Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

3rd February
2009
written by Steph
Fantastic Fish Lasagna... So says Jaime, so say I!

Fantastic Fish Lasagna... So says Jamie, so say I!

For Christmas, my good friend Taryn gave me a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook.  It’s a gorgeous book, and each recipe is devoted a full-page picture.  Jamie also covers a bunch of techniques (such as cutting veggies, keeping knives sharp, various popular herbs & their uses, etc.,), and provides recipes for each major course. I first amused myself by flipping through the book, just looking at the pictures to get some ideas for dishes I might make.  One thing I noted was that several of the dishes seemed to be geared to a more European market, because many of the ingredients were not ones you’d find in your average grocery store (whereas I know they’re readily available in standard UK supermarkets).  Also, Jamie has the tendency to use weights for ingredients rather than our traditional measurements of cups, which was also interesting.  Certain recipes in this book I’m sure I’ll never make (sorry, but I doubt I’ll be making my own pasta anytime soon, no matter how good it looks!), but many recipes did catch my eye.  One I couldn’t get out of my mind, so I decided that I would give his Fantastic Fish Lasagna a go.  Some of you might be shocked to read this, because generally I’m not one to go for a fish dish.  Still, it looked mighty good (and called for mild, white fish), so I decided to make this dish in order to break in Taryn’s cookbook.  I think she’d be proud of me (plus, it’s not gnocchi, so she really can’t complain!). Below is my translation of the ingredients used, as well as my own personal method for making this dish.  Elements of Jamie’s method were difficult to follow (e.g., the final dish clearly has shrimp in it, but he never actually mentions when you’re supposed to add anything other than the shrimp heads… which he then throws away.), so I assumed certain things and hoped for the best.  It wound up turning out well, so I think if you follow my notes, you should be fine if you attempt this dish.  I think when Jamie says he will make you a better cook, he is assuming you are already a pretty decent one to begin with!  I will not make such an assumption! 😉 (more…)
1st February
2009
written by Steph
Chicken & Apples with a Honey Mustard Sauce (accompanied by a carrot-turnip mash, and snow peas)

Chicken & Apples with a Honey-Mustard Sauce (accompanied by a carrot-turnip mash and snow peas)

Another day, another recipe ganked from Elise’s site.  I wanted a dish that required relatively few ingredients (who doesn’t?), and one that would not take long to assemble.  This one beautifully fit the bill.  Everything it called for was easily at hand (ok, fine, Tony had to run across the street to get some apple cider, but since when is that a heartache?), and total prep & cooking time was about 25 minutes total (including my sides!).  Ideal for a weeknight meal (and pretty healthy too, I’d say!). Ingredients * 1/2 cup apple cider * 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch * Salt * Freshly ground black pepper * 1 Tbsp honey * 1 Tbsp mustard [I thought this was a bit ambiguous… there are lots of different types of mustard!  I used the cheapo yellow French’s mustard, and it worked really well, so don’t be afraid to do the same.  But I also think this would work well with a nice grainy Dijon, if that’s your kind of thing.] * 2 Tbsp seasoned dry breadcrumbs [I used Panko crumbs.  They’re the best!] * 4 4oz chicken breasts [Per usual, I only used 1 of the freaking huge chicken breasts we buy at Sam’s Club, and just split it into two.] * 1 Tbsp olive oil * 2 small unpeeled apples, cored and cut into eighths (use Golden delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Pippin, or McIntosh apples) [I just used one small Granny Smith apple, and I felt this provided ample apple-y goodness for two people] * 1/2 cup chicken broth * Fresh parsley [I didn’t have this, so I didn’t add it, and you know what?  The recipe was totally fine without it.] (more…)
30th January
2009
written by Steph
Minty Pea Pasta... with Shrimp!

Minty Pea Pasta... with Shrimp!

If you’ve been following the recipes I’ve been posting here, you may have noticed that a few have them have called for (or suggested the use of) fresh mint.  Luckily there are a few good Asian markets here in town that let us by certain fresh herbs for mega cheap, and mint happens to be one of them.  Of course, for about $1.50, we wind up with way more mint than we can reasonably use, but it seems a shame to let it go to waste.  Ergo, this weekend, I concocted a pasta dish from scratch, inspired by the Brits’ love for buttery peas garnished with mint.  The mint flavor is very mild and subtle in this dish, so if you think this sounds like a weird combination, I urge you to give it a try.  This meal was so simple to make, and came together in about 15 minutes (max). Ingredients (makes two generous portions) •    1/3 cup frozen peas •    1/4 red onion, finely diced •    8 large shrimp, peeled & deveined & thawed •    olive oil •    2 tablespoons of butter •    2 servings worth of spaghetti, linguine, or another tangly pasta •    1/3 cup fresh mint leaves •    juice of 1/2 lemon •    thinly shaved romano or parmesan for garnish (more…)
27th January
2009
written by Steph
Thin Crust Tortilla Pizza

