Friday, May 27, 2016

Stir-Fried Pork and Leeks

Last night was a blast at The Portland Kitchen's graduation dinner, I was so inspired and impressed by this cohort.  It was full of speeches, award giving, and tons of amazing food that the students cooked for us all.  They made a white bean & radish salad, a fresh herb potato salad, a roasted spring vegetable salad, and a whole roasted pig with a cherry chipotle bbq sauce and a Carolina mustard sauce (pictured below).  And let's not forget about dessert, we had strawberry shortcake with Hood River strawberries.  The food was phenomenal and I was so stuffed by the end.  As it is hard to watch all the students move on it is still exciting to know that they are applying their skills in life and have a new found love for healthy food.  Now we are welcoming in two summer cohorts and it sure will be a busy summer!  I adapted this dish several weeks back and while it doesn't look like anything special it is easy and delicious!  And in another attempt to cooking seasonally leeks are still in season but not for long!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons tamari
2 teaspoons Chinese chile-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound pork chop, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Steamed white rice, for serving

The Process
1.  In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the tamari, chile-garlic sauce and cornstarch. In another bowl, toss the pork with the sesame oil.

2.  In a large skillet, heat the canola oil until nearly smoking. Add the pork and stir-fry over high heat until lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the leeks and stir-fry until tender and lightly browned in spots, 5 to 6 minutes.

3.  Stir the sauce, add it to the pan and cook, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom, until thickened, about 1 minute longer. Serve right away with rice.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cumin and Honey Roasted Carrots, Ricotta, and Gremolata

I am constantly trying to be more sustainable in my life, not waste things, and support my local community.  In doing so I have learned a lot about food waste, buying locally, and cooking seasonally.  While I'm learning about it all I am trying to get better at applying it to my life.  I found this article that gives a really good visual representation of what you can seasonally cook with month to month, it is a great source to reference.  The Portland Kitchen has also started a project that teaches this, they are starting a pizza garden.  They recently got a plot of land from the city and they are weeding and preparing it right now to grow tomatoes, peppers, basil etc.  The summer cohort will help with all of this and in the end they will have a pizza party!  I also volunteered myself to help with the garden because gardening is one of my favorite things ever, it makes me feel so happy.  And speaking of cooking seasonally try this carrot recipe I adapted because carrots are in season now!

Serves 5

The Ingredients
For the carrots:
1 pound carrots (from 2 smallish bunches)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
12 ounces good quality, whole milk ricotta
juice of 1/2 a lemon
finishing salt
black pepper

For the gremolata:
small handful mint leaves
small handful carrot greens
1 small garlic clove
zest of half a lemon

The Process
1.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375ºF.

2.  Trim and scrub the carrots. Slice larger carrots in half lengthwise, and halve crosswise if longer than 6 inches. Place the carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and honey, and sprinkle with the cumin, chile flakes, and salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the carrots are golden and collapsing in places and very tender, 20-30 minutes.

3.  Spread the ricotta in the bottom of a medium-sized baking vessel. Top with the roasted carrots and any good stuff that’s stuck to the pan. Bake until the ricotta is warmed through, 5-10 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, make the gremolata just before serving.  Place the herbs on a cutting board, and use a microplane (or the finest holes on a box grater) to grate the garlic clove and lemon zest over the herbs. Use a sharp chef’s knife to chop everything together.

5.  When the ricotta and carrots are done, remove from the oven and sprinkle with some of the gremolata (you may not need all of it), a good squeeze of lemon juice, a few pinches of flaky salt, and a grind or two of black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Roasted Broccolini, Kale, and Chickpea Salad with Ricotta

Well now we are half way through the week and that means we are that much closer to a 3 day weekend which always makes me very happy.  It is also my father's birthday this weekend so I will get to eat well and celebrate with my wonderful family...and maybe for the last time at my childhood home since it is going on the market soon.  Got any fun Memorial Day plans?  I usually stay in town because everyone goes out of town and I don't want to fight for the last camping spot anywhere or an overcrowded beach.  Since my fiance goes on a men's trip every year I am going to go hangout with one of my best friends and we are going to get some kayaking in and perhaps a nice hike, hopefully the weather cooperates here in PDX.  I am also really excited because tomorrow evening one of The Portland Kitchen cohorts graduates and I get to go and see how happy they are and how proud of them we all are!  Anyway on with the food, I adapted this recipe several weeks ago and I was delighted with how filling and amazing it was.  Such a nice change of pace to have a meatless meal once in a while.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 bunch broccolini, or broccoli, cut into long florets
1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, stemmed (if large) and torn
1½ cups cooked chickpeas canned, drained
2 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1 lemon, cut into wedges
8 oz fresh ricotta cheese

The Process
1.  Preheat the broiler to high. Toss the broccolini, kale, chickpeas, and garlic with the olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes and divide between two rimmed baking sheets.

2.  Broil each sheet, tossing halfway through cooking, until the kale is crispy and the broccoli just tender and charred but still bright green, about 5 minutes, rotating the trays top to bottom if two don’t fit side by side in your oven. Squeeze the juice from two lemon wedges all over the top and toss together.

3.  Divide between two to four small plates and top each with a dollop of ricotta. Sprinkle the ricotta with black pepper and drizzle each plate with oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Petite Sirloin with Asparagus, Spring Onions, and Preserved Lemon Relish

Today is the day after election day and I am very proud that Bernie Sanders won Oregon, at least we are representing the nation well over here in the PNW!  Last weekend was lots of fun with my friend's birthday BBQ on Friday and my African dance class on Saturday.  The class was so awesome and intense that I was sore for a full 3 days after, but it also felt great!  I've been feeling pretty strong lately and can't wait for more sunshine so I can get out and hike more, the woods make me feel complete and calm and I can't get enough of them!  Have you heard of the campaign Feeding the 5000?  If not check it out, it is an amazing movement.  What they do is take food waste from all over the city they are in and use it to feed 5,000 people lunch for free.  It teaches people about how much food we waste and brings awareness to the issue.  They just had one in New York and in D.C. let's make one to happen here in PDX!  I adapted this recipe last night and now I am in love with roasted spring onions!  I hadn't ever had them like that and they are so sweet and amazing!

