Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cool Rice Noodles with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Well, we've got a few new things today. The first is we're using leftovers. The second is that this is actually a dish for one. If you plan on sharing, better double or triple the recipe/ (Depending on how many people will be eating. I really liked the way this turned out, it could become more of a fusion food really easy by adding some avocado. Anyway, the recipe is coming from the wonderful folks over at Fine Cooking. Unfortunately, the recipe isn't available on their site.

The Menu:
Cool Rice Noodles with Chicken & Sweet & Sour Sauce
Fruit

Ingredients:
Salad:
1/3 c. Sweet & Sour sauce
2 Tbls. Fish Sauce
3 Tbls. Lime Juice
1/4 c. Finely grated carrot
1 leaf red lettuce (Tear it into bite-size pieces)
1/4 c. Thinly sliced, seeded cucumber
1/4 c. Thinly sliced sweet onion (Vidalias are good)
1 oz. Thin rice vermicelli (Cook according to the directions on the package and cooled)
1/4 c. Shredded cooked chicken
1 Tbls. Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
5 mint leaves, lightly crushed and torn
2 Tbls. Unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Sweet and Sour Sauce: (yields 1/2 c.)
1 Tbls. Crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 Tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 c. Sugar
1/4 c. + 2 Tbls. Rice Vinegar
7 cloves garlic, minced

How to:
Sweet and Sour:
1) Use a small, completely dry saucepan and toast the pepper flakes over high heat until fragrant. It should only take a minute or two.

Note
: Do not, I repeat do not, pre-heat the saucepan. Otherwise, the pepper flakes will burn before you can blink. In a similar vein, when they say "Until fragrant", this does not mean to lean over the pan and inhale to determine fragrancy. Go for residual smell. The Little Birdie made a special visit to tell me that inhaling directly will cause your nasal cavities to burn like crazy. Pure capsicum smoke and my nose are not a good combination. That and the whole house will smell like burned peppers. Anyway, moving along.

2) Now add the salt, sugar and rice vinegar. Cook the whole concoction over medium-low heat just until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

3) Stir in the garlic and remove the sauce from heat to let it cool all the way.

Congratulations. Your very own Sweet and Sour sauce. And here I thought this was going to be hard.

Chicken Salad:
1) Combine your now cooled Sweet and Sour sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and grated carrot in a small bowl.

Note: Fish sauce, also known as Nam Pla, can usually be found in the Asian or ethnic foods section of your local grocer. Look for one that you recognize all of the ingredients in it. They should read something like: Fish Extract (blend of herring, sardines, skad and mackerel) Water, salt. The look on the face of the Asian checker was priceless when a white boy like me bought fish sauce. Apparently, not many Caucasians in Texas buy fish sauce. Oh well.

2) Line the bottom of your serving bowl(s) with the lettuce, cucumber and sweet onion slices. Now top it with the cooked and cooled rice noodles.

3) On top of that, put the shredded chicken, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Lastly, drizzle your sweet and sour sauce over the whole salad and toss it to combine and coat.

Easy Peasy.

More Notes:
Remember that Basque Chicken Stew that was so full of flavor? I still had some lying around, so I pulled out one of the legs and used that for the chicken here. I used two forks to shred it. Just insert the tines in an interlocking manner and pull. It'll shred really easy. It really helped to have an essentially marinated piece of meat. It brought a lot of it's own flavor to the mix.

If you want to add some flair, try topping this with avocado or maybe mango. Turn it into a real fusion cuisine kind of dish. Yeah, really quick. It shouldn't take more than 15-30 minutes to put together. It all depends on your slicing and chopping speed.

Tools:
Small saucepan
Small mixing bowl

Health Info:
3 meat servings
2 Veggie servings
3 Starch servings

::Malloreth out::

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Green Beans with Shallots

Here we go again. More Veggies for the palate. These tend to be on the sweeter side owing to the shallots and lemon. Shallots tend to be a very sweet onion of which I've grown rather fond. Once again, I'm pulling from, you guessed it, Simple French Cooking. Let's review the menu one more time.

