January 31, 2011

Pizza night is back!

After a long hiatus and some issues coming up with a new pizza recipe, Stud and I finally have a new pizza creation!  It's a take on the classic sweet/salty combination and stems from pizzas we have had out in restaurants in the past.  I also love how this pizza is undeniably french and I feel so worldly whipping it up in my kitchen for a quick weeknight dinner.

Pizza with Figs, Proscuitto, Carmelized Onions and Arugala
1 Rosemary pizza dough ball
1 medium onion
3 T olive oil
1/2 c. fig spread (jam, preserves, whatever you can find)
2 c. shredded mozerella cheese
4-5 thin slices of proscutto

Stretch the dough out over a greased cookie sheet and pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.  While the oven is warming, slice the onion into thin slices and add to a skillet with the olive oil.  Cook slowly until they are nice and caramelized, about twenty minutes.  I used to brown them as quickly as possible, and they really are much better if you cook them slowly over a medium-low heat.  Use the fig jam as the sauce for the pizza.  It just needs a thin coat, it's pretty sweet stuff.  I prefer the dark fig jams over the light ones.  I have no idea what the difference is between the two, I just think the lighter ones are a little tooooo sweet for my taste.  Once you have a thin layer of the jam down, add the onions and then the cheese.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the crust is golden.  Remove from the oven and add the prosciutto, tearing it into small bits with your fingers.  Add the arugula right on top of the pizza and enjoy!!

If you like sweet and salty, you will LOVE this pizza!  The arugula adds a nice peppery flavor to offset the sweetness from the fig spread and onions.  And the prosciutto.  I mean how can you go wrong??  It was a great combination of flavors and a new favorite over here.

January 28, 2011

Pomodoro Arribata!

I am sure this pasta sauce exists with some real name somewhere in the world.  But I wanted to make a creamy tomato sauce that was spicy.  Enter Pomodoro Arribata!  I think that means tomato and spicy.  Just go with it please.  I got the base idea from the Pioneer Woman (she calls them orange sauces) and doctored it up with some major pepper flakes to suit Stud and me.  The resulting sauce is an amazing combination...the heavy cream off sets the pepper flakes perfectly so you just get a subtle burn.

Pasta with Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce
1 medium onion
5 cloves of garlic
2 15oz. cans of Hunt's Tomato sauce (the plain kind)
1 c. heavy cream
1-2 t. sugar
Pepper Flakes
Parmersean Cheese
Fresh Basil
1 1/2 lb. pasta

Dice up the onions and garlic and saute in a large nonstick skillet until the onions are translucent.  Add in the tomato sauce and then pepper flakes (we used about 1 T), salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes until it has reduced so it's nice and thick.  Remove from the heat and add in the heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and basil.  Toss with the cooked pasta  over low heat (I learned a new term from my mom - this is called marrying the sauce and the pasta) and serve.

Stud and I inhaled this.  And since it makes so much we had TONS leftover and fought over the leftovers.  I might have actually hidden some in the back of the fridge to save for my lunch.  And we have actually made it again since and served it with gnocchi, also a delicious choice.  Basically delicious on anything.  I have a major problem.  I could eat pasta with varying sauces for dinner every single night.  I must find more options.

January 27, 2011

Curry Chicken Salad

I love food, we have established that. So what really irks me about my evening MBA program is that there is no time for dinner.  It's really a tragedy.  And it's not like I can bring anything because they do not trust the MBA students with a microwave.  There is one.  But they basically have a guard to make sure we don't enter the kitchen and stick to the snacks provided.  I can only eat so much Chex Mix for dinner.  Since I now at least have time to eat a ridiculously early dinner, I have been trying to make things that are quick and I can even take in the car with me if I'm in a rush.  My latest quick dinner creation was a big batch of curry chicken salad with leftover chicken.  It made for an excellent meal last night on my way to class.

