quelle est une doorknob?

the joke is. a girl is like a doorknob. at one point or another in her life, everybody gets a turn at her.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Challenge: Fudge

Make different flavors, colors, whatever. Make it interesting. I've never made it from scratch so who knows what will happen. And if you don't like fudge, it's a great office gift for someone (or you can send to charlotte!!).

Due date: Dec 31.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Halloween starts the holiday sugar fest for me. When pumpkin was decided for this challenge, I knew the result would be something sweet coming out of my oven.

I bent the rules. I made a pumpkin cake, but it's not made of pumpkin....it IS a pumpkin!

The flavor is a basic spice cake baked in a bundt pan. The icing is maple syrup flavored. Basically, it's a package of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, four cups of powdered sugar, and maple syrup....(not Aunt Jemima)....i probably used 3 or 4 tablespoons. Any more and it would be too runny.

Obviously I tinted the icing. I used my red and yellow tubes....then threw in a dollop of my orange paste. The paste really adds more depth in color. For the stem I used an ice cream cone....the kind you don't like to eat because they taste like styrofoam. I piped the green lines which I hope gives it a more round look.

I'm taking it to work tomorrow. I secretly hope that the icing turns everyone's teeth orange.

Until next time fellow doorknobs...keep those ovens and buns hot!


Bowlful of Fall: Pumpkin Gnocchi & Wilted Kale

like my cousin, i am not a fan of pumpkin. pumpkin pie makes me suicidal. ok, not really but i don't like the stuff. i've played with pumpkin before, making a soup and challah. when i decided to make pumpkin be this month's challenge, it was my intention to celebrate the coming autumn season (even tho i lament the cold), but also to play with an ingredient i normally avoid.

i went with pumpkin gnocchi, figuring that the pumpkin flavor wouldn't be overwhelming. i know Pat already did gnocchi for the roll challenge but whatever. i also decided to incorporate another ingredient i don't usually play with: kale. tis the season, yo. the finished product turned out well, the gnocchi wasn't too pumpkin-y, the kale was mild and a perfect complement to the gnocchi. success!

pumpkin gnocchi

Wilted Kale

for this portion of the recipe, it's my typical angry asian style of dumping whatever is in my fridge into the pan.

a bunch of kale, cleaned and rough chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
handful of shiitake mushroom, sliced
a few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
lemon juice

in a large pan, heat up the olive oil. add in the onions and sautee till translucent. throw in the garlic and mix around, be sure not to burn it. add in the kale and maybe a splashful of water. i pulled some thyme leaves off the stem and added that too. i cooked this for about 20 minutes, or until i finished making the gnocchi, making sure to add a spoonful of water every now and again. at the last minute, i threw in the mushrooms.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin, either fresh or from a can
1 large egg yolk
12 Tbl flour, i divied it up 6 AP, 6 Whole Wheat

mix together the pumpkin puree and egg yolk in a medium sized bowl. add half the flour until incorporated. slowly add the rest of the flour, by tablespoon, until a dough forms. on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a few minutes. if the dough is still too sticky, add more flour, but a little at a time. when it doesn't stick to everything anymore, divide the dough into four balls. roll them out, into snake-like formations. with a dough cutter, (i don't have one, i used my pizza cutter), cut out little 1-2" pieces. i've seen gnocchi with cute indentions and whatever on them. i wasn't interested in that, i was hungry...

to cook the gnocchi, bring a pot of water to boil. add about a tablespoon of salt. cook the gnocchi in batches. when they're first put into the pot, they sink right to the bottom but when they're cooked, they float up to the surface. easy.

add to the pan of kale and allow to mix thru.

to serve, i added a splash of lemon juice. separately, the kale came out great, i would've been happy to nibble on it sans gnocchi, which turned out nice too. but together, it was lovely. just like autumn in a bowl.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm not a fan of pumpkin ...

... but I did enjoy what I made! Maybe there's some hope for pumpkinisms.

This summer, I failed miserably at getting around to making vichyssoise, aka potato leek soup. Now that the temps have dropped and fall is here, it's the perfect time for soup, warm/hot soup! I scoured the internet for a good recipe, didn't find one that I loved so I started with one that I came across from Alton Brown ... well very loosely.

