Friday, October 24, 2014

Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad

I'm so happy it is Friday, it has been a long week filled with a lot of emotions.  Tuesday was my grandpa's funeral and it was such a beautiful service.  It really helped being surrounded by lots of family and we all got through it together.  The funeral was in Hood River, OR and I ended up staying the night with family which was a really good decision.  Not only did I get to cook for everyone but my mother is learning how to do Bowen technique which is an alternative type of bodywork (like acupuncture) that focuses on muscles, tendons, and fascia.  Since she is still training and learning she has to have documented practice hours so she did a bunch of work on me and the next day my body felt amazing.  Speaking of taking care of my body tonight I am going to my first yoga (Vinyasa) class in years, back in college I did yoga almost everyday and I sure do miss it.  Onto the food I made this salad last night for a lovely friend potluck, we were entertained by games and a brand new kitten.  I also forgot to take a picture of the salad so the picture below is from the original recipe (linked above) and the photo credit goes to James Ransom.

Serves 4-6

The Ingredients

7 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 pound mushrooms, delicate varieties such as cremini, oyster, or shiitake are best, wiped clean as sliced as thin as possible
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (I ended up adding more because I love citrus)
8 ribs celery, shaved paper thin (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
The Process
1.  Saute the mushrooms: In a skillet, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and saute until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper and then set aside to cool.

2.  Toss the salad: In a large serving bowl, whisk the remaining 4 Tbsp olive oil with the lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper and then taste. Add more oil or lemon juice as you like. Add the celery, cooled mushrooms, cheese, and parsley to the bowl and toss until combined. Season with sea salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Moroccan Meatball and Egg Tagine

After a stormy night here in PDX I woke up to no power this morning and was forced to get ready by candlelight...not very easy.  And as I am looking at updates for the power outage it says it wont be fixed until 3pm, not good news for our fridge and freezer full of food.  On a more positive note tonight is scary movie night at my boyfriend's sister's house, she does one every Wednesday for the month of October and I love love love scary movies!  Tonight our feature presentation will be either Funny Games or House on Haunted Hill.  In other news cooking is such a comfort right now considering the loss of my Grandpa, and he always loved when I cooked for him.  This recipe will warm you right up, enjoy!  The picture below is not mine, it comes from the original recipe that I have linked above, the photo credit goes to Mark's daily apple.  As you will notice my photos are at the bottom of this post and a lot less appetizing.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

4 Eggs

Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (30 ml)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (5 ml)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (a pinch)

1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (a pinch)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (a pinch)

28-ounces (790 g) of whole canned/boxed tomatoes in their juice (broken up with your hands or a food processor) or 28-ounces canned/boxed diced tomatoes in juice or 2 lbs. (about 1 kg) fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled into 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (60 ml)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (60 ml)

1 pound ground beef or lamb (or a combination of the two) (450 g)

2 tablespoons grated or very finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon sweet paprika (5 ml)

1 teaspoon ground cumin (5 ml)

1 teaspoon ground coriander (5 ml)

1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (2.5 ml)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (a pinch)

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne (a pinch)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley (30 ml)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (30 ml

The Process

1In a wide (11 or 12 inch/30 cm) saucepan or dutch oven with a lid, heat the olive oil/ butter for the tomato sauce. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes. Add the spices and mix well then add the tomatoes. Bring to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, covered.

2.  While the sauce is simmering, use your hands to combine all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape the mixture into small meatballs about 1- inch in diameter.  Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce along with the 1/4-cup of saffron water. Cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes.

3.  Crack the eggs into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tomato Basil and Beef Soup

In my last post I was talking about the health of my grandpa, I'm sad to say that we lost Melvin Anthony Cordie at 12:30am early Friday morning.  He went peacefully and had people he loved surrounding him.  It has been really hard for all of us to process as we just lost the patriarch of the family.  After spending the whole day in Hood River, OR looking at photos and reminiscing about his life I was lucky enough to get away to the coast for the weekend for some much needed reflection.  Today is my first day back at work since the event and it is definitely proving to be difficult so I am blogging to try and distract myself from reality.  I adapted this recipe a while ago but it is a great soup if you need a soul healing meal.   As we are heading full force into fall just remember that every season brings a lot of change and try and appreciate everyone and everything you have.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

30 ounces diced tomatoes

1 cup coconut milk, canned (full fat)

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup onion, diced

1 pound ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chicken broth

1/8 cup pesto

The Process
1.  Add diced tomatoes and coconut milk to a blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil and saute onions until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain fat.

3.  Stir in minced garlic and salt. Pour in tomato/coconut milk mixture, chicken broth, pesto. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer 10-15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

I love you Gramps!
This is a very old and wonderful picture of the two of us.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Onion and Parsley Salad

Life has been a whirlwind lately...last weekend my plans to go apple picking got canceled because my poor grandpa is not doing well.  Not sure if any of my readers have lost someone very dear to them but at this age I assume you have.  My grandpa at the ripe age of 91 is now on hospice.  About only two weeks ago he actually told me to my face that he was ready to go, while it was hard for me to hear, it was also comforting to know that he is prepared and welcoming the next step.  With that said I have been working on being positive and celebrating his amazing and long lived (still living) life.  Last time I saw him he was barely able to talk but managed to playfully make fun of my dad... my grandpa will forever be a jokester.  This weekend I am headed to Cannon Beach, OR with 5 of my very close friends so hopefully I can find some peace in our trip.  It will be full of funny dogs playing in sand and delicious meals.  Speaking of delicious meals last night I created a great one, I paired this amazing Lebanese salad with bacon wrapped chicken.  Enjoy!

