Friday, August 14, 2015

Tiger Salad with Steak

Work has been so crazy I've barely even had time to take my lunches let alone blog during them.  My company hosts 3 conferences a year and 2 of them are just around the corner, one of which I will be leaving for at the end of this month.  We are all headed to Florida for this conference and there is so much prep work that goes into it, so I don't see my work life slowing down until we leave for Europe.  My garden is finally starting to produce too which makes me very happy, I hope that I don't miss a bunch of the tomatoes while I am away on my trips...but I guess that is just life.  This weekend should be a blast, we are headed to a wedding down in Silver Falls, OR and I just adore the people getting married.  I have known the bride since middle school and she is one of my older brother's best friends so there will be a ton of guests that I know and like which is always a plus!  This week is Burger Week in Portland and there are about 31 restaurants participating this year.  Here is a link to each burger and what restaurant they are at, burger week is just too fun.  I adapted this recipe a couple nights ago and it was the perfect meal for the hot and sticky weather we are having here in PDX.  Happy Friday and enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic chili paste
1 bunch cilantro leaves with tender stems, cut into 2 inches pieces
6 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Steak I used this recipe for the marinade (optional)

The Process
1.  Whisk vinegar, oil, sesame seeds, and chili past in a large bowl. Add cilantro, celery, cucumbers, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

2.  Cook meat to preference and serve over the salad.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Collard Greens

So happy it is Friday!  I can't wait for this weekend of mostly relaxation.  Tonight I am hanging out with a dear friend that I haven't seen in too long and we are going to go to HK Cafe, which yes believe it or not I still haven't been too.  Then tomorrow we are attending a house warming party because our lovely friends just purchased their first home which is pretty exciting.  And Sunday I am going to attempt to make my first batch of sauerkraut in my new fermentation crock.  Sailing last night was a blast, there are a couple pictures at the end of this post to show how perfect of an evening it was.  Let's talk about food now, recently I made this delightfully simple and traditional collard greens recipe to pair with pork and they turned out fabulous.  Enjoy. Also happy international beer day!

Serves 5

The Ingredients
2 tablespoon bacon fat
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 bunches fresh collard greens

The Process
1.  Prepare the collard greens by first removing the stems. Pull them off by hand or cut them out with a knife. Wash the leaves and stack the leaves and cut across into about 1- inch sized ribbons.

2.  In a large pot over medium high heat, add bacon fat and onions. Saute onions for 5 minutes over medium high heat until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and saute quickly for an additional 30 seconds or so, just until golden and fragrant.  Then add stock, greens, and the salt and pepper and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, until the greens are tender.

3.  Stir the vinegar into the greens just prior to serving or serve on the side.  And serve!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beef Lok Lak

I have been continuing my accounting training at work and while last week made me want to pull out my hair, this week everything is really starting to make sense which makes me very happy.  It is a field I never thought I would enter but again it is just one more skill that I now have.  Happy Farmers Market week! Make sure and get out to support your favorite farmers market because they have really evolved to meet our needs which is highlighted in this article.  I am pretty excited for this evening because I will be hanging out with one of my good friends and we are going to go sailing with my parents and picnic on the dock.  Let's hope for wind!  I adapted this recipe and it was fabulous, filling and refreshing.  Not my garden tomatoes yet but the Persian cucumbers were courtesy of my wonderful coworker's garden.  Also I don't normally make food with this much sugar but it sure was good, plus most of the sugar is left behind in the marinade.  Enjoy!

Serves 2

The Ingredients

Beef and marinade:
1 lb beef sirloin, cut into bite size chunks
1⁄4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

To serve:
2 small tomatoes, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and finely sliced
1⁄2 small red onion, finely sliced
Green cabbage, leaves torn off to use as wrappers

Dipping sauce:
Juice of a lime
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon water

The Process
1.  In a large bowl, mix beef with tamari, oyster sauce, ketchup, sugar, fish sauce, ground black pepper and garlic. Marinate at least 20 minutes or up to one hour.

