Friday, June 26, 2015

Spicy Ginger Beef & Bok Choy

Today is an amazing day in history in achieving marriage equality for our entire nation!  I am overwhelmed with happiness and love and couldn't be more proud of how far our country has come.  Below is a wonderful image that I have seen all over social media.  So it is Friday, we have marriage equality, and I'm headed out on an amazing adventure up the gorge for the weekend!  Tonight we are headed to Hood River, OR to see my grandmother, then tomorrow early afternoon we are going wine tasting at our favorite spot AniChe Cellars, and then we are headed up to Horsethief Lake on the Washington side of the Columbia to go swimming.  Tomorrow it is suppose to get into the hundreds temperature wise so a swimming hole is a must.  Then when we are done swimming we are headed to the Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur, OR.  We went there once 3 years ago and had so much fun that we just had to go back.  It is a ghost town with beautiful fields all around and big blue skies.  Onto the food, I adapted this recipe last week and was pleased with the results.

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 Tbs. dry sherry
1 1/2 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. Asian red chile paste, plus more if desired
1 lb. (500 g.) bok choy
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 lb. (500 g.) flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

The Process
1.  In a small bowl, stir together the sherry, tamari, rice vinegar, honey, and chile paste. Set aside.

2.  Chop up bok choy including stem.

3.  In a wok or a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bok choy and cook, stirring, just until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

4.  Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to pan. When hot, add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the beef to the pan and cook, tossing and stirring, just until no longer pink, about 2 minutes.

5.  Return the bok choy to the pan along with the sherry mixture and cook for 1 minute until heated through. If you like your food extra spicy, top with additional red chile paste.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

French Beef Stew with Red Wine

So Noraneko was ok, not as good as Boxer Ramen.  They did have excellent kimchee and kara age.  As for OMSI After Dark...all I have to say is if you don't like crowds don't go, we waited in line for 45 minutes just to get in!  Of course I did end up having fun after I started the cider tasting ;)  As I'm sure many of you know today is the NBA draft and I am sitting here at work waiting very impatiently for 4pm to come around.  The Blazers already lost Nic Batum and I am very afraid we are also going to lose LaMarcus Aldridge.  In other news part of No Kid Hungry put together a great resource: summer is when too many kids are hungry.  You can text FOOD to 877-877 to find free summer meals for kids and teens in your community.  I personally tried it to make sure it worked and I was amazed at how quickly it sent me lots of information, what a great tool.  Also did you know that it is national ceviche month?  Andina is celebrating it and I just might have to get down there and try theirs, I LOVE good ceviche.  This adapted recipe is one I made on our beach trip last weekend and while it is amazingly delicious I found the process to be quite odd.  Serve over garlic mashed potatoes!

Serves 8

The Ingredients
3 lb stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (750-ml) bottle Cote du Rhone (I used Shiraz and it was fine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 orange, washed well and cut into 8 wedges
1 large onion, peeled and cut into rings
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
olive oil
1 6-oz can tomato paste
3 1/2 oz. Kalmata olives

The Process
1.  Season meat with salt and pepper on all sides.  Place meat in a big bowl with wine, thyme, bay leaves, carrots, orange, onion, and garlic.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours, and preferably 24 hours.

2.  Heat some olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot.  Remove the meat from the marinade and brown the pieces in the oil on all sides.  Pour the marinade (including the oranges, bay leaves, etc.) over the meat and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, skimming any foam from the surface.

3.  Lower the heat to a simmer, stir in the tomato paste, and add 4 1/2 c. water.  Cover, and let stew on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

4.  15 minutes before the stew is ready, add the pitted olives.  Let cook for 15 minutes on medium heat without the lid to thicken the stew.

