Archive for December, 2010

day off dinner

December 27, 2010

i didn’t have to work today, so i went a little crazy prepping dinner. if i were a more sophisticated cheffy-chef, i probably would have done something like cheese grits instead of the goat cheese mashed potatoes, but after a conversation with emily this morning, i really needed mashed potatoes in my life.

scott found some shrimp on sale when he went to the market christmas eve, so i needed to do something with those. i also had about a third a head of escarole left over from a few days ago, and i really wanted to make something with Shaft because Pauline is going to see quite a bit of action tomorrow and Wednesday, so desert it was. escarole salad with warm tangerine-honey vinaigrette, bacon-wrapped shrimp over goat cheese mashed potatoes, and apple-cinnamon popovers with caramel sauce.

escarole salad with tangerine-honey vinaigrette

1 tablespoon honey

juice of 1/2 a tangerine

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

dash salt

dash garlic powder

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus one teaspoon

2 tablespoons yellow onion, diced very small

1/3-1/2 head escarole, roughly chopped

whisk everything except onion and teaspoon olive oil. use 1 teaspoon olive oil to cook onion until browning slightly, then whisk into dressing. cover and refrigerate to let flavors hook up (they don’t like the term ‘marry’; they can’t be tied down) for a couple of hours or more. to serve, heat, whisk, and pour over chopped escarole.

goat cheese mashed potatoes

2 russet potatoes

1/4 cup milk

1/2 stick unsalted butter

4 ounces goat cheese

scrub, chop, and boil two russet potatoes with skin left on until tender. drain. with a hand mixer, add half a stick of unsalted butter and 1/4 cup of milk. add 4 ounces of goat cheese. blend until very smooth.

bacon-wrapped shrimp

10-12 large shrimp, cleaned and deveined

juice of 1/2 tangerine

5-6 strips of bacon

in a small bowl, combine shrimp and tangerine juice. let sit in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. wrap each piece of shrimp in 1/2 strip of bacon and put about three shrimp on a skewer until all are prepared. broil at 500 on a cookie sheet for 4 minutes on each side, or until bacon is crisp, OR use a tabletop rotisserie (yes, i am THAT spoiled, but for the record it’s scott’s tabletop rotisserie) to broil skewers for 8-10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp. remove and serve over mashed potatoes.

apple popovers with caramel sauce

1 cup milk

3 large eggs

dash salt

1 teaspoon cinamon

1 teaspoon sugar (you can use granulated, powdered, or brown sugar for this. it’s whatever.)

1 cup flour

2/3 cup very finely diced apple (one small apple)

grease and flour your muffin or popover tin and set in the oven at 425 to heat. mix everything except the flour until it’s all very fluffy. then mix in flour. then fold in apples. pour into muffin or popover tin and bake for 25 minutes. serve warm with caramel sauce and powdered sugar.

caramel sauce

2/3 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

over medium heat in a HEAVY pan (seriously, this shit will burn much faster than you think), heat sugar. it will melt into liquid napalm, so mucho cuidado, amigo. feel free to mix it around, but i did too much of this and ended up having to remelt some chunks, so you might want to stick to a whisk instead of a wooden spoon, or just sort of swish it around slowly. once the sugar is all melted and liquidy, it’s going to be this gorgeous amber color. add in the butter and whisk until completely incorporated. remove pan from heat and add cream, continuing to whisk until the foam all dies down and you have a pan full of caramel. pour into a glass jar to cool. heat before serving. this made exactly one small mason jar of caramel sauce.


everything’s so easy for pauline

December 23, 2010

well, the mixer’s name is shaft, and he is getting quite a bit of play these last three nights. he has helped me with a batch of yeast rolls, two batches of popovers, and some pie crusts. it is only fair that i now turn my focus to the long hours already logged by miss pauline, my new slow cooker.

yesterday was coq au vin, which i did with a cornish game hen (because our leftovers are always ridiculous with a normal chicken). i’ve already posted a pretty good recipe for that, though, so thank you pauline and now for tonight’s dinner.

sweet mustard pork loin

2 pound pork loin

3 tablespoons honeycup uniquely tangy mustard (it’s a freaking awesome sweet and tangy mustard you can find at central market or eatzi’s or sometimes at kroger)

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

2 large carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

salt to taste

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup chicken stock

rub pork loin with honeycup mustard (it feels dirty when you do this and i totally laughed out loud while prepping it this morning) and set in slow cooker. try to get all of the gooeyness left on your hands from rubbing down your pork off onto the potatoes, carrots, and onions that you will now layer in with the loin. sprinkle salt over the whole mixture (i probably used just a couple of teaspoons). add in the rosemary spring and pour the chicken stock evenly over everything. cover and cook on low for eight hours.