2.  Make dipping sauce, combine ingredients in a small bowl-set aside.

3.  Decorate two dinner plates with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Set aside.  Place the cabbage leaves on a separate platter.

4.  Heat oil in a wok over a high heat and stir-fry beef until cooked about 5-7 minutes.  Divide between the two dinner plates.

5.  You eat it by wrapping portions of the meat and salad ingredients in a cabbage leaf, then dipping that in the dipping sauce.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wine Braised Leeks with Mushrooms, Polenta, and Gorgonzola

Summertime is just so busy, so many events, weekend getaways, and dinner making with lovely friends that I can't believe it is all coming to the end!  But that end also means we are that much closer to our Europe trip!!!  This also means that all of our gardens are producing lots of yummy vegetables, and speaking of eating things we grow here is a cool little guide on edibles easily found in most neighborhoods.  This part of the summer is so wonderful because the peaches are out in full force and my mother just gave me some delicious ones from Hood River.  Tonight I plan on having some good old fashioned peaches in cream!  Onto the food, last night I adapted this recipe and made it for my wonderful parents who both recently got back from a long trip in Hawaii.  They loved this meal.

Serves 3-4

The Ingredients
2 leeks, trimmed of their greens
2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced, no stems
1 cup red wine
2 tsp fresh marjoram
3 tbsp butter
2 cups water
1 cup corn meal
2 tbsp soy sauce
a splash of white wine
Gorgonzola, for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

The Process
1.  Over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp butter in a large sauce pan. As it is heating, trim the leeks into a log shape. Slice in half lengthwise and briefly rinse under running water to remove any dirt that may be trapped between the layers.

2.  To the butter, add the mushrooms, soy sauce, white wine and cook until done (about 8 minutes). Remove from pan, set aside and keep warm.

3.  In the same sauce pan, place the leeks cut side down in the remaining with 1 tbsp butter. Gently saute until the leeks start to get nice and golden brown. Add the marjoram, wine, and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and cover. Gently cook until leeks are cooked through and wine has reduced to a few tablespoons. (This takes a while, I believe it was about 25 minutes).

4.  Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the water up to a boil. Add last tbsp of butter and a healthy pinch of salt. When the water is at a full boil, quickly whisk in corn meal. Reduce heat and cook until the cornmeal has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.

5.  Assemble by plating the polenta and then the mushrooms. Spoon the reduction over the mushrooms and top with a few leeks. Garnish with Gorgonzola and black pepper.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

The week has just started and it already feels very busy, but busy with fun activities so I can't complain too much.  Our camping trip last weekend was awesome and we didn't get rained out, I even jumped into the freezing river.  Tomorrow night we are headed to our first Hops game ever, they are a local minor league baseball team in Hillsboro.  When I was little we had season tickets to the Portland Rockies and I always had a blast, so this will definitely bring back some memories and we are going with a big group of my family.  Also there is talk of Portland getting a major league baseball team which could be pretty fun too!  If you haven't noticed by now I am kind of obsessed with meatballs, this will officially be my 12th meatball recipe on this blog.  This is very much like my classic Italian meatballs but I added cheese to them and it was delicious.  Enjoy!

Servers 4

The Ingredients

For the meatballs:

½ cup almond flour
1/3 cup grated onion
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 lbs. ground beef
2 tsp. olive oil to fry meatballs
2-3 mozzarella string cheese sticks, cut into bite size chunks

For the sauce:

1 jar marinara sauce or you can make your own
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

The Process
1.  In a large casserole dish mix together all the sauce ingredients.

2.  Then make the meatballs, combine the almond flour, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg.  Stir together with a fork just until blended.  Mix in the ground beef and knead together gently until evenly combined.  Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter.  Then press your thumb into the ball to create a place to put a chunk of the mozzarella in.  After you insert the cheese roll the ball between both hands to get meat to cover the cheese.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer (two batches may be necessary if you don’t have enough surface area.)  Let cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are browned.

