Monday, January 22, 2018

Back at it... Comfort Food

I can't believe it's been over a year since my last post. I haven't stopped cooking, but I guess the blog fell off my radar. I made a quick and easy dinner tonight with some ingredients I planned to use for soup but didn't have the patience for it this evening. Also, mashed potatoes were calling my name. 

I made a lot of soup last week (the sausage, white bean, and greens as well as the salsa soup) and I needed something else to fill my belly. I decided to just wing it and see what I came up with if I didn't think too hard (I have been watching a lot of Chopped lately, so maybe that was part of it!) I ended up making mashed potatoes with a hot turkey sausage, rainbow chard gravy. It was warm, comforting, filling, easy, and so tasty. 

I totally guessed my proportions for making the potatoes and I was just cooking for myself, so if you have a good mashed potato recipe that you love, use it! Basically, I had baby yukon gold potatoes and I covered the bottom of a medium sized sauce pan with them and then added cold, salted water. Bring them to a boil and then cover and let them roll for about 15-20 minutes. I didn't peel them because I read somewhere that it helps retain the nutrients. Also, I'm lazy!  

While your potatoes are boiling, get your sausage going. I had three hot turkey sausages left over from making soup last week and I think that would have stretched to two people, but use as much as you like! I took it out of the casing and browned it up with a little olive oil. Once it's cooked through, I added chopped rainbow chard stems (the red is so pretty) and let those all sauté for a few minutes. Once they soften take them out of the pan and set them aside. 

I didn't have any chicken stock so I used veggie stock. I think either would be fine! Use your sausage pan (don't wipe it) and melt about 2 Tbsps of butter and then whisk in two Tbsps of flour (you are making a roux). Once the flour cooks and it's thick, whisk in the stock of your choice until it's a consistency you like. I would say I used about a cup. Then I added in a bunch of rough chopped rainbow chard to the gravy. Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes got added to taste. Let it wilt a bit and then add the stems and sausage back in to the pan on low till your potatoes are done. 

When your potatoes are fork tender, drain them and let a Tbsp and half a cup of cream or milk warm in the potato pan. I used my food mill to break down the potatoes and then added them to the cream and butter and added salt and pepper to taste. Stir it all together and serve with potatoes on the bottom, sausage gravy with chard on top, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. 

I often add the ingredients here separately, but because I didn't really pay attention when I was cooking I feel hesitant to be so specific. Just give it a go! It won't disappoint!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Roasted Pork with Potatoes, Carrots, and Asparagus

I think it's been almost a year since my last post... sorry for my absence. I wish I had something big to use as an excuse, but alas, nothing. One of these days I'll have to do a post about my new adventures in baking sourdough bread, but for today, I made a new pork recipe and it was too tasty not to share!

I started yesterday by marinating my pork tenderloins. You could do it a few hours ahead of time, but I find I do better leaving something overnight so I can cook as soon as I get home because I always get home and am starving! 

The marinade is simple.  In a gallon sized ziplock put:

1-2 pork tenderloins (about 1-1.5lbs)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2-3 Tbsp olive oil 
zest and juice from 2 lemons
about 2-3 Tbsp. each chopped rosemary and thyme
1-2 minced garlic cloves (I leave this out cause I've developed an allergy to garlic-so sad!)

Leave it over-night or for a few hours in the fridge.  When you are ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While it's heating up prep your veggies. I made oven roasted potatoes and carrots, and blanched and quick-sautéd some asparagus. Everything just got salt and pepper, and the potatoes got full sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of them in the oven. 

The pork needs to be seared on all sides and I attempted to do that in my Le Crueset dish, but it wasn't a hard sear, so I threw it on my griddle and used that instead. I should have done it for longer because I didn't get as much color on it as I would have liked, but I was impatient. So anyway, sear the pork on all sides and then either transfer it to an oven-safe pan, or use one to start. I also added my potatoes and carrots to the same dish and threw it all in the oven for 15 minutes. 

While that's cooking, bring a little water to a boil, salt the water and add the asparagus, cooking it for just a few minutes. Then take it out and shock it in cold water to preserve the bright green color. I then dumped the water, heated a little butter in the same pan, and tossed the asparagus back in with salt and pepper for just a few minutes. This can sit to the side and wait with a lid on for everything else to finish.

After 15 minutes, take the pork out and rest it for 10 minutes wrapped tightly in foil. I then tossed the potatoes and carrots, and cooked them for another 10 minutes at 450 degrees. 