this meat seriously just falls apart, and i really like the flavor of the mustard and rosemary with the pork. if you would like a more substantial gravy (this just makes sort of a porky jus), just strain it out and add in some flour on the stovetop, cooking down to get rid of the flour taste. that might be nice to serve with mashed potatoes instead of the potatoes i stuck in the slow cooker.

long live pauline. she is devilishly easy to use AND to keep clean. how many women can i say that about?

mixer madness

December 23, 2010

i made popovers two nights in a row, and for christmas eve tomorrow, i made a batch of mini cherry pies for work. for the popovers, i used shaft”s whisk attachment, and for the pie crust, i used his flat paddle. for the popovers, i used a regular muffin tin because i do not have a proper popover tin. instead of 6 normal-sized popovers, it made 12 little ones.

Martha Stewart’s Individual Cherry Pies

Makes 6 3 1/2-inch pies

  • 4 cups frozen sour cherries, defrosted until easily separated (i used jarred sour cherries instead)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out dough
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • Pate Brisee for Sour Cherry Pies
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl combine, cherries, sugar, flour, cornstarch, lemon juice, and zest.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough out slightly less than 1/8-inch-thick. Use a 4 3/4-inch cutter to cut out 6 rounds. Fit rounds into 3 1/2-inch fluted tart pans with removable bottoms. Divide filling evenly between pans. Roll second disk of dough out 1/8-inch-thick. Use a 3 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out 6 rounds. Place rounds over fruit. Cut vents into each pie. Seal by folding edges over and crimping with thumb and forefinger. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and heavy cream. Brush evenly over tops of pies. Bake until golden brown, and juices are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Read more at Individual Sour Cherry Pies – Martha Stewart Recipes

chive and cheese popovers
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing tin
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup shaved romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a popover tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Whisk in eggs, milk, and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Fold in chives and cheese.
  3. Fill the popover cups two-thirds to three-quarters full.
  4. Transfer tin to oven, and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until well browned and crusty, about 20 minutes. Remove popovers from the oven, and unmold onto a rack. Puncture the sides with a sharp knife to let steam escape, and serve immediately.

new toys

December 20, 2010

for christmas, scott’s mom, grandma, and sister all gave us williams-sonoma gift cards because they know we’re insane about everything there and i get a fat discount. yesterday, we went in and used said gift cards (okay, we went over by like 60 dollars) to purchase a shiny new kitchenaid artisan stand mixer in onyx and an all-clad ceramic-insert slow cooker. they are sexy.

tonight, i used Shaft, the mixer, for the first time. i made my yeast rolls to go with dinner, which was soup made with italian sausage the campisi brothers across the street gave me for christmas.

sausage, white bean, and escarole soup


2 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 carrot, finely sliced

1 celery stalk, finely sliced

1 yellow onion, finely sliced

salt and pepper to taste

2 bay leaves

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1.5 pounds cooked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 can cannellini beans, drained

1/2 head escarole, roughly chopped

in a dutch oven over high heat, saute carrot, onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil until all veggies start to soften. turn heat down to low-medium and stir in seasonings, broth, and water. bring to a very low simmer and cover, cooking for about an hour. add escarole a handful at a time, pushing down to cover. add beans and sausage and heat everything through, about 20 more minutes. this can sit on the stove for a very long time if you want; i think it tastes even better after an extra hour or two on very, very low heat. serve with rolls and shredded parmesan cheese.

why i wish i still had a job

December 17, 2010

i want a fancy juice extractor. bad.

someone should seriously block my computer from being able to access the williams-sonoma site.

asian food island escape

December 15, 2010

i would seriously appreciate it if all the pregnant women (and formerly pregnant women, and expecting baby daddies, and expecting grandparents) would shut the fuck up about the overwhelming joys of pregnancy. i’ll love her once she gets here, okay? can i please be me for a few more weeks?

my escape last night was cooking. i was out of butter so couldn’t make any more cookies, but the grocer did have a special on pork rib packages (buy one get two free! i’ve got ribs for a month!), so i pretended emily and rebekah and i ran off to our asian food island with our dogs and emily’s baby, because he’ll eat anything we eat in his cool little tristan fashion.

vietnamese braised pork (heavily adapted from son dao’s recipe)


2 tablespoons white sugar

4 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons vegetable oil or sesame oil

1 small yellow onion, sliced

1 carrot, finely sliced

1 cup mushrooms, halved (i love love love shitake, but creminis will work just fine)

