Friday, June 3, 2011

June 3rd- Quinoa Stuffed Potatoes


     potatoes are awesome, awesome things, right?
     They'll always be a hearty part of most dinners and its hard to get sick of something you can cook in so many ways.
     I wanted to stuff them..well, because usually all my potatoes are sliced in some way or another, but I'd never, ever actually taken the time to stuff them before. However today I had nothing but time. I wanted to break away from my potato slicing ways, but in a house without butter, a baked potato is just no good.
     I needed a way to get moist juicy flavor into each and every bite.
     I decided to use Quinoa.
     And if you've never heard of it, really really should.

     quinoa is like a miracle grain. Its a seed, actually. And its so diverse you can cook almost anything with it. It will eventually be included in a lot of my recipes. As healthy as it is, it would be criminal to exclude it from my diet.
     It can go along with sweet, savory, and most things in between.

     For this recipe I used steak and vegetable fried quinoa. It's a bit of an effort but its great and can be cooked to stand alone, as well as used for this stuffing.

Here's What You'll Need!!

3 Medium to large golden potatoes
Dashes of Rosemary
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1 1/3rd cup water

1/2 Lb Organic Sirloin Steak
1/3rd Cup Sliced Onions

1/4th Cup Snap Pea
1/4th Cup Brocoli
1/4th Cup Baby Bok Choy
1/4th Cup Scallions
1 Large Egg
Sunflower Oil

     It's kind of a long ingredient list, but worth seeking out for this very tasty combination.
     If you sub any ingredients, you're going to want to do it carefully. The flavors in this dish will change quickly with any new, or missed ingredient.
     But all in all, it isn't that hard.

Let's Get Cooking!

First- Soaking the Quinoa
     Simply rinse your Quinoa (even if it comes pre-rinsed.) and soak it covered in water for 20 minutes

Second- The Potatoes!
     Peel the potatoes.
     Save the  peels! Put them in some water.
    Then hollow out the potatoes, leaving about a centimeter or a bit more of actual potato intact.
     Sprinkle lightly with rosemary, oil, and salt on both sides, Set them hole side up in the toaster oven and bake them for 40 minutes at 350. Turn over the last 10 minutes and add a bit more oil and a sprinkle of salt.

     Third- More Quinoa preparation
     Drain the quinoa, bring 1 and 1/3rd cups water to a boil, and add them both together. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
     In the mean time, have your steak slices as thin as you can get it. salt lightly. If you really want to, you can use pre-cut chip-steak but I really don't recommend it. it will take a lot away from the meal.
     Slice your onions very thin as well. I like to cut mine into thin half-rings, and if I got my measurments just right, you should have about as much onions as steak in volume once they're spread out.
     If not, that's what you should be going for.
     Oil your pan, set it to high and once the stove is nice and hot, toss in your steak. Seer it well.
     Add your onion in and cook until caramelized. Mix often so the already seared steak does not burn.

     Once the steak is done, give the vegetables (Chopped) a quick and hot saute. You want them to be cooked but just until the broccoli is radiant green.
     By this time, your Quinoa should be nearly done. Treat it like rice. It's finished once it's absorbed all the water and is no longer difficult to eat.
     Now bring your vegetables, meat, and quinoa  out on the side, and get a hot pan ready once again.

     A little oil, and add your quinoa. It will pop and jump. Stir constantly for about 40 seconds. Do the next few steps in fairly quick succession.
     Add your egg, mix just until it appears the egg is almost completely cooked in.
     Add in your steak, add in your veggies, 40 more seconds of mixing, and take it off the burner.

     Finishing up-
     the 40 minutes should be up, and your potatoes tender. Stuff them full, but don't serve just yet. Get out those potato skins.
    Dry them off, Fry them up in oil, salt them up and burn em a little. Top the filling with those crunchy delicious potato bits and serve hot!

      My neighbor had the luck of being out on the porch when I finished this.
     I have a new fan :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1st- Maple Hashbrown Omelete

  I have been away for a while. I had thought I'd lost the passion for cooking. As it turns out I just needed a break!
     Lately I have been cooking tons and tons! And couldn't be happier. The rust is off and I can once again create recipes from simple thought!  And so I bring you my new invention which I had for breakfast not 10 minutes ago.
     Its 2 PM...ok so I had a late day. :)

     Lately breakfast has felt lack-luster for me. The same thing day in and day out.
   And so the last few days I have been making some substantially gigantic omelets. All of which I'm sure I'll end up posting here eventually.
     I was half way through making my hashbrowns today when I once again got a craving for an omelet. This presented a problem, as my appetite can not hold both an order of hashbrowns and a stuffed to the max 3 egg omelet.
     What ever was I to do?
     The title says it all!

Here's what you'll need!!
1 Large Golden Potato
1/4th Cup Diced White Onions
1 Clove Garlic
3 large eggs, beaten
1 to 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
Sunflower Oil (can be substituted by your oil of choice)

I'm using simple, easy ingredients today.
They can be fun to, ya know.

