Tuesday, July 31, 2012

French Onion Soup

So this recipe came from the Cooking Around the World for Dummies book I'll be likely using for my restaurant class in a few weeks. I first had it when I went to the summer semesters french week lunch. I'm sure they used a freshly made beef or veal stock which made it even better! I decided to do half sherry and half white wine as well, the original recipe called for 2/3 cup of sherry or vermouth. I really should go and buy some vermouth, I remember loving the smell of it when my mom would cook with it. It kind of reminds me of home. You can also use a variety of cheeses: emmenthaler, gruyere, provolone... etc.

French Onion Soup
Recipe adapted from Cooking Around the World

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups of onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thyme {dried}
1/3 cup sherry
1/3 cup white wine
4 cups beef broth
salt and pepper, to taste

french bread, sliced
cheese, grated {I used jarlsberg}

  • Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30-35 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized and a light golden brown.
  • Add the thyme, sherry and white wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the french bread slices on a baking sheet and top with the cheese of your choice. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned.
  • Place 2 pieces of bread on top of the soup.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pasta Primavera with Sausage and Pesto Cream Sauce

What a long week I've had, normally I only work 23-25 hours but because my co-worker in the bakery was sick so I ended up with a 43 hour work week. I'm not going to complain though, I really love to keep busy. We are also experimenting with teas at work. My manager made chai on Saturday and tomorrow we'll be testing it. I'm super excited to see how it turned out.

Onto the food... this is very similar to the rigatoni with sausage, mushrooms and zucchini I made in my very first food post! I've added more vegetables to make it a primavera though. I was in the mood for vegetables, which is normal. I also added a little arugula pesto to the sauce base.

Pasta Primavera with Sausage and Pesto Cream Sauce

1 lb penne, cooked
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup onion, chopped 
1 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 cup zucchini, julienned
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste 
8 oz italian sausage
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons arugula pesto

  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans until tender. Remove from the pan and add the remainder of the olive oil.
  • Add the onions and saute. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking. One the mushrooms start to brown, add the garlic, zucchini and red pepper and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans back into the pan. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid is gone and remove the vegetables from the pan and put into a bowl.
  • In the pan, add the sausage and cook thoroughly. Once finished, put the sausage into the vegetable bowl.
  • To the pan, add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, eggs, parmesan and arugula pesto. Add this to the white wine and stir. Add in the vegetable and sausage mixture and toss. Add in the pasta as well and if needed, leftover pasta water to help thin it out.

I topped the pasta with a tomato and basil mixture. I mixed olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar, water and pepper together and tossed the tomatoes and basil in.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hibachi Vegetables and Steak with Fried Rice

I absolutely love hibachi vegetables and steak. I'm glad that if I have a craving for it, I can easily create it at home. Although, I do enjoy all of the fancy showmanship involved when dining out at japanese steakhouses.

Hibachi Vegetables and Steak

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 zucchinis, cut into strips
1-2 carrots, sliced
1-2 cups broccoli florets
1 onion, thick sliced and cut into smaller pieces
8 oz mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • In a large pan over high heat, melt the oil and butter. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and caramelize them. 
  • Add in the soy sauce and lemon juice.
  • Add in the scallions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

1-2 steaks {any cut you prefer}, fat removed
salt and pepper, to season the steak
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

  • Season the steak and cook in the same pan as the vegetables were cooked in. Sear on both sides and remove.
  • Cut each steak into bite sized pieces and add back to the pan, along with the soy sauce, lemon juice and butter and cook to the desired doneness.

Fried Rice

2 cups rice, cooked
1/8-1/4 cup carrots, small dice
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter

  • In a large pan over high heat, add the cooked rice and carrots and heat thoroughly.
  • To the side, cook 1-2 eggs making sure to scramble before adding them to the rice. Add the soy sauce, sesame seeds, salt, pepper and butter and stir until combined.
  • Add the scallions and garlic and cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes.

