Food, Recipes

Conquering food fear: squid (with recipe!)

I have this problem with eating things that still look like the animal. A peeled shrimp without the head? All good. Shrimp with head + antennae + eyes? No, thank you!

Well, we had some delicious calamari fritti last week and I thought, well, that wasn’t so bad… I should learn how to eat it even with the tentacles and the color. Adrian had requested a recipe for roasted squid with garbanzos recently, so I thought we’d give it a try. Turns out… it was delicious!

Prepping the squid

Prepping the squid

Mise en place

Mise en place

Roasted Squid with Garbanzos and Chili Oil

Roasted Squid with Garbanzos and Chili Oil

Close up

Close up

Plated! (with croissants in the background)

Plated! (with croissants in the background)

Roasted Squid with Garbanzo Beans and Chili Oil (adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned, bodies cut diagonally into 1/2 inch strips
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup frisée, chopped (we used an escarole/endive/radicchio mix and it was fine)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar (we used red wine vinegar because it was on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil (commonly found in the Asian aisle/supermarket)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 500°F. Pour olive oil into an oven safe skillet set over medium-high heat. Toss in the squid, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Add the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, garlic, and lemon zest. Stir well, and season with a pinch of salt. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
  • Remove skillet from the oven, and add the frisée and parsley and stir. Divide the squid and beans between two plates. Drizzle the sherry vinegar and chili oil on top of both and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
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Food, Recipes

Snickerdoodles without cream of tartar

Snickerdoodles (Photograph by Adrian)

Snickerdoodles (Photograph by Adrian)

So, the other night we were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay because he’s the man, and they were doing chocolate chip cookies. It was 9PM, right about the time we start craving a tasty treat, but alas, I had no chocolate chips! Terrible, I know. I should always have a reserve. Of course, I found out later that I actually had semisweet baking chocolate in the back that would have served for chocolate chunk cookies, but I digress. Anyway, I figured that I could make snickerdoodles with what I had on hand – simple fluffy cookies with cinnamon sugar, right? WRONG. (Well, sort of.)

Turns out that your traditional snickerdoodles have cream of tartar. Honestly, I’ve never used the stuff and have no reason to keep it around, so I thought I was doomed. Luckily, Google + Martha Stewart came to the rescue! I made the cookies as directed and they were perfectly fluffy and tasty and held up really well against milk, both in terms of flavor and dunking them (as Adrian always has to do). Here’s the recipe with my additions in italics, from Martha’s Holiday Cookies 2005.

A couple of notes first: baking them on a Silpat made for much better cookies than a nonstick foil-lined sheet pan (I don’t have parchment paper at the moment, either), and beating the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy is absolutely crucial.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside (if you have a stand mixer, you can do the sifting while the butter and sugar are beating). Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
  • Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 20 (1 3/4-inch) balls (really easy to do with an ice cream scoop, was about 3/4 of mine); roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat / silicone baking sheet).
  • Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
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Food, Recipes

Sunday Dinner: Risotto Cakes with Fontina and Chives

Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)

Risotto Cakes (Photograph by Adrian)

I’ve been growing my first herb garden this year and lately it’s really begun to grow in earnest, so I was excited to catch Barefoot Contessa doing a show on herbs. The risotto cakes looked (and sounded) fabulous – I mean, creamy risotto breaded and fried? Yes, please! However, in her recipe, she just boils arborio rice in water and then drains and rinses it. I’m sure that the fontina and chives add flavor, but it seemed questionably tasty to me, so I figured I’d give it a go, but with a little more flavor in the rice part.

Ingredients:

  • 3-3½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1½ cups (5 oz.) grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumb)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat the chicken broth to a simmer and keep it simmering.
  • Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and toast the rice in it for 30 seconds.
  • Add the chicken broth a ½ cup at a time, letting most of the liquid absorb between rounds.
  • The rice is done when it is creamy but still has just the tiniest bit of bite to it. You may or may not use up all of the chicken broth; you can use water at the very end if you run out of broth.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.
  • Spread the cooked risotto on a plate or baking sheet and let cool until no longer warm to the touch.
  • Once the rice is cool, prepare the next part of the mixture. In a bowl, beat 2 eggs and add in the yogurt, cheese, chives, a large pinch of kosher salt, and about a ½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
  • Mix in the rice and stir well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight until the mixture is firmed up.
  • Put the panko in a wide shallow bowl or plate. Form patties of the rice mixture and coat in panko.
  • Heat a layer of olive oil in a pan until it is rippling and just starting to smoke. Fry the coated cakes until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Drain on a paper towel and serve hot. If you have to fry in batches, put them in a 200°F oven to keep warm until serving.
  • Should make 12 cakes, enough for 4-6 servings. We added thin strips of pancetta on top for an extra flavor dimension. Goes well with a spinach/arugula-type salad (perhaps with strawberries and a balsamic glaze) and a crisp white wine.

