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Recipe: Tortilla Espanola

7 Mar

Tortilla Espanola is a Spanish tapa (bar snack). It’s made with potatoes, onion, olive oil, and egg and is CRAZY delicious. It’s relatively easy to cook, but the execution can be tricky. You see, you cook the whole mess in a frying pan and then you have to finagle it out by flipping it onto a plate. I think I’ve FINALLY mastered the technique but I have definitely destroyed a few in my day. But, as Julia Child said, if you’re alone in the kitchen, WHO’S GOING TO KNOW? No one, that’s who. So it rips in half. You’re cutting that bitch into slices anyway. Nom.

6-7 medium sized potatoes

5-6 eggs

1 medium-large onion

Lots of olive oil

salt and pepper

Cut the potato and the onion in half lengthwise and then slice thinly. The slices will be in half-moon shapes.

Mix the potatoes and onion together in a bowl and salt liberally. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions and potatoes. You want enough olive oil to barely cover the veggies-maybe 1/2 a cup? Fry the vegetables until the potatoes are tender, but make sure they don’t burn. You’ll know they are ready when you can break a potato in half with a spatula.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk them together. Pour the potatoes and onions into the egg and mix. Add a tablespoon more oil to the frying pan and then pour the potato-onion-egg mix into it and spread it evenly around.

Allow to cook until the edges of the egg are slightly browned. The egg will still be runny, but the bottom will be cooked.

Now you can do one of two things to cook the other side. If you have a frying pan that is oven safe, turn the oven to 350 and cook the tortilla for 10 minutes to set the top. You still have to brown the top, though, so you’re going to need to flip the tortilla.

Grab a large plate and put it on top of the frying pan. Put your hand firmly on the plate and quickly flip the pan over so that the tortilla ends up on the plate. Put the frying pan back on the stove with a little more olive oil and allow to heat for a few seconds, then slip the tortilla back into the frying pan and brown for 2-3 minutes.

If you don’t have an oven safe frying pan, you’re going to have to flip the tortilla without the time in the oven first. This will work it just might be a smidge bit more messy. It’s ok though. It will be delicious either way!

When you’ve browned the other side, slip the tortilla onto a plate and cut into wedges.

Serve.

Yum yum yum.

❤ stef

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How-To: Hard Boiled Eggs

13 Mar

Oh, hard boiled egg. You are a mysterious beast.

I never know when you’ve become successfully hard-boiled. It’s not like I can crack you open to check. Do you like to hide your secrets from me, egg? Hm?

That’s not very neighborly.

Fortunately, I have found a way to DEFEAT you! Muahaha!

The secret lies in bringing the water to a boil then turning off the heat and allowing you to slowly cook in the heated water.

Yummy yum yum.

You can be used in all manner of ways, hard boiled egg. I can turn you into deviled eggs, or egg salad, in meatloaf, plain with salt and pepper, as ramen garnish, with toast for breakfast…the list goes on.

Today I think I’ll turn you into egg salad.

Hooray egg salad!

Hard Boiled Egg/Egg Salad

Cover your eggs with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then shut off the heat and cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and peel off the shells. You may need to let them sit longer if your eggs are huge or you are hard boiling a very large quantity, but I always let them sit for 15 minutes and they always turn out great.

Egg Salad

Roughly chop up your eggs. Add about 1TB mayo, 1 tsp mustard, 1TB chopped pickle, 1/2-1 tsp assorted herbs (I like dill and thyme), sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper, teensy bit of pickle or lemon juice, maybe some capers.

Mash about until it looks good. Taste and add salt if you think it needs. I like my egg salad with tomato if I have it, but I didn’t. I ate it with cabbage and some havarti cheese. However you eat it, spread on some bread or crackers and enjoy!

 

❤ stef

Recipe: Meatloaf&Roasted Potatoes, Dinner Club Edition!

29 Oct

Back in September I made my friends Elise and Kellie dinner as a thank-you for collecting my mail while I was in San Francisco. During dinner, they both mentioned how they wished they could cook because I made it look so easy. While I AM pretty awesome, and no doubt my brilliant culinary ballet stunned them senseless, I assured them that they were crazy because cooking was easy. I also said that if they wanted, I would teach them. And thus Dinner Club was born! They come over every week-ish (so far we’ve only managed to get together twice!) and we drink wine, and I teach them how to make something. The first time it was spaghetti with meat sauce, and last night it was meatloaf with roasted potatoes.

Honestly, it is so much fun. We goof around, drink wine, and I basically order them about and take pictures. At the end of it all we eat delicious food and I send them home with a recipe card of the meal we made.

