Category Archives: Difficulty – Dishwasher Easy

Broad Bean Paté

Oh, we are so remiss in posting here! But I just made up a little recipe I had to share…

I was pretty excited to see a new little grass roots ‘hippy’ food shop, Locavore, open directly across the street from me. After living in Oregon for 10 years, one of the (few) things I’ve missed in the UK was the availability of fresh, local – and affordable – farm produce and meat. I mean, of course it is here, but it is often rather spendy, and the whole local/slow food thing has really only caught on in the more ‘twee’ classes.

In any case, this shop is tiny, but they get a regular supply of things grown locally (including my actual neighbourhood – they’ve been working with the community to build urban gardens). But in addition, they sell wonderful Scottish products like rapeseed oil, oatcakes, highland cheeses, farm-fresh eggs, and perhaps my favourite, delicious local pork and beef sausages, and lamb.

They have also recently started a veg subscription service, another thing I used to partake of in the Pacific NW. For just £5, I get a wee bag of fresh veg every Friday. This is my second week, and I barely dipped into last weeks. Here is the haul from this week – check out the size of the courgette!

That pork & apple sausage snuck into the picture too, jealous? £5 for all that!

I have about double the amount of those massive broad beans adding in last week’s bag, so I decided I might turn them into a hummus-like paté – what a good idea that was! It was very easy too, so here is my narrative-style recipe, as usual without solid measurements:

I split open the pods, then blanched the beans in boiling water for about 5 minutes – it yielded about 2 cups. Rinsed them in cool water, then through them in my food processor with a few leaves from the basil plant I’ve managed to not murder, a heaping teaspoon dijon mustard, the juice of half a lemon, and two big pinches of sea salt.


I pulsed this a bit, then I poured in some garlic flavoured cold-pressed rapeseed oil I got at the shop. It is really nice and rather potent, but if I didn’t have this I would simply use fresh garlic (probably 2 cloves) and olive oil. So the next bit is a process of blending, scraping, and drizzling in oil until you get a nice creamy consistency as you like. Because that rapeseed oil is very garlicky, I switched to olive oil after about 2 tablespoons. In all I think it has about 4ish tbs of oil.

When it was as I liked, I scooped it into a bowl and added a bit more salt, pepper, lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, and mixed it in. How you eat it is up to you, it would be lovely with pita, crudite, tortilla chips… but I spread mine on some lovely fresh walnut bread I had, toasted just to warm.

And oh, hey, look at me, this recipe is VEGAN. Crazy. And it is every bit as good as it looks!

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Filed under Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Mediterranean, Quick, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian

Conchiglie con Langostinos un Pomodori Secchi Salsa di Mornay

Last evening as I wondered what to make for dinner, I decided to head to the local market for some inspiration.  I was so very pleased to find that our local fish monger had gotten some langostinos in from Chile.  My mind began humming.  How would I choose to prepare these tonight?  There are some favorite answers for those familiar with langostinos:  scampi, “mock lobster” casserole or bisque, little appetizers.  However, I was feeling the need for comfort food since the weather was cold and rainy, and well on its way to stormy.  I decided to cook what is essentially a very tasty gourmet mac n’ cheese.

“But, Lady Eva, first things first.  What are langostinos?”

Langostinos are commonly referred to as ‘langostino lobsters’, but in reality are not actually lobsters at all.  Also called squat lobsters (the mind wanders thinking about the classic B-52s song rewritten as Squat Lobster, but I digress), these tasty creatures are actually crustaceans of the families Galatheidae, Chirostylidae and Kiwaidae and are most closely related to crabs.

Langostinos - rinsed and thawed

And now the recipe (admittedly, I merely added things to taste so not everything has measurements for you):

Ingredients:

For the saute

  • 8 ounces frozen (or fresh) langostinos, rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • pignoli
  • fresh basil

For the Mornay Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heated milk
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated white cheddar
  • Worcestershire sauce

~ 12 oz conchiglie (fresh or dried)

conchiglie pasta

Directions:

  1. Prepare the conchiglie according to package directions and set aside with a drizzle of oil to coat.

Meanwhile prepare the Mornay Sauce

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add flour and stir until mixture is well blended.
  3. Gradually stir in hot milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sauce begins to boil and thickens.
  4. Simmer, stirring frequently, over very low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in white cheddar cheese, and continue to stir over low heat until cheese is melted
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste

For the langostino saute

  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat
  2. Once oil is hot, saute the sliced garlic for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add langostinos and cook for ~3 minutes
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Stir-in sun-dried tomatoes until flavors are incorporated
  6. In a separate bowl stir the conchiglie and the Mornay sauce together

To plate, top the conchilglie with the langostino mixture.  Finish with toasted pignoli and fresh basil.

