Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ham Bone Stock

As I mentioned in the last post I was lucky enough to receive the leftover ham bone from the Christmas ham.  The ham bone is so huge I had to take off the knuckles in order for it to even fit in my crockpot and I cooked that ham bone all night long.  It has been a long time since I cooked anything overnight and I forgot how the delicious smell seeps into your dreams and somewhat narrates what you dream about.  Anyway this stock is the first step to what I'm calling my 48 hour soup.  I cooked the stock for 12 hours and now it is in the fridge waiting for the fat to collect on the top (about 10 hours).  Then I have to soak the northern beans for 12 hours and prep and assemble the ham, bean, and sauerkraut soup I am making.  The soup will then cook for about 8 hours and we will feast on it NYE.  We also plan on playing Settlers of Catan, a board game that I haven't ever played but have been told it is addicting-ly fun!  I adapted this basic stock recipe, enjoy!

Servings 8

The Ingredients

1 large ham bone and any fat and scraps left from trimming your ham

10-12 cups water (approximate)

2 onions, peeled and halved

2-3 carrots, washed and cut into half (no need to peel)

2 celery ribs, leaves attached, cut in half

5 garlic cloves, peeled

10-15 peppercorns

2 bay leaves

The Process

1.  Place all ingredients in your largest slow cooker, adding enough water to cover the ham bone and fill the crock. Cook on high for 6-12 hours.

2.  The longer you cook it, the better it will be, so I recommend 12 hours if you can.

3.  Remove and discard ham bone and vegetables and spices. You can do this by fishing out the larger pieces with a slotted spoon, and straining the broth through a mesh strainer.

4.  Pour strained stock into one or more containers and refrigerate overnight. Once the stock cools, the fat will congeal on the top and it can be lifted off and thrown away.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Piselli al Prosciutto (Sweet Peas with Prosciutto)

What a wonderful long holiday weekend we had, so much family, friends, and delicious food!  On Christmas eve we went over to my Uncle's house for the extended family potluck dinner and I made this recipe from Saveur, it was delectable.  Then on Christmas my father made a 14 pound prime rib roast that was cooked to perfection, as in still bloody just the way I like it.  This hunk of meat was accompanied by creamy horseradish, Yorkshire pudding, a dish we call Cal's potatoes (shredded potatoes, sour cream, cheese, green onions, etc.), and balsamic glazed brussels sprouts.  After a wonderful couple days with my family in PDX we traveled down to Eugene, OR to visit with my boyfriend's parents where we laid around in our pjs, watched movies, and cooked more amazing food.  His parents purchased an entire ham from Voget Meats and it was one of the best hams I've ever had, definitely check this place out if you are looking for some fine meats.  And lucky me I got to take the ham bone home, so tonight I'm going to make a ham bone broth and use it to make a tasty white bean and ham soup for New Year's Eve.  This year will be the first time ever that we are staying home on New Year's Eve and I can't wait!  I hope you enjoy this dish, I purchased prosciutto from Whole Foods at $26 a pound...and it was some of the most delicious I have had in a while, so I suggest going for quality meats in this recipe.  The simplicity of flavors in this recipe is what makes it so satisfying.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 oz. prosciutto, roughly chopped

small white onion, minced

1 lb. fresh or frozen green peas

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Process

1. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and onions; cook until onions are soft and prosciutto begins to crisp, 6–8 minutes.

2. Add peas and 1 tbsp. water; cook, tossing, until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie

While many others are already off work for the holidays I still have a half day tomorrow (Christmas eve), but this doesn't stop me from playing with all of my lovely friends!  Tonight I'm headed to a holiday potluck with gifts, music, and dancing...still trying to figure out what to make.  And last night I had one of my wonderful friend's over for some good old comforting chicken pot pie, and yes I usually cheat when it comes to the crust and buy pre-made dough...again I really don't care for baking and that includes making dough.  Two nights ago I also got to reunite with one of my friends who now lives in California and she told me she is moving to Singapore for four months for a school exchange program which is very exciting!  Apparently they don't sell gum there and you get in trouble if you spit gum out on the ground (if someone sees you)...but it is also a very clean place.  In unrelated news I just started listening to America's Test Kitchen podcast and am completely addicted, another good podcast is Serial.  As a result I heard about this awesome book Peace Meals, which I now have on hold and am counting down the days until I can get my hands on it.  I hope you enjoy my wonderful pot pie!

Serves 5

The Ingredients

1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced

1 medium Yukon gold potato, cubed

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large chicken breast, diced

2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups half and half

1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Cooking spray

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

The Process

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  Heat up frying pan and spray with oil, add onions, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms, saute over medium-high heat for about 6 minutes and set aside.

3.  Then heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the diced chicken breast. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until the chicken is no longer pink.

4.  Sprinkle the flour over the chicken in the pan. Stir until the chicken is well coated with flour.

5.  Slowly pour in the half and half, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for five minutes or until slightly thickened.

6.  Add the carrots, potato, onions, mushrooms, broccoli and remaining salt. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients.

7.  Unfold the thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll pastry to seal any cracks.

8.  Spray the inside of the cooking dish lightly with cooking spray. Fill with the chicken mixture. Top the dish with the puff pastry. Cut a vent in the top of the pastry.

8.  Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush over the pastry.

9.  Place the prepared pot pie on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes.

10.  Cover the pastry loosely with aluminum foil to prevent burning and cook for an additional 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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!