Posts Tagged ‘cooking

09
May
11

season 2 finale – part 2.

As promised, here are the photos of our last Wednesday Night Dinner for the season.  I don’t think our dinner was quite as photogenic as it has been in the past, but it tasted great. The real star of this dinner was Derek’s brisket…unbelievable. I wish you could taste it because the photos just aren’t doing it justice. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

24
Apr
11

season 2 finale – part 1.

I love watching Top Chef, but sometimes I feel cheated when I can’t taste the amazing food. It’s such a tease. You know the feeling? Well if you don’t, you’re about to! Last night was part 1 of our Wednesday Night Dinner Season Finale. This was the meal that Derek and I chose and we were not disappointed. It was better than we both remembered! See for yourself. Thanks Stacy and Dre for a wonderful dinner and great season!

Menu
Drink: French 75
Pan Roasted Duck
Buttered Faro
Braised Endive
Ratatouille
Cucumber Salad
Flaming Bananas Foster




18
Apr
11

wednesday night dinners.

As many of you know, in the fall, winter and spring, we have Wednesday Night Dinners (WND) with our friends Stacy and Andre. The concept started because the winters around here are so depressing and we wanted something to look forward to during the week. Basically, we alternate cooking dinners for eachother every Wednesday. It’s safe to say that we’ve sharpened our cooking and eating skills! I have to admit, I’m a little sad that we’ve just finished season 3 (our third year of WND), and we’re moving into the season finales. For the season finales, each couple chooses their favorite dinner that the other couple made. Season Finale Part 1 is this Saturday at Stacy and Andre’s house. For our last supper, we chose their April 6th dinner. I promise to post photos of the two upcoming Season Finales, but in the meantime I thought you might want to see all of the meals we made this year. Derek and I got much more creative as the season went on! Also, click on the following links for last year’s season final #1 dinner and season finale #2 dinner.

Thanks Stacy and Dre for a great season!

14
Nov
10

what’s cooking’

Here are a few things we’ve been cooking up this fall. Yummers!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Tomato Soup

Mac & Cheese

Braised Salmon

Blue Cheese Salad

20
Apr
10

season finale – part 2

Well, Stacy and Andre outdid themselves – that is FOR SURE. For our last supper, we asked them to make their delicious Chinese New Year Dinner. It was even better than we remembered…and that’s saying a lot! They even topped it off with personalized fortune cookies that read, “You will have great friendship, a full stomach and many years of Wednesday Night Dinners.” AMEN!



15
Apr
10

Season Finale – Part 1

Wednesday night dinners are coming to an end for the 2009/2010 season. That means SUMMER IS ON ITS WAY! Last week was our final week to cook. Since it was the season finale (part 1), Stacy and Dre picked the dinner based on previous dinners we have made this year. Next, it’s their turn to cook and we get to pick the dinner. Yay!

Here are pics from our dinner.

03
Nov
09

what’s cookin’?

I really enjoy cooking. Not baking – cooking. There is nothing more satisfying than trying a new recipe and proclaiming it a success! Now don’t get me confused with a foodie – because I definitely do not qualify. I doubt my pallet is very refined and I certainly don’t make complex or complicated meals. I shy away from pretentious ingredients and have been accused of under-salting my food. Nonetheless, I do enjoy it and I think I’m getting better at it! I thought I’d share a few of my favorite cookbooks, food blogs and magazine subscriptions. Do you have any favorites you want to share?

 

Cookbooks

Everyday Cooking: Great Food Fast (Martha Stewart) – I love this cookbook because I’ve never been disappointed. The photos are great (a photo for every recipe), the directions are simple and the food is delicious. It’s also nice because the recipes require little time – perfect for weeknight dinners. My favorite thing about the book is that it’s organized by season – which is brilliant for those of us who like to use in-season produce.

 

Barefoot Contessa  (Ina Garten) – I have three of her cookbooks (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Back to Basics and At Home)and I love perusing them and selecting my next triumph. The photos are gorgeous. The only issue with these cookbooks is that the Contessa’s recipes are really fatty and rich. Cooking too much out of these cookbooks will make you gain weight – fast.