Serves 2

The Ingredients
2 petite sirloins, about one lb. each, patted dry with paper towels
Coarse sea salt
1 ½ lbs asparagus, ends chopped off
6-8 thin spring onions, sliced lengthwise in half
Extra virgin olive oil

Preserved Lemon Relish:
2 preserved lemons, finely chopped
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chile flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste

The Process
1.  Chop up everything for relish and mix together.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and drizzle olive oil over asparagus and roast in oven for 9 minutes.  Then add spring onions and roast for 6 more minutes.

3.  In the meantime salt and pepper the steaks. Then pan sear the steaks in some butter over medium high heat. Sear 3-4 minutes each side for a rare steak.

4.  When steak is done let rest for five minutes, and slice thinly.  Put a bed of asparagus and spring onions on plate with some meat on top and then top with the relish.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ginger-Chicken Meatballs with Chinese Broccoli

So happy that tomorrow is Friday because this week has felt pretty darn long.  This weekend I am hoping to get some real downtime so I work on things at home, plant some more herbs I got, and maybe even take a nice stroll around the neighborhood.  On Saturday I have a 2 hour African dance class that I am pretty excited for and it will even have live drummers!  In other news The Portland Kitchen is having an event called Rooftop Grill-Off. You get to watch as students from The Portland Kitchen pair with local chef "mentors" and compete to provide our panel of "celebrity judges" - including Chef Bonnie Molares of the deliciously amazing Kachka restaurant; NickyUSA, the Northwest’s leading butcher and producer of the highest quality game and mainstream meats; and CEO of NW Priority Credit Union in Portland, Mark Turnham - the most scrumptious gourmet burgers based upon taste, presentation and creativity.  I am looking forward to this because not only will it be fun but all the ticket sales go to The Portland Kitchen. (Below is a banner with all the detail).  Anyway onto food, my friends and I adapted this delicious recipe several weeks ago and had ourselves a feast!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
2 garlic clove, finely grated
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons finely grated ginger
6 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

The Process
1.  Using your hands or a rubber spatula, gently mix garlic, chicken, soy sauce, ginger, 6 scallions, almond flour, and 1/2 cup broth in a medium bowl just to combine. Scooping out by the tablespoonful, form mixture into 1”-diameter meatballs.

2.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3.  Combine broccoli and red pepper flakes in same skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add meatballs and remaining 2 1/2 cups broth. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and broccoli is tender, 5–8 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more scallions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Harissa

Recently I had the fabulous opportunity to go to the restaurant Imperial and it was super amazing!  Between my fiance and I we got SRF wagyu flat iron, fried chicken, ember roasted potatoes, the meat plate, and the grilled caesar salad...yes we were stuffed by the end.  (Food pictured below.)  The flat iron was cooked rare which I prefer and it was so buttery and tender and amazing. The ember roasted potatoes had so much flavor with very simple and delightful ingredients. The fried chicken (the chef's special) was crunchy, tender, and moist all at the same time. The meat plate was fun but nothing to write home about. And the grilled caesar was so so delicious I couldn't get enough!  I can't wait to go back and try other amazing foods on their menu, and yes you should definitely go and eat at this restaurant.  Last night one of my best friends came over and I adapted this super delicious recipe for us.  It is a great summertime meal, light but still filling. Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 small red onion, finely sliced
3 tablespoons harissa (mild)
1 tablespoon garlic chili paste
½ bunch each Italian parsley and cilantro
1 lemon
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

The Process
1.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread the cauliflower out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt and the cumin seeds. Roast 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden. Add the chickpeas and roast an additional 10 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in an 8 – 10-inch sauté pan. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until the onions are very soft. Stir in the harissa and garlic chili paste along with 1 tablespoon water.

3.  Pick the leaves off the parsley and cilantro and tear into rough pieces; throw them over the chickpeas. Squeeze the lemon over and toss together with the onion mixture.  Then add the feta, toss and serve.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Vinegar-Marinated Chicken with Buttered Greens and Radishes

Where do I even start, so much has happened since I last posted.  April was such a chaotic month full of fun and lots of not so fun crazy work projects.  So let's talk about the fun stuff, in the beginning of April I went to Austin, TX for the first time to visit one of my best friends and her lovely husband.  It was too short of a trip but we did do a lot of awesome things including eating at some very yummy restaurants.  My favorite restaurant was the Launderette the food and service were incredible.  I was blown away at how kind and genuine the staff was, makes me think twice about a lot of Portland restaurants now.  Let's talk food, we ordered labneh with crackers; Zucchini salad- feta, pine nuts, cilantro, mint, carrot dressing; Grilled Broccolini - romesco, fresno, almonds; Whole Branzino - sliced almond, preserved lemon, herbs; Charred Octopus - upland cress, garlic aioli, beluga lentils, avocado; and Brick Chicken - sauce aligot, braised greens (pictures below). I couldn't get enough of it. It was all cooked perfectly and well seasoned and super fresh with tons of herbs and citrus. The decor of this place was adorable too kind of like an old 50's restaurant.  If you are in Austin you must check this place out.  My good friend Branden (with this amazing blog) came up from Houston and joined us at this restaurant for dinner too.  We ended the night at this funny little dive bar that had a cockroach crawling on the wall, but hey what would my southern experience be like without some cockroaches.  Last night I adapted this incredibly delicious spring recipe and am having some leftovers for lunch, yum!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
2 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 radishes, quartered, halved if small
1 bunch mustard greens, leaves torn
2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, divided

The Process
1.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour ¼ cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 30 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

2.  Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches (if need be), cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°, 10–12 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 4 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 1 Tbsp. tarragon and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar; toss to combine.