5.  Serve over mashed potatoes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paleo Salisbury Steak

Today is my birthday and we have some fun things planned for the evening.  First off we are going to check out Biwa's new sister restaurant called Noraneko, it is a ramen restaurant that is suppose to be stellar.  Then we are headed to OMSI's "after dark" night featuring "seed to cider," which includes cider tasting.  In other news what is everyone doing for the 4th of July weekend?  I'm personally headed to the coast but if I weren't I would probably have to check out the Estacada Timber Festival, looks like it could be entertaining.  Also look at this awesome James Beard Market that is being built in PDX, can't wait!  Onto the food, one day last week I decided I should make Salisbury steak because I've never had it or cooked it.  I adapted this recipe and was a little surprised to say it was better than what people have told me.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients

To make patties:
1 lb. ground beef sirloin
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp granulated garlic
large pinch salt or to taste
large pinch ground black pepper or to taste
olive oil

Onion and Mushroom Gravy:
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp mustard powder
2 cups beef broth
2 tbsp almond flour

The Process
1.  In a large bowl combine the ground meat mix with spices. Use your hands to work the spices into the meat. Make 4 even sized patties. Heat just a tiny bit of olive oil to coat the pan. Cook the patties for 8 minutes then flip and cook another 8 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Drain off all the fat from pan, remove the patties and set aside.

2.  In the same pan saute the onions until they begin to soften, then add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Next add the salt, black pepper, garlic, paprika and mustard. Stir until well combined and place the patties back in the pan.

3.  Place the almond flour in a small bowl and whisk in the beef broth. Continue whisking until there are no flour lumps in the broth. Pour the broth mix into the pan, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce, or gravy, thickens. Serve over mashed potatoes and your favorite green vegetable.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

Summer has officially begun and boy does it feel like it in PDX, by this Saturday it is suppose to be 102 degrees in Portland.  We happened to be headed up the Columbia Gorge to an even hotter destination for my birthday this weekend too...we will just have to find a swimming hole!  This past extended weekend was amazing, we went on our yearly trip down to Manzanita, OR with my mom's side of the family.  It consisted of many beach walks, tons of ladder golf, and amazing food.  I adapted this recipe for Monday morning breakfast and it turned out super delicious.  In other news links have been found between eating fermented food and how it calms the nerves.  I already love fermented food and this is just another reason to add to the list!

Serves 10

The Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, cut in half vertically and thinly sliced
6 ounces (170 g) fresh baby spinach leaves
2 cups diced yellow potatoes
8 ounces (226 g) sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake and portobello)
9 large eggs, whisked
1-1/2 (228 g) cups crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
16 ounces (454 g) carton cottage cheese
1/2 cup (20 g) chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (85 g) grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

The Process
1.  Preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the nonstick skillet, then sauté the red onion over medium heat. Add all the spinach and cover with the lid. Allow to sweat until the spinach starts to shrink, about 5 minutes. Drain off any liquid and transfer the spinach mixture to the prepared casserole dish.

3.  Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet, and add the potatoes and mushrooms. Sauté over medium heat until they have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid.

4.  In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, Feta cheese, milk, cottage cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir in the potato and mushroom mixture. Pour over the spinach in the casserole dish. Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese all over the top, then lay the tomato slices on top of the cheese.

5.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F/175° C and continue baking until the casserole is lightly browned and just set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes or so, then serve. (if top isn't golden enough broil for a couple minutes).

Beautiful Manzanita

Monday, June 15, 2015

Beef Chili

Can't believe it is Monday again, that weekend went by way too fast.  Our adventure out of town turned out to be amazing, Saturday we were on the river in a boat all day long.  We made several stops to fish and go swimming in a beautiful little spot, below are a couple pictures from this adventure.  Last week I adapted this chili recipe and it was one of the best I have had in a while.  Of course because the chili was so good and because I was so hungry I completely forgot to take a picture of it  The picture you see is from the original recipe and the photo credit goes to Chef Shapeweaver. Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef
1⁄2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 -16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Sharp cheddar cheese to top the chili (optional)

The Process
1.  Cook beef, onion and garlic in 3 qt saucepan until beef is brown.  Stir in remaining ingredients except beans.