 

The Food You Crave (Ellie Krieger) – This cookbook is the opposite of the Barefoot Contessa books. This book has very few photos and focuses on healthy eating. Living up to the name, Ellie showcases recipes that you love – but she focuses on maximum flavor with limited calories/fat. I’ve been impressed with these recipes, although I wish there were more pics!

 

Magazines

Fine Cooking – http://www.finecooking.com/

Cuisine at Home – http://www.cuisineathome.com/ (Thanks Kristina!)

 

Food Blogs

Smitten Kitchen – http://smittenkitchen.com/

101 Cookbooks  – http://www.101cookbooks.com/

 

Here are pics from dinner the other night – lamb shanks – nummers!

lamb

salad

22
Sep
09

it was SO worth it.

The other day I was in the dentist office waiting to get my teeth cleaned. Waiting, waiting, waiting. I picked up a magazine (called Real Food) and started browsing the recipes.  It had at least 6 soup recipes I wanted to make – but one in particular: the smoky chicken, tomato, brown rice and corn soup. The photo was amazing; it was the perfect fall soup. Hearty, warm, cozy. I wanted the magazine. I NEEDED the magazine. And more importantly I needed the soup. I quickly assessed my options. I could either take the whole magazine or rip the page out, but I had to decide quickly. The rip approach would draw too much attention, so I opted for the entire mag. I very stealthily turned my shoulder and slipped the magazine into my purse. And then I looked up. The receptionist was staring right at me. CAUGHT! She saw the entire thing. And then she turned away and we both pretended like it didn’t happen. Talk about awkward.

During the fall season, Derek and I try to make a soup every week. I made this for our fall soup kick-off and I’m happy to announce that it was worth it. The soup was really good. I thought I’d share the recipe w/ my notes. It’s easy, it’s warm, it’s fall in a bowl.

Smoky chicken, tomato, brown rice and corn soup

Use cooked chicken leftover from a rotisserie chicken for this quick, easy and substantial soup.

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can (28oz) peeled plum tomatoes with juices

3-4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup leftover brown rice, bulgur, quinoa or other grain

2 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn kernels

1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, divided

¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon minced jalapeño, or to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

½ cup plain low-fat yogurt

·         Heat the oil in a large, broad soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring, until golden about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the paprika and cumin.

·         Puree the tomatoes in a food processor. Add the chicken and pulse once or twice or until chopped into small pieces. Add to the pot with the sautéed onion and spices. Add 3 cups of the broth and heat to simmering. Stir in the rice, corn, half of the cilantro leaves, olives, and jalapeño. Heat stirring over low heat. Add the remaining cup of broth to the soup if desired.

·         When the soup is hot remove from heat and add lime juice. Ladle the soup into bowls and place a spoonful of yogurt in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle the remaining cilantro over the top, dividing evenly.

Kindra’s Notes: I used barley instead of brown rice – it was great! I added a teaspoon cayenne pepper. I didn’t have canned plum tomatoes, so I just used canned diced tomatoes – it was great and I didn’t puree anything. Next time, I won’t use kalamata olives and I’ll double the recipe so we have more leftovers.

05
Aug
09

pass the torch.

I am sad to announce that I lost my title as guac-ess. The queen of green. The goddess of guac. It’s sad but true. This weekend, I was defeated by Andre at the annual guac-off. It was sad, but alas, the torch (or pit as the case may be), must be handed over. Actually, I fully supported his victory. As soon as I tasted it, I knew his was the winner. I’m not sure that I agreed with the runner up –WAY too much lime, cilantro and corn…not enough avocado for my liking. But Andre’s guac was right on the money. Nice work man. It’s not every year you get to be the winner of the guac-off!  Enjoy it.

24
Apr
09

vegetarian out of boredom?

Is it weird I’m considering being a vegetarian for few months because I’m bored?  Some people turn vegetarian because they have health concerns or feel a moral obligation, but not me. I’m just bored and I feel like it would be a fun challenge. It would force me to become more creative with my cooking and try new recipes!  I don’t want to do it forever – just for a month or two (it would be too hard over the holidays and I think my family would probably disown me). Just something I’m thinking about – I’ll let you know what I decide.

19
Mar
09

hummus please?