4.  Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 1 Tbsp. tarragon.  I also added a little extra vinegar to my greens because I love vinegar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Asparagus Salad with Toasted Almonds and Goat Cheese

Last night I got to see my favorite band of all time, The Smashing Pumpkins.  When I was younger and they were on their Infinite Sadness tour one of the band mates overdose on tour and died so the show they were suppose to play in Portland was canceled and I was heartbroken.  The band then proceeded to have a music career but it just wasn't as awesome as before and they eventually broke up.  Then come 2016 two of the original members including the main singer songwriter Billy Corgan decided to reunite and go on tour.  At first of course I was skeptical thinking to myself it just won't be the same...but boy was I surprised!  Their performance was so awesome that it brought me to tears several different times, it also reminded me of a time in my life as a youth that was hard. If you get a chance to catch them on this tour definitely do it.  Also I keep forgetting to write about my experience at Accanto at Portland Dining Month, so I promise next post I will get to it.  A couple weeks ago my friend Rebecca came over and we caught up on life and made this amazing salad from The Food Lab and paired it with a pan seared rib-eye and red wine pan sauce which I will blog about next time.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 medium shallot, finely sliced (about 1/4 cup)
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup red wine olive oil vinaigrette, vigorously shaken (recipe below)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

(makes 1/2 cup)
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon Dijon
1 medium clove of garlic, grated
1 small shallot finely minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 fresh ground pepper

The Process:
1.  For salad dressing combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.

2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add asparagus and cook until bright green and tender but still with a bit of a bite, about 3 minutes.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water until cool.  Drain and dry in a salad spinner.

3.  Transfer the asparagus to a large serving bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add the almonds, shallots and half of the salad dressing and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve immediately, passing extra dressing at table.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spicy Pork and Mustard Greens Soup

I am in a full blown reading kick of reading memoirs of chefs right now.  I just finished Fresh off the Boat by Eddie Huang and it was such a good book.  Learning about his Taiwanese culture, the family he grew up in, the many brushes with the law he had, and to now see him so successful.  It is truly inspiring to see how people make their own unique way through this world and how they survive it.  Speaking of surviving it has been a hard day waking up to yet another terrorist attack in Brussels.  This world just doesn't make a lot of sense and it is so hard to see and experience such devastation.  This is why I hold my friends and family so close to my heart and cook for them as often as I can, because that is something that makes sense to me in this world.  We had a wonderful time in Eugene visiting with my fiance's family and I will say I had some very delicious Shepard's Pie.  This upcoming weekend is Easter and usually my parents host an Easter dinner but this year they are busy so I am going to create my own Easter meal for my fiance and I.  I am currently researching recipes and figuring out if I want to do the traditional ham or not.  Any of you have favorite Easter recipes?  Perhaps a treasured family recipe?  Well I recently adapted this wonderful recipe and felt very soothed and healed by it.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
½ pound ground pork
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 tablespoons chili garlic paste
½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch mustard greens, torn (about 4 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 oz. wide rice noodles

The Process
1.  Mix pork, garlic, ginger, garlic chili paste, and cumin in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pork mixture; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

2.  Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors meld, 8–10 minutes. Add mustard greens, scallions, tamari, and fish sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender, 5–8 minutes; season with salt and black pepper.

3.  Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions; drain.  Divide noodles among bowls and ladle soup over and serve.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dublin Coddle

I have been feeling really inspired lately because I just finished reading Yes Chef by Marcus Samuelsson.  It is an amazing memoir that is very personal and really makes me appreciate him as a chef even more than before.  It is amazing the barriers he had to break down to get where he is now and how he is constantly trying to help better the world around him, he is a remarkable man.  What books have you all been reading lately?  I just can't seem to get away from books that revolve around food.  It just feeds my passion of cooking, discovering new foods, and learning about so many different cultures.  I love being whisked away into these food worlds.  Anyway every St. Patrick's day I love making an Irish meal, last year I made a not so traditional one so this year I went the very traditional route.  I love celebrating because it is an excuse to cook something different and I am 1/4 Irish myself.  I adapted this recipe last night and it was ridiculously delicious...the broth is pretty much a bacon onion broth, drool.  Enjoy!

Serves 3

The Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound fresh pork sausages (3 large sausages)
7 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into bite size pieces
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 large carrots, chopped into big chunks
1 pound yellow potatoes, quartered
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Pepper to taste
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

The Process
1.  In a large, heavy bottomed pot, drizzle oil over medium heat. Once thoroughly heated, add the sausages. Cook just until all of the sides are browned. Remove to a plate.

2.  Add the bacon and onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and beginning to turn golden. Stir in the potatoes, carrots, and sausages.

3.  Cover with the chicken stock, then add pepper. Increase heat to bring stock to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover and remove from heat. Stir in parsley and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings

I am so happy it is Thursday because the week is almost over and it is one of my favorite holidays, St. Patty's Day!  If you need something festive to make tonight make this: Corned Beef Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Creamy Guinness Sauce.  I made it last year and it was absolutely delicious and a kind of different way to eat all the traditional Irish foods.  This weekend we are headed down to Eugene to visit my fiance's family and go to his grandpa's birthday which always includes lots of green champagne and corned beef which I can't ever seem to get enough of.  It will be nice to get out of town and go to a place that is relaxing and familiar.  Willamette Week put out their "best of" guide for people to vote what they think are the "best of" in Portland and you should go and vote for The Portland Kitchen as the "best nonprofit."  It only takes a couple minutes and is an easy way for you to support such a wonderful cause, here is the link.  Anyhow last weekend we had our neighbors over Saturday night and I adapted this delicious recipe.  Enjoy! Oh and I will talk about our dining experience at Accanto next post.

