Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fettuccine with Tomatoes and Crispy Capers

So, there's a reason my posts have recently been more sporadic.  Dave and I adopted a rescue dog!  He's a beagle and German shepherd mix.  He's our little sous chef, he loves sitting in the kitchen while I cook.  Usually, he likes laying right up against the back of my legs so if I move without thinking about him, I'll fall on my butt.

Look at my ears!  No one can resist my floppy ears!

Last weekend, I made a fettuccine dish and didn't use up all of my fresh pasta.  I saw this recipe for Fettuccine with Tomatoes and Crispy Capers in the most recent issue of Food & Wine.  I've made a dish with fried capers as a garnish before and they're really awesome.  They crisp very nicely, but retain their tanginess. 

The original recipe didn't call for sundried tomatoes, but I thought they would be a good addition.  I used enough fresh pasta for two people and the vegetable and meat amounts for a full recipe. I omitted the anchovies. 

This dish was quick, simple, and really really good.  The simple addition of some crushed red pepper made the prosciutto taste almost like capicola ham.  This dish was pretty quick to make because there wasn't much chopping and the tomatoes and garlic don't cook for very long.  The most labor intensive part of the meal was frying the capers, which isn't very complicated. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Success! Pork, Ginger, and Cabbage Stir Fry

Tonight the plan was to make a ginger and carrot stir fry dish that Dave and I enjoy when we don't have a lot of time to cook, but want a healthy dinner.  Too bad I forgot to buy carrots.   The rice was already cooked, so I felt pretty committed to a stir fry over rice dish.  I improvised, and it turned out really well! 

There isn't a lot in our fridge right now, we've got a lot of dinner plans in the next few days that don't involve cooking at my house.  I found some random ground pork in the freezer.  I decided to use the giant piece of ginger that I bought for the original stir fry.  The only vegetables in the fridge were half a red cabbage, a few sickly looking scallions, an almost used up head of garlic, and an onion that was past its sell by date.  I ended up using everything but the onion. 

My first notion for the sauce was to do a variant on potsticker sauce.  We make it all the time and it's super tasty.  Then Dave suggested a spicier sauce.  

The verdict: success!  The ginger and red cabbage softened in the wok, but were still crunchy enough to add some texture to the dish.  The ginger was very powerful, I'd probably use a little less next time.  The sauce went perfectly with the pork and veggies, it was the right combination of tangy and spicy.  I would definitely make this again.  I'm happy that I improvised something tasty from an almost empty fridge. 

Colorful and tasty!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rib Eye with Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts

I don't cook steak very often since I don't eat a lot of red meat.  That said, every once in a while, I crave steak.  Perhaps it harkens back to my college days when I subsisted off substandard salad bar and ramen because the "meat" served in the cafeteria was of dubious quality and cooked beyond recognition.  Whenever my parents came to visit I wanted STEAK every night.  I'm sure Outback made a killing during Parents' Weekend. 

This recipe is from The Wine Lover Cooks with Wine, which is a great book if you like using wine as an ingredient.  This steak dish also lets me eat blue cheese, which is one of my favorites.  The original recipe called for Roquefort cheese, but the store was out of it and I bought some blue cheese instead.   I also topped it with hazelnuts instead of walnuts.  It's served with a side of jalapeno roasted potatoes, which are simple to make!

The wine sauce has a great flavor, and the cheese goes very well with it.  It's also a good match for the potatoes.  Looking back, I don't know if I needed to keep them separate in a bowl, the sauce was good on them!  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homage to the 80s: Cream Cheese and Mushroom Chicken with a Twist

Last month, I made some home made cream of mushroom soup.  While it tasted okay, it wasn't thick enough for a meal.  The blog where I found the recipe also suggested using the soup in a recipe for cream cheese chicken.  Working ahead, I made a large batch of the soup and froze it.

I remember growing up in the 80s when my mom cooked all kinds of stuff with canned cream-of-something soup.  I know that a lot of canned soups have a ton of sodium in them, and so using my own soup sounded like a good idea.  The picture of the cream cheese chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking did not look appetizing to me.  What made me want to make it? Cream cheese!! Also, pasta.

Now, my picture isn't very pretty.  This dish looks kind of scary.  It's also not healthy, since it contains a ton of cream cheese.  That said, holy crap is it good!  I will definitely make this again, especially in the winter, it's very hearty.  The chicken, cooked in the slow cooker, shreds very easily and incorporates well into the sauce.  I think I may have overshredded the chicken. Looking back, I think I should have left some larger pieces. The mushroom flavor is earthy, but not overwhelming.  The cream cheese makes it awesome.  I won't be serving it to guests because it's just not attractive, even with chives (chives make everything look better!).  But don't let it stop you from making it!  It's basically effortless if you make the soup ahead. 

I promise, it doesn't taste like Klingon food!


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