Buon Appetito!!

Eva

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Filed under Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner, Italian, Seafood

Lunch: Herbed Chicken Sandwich with Tarragon Mustard

I’m a mustard slut.

I’ve noticed that these days, when I travel about (and lucky me, living and working in Europe!), I am bringing back foodie delights for my souvenirs, mostly condiments. And mostly mustard.

Partridge's Royal Warrent. Posh!

I had a gorgeous herbed mustard that I brought back from Paris last summer, and I tried to make it last, but alas. So on my recent sojourn to London, after spending the afternoon in the Saachti Gallery with a friend, I discovered the divine Partridge’s in posh Sloan Square. (My life isn’t always so glamourous, so I have to mark these moments as they come!) I think part of the reason I have been buying nice mustard is it doesn’t take a huge outlay of cash to buy something really nice that can doctor up a boring sandwich or flavour an ordinary dish. I said in an earlier post, nice condiments can alleviate feelings of ‘not eating well’ when your wallet is thin.

So today, I made a chicken sandwich – simply sauteed the breast in some Olive Oil, seasoned salt, and herbes de provence – then on a whim, threw some garlic stuffed olives in the pan and fried them too. This softened them a bit, but also really brought out the salt, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a salt-lover. I then toasted a whole grain roll I picked up at the local deli, and spread on a layer of  divine tarragon mustard from La Moutarderie Fallot.

Et voila!

Herbed Chicken Sandwich with Tarragon Mustard and Fried Garlic Olives

Bon appétit!

Rowan

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Filed under Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, French, Lunch, Mediterranean

Beef Stew with Gnocchi

This is a variation of a stew recipe that I found in a nondescript magazine while waiting for Rosette in the orthodontist’s office.  The original recipe was lacking in spices and interest, but the potential was there.  I chose to cook this in the oven, but it would be well-suited to a crock pot or slow cooker on busy days.

Please let me know what you think, if decide to try it.

Beef Stew with Gnocchi (via Creative Commons search)

Ingredients

1.25  pounds chuck steak, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
12 ounces Portobello mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or more)
8 oz frozen pearl onions
2 cups  99% fat free beef broth
3/4 cup dry red wine

3 bay leaves

(All spices listed below are to be added to your taste – I honestly did not measure them.)

dried thyme
oregano
garam masala
cayenne pepper
red pepper flakes

17.5 ounces gnocchi
fresh Italian parsley – chopped

In a large bowl toss together steak, flour, salt and pepper.  Place steak in enameled cast iron french oven (4 or 5 qt).  Add chopped vegetables, garlic, onions, broth, wine, and seasoning.

Cook in 350 degree (convection, if you have it)  oven for 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile cook gnocchi according to package directions.  If this is done early in the process, drain, add olive oil and set aside until stew has cooked.

Remove stew from oven.  Gently stir gnocchi into the stew.

I suggest that you plate in large bowls and garnish with the fresh Italian parsley and fleur de sel.

Hope you enjoy!

Eva

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Filed under Beef, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner

Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love pistachios. By far they are my favourite nut and I’ll put them in anything I can. Of course pistachios and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so I made cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup crushed pistachios

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Crush Pistachios. I like to just put them under a towel and take the rolling pin to them until they’re as crushed as I like.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, butter, brown sugar and white sugar until you’ve got it well mixed and most of the brown sugar lumps are gone or small.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla .

Mix in the chocolate chips and pistachios.

Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

~Kostika

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Filed under Cookies, Dessert, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy

Pork braised with soy sauce and spices

A few years ago I started venturing on beyond stir-fries in my explorations into Chinese cooking. Along the way I discovered the wonderful world of red-cooking, a Chinese braising technique in which soy sauce is a significant component of the braising liquid. Used most often on pork, it turns the outside of the meat a lovely reddish color, and imparts that wonderful soy-sauce savoriness to the whole dish.

This recipe is a simplified version of the red-cooking technique that I adapted from a number of sources. It’s totally dead-easy, but it does take a long time to let the meat do the full low-and-slow braise to get properly tender. This of course makes this dish a great candidate for crock pot cookery (only dropping the bit about taking off the lid and turning the meat every now and then, since crock pots don’t like that). But even if you do it in a conventional cooking pot it requires minimal intervention.

You can do this recipe with any number of pork braising cuts–it’s especially glorious with fresh pork belly. Here I used a bone-in pork shoulder blade roast, with some of the skin layer intact. If you really dislike the skin, get a skinless cut or remove the skin. But I invite you to give the skin-on version a chance–the Chinese consider the jelly-soft braised skin a particular delicacy, and I don’t blame ’em.