Curry Chicken Salad
4 chicken thighs
1/4 c. light mayonnaise
1/4 c. chopped cashews
2 T. curry powder
1/2 t. tumeric
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 c. chutney
Green Onions

Cook the chicken and remove from the bones and shred into bite size pieces.  Combine with the rest of the ingredients and add salt to taste.  Since the chutney I have has some big chunks, I gave it a quick chop with a food processor to break things up.  And I LOVE the sweetness that the chutney adds.  A lot of curry chicken salads have raisins or grapes and adding chutney replaces those in my recipe.  I'm hoping Stud hasn't eaten it all so I can have some for dinner before class tonight.....

January 26, 2011

Daily Fluff

Yet another snow day here in Louisville.  Pretty sure the schools have an extra two weeks tacked onto the end of the year.  Beau couldn't be happier, he is obsessed with snow.  And he's been out there for all morning with no intentions of coming inside.

January 24, 2011

Pesto Take II

Stud and I love pesto.  Love love love.  And you all know Stud loves red pepper flakes.  So when I found a pesto recipe that involved pepper flakes (and from Cooks Illustrated - must be good), I knew we had to give it a try.  It's a tomato based pesto and it uses almonds instead of pine nuts, and it's creamy and delicious.  Pasta alla Trapanese if your cool and Italian.

Tomato and Almond Pesto
1/4 c. clivered almonds
12 oz. cherry tomatoes (about 2.5c.)
1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic (more if desired)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. olive oil
1 lb. pasta
Parmersean cheese

Toast the almonds until pale golden and fragrant, about 2-4 minutes.  In a blender or food processor, combine the almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pinch of salt, pepper flakes and red wine vinegar.  Once they are all combined, slowly add in the olive oil while the machine is running.  Add to cooked pasta and enjoy!

I love pesto to eat and because it is so simple to make.  This one takes just a few minutes and makes for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  Or if you like to plan ahead, you can freeze the pesto!  Pour the pesto into muffin tins and put in the freezer. Once the pesto is frozen, remove and keep in a plastic bag.  Each serving is good for about 1/2 lb. pasta.  So if you ever actually cook for one instead of six like I do, it would be perfect!  I can just make a whole batch.  We like to eat around here.

January 21, 2011

Daily Fluff

I have deceived all of you.  You probably think Beau is a sweet angel dog.  FALSE.  I am often a victim of Beau attacks.

January 20, 2011

Basic Mashed Potatoes

You really can't serve anything else with pot roast besides mashed potatoes. When I was little, we demanded egg noodles, but really, we have already established I was slightly insane.  Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite foods and one of the first things my mom trusted me with in the kitchen.  And plain basic mashed potatoes (no skins!) are the way I make them.  I have added garlic and cheeses before and they're good, but just you can't beat the basics.  Now remember, I made these for 6 with the goal of leftovers in mind!

Basic Mashed Potatoes
5 Idaho potatoes
4 T. buttler
1/4 c. whole milk (or heavy cream if you have it)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. cream cheese

Peel and chop the potatoes into similar sized pieces.  Put in a pot with water and place on a burner.  It's better to start the potatoes with room temperature water instead of already boiling water because it cooks them more evenly.  Add salt to the water and bring it to a boil.  Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender and break apart when poked with a fork.  Drain the potatoes and add the butter to the pot.  Using a masher (or a ricer if you are really dedicated to smooth potatoes), mash up the potatoes.  Add the milk, cream cheese, and sour cream and mix to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I like to add a little extra butter (never hurts) before I serve them, as evidenced by the pool of butter in the picture.

Combined with the pot roast and brussel sprouts, we had a great winter dinner.  The mashed potatoes were a great base for the meal and are great leftovers.  And probably my favorite part of this meal is that everything held up well to being kept warm.  I was able to make everything before Stud's family arrived and kept it warm in a 200 degree oven until we were ready to eat.  That way I could relax and enjoy some wine.  And play with Chuckles...we have plans to stay up past his bedtime and watch Land Before Time.  Only the first one, the rest aren't so good.

