Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Asian Steak Salad

from Betty Crocker's Healthy Heart Cookbook (2005)

1 lb cut-up beef for stir-fry (we used chunks of chuck for stewing; next time we'll do a better cut of meat)
1 package (3 oz) oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
1/2 cup Asian marinade and dressing (we used a teriyaki sauce, which was good)
1 bag (10 oz) romaine and leaf lettuce mix (next time, we'll probably use spinach)
1 cup fresh snow (Chinese) pea pods (couldn't find these, we defrosted a package of sugar snap peas, which worked out fine)
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots (from 10 oz bag)
1 can (11 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained

Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Place beef in skillet; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon seasoning mix from soup mix. (Discard remaining seasoning mix.) Cook beef 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the dressing.

Break block of noodles from soup mix into small pieces. (I broke it up before opening the package. Easier on the fingers that way. The seasoning packet was still intact.) Mix noodles, lettuce, pea pods, carros and orange segments in large bowl. Add remaining dressing; toss until well coated. Divide mixture among individual serving plates. Top with beef strips. (We didn't bother tossing stuff together, we just put stuff on our plates.)

Serves 6.

Lemon Feta Chicken

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 1/2 - 3 pounds) -- we used about 1 lb tenderloins
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the chicken in a baking dish (I sprayed it with cooking spray first). Drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Sprinkle it with the oregano and pepper. Top it with feta, then the remaining lemon juice.

Bake the chicken for 30 minutes (about 20 for tenderloins) or until it is just cooked through in the thickest part. (Check it with a meat thermometer or sharp knife. The chicken should have an internal temperature of 160 degrees and no longer be pink on the inside.) Do not flip the chicken while cooking it.

Goldfarb suggests serving this with couscous and steamed baby carrots (or raw carrots with dip).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Year in Bread, Part 1: Pizza Dough

Round 1 of A Year in Bread! I think I have sufficiently convinced/browbeaten H., Shannon and hopefully Alissa to do it too -- I know H. has already made the pizza dough also.

Short story: It was great.

Long story: I went over to J.'s armed with three kinds of cheese, a thousand vegetables, fresh rosemary and basil, special bread flour, a new bottle of yeast, Trader Joe's pizza sauce, my new rising bowl from eBay and several hours in which do complete the task.

I followed Susan's recipe, mostly because it was shortest and easiest, and it truly was short and easy. One mix, three minutes of kneading, two hours of rising, spreading out the dough on the pans... that was it. Truly, I have cooked more difficult things.

I made one big pizza on a round pan and one small one on a cookie sheet. The big one had tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, peppers and red onions, basil and the cheese blend described in another one of the Year in Bread entries; the small one was sauce-less, with cheese, red onions, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.

At H.'s suggestion, I put a little olive oil on the crusts of both pizzas to make the dough chewier. It could have used a little more salt and pepper. I had been concerned that the dough hasn't risen enough, so I let it go a little longer, and I'm not quite sure it ever got as big as it should have, but it tasted great.

I would say it was worth it -- a little bit of a hassle, especially when I think about how Shannon just picked up the 99-cent bags of dough at Trader Joe's yesterday, but it was fun and a good start to this project.

Let's hear it for the next 11 months of bread...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Roasted potatoes

adapted from Food Network


1 pound small new red potatoes, scrubbed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pare a narrow strip of peel from the middle of each potato. In a large bowl mix the oil, garlic, and rosemary; add the potatoes and toss well. Transfer the potatoes to a shallow baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until potatoes are tender when tested with the tip of a knife. Serve hot.

black pepper and lime oven fries

Passover makes you get creative with the non-bread, non-pasta starch options, so I finally made this recipe from 101 Cookbooks that I'd had bookmarked forever. It was GOOD.

I got a little carried away with the lime and put more on my second helping, and that was a mistake -- it's fine with just that initial little squirt but too tangy if you do more. The flavor combination is really interesting and good.

1 1/2 pounds small potatoes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 lime
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375, oven racks in the middle.

In a medium bowl toss the potato wedges with the olive oil, a few big pinches of sea salt and five or six cranks of the pepper grinder. Arrange the potatoes cut side down on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, tossing the potatoes with a metal spatula half way through.

While the potatoes are baking, zest the lime and cut it into a few wedges.

When the potatoes are cooked through, remove them from the oven, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Add more salt and pepper to taste (don't skimp on the pepper!). Serve in a big shallow bowl, or on a platter, drizzled with lime juice and dusted with the lime zest and Parmesan.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Potato Kugel

from Bubbe's Kitchen

3 eggs
3 c. grated and drained potatoes
1/3 c. potato starch
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 onion, grated
2-4 vegetable oil or melted butter

Beat eggs until thick. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Turn mixture into greased preheated baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour, until browned. Serve hot.

Brisket of beef

from Bubbe's Kitchen

5 lb beef brisket
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2-3 large onions, sliced
1 c. orange juice
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 c. sherry

Rub meat well with garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to cook, spread half the sliced onions in bottom of a roasting pan. Place meat on top, fat side up.
Combine remaining ingredients to make a sauce. Pour over the meat. Roast, uncovered, at 325 for 3-4 hours. Add water if it becomes too dry.
Allow to sit out of the oven 30 minutes before serving. Slice against the grain.

Matzo balls

from Bubbe's Kitchen

2 tbsp. vegetable oil or chicken fat
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. matzo meal
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. stock or water

In a bowl, mix oil and eggs together. Add matzo meal and salt and blend. Add stock and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Moisten hands with oil or water. Form mixture into walnut-sized balls and drop into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a light boil, cover tightly, and cook for 40 minutes. No peeking! Remove with a slotted spoon and serve in chicken soup.

Chicken soup

It occurs to me there are many ways to make chicken soup from scratch, but here is the way I do it, and it's pretty foolproof.

1 whole chicken, liver, etc. removed
12 c. water
2-3 whole carrots, cut into 3 pieces
1-2 onions, peeled and left whole
1-2 stalks celery, cut into 3 pieces

Put all of it in the pot. Bring to boil, skim off the scum/foam that collects on top. Reduce to simmer and cook for 2 hours. Remove chicken and set aside. Remove vegetables and toss.
At this point, I add 1-2 chicken bouillon cubes. I pull the chicken off the bone and add it back to the broth, along with whatever vegetables (usually baby carrots, chopped, onions and celery).
I cook my noodles on the side, because I have issues with them sucking up all the broth. Also good if you want to make matzo ball soup.