Archive | October, 2011

ok, I didn’t make these but a girl in the pastry class did.

22 Oct

As she was walking by I snagged a pic because they looked soooo beautiful and SO delicious.

chocolate bows filled with whipped cream and raspberries

I think all you do to make these is blow up a small balloon and spray the bottom half with nonstick spray. melt chocolate chips (white, milk, dark or a combo) over a double boiler (google it) and then spread over the balloon where the spray is. put on a sheet pan in the fridge to set. while it’s setting whip heavy cream and sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks are formed. pop the balloon and pull it out of the bowl. fill the bowl with the whipped cream and raspberries. wa-laaa! gurl you fancy!
as for the heart garnish on top….i have no clue, i’m not a pastry artist.

breakfast sausage in the hizzouse

22 Oct

oh hi, I didn’t see you there.
haha ok. anyway, today, I made breakfast sausage. I made it at school because one of the cool things about going to culinary school is that you gain access to awesome kitchen appliances that most people don’t have in their own kitchen-in today’s case that would be a meat grinder. You, however, do not need a meat grinder to make this because you can just buy ground meat at the store. I recommend either ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork butt (the pork butt already ground may be harder to find.) If you choose to use ground beef, use hamburger beef with a ratio of 80 lean/20 fat, feel free to even kick it up to 30% fat too-you need some fat in your breakfast sausage..that;s what makes it a sausage, so don’t go below 20% fat. 80/20 ground beef is available in the meat section of almost any grocery store.

I wanted to get all fancy shmancy though and make a delectable combo of perfect breakfast sausage meats that would be unavailable unless I ground it all out myself. So my double trouble meat combo is pork butt (which is actually the shoulder, not the tush) and DUCK FAT. Duck fat, my friends, makes the world go ’round-hence the url of this blog.

Ok, so 1 lb of ground meat will make 5-7 sausage patties. Double the recipe if you need more. Oh also, you can make this the night before and cook the patties off in the morning if you’d like!

Here’s the Set List:
1 lb of ground meat
1 big garlic clove minced (or 2 if they are small, or if you love garlic like me)
2.5 teaspoons of dry sage/rubbed sage-same thing
1 teaspoon dry marjoram leaves
1/2 a teaspoon of crushed fennel seed-just crush the seeds with the back of a spoon
2 teaspoons of salt
a large pinch of brown sugar, maybe about 3 teaspoons
a pinch of dried cloves
a teaspoon of crushed red pepper (more if you like really spicy)
a pinch of black pepper

here’s a picture of my elaborate meat grinding set up:

so assuming you are starting here…

here’s how to rock and roll this breakfast delight:
combine ground meat and all other ingredients in a bowl. If you’re lucky enough to have been blessed with a hand, use it to mix everything together. (i wear gloves, both for sanitary reasons and also because you wouldn’t want to get any pathogens from the raw meat under my nails). DON;T use a spoon, it just wont incorporate all the seasonings as completely. 
Heat a skillet over medium heat. While the skillet is heating, form a mini “tester” patty. Once hot, put the test patty in the skillet. You don’t need to add oil as the sausage is fatty enough to keep from sticking, if you are worried you can add a teaspoon of oil but don’t add any more than that otherwise you’ll have realllly greasy sausage. 
Let cook about 6-8 minutes, flipping once, then taste. Adjust the seasonings in the meat mixture as needed based on your tester patty (you may need more salt or more pepper, whatever your preference).
Once seasonings are adjusted, place patties into the skillet, leaving room between patties so that they can speak their piece. Let patties cook about 5-6 minutes on each side, don’t fuss with them, you want a nice crust to form on either side. 
and bravo! you are finished, look at how much work you did even before breakfast, you deserve a treat. good thing you have hot sausages. 

not so ramen noodle soup

22 Oct
I love ramen noodles. I don’t like the flavor pack or anything but the noodles themselves, the noodles! I love them. And I like to think that because I don’t insult their perfection by adding the seasoning pack, that they love me back. So, this is another one of those pantry type recipes, you can add any veggies you’d like, you can also add meat, chicken or tofu. 
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Ramen noodles
1/2 the box of LOW SODIUM Chicken or Vegetable stock
1 T garlic chili paste-THE BEST STUFF EVER! its like $4 for a tiny bottle but its so worth it. I use it at least once a week. 
LOW SODIUM soy sauce
sesame oil
rice wine vinegar
fresh spinach
frozen broccoli
frozen edamame
(the whiskey in the picture did not go into this soup, but by all means add it if you see fit-I won’t judge)
don’t bother salting, the stock and soy sauce, although both low sodium, are still really high in sodium. 
How to make this super easy soup, if you can even call it soup. Its more like noodles with some broth:
add 1 T of sesame oil and 1 T of the chili garlic paste to a pan, heated over medium heat. stir in whatever vegetables you are using (minus the spinach). 
Add the broth, a dash of soy sauce and a dash of vinegar. Let it come up to a boil slowly. (Just a warning, the vinegar may turn some of your vegetables a duller color, it’s just a chemical reaction that affects the aesthetics of the veggies) 
Once boiling, add in your glorious block of noodles. Once the noodles are soft, add in the spinach, stir and serve!
 Drizzle a little sesame oil on top 🙂 because its yummmmmy. 

