Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recipe Club Week 3

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Brown Rice Source: Eating

2 cups instant brown rice (I used my new favorite thing: Birdseye Microwave Bag Brown creates about 2 cups cooked rice in 4 minutes)
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 t crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided (I used a couple shakes of sesame oil and a calphalon wok that nothing sticks to!!)
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 cups bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as snow peas, broccoli and bell peppers (My vegetables were 1 head of broccoli, 1 small red pepper, 1 small onion)
1 5-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained

Prepare rice according to the package directions (4 minutes, baby!!).

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside. (I added the crushed red pepper flakes here)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside and just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with the rice.

The Review: It is a beautiful dish, isn't it!? I added even more shakes of crushed red pepper toward the end because it was pretty bland. Tony added salt and tabasco. It tastes like a Healthy Choice meal. Which, if you ever had one of those and wished for MORE, here you can make it yourself!! And if you want a NON sweet and sour chicken, you could seriously follow the same directions, minus the apricot, and sub in something like a Stir-fry sauce or General Tso's sauce from Trader Joe's, and you you'd have a whole other flavored Healthy Choice meal!! I am most likely going to do that in the future, as I love spicy stuff.

And the speed of this meal is great! Especially, plug numero tres, if you buy the steam bag brown rice!! I made this dish at 11:15pm, after Tony had been gone in Orlando for a training/sales meeting. His flight got in late, he didn't eat the taco bar lunch before he left, and thus was starving. And I don't think this meal gave me it was a winner! (My mom always told me certain things would give me nightmares: okay, hot chocolate. I could not have hot chocolate before bed or I'd dream about a crocodile chasing me and Ernie from Sesame Street).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ground Pork and Spicy Peanut Noodles

1/2 lb ground pork
3 T All Natural Peanut Butter
Soy Sauce
Thai Chili Sauce
1/2 box linguine
1 red bell pepper
1/2 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
frozen peas
2/3 cup pasta water
for spice: crushed red pepper and red curry powder

Brown the ground pork in a large wok or saute pan.

Finely, thinly slice onion, pepper, and mince garlic. Add to pork.

After the vegetables have been combined and cooked, add some shakes of soy, 3 spoonfuls of peanut butter, and about 1/4 cup thai chili sauce. Mix to melt and combine peanut butter.

I am loving these individual packs of green peas. So I add one pack to the pork and veggie mix.

After noodles have cooked, save some of the pasta water and add to noodles, and pork mixture to help make saucy.

If I had been to the grocery store, I would've added green onion, bean sprouts, and not much else. It made a TON of food. And I loved it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sundays are for...

And hamburgers and grill fries.

This is a take-off of Tony's Taters. Instead, they are cut like fries. And it seems awfully pedestrian for a self proclaimed snob in the previous post, but notice there is a bottle of Prosecco on the table. And the mayo in the background has half of a garlic clove grated into it. Okay fine, there are TWO wine glasses next to my plate. I had some red wine too. Don't judge me!

Tonight ended up delightfully mild, too. It was not too hot to eat outside, and so we enjoyed the bottle of prosecco on the deck and ate very large burgers.

And it wasn't ALL sleeping today. There was a large stretch of cleaning AFTER the British Open was over.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dine ORIGINALs, like, not Olive Garden or Applebees

Helloooo! Look at me! Food Snob. Sometimes Snob in general. About logical not spending $50 at a place that microwaves a large majority of their items when you could go somewhere that the scallops were LITERALLY flown in from the sea that day.

Quick Aside: I googled "Applebees Microwave". There are quite a few reviews and websites featuring this detail. But one of most curious note is that Applebees has a FACEBOOK?? What? End Aside.

So, I am adding a link to the right for the Dine Orginals website. Here is their mission statement,
"The Mission of Dine Originals Columbus is to celebrate, support and promote locally owned and operated independent restaurants by providing unique 1dining experiences for its patrons and collaborative services and benefits for it members. "
And they also try and use local produce and what not. Which means it is FRESH, among other things.

On the website, there are upcoming events like wine tastings, beer tastings, tequila tastings, music (something NOT alcohol focused). There are also gift certificates, where you buy them for $17.50, but they are worth $25!

