Friday, July 27, 2012

Strawberry, Bacon and Fried Egg Sandwich

Today is a very exciting day for us, for two reasons.  The first involves bacon.  Strawberry and bacon.  Remember a few weeks (months?) ago when we made these fun mini sandwiches?  Well we were so taken by the strawberry bacon combination that we decided to make another sandwich with our new obsession, but this time, a breakfast one.  Because breakfast needs some of that strawberry bacon love.  The second thing that makes today exciting is that we are guest posting over at Chef Dennis’s site!  We are so super excited and honored to be over there today!  Not only does he serve up mouthwatering food, he provides indispensable blogging advice.  So go and check him out!

See the full recipe and ramblings here...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chocolate Sesame Ice Cream with Tahini

It is fascinating that every family has its own unique food culture.  Each person’s preferences and quirks all come together to create this culinary superpersonality that resides in the kitchen.  Our’s is named Charles.  Like Charles from MASH, a show for which we have an odd obsession.  Both of these Charles are fussy and arrogant. Charles is the presence that demands peanut butter in savory dishes.  Only savory dishes.  Not sweet ones.  He definitely eschews the classic chocolate and peanut butter combination.  Charles declares that no whole or chopped raw tomatoes are to be used.  Tomatoes have to be pureed into a state that shows no sign that a whole tomato fruit with pulp and seeds and insides actually existed.  Charles is squeamish around raw mushrooms, but not cooked ones.  Charles will eat green apples raw, but never ever cooked, which means no apple pie.  You get the picture.  I personally had a recent craving for chocolate and peanut butter.  But our friend Charles wouldn’t be into that.  It occurred to me that tahini, a preferred ingredient of his, can sort of act like peanut butter.  And though it may have started out as a compromise dessert, letting me curb my craving for chocolate and peanut butter without actually subjecting Seth, I mean “Charles,” to being in proximity to said combination, it became something more.  The tahini lends a wonderfully subtle earthiness to the chocolate, while the roasted sesame seeds became fun little crispy surprises with each bite.  It came into its own, satisfying everyone.  Even Charles.

1 cup whole milk
6-8 ounces good chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup tahini
¼ cup roasted sesame seeds

In a large microwaveable bowl, whisk together the milk, chocolate, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  Microwave gently in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one.  Once the chocolate has melted completely, stir in cream, vanilla, and tahini.  Chill.  Place in ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.  Stir in the sesame seeds when the ice cream is about 2/3 of the way churned.  Finish churning, then eat!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Green Bean Panko Oven Fries with Wasabi Sour Cream

So it is summertime, and the supermarket and farmers markets are teeming with vibrant and fresh produce.  Oodles of it.  Mounds of it.  Stone fruits and berries.  Musky melons.  Tender leafy greens.  Sweet corn.  Zucchini and summer squash.  And tomatoes.  Oh the tomatoes.  And you get the picture.  And I feel like I’m supposed to be turning this into salads, letting each piece of produce shine with little adornment, reveling in the joy that comes from eating food at its peak of flavor.  I’m pretty sure it has been mandated that salads are supposed to be the thing you eat lots of in the summer.  And I have maybe made maybe one salad so far?  I’m not sure what the problem is.  Perhaps rebellion?  I have been doing the opposite, though, and turning veggies into oven fries!  So here are green bean fries with a wasabi cream dip.  Of course there would be a dip!

1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cup panko
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin

8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
1 teaspoon lime juice

Heat oven to 425.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Boil the green beans for 2 minutes then place in a bowl of ice and water to stop the cooking.  Beat the egg and milk and place in a shallow bowl.  In another shallow bowl, mix together flour, panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.  Coat each green bean first in the egg mixture and then the panko mixture.  Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.  Repeat for each green bean.  Bake about 25 minutes, turning them over about halfway through so that they can crisp and brown on all sides. 

To make the dip, stir the sour cream, wasabi paste, and lime juice together and refrigerate until serving.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nectarine and Strawberry Crisp with Rose Sugar

I remember I remember cafeteria lunches in elementary and high school...  Unlike Thomas Hood’s memories, however, this one is not too positive.  In elementary school, I probably just threw most of the food out.  I was a bit of a brat.  Now, of course, I can look back and just say I was “discriminating.”  Once I got into high school, however, we had many more food choices.  You could get limp and tasteless salad, for example, or bland, gelatinous soup, or whatever the main course pretended to be that day.  Or, you could get junk food… packaged chocolate chip cookies, gummy bears, chips, pretzels, etc.  Naturally, this was where I spent my lunch money.  I can feel my mom’s chagrin as she reads this. Seriously, it was a no win situation.  But, there were a few exceptions to my forays into junk food nirvana, from which, in just a few short hours, I would come down and be hungry again.  Chicken patties would usually lure me into their web of crispy goodness.  Spaghetti would occasionally get me.  But the real gem, when it was available, was apple crisp.  Sure, you had to order it with all the not-so-great “real” food, but it was worth it for the apple crisp.  The apple crisp wasn’t spectacular, by any means.  But at least it tried.  It attempted to bring something delicious to the sparse offerings known as public school cafeterias.  And I appreciated its attempts.  So in honor of that apple crisp, here is another crisp with strawberries and nectarines (or peaches if you have them on hand).  And by the way, I’m really lazy, so I don’t peel the peaches/nectarines.  By all means, go for it if that’s what floats your boat, but I don’t think it is worth the time. 

