Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

17th February
2011
written by Steph

Maple-Glazed Tuna and Curried Pear & Potato Salad

It’s been ages since I posted a recipe on the site, something I apologize for. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking – I have – it’s just that I haven’t been making anything that seems all that blog-worthy. I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut for the past few months (don't the holidays do that to us? Where all you want to do is eat out or order in take-out?), but I think I’m finally snapping out of it. I’ve recently been seeking out lots of new recipes to try, and the thought of cooking is no longer something that makes me feel tired but something that makes me feel excited.

Tony and I are never ones to really celebrate Valentine’s Day because I think it’s a fairly awful holiday. I feel like if Tony and I need the push of a corporate occasion to tell each other how much we care for each other, then our relationship is in trouble. I also dislike how restaurants use this time as an excuse to create special (read: expensive) menus that really break the budget. This year Tony and I decided we would observe Valentine’s Day from the comfort of our own home, where I would cook us a meal that was a little bit fancier than what we would normally make for ourselves (but at a quarter of the price of what we would pay dining out). I decided I would try a recipe I got off of Epicurious that was created by the most recent winner of Top Chef Masters, Marcus Samuelsson. This recipe is his own, and I have to admit that I didn’t stray from it one jot! Shocking, I know, but if you make it yourself, you’ll see it needs no adjusting! Ingredients For the tuna
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp REAL maple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Two 6-ounce tuna fillets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cilantro sprigs
For the salad
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup shredded baby spinach
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14th October
2010
written by Steph

Tiny morsels of food heaven!

Last night Tony and I went to a potluck dinner party held in celebration of our good friend Abby getting another year older. We were designated the hors d’oeuvres portion of the meal (as well as coming up with a suitably commemorative cocktail), and we knew that we needed to concoct something delightfully decadent for the occasion. We rarely host or attend dinner parties that are sufficiently fancy to call for hors d’oeuvres (I mean, just typing the word is trouble enough), but my mind immediately leaped to the idea of dates wrapped in bacon… which was fortuitous, because they happen to be one of Abby’s favorite indulgences! Now pretty much anything wrapped in bacon is going to make for a morsel of deliciousness, but you know Tony and I like to go big or go home, so we decided that we’d add a little something special to these little gustatory parcels to make them really memorable… Hence the addition of blue cheese and walnuts stuffed inside each date prior to being ensconced in bacon. This dish is so simple it almost seems like it doesn’t warrant typing out a recipe. But then again, it is so delicious and delectable, I figured it deserved a post. It only requires four ingredients but they combine to produce culinary magic that tastes far more complicated and satisfying than the effort involved to put these together. You’ll need:
  • Strips of bacon (preferably thick cut, and preferably hickory smoked!)
  • 1 box/container of pitted dates
  • blue cheese crumbles
  • shelled walnuts
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20th August
2010
written by Steph

Pineapple Chicken Curry

For those of us who love curries, the extensive range of premade jarred sauces and pastes makes cooking up flavorful, international dishes a breeze. When I first began cooking for myself in earnest about five years ago (note that this time coincides entirely with me moving to a different country from my mother, who I fully admit spoiled me with her cooking up until the age of 23…), I certainly relied extensively on these convenient sauces to provide my home cooked meals with authentic rich flavors that I craved but wasn’t confident or knowledgeable enough to achieve on my own. Lately, however, I’ve really been trying to up the ante when it comes to curries and the like, and have been branching out to include meals in my repartee that are done entirely from scratch. It may seem intimidating at first to mix and blend all the spices that Asian cooking is known for, but one of the benefits is that you get to tailor everything to your own palate. The more I experiment with blending spices from scratch, the more I find that it really is possible to achieve the flavors you know and love from your favorite Thai or Indian restaurant from the comfort (and relative frugality!) of your own home. The past week I was craving pineapple curry, and after searching high and low, I managed to find a recipe that did not simply call for one to use a store-bought paste or sauce as the curry base. Below is the version I slightly modified from that on Vazhayila. Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp of lemongrass paste (can be found alongside most refrigerated herbs in your produce section)
  • 2 green chilies, chopped (remove seeds if you like less spicy food)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • salt
  • 5 tbsp fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 cups of fresh cubed pineapple + 1/8 cup of juice
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16th August
2010
written by Steph

