Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Steak and Artichoke Pesto Pizza

I love pizza. Maybe a little too much. Really, I have to make myself not eat it on a weekly basis. It includes my two favorite ingredients, bread and cheese. What's not to love??? I like to order the traditional pizzas, but when I make pizza at home, I like to be more creative. And this pizza was super simple because I used a pre-made flatbread.

Steak and Artichoke Pesto Pizza
Canned Artichokes, drained
Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Chuck steak
Grill Seasoning
Provolone cheese, shredded

Thinly slice steak and season with grill seasoning. Cook steak in skillet for 4-5 minutes. In food processor, combine pesto and artichokes. Spread thin layer on flat bread. Top with tomato slices, red onions, steak and cheese. Cook in 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake

My baby niece, Claire, was baptized yesterday. And I had the honors of making the cake and mini sandwiches. There is no picture of the mini sandwiches, well, because they are just sandwiches on flatbread. The only thing special about them was the pesto. I took store-bought pesto and mixed it with canned artichoke hearts in the food processor. But this blog is about the cake.. The cake recipe was from a cookbook, Sky High, that I got from my friend, Corley. The recipe was for a 3-layer cake, but I made two 8-in cakes and two 6-in cakes, so that it could be a cute little 2 tier cake.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
3 c. cake flour
2 c. sugar
4 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks butter, at room temp

Put all eggs in a medium mixing bowl with vanilla and 1/4 cup buttermilk. Whisk to blend well. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixer bowl and whisk to blend. Add butter and remaining 1 cup buttermilk to dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, then increase speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping sides of bowl and mixing until only thoroughly incorporated. Divide batter amongst desired, greased cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes or until done.

* In between the layers, I mixed 3/4 cup raspberry preserves with 1/4 cup meringue frosting. Then added fresh raspberries on top of the cake.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

One-Pot Yummyness

I don't really know what to call this. I used a fried rice method, but did not use your typically Asian ingredients. So do I still call it fried rice? I think I will. Maybe, Shrimp and Andouille Fried Rice. Well, whatever you call it, it was made in one pot and it was goodness.

Shrimp and Andouille Fried Rice
Shrimp, thawed
Andouille sausage, sliced on bias
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 T. sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
Ground red pepper
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
4 c. leftover cooked rice

Whisk eggs well. Pour small amount of egg in small skillet. Move skillet around to coat with egg. Let cook until cooked through, set egg aside and repeat process until all of the egg is cooked. Roll eggs up and thinly slice. Set aside.
Coat large skillet with olive oil and sesame oil. Saute onion with ground red pepper, salt and pepper for 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add sausage and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Season shrimp with ground red pepper, salt and pepper. Add shrimp to skillet and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add rice, mix well and let cook for 2-3 minutes. Mix in egg. Top with cilantro.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chicken Gnocchi Goulash

My boyfriend, Stephen, is a brave city boy. He has come to visit small town rural Illinois where I grew up. As he saw corn fields closing in, smaller roads and fewer houses, he did ask if we could turn and go back to the city. But he is fascinated with the quiet, peacefulness of the country. I made this goulash ahead of time and froze it so I didn't have to spend all my time in the kitchen once he got here. I would just recommend warming it up with a little chicken stock to loosen the sauce up.

Chicken Gnocchi Goulash
1 lb. ground chicken
1 carton mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 t. paprika
1/2 t. cumin
Salt and pepper
6 oz. tomato paste
1 can chicken stock
1/2 c. sour cream
1 pkg. gnocchi, cooked and drained
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
Green onions, chopped
In large skillet, cook ground chicken. Move chicken to the sides of the skillet and add mushrooms, onion, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, cook for 4-5 minutes. Add tomato paste and chicken stock. Mix well and let simmer for 15- 20 minutes to let flavors meld. Stir in sour cream. Then stir in gnocchi and parsley. Top with green onions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cooking for my Auntie

Dear Blog,
Oh how I have missed you. I'm so sorry that I have been away. But I really do have a good reason. You see, my mom and I went to visit my Aunt Phyl. My aunt decided that I needed to make her a birthday dinner, even though her birthday is in January... Yes, it's July, but this makes not difference to my aunt. So off we went to Indiana, and I haven't been able to put my pictures on my laptop. And now that I'm back, I present to you my aunt's birthday dinner.