I served this with the yum yum sauce.


Yum Yum Sauce

This sauce has definitely earned its name. I was surprised when I first tasted it, it reminded me of my favorite japanese steakhouse's white sauce. They usually say it's best with seafood, but I love it on everything. I ended up making hibachi vegetables {carrots, broccoli, zucchini, onion and mushrooms}, steak and fried rice.

Yum Yum Sauce
Recipe from Gluesticks

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic {powder}
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
cayenne pepper {just a little}

  • Whisk all ingredients together until the sauce is creamy. Do not add all the water at once. Add a little at a time until you get the consistency you want. 
  • Refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cheddar-Ale Soup

Timmy and I had a great weekend out in Colorado, but it ended too soon. We came back with just enough vegetables to make zucchini surprise. I also added some of our own peppers to it as well and served it with basmati rice... the good kind. My brother was telling me that he's been able to buy wheat basmati which intrigues me. I'll have to look around for it.

I have to say that I love the smell of cooked mirepoix with freshly added garlic. Garlic makes everything smell and taste better in my opinion! I'm super excited to try this soup, I used to go to a restaurant in Orlando when I was younger that had the best beer and cheese soup I've ever come across. Since that time, I've been trying find the perfect blend of flavors to recreate it.

Cheddar-Ale Soup
Recipe adapted from William-Sonoma

6 strips of bacon, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pale ale
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 lb cheddar cheese, shredded
cayenne pepper, to taste
toasted croutons, for garnish

  • In a 4 1/2 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots and celery, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Add the ale and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, milk and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-12 minutes. 
  • Remove the pot from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender or a in a regular blender {I used my Blendtec} until smooth.
  • Set the pot over medium-low heat and add the cheese by the handful, stirring constantly; do not allow the soup to boil. After all the cheese is melted, re-blend until smooth.
  • Season with cayenne pepper to taste and garnish with croutons and the bacon and serve immediately.

I made homemade croutons for this soup, we always have extra bread around so I figured it would be a great idea to just make my own. Pumpernickel croutons would have been amazing topped on this soup as well.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cumin and Oregano Marinated Beef Kebabs

I've had such a hectic day. I went into work this morning at 11 and got off around 5. I rushed home to make this delicious dinner and now I'm off to see a musical called "All Shook Up" for my Theater class. I just hope I can stay awake through it all. And to boot, Timmy and I are going to Colorado this weekend. He convinced my boss to give me an entire Saturday off. But in all honesty, I work very hard and I think I deserve it!

Cumin and Oregano Marinated Beef Kebabs
Recipe Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons oregano {dried or fresh}, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin

1 tablespoon casabel pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

4-6 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes.

  • Stir together olive oil, oregano, garlic, cumin, pepper and salt, then toss with beef. Marinate and chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Prepare the grill to high heat.
  • Thread about 5-6 pieces of beef onto each skewer, leaving small spaces between pieces.
  • Oil grill rack and then grill beef. Put the top down and turn occasionally until browned but still pink inside, about 4-5 minutes. 

pita bread
tomatoes, sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

  • Take a piece of pita bread and layer with the lettuce, steak, tomato, red onion and tzatziki sauce.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sloppy Bao Sandwiches

1/8 cup vegetable oil 
1 lb ground beef 
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
1/8 cup thai red-curry paste 
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup ketchup 
1 tablespoons fish sauce 
1 teaspoons light-brown sugar 
1/4-1/2 cup dijon mustard 

baguette, halved horizontally 
granny smith apple, julienned
jalapenos, thinly sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add beef, red onion, lemongrass, red-curry paste and garlic. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in ketchup, fish sauce, brown sugar and mustard. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Place baguettes in oven and cook until toasted, about 2 minutes. Fill each baguette with about 1 cup beef mixture and top with the apples and jalapenos.
I also used some of the sweet and spicy peppers from our garden. They were great!