Spinach + Raisins + Pine Nuts; Rice + Mushrooms (Andorra)

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: Okay guys so the title of this post is pretty much the main ingredients for the two dishes we made for Andorra, because the dishes are literally called “Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts” and “Rice with Mushrooms.”  Apparently Andorra is not creative with their side dish titles, and I am feeling uncreative in terms of trying to come up with new titles for them, so we’re going with it.

We chose to do these dishes instead of a “main dish” for Andorra because their entrées seemed to primarily involve things like boar, kid (as in the baby goat), pig spine, hambone, lamb, veal, and black pudding (not a dessert. look it up.).  Sometimes all at once.  It was a little bit terrifying and we are kind of poor and also not into consuming eighteen different kinds of meat at the same time, so we decided that we would do something a little unconventional and make two vegetarian side dishes instead.  Turns out this was a pretty great idea!

not our most interesting-looking, but tasty!

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Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with Avocados

March 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

E: The title here is a bit of a misnomer. The pizza doesn’t actually have roasted red peppers on it, though that would be a good idea. No, instead it is the sauce that contains the peppers. As a topping we used some orange bell peppers though, to make a sort of spiced vegetable mixture with onions, mushrooms, and cumin. And on top (not pictured until the very end) we placed thin slices of avocado (or not-so-thin in Joanna’s case—she’s an avocado fiend).

and we knighted it sir pizza stone---the pizza was good too

But aside from this, there’s something else noteworthy about this post. It is the inauguration of one of our Christmas presents. Joanna’s parents kindly bestowed upon us a pizza stone, something we have been yearning for since we started making pizza and first had to use an aluminum baking sheet. We don’t have a pizza peel at the moment, so we haven’t been heating the stone up beforehand and thus our crusts haven’t been changed beyond recognition. But the stone certainly helps in getting a nicely symmetric pizza, and seems to promote even heating as well. If you can find one that isn’t cracked in half (this is apparently a problem with ones ordered from the web, so go to a kitchen store where you can handle the stone first), we do suggest you get one if you are serious about pizza.

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The Veggie-Lover’s Quiche

March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

J: A couple years back, Erik introduced me to the versatility of the simple quiche.  Of course, I had eaten (and loved!) quiche before, but I suppose it never really occurred to me just how much fun you can have playing with different ingredients and flavors to make a breakfast quiche, dinner quiche, or maybe even dessert quiche if you wanted. (Also, as a side note, quiche is a really fun word.  I always want to pronounce it “kweesh” just for the lulz.)

Anyway, while we were home for the holidays this year, for one of our big meals we decided a quiche would be a perfect side-dish.  And, to have some semblance of being healthy, we decided to add a ton of vegetables to it.  That totally cancels out all the eggs and milk that go into it, right?  …right?

look at all that green!

We decided to make the crust from scratch using a simple pie dough recipe from Joy of Cooking, mostly because I will take any and every opportunity to play with dough, but if you are not so zealous about that — or simply don’t have time — you can do a simple pat-in-the-pan crust or of course buy a premade crust if you like.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

J: Whenever we make pizza, there’s always some sauce leftover, and it’s always a struggle to use it up before it goes bad.  In the past, we’ve come up with various solutions — make it into pasta sauce, make more pizza (obviously), etc. — but this time we wanted to actually make something more meal-like instead of just thrown together.  So, I had the idea of re-purposing the sauce to make a chicken parmesan-type dish, only instead of frying the chicken, as is often done, we just baked it instead.  Simpler, less messy, and healthier!  This is a fantastic way to use up tomato sauce of any kind, and I’m pretty sure it’ll become one of our standards.  It honestly turned out much better than expected — I think we were both sort of expecting it to be a perfectly unobjectionable but unremarkable dish, and it was actually a knockout dinner.  Give it a try!

what a wholesome meal!
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Sole with Criminis, Leeks, and Asparagus

January 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

E: For Christmas, we received Tom Colicchio’s book Think Like A Chef from my cousin Kristina and her husband Patrick—thank you both very much! We decided to make some recipes from the book over the holidays as a way to test it out. There’s a lot of great stuff in the book, and it looks like a great guide to a lot of things. Colicchio certainly likes his butter, so this isn’t the sort of cookbook you work out of every day. Instead I think it is best used for occasional special events. However, there are a good number of recipes that, with small modifications, could make for reasonable everyday fare.

looks a little messy but tastes good

This dish, however, is not one of them. This is a version of one his recipes that uses morels, ramps, and asparagus. However as neither morels nor ramps were available, we made some substitutions. The real killer in this dish is the beurre fondue—it is excellent, giving a wonderful buttery flavor without being greasy. Beurre fondue is basically butter whisked into some water, and it provides a buttery, creamy sauce that isn’t too oily or overpowering. It doesn’t feel too fatty on the palette, but considering that the recipe as written uses 2 sticks of butter (we made do with 1), this isn’t something you’d want to eat daily. « Read the rest of this entry »

Coq au Vin

November 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

E: Here’s another family recipe finally seeing the light of the internet for the first time. I don’t know where it came from initially, but I think it is pretty good. My mother has been making coq au vin approximately like this for years (I say approximately because she doesn’t usually measure anything) and I quite like it. I’ve made some slight changes, mostly to give it a bit more onion and garlic flavor, but the recipe is pretty much preserved from how I received it when I asked her to write it down for me in college.

yes this is rooster in wine

You can make it equally well with red or white wine, and I’ve seen recipes that do it either way. I tend to use white because the end product is prettier, but I think you can use whatever you have at the time. It certainly won’t turn out bad. I’ve also made it using vermouth when I didn’t want to open a bottle of wine and I found that definitely worked ok too.

This is a classic dish that you simply have to make at some point. But please pronounce it correctly. If you say it “cocoa vinn” I will send some angry Frenchman to find you and teach you how to say it the right way. « Read the rest of this entry »

Hawaiian Veggie Burgers

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

E: This is a “burger” in that it is a bunch of food stacked on bread. It is not a burger in the traditional sense of ground materials formed into a patty. I guess this should more properly be called a Hawaiian veggie stack, but I’ve called these burgers for a long time and so it will remain.

I got this recipe from my mother, who acquired it during a trip to Hawaii (specifically, it’s from a restaurant in Lahaina, Maui) many years ago. It has been a family favorite since then. I’ve changed the recipe a little due to my tastes, but I include as optional some of the original ingredients that I usually omit.

these "burgers" are really easy and really tasty

These burgers are really quick to make. Ours took some time because we made more of the brioche buns ourselves. But if you have buns already, or wish to use bread or English muffins (as the original recipe specifies) you can probably whip these together in 30 minutes or less. « Read the rest of this entry »

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