Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday Treats - Lemon Cheesecake

Another cheesecake! I know, I know... but this one is for Passover.
It's very good, and easy to make. Not too lemony (could almost be more lemony if what you had in mind was a LEMON cheesecake). Tonight I may make a raspberry drizzle for it.
Passover Lemon Cheesecake
(more, and a picture, to come, I promise!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Foodie Friday Fav - It's Friday!

Oops I'll add the actual recipe tomorrow!

This halibut recipe gets a mention because we've made it twice in about a month. So it's not a longstanding favorite of ours, but a new one. And a bonus, since I've been so negligent this week, you get the entire meal.

Cooking for Friends

The recipe is from Gordon Ramsay's book. It's pretty easy. The sauce makes the fish sing. This particular time, we served it with Brussels Sprouts with White Beans and Pecorino and roasted root vegetables that were tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serving Brussels sprouts in the house was a huge challenge, but the husband relaxed and actually ended up trying them. There's a long history of Brussels sprouts veto in his house growing up, so I have been reluctant to try and serve them.

 The process:
Chopping veggies - celery root, a new favorite of ours

Playing with my new lens

Heating the garlic and the oil for the Brussels sprouts

Preparing the water with aromatics to poach the fish

The fish after it was poached before the sauce (with the Brussels sprouts on the side)

Pouring the sauce

Brussels sprouts

Vegetables: we used carrots, potato, celery root, maybe some fennel

halibut with sauce


Poached Halibut with Tarragon-Cream Sauce

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Tuesday Treats...

Sorry, folks. No Tuesday Treats this week. Work has been taking all of my time and energy these days. I do hope to have a post for you on Thursday, and Friday Favs will definitely happen. But until then, I leave you with these: Happy Spring!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Foodie Friday Fav - Cauliflower with Mustard-Lemon Butter

Don't be put off by the mustard in the title. I am not a huge fan of mustard, but this is delicious.
The recipe is included below, and adapted from Bon Appetit.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower in half. Cut (perpendicular to the half cut) cauliflower into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the cauliflower on the cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. If desired, flip cauliflower once during cooking to brown both sides.

While the cauliflower is cooking, go out to your herb garden and gather some Italian parsley. You'll need 1 to 2 tablespoons, or to taste.

In a small sauce pot over medium heat, whisk to combine 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (reserve the lemon for zest), and 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard. Whole grain really makes the difference, so use it if you can find it. Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Continue to stir until heated.

Pour or spoon the butter mixture over the cauliflower, and continue to cook in the oven for 10 or so more minutes, until the cauliflower is your desired consistency. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh chopped Italian parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower with Mustard-Lemon Butter
serves 2 as a substantial side, doubled it could serve 4-6

1/2 of a cauliflower head
cooking spray
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the cauliflower perpendicular to the half cut, into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange the slices on a cooking-spray prepared rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping cauliflower halfway through if desired. 
Meanwhile, prepare the butter sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk to combine melted butter, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Add zest and continue to stir until heated through.
Pour or spoon butter mixture over cauliflower and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked to the desired done-ness.
Remove from the cookie sheet and toss with fresh chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chicken Fried Steak

Welcome to Texas.
Chicken fried streak is one of those foods I have always eaten, remember eating as a child as far back as I can recall, and will continue to eat for just about ever. However, I have never made or watched being made this favorite food of mine. Until last night. I now proudly can say that I mastered the art of the chicken fried steak. (This mastery is actually very dangerous. Now that I know I can make it, what's to stop me from eating one of my all-time favorite foods ALL THE TIME? Oh wait, those little things called pants. I like it when mine are not tight. So, dear chicken fried steak, you will remain a very rare meal, and I will love you all the more because of it.)

For those of you who do not know, chicken fried steak is a piece of meat that has been thinned, either with the butcher's tenderizer machine or by hand. Typically, the meat of choice is a cheap cut. The meat is then dipped in flour, egg, and flour again and pan fried in a cast iron skillet. The resulting fried piece of meaty goodness is served lathered in cream gravy (I had the opportunity to be brave and try this dish in the north one time - it was served with brown gravy - gross, and totally unacceptable) with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of some sort on the side.

Now, there are many recipes that claim they are the perfect blend of seasonings on the meat, in the eggs, and in the flour mixture. It's all a matter of taste. In our particular recipe, we used garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne in the flour, and sirracha, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in the egg. We fried in canola oil. Likewise, there are many recipes for gravy out there, but in the matter of proper cream gravy, there really is only one set of ingredients. Anything else, and you start to move away from cream gravy and in the direction of "sauce" that is not cream gravy.

For the chicken fried steak:
Heat your canola oil (or shortening, or whatever oil) in a cast iron skillet. You need about 1/4 inch of oil. It is important that the oil not cover the tops of the steaks when they are in the skillet or they will get mushy. Oil should be heated to between 325 and 375. If your meat is cold and has not been resting on the counter for awhile, closer to 375 works the best, but if it's smoking it's too hot and you need to start over.