pumpkin spice ice cream

22 Oct

Two different people yesterday mentioned sweet potato ice cream to me, so I decided that it was fate that I should make some. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I figured I’d adapt it and make pumpkin ice cream instead!

By the way, for those of you who do not have an ice cream maker, if you google “food processor ice cream” you will find instructions on how to make ice cream with a standard processor!!

So, here’s whatcha neeed:
2 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
1.5 cans of pure pumpkin puree
mini marshmallows
a dash of vanilla extract
1/8 cup granulated sugar
and to taste:
cinnamon (1-2 T)
brown sugar (approx 1/4 a cup)
ground nutmeg (approx 1 t)
ground ginger (approx 1/2 t)
ground cloves approx (1/8 t)

Mix the pumpkin, spices, and vanilla extract in a bowl until it’s to your liking. Whisk in the milk. Incorporate the heavy cream. Pour into the ice cream maker!
While the ice cream is churning lay a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet and spread the marshmallows about 1 inch apart, broil until browned on top. Remove and let cool.
Once the ice cream is finished churning, mix half of the marshmallows into the ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze until firmed. Garnish with remaining marshmallows and a ginger snap or ginger bread cookie!

Curry-ish Quinoa with Chickpeas, Almonds, and Cucumbers

20 Oct
ok so this for me is a “pantry recipe”,  you know-made from stuff I have in the house. I have a bit of a qualm with pantry recipes though because they are really only “pantry” to the person making them. Sometimes I see pantry recipes that call for things like brown sugar or frozen spinach, or oxtail-whatever. i do not have any of these  things in my pantry.  my pantry consists of whatever hasn’t been eaten yet and whatever I bought a year ago and haven’t used. and about 4 bottles of crushed red pepper and a plethora of other half empty spice bottles that I don’t remember buying but seem to have just appeared. so for me, this is a pantry recipe, but for you, its a recipe that will most likely require a safeway/publix/whole foods visit. The great thing is, tons of substitutions and add ins can be made so that it can use up as much of your pantry as possible-don’t get ridiculous though. 
What You Need (roughly..):

1 cup of Quinoa (you can substitute any kind of rice you have, however, I always have quinoa because it is a complete protein and great for you–and delicious)
1 T of olive oil 
2 cloves of garlic
curry powder
ground turmeric
ground cumin
ground ginger
cayenne pepper
ground chili pepper
water, or chicken or vegetable stock. The stock will give it more flavor but water keeps it more “pantry” and less calories and salt. 
1/2 of any kind of onion, medium dice
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1/4-1/2 of a cup cucumber
1/4 of a cup of almonds, chopped
I used cucumber and frozen chickpeas because I had those in my house and wanted to use them. 
You could really use anything you have, cauliflower, green beans, frozen spinach, white beans, red beans. I also added about 6 chopped almonds at the end because I was feelin’ wild!
Here is the brand of cucumbers I use, I love them because they are baby sized and less watery than the big ones. 
So, roughly chop the garlic
Heat a sauce pot over medium. Once hot, add the olive oil and the garlic. if I had any onion I would have DEFINITELY put it in here too, but alas,  I did not. Okay, now this part is crucial and awesome. Add in about 1 T of curry powder and as much of the other spices as you’d like..I did about 2 shakes of the container each. Then mix and let it happen. Watch the garlic (and onion) turn a rich, red, yellow color and enjoy for about two minutes while your kitchen is filled with a spice-tastic armoa. (I usually stick my face an inch away from the pot and inhale, its weird, but it smells so darn good I just can’t help myself)
Then add the frozen chickpeas (or whatever other vegetable you are using) and coat in the spice mixture
Once those get warmed and coated in the spices, pour in 1 cup of quinoa, stir, and let it toast up a little bit. 
Then add the water/stock and bring to a boil. A boil by the way looks like this. Lots of bubbles.
Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. A simmer will be on a really low heat and will have a teeny tiny amount of bubbles hitting the surface. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Don’t take the lid off more than once to check it because the steam that gets trapped inside is how it cooks. While its cooking chop the almonds and slice the cucumbers. 