2.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

3.  Stir in beans.  Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness.

Friday, June 12, 2015

French Onion Steaks

I'm not sure I have ever expressed my love for French onion soup, but it is undeniably delicious.  The fact that I have two different versions of it on my blog may have given you a clue, but this dish is the tipping point and it was amazing.  TGIF!  I am so ready to spend time outside, bbq, swim, do projects around the house, and maybe even go out mushroom hunting!  This evening we are headed out to farm country to hang with two of our good friends, it will be very nice and relaxing to spend time out of the city.  Lately the city life has been getting to me (which is very rare), I've just been feeling the need for space, silence, and some solitude.  It must have something to do with how quickly Portland is expanding, an estimated 700,000 people are predicted to move here over the next 20 years and we are already running out of room :(  Anyway I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and perhaps you will make this delicious recipe that I adapted.

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 petite sirloin steaks
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup warm beef broth
Onion flakes
Garlic powder
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

The Process
1. Rinse beef steak and pat dry. Pat salt, pepper, onion flakes, and garlic flakes evenly onto meat.

2.  In a medium frying pan and heat olive oil over medium heat, when hot add onions.  Let the onions cook for a couple minutes and then add a little salt and the balsamic vinegar.  You are going to continue to cook them for about 15-20 minutes to give them a quick caramelized flavor.

2. While onions are cooking pour olive oil into an 8- to 10-inch ovenproof nonstick frying pan over high heat; tilt to coat pan bottom. When hot, add steak and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Supporting meat with tongs, tip steak onto its edge and rotate to brown lightly, about 2 minutes total.

3. Put pan with steak in a 400° regular or convection oven and bake until meat is done to your taste (cut to test), 8 minutes for rare or about 25 minutes for well done.

4. Turn oven heat to broil. Remove pan and mound caramelized onions onto meat and lay two pieces of Swiss cheese over each steak. Broil in pan about 6 inches from heat until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from oven and pour broth around meat, stirring to release browned bits.

5. Then serve on plates but make sure to serve with some of the broth. (Broth not in the picture)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Primal Swedish Meatballs

This last weekend was so full of outside summer fun that I ended up getting heat exhaustion and became super dehydrated.  I am usually really good at drinking tons of water but we were practically out in the sun for two days straight between canoeing, swimming, and watching the dragon boat races...I am such a delicate little Oregonian haha.  My younger brother's awesome band Wild Ones is putting out a new E.P. soon and they just released a new song which you can listen to by clicking the link.  In other news our neighboring state Washington is going to build the first wildlife bridge in the U.S.  I personally hadn't ever heard of or seen this concept but it is very cool, check it out.  I adapted this recipe several weeks ago and it was delicious, I did add in some plain yogurt to give it some tang.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup almond flour
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup almond flour
4 cups beef broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 plain yogurt (optional)

The Process
1.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2.  In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, 1/2 cup almond flour, egg yolks, allspice, nutmeg and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.

3.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

4.  To make the gravy, melt butter in the skillet. Whisk in 1/3 cup almond flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in beef broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in sour cream and yogurt (if using); season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5.  Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  Serve immediately, garnished with parsley.

Our beautiful swimming hole

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Leek and Blue Cheese Soup

Happy National Cheese Day everyone!  Here is a fun infograph that talks about the benefits of cheese, so go right ahead and eat all the cheese!  And what better to write about than the delicious cheesy soup I made last night.  While it is a beautiful warm day in PDX today, yesterday was gloomy and rainy which inspired me to make a comfort soup and watch hours of The X-Files.  In other news this is my last week of my accounting class, which means I take my final exam next week and I'm done!  I am looking forward to a summer with no homework, woohoo!  It is suppose to be a beautiful and warm weekend here in the Pacific Northwest so I hope people get outdoors and enjoy it.  One thing that might help motivate you is that for this weekend only you don't have to have a fishing license to fish in both Oregon and Washington, so get out fishing! One more piece of random entertainment before I get to the recipe, if you still haven't checked out Kachka here is a video giving you insight on how the restaurant operates, enjoy!  I adapted this recipe.

Serves 4-5

The Ingredients
3 large leeks
1/3 cup butter
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups vegetable broth/stock
½ cup diced scallions
Cottage cheese (optional)

The Process
1.  Slice leeks thinly, width-wise. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large soup pot. Saute the leeks for 10-15 minutes.