And so I give you meatloaf with roasted potatoes, Dinner Club edition. Also, meet Kellie and Elise. They are fantastic.

Roasted Potatoes

1 lb red or yellow potatoes

2-3 TB olive oil

salt and pepper

dill or rosemary

Kellie was running late, so I made Elise chop the potatoes. Cut them into 1 inch pieces, which is usually fourths for little potatoes and eighths for medium sized. We cut these into eighths.

Toss the potatoes into a large glass or metal pan. Coat them with the olive oil and sprinkle liberally with the salt, pepper, and herbs. Pop them in the oven for 45 minutes at 350˚.

Then Kellie arrived!

They may think I'm a crazy.

And we started on the meatloaf.

Meatloaf (adapted from the venerable Alton Brown’s recipe)

1 LB ground beef

1 C breadcrumbs

1 egg

1 TB red wine vinegar

1 TB ketchup

1/2 TB Worcestershire sauce

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 C diced onion OR 1 TB onion powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1 TB dried herbs (basil, thyme, parsley, dill, take your pick)

salt and pepper

Go team!

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together with your hands.

Kellie's mixing, Elise is chopping garlic.

Cooking!

Using your hands, form the meat into a loaf shape and roast on a roasting pan or cookie sheet (NO loaf pans!) for 38 minutes at 350˚. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with roasted potatoes and some kind of veggie. I like brussels sprouts, green beans, or a big green salad.

I don’t have any pictures of us eating because we were super-hungry by then. But I leave you with this.

And this.

Now go forth and cook in confidence! Just remember- if it tastes good, you did it right.

stef

Recipe: Fiddleheads, Fiddleheads (Pasta…)

6 Jun

Oh, the fiddlehead. What a strange little veggie. I had literally never seen them until a few weeks ago when I walked into Whole Foods and they were situated right in front of the produce section. I thought they were very cool looking, and the sign said that they tasted like asparagus. Plus, they were LOCAL! Hooray! I bought about 1/2lb ish.

I read a few articles about how best to prepare and cook them. I don’t usually have to do this but these little buggers are baffling. Plus the Whole Foods sign had warned about them being slightly poisonous if eaten raw, and I didn’t want to take any chances.

At least one of the articles said to trim the outer stem up to the coil, and then to cook them it was recommended that you steam them first, then stir fry in butter or olive oil and herbs, garlic, what have you.

Trim. If your fiddleheads have long handle-like stems, cut them to just where they begin to tightly coil. Discard the stems.

Rinse the coils with some water, because they can have little particle bits caught in them.

Steam them using a veggie steamer if you have one. If you don’t, that’s ok. You can just put them in a frying pan with a very little bit of water-let the water boil then put in the fiddleheads and cover with a lid. If you’re using a veggie steamer, fill a pot with an inch or two of water, put your fiddleheads in the steamer basket, put the steamer basket in the pot and set the pot at medium-high and cover.

Veggie steamer! So Sci-fi.

I steamed them for about 10-12 minutes, and I think that was too long. I would go for 7.

I made them into pasta, and it was quite delicious. If you want to go this route, have some water boiling for pasta. Boil whatever kind of pasta you like according to the package directions, but shave 2-3 minutes off of the cooking time.

When the fiddleheads are done steaming, put them in a big frying pan with about 2 TB olive oil, 1-2 tsp garlic, some parsley, about 1tsp lemon, and salt to taste. Stir fry them around for a minute or so, then add the cooked pasta and 1C chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to keep it vegetarian-friendly). Keep it on medium-high heat and cook until the broth has reduced to about 1/2-1 inch.

Serve with lots of parmesean cheese and pepper.

Yummy yum yum!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Goat’s Milk CHEESE!

28 Feb

I finally got around to hauling out my kit from Urban Cheesecraft and making some queso.

And it was AWESOME.

I love making things that you usually have to buy (marshmallows, anyone?) because it makes me feel oddly powerful. Like, eff you world! I can MAKE SHIT. If the zombie apocalypse came tomorrow, you would definitely want me with your roaming band of survivors. I’m not a big fighter, but I can knit (which means I carry pointy sticks, more conducive to vampire slaughter, but still), I can sew, and I can cook. I know how to make bread and butter, though we will have to find a suitable lactating animal for the latter. You know, cow or goat. When the zombie apocalypse hits you won’t want to be too picky. For all you smartasses who think you can’t make butter from goat milk, YOU’RE WRONG.

