Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Imposter

Hello my ducklings! The weightloss has been slow and painful. Due to my complete inability to keep butter out of my face I've decided to go in a different direction. So today I tried something a little different: Pizza.

Not just any pizza though (that would be silly wouldn't it?), but a low-carb pizza. Dear refined carbs, I miss you! What I don't miss, though, is all the bloat and water weight I've dropped since I started this thing. Sigh. I guess you can't argue with science...or results.

Imposter Pizza

1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp water

1/4 cup tomato sauce, watered down
1 60g garlic cheese chicken sausage, cut in the manner of your satisfaction and fried
1/2 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls
fresh basil I stupidly forgot to get this, which is why mine has none. But basil is good for you, you should eat it.

~Mix all the crust ingredients together in a bowl until well integrated.
~Grease a frying pan just enough to prevent sticking; note--the larger your pan, the larger and thinner your crust will be. This recipe gives you enough to make either 1 largish pizza or 2 small personal pizzas.
~Pour the crust batter into the pan and cover, cooking for 5-6 minutes until the crust is solid and cooked through. The thinner you spread the batter, the crispier the crust will be.
~Remove the crust from the pan carefully and lay it on a baking tray.
~Spread the tomato sauce over the crust, and top with cheese, sausage, and basil.
~Bake in the oven at 400˚F until the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Pile of Green

Unfortunately lack of posts does not equal lack of meals. It's officially well into swimsuit season and I've put on 20 pounds, which is not attractive on anyone. I've decided it's time again for the dreaded D-word to make an appearance--diet.

Luckily for my mouth dieting to me only means not having seconds...and maaaaybe inserting some veggies into my diet instead of the constant parade of carbohydrates and meat (they're just so delicious!).

The following recipe is something that I pulled together while browsing Fairway. I actually meant to make gumbo out of this okra yesterday, but Fairway was out so I bought this today in sort of a delayed gratification. I know the infamous sliminess of okra is a bit of a you-love-it-or-hate-it camp; personally I love it, but for the haters this risotto hides it well.

I also want to note that I had wanted to use Maitake mushrooms in this recipe, but Fairway didn't have any non-bruised specimens since I tend to go an hour to closing, so I just used regular brown button Criminis.

Asparagus, Okra, and Mushroom Risotto

1 cup Arborio rice
4-5 cups broth
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
6 asparagus spears, cut into 1" pieces
1 cup okra, trimmed and sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, chopped

~Melt 1/2 tbsp butter over medium heat and brown the mushrooms. Add the asparagus and okra and saute until bright green and al dente, salt to taste and set aside.
~Bring the broth to a simmer, cover and keep warm over low heat.
~Heat the remaining butter and oil in the pan on medium heat and add garlic, saute until fragrant; add the rice and stir quickly for one minute until the rice is coated and opaque.
~Stirring frequently, add the broth a ladle at a time, letting it absorb before adding more until the rice is tender and glossy.
~Stir in the veggies and lemon juice; season the risotto with salt and pepper before serving.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Hens

Merry Christmas! I enjoy the winter holidays even though I'm not the least bit religious. As my boss A puts it, "The version I celebrate involves only a red fat man, and has nothing to do with religion". I don't bother to correct him that the original Saint Nicholas was a Greek Bishop.

On the menu for tonight:

Mushroom Corn Chowder
Cumin and Paprika Roasted Potatoes
Cornish Game Hen with Garlic and Rosemary Butter
Spiced Pumpkin Pie

I was a little nervous about the hen--I've never cooked a whole bird before, and I think such things always garner a little apprehensiveness the first time around. It all turned out alright, though, and the hen was savory and juicy.

Mushroom Corn Chowder
4 cups assorted mushroom, sliced
2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh thyme

~Put the butter, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and potatoes in a large pot and saute over medium-high heat until the onions turn translucent.
~Add the chicken stock and thyme and bring pot to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender.
~Add heavy cream, and simmer uncovered to thicken, then add corn and cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve steaming hot with crusty baguette.

