Saturday, January 24, 2009


i didn't intend for this blog to focus solely on cooking.  however, over the holidays, i was in overdrive on the cooking end of things.  lately, i've been able to make time for other fun nesting activities -- namely knitting.

the knitting girls and i are making a baby blanket for a close friend.  i finished my first square this week:

no, we are not making a brown baby blanket -- we're making a patchwork of dark pink, light pink, cream and this brown.  we're each making four 9 by 9 squares and are going to seam the pieces together and possibly knit and seam a border.  

i've heard that group knitting projects can be hard because everyone knits at different tension levels.  we're committed to making a lovely homemade gift for our motherfriend-to-be, and i don't think she'll mind at all if its a bit wonky.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"bolognese" sauce

when the knitting girls came over last march, i made a pork roast.  a had enough left over that i had to do something other than have sandwiches, so i made "bolognese" sauce.  i jotted the recipe down in my journal and forgot about it until recently.  it was a great way to use leftover bits of meat.

1 medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
2 small carrots (chopped)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 cup pork loin (chopped)
1/2 cup raw bacon (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage
1 can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1-2 cups stock (chicken or veal)
salt and pepper to taste

saute the onion, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil until veggies are semi-soft.  add pork, bacon, and herbs and cook on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.  add tomato paste and cook for 3-5 more minutes.  add wine and stock.  reduce heat and cook uncovered so that it will reduce for 1 1/2 hours.  add more stock if sauce becomes too thick.  salt and pepper to taste throughout cooking process.

serve over pasta. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

asian-inspired beef salad

all this snow is helping me finally begin to post some of the new year's recipes.  

this is a very unprofessional photo of the salad, which was, despite its appearance, quite delicious. 

my inspiration for this salad was one that i had at a restaurant in my neighborhood.  i know i'm biased, but i liked the one i made even more....

bibb lettuce
fresh mint
1 green apple
1/2 small red onion

tear medium-sized leaves of bibb to desired salad amount.  slice small handful mint.  finely slice green apple and onion.  mix ingredients well.  top with dressing and beef.

salad dressing
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh ginger - finely chopped
1 teaspoon (approx) fresh mint - finely chopped
1 teaspoon (approx) fresh cilantro - finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to taste

whisk together all ingredients except olive oil.  slowly whisk in olive oil to mixture until dressing meets desired consistency.  i don't like oily salads, so i don't add more than 1/4 cup or so of olive oil.  

also, i dislike overdressed salads, so when making this salad for two, i probably used less than half of what the above dressing yielded.  but, it makes for lovely leftover dressing or marinade.

1 lb. flank steak
2 tablespoons cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
dash sesame oil (not too much, its strong)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ginger - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
small handful mint - finely chopped
small handful cilantro - finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

whisk together vinegar, oils, and ginger soy sauce.  add ginger, garlic, mint and cilantro.  mix well and pour over steak.  marinate 4 hours to overnight.  remove beef from refrigeration at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.  sear to desired temperature (as the picture suggests, i prefer rare to medium rare).  let rest before slicing.  top the salad the with sliced beef. 


Sunday, January 11, 2009

cold and snowy weekend cream of broccoli soup

this weekend was a bit of a nasty one - weather wise.  so this morning, when i had bacon that was nearing the end of its life, i decided to make soup (i love using bacon in my soup bases). 

the boy requested broccoli soup and here's the result...

2 tablespoons butter
2-3 slices bacon - chopped
2 shallots - finely diced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water or stock
1 stalk celery - chopped
1 medium carrot - chopped
1/2 yellow onion - chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
pinch sugar
2 bunches broccoli - cut up
1-2 cups chicken or other stock
1/2 cup half & half
4 ounces white cheddar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper

melt butter in large pot (large enough for your soup).  add bacon and shallots.  cook for 5-7 minutes, slowly add flour and water, stirring continuously as you add the flour.  add celery, carrot, onion, pinch sugar and cumin.  add salt and pepper to taste.  make sure the mixture is covered in liquid and cook until veggies are soft - approximately 10-15 minutes.  add broccoli and chicken stock.  cover pot and cook until broccoli is soft - approximately 10-15 minutes.  take mixture off the burner and with an immersion blender (this is the easiest way, you can also do in food processor, but that can be dangerous with a hot mixture), blend until mixture is liquified.  add half & half, nutmeg, and cheese and place back on burner and cook until cheese is melted.  

top with homemade croutons and crumbled bacon - enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

bad blogger

i haven't been writing here, but i've certainly been cooking a lot.  i've got recipes on various scraps of paper and promise to put them up soon.  

as a teaser, i'm listing my new year's eve and day menu below.

new year's eve picnic:

homemade chicken nuggets
mini buttermilk biscuits
cheddar and apple slices

new year's day extravaganza:

white chili with homemade salsa

bacon wrapped scallops
beef salad (actually quite delicious, despite this terrible name.  i'll try to think of something when i post the recipe)
lamb chops served with wilted kale and a sunchoke puree
chocolate gourmandise