The warm weather is on the horizon with the glorious sunshine, and the bbq's are fired up. Today we're going to be grilling steak. There isn't much that tastes better than a simply grilled steak that's crusty-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside. For a perfect steak, grill it over high heat and don't touch it! As tempting as it may be to spear and flip your steak repeatedly, you need to leave it alone until a nice crust forms; then you can flip it over. The cuts that I like the best are boneless ribeye, new york strip, and filets mignons. You can check the doneness of the steak with a meat thermometer or by touch-test, I learned this method at a cooking class long ago in Austin Texas at the great and now sadly closed Hudson's on the Bend. I will explain cooking methods in detail in the illustration below.
April is here, but it doesn't feel like it here in Seattle, rain is still coming down in buckets. I was asked by a friend of mine for this recipe that was posted a year ago. It's a good recipe if it's still cold and dreary out and you're yearning for the warm sunshine to come out and play.
This recipe is a nod to all my vegetarian readers. It’s fresh and creamy with bright notes of lemon. I added spinach today, but any hearty leafy greens or veggies such as peas and asparagus will work here. I had a major meat eater complaining at the table one night when I served this, so I tossed some peppered bacon in the dish to ease his “I’m not a vegetarian” pain—it was a hit! If you have a mixed table of veg-heads and meat lovers, have a side plate of bacon to pass around the table to sprinkle on the pasta. I find fully cooked crumbled bacon or cubed pancetta pairs nicely with the greens and lemon. This flexible pasta dish makes everyone happy.
I use full-fat ricotta; it produces a nice creamy consistency. I have found that low-fat ricotta makes the pasta sauce dry and gritty. If you’re concerned about the heaviness of the full-fat ricotta, don’t worry—it will be light when tossed all together with the splash of pasta water and fresh lemon juice. You can find ricotta in tubs next to the cottage cheese in the refrigerated section at the grocery store. I used Bellwether Farms hand-dipped whole milk ricotta from my local market—good stuff!
I can't believe it's almost spring, I can see the light on the horizon, it doesn't get dark at 4 pm anymore, and the temps are rising above 40 degrees - yeh!
Most everyone knows I'm a grilling queen if I can put in on the bbq I will. I was craving a grilled steak salad, and this dressing is the perfect pairing for it. This recipe also goes great with roasted vegetables we had the other week. I adapted this recipe from NOM NOM Paleo a blog I recently discovered. I think I'm attracted to it for her comic book style of illustrations which comes as no surprise!
It's not hard to make if you have a few yellow onions, garlic and some time to kill this well worth the effort! The best thing about this dressing is that it freezes great. I transfer the dressing to cupcake or ice cube silicon molds, freeze until solid and put them into individual zip-lock freezer bags and they keep up to 6 months for quick on the spot salad dressing and marinade for chicken, fish, and veggies!
I'm horrible sitting down and eating breakfast during the week. I usually will just pour a cup of coffee and call it a day until lunch. I've been trying to change that habit with making green smoothies in the morning. The main problem I have is, most of them make me what to hurl. That is until now, and I actually found one that I like in Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook "It's All Good," now I know what your thinking...GP?! In her defense with all her whacky and sometimes out of left-field ideas, this book is, well, good! I've cooked through this book, which is now stained, tattered and sticky. I have yet to make a recipe out of here that hasn't worked, in the cookbook world that's saying something.
One of the recipes that I'm really into is "The Best Green Juice" recipe. I don't have a juicer, but that didn't stop me from giving this a try. The book states that if you don't have a juicer, you can chop everything up and put in a high-speed blender and then, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. I, whirl it up in the blender and drink it smoothie-style. I'm lazy, so straining is the step that I skip, less mess and you also get the extra fiber goodness this way. The recipe calls for Kale but, you can use other leafy greens such as Red Chard or Spinach. After cutting and chopping greens every morning, I started using Organic Girl Super Greens. They are very handy and pre-washed. I usually wash them a second time and wrap them up in a damp paper towel and store in a reusable container; I find it keeps the greens fresh a little bit longer. This juice is brightened up with fresh lemon, ginger and granny smith apple mellow the bite of the greens, and as GP says "It's All Good."
Happy 2018 everyone!
I hope you all had a happy and healthy holiday season. I know a lot of you might be starting your New Year’s cleanses, diets, or fitness goals. I'm right where I was last year, planning my mountain races for the new year.
Yes, I'm one of those wacky trail runners. I get a lot of questions about my diet and what I eat. My main rule of thumb is, I try my hardest to eat fresh whole foods and stay away from processed foods. It doesn't always work out that way, but as long as I stick to this rule 90 percent of the time, I'm good. I have a couple of races on the books for 2018 so far, and that means making sure not only that my weekly mileage and trail routes are planned, but also that I'm eating to keep my body fueled for those long training runs that can last 6 hours or more.
The winters in the PNW can be dark, wet, and chill-to-the-bone cold, so when I come in from a long day in the mountains I want some warm comfort food in my belly. I love a good chicken potpie fresh from the oven with creamy gravy bubbling up over its crust. I've been tinkering with my own recipe for a while, and I think I hit the jackpot with this one.
By the word “jackpot” I mean my husband will eat it! The evening I made this recipe, he came home and asked the proverbial "What's for dinner?" question. It wasn't even a second after I told him what we were having that he scrunched up his face like an 8-year-old and confessed, “I don't like chicken potpie.”
I think my reply was “There's a steak in the freezer.”