You're going to need:

6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
4-6 leeks, cleaned, green leaves removed
1/2 large onion (yellow/spanish)
Half (or more if you wish) small pumpkin
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder
Vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 425. Cut up pumpkin into chunks, you'll need to remove the rind, seeds, etc. Place onto cookie sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, garlic powder, pepper. Place into oven and roast pumpkin for about 20 mins. You'll need to turn the pieces.

Clean the leeks, remove the tops and then make sure to remove all the dirt and grit from the stalk, I just soak in a bowl of cold water, it should fall to the bottom. Cut leeks in half stem-length and then into smaller pieces. Set aside. Peel and cube potatoes, set aside.

In a saucepan, add in 3 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil, sweat the chopped leeks with 2 cloves crushed garlic, and chopped onion until tender/translucent.

Add in 5 cups vegetable stock to the sauteed leeks, turn heat down to low/simmer. Add in potatoes and let simmer covered for 20 mins.

Take roasted pumpkin and cut into cubes, similar in size to potatoes, add to rest of ingredients in saucepan.

Continue to simmer for another 30 mins, until a bit of the stock has burned off. Add in 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 mins.

Place soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add in 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 cup of cream, 3 tbsp butter. Blend until mixture is smooth. Serve while still hot, top with chives, or if you want to get crazy, some crumbled bacon.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was smooth, creamy, savory and delicious. It smelled like fall.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

October Lurve

this month's challenge:


deadline: October 31st.

make it happen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sun-dried tomato bread

I concur with Lan....where has the time gone? The summer has been so busy...the days flew by and my post is super late. However, it's here. I didn't follow the rules to the "t" b/c I didn't use fresh tomatoes. I know. I couldn't find what I wanted at the farmer's markets b/c the earlier birds snagged everything. So, following Lan's cooking techniques....I used what I had in the kitchen. What I had was a giant sized jar of sun-dried tomatoes (costco is my new love), basic baking ingredients, and one mother of a zuke that a friend brought me. I made a savory loaf of bread using my ingredients.

The recipe is basic:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated zuke (some say to squeeze the juice out, but i didn't)
dried herbs (i used rosemary and thyme)
crushed garlic
tons of sundried tomato cut into smaller pieces
baking soda
baking powder
2 eggs

Bake at 350 for an hour-ish. maybe just 50 minutes. the house smelled like an italian eatery.
I made this just before the guys came over for dinner and they ate nearly all of it, so I didnt' get a chance to get any fancy pics...not that I really do much of that anyway.

Lan and Patrick, your posts look delish...nice job!
Until next time fellow doorknobs, keep those buns and ovens hot!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes

oh but i'm late this month. where has the time gone? i actually made this particular dish a month ago and procrastinated with the posting of it. oops. so without further ado... i present Fried Green Tomatoes. i've read the book and seen the movie countless times. i've scanned recipes that include bacon grease, chocolate (!), lard... oh the list goes on and on. i kept it simple. i wanted a crunch, i wanted some tartness and most importantly, i wanted a good dipping sauce that had a kick.


slice tomatoes on the thicker side, maybe half an inch. dredge in flour, egg wash and then cornmeal. fry it up in some hot ass veggie oil until golden brown. drain on paper towels.


for the sauce, i combined: mayo, horseradish, ketchup and maybe a pinch of salt. to thin it out, i add some water.

so until next time, keep your kitchen warm, your apron on and try to keep your jeans from getting too snug...
Angry Asian

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sometimes keeping it simple works ...

So two weeks ago or so - I ended up at the farmers market that sets up every week next to my office. The pickings were diverse and I started out with the following tomatoes (don't the look absolutely delicious?)

I stared at them, and frankly scoured the internet to possible new recipes to try or twist up - but I kept coming back to the how good they looked as is. All the recipes I found were either too convoluted, or frankly - too much work given the hotness of the weather the last two weeks. And so I asked my stomach what it really enjoyed with tomatoes and of course I ended up making things I like eating over three days. Relatively simple, delicious and won't work up a sweat by cranking on the burner or oven.