4.  Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them in the pan with the tomato sauce. Top with any extra cheese chunks leftover.  Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes and remove from oven and serve

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sharp Cheddar Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

What is everyone up to this weekend?  We are headed to Kingfisher near Mt. Hood to go camping with our neighbors.  I haven't ever been out there but there is suppose to be a very nice swimming hole and it is in the forest and that is all I care about.  It has been a very long week and nature is one of the most soothing things to me so I am excited to go out and relax.  But if we weren't camping I would be heading up to Lacy, WA for this awesome mushroom festival I just discovered.  It is called the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival and it looks amazing including: cooking demos, tasting, entertainment, farm tours, and of course selling of mushrooms.  Speaking of mushrooms do you know how to best cook with all the different varieties of mushrooms?  Here is a helpful guide that explains how to get the most out of your fav mushrooms.  As you know yesterday was national hot dog day so I felt I had to represent and make a hot dog themed dinner.  Since I don't usually eat things as processed as hot dogs I went on the hunt for some good natural hot dogs, to my surprise I found some really delicious ones (picture of package below).  These are very yummy and definitely take me back to my childhood of eating hot dogs at BBQs and baseball games.  Enjoy!

Serves 6

The Ingredients
6 hot dogs
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
6 slices of bacon

The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Then put a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot add your bacon and cook until it is cooked but still chewy and malleable so that you can easily wrap the hot dogs with it.

2.  Cut slits into hot dogs about half way through the hot dog from tip to tip.  Add cheese to each hot dog.

3.  Next take 1 piece of bacon and 1 hot dog and wrap the bacon around the hot dog securing the ends of the bacon with toothpicks so that it doesn't unravel.  Do this with all the hot dogs.

4.  When oven is preheated place hot dogs on a greased pan and place in the oven.  Cook for about 10 minutes. I served mine with a side of roasted broccoli and it was delicious.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Parmesan Asparagus Lemon Soup

Last week I talked about going and tasting some beers with friends well little did I know that I would be tasting a lobster beer, yes this is beer that is brewed with lobster and it is from Oxbo.  It had hints of citrus and brine and overall was somewhat pleasant (pictured below).  Also their barrel aged farmhouse pale ale was amazing, haven't ever had a beer quite like that.  Last weekend I attended my dear friend's party and it was called Denim Day.  This is the second year in a row she has thrown it and it is mandatory that everyone wears denim, it turned out to be pretty darn fun even if it was hellishly hot outside (pictured below).  Also happy national hot dog day, here are some super delicious places to eat artisan hot dogs in PDX.  This week has been quite busy so going home at the end of the day and making a delicious home cooked meal really helps me relax.  Lucky for me yesterday was actually cool enough that I could make this soup which I adapted from this recipe.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
3 tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2.5 lbs asparagus, trimmed
5 cups vegetable broth
zest from one lemon
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (if you have it)
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper
fresh chives, diced

The Process
1.  Add butter to soup pot and melt over medium heat. Add onions & garlic, cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes.

2.  Cut tips off asparagus and set aside. Dice remaining stems into 1/2 inch pieces.

3.  Add chopped asparagus stems to soup pot, stir and let cook 5 minutes longer. Add vegetable broth, lemon zest and parmigiano-reggiano cheese rind to soup pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for half hour until asparagus is tender.

4.  While soup is simmering, add asparagus tips to fine mesh sieve and place over simmering soup. Cover with lid to let them steam. Check for doneness after 10 minutes, should be tender but firm. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5.  When soup has simmered for 30 minutes, take off heat, remove cheese rind and puree with an immersion blender. Return to heat, add juice of 1/4 lemon, and grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6.  Add steamed asparagus tips to soup immediately before serving and garnish with chives.