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Archive for June, 2010


Sorry for the long delay in posting new videos, but our technology glitch has now been resolved. Check out our newest culinary adventures!   The Lazy Cook can be seen actually using a knife, and of course, The Crazy Cook goes nut with open flames and a pile of peppers!  Enjoy!

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Okay, so I was a little reckless on the shopping this weekend.  Hmmm.  How to salvage Monday night dinner?  Well, let’s go do a fridge dive and see what we can make that’s good!  Yeah!  Asparagus. Yes.  Me likey asparagus.  Oh, there’s the speckled leaf lettuce from last week’s CSA drop from Harvest Moon.  And farm eggs from Harvest Moon.  I can do something with this!  Look what I did!

Yep. Steamed some asparagus.  Washed some speckled lettuce.  Plopped a poached farm egg on it, with a tangy, little river of homemade Champagne vinaigrette, some salt and pepp – and there you have a nice, light Monday night dinner with a glass (or two; okay, three, shut up, no judging on this blog) of nice South African Chardonnay.  You could add some bacon or prosciutto if you wanted (but mine’s frozen), or you could add some shaved Parm or Grana Padano (too lazy).  You could also add some roasted peppers (no peppers in this house right now).  It’s just about finding what you got, thinking for five minutes and putting it together and enjoying it. 

Here’s all I did:

Monday Night “Make it Work” Dinner

Steam asparagus for five minutes. Keep it bright green, but tender.

Poach an egg in simmering (not boiling) water for 2 min, 15 seconds

Wash some speckled leaf lettuce leaves.

The pictures pretty much tell the story.  I’m not even going to write up a “recipe” because this is about being creative.  But I will give you 3 easy steps:

1) Do a fridge dive.  Asparagus?  Snap off the tough ends, and steam for five minutes.  Let cool a bit.  No asparagus?  how ’bout some green beans?  Some broccoli?  Use it!

2) Poach an egg (or two if you’re really hungry).  Just crack an egg into a small dish, bring a pan of water to a simmer (not a boil!  eggs do not take well to boiling violence!), and ease the egg into the pan. Two minutes usually does the trick.  Retrieve the swimming egg from the simmering ocean with a slotted spoon and rest the spoon on a towel or whatever.

3) Arrange your clean, fresh lettuce leaves on a plate, top with the asparagus, drizzle with preferably homemade vinaigrette (1 C. olive oil, scant 1/2 C. champagne vinegar, a Tbl of Dijon, a small drizzle of honey, lots of salt and pepp.  This makes enough to last you a week or more.  Taste as you go to get the oil/vinegar ratio that you like).

This DMZ (Chardonnay from South Africa goes really well with this dish.

I chose this DMZ Chardonnay (De Morgenzon cellars, in the Stellenbosch area of South Africa)and it  was perfect -just enough of the classic, oakey, buttery, richness of Chardonnay – but not overkill.  I got it at Wine Styles (my new favie neighborhood wine shop.  It’s a chain, so look for one in your area.)

It’s kinda fun and satisfying to use your noodle to make something outta nothin’ — work with what you’ve got!  Bon Appetit.  Have a good week!

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Thanks to Groupon, I recently joined the Wine Club at the Wine Styles shop near my house.  I found out it’s a national chain of neighborhood wine shops and for roughly $40 a month, you get two wines (a red and a white, usually), along with suggested recipes for food pairings.  Kind of fun.  Like getting a present every month!  This month, one of the selections was a white wine blend called Kaleidoscope. 

Wine Styles offers complimentary tastings, and when I tasted it, I was like, “Oh boy … it’s a little on the sweet side.  Could be a sister to a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer (I cannot even believe I spelled that).  Huh.”  Then the extremely helpful and friendly shopkeeper explained how great it is with Asian foods, like sushi or pad Thai.  And lo and behold, there is a recipe for pad Thai on the back of the “tasting notes” card.  I decided to go for it and give it a “Thai” (you know I couldn’t hold that one back).

And you know what?  It was good!  Pad Thai can be a little hard to make and this recipe was perhaps a bit simplified, but it tasted great and the Wine Styles lady was right!  That Kaleidoscope white was a perfect match, for the salty, rich sautéed rice noodles mish-moshed with scrambled egg, chopped peanuts, tangy scallions and crunchy bean sprouts, all doused with a shower of lime juice. I halved the recipe and it made a lot (would easily feed three, maybe four people), so that’s how I have written it below  Here’s how you do it:

Pad Thai (recipe adapted from Wine Styles)

Ingredients

7 ounces rice noodles

1 Tbl butter

1 whole chicken breast, diced into bite-size pieces

1/8 C vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 Tbl white wine vinegar

1 Tbl fish sauce

1.5 Tbl white sugar

pinch of crushed red pepper

1 C bean sprouts

1/8 C crushed peanuts  (I just put them in a zip bag and use a rolling pin to crush them up a bit)

1 scallion, diced

lemon wedges

Directions

1. Soak rice noodles in cold water for 30-50 minutes

2.  Heat butter in a large skillet and saute chicken until browned.  Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

3. Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Crack eggs into pan and stir (to scramble) and cook until they’re firm (but not rubbery!).

4. Add chicken back in and cook for 5 minutes.

5. Drain noodles and add to skillet, along with vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and red pepper.  TASTE.  Adjust seasoning.