Does anyone out there in the blogosphere have a good hummus recipe? I have tried several recipes and can’t find one that I like. Help!

03
Mar
09

who knew?

My entire life I have hated Brussels sprouts – hated them. Even as an adult I have tried them several times hoping to change my mind. No luck, until two weeks ago. One evening I came home from the gym to find Derek cooking something up. It smelled so good my mouth immediately started watering! I was promptly disappointed to find out he was cooking Brussels sprouts. Ew.  But they smelled so good I had to try one. To my surprise THEY WERE DELICIOUS! Honestly, it shocked the heck out of me! We’ve had them twice since then and are planning on making them again this week.

If you hate Brussels sprouts, try this. Cut them in half and remove any loose leaves. Melt butter in a sauté pan; add Brussels sprouts flat side down. Cook for roughly 5 minutes on medium heat.  Brussels sprouts should be just barely tender at this point and slightly browned on the flat side.  Drizzle butter, lemon juice, crushed garlic, salt and pepper over top. Sauté for another 5-10 minutes on medium heat allowing them to caramelize. Don’t flip.  Do not let them get mushy. Sprouts should be golden brown and caramelized on flat side. Enjoy!

brusselsprouts-copy

25
Sep
08

yummers

We had a delicious dinner last night at Stacy and Andre’s – I mean it was REALLY tasty. Derek and I were still talking about it this morning when we woke up. Pork Tenderloin, Risotto with Truffle Oil and Caprese-like Salad. Inspired by “Sunday Nite Dinners”, the four of us have decided to start “Wednesday Nite Dinners” to help get us through the long, rainy Seattle fall/winter. We haven’t decided if we’ll do it every week, or every-other week. I DO know that we’ve got some good meals ahead of us.

23
Sep
08

sunday nite dinners

A friend shared this blog with me yesterday; it’s called Sunday Nite Dinners. I love the concept, I love the photos, I love the recipes – I love the blog. Sunday night dinners are the best.

Thanks Kristina!

24
Aug
08

Guac-off.

It’s a guac-off! This weekend was the first annual guac-off. I think the name is pretty self explanatory, but if you haven’t already deduced it, a guac-off is a guacamole contest. The best tasting guac wins – and I won! See a few pics below. There were six contenders and six judges. Andre came in 2nd and 3rd place went to Gary Buckner! What was first prize you ask? What else but a $20 gift card for Taco del Mar – SCORE!

24
Aug
08

in a pickle.

Last weekend, Derek and I learned how to pickle. Our friend’s mother is an expert canner, and she was nice enough to show us the ropes. It was fun! Now we have 12 giant jars of pickles waiting to be eaten. Apparently they have to sit for 30 days before we can break into them – 23 days and counting!

06
Aug
08

two recipes

I had a few requests for the two recipes mentioned in my previous post. Here you go – enjoy!

Stir-fried Noodles With Shrimp, Chiles & Lime

3 oz. dried wide (pad thai) rice noodles
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 TSP soy sauce
1 TSP hoisin sauce
1 TSP chile-garlic sauce (such as Lee Kum Kee brand)
1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 TSP minced garlic
6 oz medium shrimp (51 to 60 per pound), peeled & deveined (to yield 1 cup)
1 4 oz. can fire-roasted whole green chiles (such as Ortega branch), drained and sliced into long, very thin slices (to yield ½ cup)
1 ½ cups bean sprouts
2 TBSP crushed unsalted roasted peanuts
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
10 mint leaves, torn into small pieces
1 lime, cut into wedges for serving

Submerge the rice noodles in a bowl of very warm (110º) water and soak until pliable but still rather firm, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and chile-garlic sauce.

Once the noodles are drained, heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet or stir-fry pan over high heat until very hot. Add the garlic, stir, and immediately add the shrimp. Stir-fry until the shrimp turn pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the fish sauce mixture. Stir to mix for about 20 seconds, the add the chile slivers and the noodles. Stir-fry until the noodles are tender and the liquid is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. If the noodles are too firm, add 1 TBSP of water and cook another minute. Add the bean sprouts and stir-fry until they’re slightly limp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates, and garnish with the peanuts, cilantro, and mint. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.  Serves 2.