2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons ground almonds
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dried rose
4 nectarines or peaches, sliced
1 1/2 cups halved strawberries
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place the dried rose and the sugar in a spice grinder or food processor and pulse together.  Set aside.  I like to do this at least a few hours before making the rest of the crisp so that the sugar can mingle with the rose for awhile. 

Heat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, almonds, and flax seeds.  Pour in melted butter.  Blend the butter with the oat mixture.  It may help to use a fork.  Once the mixture is coated with the butter, set aside.

Place the nectarine slices and strawberries in a large bowl, and gently mix them with the rose sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch.  Place in a greased baking dish (I used a 9-inch round pan).  Sprinkle the oat and brown sugar mixture on top of the fruit.  Bake for 45 minutes. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mango Strawberry Black Bean Wraps

So I’m pretty new to the whole bean/legume thing.  Except for green beans, which are a legume, I think.  The majority of the legume family always weirds me out a bit, though.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because I associate them with being chalky.  I’m totally okay though with pureeing them and turning them into a dip, of course.  But one day I wanted something different for lunch.  I ran to the market near us, picked up some things and thought, maybe this won’t be too bad all together.  And while I’m at it, I’ll try out this whole big world of food to which I’ve previously turned a blind eye.  It turned out that I liked it.  It doesn’t mean I’m a total convert to this branch of the food family.  I think it would take decades before I would ever come around totally.  But I’ve stuck a toe in the water.  And it was nice. 

½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
kosher salt, to taste
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 mango, diced
3 strawberries, chopped
½ teaspoon lime zest
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 avocado, pitted and sliced then drizzled with lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, for serving
2 scallions, chopped, for serving
flour tortillas

In a small bowl, combine coriander, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger.  Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat then add the black beans.  Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the beans and stir.  Add the mango, strawberries, lime zest, and lime juice. Once everything has been warmed and mixed together, take off heat. Adjust salt to taste.  Then assemble wrap using the black bean mixture, avocado, cilantro, and scallions in the tortilla.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chicken Liver Pate with Sage

Pate is an appetizer that broods.  You can totally tell.  It is all dark and mysterious looking, and its ingredients are not readily apparent. If it could talk, it would most definitely talk about things that makes us question or search for answers to the big existential questions – why are we here, what is this all for, etc etc.  It is a bit of a challenging appetizer.  It isn’t as easily loved as something like guacamole for example.  It may take some time for you to fall for its charms.  But eventually you do.  After all, you can’t not fall for it.  But just because you accept and adore something for what it is, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it more fun.  To give the pate a bit of lightness and summer freshness to balance out its dark and gloomy demeanor, we topped the pate with chopped strawberries and fresh, minced basil.  We love spreading this over crackers and bread.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¾ lb chicken livers
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced sage
2 tablespoons port
1 tablespoon mascarpone
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped strawberries, for serving
minced fresh basil, for serving

Melt butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add shallot, garlic cloves and sage.  Once the shallots are soft, add the chicken livers.  Cook the chicken livers until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Add port.  Reduce then take off heat.  Stir in mascarpone.  Once that has melted into the mixture, puree with immersion blender or food processor.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with chopped strawberries and basil.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Soba Noodles with Zucchini Ribbons

This year has been a turning point for us.  A new love has come into our lives.  It has taken us by surprise, creating unexpected emotions.  Maybe new isn’t quite the word.  It had been hovering around – all grated for things like breads and muffins.   But now we have a pure, unadulterated love for it.  Oh, zucchini.  I’m sorry I haven’t appreciated your awesomeness all these years.  But I promise we will make it up to you.  You will no longer be relegated solely to zucchini chocolate chip muffins.  You can stand in the spotlight. 

4 zucchini, sliced into ribbons with a mandolin
6 ounces soba noodles
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
½ cup tahini
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
3 tablespoons chopped mint
sesame seeds, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the soba noodles for three minutes.  Drain the water.  Place the noodles back into the pot.  Add the zucchini ribbons.  Using tongs, mix the butter and sesame oil with cooked noodles and zucchini ribbons.  In a small bowl, stir together tahini, orange juice, vinegar, ponzu, honey, ginger, jalapeno, and mint.  Add to the noodles and zucchini.  Turn heat on low and toss the sauce with the noodle mixture.  Once the sauce coats the noodles and zucchini, take off heat.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
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