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

1.5 lbs. boneless pork ribs

1 8 oz. can water chesnuts, drained

2 cups bok choy, chopped

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1 can coconut milk

over medium heat in a dutch oven, sprinkle sugar. add in water, whisk, and let bubble until mixture just turns yellow, about 4 minutes. stir in onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, and ribs with oil and fish sauce to coat. stir and simmer for 5 minutes, until onions start to soften, and add in remaining ingredients. turn heat to low and cover. cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes. serve with fresh cilantro, lime, sprouts, and red chile sauce.

serves 4


December 12, 2010

i’m going to have a baby. in like five weeks. or six or seven, depending on when she shows up. but shit. a BABY.

i keep wondering how i’ll deal if merlin doesn’t really dig her.

also, i wonder a lot about what i’ll be hungry for. my plan was originally to spend the few weeks after finals (i complete my semester on thursday!) making mother sauces and freezing entrees, but now that we’re moving right after she’s born, that seems silly. they won’t keep.

oh yeah, i’m moving. that should make this blog a bit more exciting, as moving to south texas will also involve the purchase of a cow or two, some quail, and either some cornish game hens or broilers. and also i’ll have a garden and i plan on growing much more than my weight in tomatoes next summer. everyone will be getting jars of homemade pasta sauces next christmas.

t-minus two months until moving day. i hope the newborn likes her carseat.

sand tarts

December 5, 2010

i did it again! i screwed with a baking recipe and it ended up really good! perhaps i should focus my attention on the gym instead, though; all the sugar cookies and bread and sand tarts over the last week can’t possibly be prepping me for the marathon of labor next month. sheesh.

sand tarts (adapted from here)

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • powdered sugar


  1. cream the butter, sugar, salt, and eggs together. add just enough flour to stiffen. dough should be slightly sticky. with a spoon or spatula, fold in pecans. cover, place dough in the refrigerator, and let chill overnight.
  2. preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. remove small amount of dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. roll 1-inch balls of dough into 2.5-inch crescents and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes and the edges are slightly browned. watch these cookies closely; they burn very easily.
  5. place on a rack to cool completely. while still warm, heavily dust with powdered sugar.


December 5, 2010

i lovelovelove freshly baked bread. man, that sentence sounded rather obvious, did it not? it’s rather like saying ‘i love happiness’ or ‘i love music’.

last summer, i made quite a few loaves of homemade bread, including some rosemary almond loaves that were really tasty but only very good for toasting because they were denser than i expected. tonight, i yanked a recipe for ‘no-knead bread’ from somewhere on wordpress that i can’t remember now because it’s not on the homepage, and i changed it so it would actually work. it wasn’t really no-knead, but i’m cool with that because it was tasty.

edited no-knead bread (there will be kneading)

3 cups wheat flour

1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 to 1 cup unbleached white flour

olive oil as needed

1. combine wheat flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl with a spatula. add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended. cover bowl with plastic wrap. let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees (i rested mine in the oven, which was probably a bit warmer than 70, but i’m convinced it’s better for activating yeast).

2. 1/8 cup at a time, add white flour in to dough with spatula.  add and mix until dough is only slightly sticky when torn while mixing. heavily flour a work surface and place dough on it; knead by folding dough over onto itself several times, sprinkling in more flour as needed. do this for about five minutes; when dough is elastic, it is ready. rub olive oil all over dough and place back in bowl to let rest for 30 more minutes.

3. at least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. when dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. lightly coat pan with olive oil. slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.

4. cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. cool on a rack.

this bread was really good fresh out of the oven slathered with butter. i used it toasted for dinner tonight with rebekah’s recent suggestion of shiner bock beef dips, and i don’t even feel that bad about all the bread i’m sticking in my face because (1) i’m pregnant and let’s face it, how much carb damage can i REALLY do in the next six weeks and (2) i used wheat flour, and every delicious slice of this bread has three grams of fiber. yay for fiber.

pita lunches

December 4, 2010

i don’t do much ground beef these days because i got in a funk about how very boring it is; if you’re not doing meat sauce or meatballs for spaghetti, or maybe a meatloaf, it seems so BLAH. seriously, the only reason i bought ground beef at all this semester was for scott to make his hamburger helper dinners on the days i worked and had class so didn’t have time to prep dinner.

it’s such a silly funk to get into. what about tacos? those are delicious. and also stuffed peppers. yum. today for lunch i made homemade pita bread and a greek-ish ground beef mix.

olive oil for cooking

1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell peppers

1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely diced

1/2 pound ground beef

2 teaspoons dried thyme

6 ounces feta, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

over medium heat, drizzle olive oil in a skillet and brown beef for 2-3 minutes. add in all veggies and continue to cook until beef is browned throughout. turn off heat and mix in crumbled feta. salt and pepper to taste.

serve with these easy, yummy pitas. if you want to be a better person than i am, make them with wheat flour.