**Kindra’s notes: Recipe only makes two servings. Doubled recipe. Great flavor, but way too spicy.

Jasmine Rice-Stuffed Peppers

4 large bell peppers
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 pound ground sirloin, extra lean
1/3 pound ground turkey breast

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes, leaving the stems intact. Place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan, cut sides up.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add rice, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely.

Combine rice mixture, 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring until blended. Spoon about 1/2 cup meat mixture into each pepper half. Spoon remaining 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over peppers. Cover and bake at 400° for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese; bake 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serves 4.

**Kindra’s notes:I used red and green peppers-I liked the red best. I used pork sausage instead of ground turkey and sirloin. Added corn. Next time add more rice.

22
May
08

treats, treats, treats

Tonight, I came home to a wonderful treat. Derek cooked up a fantastic dinner for me. He is a great cook and a top-notch griller. Tonight was no exception.

Drink: A cold gin & tonic

Appetizer: Cougar Gold Cheese and Rice Crackers

Main Course: Ginger – Soy Flank Steak atop Grilled Green Onions

Side Dishes: Sautéed Baby Bok Choy and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

I’m stuffed – it was delicious. And to top it off – the meal was mostly fresh and/or locally grown. The Cougar Gold was produced in Pullman, Washington. The Flank Steak was bought from a local butcher on Queen Anne – the beef was raised in Oregon. The green onions, ginger, garlic, lime, bok choy and the potatoes were all purchased at Pike Place Market. We are about to start a movie – but he tells me there is dessert too. Life is good!

08
Apr
08

quarter year review

Now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2008, I thought it would be a good idea to evaluate my goals for the year and see where I’m at. I’m going to rate myself on a scale of 1-5 (5 being completed; 1 being a failure).

Start blogging (2-3x per week)

4 – So far so good! I’ve been blogging regularly since the end of December and loving it. My blog has provided me with a great creative outlet and has allowed me to explore my writing. It’s weird. I thought I would run out of things to say, but I haven’t. I still struggle with how much to disclose and where to draw the line. Some days I wish I could be more candid. Other days I freak out that I’ve disclosed too much.

Thanks to all of you who have been loyal readers and supporters. Your clicks and comments have given me the confidence to continue writing and blogging. As of today, I’ve reached 51 posts; 4,634 views; 137 comments, 10 categories and 195 tags. My best day ever was 210 views.

Experiment with new recipes (at least 2 new recipes per month)

4 -Success! I have been trying new recipes and overall it’s been a lot of fun. For me, the hardest aspect of cooking is making the time for it. I’m looking forward to summer when the local produce will be ripe. I’m going to explore as many local farmers markets as I can. I’m open to suggestions if you have a favorite.

Continue going to the gym (3x per week or more)

3.5 – So-So. Up until my vacation I would have given myself a 4, but since I’ve been back from Punta Mita, the workouts have been few and far between. I’ve been good this week and I WILL get back into a steady routine. As summer approaches, I’m hoping I can train myself to get up and workout in the morning. That way, I’m free to play in the evenings. I’ll keep you posted on how that progresses, I’m not much of a morning person. It’s going to be tough.

Finish book proposal by the end of March

1 – Uh, not so good. I have worked on it, but it’s not even close to complete. I’m bored of it. Maybe it’s not as good of an idea as I originally thought. I’ll have to think about this goal a little bit more and decide if it’s worth revising. Maybe I should just ditch it. Or maybe I’m just being lazy and the thought of writing a book proposal has completely overwhelmed me. Not sure yet.

Pay off my car loan by the end of April

3 – I’m going to rate myself a 3 on this one. I’ve had a couple unexpected expenses come up. I don’t think I’ll have it paid off by April, but I do think I’ll have it paid off by August. Not too shabby.

Go to the dentist

5 – Complete! Well, actually that’s not completely true. My first visit is complete, but because my mouth situation is so bad, I now have a treatment plan (5 sessions and over $1000 later). I go for my second visit next week. Sigh. Now I remember why I never go to the dentist. Hopefully I’m on my way to better oral hygiene. I’m doubtful.

Overall, I’d say I’m doing pretty well. I’m averaging 3.417. I’ll keep checking in as the year progresses.




a blog for anyone, but mostly for me.