Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Classic BLT

Classic BLT

Makes 4 sandwiches
lb bacon
8 T mayo
2 Tomato, sliced
8 slices bread, toasted

Pretty much everyone knows how to make a BLT. But if you haven't baked bacon before....try cooking it this way! Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay bacon on sheet in single layer. Place in NON preheated oven, set to 350 degrees, and cook for about 15 minutes. Clean up is a snap, just throw away the parchment paper, and wash the pan! The bacon is crispy and not soggy with grease! Then assemble your BLTs!

Blt Sandwich on FoodistaBlt Sandwich

Monday, May 30, 2011

Flank Steak with Spicy Lemon Sauce

Flank Steak with Spicy Lemon Sauce, adapted from Cooking Light May 2011
My changes-I was out of chives, so I omitted!

1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Place steak on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.

2. While steak cooks, combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through juice) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in parsley. Serve with steak.

I thought this made a great contrast with the flank steak, and made it a bit more interesting than usual. It was super quick to make! This sauce is SPICY. I am not a big fan of horseradish, so I would use 2 T next time instead. Sauce would be great on roast beef or steak sandwiches too!


Flank Steak on FoodistaFlank Steak

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Buttercream

These do not count towards my challenge to avoid making ugly cakes. I don't usually have a problem with cupcakes! I was quite pleased with the frosting on these, a nice light mint flavor. P is not a huge fan of mint, but still thought they were "good for what they are". Whatever that means. These are worth a try!

Chocolate buttermilk cupcakes, adapted from Honey and Jam (lovely pictures of her cupcakes!)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, combine cocoa and 5 tablespoons hot water until a thick paste forms. Add butter, buttermilk, egg, and egg white; beat until combined. Whisk in flour mixture until smooth.

Scoop batter into prepared tin. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mint Infused Buttercream

4-5 fresh mint leaves
4 T light cream
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
4 c powdered sugar, sifted

Combine cream and mint in small saucepan. Heat over medium (not boiling) for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool. Once cool, remove mint leaves from cream. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add mint cream, beat until combined.

Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

'Shroom and Swiss Burgers

Everyone seems to be making burgers now! It is that time of year...

We don't have a grill right now, so I made this with my grill pan indoors. We always add a bit of diced red pepper to our burgers. It's good stuff!

For the burgers:
1 lb ground beef
2 T diced red bell pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 egg
1/4 c breadcrumbs

For the toppings:
1 T butter
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1 c swiss cheese, shredded
4 rolls, I used ciabatta rolls

Saute mushrooms and onions over medium heat in melted butter for 10-15 minutes until mushrooms are soft and liquid is absorbed.

Mix up the burgers!

Cook over medium heat approximately 6 minutes on each side until no longer pink.

Top with shredded cheese and cover to melt. (cheddar chz on left because P doesn't like Swiss!)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I Want Wednesday

Not really a food blog appropriate post. But What Do I Want Wednesday?


Oh. My. Gosh.

But they are sold out. And expensive. Sad day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cobb Salad

I have been really craving greens recently. I had greens at all three meals today! I baked a ham last week, so was trying to come up with a different way to use it up! Cobb Salad it is! This dressing is really yummy.

2 eggs, hardboiled, cut into 1/4ths
1/2 lb deli turkey or fresh cooked turkey, cut into 2" julienne strips
1/2 lb deli or fresh cooked ham, cut into 2" julienne strips
1/2 cup swiss or Jarlsberg cheese, cut into strips
Head lettuce, red leaf or iceberg torn into strips
Handful grape tomatos, halved

2 t dried oregano
1/2 c olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c white wine vinegar

To make dressing: Whisk oregano, oil, and garlic until foamy. Then add vinegar and whisk until combined. Or, if you are like me, use your Magic Bullet (or boring blender....) and blend first 3 ingredients, then add vinegar and blend until combined.