So go check it out. Here are the members:

Alana's Food and Wine 2333 N. High St.Columbus(614) 294-6783
Barcelona     263 E. Whittier St.Columbus(614) 443-3699
Basi Italia     811 Highland Ave.Columbus(614) 294-7383
Betty's Fine Food and Spirits 680 N. High St.Columbus(614) 228-6191
Bexley Monk Bexley Square, 2232 E. Main St.Bexley(614) 239-6665
Blackcreek Bistro 51 ParsonsColumbus(614) 246-9662
Bodega 1044 N. High StreetColumbus(614) 299-9399
The Burgundy Room Short North 641 N. High St.Columbus(614) 464-WINE
Cafe Corner 1105 PennsylvaniaColumbus(614) 294-CAFE
The Clarmont 684 S. High St.Columbus(614) 443-1125
Columbus Brewing Company 525 Short St.Columbus(614) 464-2739
Due Amici 67 E. Gay St.Columbus(614) 224-9373
Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus 161 N. High St.Columbus(614) 228-8413
Figlio Wood-Fired Pizza 1369 Grandview Ave.Columbus(614) 481-8850
G. Michael's Bistro     595 S. Third St.Columbus(614) 464-0575
Granville Inn 314 East BroadwayGranville(740) 587-3333
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls 21190 State Route 374Logan(800) 653-2557
Katzinger's Delicatessen 475 S. 3rd St.Columbus(614) 228-3354
Lascala Italian Bistro 4199 W. Dublin-GranvilleDublin(614) 889-9431
Luce Restaurant and Cafe 3499 Market St.Powell(740) 881-4600
Maca Cafe 9 Olentangy StreetPowell(614) 436-1212
Pistacia Vera 541 S. 3rd St.Columbus(614) 220-9070
Press Grill 741 N High St.Columbus(614) 298-1014
R.J. Snappers 700 N. High St.Columbus(614) 280-1070
The Refectory     1092 Bethel Rd.Columbus(614) 451-9774
Rigsby's Kitchen     698 N. High St.Columbus(614) 461-7888
Shaw's Restaurant and Inn 123 N. Broad StreetLancaster(740) 654-1842
Spice Bar & Lounge 491 N. Park St.Columbus(614) 224-7840
Surly Girl Saloon 1126 N. High StreetColumbus(614) 294-4900
Thom's on Grandview Restaurant & Bar 1470 Grandview Ave.Columbus(614) 487-5719
Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails 73 E. Gay St.Columbus(614) 221-8300
Tony’s Italian 16 W. Beck St.Columbus(614) 224-8669
The Top Steakhouse     2891 E. Main St.Columbus(614) 231-8238
Trattoria Roma - Shaw Mansion 1447 Grandview AveColumbus(614) 488-2104
Tutto Vino 7178 Muirfield DriveDublin(614) 799-9222
Vino Vino Restaurant & Winebar 1371 Grandview Ave.Columbus(614) 481-8200
Wildflower Cafe 3420 Indianola Ave.Columbus(614) 262-2233
The Worthington Inn     649 High St.Worthington(614) 885-2600
Z Cucina Ristorante & Bar     1368 Grandview Ave.Columbus(614) 486-9200

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flat Iron Steak with Steakhouse Sides

Flat Iron Steak with Roasted Garlic, Green Beans, and Twice-Baked Potatoes

This summer I have truly realized the beauty of an awesome, beastly, grill. It is truly awe-provoking to have something heat up to 550 degrees in 5 minutes. It bakes a potatoe in 30 minutes. Roasts a head of garlic in 15. It is a thing of beauty.

My new favorite cut of cow is the Flat Iron steak. It is the tender part of the chuck, and more specifically, it is near the shoulder blade of the moo-er. And the beauty is that it is about 7 bucks a pound. Quite a difference from the 19ish for the filet. And it is better. Really, it is better.

Tonight was .9lbs of flat iron. It cooked for 2 minutes on each side for a perfect medium rare. I literally just did salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. For presentation and my love of garlic, I roasted the garlic and then spread some of the mashed garlic on the top of the steak.