Menu:
Steak Au Poivre
Farfalle in a Broth of Wild Mushrooms and Browned Shallots
Green Beans with Shallots
Navel Orange

Ingredients:
1 lb. young tender green beans, preferably uniform in length (4-5 inches)
Kosher Salt
1 Tbls. Unsalted butter
3-4 Shallots, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 lemon + 4 wedges for garnish
Fresh Ground Pepper
4 Fresh mint sprigs


How to:
1) First we need to trim the ends off all the green beans. Rinse them then trim off the ends. We don't want to eat those anyway. Discard anything old or that just doesn't look good. Put the green beans in shallow dish so they all lie flat sand cover them with ice water. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes so they crisp up nicely.

2) While the beans ice, fill a large saute pan 2-3 inches deep with water. The pan should be big enough for all of the green beans to lie flat. Boil the water over high heat. Once the water is at a vigorous boil, drop in the green beans. Add 2 Tsp. of salt. Ideally, the water never loses it's boil. If it does, bring it back to a boil and cook the beans until they're crisp. It will only be 4-5 minutes once the water is boiling again.

3) Drain the beans immediately and drop them back into the ice water. We want to stop the cooking as fast as possible to keep that crisp tender texture. It will also help us keep the bright green of the bean rather the grayish tint that they get if cooked too long. Drain them and set the beans aside.

4) Put the saute pan on medium-low heat and add the butter. While it's still foaming, add all of your shallots. Saute them for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. They should be translucent, but not brown.

5) Add the green beans to the shallots and squeeze some juice from the lemon half. Anywhere from just a few drops to all the juice you can get out of it. Depends on your preferences. Add salt and pepper to suit your tastes. Toss the whole bunch until the beans are hot and evenly seasoned.

6) Transfer to a warmed serving dish and arrange the mint and lemon wedges on the plate as garnish.

That's it. Simple and easy. I use the wedges on the platter to add still more lemon juice if I want it. Depends who else is around though. Don't underestimate the effect of the mint sprigs. We may not be eating them this time, but the smell adds a whole new dimension to the dish. We eat with our eyes and our noses at least as much as with our taste buds. The smell of the mint will likely fool your taste buds into thinking there is a hint of mint in the dish itself. It's a nice effect. The whole dish makes about 4 servings and really only takes about 30 minutes if you can trim the beans quickly.

Tools:
Large Saute Pan
Dish large enough for beans to lay flat
Tongs (for transferring beans)
Mandoline (Makes slicing the shallots easier)

Health info:
2 Veggie servings
1 Fat serving

::Malloreth out::

Friday, November 03, 2006

Farfalle in a Broth of Wild Mushrooms and Browned Shallots

Sorry I've been out of commission here for awhile. I've been...... distracted......... by Final Fantasy XII. Anyway, moving on. We're back for more pasta out of Fine Cooking. I hope you like mushrooms. We're working with shiitakes and oyster mushrooms. As, always, remember to brush the mushrooms off rather than rinsing them in water.

The Menu,:
Steak au Poivre
Farfalle in a Broth of Wild Mushrooms and Browned Shallots
Green Beans with Shallots
Navel Orange

Ingredients:
6 oz. Fresh Shiitake mushrooms
1/4 lb. Fresh oyster mushrooms
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO)
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3/4 lb. dried Farfalle (Bow tie pasta)
4 Shallots, sliced crosswise into 1/4-1/8 inch rings
1/4 c. dry sherry
3 c. chicken broth (preferably low salt)
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 Tsp. Tabasco (or however much suits your taste)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

How to:
1)Get a pot of water started boiling and salt it fairly heavily. Water for pasta should taste almost like the ocean.

2) Stem all the mushrooms and slice the caps thinly. Once that's done, start heating 2 Tbls. of EVOO in a large skillet. It should be over medium-high heat. This should only take a minute. Add all the mushrooms and some salt and pepper to the oil. Cook them while tossing for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.

3) Go ahead and add the pasta to the water. For the best results, the water should not lose it's boil when the pasta is added. This means a using a lot more water than the pasta on hand. It's a mistake I've made on more than one occasion.

4) Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the last 2 Tbls. EVOO with the shallots. Season these with salt as well and cook for 2 minutes. Make sure to stir them occasionally. Now reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the shallots. We want them softened and brown. It shouldn't take more than 4 minutes. Maybe as few as 2. Keep an eye on them since we don't want them to burn.

5) Bring the heat up to high and add your sherry to the shallots. Scrape the bottom of the pan while cooking the sherry and shallots until the sherry has boiled off almost completely. It shouldn't take more than a minute, but keep an eye on it and let it go longer if it needs to.

