Wednesday, April 23, 2008

perch soup

So we bought perch.

I'm not sure what to do with perch. I make killer salmon, and J knows a great whitefish curry, but perch?

I took inspiration largely from this recipe, but ended up with a nice pot of fish soup in half an hour. Here's the altered recipe:

2-3 small onions, chopped in chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped the same size as the onions
2 cloves garlic
splash of olive oil
pinch of cayenne
a pinch of saffron
Sarah's interpretation of Herbes de Province: a pinch of oregano, rosemary, lavendar and 2 bay leaves
splash of white wine
about a tsp of zest
1 package of frozen perch (we got probably about a pound's worth)
1 can of tomatoes
Dash of salt to taste
Spinach (optional)

I know it's a lot of ingredients, but the prep is pretty easy.

Defrost the perch either in the microwave or in a pot of water.

Cut the onions and carrots and then put in the pot with olive oil, garlic and all the spices. Let cook until onions and carrots are soft. Then, throw in the tomatoes, wine and zest and bring to a boil. Then, put in the water and let cook for another 15-20 minutes. Add salt if needed. I put in a handful of spinach right at the end for color and a bit more nutrition.

Fish Soup!

Lemon Cream Pasta

I just made this lemon pasta! I kept going back and forth thinking it was good or a disaster. For a while there the cream was so liquid I didn't get how it could go on the pasta. But when I put it on, it actually did what the recipe said and kind of thickened and sank in. And I kept thinking there would be no lemon taste but it really did add a tasty tang. Very good, and something different from regular old pasta. The only problem was that it took forever to get the lemon zest and juice. Any tips on zesting and juicing would be greatly appreciated! But I highly recommend you try this pasta, it's so good. And as an added bonus I discovered what arugula is.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Coconut-Apricot Macaroons

The other night I was looking for a dessert to make that didn't involve chocolate and settled on these Coconut-Apricot Macaroons. Very easy, but kinda messy since the mixture that you turn into the mounds is really gooey.

I actually made them the same night I made the mini meatloaves. I lined them up on the tray while the meatloaves were cooking and then popped them in the oven while we were eating dinner. The timing worked out perfectly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Simple Kabob Marinade

So, you may notice that chicken thighs are often much cheaper than chicken breast. But what can you do with thigh meat?

A really simple thing to do is Kabobs! Here's a simple base that can be a great marinade. Leave the chicken in it for 30 minutes to a day--but remember, the olive oil will congeal if you put this in the fridge.

2 sizeable chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper
(other spices such as cilantro, oregeno, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne are also good in various combinations too)

Easy, right? Just put the chicken pieces with the rest of the marinade, and then you can either put them on skewers with vegetables to either broil or grill. Tonight, we just broiled the chicken and then put in pitas with cucumber and tomato. Delicious!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mini Honey-Mustard Meatloaves

Last night for dinner I made the Mini Honey-Mustard Meatloaves from this meal. I didn't make the whole meal, just the meatloaves.

I wish I had taken a picture because they really did come out as cute as the magazine's pic, but we ate them too fast! At first Rajeev was skeptical of the ketchup, honey-mustard, cheese combo -- but it turned out to be fantastic.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Chicken Gumbo

I stayed home from work today because I'm sick (don't worry -I'm starting to feel better), so I decided to make the recipe for Chicken Gumbo that I had seen. It's exactly what I needed. They claim the recipe is a "half-hour" recipe which is a total lie - but it was still pretty easy. I'd say its half hour recipe from the point that you have all the ingredients cut. Also - make half if you're not looking for food for a lot of people.

Cooking Withdrawal

I recently moved to San Francisco and haven't yet been able to find a permanent place to live. So, I'm staying in an extended stay hotel for the time being. I do have a kitchenette, but it lacks the important appliances and I miss cooking. I have a mini-fridge and a microwave along with a pretty complete set of utensils and dishes. 

Does anyone have any suggestions of something that I could make with just those items? What about microwavable pre-made meals? I've never bought those thing, but I hear that Trader Joe's has some decent ones. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lentil Soup

I tried to make this lentil soup that my friend made for me once. I swear it was good when she made it but I was not so lucky. I don't know what I did wrong, but I will probably at least give it another try. I know I put too much soy sauce because it ended up super salty. It has coconut milk in it which I love but it turned out you couldn't even taste it really.
Anyone have any thoughts on lentils?
This was the recipe:

Lentil, Coconut, and Wilted Spinach Soup
150g/5¼oz puy lentils
1 litre/1 pint 15oz vegetable stock
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
100g/3½oz creamed coconut, chopped and dissolved in 150ml/5¼fl oz boiling water or 250ml/8¾fl oz canned coconut milk
2-3 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 small handfuls baby spinach (about 50g/1¾oz)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the lentils, then put in a large saucepan and add enough cold water just to cover.
2. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients, except the spinach.
3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
4. Put a small handful of the spinach in four warmed bowls and ladle the hot soup on top. The heat from the soup will wilt the leaves.
5. Serve with warm flatbread, such as pitta or naan.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Drink when you're thirsty.

What a relief, I can stop worrying that I don't drink enough water.

Myth No. 1: Drink Eight Glasses Each Day
Scientists say there's no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day. So where does the standard advice of drinking eight glasses each day come from? "Nobody really knows," says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

Myth No. 2: Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins
The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams. Then the toxins clear through the urine. The question is, does drinking extra water each day improve the function of the kidneys?
"No," says Goldfarb. "In fact, drinking large amounts of water surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney's ability to function as a filter. It's a subtle decline, but definite."

Plus more myths here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Maiden Voyage of the Crock Pot

I received a crockpot as a gift in December, and it finally made its maiden voyage last week. I decided on traditional beef stew. It was really easy and it came out delicious. Sadly the picture doesn't do it justice. There are a lot of ingredients but I felt like most of them I had on hand and they weren't crazy things I'd never use again. I have printed out the recipe below. Enjoy!

2 Tbs all purpose flour
1 pound beef or pork stew meat, cut into cubes
2 Tbs cooking oil
2.5 cups cubed potatoes
1 cup frozen cut green beans*
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn* (can substitute 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables for beans and corn)
1 cup sliced carrot
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
2 teaspoons instant beef bouillion granules
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon driged majoram or basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
2.5 cups vegetable juice (like V8)

1. Place flour in a plastic bag. Add meat cubes and shake until meat is coated with flour. In a dutch oven (I used a fry pan) brown the meat in 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, turning to brown evenly.

2. In a 3.5-4 quart slow cooker layer potatoes, green beans, corn, carrot and onion. Add meat. Add bouillion granules, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, marjoram (or basil) pepper and bay leaf. Pour vegetable juice over all.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10-12 hours or on hight setting for 5 to 6 hours until meat and vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls.

Monkey Bread

Here it is, my monkey bread! All thanks to Maura. I made it in a tube pan because that's all I had. It worked fine but a bundt pan would have come out prettier. The caramelly stuff on top was amazing, once I found a way to flip it over out of the pan. And the way you can pick off the pieces and eat it with your hands is fun! Here's Maura's trusty recipe if you want to give it a try:

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cans biscuits (Buttermilk, not Grands)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter/margarine melted

1. Grease bundt pan
2. Sprinkle pecans on bottom and up side a little bit
3. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl
4. Cut each biscuit in quarters
5. Roll them in the sugar mixture and throw them in the bundt pan.
6. Combine brown sugar and butter and pour over bundt pan
7. Bake at 350˚ for 30-40 minutes
8. Cool bread for 10 minutes before you turn it over onto a platter