January 19, 2011

How to make Brussel Sprouts DELICIOUS

As the veggie side to the pot roast, I wanted to do good winter veggie.  Enter second most dreaded childhood food item (second to liver and onions) - brussel sprouts.  But when my mom made brussel sprouts for Thanksgiving this year, I learned to love the little bundles of heaven.  I mean, they are cooked to death in duck fat, how bad can they be??  Oh and BAM BAM bacon jam never hurts anything either.  There were also green beans present for those too chicken to eat the brussel sprouts, but the brussel sprouts were a hit.  Looks like I'm not the only convert among the group.

Brussel Sprouts
25-30 brussel sprouts
3 T. duck fat (or bacon fat)
1 T. bacon jam

Remove the outer leaves from the brussel spouts and cut them in half length wise.  Melt the fat in a non stick skillet and add all the brussel sprouts face down in the skillet over low heat and cook until they are dark brown.  If they are looking dry, add some chicken stock and cook it off to steam them.  Once they are dark brown, add in the bacon jam and toss it all together. 

I promise you will love brussel spouts like this.  They are like little pieces of candy.

January 18, 2011

The Starring Attraction

I, until last weekend, had never made a pot roast.  I had enjoyed several over my lifetime, but never made one myself.  I am lacking a slow cooker (well, my mom has three so I really can use one of hers whenever), so I can maybe use that as an excuse, but not really.  So I set out to make one, did my research, and discovered there are as many recipes as people on this planet.  I was lost, so I went to my mom the gourmande knowing whatever she told me would be delicious.  I was slightly shocked at how easy the recipe was, and it was moist and tender and delicious.  This is what she told me...

.Gourmande Pot Roast
5 lbs chuck roast
1 onion (optional)
3 carrots (optional)
4 celery stalks (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet of Lipton Beefy Onion soup mix
Red Wine

Since I made mine in a Le Cruset, I was able to brown the meat before I put the veggies in to get some good meat flavor - so first brown the meat and remove from the pot.  I also didn't want chunks of veggies in mine, so I pureed them in a food processor before adding them to the pot.  And the veggies are completely optional, I added them because I had them in the fridge!  Add the veggies and cook for a for about five minutes.  Then add in the soup and soup mix and combine.  Trust me, it will look gross but it comes out so tasty.  Add in the wine and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, add the meat back to the pot and put in a 325 degree oven and let it cook until it's nice and tender, 3.5-4 hrs.  This can also be done in a slow cooker.  I checked on mine every hour or so, my kitchen smelled so good.  Once it's cooked, if you have time, refrigerate overnight and skim all the fat off the top the next day.  Slice the meat and reheat the pot roast and serve.

Good redneck ingredients make an excellent tender pot roast.  I could cut it with my fork.  And it freezes really well, so Stud and I even have some leftover for some lazy rainy night.  But there is a good chance I will never see it again since Stud heads to the hospital around 4am and has turned into a lunch thief.  I wake up and all the leftovers are gone.  Devastated.  So instead of cooking for 3-4 like normal, I guess I'll just have to start cooking like the two of us are really a family of six to ensure leftovers.  Or I'll start hiding things. 

January 17, 2011

Dinner for 6

Plus a little nephew!  Last night Stud and I had his family over for dinner and I used all new-to-the-blog recipes and I thought this week it would be fun to recap each recipe to make a complete dinner party menu for 6.  Just a heads up, Stud and I wanted major leftovers so this can realistically feed probably 8.  And I have a delicious lunch of leftovers planned for today!

To start, I made an onion dip from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and it was so good.  I have actually been snacking on it this morning, never too early for some caramelized onions!  The onions are cooked to death and become so sweet.  I actually made the onions in the morning and just mixed everything together right  before people arrived and it worked great.  I went to see the King's Speech (SO GOOD) yesterday, so did some prep work before the movie.