6. Add bean sprouts to skillet and mix the whole lot about for about 3-5 minutes, til sprouts are warmed through.

7. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with chopped peanuts, chopped scallions and a spritz of lime juice.

8. Pour a glass of chilled Kaleidoscope and toast yourself for your pad Thai triumph!

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Oh, rhubarb, how I love you. From memories of picking it from my grandma’s big rhubarb plants in the yard to my discovery and subsequent obsession with rhubarb muffins two years ago, it conjures up nothing but good memories and great taste.  It’s naturally bitter but is best friends with good ol’ sugar, and when those two get together, you get a unique sweet, tangy flavor that smells and tastes like summer itself.  Thanks to my friend Amy, I am the new owner of a Cuisinart ice cream maker, and thanks to the first delivery from Harvest Moon Farms CSA,  I had just enough rhubarb for …. ICE CREAM! 

You don’t see rhubarb ice cream around much – in stores or in restaurants – and I don’t know why, because it is amazing!  The rhubarb flavor is mild but unmistakeable and delicious.  Here’s how I made it:

STEP 1: Rhubarb Coulis, or Syrup

1.5 C. sliced rhubarb

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 C. water

Slice up enough rhubarb to make 1.5 C (I used about 7 slender stalks), like this:

Put sliced rhubarb, 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 C water in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until rhubarb is broken down and the mixture is pretty thick.  TASTE IT and adjust sugar if needed.

Pour the mixture into a bowl or measuring cup and chill thoroughly in the fridge (for at least an hour). You should wind up with about 3/4 Cup. 

STEP 2: The Ice Cream

1 C. whole milk

2 C. whipping cream

1/2 C. sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 C rhubarb coulis

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into your ice cream maker bowl (which, of course, you should always keep in the freezer, so it is ready to go anytime you have a craving for ice cream!).  Turn on ice cream maker and let ‘er rip for about 25-30 minutes.

When it’s ready, pour into freezer containers, and freeze thoroughly (a couple of hours).  Be sure to sample several spoonfuls to be absolutely sure it is frozen summer perfection!

This recipe makes about 1.5 quarts (6 cups total).  True Confession: I added some diced strawberries to the ice cream before freezing, but I’m not doing that again, because you wind up with hard, frozen little bits of strawberry.  Instead, I recommend serving it with sliced strawberries on top for the optimum ice cream experience.  Happy summer!

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We’re back!  Well, at least I am, after a major computer explosion.  (RIP, craptasti cold  dinosaurDell  laptop).  I’ve been going  CRAZY, not able to get photos off my camera, so get ready: a summer’s worth of delectable posts are on the way.  To start: grilled flank steak.

Flank steak is one of those cuts of beef that takes really well to a marinade.  The basis of any marinade is acid (such as citrus, vinegar or soy sauce), fat (such as olive oil, vegetable oil or sesame oil) and the flavors of your choice.  I’m kind of a saucy gal, so I like some spice in mine – such as chipotle chiles in adobo, jalapenos or red pepper.   And flank steak only needs about an hour’s swim in the marinade, and then 10 minutes on a hot grill (5  minutes each side), and you have a juicy, succulent, flavorful flank steak that’s not only awesome for dinner, but super-fantastic the next day in a pita sandwich! It’s a hard-working cut that tastes amazing and that marinade tenderizes it right up.  Here’s how I do it:

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin

1 Tbl chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Yucatan spice blend (contains paprika, black pepper, garlic, allspice, coriander, vanilla, parsley) – skip this or improvise!

1.5 lb flank steak

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a non-metallic bowl or measuring cup and whisk it all up.  TASTE IT, and adjust seasoning.  You can have all the fun you want improvising on marinades, as long as you have the acid / oil ratio going.  Go crazy with the flavor combinations!

So – now you can plop the meat into a large zip-top bag and then pour in the marinade.  Press as much air out as you can, zip that bag and give the meat a nice little mash-about in the marinade.   Stash ‘er in the ol’ fridge.

I marinated this for maybe 4 hours.  When you’re ready to cook, light a grill and make sure it’s, well, pretty hot. I use a classic Weber charcoal grill and hardwood charcoal (not briquets, which I think have some kind of chemicals in them).   I just fill that little charcoal chimney thing until the coals are glowing orange, starting to turn white, and carefully pour them into the grill.   Very carefully.

This is where I share my secret to perfect grilling, every time, I swear to God.  Get your supplies ready:

Wooden board, tongs, a digital timer and a digital thermometer.  With these tools – and a big, fat fire-proof mitt – you will not go wrong.  The minute that meat hits the grill, put the hat on (the lid) and set your timer for 5 minutes.  Do not stray.  Do not get distracted.  Do not go inside and get another glass of wine.  Do not answer the phone.  Just meditate for 5 minutes on how great your dinner is going to be.  When the timer goes off, flip the meat with the tongs, replace the hat and set the timer for another 5 minutes.  Again, stick with it here – you only have 5 more minutes of concentration to go!  When the timer goes off, remove the meat with tongs, to your handy wooden board, and tent it with foil.  LET IT REST for at least 5 minutes.   During this time, shut the grill down, by closing those top holes and replacing the lid.

Then, carve in slender slices against the grain, like this:

Serve with your choice of sides.  I chose steamed asparagus with lemon juice,  olive oil and Maldon sea salt, and potato salad and it felt like … summer on a plate!  Enjoy!  And I can”t help this: flank you very  much for reading my post and/or trying this recipe!

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