Mix greens, egg, meats, cheese, and tomato. Toss with dressing to taste, a little goes a long way! Top with croutons. Quick and easy dinner!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Red Wine Short Ribs

As an aside, while cooking a lasagna a couple days ago I realized I had forgotten to purchase the mozzerella cheese. So I made a quick run to the grocery store, while hungry. This is the death knell for me. Also, P specifically asked me to go down not one, but TWO junk food aisles (mixed nuts and ice cream). So, of course, I purchased the cheese, and two bags of junk food. Not to bad, but ice cream, nuts, crackers, and....Pringles. I *never* buy Pringles. They don't even resemble potato chips. Even worse, these were labeled "multi-grain". Which is hilarious. A chip, masquerading as potato, is now touting it's multi grain promise. Reading the ingredients, these "potato chips" are made of rice flour, potato, corn, wheat, and get this...black beans. They pretty much violate all of Michael Pollan's principles in one fell swoop. And now I feel extremely guilty for eating them. Sigh.

But since I probably won't buy Pringles again for several years, it's ok, right? I mean, unless I go down the junk food aisle hungry again.

So I tried making Short Ribs for the first time last weekend. I have had them at restaurants, but never purchased them to cook at home. I have saved this recipe from Southern Living since Jan 2008. Does anyone else do that? I have this huge stack of recipes pulled out of magazines, and you would think if I hadn't made it in two years, I would throw it away. Nope. I just keep saving until I feel like making it.

This short rib recipe was very good. The beef is tender and flavorful. Southern Living recommended serving it as an open faced sandwich with arugula and blue cheese, which does sound delicious. I just served them over mashed potatoes. The one thing I will say, unless you plan to shred the beef before serving it, I would trim the fat from the short ribs and remove the membrane. I purchased these ribs from a local cattle rancher, and they were very fatty! Once shredded the beef was wonderful though.

Red Wine Short Ribs-adapted from Southern Living

5-6 pounds beef short ribs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 garlic cloves, pressed
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh oregano sprig

Sprinkle ribs evenly with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cook ribs, in batches, in a large skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side until browned.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add garlic and next 3 ingredients to Dutch oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender and browned. Stir in tomatoes and next 5 ingredients. Add ribs to Dutch oven, and bring to a boil; cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and lid.

Bake at 350° for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until ribs are very tender. Remove ribs and herbs. Discard herbs. This smelled delicious while cooking.  The Southern Living recipe says to make a gravy, which I did, but I didn't like it and despite draining was very fatty. So if you would like to make a gravy, see the link to SL above. It really wasn't needed as the ribs very so tender.

Served over mashed potatoes!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad

For the last couple posts, I have been trying to come up with a clever anecdote, or funny story, or something besides just a recipe. Unfortunately, since my life is really just reading cancer biology (and that it not really very funny...) right now, I can't come up with anything. So just a recipe it is.

This recipe was loosely inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod, but I changed it up enough to call it my own. :) Their version sounds delish, but P won't eat Blue Cheese.

To serve 4:
mixed greens (enough for 4 servings!)
1/2 cup black beans, canned, rinsed and drained
1 ear corn, kernels removed
1 t butter
1/2 c grape or cherry tomatos, halved
1 lb chicken tenders
BBQ sauce
French Fried onions (the green bean casserole kind!)

1 avocado
3 T honey
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/3 c white vinegar
2/3 c olive oil

This was a really tasty salad. The warm corn, BBQ sauce, cool avocado dressing, with crispy French Fried Onions. Yum!

To make dressing:

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. I once again used my Magic Bullet (I even like the name!) I am such a dork. And I am not employed or endorsed by the Magic Bullet, but I should be. The dressing doesn't look so good, but just trust me, OK?

For the salad, top greens with tomatoes and black beans. Cook corn kernels in 1 t butter over med heat for 2-3 minutes until tender and warm. Place on greens.