Take your meat pieces and salt and pepper them.

Combine in one large bowl 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne and fresh ground black pepper and mix all together. In another large bowl, beat 3 eggs, 1/2 cup buttermilk, salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon sirracha. Dip the steaks first in the flour and shake off the excess, then dip in the egg mixture, turning to coat.

Dip back into the flour mixture and do not shake the excess. Place gently into the hot oil and cook, turning once, about 5 minutes after you place it in the pan.

You want a brown crunchy texture. Put them in the oven, on a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet (to catch the oil drips) heated to 200 degrees, to keep them warm while you make the gravy.

So, for the gravy:
Save some pan drippings from the chicken fried steak, about 2-3 tablespoons. Heat that in a small saucepan. Combine 2 tablespoons soft butter with 2 tablespoons flour. Add 1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk to the saucepan with the drippings and bring to a boil, stirring constantly (if you don't the gravy will burn to the bottom of the pan). Add your roux a little at a time, stirring until each bit is dissolved. You may not need all of the roux to get it to desired thickness. Taste, and add your salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Serve over mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak.

As required, we ate our steaks with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Tuesday Treats - Chocolate Chip Cornbread

This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and perfect for breakfast. The chips bring the perfect amount of sweet to the savory cornbread, and served with butter makes a fun breakfast, and great for company. Next time I will make it in my mini-loaf pan so we each can have a baby loaf to ourselves.

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar (scant)
2 teaspoons baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Stir in chocolate chips.

Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. I love the word whisk.
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Pour into a greased loaf pan. I used cooking spray.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for a little while, around 10-15 minutes, then cool on a rack or serve warm, with butter. Reheat before serving if not serving immediately.

Chocolate Chip Cornbread

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar (scant)
2 teaspoons baking power
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Pour into a greased loaf pan. I used cooking spray.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for a little while, around 10-15 minutes, then cool on a rack or serve warm, with butter. Reheat before serving if not serving immediately.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Foodie Friday Fav - Cilantro Lime Butter and Chicken

Southwestern Chicken with Cilantro Lime Butter
Adapted from, here

Side note: has a fairly good recipe search feature, allowing you to search by ingredients or type of dish.

This recipe has long been a favorite of ours. We were skeptical at first, because, really, cocoa powder on chicken? However, the flavors work very well together, the smokey savory, slightly caramelized chicken marinade is countered nicely by the slightly spicy citrusy butter sauce. Yum. We usually serve it with grilled red bell peppers and onions and rice.


1 T chili powder
1 T cinnamon (recommend saigon)
1 T brown sugar
1 t unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
fresh ground black pepper
3 T Olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Chicken - the original recipe calls for 3 1/2 lb bone-in chicken parts. We have made it with bone-in, with chicken breasts, and with salmon. It works well on all of them.

Combine all ingredients in a large zip-lock bag or large bowl.   Marinate for a little while. Brush marinade over chicken prior to grilling. Grill chicken over medium heat until cooked through. It works best to cook the chicken with the grill closed. You can brush more marinade on about halfway through the cooking process, but not too much after that to make sure the chicken bacteria get killed.

1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro (fresh is extremely important, recipe will not work with dried)
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted (if you use salted butter, omit salt later in recipe)
1 serrano chile, minced (can have spicy oils, use gloves if sensitive, and make sure to wash your hands very well after handling. Avoid touching your eyes.)
2 T minced white onion
fresh lime juice from 1/2 a lime, or more to taste
few grinds of fresh ground pepper
sprinkle of salt
Combine all ingredients in bowl or something that has a spout (we use our 1-cup pyrex measure cup). Serve alongside the chicken, and drizzle on chicken and rice.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tuesday Treats - Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls

Ok, so I know this post is a little late.  Maybe more than a little. I am sorry. It has been a ridiculously stressful week. So here you go, a Tuesday treat on Saturday.
These rolls are good. Time consuming to make, but oh-so-very tasty, nice and cinnamony and the dough is the perfect consistency, soft and gooey on the inside and bready on the outside. They will make a perfect holiday breakfast treat. The process is fun, and the time consuming part comes more in the letting the dough rise and less in the actual assembly of ingredients.

Adding the potatoes to the sugar yeast water foam. For the potatoes, after reading the comments on Bon Appetit website, I used less than the prescribed amount of water for the potatoes, just enough to cover while boiling. I used more than the four and a half cups flour, not sure on the total amount, just added in small bits until the dough was the right consistency. And I used my dough hook instead of kneading by hand, until the dough was not as sticky.

Ingredients for the filling.

Cinnamon mixture spread out on the large rectangle of dough.

Dough rolled up.

Waiting to be cooked.

We cooked four and saved the rest. I spaced them out a little more than needed on the cookie sheet, so some of the filling leaked out and caramelized. No matter, still very good.