Green Beans:
1 bag of steamed long green beans (my new favorite brand of veggies...they also do a brown rice in a bag in less than 4 minutes)
3 mashed roasted garlic cloves
crushed red pepper
1 T olive oil

Cook the green beans according to the package (5 minutes). In a bowl, mash the garlic and mix with the pepper flakes and olive oil. Add cooked beans, mix/toss, and add salt.

For the two of us, I did three smaller idaho potatoes. Wash, salt, wrap in foil. Cook on top rack of grill for 30 minutes. Take off, cut in half, scoop out potato. Reserve the skins of the two prettier potatoes. In Kitchen Aid Mixer, whip potato flesh, 1 T butter, 2 T half and half, 4 spoonfulls (ish) of sour cream (I used fat free) and shredded cheese of your choice (I used low fat cheddar, and no more than 1/4 cup). Salt and pepper to your taste. Scoop whipped potatoes back into the flesh, and eat a little off of the spatula as a reward for doing it! Put potatoes on the top shelf of the grill while the steak is cooking to "twice bake" and melt cheese.

As you can see, Miss Maddie was very interested in this meal...
(She is in the chair)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Week Two: Cooking/Recipe Club

(Updated 7pm 7/16)
Week two is a turkey burger. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Tony was home for the day waiting on a package, and so we made these burgers for lunch! It is nice to have a homemade hot lunch on a Wednesday. Along with the burgers, I made a white bean salad. Recipe to follow the burgers.

Likes: The turkey burgers had a lot of flavor and were not dry (I refuse to even type the m-word).
Dislikes: I am not a fan of parsley! I don't know why, but it just takes over the whole taste of recipes for me. So the parsley, although gave a great color and look to the burger, it overpowered what I wanted to taste most...the FETA. I even added EXTRA feta!

Maria Menounos' Mykonos Burger

Prep: 12 minutes; Cook: 11 minutes.

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound lean ground turkey
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 ounces crumbled feta cheese ** more like 1/3 cup **
4 (1/4-inch thick) slices red onion **white biggie**And I added 2T roasted red pepper, diced
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted

1. In a medium bowl, mix first 8 ingredients (through feta). Use an ice cream scoop or 1/2-cup measure to make equal-size patties.
2. Broil for 5–6 minutes on each side or until done.

3. Place burger on bottom half of bun. Top with onion slices and a Dijon-and-ketchup mixture (a trick for cutting sugar from your diet), if desired; garnish with parsley, if desired. Cover with top half of bun.

Makes 4 servings (serving size: 1 burger)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 253; FAT 9g (sat 3g,mono 1g,poly 1g); CHOLESTEROL 61mg; CALCIUM 99mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21g; SODIUM 514mg; PROTEIN 22g; FIBER 3g; IRON 3mg

White Bean Salad
1 can of white beans, rinsed
two handfuls of halved grape tomatoes
1/4 diced white onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 cup corn
1/4 cup chopped parsley
garlic salt
Greek Seasoning
2T red wine vinegar

Week One of Cooking/Recipe Club

Some local girls have created a weekly recipe challenge, of sorts. Someone posts a recipe, we all make it, and then post our results. Here is week one!

Grilled Pork Chops with Peachy Hot Salsa

5 peaches, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 center-cut pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
1 avocado, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon sugar

1. Using a food processor, puree 4 peach halves, the honey, olive oil and lemon juice. Transfer to a 9-inch square glass baking dish and add the pork chops, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Finely chop the remaining 6 peach halves and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the avocado, onion, chile, parsley, 3/4 teaspoon salt and the sugar.
3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill, covered, turning once, over indirect heat until just firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving with the salsa.

Side Items:
Grilled Corn with bacon and green onion
Grill Five Corn Cobs, brushed with olive oil
Chop three green onions
Cut three slices of bacon into 1 inch pieces, cook
2-3 T half and half

Reserving a little bacon drippings, combine corn (cut off the cob) green onions, and bacon. Add a little half and half, salt, and pepper.

Tony's Taters
3 Russett Potatoes
olive oil

Slice potatoes, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Line on foil, curling the edges up, but not enclosing the potatoes. Cook on top shelf of grill. 30 minutes-ish. Our grill gets up to about 450 when we cook these.

Wine: Pinot Gris from France

This was a good summer dinner. But the leftover peach salsa was pretty much useless. Texture made it pretty ick-full.