Serves 5

The Ingredients
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 cups chopped carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
7 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup half and half

1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. cold butter, cut up into small pieces
1/2 cup cold milk

The Process
1.  In the bottom of the slow cooker layer onions, carrots, and garlic.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and lay on top of the veggies.

2.  Heat a saucepan with butter over medium heat and melt the butter. Once sizzling whisk in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes until golden, to make a roux. Add 2 cups chicken broth and mix well. Bring to a boil. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over the chicken and veggies.  Add the rest of the broth to the crock-pot, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

3.  After the 6 hours, shred the chicken breasts (this should be easy). Stir in the half & half. Turn to high and cover.

4.  In a bowl combine the dry dumpling ingredients. Crumble in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk until the dough is sticky.
Measure out each dumpling using a tablespoon and drop them into the slow cooker, start at the outside.  Cook 1-1 1/2 hours, until the dumplings are cooked and now raw, but soft.  Taste and season more if desired.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sukuma Wiki (Kenyan Braised Collard Greens and Ground Beef)

Tonight is the night we are headed to Accanto for Portland Dining Month, this day needs to go a little quicker I'm so excited!  Now here is a fun 4am my fiance and I were woken up by the sound of gushing water so we ran out into our kitchen to see gallons of water pouring down from our ceiling.  We immediately put all our trash cans out to catch the water falling and tried to dry up some water with towels but the water kept coming.  I immediately texted our upstairs neighbor to see what was overflowing in her bathroom and she said it was the toilet (clean water). I think it continued to pour for about 20 minutes and this whole time we realized there was nothing we could do but watch and wait for it to stop (pictured below).  Once it finally started slowing down we just went back to bed.  I thought about calling into work to deal with all of this when I woke up several hours later but then decided hell no I don't want to deal with this, I'm going to work and email my landlord.  I am so thankful that we don't own this house or a house yet because what a mess.  So I am very happy it is Friday but I am definitely tired and not wanting to go home.  So let's talk about yummy food now, I adapted this amazing paleo recipe last night for a very delicious and healthy meal.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp each sea salt, cumin, coriander
1/2 tsp each black pepper, cinnamon, ground ginger, fennel seeds, turmeric
1 lb ground beef
1 bunch collard greens (about 8 leaves), stems removed, sliced or chopped
16 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp lemon juice
Apple cider vinegar (just a drizzle over your bowl, optional)

The Process
1.  Warm the olive oil in a skillet on medium heat for a minute, then add the onion. Sauté the onion until softened, about four minutes. Add the chopped garlic and jalapeño and sauté until fragrant, about one minute.

2.  Add the ground beef and seasonings, and cook until mostly done, about six minutes, stirring frequently so the ground beef doesn’t clump.  Then add the collard greens and tomatoes, and sauté until the collard greens are wilted, about four minutes. Stir everything around carefully as it cooks – be sure to do this step gently so you don’t mush up the tomatoes.

3.  Add the lemon juice and season to taste by adding salt and pepper as needed, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa and Chickpeas

Happy Wednesday everyone, that means I am only a couple days away from going on my Portland Dining Month adventure!  We finally narrowed it down to our top choice and my fiance and I are going to go to Accanto on a double date this Friday.  Their special dining month menu just ultimately looks the best to us, it is:

First course (choose one):
Paté di Campagna: pork terrine with whole grain mustard, charred bread and parsley
Tortino di riso con carciofi: risotto pancake stuffed with artichokes, pecorino and tomato jam
Second course (choose one):
Zuppa di pasta e fagioli with cannellini beans, macaroni, tomatoes and vegetable broth
Insalata di Caesar with chicories, crispy ciabatta, parmigiano and boquerones
Third course (choose one):
Strozzapreti con funghi e: ricotta, house pasta, soffrito with mushrooms, spinach, ricotta and soft boiled egg
Lombata di maiale balsamico: roasted pork loin, portabello and sundried tomatoes, escarole and balsamic demi-glace
Fourth course:

Plus most of the menus are only 3 courses and this one is 4, can't beat that!  Of course I will take pictures and give you a full review next week.  I also have never been to Accanto and the Yelp reviews seemed to definitely give it a good name!  Onto the food I made, I adapted this recipe and enjoyed this meal so much I couldn't wait to eat the leftovers! And I served it with a side of wilted spinach.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
¼ cup harissa paste
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

The Process
1.  Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.

2.  Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. drippings from pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.

3.  Nestle chicken, skin side up, in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lentil Soup with Seared Artichoke Hearts and Goat Cheese

Well it has been mostly raining for the last 24 hours in Portland and while it is dreary I will say I kind of like it right now.  This is probably because I have either been working or cuddled up in my comfy warm home.  So last Friday as I mentioned in the last post we went to the restaurant Yuzu for my fiance's birthday dinner and it was absolutely delicious!  We started with Gyoza and Gyu Wafu Steak and both were very delicious, the steak was buttery tasting and tender. Then I ordered the Cya Syu Men Ramen with the soy sauce broth and I was very pleased. The soup was so good I ate the entire bowl in one sitting which is not something I am usually capable of. This is a legit ramen restaurant that I definitely recommend checking out.  How is everybody's Tuesday going?  I am always just so happy that it isn't Monday anymore plus I have a fun meeting with The Portland Kitchen tonight.  While I still do community outreach and grant research for them we are forming a real marketing team that I have been invited to be on so tonight is our first official meeting.  I love volunteering for such an amazing non-profit, it is so encouraging and inspirational.  Let's talk food.  I adapted this recipe on a cold rainy night so perhaps you should tonight.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
3 cloves garlic
1/2 yellow onion
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
Olive oil
1 cup lentils
1/2 tbsp Cumin
1 qt vegetable broth
1 Bay Leaf
1 whole sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups artichoke hearts, steamed
Goat cheese crumbles, garnish (optional)

The Process
1.  Set a large, dry dutch oven over medium heat and drop in the Garlic cloves with their peels still on. Let them toast for a few minutes on each side, until the skins are browned and fragrant, and set aside.