Serves 3

The Ingredients
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or 3/4 teaspoon sumac)

salt & black pepper, to taste

2 cups fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped

generous pinch cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

The Process
1. In  a large bowl, toss onion with mint leaves, red wine vinegar (or sumac), salt, and black pepper. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, ’til the onions soften slightly.

2. In a small bowl, mix the parsley, cumin, and lemon juice with a fork. Stir with the fork and slowly add the olive oil, stirring while you drizzle so the dressing emulsifies a bit. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss gently with a wooden spoon to combine.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Swiss Chard and Parsley Chicken Salad Sandwich

Even though it is now fall time and officially October 1st by garden is still producing a fair amount of vegetables which of course makes me very happy.  Luckily I have my garden vegetables because our cabinets are practically bare at this point, it is definitely time to restock.  With one can of garbanzo beans, a little leftover roast chicken, garden veggies, and some basic condiments from my cupboard I was able to create a fabulous chicken salad sandwich (oh and I purchased the French rolls for a total of 50 cents each).  In addition to the season change I usually get pretty bad allergies, but today I woke up realizing that I think I have contracted my first cold of the season...not so fun.  But what that means for my blog is that I will be making a bunch more soups to help flush out my system, so watch for them in the next couple posts.  In other fall news it looks like this weekend is shaping up to be a fantastic one, there might be some apple picking and fall picnicking up the Columbia Gorge!  I hope you enjoy my lovely and very filling sandwich.

Serves 2

The Ingredients

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

1 cup Swiss chard, chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 roma tomato, diced

1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise (optional)

2 French rolls (warmed up)

The Process

1.  In a medium bowl mix together chicken, Swiss chard, Italian parsley, tomato, garbanzo beans, and onion.  Mix well.

2.  In a small bowl make the dressing by mixing garlic, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, rice vinegar, pepper, and mayonnaise.  Add the dressing to the chicken mixture, stir well and put in the fridge and let sit for 15 minutes so the flavors can marry.

3.  Heat up your rolls, slice in half (not all the way) and fill each one with chicken salad.  Eat!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Yogurt Sriracha Chicken Thighs

Here we are at the start of another week with fall in full swing.  I actually had a surprisingly relaxing weekend and made a wonderful brunch with one of my best friends.  Saturday my boyfriend and I went to one of my favorite Portland parks, Cathedral Park, and recreated our second date.  We walked around and secretly drank champagne while watching boats go by on the river, it was a perfect and romantic afternoon.  As we walked around we bumped into Occidental's Oktoberfest, it looked like a blast and we will definitely have to check it out in the coming years.  I made this recipe after researching what chicken recipes I could make in order to use up my yummy plain whole fat Nancy's yogurt.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1/4 cup plain yogurt (whole fat)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp Sriracha
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 to 5 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
The Process

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, Sriracha, garlic, salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Turn bag over several times to coat chicken. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour, I marinated the chicken overnight.

2.  Preheat oven to 375F. Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer in a baking dish or broiler pan. Spread any marinade remaining in the bag over the thighs. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Then broil on high for 4 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden brown.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beef Tamales

Last weekend my good friend Erin and I attacked a very long but super rewarding cooking adventure, we made about 100 homemade tamales from scratch.  We had planned on making tamales together for over a year but it didn't happen until her boyfriend became obsessed with eating tamales and went to the tamale cart almost everyday.  We decided it was great motivation to make a bunch and freeze them for all our tamale cravings.  This recipe is for the beef tamales but we also made chicken tomatillo, and pork tamales, all of which are delightful!  All in all the tamale making took us about 8 hours and required some very creative steaming contraptions.  I am very excited for this weekend because my boyfriend and I are going to the annual Polish Festival in North Portland.  It is one of my favorite Portland cultural events, not to mention the tasty pierogis and delicious beer (definitely check it out if you haven't ever been).  Then on Saturday night I am going to a great fundraiser for EveryLibrary (a nonprofit social welfare organization chartered to work exclusively on local library ballot initiatives).  The event is called Tatas for Libraries, it is a tasteful burlesque show hosted in the beautiful Norse Hall and I'm sure it will be a blast!  One last note, I love that it rained all morning here in Portland, OR makes me so happy!

Makes about 30

The Ingredients

For Beef:

4 lbs beef roast (buy something leanish and inexpensive-ish)
1 large onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, halved
2Tbsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp cumin
1 (15oz) can enchilada sauce
For Masa:
4 cups masa
4 cups leftover cooking liquid from meat
1 1/3 cups lard
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 bag corn husks
The Process

Day 1: (about 8 hours)
1.  Place beef, onion, and garlic in a slow cooker. Add 2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in enough water to cover or almost cover the meat. (You could use low-sodium beef broth.) Cook on low 8-10 hours or till very very tender. Don’t discard the broth! Shred beef, pour in the enchilada sauce and refrigerate. Store broth separately in a container in the refrigerator.
2.  Soak corn husks in warm water overnight.

Day 2: (about 4 hours)

1.  Rinse corn husks and drain well.

2.  Add just enough broth (only a few tablespoons) to just moisten the meat. Taste and check seasoning. If somewhat bland, add more cumin and chili powder. You may need to add a little more broth.

3.  To make masa mixture, combine masa, lard, baking powder, and salt and stir.

4.  Then add the cooking water and mix.  Next add the lard and mix until dough is slightly sticky.

5.  Watch this video to learn how to assemble, we also took little strips of corn husk and tied them around the tamales to secure them.

6.  We steamed them (over a vegetable steamer in a large pot with water) for 2 1/2 hours (covered), then we uncovered them and steamed for another 1/2 hour.  When they are done the masa will start to pull away from the corn husk wrapping.  At this point you can eat them fresh or freeze them!  Enjoy!