Sunday, April 12, 2009

I'm Back!

I know.. I'm a bad blogger. This always happens, I get super excited about a project and then after awhile the new-ness wears off I move onto something else new and exciting. Yep, commitment issues but let me share what I've been up to. The lack of motivation during the winter brought weeks of eating the same old dishes either due to laziness, exhaustion from work or lack of time.

My New Year's resolution was to have small dinner parties at home once a month and each time try something new. So far so good and the experience is wonderful. Let's hope I have new dishes to share in the upcoming months.

Long Beans w. Ground Pork

Fried Rice w. Chinese Sausage

Asian Style Butter Stir Fried Shrimp

Kare Kare (Oxtail)

Stir Fried Water Spinach w. Dried Shrimp

Bean Sprouts w. Ground Pork

Lnguine w. Clams

Chicken w. Chinese Broccoli

Seared Rib Eye Steak w. Chickpea Salad

Clams w. Black Bean Sauce

Anchovy Pasta

Leftover Prawn Mee Noodles Topped w. Pan Seared Shrimp & Pork

Vermicelli Grilled Shrimp - Bun Tom Thit Nuong

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chinese Fried Pork Chops

More attempts with pork chops. Tried this recipe while cutting the sugar in half. The taste was interesting and reminded me of french toast. Perhaps the egg in the marinade. Good but not for me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Comfort and All Things Beautiful

The winter receded for a bit to make the past weekend somewhat enjoyable to be outdoors. C and I took the opportunity to snap a few photos around Brooklyn.

I have no hot water tonight.. WTF?? At least tonight it's not as blistering cold as it was last week. Nothing like comfort food to warm you up inside. Indulging in comfort food to me during cold days is drinking up the warm, rich chicken broth with tons of meat and cheese tortellini, saucy stir fried shrimp to pour over a warm bowl of steamed rice, and the ultimate dish of leftovers - garlicky, heavy, fried rice. This one was made from meat from leftover pork ribs I roasted last night.

Enjoy the slight heat wave while you can. I don't think mother nature is done with winter as of yet.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weekend Treat

Work has pretty much exhausted the last ounce of energy I have this week but I'll fight off the laziness tonight and somewhat post a full recipe! Pork chops was rarely a dish cooked at home. Pork scares me really. Growing up with the idea that all kinds of bacteria and yucky things live in pork until they are cooked to rubber was implanted in my brain for years. My pork dishes are usually braised or stir fried.. easy enough for me to fully cook tender pieces of pig without it tasting like you were eating a flavored piece of shoe.

During a recent dinner out with C, I rebelled and fought my mental urges to just order the steak and decided to try the pork tenderloin. Pork is technically safe to eat at 145 degrees F (so I've read..!) but recipes usually call for cooking the thing until at least 160F. Me, feeling daring that night ordered the dish 'medium'. Needless to say I was rudely awaken in the middle of the night to spend a weeknight in my bathroom.

So here's my attempt at pork chops. Brining was a technique I've used once on a roasted chicken. It turned out pretty good but alas it's chicken and I'm not much of a fan. I brined the pork chops in mixture of water, chicken broth, lots of salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic cloves. The chops bathed in the brine for only 30 minutes since they were quite thin.

While the pork was sitting in brine I prepped the potatoes. The potatoes were cut into equally sized portions, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, few cloves of unpeeled garlic, rosemary and a pinch of a rub I had made for ribs a few weeks back (mostly paprika). The potatoes were wrapped up in a sheet of foil and sent to bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes at 400F. I opened the foil when the potatoes were done and let them sit in the warm oven to crisp up while I prepared the rest of the meal.

After 30 minutes, the pork chops were taken out from the fridge so they could warm up to room temperature before cooking. I do this with all my seared meats so they cook evenly. Olive oil was heated in a pan over medium to medium-high heat depending on your stove. Added a large pat of butter and begun searing the chops. If the butter starts to foam then the pan is ready. If the butter starts to brown immediately then the pan is too hot (which usually calls for me to start over). I flipped after about 3 minutes and then removed the pork from the pan to set aside.

