Thursday, February 25, 2010

2/14/10 - Ad Hoc fried chicken tenders

I know this Valentines day post is a little late and definitely not traditional. We skipped the chocolate and steaks for a fried chicken trial with some friends. We were at Brooklyn Bowl that week and I had to try the Blue Ribbon fried chicken. Last time I stole a bit of a chicken wing and I wasn't really impressed but the fried chicken...loved it! I wanted to do my own take of it and serious eats featured a recipe from the new cookbook Ad Hoc at Home and I was sold.

I am not the biggest fan of eating chicken off the bone and well chicken tenders are just so bite size and easy. I only brined the chicken tenders for about 6 hrs since they are much smaller than full chicken pieces. Even without any skin the crunchy layer of crust was so delicious we all fought over those pieces with crusty little almost burned chunks at the edges. I served the tenders with a few types of sauce (Buffalo, Sweet BBQ, Honey, Chipotle mustard, honey mustard) but they honestly didn't need anything as they were super tasty on their own.

Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2/24/10 - Baby Lamb Chops

This simple dinner was inspired by the Whole Foods meat case (and my guests dislike of fish cause that was what caught my eye). We had visited the winebar Clo which offers a wine computer that is fun and sometimes seems to have a mind of its own. After tasting a few whites (very nice Sav Blanc and an excellent Riesling) we were ready for home - I didn't have anything ready so we went to the Whole Foods in the "basement" (of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle). We wanted fast, easy and fun and all of a sudden a dozen cute mini lamb chops were packed up and ready for home . I seasoned them with sea salt and rosemary then grilled quickly on each side so they were almost med rare. While the meal wasn't exactly cheap ($40ish) we added a nice wine (Christmas gift) and it was far less than it would have cost in a restaurant for 3 people.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2/18/10 - No-Breadcrumb Crab Cakes

While my normal crab cakes are light on the breadcrumbs, I wanted to see if I was able to get a decent cake with out any crumbs at all. I have challenged myself to try and cook wheat-free for a few weeks but I still wanted to eat the crab I had. As always there are a lot of crumb free recipes out there but I ended up doing much of my own thing. I served the crab cakes with a side of broccoli and a dollop of wasabi mayo...I ended up having to spoon some of the mayo off though cause it was a little to spicy for me!

No-Crumb Crab Cakes
1 lb lump crab meat
2 eggs - beaten
1 tbsp lt mayo
1/4 red bell pepper- finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper - finely diced
1/4 red onion - finely diced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro - diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley - diced
1 tbsp old bay seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp veg oil

1) mix all ingredients (except oil) together and form small crab cakes
2) place on a greased cookie sheet and place in refrigerator to chill for 30 min
3) bake in oven at 350 F for 15 min
4) heat oil in pan and lightly fry each cake till browned on each side
5) pat excess oil with paper towel and serve

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2/10/10- Snow Day Adventures - Ribs & Blondies

Another post with no picture but I couldn't resist mentioning these amazing recipes to others.
After missing out on all the fun the past few winter storms, New Jersey basically shut down in preparation for a huge chunk of mid-week snow on Tuesday night. School was called before 5pm on Tuesday and it was looking like it might be a day stuck working at home. With all of my essentials packed up, I headed to the grocery store to deal with all those stocking up on water and canned goods for the impending storm. My mind was no where near survivalist food, I was much more focused on some lunch time excitement.
I made my first ever attempt at Baby Back Ribs using Alton Brown's recipe. While they were very good I think that the spiced rub overwhelmed the taste of the meat itself at times but I did love the glaze that was basted over the ribs before I broiled them for some color.
I also tried Joy the Baker's Peanut Butter Blondie but left out the frosting in exchange for some mini peanut butter cup pieces and chocolate chunks. These took a little longer than expected to cook (about 35 min) but they were absolutely delicious. I couldn't help but steal the one we had put aside for a photo when I came home from a long day on the road on Thursday.

2/8/10 - Oven Baked Chicken Fingers

As always I went a little crazy and planned way to much food for our Super Bowl "party". There was only 3 of us here so we didn't really need the rounds of courses that I had on hand just in case. I saw a picture online for some oven baked chicken fingers using a spiced up breadcrumb to season them and decided to do my take on them. It was easy and a lot lighter than anything fried yet it made boneless skinless chicken breast delicious and fun.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2/7/10 - Super Bowl with out the snacks - Bacon wrapped Asparagus

I couldn't wait to try a fun new technique that I found online this week (I know it seems like all I do is go online to food blogs but I promise I do other things too) Bacon Wrapped Asparagus! So fun and a perfect mix of the healthy with the excessive! With all the snow on Saturday our party didn't end up as planned and this was pushed to Sunday and a different friend. No matter who dinner might have been with this was just delicious and not too hard to master. Some suggest that you use toothpicks to secure the ends of the bacon but if you are careful you can get them tucked in on their own

2/6/10 - Easy Fast Pizza Crust

It seems like everyone has their own definition of great pizza but for me there are only two choices.....either thick dough-y sicilian crust or very thin and crunchy. While my taste encompassed both extreme ends of the pizza spectrum (chicago style however is "too" thick) I recently found a recipe that was the perfect rendition of the thin crust that I love and can't even tell you the last time I have had anything else. I have been making a version of the dough found on 101 cookbooks for a few weeks now and I just can't stop. Unfortunately no matter who writes the instructions I can't toss the dough and end up mixing stretching and rolling. I am a bit lazy though and just sort of mix all the ingredients together and it never really seems to rise too much (just a bit of puffing up) but it tastes perfect and delicious to me. Plus my new hand mixer that has a dough hook attachment means I don't even have to take out my kitchen aid!