Linguine alle Vongole

I’ve said it before on this blog, but I’ll say it again: yes, you can eat pasta during the hot and humid days of summer! I realize the thought of a thick, heavy dish doesn’t necessarily appeal when the weather is breaking 100º, but there are ways to lighten up your pasta dishes to make them appropriate and appealing. The big thing is cutting back on the sauce – rather than something heavy or creamy, summer is the time when I turn to “barely there” sauces that are more like a drizzle and explosion of fresh ingredients. Your tastebuds and your A/C will thank you!

This simple dish of linguine and clams will whisk you away to Italy (where I’m sure they eat pasta all year round, regardless of soaring temperatures), all from the comfort of your own home. For inspiration, I combined two recipes, one from Rasa Malaysia, and one from Mario Batalli, courtesy of Epicurious. Some of you may be a bit leery of cooking shellfish at home, but I assure you nothing could be simpler than this dish. Best of all, this dish only has about 15 minutes of active cook time, so you won’t spend your time slaving in front of a hot stove. Elegant and simple, this is summer dining at its best! Ingredients (for two)
  • 1.5 lbs of fresh littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed (see below for info on cleaning clams)
  • 8 oz linguine… use the best you can afford
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp of crush red pepper flakes (add more if you like your dishes spicier)
  • ½ cup white wine (we used Riesling, which I’m sure is a sin, but it worked for us… use whatever you like to drink)
  • 6 tbsp of parsley, finely chopped (+ 2 extra tbsp for garnish)
  • juice from ½ a lemon
  • salt to taste
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9th August
2010
written by Steph

Dijon Chicken with Bacony Peas

After a rather rambunctious weekend (comprised of late-night games of Scattergories and Moods accompanied by several gin and tonics), I had no desire to carry out our weekly grocery shopping yesterday. Choosing the path of sloth and Excedrin, I instead came up with a Sunday night dinner composed of things that we already had on hand and decided to leave the shopping for another, less hung over day. You know how it goes. Rather than feasting on tater tots smothered in canned chili with a side of carrot sticks and peanut butter, I actually managed to put together a well-balanced meal simply… and so can you! The glory of this meal is that it calls on things that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry, so it’s perfect for those days when you don’t have the time or inclination to shop for something special. Also, it comes together in a jiff and is also delicious. It’s so good no one would realize it was a meal inspired by desperation! 😉 (more…)
28th July
2010
written by Steph

steak tacos with a beet & apple slaw and blue cheese

Growing up, I was not a picky eater (still am not), and certainly wasn’t one of those kids who hated vegetables. My brother went through a phase where he hated carrots and hated peppers, but veggies never bothered me. That said, one vegetable I didn’t get much exposure to when young was the ruby red beet. I suspect my father doesn’t care for them and that’s why they never graced the dinner table, but I decided recently I was at a point in my life where I wanted to explore the less conventional vegetables in order to spruce up meals. After whipping up a beet & pear salad last week (with some kohlrabi tossed in just for kicks), I realized that raw beets are: a) really delicious, and b) actually quite sweet! I’d had pickled/jarred/canned varieties of beets before, and they are nowhere in the same league as fresh, raw beets.

