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
toothpicks


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.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mini Portobello Cheeseburgers

Today has been a very intense day at work with 4 hours straight of accounting training.  Our company has so many different transactions that there seems to be "an exception" for every rule there is.  This is why I am taking my lunch and writing my blog so late.  I do have a fun night planned though, I am meeting up with two very lovely librarians to enjoy some amazing beer.  My friend Turner has a brother who lives and brews on the east coast, the brewery is Oxbow.  Turner was lucky enough to convince his brother to ship some of this beer to us on the west coast so we finally get to try the infamous beer.  The other person meeting up with us tonight is the most passionate beer man I have ever met.  He lives and breathes beer and even barters with people around the world to taste different beers.  So to say the least I will be in good hands while we enjoy beers and each other's company at Beermongers.  Are you local to PDX?  Do you like Double Mountain Brewery and/or Lardo?  If you said yes to either you should go to this awesome pop-up event that they are putting on in order to help support The Portland Kitchen (look at flyer below).  Ok let's talk food, these burgers were pretty delicious, I adapted this recipe.  I will say choose what style burger you want before making them, you want fancy or traditional?  The original recipe is my traditional and I went fancy adding grilled onions and drizzling balsamic vinegar.  The thing I would change is that I wish I had made a reduced balsamic vinegar glaze because I was looking for a little more sweetness and didn't want to add ketchup to what I had.  Hope you enjoy!

Serves 2 (filling portions)

The Ingredients
6 medium portobello mushrooms
1/2 lb Ground Beef
2 tsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
dash of cayenne
6 small slices sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 cherry tomatoes (I used yellow ones), sliced in half
6 basil leaves
1/4 of an onion, sliced into rings
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar


The Process
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Remove the stems from your mushrooms and scrap out the gills and put them in a medium bowl.

3.  In the same bowl add the beef, Worcestershire, Parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne. Mix together until everything is combined.

4.  Stuff the mushrooms with the beef mixture.  Place each mushroom in a baking dish, and place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes.

5.  In the mean time heat a skillet up over medium high heat and add olive oil.  When hot add onions and fry on each side until they start to look brown and charred, about 5 minutes each side.

6.  When 10 minutes are up on the burgers take them out and pile sauteed onions on each burger and top each one with a piece of cheese.  Put back in oven for another 10-15 minutes.

7.  While burgers are cooking add more olive oil to the same hot skillet and put all your tomatoes halves cut face down.  Sautee for about 6 minutes, remove from heat and add a splash of balsamic vinegar in the pan so that it somewhat glazed the tomatoes.

8.  When burgers are done remove from oven and top with fresh basil and tomatoes.  This is when I also drizzled a little more balsamic vinegar over the tops of each one. And eat!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Apple Cheddar Turkey Burger with Roasted Tomato Tahini Sauce

As a foodie I am constantly looking for the best restaurants and food related activities, especially when I'm traveling.  Recently I came across an epic food tour, it is a tour of all the famous restaurants in Seinfeld.  Including the famous Tom's Restaurant with the big salad, and The Original Soup Man famous for the soup Nazi.  Check out the tour here and next time you are in New York I would suggest you hit up at least one of these locations for a bit of nostalgia.  In more local news I recently read about a vegan cheese shop in Portland called Vtopia and it sounds pretty enticing.  Don't get me wrong I love real cheese made with dairy but I am fascinated with the idea of nut cheeses because nuts are so rich and fatty I bet they are pretty comparable flavor to the real thing.  I will definitely need to check this place out sooner than later.  Speaking of vegan OSU's researchers have discovered a red seaweed that tastes like bacon!  I love seaweed anyway so this gives me just one more reason, read about it here.  Let's get to the cooking, my friends and I adapted this recipe for last night's amazing meal.  It was so filling and tasty that I am wishing I had more right now.  Enjoy.

Serves 4

The Ingredient

Apple Cheddar Turkey Burgers:
1 lb ground turkey
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and shredded
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Roasted Tomato Tahini Sauce:
12 cherry tomatoes
5 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Olive oil


The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Then in large bowl combine ground turkey, onion, cheddar, Dijon mustard, shredded apple, salt and pepper. With dampened hands shape into 4 burgers (you can also make meatballs if you feel like.)

2.  When oven is hot place tomatoes tossed in olive oil in a pan and place that pan in the oven.  You will roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes tossing once in a while until just starting to shrivel.


3.  When tomatoes are done place them in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.  Now re-grease the same pan and place the 4 burgers in it.  Bake these in the oven for a total of 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.

4.  While the burgers are cooking take the bowl of roasted tomatoes and add in the tahini, white wine vinegar, cayenne, and salt.  With a blender or an immersion blender mix this combination until smooth and set aside.

5.  When burgers are done place on a plate and serve with as much of the roasted tomato tahini sauce as you want!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Oregon just got funded $3.3 million to use for farm to school programs!!!  This is such great news because those programs are invaluable to our youth.  In other food related news how do you view fat in your diet?  Here is an article about how the federal government has skewed the public's view on dietary fat.  I personally eat lots of fat which I'm sure you can tell with all the recipes I make.  I'm so so happy it is Friday because it has been a long week.  Last night we had a friend and his daughter visit from out of town and it was wonderful seeing them so I decided to make a delicious meal for them.  I adapted this recipe and served it with a fresh salad.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup basil leaves, chiffonade
Ricotta and fresh tomatoes to top it with (optional)


The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste.

3.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; set aside.

4.  Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan, thyme, oregano and basil.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet.

5.  Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.

6.  Serve immediately, garnished with basil, ricotta, and fresh tomatoes if desired.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Red Wine Vinegar Chard with Peppery Ricotta and a Fried Egg

Have you heard about this clever and fun new campaign out to get people to buy ugly vegetables?  Read about it here, and to be honest I love funny looking vegetables.  Speaking of vegetables my garden is coming along pretty well for the most part with my tomatoes and peppers loving this heat.  But my spinach not so much, it just shot up and started flowering and my turnips were eaten by bugs immediately. This heat wave in PDX is really starting to get to me, haven't been able to sleep well in about two weeks now because of it.  While I like the sunshine I honestly can't wait for fall, it is my favorite time of year by far.  I adapted this recipe and it was a perfect meatless meal for a hot evening.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
3 pounds red or white Swiss chard, leaves sliced into ½-inch-wide ribbons
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta, preferably sheep’s milk ricotta, drained
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
salt
5 eggs


The Process
1.  Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Set up a large ice bath nearby.

2.  When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt. Drop the chard into the water and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes.

3.  Drain the chard and plunge it into the ice bath. When it has cooled, drain it well. Place the chard between two platters and press them together very firmly to release the excess water. Place the chard in a large mixing bowl, add the oil and vinegar, and toss. Season lightly with salt, and set in a cool place or in the fridge.

4.  Mix the ricotta, nutmeg, and black pepper in a bowl until well blended. Set aside.

5.  On medium-high heat up a skillet with olive oil in it and fry your eggs until desired done-ness is reached.

6.  When ready to serve, place chard in bowls and put dollops of ricotta mixture on the chard and place egg on top.