Cook chicken on grill or grill pan until done, covered in BBQ sauce. I used my Pampered Chef grill pan. I think a real grill would be better, but you gotta use what you have, right? Chicken took about 5 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Top greens with 2-3 chicken tenders and sprinkle with French Fried Onions, drizzle with avocado dressing.

Yes. Observant people will notice I just used the same picture twice. :) I didn't take enough photos of the finished salad. Oops. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Restaurant Review-Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork Stonelake
10850 Stonelake Blvd.
Austin, TX 78759
512.342.2700 P

Roaring Fork has a lovely atmosphere. We went for the first time recently, and it was a lovely evening. We asked to sit on the patio, but we were told it would be a 1.5 hour wait, so we were seated inside instead. The patio overlooks water, and it very picturesque. As we discovered later tho, the patio doesn't have any lighting after dark, so we were glad we were seated inside! The interior was quite dark as well, with the candle on the table providing most of the light.

The menu is an interesting (somewhat predictable) medley of tex-mex, steaks, wood fire grilled items, and some seafood choices. I choose the Pecan Crusted Haddock. P choose the lamb shank. Keeping up with the current trend, all sides are purchased separately. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Just create a plate with sides people! I don't WANT to share with my fellow diners and have to order things everyone likes. We ordered asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Overall, I was not impressed with my meal or the menu. The asparagus was served cold. The mashed potatoes were fine. The Haddock was just fine, but the pecan crust was very thick. I ended up picking some of it off. The lamb shank, according to P, was just "fine". I doubt we will be going back, the food was OK, but overpriced and the menu options were not enough for me to want to go back.

Overall: Overpriced, but nice atmosphere.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Goat Cheese, Tomato, and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

 This was a spontaneous lunch the other day, but would also make a yummy breakfast!

Goat Cheese, Tomato, and Egg Sandwich
Serves 1
2 slices tomato
1 english muffin
1 oz goat cheese
1 egg
Cooking Spray

Preheat broiler. Add sliced tomato and goat cheese to split sides of english muffin on a baking sheet. Broil 2-3 minutes until toasted and cheese is soft.

Meanwhile, spray frying pan with cooking spray. Crack egg in pan, being careful to leave yolk intact. I like my eggs over medium, the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny. Cook egg to taste!

Once english muffin is out of broiler, smooth the goat cheese out over the muffin. Top with egg.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Vegetable Fajitas (chicken optional!)

Oh Saturday! If I didn't have to spend all of this lovely day studying, it would be so much nicer. It is sunny and beautiful outside, but me and cancer biology will be spending the day together, again. Sigh.

I made these the other night as a quick weeknight dinner. These were really meant to be vegetable fajitas, but since P won't eat a meal without meat, I also added chicken for him. So you could make it either way. It is quite filling as vegetable fajitas! The marinade is pretty yummy!

1 orange, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced (I don't have a juicer, I just squeezed!)
2 t orange zest/peel
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t salt
dash cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove 
1/3 c olive oil

Place marinade in a food processor or blender, and process until mixed. 

I would like to take this moment and comment on how much I love my Magic Bullet.

I use this thing almost daily. To make smoothies, scramble eggs, chop spices, make breadcrumbs, process marinade...I could be on the infomercial. :)

Anyway, here is the marinade:

1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced lengthwise (make sure to "clean" and  cut off black underside!)
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
Tortillas (I used whole wheat flour)
Toppings optional (guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese)

Place in bowl with marinade and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Once ready to cook, place in saute pan over med heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender (about 10 minutes).

Place in warmed tortillas and top with desired toppings (sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc)


For the chicken variation, slice one chicken breast into long strips. Cook in saute pan until done (about 10 minutes) over medium heat BEFORE adding vegetables. Wipe pan clean, add vegetables and leave chicken in the pan with vegetables until done. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

French Dips

This is my go-to recipe for a quick weekend lunch or weeknight dinner. Better than just a plain sandwich with lunch meat, in my opinion. It is warm and melty cheesy, so good.