Feel free to add more or less potatoes dependng on exactly how big you want this heaping man-omelet to be.

Let's get cooking!!

     My hashbrowns are quick and easy to make, so long as you've got some decent knife skills.
     First cut the potatoes in half, then lay them flat on your cutting board. slice them 6 to 10 times long ways, and then 8 or so times the other way to make little sticks of potato.
     Dice up your onion and garlic, add that to the potato.
     Heat up your pan on high, coat the bottom with oil (enough to lightly coat the hashbrowns)
     When the oil starts to pop, or just before, add in all the ingredients you just prepared. add salt to taste.
     After that, just remember to stir every minute or so until they're a nice crispy golden brown. Or maybe even a little burnt if you like them like that.

     When the hashbrowns are finished, set the stove to medium-high and set the potatoes on top of a few paper towels to drain off any excess oil.
     While the stove top is still hot, toss on another pan and give it a very small amount of oil (or butter. but I'm cooking in a dairy free house, as usual. )
     Pour in your beaten eggs with a very small amount of salt. your potatoes probably have enough of it to go around.
     give them a quick mix and let the bottom and most of the middle cook and set. It wont take long.
     Once the top isn't so goopy but isn't yet cooked either, add in your hashbrowns on top. along with one or two table spoons of maple syrup.
     fold your omelet over and let cook on both sides until done. about 30 to 50 seconds on each side.

     There you have it. When some of that syrup leaks out and begins to burn, your kitchen will be filled with the scent of a pancake-house.
     Plate and serve!
     Its the dynamic duo of breakfast, all rolled into one.
     Now who could resist that? I just wish I'd had some bacon to go with.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Janurary 6th- Open Faced Fish n' Fennel Sandwhich

     The Fisherman

     Once, many years ago in Georgia, I had a sandwich of legend. a sandwich which nothing could surpass. It was amazing, I couldn't possibly fathom ever tasting a better sandwich in my life. 
     Today I have surpassed that sandwich, and made something that could rightfully go down in history. (if you ask me anyway :P you've just GOT to try it! )

     It all started this morning when I found myself browsing the blogs I follow. One site had Roasted Fennel, and after one look at it, I knew that it would be the only thing that I'd be hungry for for the rest of the day.
     I went out to breakfast and grabbed my notebook, spending a surprising amount of time for just one recipe. Imagining the proper depth of each flavor and adding in ingredient upon ingredient.
     My hard work was worth it. Hours and hours later when I finally got my chance to cook, what I was left with was a masterpiece.
     Orange roughy and Fennel sandwich with feta cheese and Merlot vinaigrette.

Here's what you'll need

 2 Fennel plants
1 lb Orange roughy
1/2 Lemon
1 loaf White Mountain Boule 
2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Sunflower oil
4 tbsp Red wine (Merlot)
Feta Cheese

     Why so specific on the bread, you ask?
     Find and try this bread, and then tell me if you ever plan to use another bread again in your LIFE. I was looking for sourdough, but the store was out. I bought this and I think serving my sandwich on anything else would be close to blasphemy.

     As for the wine, could you use any type of red wine? Probably. but you won't be eating my sandwich unless you use 'Robert Mondavi Winery- napa Valley Merlot'  
     If you ask me, wine isn't an interchangeable ingredient. Each and every one has it's own taste and you shouldn't just pick at random when using it. You have to taste and select very very carefully!!
     Now..this is a 22 dollar bottle so I can understand if you don't use it. But please carefully choose the one you do use.
(Makes 6 sandwiches)
Lets Get Cooking!!

     Preparation takes a long time but it isn't very rushed.
     Start by setting your oven to 375. chop your fennel whites into half inch disks and place them on a tray. Drizzle them with sunflower oil and a little salt.
     they will bake on both sides for 25 to 30 minutes each.

    For your vinaigrette, add your wine and vinegar together in a small container, whisk while slowly pouring in the oil. Add a pinch of salt and let sit. You may need to whisk it briefly again before adding it to the sandwiches.

     When there is 15 minutes left for your fennel to cook, it's time to start on your orange roughy. Cut it into six pieces and saute it in a little oil, a little salt, and a little lemon until it's just about done. 
     cut your bread to the proper size and we're ready.
     Get ready to build the sandwhich!

     Bread, then fennel, then your fish. Put that in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Now take your fish back off and set it aside. Drizzle on 1 to 2 tsp of your vinaigrette, and crumble on some feta cheese. Now return your fish to its rightful spot and enjoy!

     I would serve this sandwich anywhere. It gets an easy 6 stars in my book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 5th- Man Food Yo!

     I proudly present, My lazy day meal.