Thin Crust Tortilla Pizza

When it comes to pizza, in my mind, the thinner the crust the better.  When Tony & I went to Chicago, we steered clear of their pies and instead focused on dim sum, since deep-dish really isn’t our thing.  But, I’m also not a baker, and we don’t even own a rolling pin, so making homemade dough is out of the question (also, would I be able to get it acceptably thin?).  Enter tortilla pizzas.  If you don’t mind a pizza that has a wafer thin crust, then this is just the thing for you.  These pizzas are quick to make, cheap, super easy, and can be completely customized to suit your pizza topping needs.  Below is a list of what we used to make our pizzas this weekend, but clearly you can add or remove things based on your personal preferences. Ingredients (for 1 pizza)
  • 1 burrito sized flour tortilla
  • pesto
  • sliced fresh mushrooms
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • balsamic vinegar
Notice the total lack of quantities for this recipe?  That’s because this is one I’m winging! (more…)
24th January
2009
written by Steph

Albondigas Soup

Albondigas Soup

One thing that I've been making a lot of lately has been soups.  Nashville has been going through a bit of a cold snap, so soups make a great evening meal that is warming and soothing.  Generally I try to make hearty soups that have lots of "fixins" so that they can really serve as an entire meal in their own right.  Additionally, I've been trying to make soups that are "heart healthy", meaning I've been staying away from broths that involve a lot of cream.  I've also steered clear of soups that are too starchy, as the idea is to make a soup that is filling but doesn’t make you feel heavy afterwards.  Another great thing about soups is that they’re relatively simple to put together (even if they generally need about an hour to simmer and steep), and not all that labor intensive.  For the relatively nominal amount of effort and ingredients, we often wind up with enough food for several lunches (2 to 3 days) in addition to our supper.  All told, I’ve been trying to do one soup dinner per week. This week, I chose another recipe from Elise’s Simply Recipes site, this time for Albondigas Soup, which is essentially a Mexican meatball soup.  I chose this recipe for several reasons: 1) Elise notes on her site that this is a soup that’s meant to be eaten as a main course; 2) It’s really easy to put together; 3)All of the ingredients are ones that you should readily have on hand (with the exception of perhaps one); and finally 4) It comes together really quickly (only needs about 40 minutes)!  Once more, I encourage you to check out Elise’s original recipe, although I’ll note that I really didn’t stray too far from her guidelines this time (shocking, I know!).  Here’s what you’ll need: (more…)
22nd January
2009
written by Steph
Peanut Chicken Curry

Chicken Peanut Curry

My friend Simona is always asking me to post more recipes and cooking stuff on here, and I always try to come up with excuses and reasons for why I don’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like to cook – I’m one of those strange birds who finds it a stress-reliever and fun – but I also tend to be one of those people who cooks via intuition and “what feels right”, so trying to document the process is somewhat painful and counterintuitive for me.  I am not entirely sure that I could make exactly the same thing twice, because I always end up tweaking things and adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Also?  I pretty much never measure things when I cook, which is why it is generally Tony, and not me, who does the baking around here.  Oh, and generally, by the time I finish cooking, we’re hungry and just want to dig in, so we often forget to snap a picture of our meal, and I don’t know about you, but what is a recipe without a picture?  Not one that I’m going to try out, that’s for sure! But last night, I made a concerted effort to get Tony to take some nice pictures of our meal before we dug in, and I also tried to mentally keep track of what I was doing as I cooked, so that I could pass along a great weeknight recipe to all of you.  This is really a great recipe for several reasons: 1) it’s quick and easy to make; 2) the ingredients list is not that long; 3) similarly, you likely have all of the crucial ingredients on hand already in your kitchen, and if not, they’re all pretty easy to snag on your next grocery run.  So, without further ado, let’s get onto the recipe for Chicken Peanut Curry. (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I was recently in Chicago for a conference (I'm kind of composing a post on the topic (of Chicago, not the conference, which can really be summed up with the following descriptor: "Grade 4 Science Fair"), but who knows if I'll actually decide to post it), and one of the highlights of the trip was trekking out to China Town (this time 100% gunshot free!) to grab some authentic Chinese food. Chinese food is fairly difficult to come by here in Nashville - well, let me qualify that by saying that *good* Chinese food is hard to find here. Japanese? Sure (in fact the best sushi I've ever had has been here in town)! Thai? Middling, but serviceable. Korean? Yup. But Chinese? No dice. So when I'm in a city that does have it (and better yet, has dim sum!)? I'm all over it. Anyway, I had super cheap, but super delicious beef with black bean sauce over rice noodles, and the first bite was gustatory heaven. It sounds like a terrible comparison, but it rocketed me back to the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years of undergrad, when I was technically a full-time student because of all the courses I was taking, meaning I was on campus 4 nights a week, over the dinner hour. Every so often, I would get dinner from the Chinese food truck that parked outside of Sid Smith, and get that very dish. So smoky, a hint of grease (but not oily), and beef so succulent and tender, I assumed it could only be achieved by a much more skilled chef than I. Which brings me to tonight, when I decided to whip together a cashew chicken stirfry for dinner. I think I make a decent stirfry, but I always feel like it tastes homemade rather than authentic. Tonight, all of this changed, when I discovered two important secrets: (more…)
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