Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

This is what I serve people when they say they don't like sprouts. Haven't received a complaint, yet.
Adapted slightly from here.

Serves 1.5
35 minutes
- large saucepan
- bowl
- laid out paper towels (for bacon)

12 large Brussels sprouts
2 large shallots
5 garlic cloves
3 strips bacon
2 Tbsp. cooking sherry*
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

*Holland House cooking sherry is GF

1. Remove ends form the Brussels sprouts; cut each in half through the 'stem'. Remove ends from the shallots and garlic; peel, then finely dice.
2. Spread Brussels sprouts around inside the pan with a little bit of water. Bring to a boil, let cook for about 2 minutes, then drain water (make sure you don't over-boil the sprouts). Remove Brussels sprouts; set them aside in a clean bowl. Now turn to the meat.
3. Rinse bacon, then place strips into the now-empty pan. Brown bacon over medium heat till just crispy-- about 5 minutes. Carefully move strips to some prepared paper towels to cool and wick away fat. Once cooled, tear meat into bite-sized pieces. Drain and discard all
but 1 Tbsp. bacon grease.
4. Add the diced shallots and garlic to the retained grease (still in the pan). Saute over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.
5. Add in the saved, partially cooked Brussels sprouts and the crispy bacon; cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure things don't burn. Once sprouts and garlic are somewhat toasted, pour in the sherry and balsamic vinegar. Cook till liquids are somewhat reduced, coating the veggies. Shouldn't take longer then a minute or two for vinegar to thicken.
Serve warm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Potatoes

Potatoes! One of my 4 food groups (the others being rice, cheese and everything else). A quick and tasty little dish whipped up with a baked potato. Even involves broccoli with cheddar.

Serves 2
1 hr (bake potato the night before) + 20 minutes next day
- Al foil
- large saucepan

2 large russet potatoes
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter
1 large head of broccoli
1 (14 oz.) can of dark red kidney beans*
1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese*

*Bush beans are GF; Kraft shredded cheese is both GF and contains "0" g. lactose (not enough to bother me!)

The night before:
0. Wash, then stab a few holes in the potatoes with a fork (don't bother peeling). Wrap spuds in foil and throw into a 400 F preheated oven. Cook for an hour. Carefully take out the hot potatoes and place into the fridge to sit (and cool) overnight.
The next day, after work:
1. Wash the broccoli and chop into small pieces (as if for a salad bar). Place broccoli bits in the saucepan and throw in the butter.
2. Begin cooking over medium-high heat. Stir to melt and coat. Let broccoli cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Slice the baked potatoes into thick rounds, probably over 1/2" thick. Add soft potato slices to the sizzling broccoli/butter combo. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; careful you don't turn the potatoes into mush. Remove the saucepan from heat when the broccoli is soft (but not mushy) and the potatoes are slightly browned.
4. Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Fold rinsed beans into the still-hot saucepan. Top mixture generously with sharp cheddar cheese. Stir to melt; eat warm.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garlic Steak Fries

Thick and hearty potato wedges roasted with lots and lots of garlic. A very easy side-dish that could also pose as a hot snack.

Serves 1.5
15 minutes prep + 60 minutes baking
- large baking pan or cookie sheet
- Al foil
- spatula

2 large russet potatoes
6 garlic cloves
1 large shallot
1 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
[1/2 c. favorite cheese, grated -- optional]

0. Spread a sheet of Al foil over the baking pan. Preheat oven to 400 F.
1. Wash potatoes and cut in half lengthwise, then in half again long-wise (into 4 quarters, perpendicular to the first cut). Slice each quarter lengthwise into 4 wedge-like pieces. Peel garlic and shallots, discard ends, then coarsely dice.
2. Place potato wedges on the aluminum-coated baking pan. Try to arrange them all with peels facing downward, resting on the foil.
3. Place into 400 F pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and carefully rub down with butter. Let butter completely melt and coat the wedges. Lay the potatoes out, but this time with an inside 'face' resting on the foil. Spread the diced garlic and shallot pieces out over the top.
5. Place back in to the oven and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Check frequently near the end to avoid burning. Remove before the garlic singes.
6. Let the browned wedges cook for 5 minutes.
You might need a spatula to scrape the wedges from the foil. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and pepper; toss a little to mix. Eat warm, perhaps with a little bit of cheese melted on top.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Pretty good cake-- slightly on the dry side, but soft like white velvet. It is heavy, but, hey, it's a damn pound cake! Perfect, in my opinion, to soak up homemade strawberry or peach syrup drizzled over the top.
Another non-original; I picked it up from here.