After snacking...whoops.
Onion Dip
2 yellow onions
4 T. unsalted butter
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half and slice into 1/8" slices.  Heat the butter and oil in a skillet and add the onions along with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook the onions on medium for ten minutes and then lower the heat to medium low and cook for another thirty minutes.  Using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo.  Once the onions have cooled, gently mix them in and serve with potato chips!  I used kettle cooked so they were nice and thick and you could really get a good scoop of the dip.  And it just as good leftover!!

Oh and since this recipe is so short, here's Chuckles for you, who is just beginning to smile...although he refused for me last night.

January 13, 2011

No Massaman

Last night I really wanted to make Massaman curry.  It's our favorite from our local Thai place, and I googled recipes and found a few that looked promising.  So off I went to the grocery.  I got the chicken, potatoes, coconut milk, but I couldn't find the Massaman curry paste that every recipe claimed existed.  So I found another one that called for Chinese Five Spice Powder.  Good to go!

Not so good to go.  It tasted like normal curry.  NOT MASSAMAN.  But I did learn some lessons about curry.  Since I have already made the easy curry and it was delicious, I noticed some trends between the two to get a tasty curry in a few pretty simple steps.  Just make sure you have a few spices in your pantry and you can whip some up whenever the taste arises.  We mainly use turmeric, cumin, curry powder, ginger, and cayenne pepper, about 1/2 t. of each and then add what you like.  It's pretty foolproof.  Last nights even had a dose of Chinese Five Spice powder, a good addition but not necessary.  And there is a basic process you can follow.  Start with sauteing onions/garlic/shallots, then add spices.  Add in chicken and cook briefly.  Add in apples or potatoes (both are excellent!) and about a can of coconut milk and some chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Let it cook for about 12-15 minutes and serve over rice!  And I always serve it with some peach chutney.''

And if anyone knows where I can find a Thai grocery store in Louisville and some of this so called Massaman curry paste, let me know!  I will not be defeated!


If you're new and would like to follow along, please use the subscription links on the right!

January 11, 2011

MexiChicken Casserole

I love casseroles.  They are so easy and you can cram all parts of a typical meal into one dish.  Veggies, protein, carbs, all of it.  And since I knew Stud was a sucker for chicken casserole, when I stumbled across a Mexican version that adds hot sauce, I knew it would be a hit.  Just like with my other chicken casserole, you can add pretty much anything and everything.

MexiChicken Casserole
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 c. cooked brown rice
1/2 c. salsa
1 c. sour cream
1 can green chilies
1 can black beans
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. grated cheese (monterey jack or cheddar)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Put in a large casserole dish and top with additional cheese and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until everything is hot and bubbly. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro (if you have any.  I clearly did not).

Look at that.  Like one sentence.  SO EASY.  And I've added cherry tomatoes before, those were tasty.  A great way to empty out the fridge.  Yum yum yum.

January 10, 2011


So things took a rough turn around here and blog posting could be spastic for a while.  BUT TODAY is by birthday!!!!  I am sitting, watching some TV and enjoying birthday cake for breakfast made with love my by mom.  And reading books on my new Kindle.  Yesssssssss.

January 6, 2011

Daily Fluff

I think this is Beaus' way of telling me he wants to go on a walk.  Now.  Poor little pup doesn't get as many walks since it gets dark so early and it's freezing.  Good thing we have the dog park.

January 5, 2011

Learning to Love Kale

Kale can be kinda gross and crazy bitter.  But when you cook it for eons with some caramelized onions and garlic, kale becomes so tasty.  Add some sausage in there and it can't get much better.  This recipe is loosely based on the concept from a Bon Appetit article and recipe.  The author was explaining how she learned to like kale, and well, she got me to like kale.  So much so that I have been planning other kale recipes. 

