Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Posts Tagged ‘Main Dish’

Onion Tart (Pizza) with Mustard and Fennel

I am afraid of yeast.

For some reason, I have always avoided breads and doughs that are made with yeast. But this week I’ve been reading Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and Julia Child makes everything sound so easy. So I’ve determined to try yeast breads this week.

Last night, I made a simple onion pizza. My husband had made it a few weeks ago, so I knew it was going to taste good.

As I started with the first step, I was all nervous about making sure the water was the right temperature, making sure the bubbles were forming, etc. As I stood over the cup of yeasty water, my husband said, “Look! It’s farting!” Ha ha.

At any rate, I was nervous as I mixed the flour into the yeasty water. I was nervous as I kneaded it. And then all the sudden I realized that was  it! I prepped the onions (FYI, 3 pounds of onions was a bit too much) and an hour and a half later, I formed the now-risen dough into a few mini-pizzas, spread Dijon mustard on them, topped it with the onions and Parmesan, and there you had it! Onion Tarts!

We served it with an Arugula salad (I’ve been craving Arugula) with a mustard vinaigrette and bacon and apple slices.

“So Provencial!” my husband said.

“Pretty easy!” I said.

“Mmmmm!” toddler son said.

Get the recipe from epicurious >>>

Chicken with Cheese and Apples

My husband hates baked boneless/skinless chicken breast and thighs. It’s too boring, it’s too plain, it’s too “rubbery.” I like it and I find it easy, so the fact that he always complains about baked chicken makes me sad.

Emily Franklin’s recipe for “Autumnal Chicken” was one that I enjoyed. You wrap cheese and apple slices in a piece of chicken and bake it. I liked it. My husband did not. He thought it was too boring. It probably was: I should have made some kind of sauce with it. But the chicken was juicy and I just love apples cooked inside of things, so that was good in my book!

The other problem: the cheese. Ms. Franklin’s recipe calls for Istara. I cannot find “specialty” cheeses at my budget grocery store. So I used what I had in the refrigerator: cheddar. My husband did not like that either.

“Cheddar and chicken just don’t mix,” he says.

I’m getting tired of cookbooks that have recipes with fancy and expensive cheeses and other ingredients. Doesn’t anyone else live on a budget?

Ginger Chicken with Mango Chutney

I made this a few times in the past few weeks. Originally it was for some dinner guests, but it was so easy I started making it just for us! I love adding new “regulars” to the line up.

I’ve always said I don’t like “Asian” food. I think my husband is right: I just don’t know what good Asian food tastes like! I used a half of a jar of mango chutney that I found on the international isle. (more…)

Congee and Deep-Fried Sugar Taro

(I can’t believe the month is two-thirds over and I haven’t posted any recipes yet! Oops!)

I hosted a book club for a novel that took place in turn-of-the-century China, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. To make the book club fun, I made two foods that were mentioned in the book.

The first was Congee, which the main character, Lily served to her children and in-laws during a local outbreak of typhoid. While the other people ate diseased chicken and subsequently died, Lily kept her family alive with this simple rice dish.

I don’t think Lily’s congee was anything more than water and rice, but I added vegetables to mine, based on a recipe I found at the website Appetite for China. It was very good, although I put in too many sliced scallions. It was also easy; most of the work was slicing the vegetables, and then it simmered for a long time. I intend to make it again!

Get the recipe from Appetite for China >>>

For desert, I made Deep-Fried Sugared Taro. In the book, Lily met her friend Snow-Flower at a village every year, and they always ended their trip with a serving of this delicious desert.

Taro root is not a vegetable I’ve ever tried before. It tasted a little bit like potato, and so the deep-frying method made it a bit like French Fries. I then placed it in melted sugar, and so it was a sweet treat. Unfortunately when I made it, the sugar had been warmed for a little too long and had started to solidify again; it subsequently did not coat the fries very well. While I probably won’t ever try it again, I am nevertheless glad I gave it a try. Note that leftovers did not keep well as they got all soggy.

I got the recipe from Lisa See’s site. It was a fun way of making the book real for the book club meeting.

Get the recipe from Lisa See >>>

Arroz con Crema

This is a delicious rice casserole option. What else is there to say? I liked it. It was easy and tasty. I’ll definitely make it again.

Chimichurri-Rub Kabobs

Oh yum! These were so good. I put the kabobs together and my husband did the grilling. He mentioned he intended to make a dressing with the same spices and herbs that were in the chimichurri rub, but we didn’t get to them. Nevermind: these kabobs were delicious just as they were.