Best Pizza Crust
4.5 c AP flour
1.75 tsp salt
1 tsp instant rise yeast (about 1/2 of a packet)
1.5 c very cold water
1/4 c olive oil

1) combine all ingredients and mix together until ball of dough forms
2) cut into 3 pieces and form into balls
3) coat balls in oil and either place in freezer or refrigerate overnight
4) 2 hrs before using remove from refrigerator (or 24 hrs before if frozen)

to cook toss into a round or roll out and top (I used the basics for this particular pre-superbowl trial but this crust can stand up to many toppings!) and bake at 400F for 20 min

2/6/10 - Lava Cake with Chocolate Cherry Peanut Butter Centers

This dessert was inspired from bell'alimento she made her version earlier this week for World Nutella Day. Of course I didn't have nutella (sad!) and a quick trip to the store didn't help to fix that so I had to use what was on hand....which happened to be delicious Naturally Nutty Chocolate Cherry Peanut Butter I had used a car of their butter toffee peanut butter to make ice cream a few weeks back and this stuff is just AMAZING to cook with. As she warns while they may look small a whole cake is for the serious choco-holic only (or just find someone special to share it with!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2/6/10 - Freshly Ground Filet Burgers

Last week I sent Jeremy to the grocery store and there was a little confusion, I like to buy the full tenderloins of beef that are sold at many area stores. The best part about this cut (besides the price) is that they will cut it to your specifications in the store - either roasts or steaks which are so much nicer that the pre-cut steaks they have for sale. This time Jeremy went to the store and he forgot to mention the whole cutting down of the large piece of meat and just bought it as is. I had never butchered a large hunk of meat - until a few years ago I didn't even like cutting my own steaks! However there was $50 worth of beef sitting in the fridge that wasn't going to cut it self. Like everything however there was a youTube! The computer saves the day again... I don't think there is anything that that it can't do. Since I am far from an expert I ended up losing a good amount of meat during this process and tried to save it by grinding the left overs for hamburgers.

It was quite easy to grind the beef using my Kitchen Aid Mixer attachment which I got for Christmas. The burgers were delicious and worth the time needed to find my Kitchen Aid in its hiding spot (behind the oil in the bottom cabinet) and take out all the attachments.

I set up a little serve yourself topping bar that had swiss, munster and american cheese, potato or wheat bread and jalapeno, chipotle and spicy mustard, mayo, ketchup, green tomato relish and chimichurri sauce, as well as a side of crinkle cut chips.

My burger which is pictured above was served on wheat bread with munster cheese melted to each side. I topped the burger with spicy mustard, ketchup, green tomato relish and a bit of the chimichurri. Oh and maybe a handful (or two) of chips!

2/4/10 - Asian Style Slaw with Salmon and Shrimp

This week I can home from work and I was surprised by a package...uh oh more internet shopping I thought! But instead it was my first product to test from Food Buzz's Featured Publisher program. I was really excited to try out this item, a new Ponzu Lime Seasoned Dressing & Sauce from Kikkoman. I instantly thought of a delicious Ceviche however my supplies were a bit limited and I would have liked a better tuna for my first try with Ceviche. I was on my way out to dinner the night I recieved it so I had to put off any plans for the night anyways. The next night I had planed my menu around a salmon fillet and I thought I might at well check out the flavors of the Ponzu sauce - it added the bright but savory flavor to the salmon but was perfect for the Asian Slaw.

Asian Slaw
1 bag coleslaw blend or broccoli slaw
1/4 c Ponzu Lime Seasoned Dressing & Sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 c slivered almonds
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp pickled ginger - sliced

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2/2/10 - Filet Mignon w Steamed Broccoli

A simple dinner that took only a few minutes to prepare....I used a traditional skillet instead of my grill pan because my clean-up crew was complaining about how difficult it was to clean!

2/1/10 - Fajita....unwrapped

In an effort to eat a little healthier (yes the new years resolution is still hanging a thread!) I decided to forget the tortilla wrap on my fajita tonight. I still got all the wonderful flavors of the meal, especially the homemade guacamole (thanks Jeremy!).though I did miss the fun and convenience of eating with my hands. While this isn't a fancy meal its still fun to deconstruct your dinner and see what really matters flavor-wise and what you are just eating out of habit. While I admit tortilla wraps make a fajita and "fajita" its still delicious and you save about 100 cals per serving...not to bad!