So my cheese-making experience was fantastic, except that I almost over heated my milk. One of the crucial steps in cheese making is separating the curds from the whey, which occurs when you heat your milk. I assumed that I would be able to very visibly see the curds separate, that they would be able the size of cottage cheese curds. Not so! The curds were so tiny I could hardly see them and I thought I hadn’t heated the milk enough. Fortunately I read the FAQ over at Urban Cheesecraft and discovered that not all curds are large. In my case, I ended up dipping a metal spoon into the heated milk, and when I pulled the spoon out it was dotted with tiny white specks. Curds!

So, what follows is your basic goat cheese making technique, found in the recipe book that came with my Urban Cheesecraft kit. You can find online recipes, too, but I highly recommend buying a kit from the good people at Urban Cheesecraft! It’s not as though you can’t make cheese without it, but they make it so much easier. Mine came with yards of butter muslin, molds, a thermometer, vegetable rennet, citric acid, cheese salt, and recipe booklets.

Soft Goat’s Cheese

I cut the original recipe in half.

1 quart goat’s milk

1/2 tsp citric acid

1/4 C water

cheese salt (which is just flaked kosher salt). Make sure the salt you use doesn’t have iodine or anti-caking agents.

butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)

thermometer

colander

big bowl

cheese mold (optional)

Grab your goat’s milk.

This is the first time I had ever bought goat’s milk. I was understandably curious.

Tastes just like moo cow milk. Yum!

Dissolve the citric acid into the water and put aside.

Pour your goat’s milk and the citric acid/water mix into a large pot and clip a thermometer to the side of the pot. You want to make sure your thermometer tip is not touching the bottom of the pot, it should be suspended in the middle of the milk so it can take an accurate reading. Don’t use an aluminum pot, either.

Slowly heat the milk to 185˚F, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat at medium-low. You do not want to over boil the milk, nor do you want to over stir. (So, just make sure you aren’t stirring constantly and you’ll be fine!)

Once the temperature reads 185˚ the curds should have separated from the whey. If you can’t tell (and like I said, I couldn’t), grab a metal spoon and dip it in to the milk and take it out. If it has little white dots on it, the curds have officially separated.

These are curds. I know, I can't see them either.

Turn off the heat and let the milk sit for about 10 minutes. While you are waiting, grab your colander, line it with the cheesecloth, and put it over a large bowl.

Slowly pour the milk into the cheesecloth lined colander, and allow to drain for 15 -30 minutes.

Once it has drained, add the salt and herbs if you like. I added a bit of rosemary, but although it flavored the cheese well, the rosemary itself was a little bitter. If I were to do it again, I would use something sweeter like basil or thyme.

Gently stir to combine.

Line a cheese mold with cheesecloth and place it over another bowl or a plate. Scoop the curds into the mold.

If you don’t have a mold that’s ok. You can just scoop the curds into a piece of cheesecloth and tie off the top. This way would probably work better if you suspend the bag over a bowl somehow, maybe by tying it to a cabinet handle with a bowl on the bottom. The reason you’re scooping the curds into the cheesecloth bag or mold is to further drain and shape the cheese. The longer you leave it to drain, the more firm your cheese will be. Regardless of which method you choose, allow to drain anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. I left mine for about an hour.

Now that your curds are chillin’, you’ve got lots of whey to worry about.

Pour it into an airtight container. It will keep for about 2 days. Urban Cheesecraft gives lots of suggestions for how to use whey. You can feed it to your kitty, use it in place of broth in soups and stews, or make hot chocolate with it instead of using milk or water. Basically, you can use it in any recipe in place of milk or water. They do give this warning, though-whey has LOTS of lactose.

When your cheese is ready, remove it from the cheesecloth or mold and put it in a container. The cheese will keep for a week or two.

You can use it however you like! The first thing I did was put it on some leftover caramelized onion pizza.

I also made two batches of pasta – sun dried tomato and goat cheese, and brussels sprout, sausage, and goat cheese. Yum!

❤ Stef

Recipe: Crab Like Dad Makes

11 Jan

In case you haven’t guessed, this is crab the way my dad makes it. It’s not much of a recipe, more of a “throw everything in there and mix well” sort of deal, but I’ve never had crab this way unless it’s with my dad.

Here in San Francisco (back home for winter break, woo!) it’s dungeness crab season. Dungeness is the most delicious of all of the crabs (even the ichthyologists think so, as its latin name is cancer magister, ie, master crab), and yes I’ve had soft shell and blue and even king but dungies are still the tastiest, thanks. Unfortunately, you can only get them on the pacific coast and only from Alaska down to Santa Cruz, CA, so the majority of people probably don’t eat them. Which is just tragic.