First up was a splendid caprese salad, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, lots of basil and a balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over top with a bit of extra virgin olive oil to top it. I solely used the heirlooms ...

Next up was, of course bruschetta. Dived roma's, heirlooms, basil, salt, pepper and of course a bit of the balsamic vinaigrette served atop toasted (w/extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) crusty bread ...

And lastly - my epitome of summer salads. Spicy tomato, avocado, roasted corn salad. I used a sampling of all the tomatoes I bought including heirlooms, roma, cherry, grape, yellow and field tomatoes with large chunks of avocado, lots of jalapenos, roasted corn, ample cilantro and a tangy lemon, cider vinegar dressing.

Simple, but I thoroughly enjoyed every bite over three nights ...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What does summer bring?

It's the middle of July which means the farm stands around here in Boston are in abundance with local fruits, vegatables and herbs. Everything is ripe for the picking and every summer I spend countless days perusing the markets hoarding vast amounts of fresh goods. It's peak tomato season, so this month's challenge is tomatoes! Cold gazpacho soups! Summer salads! Grilled with your steaks! Or simply paired with some very fresh mozzarella and basil. Let's get creative. Try new varieties, cherry, grape, heirloom, yellow, orange ...

Deadline is August 30th!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Apple of My Eye

For this month's challenge I stuck to tradition. An apple pie. It felt appropriate for July 4th. This, along with some baseball and fireworks (beer too!) and I'm happy.
I used two types of apples: Red Delicious and Braeburn. I gave Granny Smith a thought, but decided against the old gal.

The crust, which I anticipated, was my real challenge. However, this time it was easier to roll and deal with. I have to remind myself to move a little faster though b/c it warms quickly and likes to stick to the counter.

Basic crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp of salt
3/4 cup chilled crisco (i had butter but wanted to save it for my brownies)

5 apples peeled (any mixture you'd like)
1 cup of white sugar (i decreased this and added brown. i like mee dang)
healthy dashes of cinnamon
pinch of salt
quite a few grates of nutmeg (which i freakin' love btw)
2 tb flour

I tossed my apples with the dry ingredients and immediately the kitchen smelled of fall. it seemed fitting b/c although it's July, it was fairly cool for us NC folk.

I rolled out the bottom portion of the dough and layed it in the pie dish, then filled it with the apple mixture. For the top, I attempted the lattice look. Again, I wasn't moving quick enough so the strands started to break on me. I don't have the easy cut out tool that Sandra Lee. My pie has the more rustic look like Grandma Walton would have baked. I was out of eggs so I brushed milk on the crust and gave it a slight sprinkle of sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for one hour and voila!

Until next time, fellow doorknobs, keep those ovens and buns HOT!

Blueberry peach tart (not pie!)

Ok - so I was wrestling with a few different possibilities this month and my intentions were to make a pulled pork coleslaw pie, but I thought that was a bit over the top, so I decided on using fruits of the summer. Blueberries and peaches are in season, why not make a tart out of it. And yes, I didn't make a pie, pies and tarts are essentially the same to me, except I'm not a huge fan of too much crust, a tart was the next logical choice. I've made apple tarts, pear tarts, even peach tarts in the past, except this time I decided to twist it up a bit in the prep of the peaches and blueberries instead of just throwing them into a crust and baking w/sugar.

Here's what you'll need:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
3 oz cold cold butter cubed
cold water

Combine flour, salt into a food processor, add in cold (cold!) butter until you get breadcrumb consistency. Add in cold water a bit at a time until the dough comes together, roll out on floured surface and gently lay into your tart pan. Trim off the edges. I opted to try out a new silicon tart pan this time instead of using a generic metal one. I like it a lot, non-stick!

5 semi-ripe yellow (or white but I prefer yellow) peaches
1 container blueberries
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon (split into 2)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon butter

Bring a quart of water to boil and add in 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Place peaches into the pot once it starts to boil and let simmer for 5-7 mins depending on how firm your peaches are. Remove and run under cold water immediately. Halve peaches to remove pit and the skins should come right off. Set aside on a plate. Preheat oven to 425.