Note: This recipe was surely originally meant to use up leftover risotto, so by all means, if you have leftover risotto, do it up.

Second note: Clearly I love me some risotto.

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Food, Recipes

Friday night dinner: Risotto with pancetta and peas

Thanks to my three jobs + freelancing and Adrian’s coursework + rehearsals (not to mention the gym for both of us), we only get to cook dinner on the weekends. This Friday, I decided to use the Arborio rice in the cabinet and make a risotto a la carbonara.

Risotto a la carbonara

Risotto a la carbonara

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 oz. pancetta, cubed/diced
  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • sweet peas (frozen or fresh) – about the same volume as the pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼-½ cup shredded Parmiggiano Reggiano
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the chicken stock to a simmer and keep it simmering
  • Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
  • Add the onions and cook until almost translucent
  • Add the pancetta and brown it – don’t make it completely crispy
  • Turn the heat down a bit (about medium)
  • Add the rice and toast it, stirring constantly, for about a minute
  • Add about a cup of the simmering chicken stock and continue stirring until most of the liquid is gone
  • Continue the process, adding chicken stock about ½ cup at a time and stirring constantly
  • When there is a cup or so of chicken stock left to add, add the peas so that they have time to warm through
  • After all the chicken stock has been used (should be about 20 minutes of cooking time), turn off the heat and add the butter and pepper to taste. Stir until the butter has completely melted.
  • Add the shredded Parmiggiano and stir until well combined. Be careful not to break the peas!
  • Serve hot with more shredded Parm on top

I like risotto with a nice bright riesling, but we decided to have a beer instead:

Victory Prima Pils

Victory Prima Pils

Delicious! Oh, and the recipe makes enough to serve four as a main course.

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Food, Recipes

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Last year, we had our first-ever Thanksgiving at home and I made it all myself (except for Kathy’s wonderful Poached Pears in Red Wine Sauce). She just hit me up for my cinnamon bread pudding recipe, so here goes:

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 slices of cinnamon swirl bread, cubed (I use 10 slices of Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1¼ cups milk
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup white sugar (can substitute in some brown if you’d like)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF
  • Put cubed bread in 8-inch square pan
  • Drizzle with melted butter
  • Mix eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla
  • Pour egg mixture over bread
  • Push the bread down and let absorb
  • Bake for about 45 minutes. The top will brown a bit and it should spring back when poked.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any dessert pictures on Thanksgiving, so here is an approximate idea of what it will look like:

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Enjoy!

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Food, Recipes

Tea Eggs + Sorry!

Thanks to Vivian’s post about eggs, I started lusting after some tea eggs, a la my mother. I e-mailed her to ask what she did, and she called me back (from China!) about it. Here are her instructions – loosely translated, of course:

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Dark soy sauce (mushroom flavored is good)
  • Tea (loose or bagged) – black is the usual, but mother says anything goes. I would guess one bag for every 3 or so eggs.
  • Sugar
  • Star anise (??) – optional, but good for “more taste”

Directions:

  • Cover the eggs with cold water and bring to a boil over low heat
  • Boil for about 15 minutes (sounds like a long time to me but whatever)
  • Drain the water and rinse the eggs in cold water until you can handle them
  • Gently crack the eggshells, either by hand or with a spoon
  • Add soy sauce, tea, star anise (if desired), and a tiny bit of sugar to enough water to cover the eggs
  • Add the eggs and bring to a boil over low heat once again and let simmer for a couple of hours
  • Let cool and continue to soak in the sauce in the fridge, at least overnight and up to a few days
  • Enjoy them either warm or cold!

Even though Adrian claims to hate hardboiled eggs, I will be giving this a try after our weekend jaunt. I’ll try to remember to take pictures and write about it later on. Hopefully they’ll come out looking like this:

Tea Eggs

Tea Eggs (via Glass Petal Smoke)

By the way, I know at least my coworkers noticed that I made my first post during work time. It’s true – I took a break from programming and made an entry. My bad! I’ll try to refrain from doing that from now on, although it’s hard not to write a short bit about something at the moment I am thinking about it. Maybe I can just file things away for publishing later or something like that.

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