The second side dish was supposed to be a simple saute of mushrooms and garlic. What started out as a side dish turned out to be the star of the meal. A little more oil was heated on the pan used for the chops at medium heat. Added another large pat of butter. The caps were laid top side down and left to brown for a few minutes. The mushrooms need to be left alone. If you stir them up too quickly their moisture will release and you will end up with a watery mushroom mixture.

After the mushroom caps were browned nicely, I shook the pan to flip them around with some chopped garlic. Now the next appropriate step would've been to add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. Since the only bottle of anything I had was Jack Daniels, I used that.. hoho! Another yet another large pat of butter was added and I let the sauce thicken into a rich dark glaze. Once ready the mushrooms along with the glaze was poured onto the pan fried chops.

No longer do I fear making dried out jerky pork. The meal was quick, simple and delicious and will become a regular dish on my menu.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Winter Carb Hoarding

Ziti w. Prosciutto & Chicken

The winter seriously puts my carb craving into hyper drive. That's all I want to eat and I devour it. Winter brings winds cold enough to make you vulnerable, to want to crawl back into bed with a bowl of hot noodle soup. I wouldn't really eat in my bedroom though I was making a lame attempt at being dramatic in order to forget how lazy I've just become during these cold days.

After the Holidays with its "happiness and warmth" faded, the reality of winter sunk in. I think I like my job but the 10 minute walk to the subway while wearing 5 layers of clothing and still my face feels like it's going to rip off into the wind makes me suddenly feel the need to want to call in sick everyday. Since then I've sought the comfort of mom's home cooking, C's family's home cooking, Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Super Kew Chinese Take Out, and at work, bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, followed by a Sicilian slice for lunch. Seriously gross looking back. When I muster up the motivation to finally cook dinner it's either been noodle soup or pasta. Is it wrong that I don't feel guilty?

Beef Noodle Soup

Campanelle w. Leftover Roast Chicken from Chinese New Year Dinner, Bacon, White Bean & Kale

Monday, January 19, 2009

Orla Kiely for Target

No food porn tonight but something related to the kitchen & home.. Is anyone else excited about the Orla Kiely collection for Target?? I'm normally into very simple settings and colors however one would think a bright lively kitchen would help motivate the chef. It's hard to work with horridly painted burnt orange cabinets, faux granite countertops and fluorescent ceiling lighting but I attemped to brighten it up a bit with colorful tea towels. Unfortunately it stopped there about 2 years ago and I'm looking to update the kitchen. Something about those pops of colors and patterns make me happy. I need a few of these pieces to brighten up my dungeon apartment.

Images courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Speaking of goodies for the kitchen I'm proud to introduce you to my new lovelies in the kitchen.. Christmas presents from C and my brother. C is also paying for my knife skills class so he can finally be at ease not worrying if my finger will end up in his supper.

Global Prep Knife Set

Index Chopping Boards

Knife Stand by Eva Solo

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Didn't Forget You

Egg Salad on Biscuits

Roast Pork Ribs in Dry Rub

Roast Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Watercress Sauteed in Garlic Oil

Potatoes w. Saffron Butter & Parsley

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Day Breakfast - Bacon Corn Frittata w. Parmesan Cheese

I love the Holiday season - spending time with friends and my favorite sin of all time - gluttony. I admit the Holidays do become truly exhausting... after days of eating out or eating at others' homes and hearing mom dictate what to do in her kitchen I started missing cooking in my own kitchen. Some of the few dishes made during the month of December.

Galbi Jim - Korean Braised Short Ribs over Rice

Pork & Watercress Soup

Chinese Steamed Fish - The best part if pouring the hot fragrant oil over the fish.

Appetizer Experiment - Chicken Drumette Lollipops. I wish I remembered what I marinated the chicken in, so I could change up the combination. Flavor was only eh.

Weeknight Dinner - Three Cheese Tortellini from BJs w. Home Made Tomato Sauce (yes, from that batch of CSA tomatoes purchased over the summer) w. a side of Garlic Spinach.

Will post photos of the Holiday meals later..