat fish sauce

For the garnish:
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 green onion stalks, thinly sliced

The Process

1.  Heat the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and the pork to the pan, breaking up the meat with a spatula.  Saute the filling until the shallots are softened and the pork is no longer pink.

2.  Toss in the chopped asparagus and cremini mushrooms and stir-fry for about a minute or until the asparagus turns bright green.  Season the meat and veggies with fish sauce, tamari, and freshly ground pepper. Taste the filling and adjust the flavors if needed.

3.  Next, spoon the meat and veggies into a shallow, heat-proof dish.  While the filling cools slightly, prep your steamer set-up.  Fill a large stock pot with about two inches of water.  Pop a steamer into the stock pot and cover.

4.  Bring the water to a boil in the covered pot over high heat.  As the water in the steamer comes to a boil, make the egg custard by combining the eggs and water. (3 large eggs get you to the ⅔ cup mark—to that, add ¾ cup water.)  Pour the egg mixture over the meat and veggie filling.

5.  Once the water in the steamer is boiling, turn the heat down to medium to maintain a hard simmer.  Carefully place your egg custard on the steamer rack in the pot and cover the dish with another heat-proof glass plate, turned upside-down.

6.  Replace the lid on the pot and steam for 15-20 minutes or until the custard is fully set.  The custard’s ready when it is still slightly jiggly and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Drizzle on some toasted sesame oil, and garnish the savory egg custard with chopped fresh cilantro and green onions.