2.  Roughly chop the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the olive oil to the dutch oven and saute until browned and tender.   Peel and smash up the garlic and add it back to the pot, along with the lentils and cumin. Cook for a few seconds, until the lentils are nicely coated in oil. Empty the broth into the pot and add the bay leaf and whole sprig of thyme. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf and thyme.

3.  With about 10 minutes left of cooking the soup heat up some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  When hot add your steamed artichoke hearts and sear until slightly crisp and browned, about 5 minutes.  Set aside

4.  When soup is done cooking season with salt and pepper.  Serve into 4 bowls and put about 1/2 cup browned artichoke hearts in each bowl.  Garnish each bowl with goat cheese and serve.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Roasted Broccolini with Tahini Yogurt and Charred Lemons

Well here we are, we have made it half way through the week already!  As usual I can't wait for the weekend and this weekend we have especially fun plans because it is my finance's birthday on Friday!  Friday night we are going out to a birthday dinner with his mom at a restaurant I've never been to called Yuzu.  Yuzu specializes in ramen and small plates and they have good reviews on Yelp.  I want to eat everything of course but one thing I've never had is Motsumi (stewed stomach) and I have heard it is delicious so that just might be what I end up ordering.  Plus as you all know I am a very adventurous eater so I often feel like menus are a challenge and I have to eat the weirdest thing on it!  Then on Saturday we are headed out of town up to Centralia, WA and we are staying at the Olympic Club Hotel & Theater.  I haven't ever been to this area of Washington and can't wait to explore and vintage shop, hike, go bowling, and maybe even see a movie.  Now let's talk food, I adapted this recipe and it was a very filling and delicious vegetarian meal.

Serves 4

The Ingredients
1 lemon, cut into 4 ¼ inch rounds (reserve the rest)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 big handfuls of broccolini
½ teaspoon chili flakes
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 garlic clove, pressed
A pinch of sea salt

The Process
1.  Preheat your oven to broil. Set the oven rack in the top ⅓ of the oven.

2.  Place the broccolini on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure not to crowd the pan. Drizzle the oil over top, concentrating on the florets. Lay the lemon slices on the baking sheet and sprinkle the chili flakes and sea salt over top of everything.

3.  Broil for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway, or until the broccolini florets are crispy, and many are charred.

4.  While the broccolini is in the oven, prepare the tahini yogurt sauce. In a small bowl mix the yogurt, tahini, maple syrup, garlic and sea salt.

5.  Spread the broccolini out on a serving dish. Top with the roasted broccolini with tahini yogurt sauce.  Then squeeze the juice from the charred lemons over the broccolini then serve immediately with the reserved lemon on the side.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Steak Tacos with Cilantro and Chimichurri Sauce

Happy Taco Tuesday, National Nutrition Month, National Peanut Butter Day, and Super Tuesday!  Today is obviously an eventful day and a great start to a new month, and spring is just around the corner.  My weekend was productive and I got to hangout at home and see a lot of important people in my life.  I talked about our plans for Friday night in my last post and my brother's show was pretty darn entertaining and I got to see my lovely parents which is always a plus.  Saturday morning some of my girlfriends and I had an impromptu brunch making party that felt like good old college days. Saturday evening eventually rolled around and one of my best friends and her boyfriend came over and we all cooked this amazing taco recipe.  While hosting people at your home can be exhausting there is something to say for being able to be in your own environment and cooking with people you love, it will never get old for me.  We served these tacos with a simple avocado slaw salad.

Serves 6-8

The Ingredients
Steak and Marinade:
2 lbs Flank Steak (or pounded skirt steak)
1 sliced sweet onion for grilling (optional)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 2 limes
⅓ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
4 smashed, chopped garlic cloves
½ cup chopped cilantro (stems ok)
sliced sweet onion ( optional) for grilling
sometimes I will add cumin, coriander or chili power.
Cilantro Chimichurri:
1 bunch Cilantro or about 1 cup packed (stems OK)
1 bunch Italian Parsley- about 1 cup packed (thin stems OK)
¼ cup fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ of one jalapeño pepper
Simple Pico De Gallo:
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1 Serrano chili, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ limes, juiced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Quick Pickles:
2 cups mix of sliced radishes, onion, and carrots
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns or whole coriander seed
A few sprigs cilantro
Tortillas: 10-12, (I used corn)

The Process
1.  Steak Instructions: In a bowl, mix together ingredients for marinade. Place steak and onions in a gallon size Ziploc bag and pour marinade over, sealing and turning several times to coat well. Let sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (Or marinate for up to 3 hours in fridge, bringing to room temp before cooking.) Pre-heat oven to broil, when hot place meat on baking sheet and cook for about 7 minutes each side or until desired doneness is reached.  Let rest 10 minutes, then thinly slice the meat across the grain.

2.  Chimichurri Instructions: In a food processor, place jalapeno, garlic, onion, and pulse several times until chopped. Add cilantro (stems are fine) and Italian parsley (again, thin stems are fine), pulse again. Add oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse until combined. Set aside in small serving bowl.

3.  Salsa: Finely dice tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and lime. Sometimes I'll add diced avocado and a couple splashes of Tapatio hot sauce. Place all in a bowl, mix and let sit for 15 min to 1 hour (makes 2 Cups)

4.  Quick Pickles: In a small sauce pan, combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns or coriander seeds. Add your choice of sliced radishes, slivered onions, thin sliced carrots or what ever else you like. Bring to a boil. Remove and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes (or refrigerate until cold). Remove and place in a serving bowl or jar. Top with a little fresh cilantro.