6) Add the chicken broth to the party and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

7) Put the mushrooms back in the pan and drop the heat to medium. Cook it for another two minutes. Sprinkle the thyme over the the mixture and season it with the tabasco, salt and pepper until you like the flavor.

8) Once the farfalle is done drain it and put it back into the pot it cooked it. Pour the broth and mushrooms over the pasta and stir until well mixed. Serve immediately. Top with Parmesan.

Serves 4

Not really much to say here. You really want to make sure the sauce reduces as much as possible here. It's really easy to end up with something closer to soup and then the pasta stays kind of flavorless. Other than that, it's pretty good.

Health Info:
3 Starch servings
1 Fat serving
1/2 Veggie serving

::Malloreth out::

Monday, October 30, 2006

Steak Au Poivre

Sorry I'm a little behind here. I'll get caught up shortly. Anyway, today we go with something a little more classic in preparation. Just make sure you get a decent quality meat or this is probably going to fall a little flat. Hunk o' meat with sauce. Nothing fancy and it shouldn't take more than 30-45 minutes. Seriously. This comes courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Menu:
Steak Au Poivre
Farfalle in Wild Mushroom and Browned Shallot Broth
Green Beans with Shallots
Navel orange

Ingredients:
1 Tbls. Cracked Black Pepper

4 Beef Tenderloin steaks (or rib-eye) cut 1 inch thick (~ 1 lb. total)
2 Tbls. Unsalted butter
2 Tbls. Brandy (Beef broth if you want, but I prefer to use the brandy.)
1/3 c. Heavy cream
1/3 c. Beef broth
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard

How to:
1) There are really two ways to crack the peppercorns efficiently. The first is to use a mortar and pestle (My preferred method). The second is to put the peppercorns between two layers of wax paper and do the whack n' bash thing with a saucepan or saute pan. It's up to you. Silly me, I tried to do it with the flat of a knife. I don't recommend it, the peppercorns just kind of fly everywhere, probably to get picked up by little birdies who pass on useful advice.

2) Press the successfully cracked peppercorns into both sides of the steaks with your fingers. Melt the butter in a large skillet/saute pan over medium-high heat and cook the steaks in that. If you're going for medium-rare, it should only be 4-6 minutes per side. If you want medium, it'll be 6-7 minutes on a side. If you want well done, what on earth are you doing using tenderloin?!!??!

3) Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and keep them warm, but keep the dripping that are in the skillet. (Two ways to do this: 1) Cover it with foil, 2) Set the oven for 200 degrees and put the steaks on a cooling rack over a baking pan. Stick them in the oven. They should stay warm without overcooking for quite a while.)

4) Time for the sauce. Stir the brandy into the drippings from the steak. )You did keep those, right?). Stir it up and scrape up all the crusty browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pan. That's where a lot of our flavor is.

5) Stir in the Heavy cream and 1/3 c. Beef broth along with the mustard (if you want it).

6) Cook all of it and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes. There should only be about 1/3 c. of the sauce total. Pour over steaks and serve.

I like to use the mustard in this for the extra tang and kick. Either way though, you really need a good cut of meat because if the meat doesn't hold up, the whole dish will flop and you'll wonder why you bothered. Other than that, it's quick and easy. Just keep an eye on things and make sure the sauce reduces enough. We want it to coat, not run. After all, what's the point if you can't mop it up afterwards with a hunk of bread? After you've tried the base, it might stand up to a little dill or rosemary to season the meat or change some of the textures in the sauce. Not much to fiddle with though.

Tools:
Large skillet/Saute Pan
Mortar and Pestle
Wooden Spoon or wire whisk

Health info:
4 Meat Servings
4 Fat servings (Oh well, can't be perfect all the time)

::Malloreth out::

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pear Tart with Walnuts

Yay! More dessert! This is a pretty basic tart so we have lots of variations available on this one. As some of you know, given a choice between cake and pie, I used to choose pie every single time. Now, it's more of an: I can have a slice of pie if I'm willing to forgo dinner. That just doesn't fly with me. Enter: The Tart. It's like a pie, only it has a thinner crust and only one of them. Hence, not nearly as many carbs. I can live with that. This is coming out of Simple French Cooking.