Ingredients:

  • Approx. 4 lb. pork braising cut (shoulder, Boston butt, fresh ham, belly pork, etc.), preferably with a modest layer of fat plus skin
  • 1/4 cup Chinese soy sauce (Pearl River Bridge is a good brand)
  • 1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 or 4 chunks Chinese yellow rock sugar candy, or 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 quarter-sized slice fresh ginger root, or 1 tsp. dried ground ginger
  • 1 or 2 star anise pods (optional)
  • 1 small dried red chile (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the meat in a heavy thick-bottomed braising pot with a well-fitting lid, that holds the meat comfortably but without a lot of excess room. Pour or sprinkle remaining ingredients over meat; add about 2 cups water, or enough to come just barely halfway up around the meat. Turn the meat over a few times to get it bathed in the liquid on all sides.
  2. Bring the pot just up to a boil on the range-top, then back it off to the lowest simmer you can manage–the liquid should just be burbling gently, not actually bubbling. Put the lid on and let it simmer for a good couple of hours, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart. Occasionally check the pot to make sure the simmer is staying at the right level, and to turn the roast so all sides get their turn in the cooking liquid. Be gentle when turning the meat, especially as it gets tender and more breakable–tongs and a wide-blade spatula help a lot. (Alternatively, you can do the braise in an ovenproof lidded casserole in a pre-heated 350F oven.)
  3. When the meat is done, remove it to a platter to rest before carving. Strain the cooking liquid; either spoon off the fat on top, or put it in the fridge overnight so you can remove the congealed fat more easily.
  4. Slice the meat across the grain, and in such a way that each slice has a bit of the skin on top. Serve with white rice, with a bit of the cooking liquid spooned over the meat and the rice.

Variation: You can add chunked braising vegetables to the pot for the last 30 to 60 minutes of cooking. I especially like carrots, turnips, and/or daikon braised this way.

Servings: 6 to 8 if the main dish; a lot more if part of a multi-course Asian dinner.

–posted by Denny Kozlov

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Filed under Asian, Chinese, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner, Long but worth it!, Meat

More Simple Things: Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

When I was a kid my mom used to make tomato sauce that was heavenly. Every summer we’d can fresh tomatoes and she’d use them throughout the year in many thing. By far my favourite was her tomato sauce. She’d cook it for a day or two in the slow cooker using whatever leftover meat we had in the house or just normal ground beef.

I don’t have any freshly canned tomatoes, but I do have tinned tomatoes. These are just as good and turn out as lovely of a result.

The ingredients are simple and need only a little prep for a great result.

I put a lot of herbs in mine, but you really only need 3 herbs and some salt and pepper. Dried herbs are always a good option when slow cooking with plenty of liquid. As long as they aren’t too old they’ll give plenty of flavour to your cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 4x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomatoes (Plum or Romas suggested)
  • 2 Medium White Onions – Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Basil
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 250g Ground Beef (optional)

If you’re using ground beef, brown it in a pan now.

Combine the tomatoes, chopped onion and any meat you’re adding in your slow cooker. Using one of the tins from the tomatoes, fill it with water and add to the mix.

Add all of the herbs and spices and stir everything together.

That’s it. Just pop the lid on and turn the heat to medium. Let cook for 20-24 hours. Check on occasion to stir or maybe adjust seasoning, but remember that it will reduce and intensify, so the herbs and spices will also intensify.

This should make enough for 2 batches that will feed 2 adults. I like to make this up and freeze it for later use.

This is a good base recipe that can also be added to. Some suggestions would be mushrooms or even diced bell peppers. Substitute meat suggestions would be sausage or even Chorizo. And if you like things a bit spicier you could always add Cheyenne, Paprika or even finely chopped fresh chillis.

 

~Kostika

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Filed under Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner, Italian, Long but worth it!, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter

Simple Things: Pasta with Spinach, Bacon & Sun-dried Tomatoes

In my younger days, I used to go through a lot of effort to make perfect pasta sauces… long-simmering marinaras, or alfredos that were quietly and slowly heated to perfection. And while those are still worthy chores, in my harried existence now, I much prefer fast and fresh. Most of my pasta dishes now are of the ‘toss together’ variety – pick a few ingredients, boil the pasta, toss it all together.

And ingredients are in fact key. I know I am not alone in feeling the economic crunch these days. But I find if I ‘invest’ in a few really nice ingredients here and there, it goes a long way to making me feel like things aren’t quite so dire. For example, spending an extra £/$ or two on a lovely flavoured Dijon that I can then use to season my sauces and salads is for me a worthwhile expenditure. And as a condiment, it goes a lot further than splurging on a dinner out, or even a really choice cut of steak (Alas!).