Take the other 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, combine with 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon, ginger mix thoroughly, add to the bottom of your pie tart covering the bottom of the pan.

In a sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of water with 1 cup light brown sugar set to medium high until the brown sugar begins to dissolve and lightly bubble and add in 1/2 tablespoon remaining cinnamon. Once sugar begins to bubble, place halved peaches into the pan being careful not to splash hot sugar. Let simmer, flip cut site down occasionally for 5-8 mins, until peaches become tender.

Remove the peaches from the syrup placing them cut side down into the dough. Add into the syrup the package of blueberries and let simmer for 2 mins. Turn off heat, and add blueberries into tart pan covering gaps. Drizzle some of the syrup onto the top of the tart before placing into oven. Bake for 20-25 mins.

Remove from oven, let set for 30-40 mins. Serve warm plain or with a bit of vanilla ice cream!

coconut creame pie

for this month's challenge i actually made a tart. but then i argued with myself that it wasn't really a pie. pies are deeper whereas tarts are more shallow. i also argued with myself over the timing. i wanted to make the crust from scratch but i just did not have the time to make it, (i did make the tart dough from scratch). there was a lot of arguing within myself this month.

so i chose the coconut cream pie. actually, jason did. what happened was that he requested it for a bbq but i was so embarrassed by how it kinda looked, i ended up buying it frozen (the horror, i know) but i still did have the ingredients hanging out. so i brought it for another cookout. (it was also a month of bbqs)

coconut cream pie

nuria tasted the filling, it was too sweet for her liking. for me, i didn't taste it, i don't like coconut.

i used this recipe: Cheater's Coconut Cream Pie

i think i will do this pie again, but in mini version, for jason. it's not often that i bake for him.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ode to Jade

for years i have called my youngest sister, jadey pie. well, really since she was a baby. last night summer and i bought our tickets to see her in san antonio and we're SO excited to see her in a couple of months.

this month's challenge will be pie. sweet or savory, whatever puckers your lips. extra points for making your own dough.

deadline: July 5

Thursday, May 21, 2009

16 days later...

better late than never right? i was in love with this whole idea of using herbs for the challenge. however, when it came down to it, i couldn't think of anything to save my life....preoccupied with this and that. i thought i'd just throw something together with a few ingredients that i really love. i chose basil because it is my favorite. i grow it every year in my backyard....for cooking and just because i love to smell it.

i made up this little pizza with pre-made dough (i can hear the whispers), mozz cheese, garlic, evoo, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes. i spread the evoo on the dough and on the edges. then i crushed garlic and spread that on top of the oil. next came the mozz cheese. i sliced up the sun-dried tomatoes and tore the basil cause Grandpa Emanuel says basil bruises if you cut it. i layered those around the pie and stuck it in the oven for 10-ish minutes.

the result? i really liked it....and then it hit me...i forgot my spinach. i think that would have added another level of taste,but either way, i really gobbled it up and so did matt. it had a fresh, light, taste that you can't get at pizza hut. i'm just sayin'....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lavender Lament

it's just been one of those months. it's been rainy and dreary, sapping one of their energy and in my case, inspiration. Spring should be a time of rejuvenation, not lackluster, half hearted attempts in the kitchen. plus, my challenge for this month is awesome: using herbage. spring herbage at that.

i chose to use lavender, which incidentally is now going to be my color for the summer. i've played with lavender before, liking the fresh earthy taste. it's not as awesome as thyme but i do like it alot.

025 (2)

this past month i've made 3 loaves of bread. one recipe was actually for Rosemary Olive Oil Bread that a fellow twi-friend shared with me. it did come out well but i forgot to take pictures. next, i used a romantic rosemary bread recipe, substituting lavender. the first go, i brought half the loaf into work. the second half i breaded for another food challenge. today's loaf will go towards a panzanella salad for dinner. i'm thinking the floral scent will add a lovely spring taste to it. :)

Romantic Lavender Bread
from recipezaar

3 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (120F)
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh rosemary or fresh lavender blossoms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon salt
6 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
yellow cornmeal, as needed
coarse salt, for sprinkling on loaves (optional)
spray bottle filled with cold water, for spritzing loaves

027 (2)

Combine yeast and lukewarm water until well blended and let sit about 10 minutes- it should look foamy and thick (if your water was too hot or your yeast is bad, it will not get foamy and you'll need to start over).