Ingredients:
Tart:
1 c. All purpose flour
1/2 c. cake or pastry flour (also known as soft flour)
1 Tbls + 1 1/2 c. Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt (kosher, of course)
1/2 c. Unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled, cut into small cubes
2-3 Tbls. Ice water
3 c. Cold water, or as needed
3 ripe but firm pears (preferably Comice or Bosc. Bartlett pears don't have enough flavor to stand up to the rest of the ingredients), Peeled, halved, cored and tossed in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. Apricot Preserves, forced through a sieve
1 c. Walnut pieces

Whipped Cream:
1 c. Heavy Cream
2 Tbls. Sour cream (Yes, I know it's weird. Trust me.)
1 Tbls. Confectioners Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

4 Mint Sprigs

How to:
Tart
1) For starters, set a rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Then turn the oven to 400 degrees.

2) Mix the 2 kinds of flour in a mixing bowl along with the salt and 1 Tbls. of sugar. Using a pastry blender or pastry knife, cut the butter in to the dry mixture until it looks a little like oatmeal.

3) Start tossing the mixture with a fork (No, I don't want you to make a mess.) and add the ice water until the mixture barely holds together. Don't over-do it. We don't want it to be like a regular dough ball of it won't be flaky enough.

4) Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it into a round. Roll it out between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper. We want the round to be about 12 inches across if you're using a 9-inch pan or 13-14 inches across if you're using an 11 inch pan like I did.

5) Peel off the top layer of wrap from the pastry shell and use a rolling pin to invert it over the tart pan. Make sure your tart pan has a removable bottom. It will make removing the tart easier by an order of magnitude. Remove the second layer of wrap from the pastry and fit the pastry snugly into the pan. The edge of the pan should easily cut off any pastry shell that sticks over the top to give you nice clean edges all the way around. Stick it in the fridge to chill while we work on the next few steps.

6) Now we have fun and kill two birds with one stone. Use a deep frying pan and put it over medium heat. Add the cold water and 1 1/2 c. sugar to the pan and stir them until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil to finish dissolving the sugar.

7) Once it's boiling, add the pears and lemon juice. Return the whole thing to a simmer and add water until it just covers the pears. We're poaching them. They should float just enough to not touch the bottom of the pan.

8) Bring the heat down to medium-low. We want to maintain the simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn the pears over about half way through. They should be almost tender when they're done. Transfer them to a cooling rack over a baking pan and let them cool. DON'T THROW AWAY THE LIQUID! Sorry about that. That liquid is prime pear flavored candy starter. That's our second bird. We'll get back to it later. For now, store it in a container (or two) and stick it in the fridge.

9) Pull the tart crust out of the fridge and spread most of the apricot preserves over the bottom of the pastry shell.

10) Slice each poached pear half crosswise into thin slices but maintain the integrity and shape of the pear. Transfer all six halves into the tart pan and arrange them radially with the stem ends facing the center.

11) Brush the pears with the remaining apricot preserves. Fill the spaces between the pears with walnuts.

12) Bake the tart until that crust turns a beautiful gold. It should be about an hour maybe 1 1/4 hours. Pull it out and move the pan to a cooling rack. Let it cool there until it's just warm. Remove the outer ring form the pan and slide off the base. Top it and garnish. I usually add nutmeg or cinnamon to the top along with the whipped cream and mint. Tart makes 10 servings from an 11 inch pan.

Whipped Cream:
1) Pull out your stand mixer and combine the cream and sour cream. Beat it with the whisk or paddle attachment until it starts to thicken. Add the powdered sugar at that point along with the vanilla extract and continue to beat it until you get to soft peaks. Easy, simple, and nice, full flavor that beats the stuffing out of any bottled whipped cream you care to name. Cover the whipped cream and refrigerate.


Pear Candy:
Remember that poaching liquid from the pears? Well, I'm still ironing out the kinks on this one, but it gives you some good sweets regardless. I've made two batches, the first was too gummy and didn't hold it's form but had a great pear flavor. The second held form better but the pear is significantly less potent. If you give it a shot, let me know. There's got to be a way to get the best of both tries. I'll let you know the next time I try it.

1) Well pull it out of the fridge and add about 1 c. of sugar. Butter the sides of a saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of a saucepan and pour the liquid in.

2)Heat it over medium high and stir frequently. We need to bring it to a boil . Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to medium and then heat it to the soft-crack stage (~290). It's going to take awhile so be patient and keep an eye on the thermometer.

3) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in whatever food coloring you want very quickly and pour the mixture into a pan that has been covered with foil and thoroughly buttered.