To finish it all up, once the potatoes and carrots are finished, cut the pork thickly on the diagonal and then make a quick pan sauce. Heat your pan over medium heat and add a good splash or two of chicken stock, a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of flour and whisk until it thickens up. Spoon it over the pork when you plate it up.  

Friday, July 3, 2015

Carrots are the Stars

I grew these carrots.  

I know, right?  

They are beautiful. They were so pretty I had a hard time deciding how to eat them.  Okay, I may have crunched on one while I thought about it, but anyway, after soliciting feedback on Facebook (thanks, friends), I went the simple route-pan sautéed with butter, ginger, and then sprinkled with parsley (also from my garden).  
I wanted the carrots to be the star of this plate, so I kept everything else simple-a panko crusted chicken breast cooked in a little olive oil on the griddle, and cooked some rice.  For the chicken, I just dredge in wheat flour, then in egg, and finally press it in panko seasoned with salt and pepper.  

My trick with rice is to use half chicken stock and half water for some added flavor.  Other than that, I just cook it according to the package directions.  I had a little extra parsley, so I stirred that into my rice as well.  

The last thing I did was make a little pan sauce.  Take the carrots out of the pan, toss them with some parsley, and add a good splash of chicken stock, the juice from half a lemon, and whisk it with the left over butter and ginger until it reduces by about half.  I then poured a little over the chicken and some more over the rice. 


This was one tasty, simple dish. There really aren't many things better than eating the things you grow yourself!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

noodle bowl

Hi world!  I know I've been absent for a long time, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten about the Hungry Monster.  

The other night I was chatting with a friend about things we have been cooking, and she told me she's been making "upgraded ramen" dishes a lot lately.  I had given pad thai the other day, but it was kind of a bust...  so today for lunch I thought I'd give the noodle bowl a whirl.  I just used what I had in the fridge- this was a spontaneous dish, not carefully planned out, so keep that in mind. You can use whatever you have around, too!

I used:

a serving of rice noodles
1 link of chorizo-sliced
1/3 of a bell pepper, sliced thin
a handful each of peas and snap peas(mine were fresh from my garden, but use what you have)
1 jalapeno diced
a handful of salted peanuts
chopped parsley and basil to taste
chicken broth- about a cup
a splash of fish sauce
a few dashes of soy sauce
sesame oil
salt and pepper

I had left over broth, veggies, and sausage, enough for lunch tomorrow, so if you doubled the noodles, this would be good for two!

Cook the rice noodles according to the package, scoop the noodles out and into the bowl when you finish. While they are cooking, saute the chorizo in a little sesame oil and heat up the broth with the fish sauce and soy sauce.  When the broth is heated through and simmering, pour some over your noodles and add as much meet and veggies as you would like.  


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

This Saturday is not the one I had planned, but I'm trying to make the best of it.  I have a cold and have been confined to the couch watching Law and Order: SVU for the majority of the day, but I did manage to get out to gather some ingredients for a baking project that I'll try and tackle later this evening-stay tuned!
Anyway, I pinned a recipe ages ago and decided to give it a try tonight, but I made a few alterations.  I found the inspiration at this blog, but after looking it over, I mostly just made it up as I went along.  This salad was flavorful, had a wonderful mix of textures, and was packed with healthy ingredients!  I waited way too long to try it, don't make the same mistake.  I also think it would be delicious without the shrimp if you wanted to make it vegetarian, but then I would up the quinoa to 3/4 c. instead to up the protein content.

What you need:

2 c. shrimp (I eyeballed this, probably could have thrown a few more in!)
1/2 c. quinoa, uncooked
1/4 red onion, diced
1 can corn kernels, drained and rinsed
1 can black bean, rinsed
1 avocado, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 good sized leaves of basil, cut into ribbons
olive oil for sauteing shrimp


juice from 1 lemon
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 Tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper

Start by cooking the quinoa according to the package, I used a tri-colored variety and it calls for a 2/1 ratio for liquid to grain.  Get that going, then saute the shrimp in a little olive oil and the garlic, just until they are pink- it only takes a few minutes.  While that is cooking, mix up your other ingredients, except the basil, in a large bowl.  Season it all with salt and pepper and then make the dressing.  I just added all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a small jar and shook it up, but you could whisk it if you want.  I only used half of the dressing and put the rest in the fridge for another day.  Once the quinoa and shrimp are cooked, add them in to the mix and stir it all together.  I sprinkled my bowl with the fresh basil just before eating so it didn't get warm or lose that bright green color.  
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did.  It was a delight!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ultimate Mac and Cheese

I know I have posted other mac and cheese recipes, or at least one, but don't make that one.  Seriously, don't make any other mac and cheese because this one is the only one you will ever want from now on.  I made it over the summer for a cast bonding party for a show I was directing and it was a huge hit.  It was a recipe that I got from a friend who made it for a party 3 years ago.  That should tell you something, that this dish stuck with me for years, prompting me to solicit her for the recipe.  I made it as it read the first time, but today I made a few changes and I think it's even better.  Thanks go out to Martha Stewart for the first recipe, and for Christine for sharing it!