Combine buttermilk, oil, rosemary (or lavender), 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp salt in a mixer bowl, then add the yeast mixture and combine well.
Add flour gradually, beating slowly until enough flour has been added to form a dough ball that leaves the sides of the bowl in one mass.

Dump any remaining flour onto a flat surface, dump dough onto that surface, and with floured hands knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.

Set dough into a large greased bowl, flip dough over to grease both sides, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk- about 1 1/2 hours.

On dough has risen, place dough onto a floured surface and cut into equal halves and form each half into a round loaf shape.
Set loaves onto a large greased baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a clean, slightly damp towel and let rise 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Using a serrated knife, slash the top of each loaf with an asterisk (*) pattern and sprinkle each with a little coarse salt (optional).
Bake in center of the preheated oven for 15 minutes, spritzing occasionally (at least 2-3 times).

Continue baking another 45-55 minutes (no more spritzing) or until the loaves sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom and they appear golden brown.

Let cool on racks completely.

lavender bread

til next time, keep your kitchen clean. seriously, you don't want mice up in there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Showers Brings May Flowers

For this month's challenge, use a springy herb or flower in your cooking or baking.

go ahead.

it's spring, get sprung.


deadline, Cinco De Mayo.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Birthday and Challenge Combo

This month's challenge happened to land on Matt's birthday. I knew I'd tie them together somehow. One of our favorite things to have on the weekends are cinnamon rolls so I said to myself "self, make Matt homemade cinny rolls this time". And so I did. This was challenging for me b/c while I bake quite often, it is almost never dealing with dough (besides cookums dough). I remember my mother giving many attempts at homemade bread and it never coming out the way she wanted...(although slathered with butter i didn't care!). Maybe that's why I don't try it more often?? the rising, the waiting, blah blah blah....

I found a basic cinny roll recipe for the dough portion. And I apologize, but I'm not going to type out all that right now. I'm beat from gardening all day and am becoming blurry eyed! Anywhoozer....so I'm doing the dough and it occurs to me...I can really do this. Everything came together too easily. And I loved loved loved rolling it out with my pin.

Ok, so after I rolled out the sweet dough I took a generous amount of brown sugar, cinnamon, and a few grates of fresh nutmeg and cut in cold in butter. That little delicious mixture was spread over the dough and then I rolled it up and cut it. They baked for about 20 minutes...and oh my. The fragrance that filled the house.....la sigh....

The icing was a simple mixture of cream cheese, mascarpone cheese (cause i'm italian like giada), powdered sugar, and a splash of vanilla. i didn't use exact measurements. i threw it in bowl, whipped it up, tasted, and then added if neccessary. if matt weren't always on to me i'd be standing in front of the fridge now eating the remainder of the icing from the bowl.

Good call on this month's challenge idea....I really enjoyed it and now I'm over my fear of doughs ;) And I'd like to give props to my stand mixer with the dough hook. Holla!

Until next time, fellow doorknobs, keep those buns and ovens hot!

Go Go Gnocchi!

I've actually only recently come to enjoy gnocchi, and that's to say it's only been about 6-8 months. Not sure if I didn't get enough exposure, or it was a texture thing, but I wasn't a fan. I figured I would take a stab at actually making this at home, thought it was more complicated than it actually, time consuming on the other hand.

For this month's rolled challenge, I decided to make spinach potato gnocchi, with fresh mozzarella and garlic basil red sauce (instead of a white sauce). I've had for the most part plain potato gnocchi, it's usually spinach ravioli's, so I thought to add in finely chopped spinach into the dough.