2.  Add the blue cheese to the pot, stirring until the cheese is melted. Then add the almond flour, stirring constantly until absorbed. Mix in the mustard and black pepper.

3.  Add the vegetable broth and turn heat to high. Stir until soup comes to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4.  Serve with scallions as a garnish.  I also added 1/2 cup cottage cheese to my bowl which gave the semi-thin soup more substance.  You could easily add potatoes or chicken or mushrooms to this soup to make it more hearty.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mushroom Lentil Tacos with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

I can't even begin to describe how absolutely delicious these tacos were, I could easily eat them once a week and they were very filling.  I adapted this recipe one night when I was cooking dinner just for me and to my delight I found one of my new favorite recipes.  In cooking news my wonderful friend has started on a new adventure with a cooking blog that documents his exploration of the Jewish religion and culture through food, check it out at Challah Back Kitchen.  Last night I went to a wonderful event, the official opening of the PNCA Library where I met up with many of my wonderful library science friends.  If you haven't checked out their new library it is a must see, not to mention their magazine collections is phenomenal!  With my European vacation getting near I finally made my dinner reservation for one of the most amazing restaurants, Dill.  This is a restaurant in Iceland that forages the land to create amazing meals.  Earlier this year I read a book by the restaurant owner which featured recipes and stories of where their ingredients come from.  I can't even begin to explain how excited I am getting for this amazing two week trip.  Onto the recipe.

Serves 2-3

The Ingredients

For the filling:

1 cup cooked lentils
2 1/2 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper
Pinch paprika

For the sauce and assembly:

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 individual container Greek yogurt (6 ounces)
Salt and pepper
2 big handfuls of arugula
6 corn tortillas

The Process
1.  Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook down until brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

2.  While the mushrooms are cooking, mix the yogurt sauce. Add the lemon juice, tahini, yogurt, and olive oil to a bowl and stir to combine.  This will make more than enough for your tacos.

3.  Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Pour 2 more tablespoons olive oil into the same large pan and reduce heat to very low. Add cooked lentils, garlic, cumin, and a sprinkle each of salt, pepper, and paprika and stir, heating the grains through. Add the mushrooms back to the pan and mix to combine.

4.  Assemble tacos: For each one, you need: a warmed tortilla, a small spread of yogurt sauce, a few spoonfuls of the mushroom and lentil mixture, a pile of arugula, and then a real dollop of sauce.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pork Stuffed Tomatoes

Life has been super busy lately and so I need to make blogging a priority again so I can share all the wonderful things I cook and eat.  This last weekend was amazing, we went camping up on Mt. Hood with some of our fabulous friends and it was even warm enough to go swimming in the lake (picture below of me relaxing in the hammock).  We had roaring fires, gourmet meals, and scary stories.  I also managed to get my first sunburn even though I was wearing sunscreen but we were out on the lake for several hours enjoying the beautiful surroundings.  In other news congrats to Oregon for leading the nation in farm-to-school programs!  Last night I took my boyfriend on a date to an old spot we use to always go to in the first year of our relationship.  We went to Takahashi, it is run by a little old Japanese man and his wife and it never fails to be delicious, if you haven't ever been there it is a must.  I made this recipe several weeks ago when I was craving comfort food, of course it would have been a lot better if tomatoes were in season right now...but they will be soon enough.  Recipe by yours truly, enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 large tomatoes, scooped out
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lb pork sausage
About 2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons almond flour (optional)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (or to taste)
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile heat up olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot add onions and cook for about 3 minutes.

2.  Next add pork sausage and cook for about 5 minutes.  Then add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, caraway seeds, red chili flakes, and some salt and pepper.  Continue to cook until almost fully cooked.

3.  Take pork mixture off heat and stir in almond flour, and about 1 cup of tomato insides.

4.  Then put a little cheese in each tomato and stuff with pork sausage mixture.  Make sure to then top each stuffed tomato with more cheese.  Place the tomatoes in a casserole dish and cook for 15 minutes uncovered.

5.  Tops will start to brown, when this happens but a cover or tinfoil over the dish and continue to cook for about 15-25 more minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften.  Serve with the tomato tops and enjoy!