Monday, July 25, 2011

Loco Moco... Sort of

Santina says: even Martha went to prison.

I can't believe I am actually blogging about this meal, but I am committed to posting more of my meals.  If that means showing the world (er, the 3 people who read Princeton Eats Portland) the weird stuff I sometimes make for dinner, so be it.

I planned to eat the leftovers from my fajitas for dinner tonight, but for some reason I just didn't feel like it.  I defrosted some pork sausage over the weekend, intending to make myself a brunch including it, but I did not end up doing so.  So, I needed to eat it.  I didn't really know what to do with pork breakfast sausage for dinner, but I just bought a bunch of jasmine rice, so I thought, huh, I'll make a version of a loco moco.

Loco moco should be a ground beef patty over rice topped with fried eggs and gravy.  It's a hawaiian dish, and a hearty one at that, good for filling up after a morning of surfing.

My loco moco is a pork breakfast sausage patty over rice topped with salsa and sour cream.  It's a dish of no origin except my head, also a hearty one, good for filling up after sitting in front of a computer all day.

It does not look pretty but it tastes damn good.

Bon appetit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tequila-Lime Steak Fajitas

I made fajitas for dinner tonight.  They were based on this recipe from Food & Wine.  They were good.

I am too busy watching the brilliant summertime Sunday TV programming to write more, and, really, what am I supposed to say about fajitas?  Everyone knows they're good.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tequila
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5-7 sprigs of cilantro, roughly torn
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper sliced
1 onion, sliced
12 flour tortillas
Sour cream

1.  In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the marinade. Add the flank steak and toss to coat completely. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the meat after one hour.

2.  30 minutes before you are ready to cook, heat the grill. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.

3.  Meanwhile, saute the onion and peppers in a large skillet.

4.  Grill for the steak 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare doneness. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

5.  Slice the steak against the grain into 1/4-inch thick diagonal strips. Serve rolled in warm tortillas with onions, peppers, salsa, and sour cream.

I also ate a poached pear that I made at a French cooking class I attended at Le Cordon Bleu yesterday.  It too was good.

Bon appetit.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ceviche Verde

I recently decided upon urging from some friends to be more active on Twitter.  Bon Appetit magazine tweeted a link to this recipe on my first active day, and I knew I had to make it.  Ceviche is delicious and easy, two things I look for in a weekday recipe.

1 pound fresh Pacific halibut
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
3/4 cup green olives, sliced (I omitted this)
1/2 cup tomatillos, diced
1/4 cup onion, very finely chopped (I omitted this)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tostadas or torilla chips

Chop fish into 1/2" cubes; place in medium bowl. Add kosher salt; toss to coat. Add lime juice; toss to coat. Marinate until the edges of the cubes begin to turn opaque, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Dice avocados; add to bowl along with green olives, tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño Add olive oil and season to taste with salt.

Serve over tostadas or with tortilla chips for dipping.

(I made a half recipe.)

My grandparents have been working on moving out of the house they have lived in for something like 30 or 35 years, and so they are giving away a lot of things that have accumulated.  When I was home visiting my family, I think it was for Christmas, they asked if I wanted some glasswear.  I am always up for things like that since most of my glasswear, plates, and other kitchen stuffs have come from Goodwill.  Within the two boxes of glasswear they gave me were some seriously excellent finds: a set of collins glasses that make my cocktails seem very classy, two Italian canisters that now hold my flour and sugar, and a set of champagne coupes (yes, I had to look up the name for this type of glass).  

The champagne coupe not only makes me feel like I am at one of Gatsby's parties when I drink champagne but is also excellent for serving small portions of anything from sorbet to, yes, ceviche.  I couldn't resist displaying my ceviche in one of them.  I ate one serving of ceviche out of that gorgeous glass, then devoured the rest straight from the equally as beautiful but much larger bowl.

Bon appetit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Salmon with Fennel, Bell Pepper, and Grapefruit Salad

I wasn't going to post this meal because it is a strange little something that I threw together after somewhat randomly choosing items at Whole Foods that looked good to me.  I wanted some salmon, so that was the first item.  Then wandering through the produce area, I decided on fennel because I love fennel and haven't cooked with it in a while.  Next I grabbed red bell peppers, because... I don't know, why not.  Then I remembered that I once upon a time had a recipe for fennel and bell pepper salad with an orange and parmesan dressing.  I was more in the mood for grapefruit and into the basket one went.

I sauteed thinly sliced fennel and bell peppers, and instead of making a dressing, I just peeled the grapefruit, removed the membranes, and added it to the mix.  I must say, it was quite delicious.

I salted and peppered the salmon and cooked it in a cast iron pan.

(There you go, Santina: A new post.  You happy?)

Bon appetit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lazy Saturday and Tomato Cobbler

How do you think my cobbler compares to Martha's?

When Friday finally got here last week, I was so excited to get home and begin a lazy weekend.  The past couple weekends were filled with wine tasting, beer festivals, Fourth of July celebrations, and Superhero pub crawls (read: lots of drinking), so I was thrilled to camp out at home, stay in sweats, and spend some quality time in front of the TV.  I do want to note that, yes, I said "sweats".  It is still cold in Portland, and this past weekend was a rainy one.  Perfect for staying in.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I grabbed a stack of neglected Martha Stewart Living magazines, crawled back in bed, and set out to plan a couple meals.  The tomato cobbler recipe was something that had caught my eye in the brief perusal of the July issue I had done right when it first arrived.  I am not a huge fan of raw tomatoes, but cooked tomatoes are so delectable.  It was the first recipe I marked as a "must make" for the weekend.  The other two recipes I marked, a strawberry rhubarb pie and Moroccan meat pies, did not get prepared.  The tomato cobbler is huge, fed me all weekend, and will continue to feed me for at least two more meals.  It is also exceedingly delicious.