     As it seems, my new-years resolution is to cook dishes that make me happy. This big plate of food is one of my best friends in life. 
     It's filling,its satisfying and it doesn't need a bit of presentation. It's proof that really good food can look amazing just left as is.
     Though it isnt exactly easy to prepare, I've done it so many times I can cook the entire thing while hardly even realizing I've started. I'm probably more fond of this dish than any other I've ever cooked. it's a steady part of my life.

     This recipe involved a lot of chopping, if you're knife skills aren't up to snuff you may want to reconsider trying it. it will probably take you more time than it's worth. On the other hand, it's really good

 Here's what you'll need!

.80-1 lb Steak (Ny strip, delmonico, or ribeye)
1/4th White onion
2 cloves Garlic

2-3 medium Golden potatoes
1/6th White onion
2 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

4 eggs

     The meal is hash-browns, shredders, and eggs. 
     Shredders were an invention of mine that I created to get around my girlfriend's gluten and dairy allergies. If cooked right the meat and onions stand on their own better than any whole cheesesteak that I've had.
     I also sometimes add  red and yellow bell peppers, and occasionally tomato sauce.

Let's get cooking!

     To make this meal easily you'll want to prep everything in advance. remember that cutting is very important in this recipe. the more exact your cuts are, the more evenly your food will cook.
     Not to mention that the way you cut them will completely change the texture and may even alter the taste. experiment! But here's how I do mine.

     cut your potatoes in half,  and lay them on their flat side. Cut eight slices in each one long ways and completely through. then ten slashes short-ways.  If the potato is big, cut more slices.
     The onions have to be chopped. cut your onion in half long ways and lay it flat. Cut off about 3/4ths of an inch slice and slice it into thin strips.
     Simply mince the garlic.

     For your steak, cut them into inch strips as thin as possible. The end pieces might be a little thick but throw them in anyway
     This time with the onion, halved long ways as before.  cut them into thin  half circles.
     Once again, just mince the garlic.

     Now turn 2 burners on high, and one to medium. coat the entire bottom of the pan thinly with oil for the hash-browns.
     About half of the pan for the Shredders
     And just a little for the eggs.
     The hash-browns, onions, and garlic all go into one pan (salt to taste ) , and cook until golden brown and very crispy. Drizzle them with maple syrup.
     Seer the steak in the oil before adding anything to it (salt to taste) . make sure it's completely seared to well done before adding the onions and garlic. cook them until the onions soften and become translucent ( then just a bit more )

     Cook up your eggs sunny side up(salt to taste), but break the yolk before serving.

     This meal is more about basic techniques than ingredients. It may taste great the first time for you, but you may need some practice.
     Serves two very hungry people.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd- Crabmeat Dumplings

     After my last recipe, I found myself suddenly unable to cook. I had no idea why and it was starting to bother me a lot. I cooked 2 recipes I thought would be interesting and delicious for all of you, but they turned out horrible.
     The bottom line was, for some reason I just wasn't feeling inspired.
     To be inspired I had to be happy with what I was cooking, and to be happy with what I was cooking, I had to be cooking what I liked.
     Then it hit me. I'd started trying to cook things that looked impressive instead of things that I simply liked to cook.

     That's when I decided today's recipe would be something I really like to do.
     It wasn't a hard decision. It's one of my all time favorite things to cook. I love working with dough yet hate waiting for it to rise, and thousands of different fillings can go into dumplings.I see them as a miracle dish.
     The last thing I did with dumplings was Hawaiian. This time I thought doing something closer to Chinese wouldn't be bad. And so I went with crab meat, thinking I'd make it kind of like a non-deep fried crabmeat-ragoon.

     As usual, even if I'm doing a fun and simple dish, I like the flavors to be different. Something to knock old recipes up a notch. I remembered I had an orange left in the fridge from my Orange roughy, and so this recipe was born.

Here's what you'll need!

The skin:
2 cups All purpose flour
3/4th cup Just boiled water
dash of salt
1 Egg yolk

The Filling:
18 oz Crab meat
9 oz Cream cheese
2 tsp Cracked pepper
2 tsp Blood orange zest
2 tsp Sugar

     Ok...So I didn't have any blood oranges in my fridge. I used Tangerines for the roughy. But the tangerine left in my fridge did give me the idea to go out and get the Blood Orange. It adds an interesting mixture of sweetness and tang to the crab.
     Additionally, since I've already given the instruction on dumplings, you can all follow the  directions on this page for the skin. The only real change you need to make is making 24 instead of 18.

     Cut the dough in half three times and then in thirds and you will come up with 24.

Lets get cooking!

     Mix all the ingredients together for the filling, add 1 tbsp of it to each dumplings and close tightly with your fingers, making sure to get out all of the air that you can. Use a fork to seal if your fingers aren't doing the job.
  Steam them for 15 minutes, I did 12 at a time.
  Also pan-fry them in a small bit of oil until crispy and nicely browned on both sides.
3 or 4 of these on the side of your plate make for a great side dish, But the crab meat and cream cheese mixture makes it taste pretty heavy for a main course.