Cumin and Paprika Roasted Potatoes

4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt

~Whisk olive oil, cumin, paprika, and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Toss potatoes in the dressing to coat evenly.
~Heat oven to 450˚F. Spread potatoes on a baking tray in a single layer and roast until the edges are brown and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Cornish Game Hen with Garlic Herb Butter

2 Cornish game hens
3 tbsp salted butter, softened
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/8 cup white wine
1/8 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

~Strip one sprig of rosemary of leaves and chop finely. In a small bowl mix the butter, chopped rosemary, thyme, and garlic.
~Rub hens with the butter mixture; make sure to rub butter under the skin as well.
~Place a lemon wedge and sprig of rosemary in each chicken, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
~Heat oven to 450˚F. Place the hens breast-up in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes.
~Whisk together the white wine, chicken broth, and olive oil, and drizzle over the hens. Reduce heat to 350˚F, and roast until the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when stuck in the thigh, about 25 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with pan juices.
~Drain any drippings and reserve for gravy or dipping; tent foil over the hens and let them rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie

1 1/4 cups flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
ice water

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
3 large eggs and 2 egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp salt

~For the crust, whisk together flour, sugar and salt until well mixed.
~With a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the butter pieces are the size of small peas.
~Drizzle 1/4 cup of ice water over the butter and flour mixture; use a silicone spatula to press the dough into a ball. If needed, add more ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.
~Knead the pie crust gently until the dough becomes smooth; try not to knead in the lumps of butter--this is what will make a flaky crust!
~Roll out the dough about 1/8" thick on a floured surface and drape to fit into pie plate; trim the excess crust to 1/2" beyond the edge of pie plate and fold excess under itself. Make a fluted edge with your fingers, or use a fork to press a pattern into the edge.
~Refrigerate pie plate for about 15 minutes until the dough is firm.
~Line pie plate with a sheet of parchment paper and fill with weights (glass marbles, dried beans, uncooked rice, or pie weights) and blind bake the crust for 15 minutes at 425˚F; take plate from the oven, gently remove paper and weights. Brush crust with beaten egg and return pie plate to oven, reducing temperature to 375˚F, and bake for another 5 minutes until the crust is golden.

~To make the filling, whisk evaporated milk, eggs, and yolks together in mixing bowl.
~In a pot, mix together pumpkin puree, salt, sugar, maple syrup, and spices and warm up over the stove on medium heat. Whisk in milk and eggs mixture until smooth, and pour in warm pie crust.
~Bake filled pie at 400˚F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300˚F and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the edges are set.
~Remove pie from the oven and let cool at room temperature; residual heat will finish cooking the filling, so don't put it in the refrigerator.
~Serve with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream!

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas Dinner...till next year!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lazy Person's Stew

I am terrible at managing time. It's true. A task that I estimate will take me 2 hours invariably ends up taking 4. Am I planning to leave the house at 5:45 to make it in time for a 6:30 class? Whoops I guess I'm leaving at 6:10 instead! You get the idea. I've tried schedules, timers, strategically composed playlist lengths...nothing works. Whatever thing that allows people to be responsible, punctual adults, I was born without one.

So instead of aiming to actually finish something on time, I aim to circumvent all possible distractions that may prevent me from doing anything but the task at hand. Such as thinking about what to eat, standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to eat, and any and all actual cooking, which invariably takes me hours. As such, I've made this stew recipe dozens of times out of the sheer convenience of it--I just cook a huge batch of it in a 5 quart pot, and when I get hungry I turn the stove on low to heat it up. Also unlike most things of which the taste substantially declines once it's cooled down and been reheated, I'm convinced that this stew actually tastes better each subsequent time I warm it up again! Maybe it's just because I was really hungry when I did that, I'm not sure.

Hungry Person's Beef Oxtail Stew

1 lb oxtail
1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
8 cups beef stock or water
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 stalks of celery
4 medium red potatoes, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour

~Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; salt beef stew meat and oxtail and cook until golden brown. Remove from the pot and set aside.
~In the same pot melt the butter and saute onions until translucent. Turn heat down to medium-low and add flour, stirring constantly until it turns into a paste. Add garlic.
~Add 1 cup of beef stock to the pot and stir until thickened, then add the remainder of the beef stock, thyme, paprika, and the beef and oxtail. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low for 1 hour.
~Add carrots, celery, potatoes, and sundried tomatoes, and cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Add salt to taste.
~Optional: Let cool and refrigerate, then reheat on low flame and eat hot whenever hungry!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Honey and Rosemary

I have to admit I don't have a very good score when it comes to pork--the last time I tried to make pork cutlets they came out dry and stringy and I've been a little intimidated to approach them since. I've had a little more experience with not overcooking my meats, however, so for dinner I decided to modify this delicious recipe I found on Saveur's website.

Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey Glaze

4 bone-in pork chops
3 tbsp olive oil
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
zest of an orange
4 tbsp unsalted butter
sprig fresh rosemary, torn into 1" pieces

~Put pork chops on a plate; drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
~Mix vinegar, honey, and orange zest in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced to ¼ cup. Stir in butter and rosemary and take off heat.
~Heat up a dry skillet on high heat; when it is hot, place the pork chops in the pan to cook, fliping and basting with balsamic mixture every 2-3 minutes until browned and cooked through, about 12–14 minutes.
~Transfer pork chops to a plate and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

There seems to be a silly idea that pork should be cooked "until it's done", AKA until it's overdone, bone dry, and tough, which is, objectively, generally less than desirable. A perfectly cooked pork chop should be tender and juicy, as these don't overcook your pork!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


So it's safe to say I have never been the type to go overboard with "seasonal spirit". Don't get me wrong, I'm no Scrooge--I love to see the autumn-themed recipes on everyone else's blogs, coo over everyone's fall-themed manicures, and d'aww at people's pets dressed up in costume for Halloween. But I'm just not quite so proactive when it comes to my own autumn-themed activities.

A couple days ago, though, I was feeling more jolly than usual, and I'd been meaning to make pumpkin bread. I find that this is best eaten slowly, in thick slices accompanied by a hot mug of chrysanthemum tea.

Shoddy photo. You'll forgive me.

Seasonal Spirit Pumpkin Bread
A note--yep, this recipe is a cavity-ridden delight. Feel free to halve the sugar if you feel like it, but take my word for it that this definitely wasn't too sweet for me...and I've actually kind of moved past my "everything must taste like gummi bears!" phase. Shocking, I know.

 Recipe makes approximately 12 muffins, or two small loaves, or one large loaf.

3 cups flour
1 can of pureed pumpkin
3 cups turbinado sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup butter, soft
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup flax seeds
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder

~Preheat oven to 350˚F.
~In a bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
~In a large bowl, beat the sugar. softened butter, and eggs for about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.
~Add the dry portion of the ingredients slowly and mix gently.
~Mix in the nuts and flax seeds.
~Grease your baking container(s) and fill 3/4 full.
~Bake for an hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Box Lunch Adult v.2

Rice with sakura denbu, tiny oil-marinated fish with blackbeans (inbetween layers of rice), honey beef, quail eggs, ants on a log, and strawberries. Also packed a peach that is not shown here.  Unfamiliar ingredient--Sakura denbu. It's a fluffy, sweet-and-salty condiment make of flaked whitefish, named "sakura" because of its pretty pink color. My sakura denbu was storebought, but Maki has a great recipe for it herethat I'd like to try someday! Once I get over the intimidation...haha.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cream + Seafood

New England Clam Chowder

1 cup chopped clams in clam juice
1 large onion, diced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
white pepper

 ~ Melt half a stick of butter in a large stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until golden, about 10 minutes.
~Add celery, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 minutes.
~Add chicken broth and clam juice, bring to a simmer.
~In a small pot, melt the remaining half stick of butter and whisk in the flour to make roux.Whisk in a cup of the simmering broth and then return to the stockpot.
~Simmer for a few minutes until the broth has thickened.
~Add heavy cream and clams and cook for a few minutes until clams are done.
~Salt and pepper to taste, serve piping hot.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Box Lunch Adult v.1

Put together this bento. Contains stir-fried chicken with red bell peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and quail eggs. And lots of rice...because I'm Asian, and that's just how I roll.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

More Meat

On the menu: Burgers with tomato and guacamole. Was there anything ever as perfect as the fresh watery juiciness of a slice of tomato with the beefiness of a burger patty? (Well yes, maybe bacon) Add to that the creamy tang of avocado guacamole, and I am sold, forever.

Burger Tips:

~Don't press down on the burgers. The sizzle may sound satisfying, but you're pressing out delicious meat juices
~Flip as often as you like, contrary to popular belief, this actually promotes browning and helps the meat cook more fact flipping only once results in a drier burger.
~If you like your burger at the hockey-puck stage known as Well Done, you are dead to me.