Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thank you, Jamie Oliver!

Okay, so this wasn't one of his dishes, but he inspired me to make this. I was looking at his newest book & came across a zucchini carbonar. It looked super yummy. I was already thinking of doing something with bloomsdale spinach and bacon, but hadn't thought about making a pasta. I know, seems like a given, right? Well, I didn't have any cream in house, and I didn't want to mess things up by trying to fudge the dish with half & half or milk. So, no carbonara, but oh so delicious.Spinach and bacon fiori pasta with finely shaved parmesan cheese.

Cut up the bacon & cook in a large skillet. After the bacon is nicely rendered and crispy, drain most of the fat. Add chopped garlic. Deglaze with Madiera wine, and scrap the pan. Allow to reduce by half, then add the washed spinach. Wilt down the spinach and add about 2 tablespoons of cold butter, cut up into pieces. Once the butter is melted and there's a little buttery sauce, add everything to cooked pasta.

I forgot to season with pepper, which I think would've been great. I didn't have to add any extra salt, as the bacon & the pasta cooked in salted water added enough saltiness to the whole dish.

Grate your parmesan on top and enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quinoa, Apple Pie, Aoili

I made a sausage pasta for friends that we had over for dinner a couple weekends ago. I used sweet Italian sausage that I had to squeeze out of the casings. There were two uncooked sausages leftover from the package so I decided to make a quinoa dish with them. Included in the dish were the sausages, carrots, zuccini, and shallots. I may have even sprinkled chopped chives in at the end, but now I can't remember, as it has been a while since I made this. I folded in grated Parmesan cheese at the end. Super yummy, and I believe quinoa is one of those super grains. Now, on to my apple pie. Yes, I baked a homemade apple/pear pie. The bottom of the crust was store bought, but everything else was from scratch. I had to use up the pie crust that I thawed for quiche that I didnt' end up making. Since I had some fresh apples & pears, I decided to try something outside of my comfort zone. It looked great, and it tasted alright, but I wasn't happy with the filling. I made it with less sugar than the recipe called, which was good, but the apples and pears were not as soft & moist as they should've been. Maybe I needed a little more water when cooking, or I should've cooked them longer. I don't know. But, I feel good that I did it, and I will try again.
I used a tart dough that was intended for a quiche, so it had no sugar in it. To try and get a sweet crust, I did an egg wash and sprinkled course rainbow sugar on top. Yes,'s what I had.
Aoili - this one I made with champagne vinegar & whole grain mustard. Ooh, it was, in the words of my husband, "Divine."
1 egg yolk
1 tsp whole grain mustard (or dijon)
1 cup canola oil
to taste, champagne vinegar, salt & freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolk until the color begins to turn a little pale. Whisk in the mustard. Slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl while whisking, whisking, whisking. If the aoili starts to get too thick before you finish drizzling all the oil, you can start to add some vinegar to loosen it. When all the oil is emulsified into the eggs, add more vinegar as needed, and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
We had this aoili alongside roasted red potatoes for dipping.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ground Meat #3

Lamb burgers! They turned out super. Instead of buying burger buns, I found these Oroweat dinner rolls that were basically little unsliced buns. I sliced them myself, put a little butter on them & toasted them in the oven. Actually, David put them in the oven. Here's my little lamb burger with melted American cheese, thick sliced bacon, romaine lettuce, and balsamic onions. For the burger meat, I mixed the ground lamb with finely chopped carrots ("sneaking" in for the kids) & shallots, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese. When I make burgers, I like to first roll the meat into a ball, then shape it into a patty with a ring mold. I choose a ring mold that is slightly larger than the bun to allow for shrinkage during cooking. Shaping my burgers this way yields the best results. I've tried doing it without starting with the ball or just smashing the ball into a patty, and in both cases, they just don't hold the nice "patty" shape. Try it...make three different burgers using each of the above techniques and let me know how yours turn out. I'm totally curious! David actually did the cooking of the burgers tonight. I just got everything ready.

Oh, and as a side, we had a light coleslaw, similar to last night's. This one had shredded broccoli stems as well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2 Months Later...3 Days of Ground Meat

Oh gosh, so bad at posting! But, I have a picture! Ugh, now that I'm looking at it, it looks pretty boring, but I assure it, it was yummy.

Dinner tonight was ground beef tacos with corn tortillas. I made a light slaw of shredded red cabbage & romaine lettuce, julienned carrots, and sliced shallots, with a dash of champagne vinegar, salt & pepper. It went really nicely inside the tacos, but was also tasty just on its own. The rice was just a mix of white & brown rice from last night's meal. We also had some store bought local, organic salsa & sour cream. **This was ground meat #2.

Ground meat #1 was last night, pork cooked in soy sauce, served over rice. On the side, we had steamed broccoli & a salad of romaine lettuce, carrots, cabbage, shallots, and toasted sliced almonds, with an orange dressing from Drew's. This was my best batch of this pork dish so far, I think. It wasn't as salty as normal, but still very flavorful. I cooked it with chunks of galic & ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, chicken stock, one bay leaf, and just a small amount of unrefined sugar.

The plan is to have ground meat #3 tomorrow night, lamb. I think it'll be lamb burgers, but I'm torn. It might end up being lamb bolognese. We'll see.

Why all this ground meat? Sale at QFC.

Last week I got a little inspired and did two seafood dishes. I rarely do seafood, so twice in one week was unheard of! Fish tacos one night and crab salad another night.

My other menu thoughts for the upcoming week include *pasta a la carbonara, *quiche, & *quinoa with sausage. Coming in my Full Circle Farm box next week include spinach, crimini mushrooms, eggplants, red potatoes, mizuna, zucchini, and sunchokes. I'm excited about this box and will be working on finding dishes to match my produce.

Ooh, and last weekend I made blood orange ice cream! We finished the last of it for dessert tonight. It was subtle, creamy and delicious.