Makes 1 shallow bundt cake
Preheat 310 F
- large mixing bowl
- handheld beater
- spatula

1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
5.3333 oz. regular cream cheese* (2/3rds of an 8 oz. container), softened
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
2 heaping tsp. xanthan gum

*Kraft Philly cream cheese is GF (Tofutti cream cheese is also GF and does well in baked goods)

0. Preheat oven to 310 F. Grease a large bundt cake pan.
1. Let butter and cream cheese sit at room temperature for an hour, until quite soft.
2. Place butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until soft and creamy, about a minute or so.
3. Add in the white sugar. Stir in till no longer powdery, then beat with mixer for about 30 seconds. Will look like paste.
4. Crack in the 4 eggs. Pour in the vanilla extract. Beat with mixer for a minute, until a uniform color. Batter should look like a thick custard.
5. Spoon in the flour, stirring with a heavy spoon or spatula. Also mix in the xanthan gum. The batter will get thicker, but should still have alot of 'body'-- much like dense whipped topping.
6. Scoop into waiting bundt cake pan (it definitely shouldn't pour!). Smooth top of the cake with the spatula.
7. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Top will turn a nice golden-brown and crack a little. Toothpick inserted in the top should come out dry.
Enjoy this warm with ice cream or homemade fruit syrup. Cake freezes remarkably well, actually.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Salsa Risotto

More risotto; creamy rice with a salsa kick. This is suppost to be rather spicy-- don't be shy about leaving the jalapeno seeds in when you dice the peppers!
Sorry about the sparse updates. Work has been hectic lately...hasn't left me much time to write things up.

Serves 2
35 minutes
- large saucepan with deep sides -or- large pot

6 large green onions
2 cloves garlic
2 large jalapenos
1/2 of a large green bell pepper
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1 Tbsp. corn oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 large tomatoes
1/2 of a large bunch of fresh cilantro
[1 large ear of fresh yellow corn-- optional]
1 c. aborio rice
1 tsp. corn oil
ground cumin
2 c. chicken -or- vegetable broth*
1/2. monterey jack cheese

*Swanson 14 oz. canned Natural Goodness chicken (and veggie) broths are GF, and hold about 2 cups of liquid

1. Wash and remove dangling root ends from green onion. Slice up the whole green onion, separating the white and green parts. Peel and dice the garlic. Remove stem from the jalapeno and dice it up, leaving in the seeds for extra heat. De-seed the bell peppers and chop into small pieces. Cut tomato up into 1" cubes (don't bother peeling tomatoes). Wash and cut up the cilantro. [Husk corn and rinse, set aside.]
2. Pour rice into the pan with the white parts of the green onion, 1/2 of the diced garlic and all of the diced jalapeno. Add in the corn oil and cook over medium-high heat until crackling, about 2 minutes; season with lots of cumin (~1 tsp).
3. When the rice has developed a tiny, opaque starch spot in the middle, add in 1/2 c. of chicken broth and stir. Reduce heat to medium.
4. Wait until broth is almost all absorbed-- about 5 minutes-- then add in another 1/2 c. of broth. Stir.
5. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then add in another 1/2 c. of broth plus the red and green bell pepper bits. Stir, again.
6. Let cook for another 5 to 8 minutes stirring occasionally. Throw in the remaining broth, tomatoes, and cilantro. [Cut the fresh corn straight into the pan.] Stir well.
7. Cook till broth is almost all boiled off and tomatoes are just starting to fall apart. Rice should be soft and creamy, but not mushy. Remove from heat and fold in plenty of monterey jack cheese. Eat warm.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tex Mex Chicken Tenders

Very yummy, flavorful tex mex chicken strips. These turned out very very tender!! Needs more heat, though, so I added some here from the original recipe (it was so good I didn't have to change much else!). I did, however, cook them in a saucepan with the rest of the marinade instead of grilling.