So, with that! I popped in the lovely little deli on my street, and picked up some nice imported pasta (egg pappardale) and a little wedge of parmigiana to make with some things I already had: sun-dried tomatoes, capers, good olive oil… and everyone’s favourite: bacon!  Oh, and spinach.  You know, to be healthy.

Step 1: Cut up some bacon (I used 3 strips of back bacon) and cook in a non-stick skillet over medium-high until starting to brown.

Step 2: Toss a whole big bag of spinach in on top, cover, and wait a couple minutes for it to wilt.

 

Step 3: Uncover, stir, add a dash of olive oil, the tomatoes (and their oil!), a tablespoon or so of capers, stir... cover and remove from heat.

Meanwhile… boil the pasta of your choice – Al Dente, always!!

Pasta done? Toss in a nice big bowl (see top pic), drizzle with olive oil, top with the yummy mixture. TOSS! Add fresh grated parmigiana. TOSS!  “Plate up”, top with a bit more cheese, then serve with a bottle of San Pellegrino, a vanilla scented candle, and two 19th century volumes of Dante!

Bon appétit!

Rowan

PS – I should say that you should obviously mix this one up however; not everyone likes capers (I love ’em!) and the tomatoes and bacon are perhaps salty enough. I’ve also been known to make this with baby roma or grape tomatoes, sliced in half and cooked in some olive oil and garlic with the capers tossed in at the end; then with slices of prosciutto torn up (not cooked) and tossed into the pasta.

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Filed under Bacon!!!, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy, Dinner, Italian, Mediterranean, Quick

Bacon Shortbread Cookies

By popular demand and sheer love of bacon, I’m sharing this with all of you.

Know that this took several attempts and different methods were used. Like the first try had the bacon glazed in syrup prior to frying. That didn’t work very well. Sugar burns and my cast iron pan suffered.

Couple of things to explain before I give you the holy grail of bacon recipes. As I currently live in England I’ve used Golden Syrup. I’ve used this instead of Maple Syrup mainly because it’s what I have and works. You can use a light maple syrup instead.

Now what kind of bacon you use is very very important. Don’ t use English back bacon. It won’t crisp up like it’s needed. So make sure you use streaky bacon. For you Americans out there, that’s just normal bacon. Whether you decide on smoked or unsmoked is up to you, but I highly recommend you use smoked.

Now what you’ve been waiting for.

1 cup normal Butter – softened (not unsalted)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 cups Plain Flour
2 Tbsp Golden Syrup
250g Streaky Bacon

Preheat oven to 170 Celsius for a fan assisted oven and 180 Celsius for a normal oven..

First you need to prepare your bacon. Simply fry all of your bacon until very crisp. Let the bacon cool on a paper towel covered plate.

Once cooled separate in half. Roughly chop one half of the bacon. This should roughly be 1/2 a cup of bacon. Set aside, but don’t refrigerate.

The remaining bacon needs to be shopped very finely. You could use a grinder for this but I suggest doing it manually.  Chop this bacon up to a fine chop that resembles fine wet sand.It can be finer, but you don’t leave it rougher. It will interfere with the shortbread’s texture.

Put this bacon into a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp of the Golden Syrup. Set this aside, but don’t chill. If you put it in the fridge the Golden Syrup will make itself rather solid.

In a medium sized bowl whip the butter until it’s smooth.
Stir in the sugar until well mixed.
Stir in your bacon and Golden Syrup mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Stir in the roughly chopped bacon.
Measure out your flour and mix it in gradually until it is all thoroughly incorporated.

Your dough will seem slightly squishy, but it should stay together without any problems. Flour a surface and lay out your dough. Using your hands press out your dough to about 1cm thick.

Cut out your cookies using a cutter or a glass and place on a cookie sheet. You can place the cookies pretty close, but not touching, as they shouldn’t spread and will only rise slightly.

Before putting them in the oven you need to put a light glaze on them. In a little bowl mix the other tablespoon Golden Syrup and a splash of warm water. Brush a this over the cookies just before they go into the oven.

Cook for 20 minutes, but check after 15 minutes to see how they are getting along. When done they will feel sightly dryer and solid and will have a very light brown colour.

Once done, place on rack until completely cooled.

Once cooled, try not to eat them all at once. Should make around 16-18 cookies.

~Kostika

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Filed under Bacon!!!, Cookies, Dessert, Difficulty - Dishwasher Easy