5.  Serve everything together, along with garnishes.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Chicken and Beef Springroll Bowl

Happy happy happy Friday from the Pacific Northwest!  I am so happy it is the end of the week, I can't wait to get home and cook tonight and just relax this weekend (even though I do have some plans).  I am also really happy because the Portland Dining Month list of restaurants participating just came out and I can't wait to enjoy delicious foods!  These are my top choices: Bar Avignon, Accanto, Aviary, Kachka, Pono farm soul kitchen, Smallwares, Tabla, and Verdigris.  It is going to be a very tough decision to choose just one of these places.  Tonight we have some friends coming over for dinner before we go to my brother's comedy show and I am going to make tomato goat cheese risotto (which is on my blog), braised kale greens, and some seared steak on the side because one of the friends is vegetarian.  It is going to be a delicious and perfect happy Friday meal!  Ok onto the recipe, I adapted this recipe with my friend and had the steamed spinach with garlic ginger sauce as a side and the two went perfectly together.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
2 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoon sherry (replace with 1 tsp coconut aminos for Whole30 version)
Juice of 1 lime
2 inch piece of ginger, diced fine
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 bunches medium bok choy
4 garlic cloves, very finely minced
1/2 red onion, very finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili garlic paste
1/2 pint white mushrooms, chopped
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/1 pound ground beef
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped mint

The Process
1.  Make your dressing. In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce, sherry or coconut aminos, lime juice, ginger and sesame oil. Set aside.

2.  Prep the bok choy. Trim of the bottom of the bunch and discard, and then separate the tender leaves from the thicker white parts near the stalk.

3.  Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the garlic cloves, onion, chili garlic paste, mushrooms and the white parts of the bok choy and sauté until the onion is translucent. Transfer the vegetables mixture to a plate.

4.  Return the skillet to medium high heat and cook the chicken and beef until done though - about 5 minutes maybe more.

5.  Pour off any fat from the skillet and return the vegetables to the pan, mixing well with the chicken and beef.

6.  Add the dressing, the green tender parts of the bok choy, the cilantro, and the mint and mix well. Serve.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup with Spinach and Bacon

It is almost Friday and once again I can't wait for the weekend!  Friday night we are going to see my older brother's comedy show at Curious Comedy Theater which should be pretty entertaining.  My parents are also attending so it will be nice to see them.  Then Saturday night one of my best friends and her boyfriend are coming over and we are going to all make delicious Grilled Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce, Pico de Gallo, and Pickled Onions.  And of course a delicious and fresh avocado slaw to go on the side, it will be a true feast!  While I love going out of town I also love staying in town, it is nice to get out of the city but it is also nice to be at home and get things around the house done and sleep in forever.  It has been super beautiful and sunny in Portland the last several days and I wish it would last through the weekend but of course the rain comes in tomorrow just in time for the weekend.  Tonight I am going over to my good friend's house and she is trying the trial of Blue Apron right now which is a very interesting concept to me.  If you haven't heard of it, it is a company that sends you healthy sustainable food with recipes and all the ingredients to make a meal for 4 each night.  Tonight we are making ramen so I am excited to see how tasty and easy it really is.  Onto my food, last night I adapted this recipe to make this amazing soup you see.  I really enjoyed it but if you are not use to creamy things it might be a little rich for you.

Serves 2-4

The Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
 Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups chicken stock broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 cup crumbled creamy blue cheese
4 cups spinach
5 pieces of bacon, cooked and chopped

The Process
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and stir to coat the onion with oil. Cover and cook the onions for 2 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, cover the pot, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes along with their juice and the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the cream, Sriracha sauce, and oregano and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

3. Let the soup cool for 10 minutes. While soup is cooling cook spinach.  Add a little olive oil to a pan over medium-high heat and add spinach until it wilts, about a minute.

4.  When soup is done cooling add the blue cheese and blend until smooth in a blender, working in batches if needed (or with a hand blender).

5.  Serve soup in bowls and serve with bacon and spinach on top.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lemon and Spinach Chicken

Happy Wednesday, we are half way through the week yay!  The beach last weekend was fabulous, it was so nice and sunny on Saturday that we were hanging out on the porch in t-shirts (picture below).  Although when we arrived to the beach on Friday it started hailing sporadically and was very windy...feels like spring in Oregon!  Now this will be my final post about New Orleans on our final night in town we went to this amazing Italian restaurant called Domenica and it is attached to a beautiful old hotel.  There were so many delicious things on the menu that it was hard for me to choose. We all shared the roasted cauliflower with whipped feta (pictured below) and ceci caponata which was chickpeas and ricotta on grilled bread. I really wanted to try the octopus carpaccio but I knew no one else would have eaten it. Then for my main course I ordered the stracci which consists of wide green noodles oxtail ragu and fried chicken livers (pictured below) and I was blown away. The noodles were delicious and covered in the amazing ragu and the chicken livers were cooked perfectly and still pink in the middle.  I was a very happy camper.  After dinner we decided to go to Harrah's Casino which was such a trip, I didn't win any money but I only played $20 so no biggie (picture below).  Some of my co-workers had better luck though and won $60 off of $20 which was pretty exciting.  After another walk down Bourbon Street we decided to head back to the hotel and hit the hay.  All in all it was an amazing and exhausting trip but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  I adapted this recipe last night and it was healthy and satisfying, enjoy! I served this with steamed broccoli.

Serves 3

The Ingredients
3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
4 cups baby spinach, torn

The Process
1.  Cut each chicken breasts into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with paprika. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside in a 13x9 pan.

3.  Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until starting to brown. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium, stir in spinach, and simmer until the spinach has reduced in size and the sauce has slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Pour mixture over chicken in pan and sprinkle the last 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the chicken.