You could definitely double this for a crowd, and in that case use a 9x13 dish, but I'm listing it as I made it tonight.  I'm guessing it would feed 6.

You will need:

4 slices of white bread, crusts cut off and cubed small-.5" pieces
4 Tbsp. butter, plus a little to grease the baking dish
2 c. 1% milk
3/4 c. light cream
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper to taste (about 1/8 tsp)
1/2 lb elbow macaroni 
1 1/2 c. white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c. gruyere, shredded
A little extra cheese for the top, about 1/2 cup (I had some shredded pecarino romano in the fridge so I added that also.)

Start by pre-heating your over to 375 degrees and start your milk and cream heating over med. heat, then melt 1 tbsp butter.  Toss your bread cubes in a bowl with the melted butter and set that aside.  In a larger sauce pan melt the rest of the butter and when it bubbles, slowly whisk in the flour until it is a nice thick, bubbly rue.  Then you can start adding the warm milk, a little at a time - keep whisking!  
Take a break from whisking to start a big pot of salted water over high heat and when it comes to a boil, add the pasta.  Cook the pasta for 2 minutes under the recommended cook time from the box, drain it, and rinse it in cold water.  While the pasta is cooking, keep whisking the milk, flour, and butter mixture over med/low heat until it is nice and thick.  Once it is thick, remove it from the heat, stir in the salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg, and then add the two cups of cheese and stir until it is melted and incorporated.  Put the pasta and cheese sauce back in the big pasta pot and stir it all together. 

Pour the mixture into your greased baking dish (1.5 qts), top with some extra cheese and the bread crumbs.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

This is honestly one of the best things I've ever made.  I sprinkled it with a little more cayenne before I dug in, and trust me, it was hard to wait long enough to take a picture.  I can't wait for leftovers.  Please try it and let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Quiche Conquering Day

Happy Thursday!  I know it's been pretty quiet here this summer, but I made something pretty yummy today and thought it was worthy of sharing, if only because I'm so proud that I finally figure this one out.  Quiche.  I know, so simple, right?  Well, while that might be true I have never been able to make it myself and it's one of my favorite foods, so today was a big day in the Franklin house!  

If I'm being honest, which I always am, I have to admit that quiche totally intimidates me, and yet I find it so enticing.  It's buttery, flaky crust combined with cheesy, flavorful filling, how can you go wrong?  Well, I did.  Over and over again; until today!  Now, I will also admit that I used a pre-made crust because I had one in the freezer and I figured I would tackle this one step at a time.  I feel like next time I could try and make my own dough.  Anyway, on to the recipe.  

I based my recipe on my old standby-Mark Bittman, but I added the mushrooms.  

You need:

1 deep dish pie crust (I had a bunch of filling left over and happened to have fillo cups in my freezer, so I made 24 mini quiches as well)
6 eggs
2 cups of milk, cream or a combo (I used 1.5 c 2% milk and .5 c cream)
2 c. shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)
1 c. chopped mushrooms (I used a mix of button and baby bellas)
2 Tbsp. chopped herbs (chives and parsley for me)
good pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
little butter or olive oil for cooking the mushrooms

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees and when it's ready, bake your crust for about 15 minutes.  While that's baking, get out your eggs and let them come to room temp. Heat a med. skillet to medium heat with a little olive oil or butter (I like a little of both) and then add your chopped mushrooms.  Let them cook until they are brown and tender.  Don't forget that mushrooms go through a dry phrase, so don't add more oil or butter, be patient!  Then salt and pepper them and set them aside.  Heat your milk just until it starts to steam and then start mixing all of your ingredients together except the mushrooms. 

Take the crust out of the oven, whisk your eggs together and slowly add the warm milk.  Do that slowly, a little a time to start so you don't accidentally scramble your eggs (temper them).  Add the cheese, herbs, and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.  

Turn the oven down to 325 degrees, put the mushrooms in the bottom of your crust and pour the filling over top.  Put this in the oven and set the timer for 35 minutes (it actually took mine 40, but keep an eye on it).I am not sure if my crust wasn't deep dish, or I just didn't account for the extra space the mushrooms took up, but I had a good bit of filling left over.  So, I pulled out my fillo cups, popped 24 of them in a mini muffin pan, and filled them with the leftover filling (no mushrooms.)  When there are 30 minutes left on the time, add the mini quiches.  