Thirty minutes later I took the dish out of the oven. He went over to investigate the yummy smell that was coming from the kitchen and with a smile said, “Oooo, there's tater-tots on top!”
Oh, I forgot to mention I don't make pie crust. I actually suck at it, so I gave up long ago. I also don't care for the texture of savory pie crust — it always tastes kind of grainy to me. I love spuds, so I was going to put thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes on top, but I didn't have those. I happened to have a bag of Alexia brand tater-tots in my freezer, which I put on top a la 1970s casserole memories from my childhood and as a nod to the most important fact of life: who doesn't like tater-tots?!
Yes, my husband loved it. He had second helpings, and I even caught him the next day eating the leftovers straight from the fridge. He said it’s even good cold — win!
This is also not your typical wimpy, sad-little-carrots-and-chicken-bits-in-a-bland-yellow-gravy potpie, either. I use meat from a whole rotisserie chicken from the market, fresh chopped carrots, shallots, and a small bag of frozen peas.
You can use whatever veggies you like: parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, roasted beets possibly? The sky's the limit here. Instead of using canned soup, I make this with a homemade cream-of-chicken bechamel base that you will spike with freshly grated Asiago cheese. I start with 1/4 cup of cheese and go up to 1/2 a cup if needed. Some Asiagos can be mild and others can have a very strong taste, so taste along the way and add to your liking.
You can make this dish vegetarian by swapping out vegetable broth, leaving out the chicken, and adding more veggies. Don't be afraid of making bechamel — it's easier and quicker to make than you think and, like all my recipes, I'll illustrate you through it.
Here’s to starting off the year warm and well-fed. Happy New Year!
My sincere apologies, I've been down and out with the stomach flu the last two weeks and I'm afraid to say, I'm behind on my January post. It will be posted next Friday on the 12th! It's going to be a good one - Asiago Spiked Chicken Pot Pie with Tater-tot Crust - YUM!
Until then, I'm re-posting the recipe, which I'm sipping right now to ease my symptoms. My Cold & Flu Remedy Tea is just what my sore throat and stuffy head need. You add all the ingredients into a pot (except the honey) and bring to a boil, simmer, strain in a cup and drink warm.
Here's to our health!
The holiday season is underway, with gatherings happening big and small the big dilemma for me is what do I serve my guests that I can make that's not fussy but can be made elegant at the same time? You can't go wrong with an Antipasto Platter.
To arrange a selection of antipasti, put little piles of bite-size morsels on a large platter. Unlike hors-d'oeuvres antipasti traditionally eaten at the table not while guest are milling around but I'm not a big stickler on that rule. I usually let the season and the occasion be my guide when composing antipasto platter. The key is mixing flavors and presenting a melange of tasty tidbits that are easy to share. I created the illustration below that lists a few of my favorite pairings.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
Happy November everyone!
We're all getting ready for the Thanksgiving festivities, and I've gotten a lot of calls to repost my Cranberry Salsa recipe. I'm getting lots of requests for the salsa recipe because my site doesn't have a recipe search section. I know, I know, it wasn't the best idea to go with this simple of a template, but I honestly didn't think my blog would be as popular as it is or last this long, thank you all for that happy predicament! I'm pleased to announce that I'm in the midst of a full blog redesign for 2018 with recipe and category search capabilities, so it will be easy to find your favorite ones.
This favorite recipe comes from Whitewater Cooks and Shelly Adams. It’s a raw salsa, so no cooking involved, just throw the cranberries in the food processor until coarsely chopped, throw in the rest of the ingredients, and whirl to zesty perfection. The salsa keeps in the fridge for days, but as mentioned last time, it won’t last that long! This salsa goes great on the turkey sandwiches the next day and is beautiful on top of a wheel of baked Brie.
Fall is here, and it's time to break out the sweaters and coats. As much as I'm dreading the coming rains that are always predictable here in the pacific northwest, this is my favorite season!
Whenever we go out to our favorite pub, I always order the mussels and frites. The fresh mussels with its herby broth and fresh frites to soak all that goodness up is hard to beat. I have to admit I was a bit intimidated with this recipe and always shied away from it until I finally took the plunge and made the recipe - wow, it's really simple to prepare. This recipe comes from River Cottage Every day. Feel free to swap out the cider for white wine if you prefer. I will say the cider gives a nice refreshing punch, so give it a try!
Where did summer 2017 go?!?
It’s been a work filled one for me, and when I looked at the calendar, I can’t believe it’s almost over. With September and the fall season looking just as busy, I’m always thinking about recipes that are not too labor intensive and fresh, and my grilled Thai Steak Salad with Coconut Rice fits into that category.
This recipe is quick to prepare; I serve this salad on top of warm coconut rice. The cold crunch of the salad mix on top of the rice gives it a big satisfying oomph! I keep the dressing on the side for each person to drizzle on top of their salads. Serving the dressing this way maintains a good snap in the salad for next day’s noshing.
The recipe calls for chopped cilantro but feel free to use flat leaf parsley or Italian parsley as it’s sometimes called. I store the rice separate from the salad; it tends to get a little hard when it’s sitting in the fridge. You can give it a quick heat up in a pan, or you can zap it in the microwave for a few seconds – about 30 seconds is all you need to take the chill off. Then toss the cold salad fixings on top and enjoy for a second time. There will be two illustrations, I will repost the How to Grill a Steak illustration for a refresher if you need it.
I'm going start to posting only once a month for now, so I'll see you on the first Friday in October!