4.  Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Steamed Spinach with Garlic Ginger Sauce

A couple nights in a row in New Orleans we ended up having dinner at a restaurant called Willa Jean, and they had a wonderful selection of southern comfort foods on their menu.  It was so hard to choose what to eat because everything looked delicious.  The first time we went here I couldn't resist the roasted beet salad and the grilled pimento cheese with roasted tomato soup (pictured below).  It was the most perfect meal to warm me up and heal me after a long day of work.  As you know from my other posts I am somewhat obsessed with pimento cheese and can't pass it up when it is presented to me.  You may also have noticed that I am obsessed with soup, soup is my favorite thing to eat...well besides beef tartare.  Anyway the second night that we went to Willa Jean I got the French onion soup and it was perfect.  The bread was wonderfully toasted and the cheese all super gooey...a part of me died it was so good (pictured below).  This restaurant also had very reasonable prices and great service, so if you find yourself in the area you should check it out.  But here I am back in PDX and it is dark outside and pouring rain...makes me want soup right now.  I am super happy though because today is my Friday because I took tomorrow off to head to the coast for the whole weekend!  We have a lovely bunch of 11 people going with us and lots of dogs, should be a blast.  Now the food, last night I created a delicious meal with my friend Sarah and here is the side dish that I adapted.

Serves 2-3

The Ingredients
1 pound spinach
3 teaspoons ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons chicken broth

The Process
1.  Bring water to a rapid boil in a pot with a steam basket.  Add cleaned spinach and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until steamed. 

2.  Remove from heat. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

3.  Divide spinach in a small flat-bottom bowls and squeeze out the remaining water by using your fist against the spinach. Flip bowl onto desired the serving plate respectively.

4. Now mix all the sauce ingredients together: ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and chicken broth.  When mixed pour over mound of spinach and eat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Alton Brown's Shepard's Pie

Back to New Orleans, my second day there after a long day of work a group of us decided to venture out and see some more parades.  The parade we were waiting for ended up taking so long to come that most of us decided we needed to seek out some food and my boss had the best idea of going to Yuki Izakaya.  This was a little place with lots of character and luckily there was room enough for our group to eat.  The beef tongue was unreal and so tender which is not how a lot of places serve it. We also had lots and lots of salmon belly which was superb. The seaweed salad tasted super fresh and perfectly seasoned. And lets not forget the delicious tuna (all pictured below).  While we were eating the parade finally caught up with us and we kept running outside to catch glimpses, it was pretty entertaining.  Once we were done with this fabulous meal we again ventured over to Bourbon Street for the newbies to experience.  We also stopped at the oldest bar in New Orleans called Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar.  It was pretty cool inside and very crowded so we only stayed for one drink and then headed back to the hotel for the night.  Last week I adapted this recipe and the friends we had over for dinner loved it.  Perfect meal for a cold night, enjoy!

Serves 8

The Ingredients

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
3 tablespoons creamy horseradish

For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

The Process
1.  Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

2.  Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk, Parmesan, and horseradish until well combined.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

4.  While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.

5.  Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

6.  Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sauerbraten and Kartoffelklösse

How was everyone's Valentine's Day?  Full of love I hope, I know mine sure was.  We got to sleep in,  I woke up to roses and a sweet card, we went on a foggy hike in Forest Park, visited with my parents for a bit, and then we made this German meal.  I hadn't ever made Sauerbraten or Kartoffelklösse (potato dumplings) and so to be honest our meal turned out ok but not fabulous.  The dumplings were the hard part and seemed a little bland to me, plus we didn't deep fry them which is how they were served most often in Germany.  Any way around it we still had lots of fun cooking this meal together, here are the two recipes we used.  Below is a picture of my fiance having fun rolling the dumplings.  Oh and I will get back to the New Orleans stories next post.  Now let's get to the food.

Serves 4

The Ingredients

For the Sauerbraten:
1 boneless beef chuck roast or rump roast (3 pounds)
4 cups water
1 bottle (14 ounces) ketchup
1 large onion, chopped
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
3 bay leaves
1-1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water 

For the Kartoffelklösse:
4 slices bread
2 tbsp butter
about 2 lb cooked cold russet potatoes 
about 1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt

The Process
1.  Place roast in a 5-qt. slow cooker; add water. In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, onion, brown sugar and vinegar; pour over roast.

2.  Place pickling spices and bay leaves on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add spice bag and cookie crumbs to slow cooker.

3.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.

4.  With about a half hour left for the roast to cook start the dumplings.  Make croutons by cutting bread into cubes.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and fry, stirring frequently, until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

5.  Mash the cold potatoes.  Mix into potatoes, 1 cup flour, eggs and salt to make a dough that holds together when formed into dumplings. If the mixture is too moist, add a bit more flour.  Form dumplings, approximately 2 inches in diameter, adding a few croutons to the middle of each dumpling. 

6.  Drop gently into pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer gently, uncovered, about 15 - 20 minutes.

7.  While dumplings are cooking remove roast and keep warm. Discard spice bag. Strain cooking juices; transfer 4 cups to a large saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy.  

8.  When dumplings are done remove with slotted spoon and serve immediately.  We also roasted cabbage to go along with this meal.