Dungeness crab season is always really exciting, because the price lowers to almost nothing. I decided to have a crab feast with my friend Jake because:

1. It was $5.99/lb at Whole Foods.

and

2. Anders doesn’t eat crab.

So I went off and got myself 2 crabs at about a pound each (pre cooked). The lovely fish monger at Whole Foods even cleaned and cracked the crab for me, so I had almost nothing to do by the time I got home. Aside from eat some delicious crab, that is.

Dad’s Crab

2 lbs of cleaned and cracked crab (If you go to a decent fish monger they’ll do it for you. Otherwise you should probably go here.)

2 lemons

olive oil

salt

cracked black pepper

french bread, for serving

Put the crab pieces in a strainer and rinse for a few minutes under cold water.

Put the crab in a big bowl. Drizzle heavily with olive oil. Add the juice from both lemons, plenty of cracked pepper, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Don’t freak out too much about proportion here. Let loose. I’d advise you not to go too crazy on the salt, though, because it’s difficult to repair overdoing it on the salt.

Let everything hang out in the fridge for about 15 minutes while you grab the french bread and cut it into pieces.

I just serve it as is, in the giant bowl accompanied by french bread. The trick is that you have to suck the lemon-olive oil deliciousness off of the crab pieces before you go crazy cracking the crab for the meat inside.

So, pick up your crab piece.

Suck.

Eat.

Mop up juice from the bowl with the french bread.

I never said this was going to be neat.

❤ stef

Recipe: Cheesy Stuffed Acorn Squash

20 Dec

I know I talk about this all the time and you probably want me to shut up, but I’m a recent west coast transplant.
In California, we get produce all year round. It’s awesome. The local variety changes, so in the winter we get lots of root veggies and greens, but the produce is there so eating local is easy. In Massachusetts it’s a little harder! I recently moved next to a Whole Foods, and they make it really easy for you to see where all of their produce comes from, ie, they label it with country/state of origin, and if it is local they tell you the city or farm/co-op if applicable. I love it. So the point is, nearly all of the veggies, even the winter ones, are from California.
And yes I’M from California but I think eating local is so important,  so for the last few weeks I’ve been eating squash and turnips, the only veggies I could find that are from Massachusetts. Adventure! Danger!
Surprisingly, turnips are really good! I bought a variety that claims to be a variant grown only in Massachusetts, and they were super-cheap and super-delicious. Who knew?
But the subject of this blog is squash. Specifically, acorn squash.
I don’t normally cook with winter squash (summer squash is totally different. I LURVE summer squash). It’s a curious vegetable, hard skinned and tender fleshed, I associate it either with soup or with overly sweet baked dishes. In fact, most of the recipes I found when looking for acorn squash inspiration involved sugar or maple syrup. I understand that this is a popular way of cooking squash, but I don’t usually like sweet-savory main dishes. I don’t eat turkey with cranberry sauce either. It’s weird.
So the recipe I decided to use has you baking the squash, and then stuffing it with cheesy orzo. Um, YUM. It’s like mac and cheese for grown ups! With veggies! SCORE.

Chessy Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash (recipe from epicurious.com)

I halved this recipe because there is only one of me.

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/2 C orzo pasta

1/2 C milk

1/4 C veggie broth (I used chicken. Just used whatever you have).

1/4 C parmesean cheese

(The original recipe calls for a combo of 1/4C sharp cheddar and 1TB parm, but I didn’t have cheddar. Feel free to make it any way you wish).

Cracked black pepper.

Preheat your oven to 400˚. Then ready your squash for the baking by cutting it in half (please don’t cut off your fingers.) and scooping out all of the seeds.

Now you are going to bake these guys by placing them cut sides down in a baking dish. Add about 1/3C of water to the baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Take the squash out of the oven, discard the water, and turn right side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep the oven on.

Now you’re going to make the orzo! Bring a small pot (like 3 C of water) to boil and add the orzo. Let boil for 5 minutes and drain. Add the milk and broth to the orzo and bring back to a boil. You want the liquid to thicken up and the orzo to become tender, which should take 5 ish minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, whichever you’ve decided to use, and the cracked pepper. Add salt to taste. Stir until everything is melty and combined.

Now you’re going to stuff the squash, muahaha! Divide the cheesy orzo into the squash halves and sprinkle with some more parmesean.

Bake at 400˚ (you should have just left the oven alone) for 12 minutes. Remove.

Serve!

Very satisfying.

❤ Stef