4) Let it cool until a film has formed over the top of the mixture and then use a broad spatula to press a line into the cooling candy. Continue inscribing lines 1/2 inch apart but do not break the film or you'll have to start over.

5) keep going over the lines until the candy has separated and holds it's shape. Once it's completely cool, store it on parchment paper. You should have 1/2 inch squares of candy. Lots of it. But it's goooooood.

So there we go. You can substitute and fruit you like on the tart. If you're using berries I wouldn't poach them, just coat them in sugar first or maybe preserves. Something to seal in the juices at any rate. Any fruit you poach like apples or peaches, make sure you keep the liquid for candy making later. There's no reason to throw out that beautiful liquid.

Tools:
Tart pan
Stand Mixer
Pastry knife
Spatula
Large saute pan
Saucepan
Aluminum Foil
Rolling pin
Parchment paper/plastic wrap
Cooling rack

Health Info:
Tart:
2 Starch servings
1 Fruit serving
1 Fat serving

Candy: (serving size: 5 pieces)
1 Starch serving


::Malloreth out::

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cream of Mushroom Soup

More Veggies! Oh wait, some of you aren't that fond of vegetables, are you. Oh well, you'll live. This comes out of Simple French Cooking but I tend to think of it as a more hobbitish dish. Yup, we're raiding Farmer Maggot's crop for mushrooms. Make sure to get small onions when it says small, otherwise you end up with more of an onion-y taste than is really appetizing. *raises hand* I made that mistake. It only gets stronger as time goes on. If at all possible, use absolutely everything fresh. If you want a really even and smooth texture, put it through a tamis at least once.

The Menu:
Seared Strip Steak with Lemony Couscous Tabboulleh
Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 banana
5 oz. Madeira



Ingredients:
1 lb. Small firm fresh mushrooms, brown works better than white.
1/4 c. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
2 small shallots, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped. (Small means smaller than a baseball. Anything larger than that, I suggest only using half.)
1 white potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice ( I used a Yukon Gold)
2 c. Chicken broth
Kosher salt
1 c. Heavy cream
2-3 Tbls. Madeira wine, preferably imported (I used this.)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
2 oz. Brie, rind removed and sliced into 10-12 thin pieces
Chopped fresh basil for garnish

How to:
1)Remember to brush off the mushrooms instead of rinsing them. Trim the stems and chop the mushrooms coarsely.

2) Melt the butter in a large saute or sauce pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the shallots and onion. Simmer those, stirring now and then, until they are translucent and soft but not browned. It should take 5-6 minutes.

3) Add all the mushrooms to the skillet and bring the heat up to medium. Saute the bunch, stirring and tossing it constantly until the mushrooms start to release their liquid. It should take 8-10 minutes but don't let the onions brown. If they do, it will give the soup a slightly burnt flavor.

4) Now add the potatoes, chicken broth, and some kosher salt until it tastes right to you. Simmer the entire concoction for 15-20 minutes, keeping it partially covered. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the simmer.

5)Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool somewhat. Pull out the food processor (or blender. That's all we had.) and ladle some of the soup into it. Blend it until you have a smooth puree. Continue to add more of the mushroom mixture and blend until smooth. (At this point, put the puree through a tamis if you want an incredibly smooth and even texture.) Once all of the mixture has been pureed, put it back in the saucepan and add the cream.

6) Bring the heat to medium-low and almost simmer the contents of your saucepan. Don't let it boil though.

7) Add the Madeira until you like the flavor along with a little of the nutmeg and pepper.

8) Ladle into warmed bowls and top it with a few of your slices of Brie along with sprinkling some of the basil.

The Brie absolutely makes this. It adds a really nice counterpoint to the mushrooms and harmonizes beautifully with the Madeira. This was the first time I'd used Madeira and I'm hooked. I love the stuff. If you can, get something from Portugal since that's where it originated. Do yourself a favor and pour about an ounce while you're cooking. That way you know what it tastes like on its own. You might even like it that way.

They say it serves 4. I think we got 6-8 servings out of this. Scale it as you need to. The odds of buying cream of mushroom soup will probably go down considerably. This tastes nothing like the canned counterpart. It's richer and smoother with a lot more body to it.

