Archive | May, 2011

Pears with Goat Cheese

24 May

These pears were inspired by Terry.  She made these for me & Sam, and I have to say that it was a real game-changer.  Before this, I didn’t like goat cheese.  I know, I know, but I just didn’t.  But this warm baked goat cheese converted me. Now, I’m eating it warm, I’m eating it cold, putting it on salads, in eggs, on everything. So thank you to Terry (and her fabulous friend who inspired her).  I didn’t write down the recipe, so this is just a riff- and perhaps there are embellishments that I am forgetting. But I made it last night, and it was lovely.  It also looks great served on a bed of arugula.

1 pear per person
2 teaspoons goat cheese per pear
splash red wine
optional- ground almond, other nuts, or Panko/breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400. Put a little bit of water- just to cover the bottom of pan- then add a splash of red wine.  Take pears, split in half, spoon out core. Slosh around the wine. Add a teaspoon or so of goat cheese in the middle. Bake for about 15-20 mins.  Add some ground almonds- or I used a sprinkle of panko. Pop under the broiler for a minute or 2- to slightly brown the cheese and breadcrumbs. Watch closely.  And that’s it. If I thought about it, I would have sprinkled some salt- and maybe pepper and a bit of lemon juice? I guess I could have added a little olive oil (or butter) too- but really, it was great as is.  Would have dressed arugula with those though, fo’sho.

Beef & Broccolli

16 May

Making your own Chinese food.  I suppose there is a question of why spend an hour making something you can order and have delivered in 20 mins?  Well, I feel like beef and broccoli, while especially delicious can also be especially greasy- and the meat mysterious- and this way you know what’s going in it?  But the other thing, is that I have stared at these America’s Test Kitchen Chinese food recipes [which seem a bit more American than Chinese] for like a year.  But I just could never get myself to do it– until yesterday.  In my non-functional state, and avoiding GRE homework, I decided to give it a go.  It is definitely one of those recipes with a long list of ingredients- that feels like much less of a process if you already have them in your cabinet.  This is a mis en place situation- the actual cooking time is really short, so best to do all the prep work up front.

1 lb flank steak, sliced against the grain [to make cutting easier, put meat in freezer for 20 mins prior]
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry [I didn’t have so used 1 tbs of white wine vinegar]
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth [for small amounts, the powdered kind- you add to water comes in handy]
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
3 tablespoons peanut oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 lbs broccoli, bite-sized florets and stems trimmed into 1/8 inch slices
1/3 cup water
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced  [I used snow peas instead]
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2 inch thick on diagonal  [too lazy, left out]

Slice beef across the grain into thin, max 1/4 in slices [I always look up across the grain, but basically you will see little lines in the steak, and you cut perpendicular to them, I think? Otherwise beef will be way more tough.] Combine the beef and soy sauce in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring once. Meanwhile, whisk the sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a second bowl. Combine the garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a third small bowl.
Drain the beef and discard the liquid. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef to the skillet and break up clumps; cook without stirring, 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned about the edges, about 30 seconds. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons  oil to the skillet, heat until just smoking, and repeat with the remaining beef.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking. Add the broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add the water, cover the pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes [mine took a few extra mins- also added snow peas after broc had been steaming like 1 min]; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the skillet; increase the heat to high and heat until just smoking. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear the center of the skillet; add the garlic and ginger to the clearing and cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then stir the mixture unto the peppers [since I didn’t use pepper, I just put oil in empty pan, added garlic mix, stirred around.] Return the beef [I drained again] and broccoli to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add to the skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the scallions, and serve.

Chocolate Chip Meringue

9 May

This is another gem from Mrs. Weiner.  I love meringues. I could eat like a hundred of these. Light, airy and best of all- chocolate chippy.  Twice I’ve had the thought that these would be prettier if I piped them through a pastry bag. While this works for plain meringues, the tip always gets clogged w. choc chips.  So don’t even bother, just spoon them out. P.S. When I was in London, I had a meringue the size of your face. True story.

2 eggs whites
8 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (a white powder, in the spice aisle)
3/4 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add tartar. Beat 1 minute.  Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating 30 seconds between additions. Add vanilla, beat 7 minutes until stiff (mine took only like one minute b/c  my Kitchen Aid is super powered- you know it is done when you take off the whisk and the white stuff stands up on its own, like a little wave.)  Gently fold in choc chips. Spoon onto cookie sheets. Bake about 40 minutes (mine were done after 30 mins), they will look slightly golden. Turn off and leave in oven to cool. (Ina leaves hers in the oven, turned off for 4 hours, I say just leave them however long you have time for.)

Makes about 18 meringues

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