Kale and Sausage Spaghetti
3 Italian sausages (we used hot, feel free to use mild or sweet)
2 bunches of black kale, stems removed and given a rough chop
3 T. olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 t. red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2c. chicken stock
2 t. lemon juice
1 lb. spaghetti

Remove the casings from the sausages and start browning them in the bottom of a saucepan or small dutch oven if you have one using a wooden spoon to break them up while cooking.  While the sausage is browning, dice the onions and slice the garlic.  And yes.  Really use 8 cloves.  I promise you won't reek of garlic after one bite.  It's going to cook for a while and become deliciously sweet.   When the sausage is finished, remove and let drain on a paper towel.  I had about 3T. of fat from the sausage, so I didn't use the olive oil.  Throw the onions, garlic, pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt into the pan and cook until everything is really well caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Add the kale in small bunches, adding more as it cooks down.  Once all the kale is in the in the pot, pour in about 1/2 c. chicken stock and let cook covered.  Check every five to ten minutes and add more chicken stock as needed to cook the kale.  Once the kale is dark and wilted (taste it - it should be a little sweet), add back the sausage, add in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix with cooked spaghetti and serve with Parmesan cheese.

You can leave the sausage completely out of this recipe, just start with the olive oil and onions and it makes an excellent side dish to some steak.  It's also very good with whole wheat pasta, we just didn't have any.  I first made this pasta and didn't cook the kale nearly long enough and it was still crunchy.  So this time I was patient and made sure to cook it long enough.  It needs to cook for a good thirty minutes, if not longer, until its lost most of its' bite and is beginning to get sweet.  The sausage makes a perfect compliment to the kale and a very filling dinner.  We had enough left over for two lunches!  This recipe has opened my eyes to all of those bitter greens...kale, collards, and turnip greens could be popping up on here much more often!

January 4, 2011

Ringing in 2011

I already recapped what a year 2010 was and therefore, 2011 has an uphill battle ahead to beat out 2010.  So Stud and I decided to give it the best start possible by celebrating with all of our college friends in the nations capitol.  We spent last weekend touring, tasting, and tearing up Washington DC.  We have a ton of good friends, and even a little family in the city, so we had a free place to stay and an ample supply of tour guides.  We crashed with Stud's cousin Haudge and he was an impeccable host.  His freezer was stocked with tater tots and his apartment was in the center of pretty much everything.

The weekend kicked off with a staff led tour of the capitol with my friend Caro, who gave us a very educational and VIP tour.  We even got to walk through the tunnels from the House office buildings into the new Capitol Visitors Center (SO Dan Brown) and then had an amazing lunch at Good Stuff Eatery.  Spike from Top Chef and me, pretty much BFFs.  In case you are curious, I had the "Sunnyside," a burger with bacon and a fried egg along with a side of the rosemary thyme french fries.  Drooling?  Me too.  The afternoon was spent watching Studs' inner child emerge as we toured the Natural History Museum.  He wanted to see the dinosaurs, I wanted to see the gem room.

Our tour guides Caro and Haudge
Friday was pretty low key, we had a big night ahead.  Stud and I met up with our whole group from college and walked around the American History Museum.  I bee-lined it for Julia Childs' kitchen, the foodie in me wanted to see where the master worked.  We had a late lunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, rubbing elbows with past presidents and other really important people.  New Years Eve was spent at a bar with amazing food and drink, and the New Year was rung in with Stud and many of our friends.  Then they played Whitney Houston.  Pretty good start I'd say!

Sunday was spent on an epic walking tour of DC.  We started in Dupont, worked our way through Georgetown and then down towards the Mall to see the monuments.  Someone (ahem Stud) was fading rather quickly so we took a cab it home from there.  That night we had one final night with the whole group relaxing and hanging out, then it was off to bed.  We had an early flight the next morning so we could be home in time to pick up our precious angel from the kennel.  Then Monday morning, back to work and for Stud, the beginning of his surgical rotation.  I'll see him again early March.  It was a great weekend spent with good friends and we even squeezed in some good food stops and amazing sights.


Related Posts with Thumbnails