Friday, February 12, 2016


Happy Friday everyone!  I can't wait until this day is over and I can go home and make a delicious Shepard's Pie for some friends that are coming over tonight.  Now let's talk New Orleans, my first night there my co-worker and I met up with some of his friends at this amazing French restaurant called Meauxbar.  My co-worker had told me wonderful things about their food and before we went I had already looked at the menu and knew exactly what I wanted to get.  We ordered a lot of items and shared them all but some of my favorite items (pictured below) were the escargot in bone marrow and the beef tartare.   I was especially impressed by the flavor in the beef tartare. This tartare was even better than some of the tartare I had in Paris, there was a perfect tangy-ness to it.  If you ever find yourself in New Orleans make reservations at this place.  After dinner the entertainment continued as we walked down Bourbon Street and ran into a pre Mardi Gras parade on Canal Street.  I even got my first set of beads but not the way some people get them, my coworker was nice and gave me some.  After a long day of traveling and a night full of adventure we eventually made it back to our hotel rooms to sleep and prepare for the crazy work week we had ahead of us.  More stories to come!  But now let's talk about this delicious recipe that I adapted for last night's dinner.  This is an Indian dish that is so simple to make and has tons of flavor, enjoy! (I personally halved the recipe and served it over pilaf rice).

Serves 6

The Ingredients
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced potatoes
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, turmeric, ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup chicken broth (to add moisture if needed)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

The Process
1.  Heat up some olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  When hot add beef and onions and cook until browned.

2.  Then add tomatoes, peas, potatoes and spices along with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Add chicken broth if it becomes too thick. It should have the consistency of chili.

4.Serve over rice, couscous, or your favorite grain.

This dish is very healthy so here are some nutritional facts for you:
Calories 199.2
Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 2.6 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Carbohydrate 12 g
Fiber 2.7 g
Sugars 2.4 g
Protein 22.5 g

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fried Cauliflower with Tahini

Wow where to much has happened since my last blog post.  Well to pick up from where I left off Hood River was a fabulous time and we treated my grandma by making her fancy French dip sandwiches that she absolutely loved.  We also had a successful meeting with our home buying specialist and today we just had a meeting with a loan officer.  The loan officer meeting was much more positive than I thought it would be and now we just need to continue to save for our down payment and closing costs and then we can officially REALLY start looking.  We really hope to be in a home by Fall 2016, so wish us luck!  And yes I just got back from my New Orleans work trip but that is a story I'm going to have to save for the next blog post or even the next couple blog posts because of all the amazing food I ate.  Onto the food!  Last night I went to my parents house and we cooked an entire dinner together including two recipes from Yotam Ottolenghi's cookbook Jerusalem.  They were both amazing recipes and we slightly adapted his original recipe.  We paired it with one of Ottolenghi's other salads and cornish game hens.  Enjoy!

Serves 8 as a side

The Ingredients
2 cups sunflower oil
2 medium cauliflower heads, split into small florets
8 green onions, each cut into three long segments
3/4 cup tahini paste
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 preserved lemon quarter, chopped finely
1/4 cup chopped mint, plus more to finish
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pomegranate molasses, plus more to finish
Sea salt and black pepper
Roughly 3/4 cup water

The Process
1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Lay in a few cauliflower florets at a time and cook for two to three minutes, turning so they color evenly. Once golden-brown, transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain. Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower. Next, fry the green onions, also in batches, for a minute. Add to the cauliflower and leave to cool down.

2.  Pour the tahini paste into a large mixing bowl and add the garlic, herbs, yogurt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and seasoning. Stir with a wooden spoon as you add the water. The tahini sauce will first thicken and then loosen up as you add water. Don't add too much, just enough to get a thick yet smooth pourable consistency, a bit like honey.

3.  Stir the cauliflower, preserved lemon, and onion into the tahini bowl, taste and adjust the seasoning. You may also want to add more lemon juice.

4.  To serve, spoon into a serving bowl and finish with a few drops of pomegranate molasses and some mint.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Cheesy Polenta with Poached Eggs, Greens, and Bacon

So happy it is Friday once again!  Sometimes it feels like the week will never end and it drags on a lot like the GIF I posted below.  My mission in Hood River this weekend is go to antique stores and try and find the perfect lantern hook so that I can finally set up this beautiful copper hanging lamp that my fiance got me for Christmas.  Copper is one of my favorite metals and my goal is to have a kitchen that will have accents of copper all over it whether it be in the design or actual kitchen utensils.  It would be absolutely amazing to one day have an entire copper pan set, but I think only people like Juila Child can afford that kind of in the mean time I will stick to copper accents.  Speaking of dreams next week we have a meeting with a home buying specialist through The Portland Housing Center and we are going to get into the nitty gritty of budgeting and qualifying for a home loan.  I think it will be a positive meeting and put us in the perfect position for our next step which is talking with a loan officer and qualifying for a mortgage.  Now onto the food, I adapted this wonderful recipe from Bon Appetit and it was a wonderful evening of breakfast for dinner!

Serves 4

The Ingredients
4 large eggs, room temperature
Kosher salt
1 cup polenta (not instant)
4 ounces bacon, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic chili sauce
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 large shallot, finely chopped
8 cups torn red Swiss chard leaves (from 1 large bunch)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
1/4 cup white vinegar

The Process
1.  Bring 4½ cups water and white vinegar to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into water. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites are opaque before adding the next one (about 30 seconds apart). Poach until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels as they are done; set aside.

2.  Bring same saucepan with new water (4 1/2 cups) to a boil and add a couple pinches of salt. Whisking constantly, gradually add polenta. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan, and cook polenta, whisking occasionally and scraping bottom to prevent sticking, until tender, thick, and creamy, 25–40 minutes, depending on coarseness.

3.  Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, until bacon is crisp, 8–10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a small bowl with slotted spoon. Combine garlic chili sauce and red wine vinegar in another small bowl. 

4.  Pour off all but 2 Tbsp. fat from skillet; cook shallot, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add chard in batches, letting it wilt slightly before adding more, and cook, tossing, until completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and some chii-soaking vinegar. 

5.  Remove polenta from heat and season with salt and lots of pepper. Add butter, then gradually add cheese, whisking until melted and combined; thin with a bit more milk if too thick. 

6.  Divide polenta among bowls; top with chard, poached eggs, and bacon. Season eggs with salt and pepper.