I admit that I didn’t eat any of the poblanos. Even my husband admitted they were hotter than he thought they’d be. I also am not a huge fan of mushrooms. But I think a variety of other vegetables would work on these kabobs: zucchini, bell peppers, etc. I used Roma tomatoes and cut them in to quarters. I don’t put amounts by the vegetable ingredients below because it really depends on how much you want to use. I think I used about 10 ounces of onions, but I wish I had more. I also used four pobalno chiles and that was too many. I had at least a pound of tomatoes, but I wanted more because I loved the grilled tomatoes. I didn’t have enough mushrooms; I think I had just one carton.

I used about 1/2 regular paprika and 1/2 smoked paprika; I wish I’d had smoked paprika for all of it, but we were out. I also used a sirloin tip steak, rather than the ribeye, simply for cost purposes.

We prepared these kabobs for dinner guests, so of course, we were hurrying around at the last minute getting dinner on the table. When do other food bloggers take a picture of their food? I’ve considered it every time I’ve made something new, but I just don’t know when to find time to do it. These kabobs seriously came off the grill and onto the table for consuming.

I wish there were leftovers.

Arancini

“Arancini” means “little orange balls.” I ate them once at a restaurant, and just as I thought when I first had risotto, I thought: “Wow! This is fancy! If I every cook arancini, I’ll know I’m becoming a cook.”

Arancini is so simple to make, that thought makes me laugh!

Some people don’t like leftover risotto: it becomes sticky and gummy, and loses the “fresh” consistency after a day in the fridge. I don’t mind it, but I love arancini better.

It’s so simple: make a ball of cold risotto, stick a little bit of melting cheese in the middle of it, roll it in bread crumbs, fry it in oil. Yum!

Yesterday night I only have cheddar cheese — I forgot to buy the swiss or mozzarella that is best in arancini. I wasn’t crazy about the cheddar flavor, but it still worked okay. I used a mozzarella-pesto sauce (the same one I had on my meatballs a few weeks ago, i.e., crushed tomatoes mixed with pesto) and it also tasted very good on arancini!

Giada‘s recipe is slightly more complicated than mine: she rolls the balls in egg before bread crumbs. I also used plain Parmesan risotto and her recipe calls for mushroom risotto with peas. I think any kind of leftover risotto might work.

Get the recipe from Giada >>>

Parmesan Risotto

My first date* with my eventual husband, he cooked me dinner. When I came in, there was something simmering on the stove.

“Have you ever cooked risotto?” he asked.

I hadn’t. I hadn’t even heard of it, and it seemed to be a very fancy dinner.

In fact, risotto is quite simple, and it has become a regular fall back meal for me. There are infinite variations, so I can add vegetables to it and have a one-dish meal.

I never cook it with white wine, but when I make it plain I do add some lemon juice. Delish has a simple recipe that is much like mine. I never heat the broth separately, though, and I also use shallots instead of onion. I also cook more than twice what that recipe calls for so they are leftovers (you’ll see why in the next post!). The secret is stirring it until the starches come out and the rice is tender.

Get the recipe from Delish >>>

*My husband still doesn’t consider this our first date.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Maple Vinegar Dressing

I always fall back on a maple vinegar sauce for chicken. My husband isn’t crazy about it just on plain baked chicken, but if I grill the chicken and mix it up with some greens and potatoes, it turns out pretty tasty. Last week also added an apple to it. You could also use leftover chicken.

I love the taste of real maple syrup, so this recipe is a favorite of mine. Even my son wanted more at dinner last night!

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Cider-Braised Chicken

It’s not really the season to braise right now: standing over a hot stove doesn’t seem very springy. But Tuesday it was chilly and rainy, and I had bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the refrigerator.

What does one do with bone-in thighs?

I don’t like bone-in thighs, simply because it’s harder to eat around a bone. But bone-in meat does work much better for long periods of simmering: my cider-braised chicken ended up quite moist and tender. The oniony-cider sauce was sweet and tangy. I was delighted it worked so well.

I based my dinner off of this recipe at The Kitchen Sink Recipes. I didn’t put the chicken in the oven: I just kept it on the stove until the chicken was cooked and then I reduced the sauce. I also didn’t add cider vineagar and I did add a little bit of brown sugar to make the sauce a little more sweet. I also forgot to add the parsley I had chopped: I found it in my little dish when I went to clear the dishes. Oops. It still tasted very good.

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