Tools:
Food processor/blender
Large Saute pan/saucepan
Ladle

Health info:
2 veggie Servings
1 Fat Serving

::Malloreth out::

Seared Strip Steak with Lemony Couscous Tabbouleh

I don't really have a whole lot to say on this one. Make sure most of the herbs are fresh. They're going to form the base of the dish and function much like a salad. I'm pulling it from Fine Cooking again, but they don't have it reproduced on the website. So here we go.

Menu:
Seared Strip Steak with Lemony Couscous Tabbouleh
Mushroom Soup
1/2 banana
5 oz. Madeira

Ingredients:
6 Tbls. Couscous
6 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Kosher Salt
2 New York Strip Steaks (1-1 1/2 lbs.), about 1 inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tsp. Ground Cumin
1 1/2 Tsp. Chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbls. Chopped fresh mint
3 ripe plum tomatoes (aka: Roma tomatoes), cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 c. Loosely packed chopped fresh Italian parsley (about 2 bunches)
4 Scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced (about 1/2 c.)
2 Tbls. Fresh lemon juice (more if you need it)
Warmed Pita Bread, cut into wedges

How to:
1) Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Boil 1/2 c. water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once it's boiling, remove it from the heat and add the Couscous with 1 Tbls. EVOO and 1/4 Tsp. Kosher salt. This will give the couscous some flavor of it's own. Cover the saucepan and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once the time is up, fluff the couscous with a fork and transfer it to a plate to cool. Spreading it out will help it to cool faster.

2) During the 5 minutes before fluffing the couscous, start seasoning the steaks with 1 1/2 Tsp. of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper.

3) Use a small mixing bowl to mix the cumin, thyme and 1 Tbls of mint. Rub that into the steaks on all sides.

4) Use a large bowl and add the tomatoes, 1 Tsp. kosher salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Now add the couscous, parsley, scallions, and 1 Tbls. mint to this mix and toss it well.

5) In a separate small mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the lemon juice and 3 Tbls. EVOO. Add this to the couscous/tomato mixture and toss the whole thing thoroughly. Taste it to make sure you like it and add any lemon juice, salt, or pepper you think it needs.

6) Put a skillet big enough for both steaks over medium-high heat. Make sure it's oven-proof. This whole contraption is going to go in that 400 degree oven eventually. Once the pan is nice and hot, and I mean water-immediately-evaporates-when-sprinkled hot, add the last 2 Tbls. EVOO and the 2 strip steaks. We're just going to sear them here so they only get two minutes per side. We'll finish them in the oven.

7) Move the skillet to the oven for another 5 minutes to finish. This will give you a nice medium-rare. Add another couple minutes if you want them more cooked. Pull them out and transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes.

8) Warm the pita bread while you slice the steaks into thin strips. Sprinkle the meat with the remaining mint and serve over the tabbouleh. I put the warmed pita bread on the side but you could arrange it around the bowl if you want.

I really enjoyed this one. The entire meal hung together pretty well. This particular dish tasted light thanks to the lemon and mint. I got away with steaks 2 inches thick and still had a nice medium rare. You really do want to splurge on the higher quality meat here. It's featured on the platter and it will make or break the dish. It also has the benefit of taking care of most of the requirements for a meal. If you're using 1 lb. of meat, I'd say it serves four. 1 1/2 lbs. split it to serve six and add the pita bread accordingly. Generally, 1 piece of pita bread will be 2 starch servings.

Tools:
Whisk
Ovenproof skillet/saute pan
mixing bowls
small sauce pan with lid

Health Info:
4 Meat Servings
3 Starch servings
1 Fat serving
1 Veggie serving

::Malloreth out::

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Slow-Sauteed Broccoli with Parmesan

Vegetables are all about cooking them enough but not overdoing it. Too often vegetables get overcooked and then not only are they mush, they start to reek and make the whole house smell bad as well. These will take a little while, but they're pretty good, although not the best for pairing with the shrimp and red chiles. It would go better with pork or beef.

Menu:
Shrimp with Red Chiles, Ginger, Garlic and Scallions
Slow-Sauteed Broccoli with Parmesan
Ultimate Dinner Rolls
Apple Juice

The ingredients and method can be found at Fine Cooking's web site available to anyone.

Once again I find myself with a disturbing lack of pictures. I apologize, I should have more pictures shortly for the dishes I'm talking about. They're taking over my computer anyway.

The dish serves four comfortably and really only consists of 2 veggie servings since the oil and cheese involved are minimal.

That's it for tonight.

::Malloreth out::