With that in mind, I decided to use up our last beet in another slaw fashion, and suddenly this dish popped into mind. What could be better than steak tacos with beets & apple and some blue cheese? It sounded like a divine combination to me… and it was! Plus, it was a breeze to whip up! These will definitely be on the roster again soon… (more…)
8th June
2010
written by Steph

Open face Shrimp Po' Boy

I am a big fan of sandwiches. On our honeymoon last year after eating out at a variety of fancy-schmancy restaurants for four days straight, my fondest wish was to just find somewhere where I could get a good sandwich to eat.  What can I say? Sometimes I'm a girl of simple tastes. I think I just love that there are so many different flavors and so many different combinations that can arise with the humble sandwich. You're never lost for choice when a sandwich is the meal in question. One sandwich I frequently have a hankering for (but find it rather hard to track down here in Nashville... could it be because we're a landlocked state?) is the Po' Boy. Now, I don't really care for much creole/cajun cooking - often it's too spicy for me - but I love me a good shrimp Po' Boy every now and then. I decided to give it a whirl in my own kitchen and see what I could come up with. The verdict? So long as I can get my hands on shrimp, I'll never have to do without Po' Boys in my life again! Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • oil for frying (about 4 tbsp)
  • crusty bread
  • thinly sliced tomato
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1st June
2010
written by Steph

Adobo Pork

Adobo pork with guacamole salad and corn tortillas

Since moving to Nashville, one of the food areas where my cooking has really expanded is without a doubt, Mexican. Before I came down here, my default cooking tended to be more Asian inspired (stir-frys and the like), but with the abundance of Mexican ingredients down here, I’ve definitely shifted toward foods that are South of the border. I’m sure the fact that Nashville really doesn’t have any good Chinese food (seriously!) is a contributing factor (whereas Toronto has a dearth of Mexican food… so weird!). There are plenty of Mexican places where Tony & I can eat out, but I’ve actually found it really rewarding to try my hand at creating Mexican dishes at home.

A couple of weeks ago we attended a celebratory party for a girl in my lab who had successfully defended her dissertation earlier that day. One of her advisors brought this amazing pork, that was both spicy and sweet, smoky and unctuous. Tony fell madly in love, and ever since then I’ve been trying to get my hands on the recipe. I finally got it last week and decided to try it myself. But here’s a fair warning: once you’ve had pork this way, you may never want to eat it any other way ever again… Ingredients
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 3-4 chipotle (canned, in adobo sauce)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; charred in the oven for about 30 minutes until skin is easy to remove
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, roasted peel on in a hot pan until blackened in spots, then peeled
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 1/2C slivered or chopped almonds; toasted in a pan
  • oil
  • salt
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20th May
2010
written by Steph

Mushroom & Pea Risotto with Pan-Seared Halibut

A few weeks ago, Tony and I took our dear friend Trisha out to dinner to celebrate her birthday.  We went to a restaurant called, Marché, that specializes in simple – but delicious – French dishes.  That evening, Trisha ordered the halibut and risotto combo, which really captured my imagination.  I decided I wanted to try to recreate it (with my own twists, naturally) at home.

Ingredients (serves 4, generously) For the Risotto
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of diced mushrooms
  • ½ onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine (we used a Bogle sauvignon blanc that was wonderful)
  • 2 – 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
  • zest from ½ a lemon
  • salt & pepper
For the Halibut
  • 4 4-ounce pieces of halibut (or another firm, white fish)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper, cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • juice from ½ lemon
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15th May
2010
written by Steph

Spicy Mediterranean Pasta

This week has been ridiculously long, so I sent an email out yesterday afternoon to some friends suggesting a casual get together of cocktails and a light dinner. I thought it would be nice to catch up in a low-stress setting.  Now, the weather here in Nashville has been kind of wonky – chilly and brisk one day, only to be muggy and gross the next – and yesterday was definitely a case of the latter.  So I had to come up with a dinner that would be satisfying but not heavy and overly rich.  So, I came up with this spicy pasta dish, and it wound up being a huge hit.  As you can see from the pictures, it looks quite elegant and fancy schmancy if you plate it on a platter and serve it family style, but I promise it’s super simple.

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 lb of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • ground coriander seeds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced (not minced)
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 small red peppers, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
  • 3 large tomatoes, peeled and roughly seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 16 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 16 oz can of artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • ½ tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 cup of vodka
  • zest and juice from ½ lemon
  • feta cheese
  • fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • spaghetti noodles (or other noodle of your choice)
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