Monday, July 22, 2013

Lamb-tastic Chops with Rosemary and Garlic

Hey boos!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted too. F-bomb, thanks for your philosophical musings. It sounds very smart aside from the fact that anchovies are mega gross.

I had my friend June over for dinner last night, who is currently on a food cleanse to try and figure out what's irritating her stomach. In any case, I had to meal plan around an extensive one-page document of do's and don'ts, which lead me to just say eff-it, I'll cook meat, even though I'm mildly terrified of doing so given that I've cooked vegetarian all my life. A trip to Blah-blahs (Loblaws) later, I found this recipe, and it was sooooo good. I might have to do it again tonight. I was cooking on the fly so didn't have time to marinate at all, and compensated by just making hella marinade. It worked out just fine. My sides were quinoa, shitake mushrooms, and asparagus salad.


The things:

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 18 small lamb rib chop
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

The actions:

Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Rub about 1/4 teaspoon mixture over each side of each chop. Sprinkle chops with salt; place on plate. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. 

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add 9 chops to skillet; cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter; cover with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and chops. Garnish platter with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Courtesy of Epicurious

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Freedom

Hi loves! I miss you.

I have not been posting here recently because I have hardly used a recipe in months. I have hardly used a recipe and I think I am finally learning how to cook. I have been inspired by my various roommates over the last year who have come home many nights and whipped up a meal for one with whatever's in the fridge. By contrast, the contents of the fridge would stare out at me blankly and I felt overwhelmed and left them be, preferring a couple of slices of bread from the freezer toasted.

My roommates were the inspiration, but a particular book has been the tool that helped me overcome my reliance on recipes and the belief that everything worth making takes at least one hour. The book is called An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It's prose but not one of those cooking memoirs, it's very much about how to cook.

She writes, for example:
 "If we were taught to cook as we are taught to walk, encouraged first to feel for pebbles with our toes, then to wobble forward and fall, then had our hands firmly tugged on so we would try again, we woul learn that being good at it relies on something deeply rooted, akin to walking, to get good at which we need only guidance, sense, and a little faith."

The book is about taking small experimental steps in cooking and learning from each one. She has basically a whole chapter on boiling water. She has another chapter on anchovies. She starts by talking about how to find good anchovies and then provides some areas for exploration. Try them fresh, packed in oil, packed in salt. Try them plain. Learn their flavour. Then mash them with plenty of garlic, olive oil and butter and try this sauce on a variety of boring kitchen standards: boiled potatoes, wedges of raw cabbage, soft-boiled egg, lightly boiled celery, or endive. Experience their flavour in combination with other simple flavours. I think through this constant experimentation you develop instincts about cooking that allow for greater complexity down the line.

I tend to only peruse the book while standing in the kitchen waiting for my oatmeal to finish so I haven't read it all, but the overwhelming message appears to be to taste everything you do, at each stage. I'm getting pretty good at this. And I have never enjoyed cooking like I do now.

Kisses to all...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the complicated backstory of steel cut oats REVEALED!

Readers,

Perhaps you too have woken up in the morning and shoveled spoonfuls of instant oats past your morning teeth and caught yourself wishing for the weekend luxury of half-hour steel cut oats. Pine no more! It has taken years, but I've finally absorbed all my father's steel cut secrets.

Hark:

  • 1:4 oatmeal to water (cups, grams, ounces, gallons...)
  • salt
  • toppings of your choice 
    • (I suggest dried dates, apricots, diced apple, and a cinnamon stick)

The complicated backstory:

Secret #1: BEGIN THE NIGHT BEFORE!
Place water and oatmeal in a pot (I haven't decided if it is better to add the toppings at this stage or later) and bring to a boil. Cover and turn off the burner. Caution your dish-doing roommate to leave the oatmeal pot alone. Go to bed. Seriously, this is it. Go to bed.

Secret #2: WAKE UP IN THE MORNING!
Your steel cut oats are cooked. No joke. An overnight miracle. Turn the burner on again, or reheat using your preferred method, add your toppings if you didn't add them the night before, and eat.

What kind of week isn't better after miracle oats?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chocolate and Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I baked these for my coworkers last week and they were a big hit. c/o the Joy
Makes 24.

8 oz cream cheese
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cupcake tin or use paper liners. Beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and the egg until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Stir. Fill cupcake moulds halfway. Drop in a big dollop of the cream cheese mixture to each. Bake for 20-ish minutes. Eat as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Polenta lasagna with swiss chard and mushrooms

Last night I made a lasagna for a gluten-free friend, so used rounds of polenta instead of regular lasagna noodles. I adapted elements of this recipe for the fillings. These quantities made a moderately generous four servings for hungry people.

Polenta Lasagna with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

500 gr tube of polenta (or make your own, let it set), sliced thinly
Jar of tomato sauce (or make your own)
2/3 cup finely chopped onions
2 minced cloves of garlic, separated
8 oz of cremini mushrooms
2 bunches of swiss chard, stemmed and cored
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 tsp nutmet
olive oil
8 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Blanche swiss chard in boiling water for one minute. Drain and squeeze out all the liquid, then chop up. Sauté onions, one minced clove of garlic, and chilli peppers in olive oil until soft. Add swiss chard, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat up more oil in a heavy pan, add mushrooms and last clove of garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until mushrooms have browned, dried up, released, and reabsorbed their liquids. Season with a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In a casserole dish, put down a slop of tomato sauce, then put down a layer of polenta. Put in half the mushrooms, half the swiss chard, a few dollops of ricotta, a sprinkling of parmesan, and tomato sauce. Repeat. Put on a final layer of polenta, top with tomato sauce, ricotta, and parmesan.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes with tinfoil covering it. Take off the tinfoil and bake for another ten minutes.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scones for dinner

Today was a blah day. The first bright spot came at 5PM when I went to queer salsa class at U of T. I'm learning to lead! No more getting thrown around by oafish dudes! Or, as one of the salsa class coordinators said today when I tried to explain my reasons for wanting to lead: "yeah! you gotta control your girls!" We'll see.

The second bright spot came at 8PM when I decided to make tea and scones for dinner. Not savoury scones. Sweet scones with jam. And now I share them with you, my loves. xox

Sweet and speedy scones

2 cups (9 oz) all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten gently
1 tsp vanilla
sugar for sprinkling

Heat oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients and the butter to a coarse meal (with two knives, a food processor, whatever). Stir in wet ingredients - it will be a pretty wet dough. Divide in 4. Roll each ball on a floured surface and flatten to 3/4'' circles. The centre should be slightly higher than the rim. Cut into quarters and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes.

Infinite variations are possible! Just add whatever's in your fridge to the completed dough. My coworker made jalapeno-cheddar, tomato-goat cheese-herb, white chocolate-something, and a chocolately one last week and they were all delicious. If you're going savoury, I would add a bit less sugar to the dough.