(4) russet potatoes
(1) teaspoon salt
(1/2) teasppon baking powder
(2) egg yolks
(1 1/2 cup flour)
half package of spinach
fresh mozzarella
(1) large sweet onion
(2) small cans tomato paste
(8) cloves of garlic
bunch of basil
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Slice onion and saute slightly, adding in salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves. Add in tomato paste and 2 cups of water, let simmer until paste dissolves. Add in a large bunch of the basil leaves, let simmer on low.

Bake potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 1.5 hours, uncovered. Very finely chop spinach, saute with some olive oil until wilted. Remove potatoes and peel while hot. Take peeled potatoes and run through a potato ricer, or if you don't have a ricer, use a finer grater (that's what I used). Add in salt, baking powder, egg yolks, and spinach. Using your hands, slowly mix in flour a bit at a time to incorporate, until you have a dough. You may need a bit more than 1 1/2 cup of flour.

Take a bit of dough, place onto a flat floured surface and roll out into 1/2 inch thick rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces and then roll down a gnocchi board (and if you don't have a gnocchi board, roll with fingers and use a fork) to create indentations.

Bring water to boil with a bit of salt, drop in gnocchi about a dozen at a time and when they rise to the top of the water, they're done, should be 2-3 mins max.

Plate with fresh mozzarella, sauce and a bit of extra basil

asianized enchiladas

remember when i said i wasn't that hot for mexican or latin american food some time ago? the stuff's grown on me. i like it a lot now. i think the combination of rice and beans is almost genius. my long weekend in PR last week solidified that cheese melted over meat topped with salsa is damn good.

be con's challenge of something rolled made me wrack my brain for something latin amercan. enchiladas seemed easy enough and definitely good enough that i could have it for leftover during the week. my spin was to use japanese eggplant for the filling. weird combo, i know but when i was at the asian market they looked so appetizing, i couldn't resist buying them.


i was quite happy with the end result. it was different. i didn't pay much attention to what i used and how much so. sorry! i chopped up the eggplant into bite size pieces. sauteed with chopped onions until soft. i used taco mix and dumped a can of green chili peppers for the added spice. alright, filling done. i had flour tortilla hanging out so i wrapped up the eggplant filling and lined them in a casserole dish, poured enchilada sauce over it and topped with cheese. baked in the oven at 350 til cheese is melted. done. i paired my asian enchilada with avocado. yuuuuuuum.

Picnik collage

til next time,
Angry Asian

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Let's get ready to roll ...

It's almost spring knobbers and this month's challenge has nothing to do with anything or spring!

I was going to offer up a suggestion to do all three courses (appetizer, main, dessert), but I leave it to you to select which course you'd like to prepare (or multiple courses to prepare).

This month's theme is, 'things that are rolled'. Perhaps some eggrolls, perhaps manicotti, or perhaps a canoli. Get crazy and wrap a hotdog inside of a pancake that's rolled in a deep dish pizza and then battered in cornmeal and deepfried, mmm mmm tasty.

Things that are rolled. Deadline is April 5th. Party on folks.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Organic and what not

This is my first lasagna. I love the dish, but it makes so much and is usually so fattening which I think is why I've avoided it. I really did not follow a recipe. I had a few things at home, picked up a few more things at a health food store (while forgetting even more) and called it a day.

Lately I've been leaning towards going vegetarian (Just cause. That's a whole different post) so I made my lasagna sans meat.

It turned out....well....not so great looking, but the taste made up for it. It looks like a rainbow of a mess really. I ended up dropping my noodles so they were all broken. nice. oh, gluten free noodles by the way. Normally I wouldn't go to that extreme, but we were in the health food store at the time and it's all they had....

My list of items:
ricotta cheese
2 zucchini
parmesan cheese
cheddar cheese
orange pepper
petite diced tomatoes

I started out by mixing the ricotta in the food processor with one of the zukes, garlic, and salt. it made a nice light green color. Oh, and I added rosemary to that as well. Second, I sauteed the remainder of my vegs just until a bit soft. The diced tomatoes were pureed with garlic, salt, and tomato paste. I layered the dish starting with the noodles, then the ricotta, vegs, tomato sauce, cheese, and repeat. Honestly I do think I messed up on the order of my layers during the middle of the production.