Serves 2
20 minutes sauce prep + 1.5 hour marinate + 20 minutes cooking (2 hours and 10 minutes total)
- 2 heavy duty quart sized freezer bags (ziplock or similar brand)
[- meat mallet for pounding chicken breasts]
- large saucepan

2 cloves garlic
2 green onions
1/2 of a clump of fresh cilantro (um, about 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh)
1/4. c. corn oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
juice of one large lime
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper (for some heat!)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 lb. thin chicken tenders [-or- pounded chicken breasts]
1 cup precooked white rice

*Lea and Perrins original Worcestershire sauce is gluten free

0. Open up a heavy-duty quart sized freezer bag and slip it inside the second heavy-duty freezer bag.
1. Peel and cut the tough end off of the garlic. Mince the garlic. Remove the root tips and finely dice up both the white and green part of the green onions. Pull off the cilantro leaves and finely chop them, almost into a paste. If you have a food processor, give it all a whirl before placing the pulp into the waiting hefty freezer bags. (I just diced everything up and it was fine!)
2. Pour in the corn oil and Worcestershire sauce. Split the lime and squeeze in as much juice as you can.
3. Add in the spices (cumin, chili powder, paprika and black pepper). Swirl to mix. Add in the brown sugar. Shake the bag well, and kneed with your fingers to break up any sugar clumps.
4. Rinse off the chicken tenders and place into the bag. [If you have chicken breasts, make sure you pound them down with a meat mallet to 1/4th inch thick and slice into moderately small chicken strips.] Close the bags tightly then squish the chicken around inside the bags, shaking and kneading to coat the breasts well. Lay the bag flat out in the fridge, making sure all the tenders are equally soaking up the marinade.
5. Marinate in the fridge for an hour and a half.
6. Pull out the bag and pour it's contents into the large saucepan, marinade and all. Arrange the tenders in the pan, forming a single uniform layer.
7. Cook chicken over medium heat, flipping after 10 minutes. Let cook 20 minutes total, or until the sauce starts to thicken and coats the chicken.
This was really really good served with regular, plain white rice or alongside some Salsa Risotto:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

This is the best thing ever. Seriously.
The fruit in most cobblers turns out mushy and shapeless, here the fruit sits halfway into the batter, resulting in sweet, juicy fruit bites bursting with rich flavor. The spongy cake puffs up around the fruit and forms a butter-induced crispy layer on top. Incredibly good.

Recipe courtesy of my favorite college housemate, Reid. (adapted to be gluten-free, in a smaller pan)

Makes a 9 x 9" pan worth of cobbler
- 2 medium sized bowls
- 9 x 9" Al pan or glass pan lined with Al foil
Preheat to 365 F

2 large peaches, sliced into 8ths
~3/4ths of a pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
1.5 c. sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour
1 heaping tsp. xanthan gum
1.5 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. milk or non-dairy milk substitute

0. Preheat oven to 365 F. Line a glass baking pan with aluminum foil.
1. Wash the peaches and cut into 8 wedges. Half each of the wedges if you want smaller peach pieces. Wash the blueberries. Place fruit into the medium bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Taste berries; add in another 1/4th cup of sugar if you desire sweeter fruit.
2. Before you mix up the batter, place the butter into the lined 9 x 9 pan. Pop pan into the preheating oven to melt the butter. Remove once butter had completely melted; swish around to get a uniform layer.
3. Mix dry ingredients together (1.5 c. sugar, rice and BRM flour, xanthan gum and baking powder) in another medium-sized bowl. Stirring, pour in the milk. You actually want a viscous, almost paste-like dough (too crumbly, add in another tsp. of milk until smooth). If the batter easily pours, it is way too liquid-y and will turn out soggy.
4. Before the butter solidifies again, spoon the batter over the liquid butter (still resting in the lined pan). DO NOT mix the butter/batter. You want the layers separate-- the oil might move aside as you drop batter spoonfuls in, that's okay. Try to get a semi-uniform layer of batter, though.
5. Press the sugar-coated fruit pieces gently down into the top of the batter layer; evenly space out the berries. Make sure you don't transfer too much sugar water along with the fruit.
6. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes in the oven. The cobbler is done when the fruit is tender and roasted and the cake part is nice and browned. The inside of the cobbler will be moist. This is best served fresh right out of the oven (it gets dense after refrigeration, but the taste is still fantastic!).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Light Pasta with Spinach

Fast and easy. A very light meal with fresh tomatoes, spinach and little Parmesan cheese.
I highly suggest making some quick garlic bread while this is simmering on your stove; simply use some of the garlic-butter from the first cooking step!

Serves 1.5
25 minutes
- medium pot
- large saucepan
[-cookie sheet or baking pan for garlic bread]
Quick and simple

8 oz. cooked GF pasta
8 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. butter [3 Tbsp. butter if making garlic bread]
1 medium white onion
1 large bag/clump of spinach
2 large tomatoes
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese &/or mozzarella cheese*
[4 slices favorite GF bread, laid out on a cookie sheet]

*Kraft shredded moz. cheese is both gluten and lactose free!