For the filling:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 pounds cherry tomatoes
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

For the biscuit topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1.  Make the filling.  Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Let cool.

2.  Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, and red pepper flakes with 1 1/2 tsp salt and some pepper.

3.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Make the biscuit topping: whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form.  Stir in cheese, then add cream, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms. (Dough will be slightly sticky).

4.  Transfer tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish (2-inches deep).  Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over the top in a circle, leaving the center open.  Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with remaining Tbsp cheese.  Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and the biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack.  Let cool for 20 minutes.

I couldn't resist getting some strawberries when I was out purchasing the ingredients for the cobbler.  I cut them, sprinkled them with just a touch of sugar, and let them macerate.  There was heavy cream left over from the cobbler, so I whipped it and scooped a mound on the strawberries.  A perfect end to a perfect Saturday dinner.

Bon appetit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

This meal is so not in line with my goal of eating all the beef in my freezer, nor is it normal for me to prepare a dinner completely absent of meat, but sometimes I just get a craving for something really specific.  Last Sunday, that craving was a grilled veggie sandwich with hummus.

I don't have much to say about the recipe for making this sandwich.  Okay, I guess I have a couple pearls of advice, some of which may be common knowledge?  I don't know.

1.  You should always salt slices of eggplant and let them weep for a half hour or so before grilling (or using them for whatever you're going to use them for) to remove bitterness.

2.  The best way to roast bell peppers is to put them under the broiler, turning them until all sides are pretty well blackened.  Then remove them from the oven, put them in a paper bag, seal the paper bag however you want to seal it (I fold it down then secure it with bag clips), and let them cool in the bag.  Doing this makes the skin easy to remove.

3.  This isn't advice, but grilled romaine is really tasty.

4.  So is bread brushed with olive oil and grilled.

I guess the above is sort of the recipe for the sandwich I made, being that if you put everything mentioned together with a spread of hummus, that's it.

Bon appetit.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hawaiian Steak Salad with Grilled Pineapples

I really wasn't in the mood to take pictures this evening.  I am tired and (was) hungry and getting the food into my mouth was my biggest concern.  But how could I NOT take a picture of those beautifully grilled pineapples???

Hawaiian steak is a classic Johnston Family recipe.  If you look in my recipe box, you know the true Johnston recipes because they are the ones that are typed out and were in the box when I received it as a gift from my little sister (I talked about this before here).  I like this recipe particularly because this is exactly how it reads:

- combine 1 can (6 oz) Dole pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Use to marinate 1 lb. steak

I don't know exactly what tickles my funny bone about it.  Perhaps it is the extreme conciseness of the recipe?  I catch myself on this because what do I expect it to say?  I think I am just so used to reading Martha Stewart recipes that include the minutest of details.  Martha's recipe would tell you to whisk together the ingredients in a medium sized non-reactive bowl, and then to place the steak in a sealable container and pour the marinade over it, seal the container and refrigerate for some specified amount of time, flipping the steak at least once during the marinating time.  Then it would give detailed grilling instructions.  But this recipe?  Combine the ingredients and use as a marinade.  I love it.

Anyway, I combined the ingredient except the green onions (I will never ever put green onions in something I am cooking) and used it to marinate about a pound of sirloin steak.  I left it in the fridge for 2 days, which seems to be a good length of time, but I am sure 1 day or even less would suffice.  Then I grilled it along with some pineapple rings and put both items over lettuce dressed with a little bit of seasoned rice wine vinegar.  I have lots of steak and some pineapple left over.  I will likely make steak sandwiches and perhaps a steak rice bowl with the left overs.  Yum yum.

Bon appetit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All-American Brats and Potato Salad

I didn't make this meal on July 4th, but I feel it is good post for the holiday.  I had even titled this weeks ago.  How fortuitous.

I am not a fan of american-style potato salad, but while perusing my Martha Stewart cookbooks one day many summers ago making menus for a trip to Nantucket, I came across a potato salad that sounded just to my liking: no egg, not a TON of mayo, and pickles.  And I was going to Nantucket.  I think that called for some potato salad and Martha.  

Now I am wishing I had this meal to eat today.

4 lbs (about 8) russet potatoes
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup mayo
1/2 tsp whole celery seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 celery stalks, strings removed, cut into 1/4" dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4" dice
10 cornichons (I use regular pickles), cut into 1/4" dice
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp paprika

1. Put potatoes into large pot with enough water to cover by several inches.  Bring to boil over high heat, add 1 Tbsp salt, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until tender with pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes.  Drain into colander.  Using gloves or a towel to protect your hands, peel potatoes and cut into 1" dice while hot.  Drizzle with vinegar.  Set aside.

2. Combine the mayo, celery seeds, mustard, 2 tsp salt, and black pepper in a bowl, and whisk to combine.  Add potatoes to mayo mixture.  Add celery, red pepper, pickles, and chopped parsley.  Stir to combine.  Chill for 30 minutes before serving.  Garnish with paprika.

Bon appetit.