It cooked for one hour and voila! It looks like more of a veg casserole in the pics, but the effort was there! I topped with parmesan (my fave cheese ever), and had some fresh rye bread from the bakery on the side. Mattie was in for seconds and said he didn't miss the meat at all. I can dig that!

I can honestly say that I did enjoy this meal and I don't feel like I just ate a brick. Next time I hope that I don't break my noodles into little pieces before they reach the pan though. Matt couldn't say why, but he felt that he liked the noodles that you have to cook before assembly better than the oven ready guys. Noted.
I'm off to have hot chocolate with baileys, but until then fellow doorknobs, keep those buns and ovens hot!

individual moussaka

greek food is hit or miss for me. i am particularly partial to moussaka because it reminds me of lasagna. i kept it real simple, made it in individual ramekins and topped with a bechamele sauce.



thinly slice up an eggplant (i used a chinese eggplant)
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of milk (i used buttermilk because that's what i had)
tomato/spaghettie sauce (i had some leftover with meat)


for the bechamele sauce, i melted the butter in a sauce pan, added the flour and stirred till incorporated. add the milk (or buttermilk) and stir till thickened. salt and pepper to taste.

assemble in layers, first with the eggplant, the tomato sauce and then another layer of eggplant. top it all off with the bechamele sauce. if i had had bread crumbs available, i would've added that to the top but i didn't, so i sprinkled some oats. bake in preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes.


watch that growing ass and stay warm!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A twist on the standard lasagna ...

I'm a big fan of the brasserie's in the Boston area, and the mac'n'cheese that's served at the retaurants. Most either are ham or lobster mac'n'cheese so for this month's challenge, it's lobster mac'n'cheese lasagna!

1 lobster, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb in size
8 oz Ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/3 cup Gruyere cheese (shredded)
Lasagna noodles
1/2 cup Milk
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 large egg

Since I was only making a small amount, I decided to make it in a loaf pan instead of a standard lasagna pan, adjust amounts accordingly as needed for more servings.

Steam lobster, remove all meat from shell and cut into very small pieces, set aside.

In a bowl, combine well ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and milk. In a second bowl combine the mozzarella, gruyere and cheddar. Prepare your lasagna starting with a thin layer of the ricotta, topped with lasagna pasta, some lobster and then finish off with a layer of the mixed cheese. Repeat. Cover and place into a 375 oven for 45 mins. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 until the top of the lasagna is perfectly brown.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lots of Layers

For the past couple of weeks I've had a craving for something....high in calories, taste, and fat grams. Then I narrowed it down. I've been wanting lasagna. So fellow knobs, that's February's challenge....

Make a lasagna using unique ingredients. I think we're all capable of producing a basic dish, but let's show Giada that her creations aren't the only talk of the town (it's just her twins). Make a big dish, invite some friends over and share your pics.

Deadline: February 28

Good luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hey Ya'll!

This month's challenge was just that....a challenge. I only eat two kinds of seafood and I'm usually scared to cook it myself b/c I'm scared that I'll not do it right and end up ill. Anyway, I thought and I thunked and came up with Shrimp-N-Grits. I had to represent the south...yee haw!

I purchased 1 lb of shrimp, 1 lb of sausage, and the ingredients to make grits. I did not buy instant grits. If you've seen "my cousin vinny" you'd know that no self respecting southerner eats instants grits (like i'm a big grit eater, but whatevs).

My picture is my serving which is why there is just a tad. However, Matt's bowl was filled and he went in for seconds. Those TN boys like some food.

I started with the grits. They were cooked in chicken stock until tender, then I removed them from the heat and added 1/2 cup cream, salt, pepper, and a little butter. Not very figure friendly, but creamy and delish.

Next for the shrimp part of it....

I sauteed an onion and garlic for 2 minutes and eventually adding the sausage to it. I let that cook for a while until enough fat developed in the pan to make a roux. Next came the chicken stock and a bay leaf. I didn't buy hot sausage so I added some red pepper flakes for kicks. After the sausage was nearly cooked I threw in the shrimp and let that cook until pink (peeled/deveined of course). Once everything was cooked through I ladled the grits into a bowl and topped with the shrimp mixture.