Serve either of these or both warm from the oven or at room temperature.  I ate mine for brunch today with my kale and watermelon salad.  I made a few changes this time, just using kale, watermelon, and hazelnuts, and made the dressing with a little lemon juice, champagne vinegar, olive oil, and a little watermelon juice, salt, and pepper.  It may have been even better!  Oh, and I did a chiffonade of the kale (cut into little ribbons) to make it easier to eat. Even better, the kale came from my garden.  So good!

What is your favorite kind of quiche?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BAAT- Bacon, Avocado, Arugula, Tomato sandwhich

This really isn't a recipe, just a yummy meal.  As those of you who know me know, avocados are my favorite thing.  They find their way into many of my meals, and according to my friend Sean who is a chef, ones where avocado just don't belong, but I think this one would be just fine. And even if Sean doesn't agree, it was delicious, so I don't care.  
I started with some good hearty whole grain bread.  I got mine at Trader Joes, but really any good bread would work.  I toasted it and spread just a little mayo on it.  If I did it again, I am pretty sure that I wouldn't use it.  The avocado is creamy enough without it.  
So, while my bread was toasting, I cooked three pieces of bacon, sliced up a tomato and the avocado, and went out to my garden and picked some arugula.  Then you just have to layer it up.  

This made for a lovely summer lunch.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zucchini Boat Tacos

I am generally less inspired in the kitchen in the summer time.  I love a garden to table approach, which means I eat a lot salads and smoothies, but the lettuce, kale, and spinach got scorched and pulled, so now it is time for squash.  This recipe was created because I had a bunch of zucchini almost read to be picked, and then I lost three of the four to blossom rot.  So, I halved the squash, used a zucchini from my garden and a yellow squash I had left over from something else, and have half the filling left over.  I'm sure I'll find a good use for it, but below is what you would need for the full recipe.  I'm writing it with zucchini, but honestly, the squash was just as good!  Also, I had left over rice, so I heated that up, but it really didn't need it.

What you need:
4 zucchinis
1/2 salsa (I had medium)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 can of water
1 lb ground turkey
a few tablespoons of diced pancetta (I had this in my fridge and added it for the fat.  It probably isn't necessary, but it was good!)
1/2 an onion, minced (I had a red one)
1/2 a bell pepper, minced (I had yellow)
1-2 tsp each- chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayanne pepper, and paprika (I like hot hungarian paprika, but regular would be fine)
salt and pepper
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. green onion, chopped

So, start by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees.  While it was heating up, I cut the ends off of my zucchinis, cut them long-ways down the middle and scooped out all the seeds.  Put a little salsa in the bottom of a baking dish and then lay your zucchini on top of the salsa.  Then start a large skillet over med-high heat.  If you are using pancetta, start that in the pan and when it gets a little crisp and has rendered some fat, add the ground turkey, salt and pepper to season.  If you aren't using the pancetta, add a little olive oil so the turkey will brown nicely. 
Next, while that's browning, mince your onion and pepper.  I use my trusty mini food processor, which was perfect!  Once your turkey is cooked through, add the veggies, tomato sauce, water, spices and some more salt and pepper.  I like things with a little kick, so I was a little heavier with the cayanne and paprika, but season and taste, and stop when its good!  Let this all simmer together for about 5-7 minutes until the mixture gets nice and thick.  

Spoon the filling into your zucchini boats, top with cheddar cheese, cover with foil, and cook in the oven for 30 minutes covered.  I uncovered for the last five minutes to brown the cheese a little, and even did a few minutes in the broiler because it wasn't as brown as I wanted.  Then top it with your chopped green onion.  I served it on a bed of rice, but it really didn't need a starch.  

I'm looking forward to leftovers!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Creamy polenta with roasted balsamic mushrooms

This was a Pinterest find and the original recipe can be found here.  I didn't really change anything, except that I couldn't find stoneground polenta, so I had to use instant.  It was my first time cooking polenta, so I think I let it cook a little too long, but it was still SO GOOD.  

After the long, tear-filled day I had in Kindergarten today (children's tears, not my own), this was just what the Dr. ordered.  It was creamy, rich, salty, and sweet.  I could have eaten the mushrooms all by themselves, but as far as vehicles go, polenta is definitely a winner.  Trust me, try this!  

Now, if anyone knows where I can find stoneground polenta, please let me know!