Thursday, April 28, 2011

beef and broccoli stirfry

Considering I know nothing about Asian cuisine, I am really all over it lately!
Today, it's beef and broccoli stirfry. 
By far, my husband's favorite for take-out.
So, since we rarely order in, I thought I'd try my hand at it.
Has to be healthier and cheaper, right??
And so much better tasting!! :)

Beef and Broccoli Stirfry
Serves 4-6.
Adapted from Emeril.
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons minced ginger
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons hoisin sauce
3 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds beef flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large heads broccoli, cut into florets and blanched
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Steamed white rice, for serving
Sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine the garlic, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and honey. Mix well and set aside until ready to use. (A mini food processor makes this a snap!)  Preheat a wok or a very large skillet. Once it has reached a medium heat, add the canola oil. Dredge the beef in the cornstarch, lightly shake off any excess cornstarch and add the beef to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the sauce and toss to evenly coat the beef and broccoli. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed white rice and sesame seeds.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

sunflower cupcakes

Happy Easter!!

Remember why we celebrate this blessed day!

(from my favorite cupcake book, Hello Cupcake!)

*Photos courtesy - one of my great friends!*

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GD Round 2 - bbq grilled pizza

I love using leftovers in interesting ways.
And now that I'm a bit pressed for time with a certain seven month old, these round 2 recipes come in handy.

And you'll never believe how easy this is.
Aaaaaand go!

BBQ Grilled Pizza
Serves 4.
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced (or just use the well-drained can version)
Canola oil
Leftover shredded pork 
Store-bought BBQ sauce, any variety
Pizza dough, homemade, store-bought, or from your favorite pizzeria
A few handfuls of shredded cheese (any kind you like!)
2 avocados, diced

Preheat your grill to high.
Toss the onion slices and the pineapple cubes in a bit of canola oil and grill until getting a bit charred.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine the shredded pork with a big dollop of bbq sauce and stir to combine.  Set aside.
Grill the pizza dough.  (don't remember how?)
Top with half the cheese, the grilled onion and pineapple, and the shredded pork.
Top with remaining cheese and cover the grill.
Once it's all melty and good, remove and add the diced avocados on top.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sweet couscous with almonds

I am always looking for ways to serve couscous.
For some reason, I really like those tiny bits of pasta...

This is another great recipe for it...but be aware that it is sweet.
Not too sweet - you can still serve it at dinner as a side - but drizzle some honey over it instead of olive oil and it could be dessert.  (Doesn't it look like candy??)

....or breakfast.
My husband actually had a dollop of Greek yogurt and some honey on top one morning.
I just had it cold with a huge glass of milk.

Sweet Couscous with Almonds
Serves 4-6.
Adapted from GDL.
3/4 cup slivered almonds
2 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) couscous
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

In a small saute pan, lightly toast the almonds over medium heat until golden.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, apricots, and cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the couscous and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan until the couscous has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Using a fork, fluff the couscous to break up any lumps. Add the almonds and toss.

Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Drizzle the couscous with 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil for a moister texture, if desired.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

thai tofu noodle soup

I've told you before that I am no Asian-cuisine-chef.
I cheat.
But, I still like it so much (and my husband loves it) that I do have to try, right?
So, this is a little creation that ended up being really quite good.
Lime and coconut milk really add body to the broth (I could almost eat it alone...) and the bean sprouts add crunch.
Loaded with veggies and healthy tofu, this is a great go-to meal for a mid-April-showers boost.
I hope you enjoy!

Thai Tofu Noodle Soup
Serves 4-6.
7 ounces soba noodles
6 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
2 carrots, peeled
1 lime, peeled
1 one inch piece of ginger, peeled
1/4 pound snow peas, cleaned
1/2 package extra-firm tofu
 4 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 pound bean sprouts, cleaned

Bring a large spaghetti pot of water to boil.  Boil noodles according to package directions, drain, rinse, and set aside.

Cut the carrots on a bias and set aside. 

Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot. 
When it is boiling, add the lime peel, ginger, carrots, and snow peas.  Reduce and simmer for 5 minutes.

Dice the tofu into 1 inch cubes and add to the soup.

Pour in soy sauce and coconut milk and simmer for another 2 minutes.

Add half the basil and bean sprouts and stir.

Serve up with the extra basil and sprouts as a garnish...enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

raspberry and peach shortbread

I hadn't heard of a shortbread-cookie bar.
I thought there were shortbreads.
And there were cookie bars.
But I hadn't heard of these.

Leave it to Deb to find them.
And a little Spring twist on them, with raspberries and peaches, makes them perfect! :)

Raspberry and Peach Shortbread
Makes about 24.
Modified from Deb.
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter
1 large egg
1 large or 2 small peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
1 cup raspberries

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 375*. Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a food processor, or a medium bowl, combine together the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices. 

Blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. 

Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Distribute peach slices and raspberries over crumbs in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges.

Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Eat them all yourself....

Or give some of them away as a gift :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

roast pork with peach sauce

Okay, so I've made roasts before.
But, I have to admit, they weren't really roasts.
They were more like a roast that was braised for a few hours and then roasted at the last second.
They were good.
Really good.
But, I wanted to try a roast that doesn't braise.  That just roasts.
My favorite cooking magazine showcased this recipe and I just had to try it.
Now, you do have to start the night before, but only to marinate it.
And then about 5 minutes of work the next day around noon.
And then you're sitting down to eat the most tender thing you've ever tasted at around 7pm.
All with minimal effort.

Oh, and do try the peach sauce.  It really adds to the pork and just a few more minutes of effort.

Roast Pork with Peach Sauce
Serves 8-12.
Taken from Cook's Illustrated.
1 bone-in pork butt , 6 to 8 pounds
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
Ground black pepper
10 ounces frozen peaches, cut into 1-inch chunks, about 2 cups...or you can use two fresh peaches, cut into chunks
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

Mix the salt and brown sugar in small bowl.

Using sharp knife, cut slits one inch apart in a crosshatch pattern in the fat of roast, being careful not to cut into the meat.


Rub salt mixture over the whole roast and into the slits.

Wrap roast tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, around noon, preheat your oven to 325*.  Unwrap the roast and brush off any excess salt mixture. Season with pepper. Transfer roast to a roasting rack (V) coated with nonstick cooking spray set in large roasting pan and add 6 cups of water to the pan.

Cook roast, basting twice during cooking, until meat is extremely tender and a meat thermometer inserted into roast near but not touching bone registers 190*, 5 or 6 hours. Transfer the roast carefully to cutting board and let rest, tented with foil, about an hour. Transfer the jus in roasting pan to a medium bowl and skim off the fat. Pour off about 1/4 cup jus and toss the rest. (Or find a good use for it!)

While the roast is resting, bring the peaches, wine, sugar, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup jus, and thyme to simmer in small saucepan.


Simmer until reduced to two cups, about 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon vinegar and mustard. Remove thyme stems, cover, and keep warm.

When the table is set and the side dishes done and the roast has been resting for an hour, cut, using sharp paring knife, around the bone until it can be pulled free from roast. Then, using a serrated knife, slice the roast. Enjoy with the peach sauce drenched on the meat!

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