Results: Matt says he would like this again. Me, well. I liked it, but don't know that I LOVED it. I will admit though....the grits were my favorite part b/c they were creamy. I think if I made them for breakfast I would use water instead of stock, and add some sweetener along with the milk. Anyway, the dish was filling and comforting on a cold night. I'm glad to say that I can mark this dish off of my "to try" list.

Until next time fellow doorknobs, keep those buns and ovens HOT!

Friday, January 30, 2009

scallops: 2 ways

without fail when i go to a fancy restaurant, i usually get one of two things: lamb or scallops. for this month's challenge i wanted to tackle my fear of cooking scallops at home. i made it two ways, seared, topped with lychee onion salsa and baked, topped with a sesame soy ginger sauce. both turned out really well, i mean, i liked both a lot.

handling scallops isn't as difficult as i thought. i just had to make sure it was fresh and dried completely. i seasoned with just kosher salt and pepper.

Lychee Onion Salsa:
a few lychees, chopped (i used canned)
small onion diced (red onions or scallions can be used too)
dash of lime juice
green onions, sliced (i only threw this in for the color)

mix all ingredients in bowl and refridgerate til ready to use.

Sesame Soy Ginger Sauce
few slices of candied ginger, julienned (fresh is fine too, i just wanted to use up some of the candied stuff)
splash of soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
red chile, sliced tiny (for color and some bite)
green onions, sliced (again, for color)

mix all together. i know i'm not giving any measurements, it's all about taste. i also heated it up in the microwave for about 20 seconds before topping on the scallops.

preheat oven to 400F. place 4 seasoned scallops on baking sheet. bake in oven for about 8 minutes. (i think it's entirely up to you on how well you want it done, as well as the size of the scallops. just do it til it's about opaque.)


for the remaining 4 scallops to be seared. in a pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and heat til hot. carefully place the scallops in pan, being sure to keep them apart from each other to prevent steaming. sear fro about 2-3 minutes on one side and about 1-2 minutes on flip side.

plate respective scallops seperately. for the seared scallops, i topped with the fruit. it came out sweet and tender. for the baked scallops, i topped with the sesame soy ginger sauce. it was really good too.

scallops 2

i'm really pleased with how well these came out. what i liked most was that it was all done quickly, under 30 minutes. great party food!

so until next time, may your kitchen bring forth much love to your tummy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I wish it were warmer ...

It's been snowing, it won't stop snowing up here in Boston, it's awful! This doesn't warm you up, but it at least reminds you of sitting on outside on a warm day and enjoying a refreshing [deconstructed] salad.

Lump crab napoleon with pesto vinaigrette and herb goat cheese:

- handful of grape tomatoes (or vine ripe/heirloom if you can find some)
- basil, lots of basil
- lump crab (maryland blue crab is best, again if you can find some)
- your favorite herb goat cheese
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- extra virgin olive oil
- white vinegar
- 1 tbsp maille mustard
- parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
- honey

Coarsely chop a handful of grape tomatoes with 3 basil leaves, add a bit of salt, put into a round form and pop into the fridge while preparing the rest. Add about 20-25 basil leaves into a blender, add in olive oil, vinegar, honey, 1 tbsp parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, mustard and about 3 grape tomatoes. Blend well. Remove the tomato form from fridge, place onto a plate, top with lump crap and sliced avocado. Add as much pesto vinaigrette surrounding the tomatoes as you prefer, crumble goat cheese.

Friday, January 2, 2009

i <3 New York

i'm headed to NYC this month. jab bought me a weekend in NYC, complete with dinner at Tao and a broadway show. we're going to see the Little Mermaid.
personally, i prefer the original storyline, and the japanese came out with an anime version that stays true to it. however, how can one NOT like the disney version with the likeable songs and sidekicks??? in 8th grade, while living in Africa, i think i watched the movie every night with Cilla, we memorized the lines together. dorky, i know!
this months challenge: make something from under the sea.
you know you totally got that! :)
due date: January 31st, 2008