0. Cook up the pasta (per instructions on the package) in a medium pot 'till al dente.
1. Cut the ends off, peel and dice up the garlic. Remove onion ends, peel and slice onion into thin rounds (as if making onion rings). Remove stem and chop tomato into 1" cubes (don't bother peeling tomato).
2. Melt the butter in the saucepan with the garlic. Cook the garlic over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes; don't let the garlic burn!
[2.5. If you are making garlic bread, brush some of the garlic-butter on the GF bread slices laid out on a baking pan; place slices in 400 F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown, but not burnt.]
3. Turn butter up to medium and add in the onion slices; saute for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add in the spinach. Mix to un-clump the wilted greens, then saute for another 3 minutes.
5. Add in the tomato. Stir to heat-- cook for only about 60 seconds or so.
6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta. Pour in an abundance of cheese. Stir to melt. Serve right away with the fresh garlic bread.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sweet and Tangy Green Beans

Wasn't sure for awhile whether to post this one or not. It was almost too sweet for green beans, but the flavor of the bacon was fantastic (especially if you enjoy balsamic vinegar)! The meat ends up coated with a nice smokey, tangy, slightly-sweet glaze. I would recommend playing around with the sugar/Balsamic/Worcestershire ratio to suite your tastes.

Serves 1
30 minutes
- large saucepan

2 large shallots
1/2 lb. green beans
1/2 lb. yellow wax beans
2 medium red potatoes
3-4 strips thick cut bacon
2 tsp, Worcestershire sauce*
1/8 c. brown sugar (3 Tbsp)
splash (~1 tsp?) of balsamic vinegar*
salt and pepper

*Lee and Perrins original Worcestershire sauce is GF; I use an old bottle of Albertson's brand balsamic vinegar that must be GF cause I haven't gotten sick from it

1. Peel and slice up shallots; don't chop too small. Cut ends off of green and wax beans. Cut potatoes into long pieces (think french fry)... aim to get them about as thick as the green beans.
2. Tear bacon into bite size pieces. Place bacon in the large saucepan with half of the chopped shallots. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, turning bacon frequently.
3. Add in potatoes, green and yellow beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. Be sure to stir things frequently to avoid burning.
4. Turn heat up to medium-high. Add in rest of shallots plus the Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Mix well. The sugar will begin to caramelize-- caution, it gets very very hot.
5. Cook long enough over medium heat to nicely toast the meat and vegetables. Will take another 3-5 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Gently (will be hot!) taste a potato once the sugar/vinegar starts to thicken. Further season with a little salt and pepper. Dish is done when the potatoes are soft and the beans are crisp tender.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eggplant Stir-Fry

Eggplant with red onion, zucchini and fresh basil/garlic infused olive oil. I enjoyed this over GF pasta. Sweating the eggplant takes some extra prep time, but it's worth it for a bitter-free 'meaty' dish.

Serves 2
30 min eggplant sweating + 25 minutes cooking
- large saucepan or wok

6 to 8 oz. pasta*, precooked -or- 1/2 cup white rice, precooked

1 large eggplant
table salt
4 cloves garlic
1 large zucchini
1 medium red onion
1 medium red bell pepper
handful of fresh basil
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 mozzarella cheese

*Tinkyada rice pasta is GF and is very very good

0. Cook the pasta or rice according to instructions on package. Make sure the pasta/rice does not become mushy.
1. Wash and peel the eggplant. Cut into wide thin slices (2" wide, by 1" long, 1/2" thick). Sweat the eggplant for 30 minutes: lay eggplant out on a plate and generously coat slices with table salt. Once the slices become wilted and spongy, squeeze out the brown, bitter juices by hand (the eggplant will bruise alot, that is good). Wash sweated slices thoroughly to remove all of the excess salt. Lay eggplant aside.
2. Peel and dice up the garlic. Remove ends and cut zucchini diagonally into 1/2 inch thick rounds (ovals, actually). Peel and remove ends, then slice onion into thin disks (like onion rings).
Remove core and cut the bell pepper into long thin slices. Wash and dice up the fresh basil.
3. Place eggplant into saucepan with the oil, diced garlic and half of the fresh basil. Heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Make sure garlic doesn't burn.
4. Add in the zucchini. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, frequently flipping the eggplant and zucchini slices over, as to not burn..
5. Add in the onion rings and bell pepper slices. Also throw in the remaining basil. Cook until onion slices have separated and are wilted-- so another 2-3 minutes. Zucchini and bell pepper should be crisp tender.
6. Remove veggies from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese. Spoon over rice or pasta.