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.