Red Wine Steak and Mushrooms
Flank steak
Mushrooms, quartered
Salt and pepper
Garlic, finely chopped
Red wine
Green onions, cut on bias

Marinate steak with salt, pepper, garlic and red wine. In skillet, saute mushrooms until cooked through and browned. Add salt, pepper, garlic and red wine, let reduce for 4-5 minutes. Cook steak to desired doneness. Let steak rest, slice thinly and top with mushrooms and green onions.

Balsamic Fig Chicken and Red Onions
3 lrg Chicken breast
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c + 1 T fig preserves
2 T + 2 t balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Garlic, chopped

Marinate chicken with 1/2 c fig preserves, 2 T balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic for 30 minutes at room temperature. In skillet, carmelized red onion for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. When carmelized, add 1 T fig preserves and 2 t balsamic vinegar, mix well. In skillet, cook chicken 9-10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let chicken rest, slice and top with red onions.

Corn Salad
Corn on the cob, cooked and cut from cob
Baby spinach, torn
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 limes
Extra virgin olive oil

Mix together when corn is still warm. Season with salt, pepper, juice of both limes and oil. Mix well.

Yours Truly,

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes

I am on vacation. Every summer, I go home to my parents' house in Illinois for vacation. This vacation is going to involve a lot of cooking and visiting family and friends. When I'm home, lunch is usually just my mom and I while my dad's at work. And lunch with my mom always involoves a lot of vegetables.

Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes
1 large tomato
1/4 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 carton button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 carton cremini mushrooms, quartered
Salt and pepper
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. dijon mustard
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

Slice the tomato in half. Scoop out the inside of the tomato and season with salt and pepper. In skillet, saute onion and celery for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in sherry, mustard and parsley. Stuff into tomato halves.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thai Coconut Shrimp

My boyfriend, Stephen, has told me before, "Baby, you should make coconut rice like my mom does." Though this type of statement can carry an interesting connotation, I am not offended by this comment. I have no problem admitting that I really don't know anything about African cuisine, and would love to learn from his mom. This is a Thai dish, but I thought I would make some coconut rice and see if it measures up to Stephen's moms' rice. Luckily, (for my adorable boyfriend) he said that it was just like his mom's. In fact, this is a new favorite of his.

Thai Coconut Shrimp
2 lbs. shrimp, thawed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T. red curry paste
2 t. fish sauce
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 c. rice
4 scallions, chopped

In medium pot, bring 1 cup coconut milk and 1/2 cup water to boil. Add rice and salt. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Once liquid is absorbed, stir in scallions. In large skillet, saute onion and curry paste for 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook another 3-4 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. Stir is fish sauce and the rest of the coconut milk. Let milk reduce for 4-5 minutes. Serve on top of rice.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Steak Fries

I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself for this one. I haven't seen potatoes wrapped in beef before. Maybe it's been done before. Maybe it's a common thing. But it's new to me. And I'm tooting my own horn for it. TOOT-TOOT.

Steak Fries
Flank steak
Grill seasoning
2 large potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sour cream
Green onion, thinly sliced

Cut each potato into 8 wedges. Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until justs tender. Remove from oven and let cook slightly. Thinly slice steak into long strips, cutting against the grain. Season with the grill seasoning Wrap a strip of steak around each potato wedge. Return to oven for 8-10 minutes. Top with sour cream and green onions. *These are also good with a honey mustard sauce.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese

My boyfriend, Stephen, loves Chicken Alfredo. In fact, the first meal I ever made for him was Chicken Alfredo. He definitely prefers a cream-based sauce over any other sauce for pasta. So the mac and cheese, with another favorite, steak, was a big hit with him.

Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2-3 lbs. round chuck steak
Grill seasoning
1 lb. mini fusilli pasta
6 c. half and half
1 T. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 c. shredded provolone cheese
Over medium heat, caramelize the onion slices in a large skillet. In large sauce pan, simmer half and half over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until it reduces by half. Thinly slice the steak and season with grill seasoning. Cook steak in skillet, and mix in with onions to keep warm. Cook pasta and drain. When half and half has reduced, whisk in mustard and shredded cheese. Add cheese sauce and pasta to the steak and onions. Mix well. * I added some ground red pepper on top.