4 sub rolls
8 slices provolone
1 lb thinly sliced roast beef

Au jus:
2 cans beef consomm√©
1 shallot, minced
2 T butter
3 T flour

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add flour, stirring constantly for one minute. Slowly pour in beef consomm√©. Simmer, stirring occasionally, to slightly thicken, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, split rolls and toast 1-2 minutes under broiler or toaster oven. Once the au jus is ready, dip the roast beef in the au jus before placing on rolls. Split roast beef between 4 sandwiches. Add 2 slices of provolone to each sandwich. Place under broiler or toaster oven until cheese is melty.

Serve with side of au jus, and dip liberally! Yum!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Seared Scallops with Lemon

I went to the grocery store hungry this week. Always a mistake. 2nd mistake? I went to Whole Foods. Sigh. I didn't do to badly though, only purchased 1 or 2 random things not on my list, which is pretty good for going to Whole Foods!

I went there specifically for fish. The HEB near the house has a so-so fish selection. I decided on scallops for P (I don't like them) and salmon for me. And then a kebab of swordfish caught my eye. So I decided on all three! Way to much seafood...but there you have it.

I don't like sea scallops, or well, any scallops. It's a texture thing. But there are so simple and quick to cook! A perfect weeknight dinner. This is a very bare-bones approach, nothing fancy, but lets the flavor of the scallop come through. I made 5 large sea scallops just for P, so serving size depends on how many scallops you want! If you are pairing with a fish, 2-3 would be enough, for a meal usually 4-5 per person. If you are adding scallops to the recipe, I would probably keep the amount of lemon the same, just add more scallops to the pan and oil as needed.

Seared Scallops with Lemon-serves 1
1 T olive oil
5 scallops
1/2 small lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse scallops, pat dry. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add scallops to pan, squeeze lemon over the top. Cook on each side about 1-2 minutes, until no longer translucent. Done!

Swordfish to come later...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Recipe #2 from Vefa's KitchenVefa's Kitchen

A traditional greek pasta dish, patitsio. Patitsio is a cheesy pasta bake with a layer of meat sauce, topped with a layer of bechamel sauce (white sauce). I would not say it is the best-for-you recipe. Lots of cheese, milk, carbs, and butter. Tough to lighten up without losing all the flavor! But so delicious. I have made a few changes to the original recipe.

White Sauce adapted from Vefa's Kitchen:
I made this first and let it sit on the stovetop while I cooked the rest.
3 cup milk (I used 2%)
3 T butter
3 T flour
1/8 t nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 c white cheddar, shredded

Heat milk in microwave until warm but not boiling. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour, cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually pour in milk, whisking constantly. Continue to simmer over medium heat until thickened. This will take about 15 minutes, and it won't be super thick. Remove from heat, stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper. Once slightly cooler, fold in 3 beaten egg yolks and 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese.

folding in cheese

Pastitsio adapted from Vefa's Kitchen:
2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, grated
1 lb ground beef (can also use lamb)
1 cup canned pureed tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 t sugar
3 T finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 cup white cheddar, shredded
12 oz Ziti
4 Y melted butter
2 T bread crumbs
2 cup (8 oz) Gruyere cheese, shredded
White Sauce (above)
cooking spray

Heat oven to 350.

Heat 2 T olive oil in pan. Add onion, cook over medium until soft, about 5 minutes. Add beef, cook until no longer pink. Drain.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, sugar, parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 5 minutes. Add egg whites and cheddar.

Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package. Drain. Toss with melted butter, cool. Stir in Gruyere.

Spray 13x9 baking dish (or 10x14) with cooking spray. Add breadcrumbs to the bottom of dish. Spread 1/2 pasta mixture in dish. Top with meat sauce. Cover with remaining pasta. Pour white sauce over the top. Bake about 1 hour, until golden brown and set. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Her recipe says it serves 4. I got at least 6 meals out of this.