Once its finished, fluff it with a fork. add the cucumbers and almonds, stir. and eat!! or put it into a container and store it in your fridge for up to 4 days. 5 if you like to push the envelope. 

ice cream!

20 Oct

okay so the first thing that you absolutely need for this is an ice cream maker. They are awesome. Mine is an old cuisine art model from about 8 years ago. They run about $30-60 dollars at target, wal mart, bed bath and beyond etc. Its so worth it.
-follow the instructions on your model for how long to freeze the freezer bowl and how to operate the machine.

so once you have your ice cream make you also will absolutely need,
2 cups of cream
1 cup of whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar

sorry that Josh is in the background, I needed company in the kitchen today.

After these fundamental ingredients, I tend to put in whatever I can find in my house or at my neighbors house. Today its vanilla extract (1 tspn), 1 T cocoa powder, nutella, and peanut m&m’s.

make sure all your ingredients are well chilled so you don’t get ice cream soup!

whisk together the milk and sugar until all the sugar is disolved. Add the vanilla extract and cocoa powder and whisk more.
it should look like chocolate milk.

then whisk in the cream just enough to incorporate it, not too much or you’ll make whipped cream.

Turn the machine on and pour this mixture through the ingredient spout on the ice cream maker. Let cycle for 20 mins. Then add spoonfulls of nutella and handfuls of m&m’s. Then try it directly out of the freezer bowl-this part is very important.
Pour into a container and freeze for an hour or until completely firm! Enjoy!!

grilled romaine salad with white beans and holiday grapes

20 Oct
So in school we have been cooking starches (pasta, potatoes, rice) for almost 2 weeks and while I am one of the world’s biggest carb fanatics, I am 10 lbs heavier and really, really full. I wanted a healthy dinner, but when I get home from 5 hours of cooking at school I realize that I have absolutely nothing in my fridge. So this is what ensued: composed salad of grilled romaine, white beans with sage, and red grapes. I know, this sounds ridiculous and unimpressive, but its delicious, and hey, I never said my food was glamorous. Even master chef’s like myself have longs days and empty cabinets. 
Here’s a basic idea of what you need, although I added a few things while I was going:
canellini beans, canned or fresh (fresh is better but requires planning)
fresh sage
olive oil
sea salt
romaine lettuce
red grapes
as i was going i added salad dressing, i recommend italian but all i had was my roommates basil lime (thank you sheila). you only need 1/2 of a tablespoon. 
parmesan cheese would be bomb too but i’ve had no shortage of cheese this week so i deemed it unnecessary and probably inappropriate for my recently expanded waist line
You will also need a grill pan. A hot grill pan. Put it on the stove on medium heat and forget about it for a few minutes. 
First things first, drain the canellini beans and rinse them (very well-that salty yucky brine they are canned in will do you no favors today). Set them aside. 
Cut your romaine heart in half length wise, leaving the bottom in tact as that will hold all of the leaves in place. Making sure that its completely dry, brush (or pour and smear with your hand) on the italian (or any kind of) dressing. 
Now, lets discuss grilling lettuce. It sounds odd, I know. but if you are like me, eating a cold heap of vegetables for dinner after a long day just doesn’t cut it. Grilling a romaine heart is one of my favorite ways to make a dinner time salad seem heartier and more suitable for dinner. Just make sure that you have some cold companions for it on the plate, an entirely hot salad just sounds weird. Okay, so once the dressing is on the face side of the romaine, place it face down onto the hot grill pan. You should hear a VERY loud sizzle-this is a culinary symphony. Let it go for about 7 minutes until really charred. 

Next give a rough chop to that bunch of sage (by the way, its about 1/4 cup sage per 1/2 cup beans)

Add 1 T of olive oil, beans, and sage to a heated sauce pan. Stir and add some salt and ground pepper.

Put the romaine on a plate, put the warm beans on the plate. Wash some grapes and put them on the plate too. Generously sea salt the beans and romaine. 

beautiful, right? Here’s the thing. Even if you are eating a “I’m too tired to cook and I have no food at my house anyway” dinner, you should still make it look pretty. We eat with our eyes before our mouths so if your food looks vibrant and yummy you will be more psyched about eating it. This is especially important when eating weird grilled salads that don’t make much sense. Oh, and if you are lucky enough to have someone who loves you enough to buy you fancy olive oil, this would be a great time to use it, just drizzle it over the romaine and beans.