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Category Archives: Home Cooking

Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms, Sage, and Onion

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Tonight’s dinner came from a blogger I like. She didn’t list the amount of stock required; I used equal parts stock and wine. It was delicious, and I’m definitely going to use Keller’s technique with chicken in the future (sear until brown, bake, broil). The skin was crisp and the whole thing was super moist and flavorful. A success!

Back to work tomorrow, so don’t judge me if I take a Tylenol PM at like 9:30…

Hummus

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Most recipes for hummus call for a ton of olive oil which is expensive (and fattening). My friend made great hummus recently, and I was surprised to learn her secret was less olive oil. I made it for my family’s Passover seder earlier this week and, as per their requests, the easy recipe follows. It makes enough to serve a pretty hungry family of 14. The measurements below are pretty rough. I usually just add ingredients to the food processor in small amounts, pulse, and taste, adding more spice etc. as needed.

  • 2 regular-sized cans chickpeas/garbanzos, drained
  • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. paprika or cumin
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

(1) Bring a small pot of water to a boil (enough to cover both cans of beans)

(2) Boil beans for 10-15 minutes, until you see a lot of bean skins floating atop the water

(3) Drain beans, reserving a few ladle-fulls of cooking water, and rinse with cold water. Peel skins off the beans. If you miss a few skins, this is no big deal, but this tedious step is what makes the hummus creamy enough without the use of much olive oil.

(4) Pulse beans and garlic in the food processor with a splash of the water. Pulse. Add water until you reach something just a touch grainier than your desired texture, and then add olive oil to make your hummus the perfect smooth consistency.

(5) Add lemon juice and spices/herbs, pulse, and taste, adding more spices as needed. Remember: you can add more salt/pepper/herbs! You can’t remove any.

Serve with carrots, celery, and/or pita.

A partial success

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Dinner was cost effective, and kinda pretty.

We bought some frozen ahi (or yellowfin) tuna steaks at Trader Joe’s for $4.50, whole wheat couscous, basil, and feta.

I figured I’d flavor the couscous with some leftover canned diced tomato, heated quickly over a lot of sauteed garlic, crumble in some feta, and top the whole thing with basil. This side dish worked reasonably well, and was very quick. I don’t think the feta flavor really seeped into the whole dish. A meltier mozzarella or even goat’s cheese might have been a smarter choice.

I looked up strategies for cooking the tuna steaks, and decided to sear them on my non-stick griddle pan, sprayed lightly with olive oil,  for about 2-3 minutes a side. I brushed a little olive oil on the steaks (hastily defrosted, in their wrapper, under cold running water in the sink… Chris forgot to refrigerate them to thaw!) and salted and peppered them liberally.  Chris’s larger steak was fairly tasty, though the texture was  bit tough.  Mine, though, was nearly inedibly fishy and tough. I’m not sure whether this is a result of the thawing method, overcooking, or what? Thoughts?

Reinvigorated?

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Work has been stressful, and I’m getting very sick of winter. Chris has been the inventive cook in our house the past few weeks, making tons of homemade sauces and tasty portobello burgers. I’ve been unenthused. But then I started reading Gabrielle Hamilton’s new book (rather, listening to it on Audiobook). Blood, Bones, and Butter is an awesome memoir, made awesomer by the fact that she is chef/owner of my favorite restaurant of all time, Prune. I’ve spent a few birthdays there, and held the (somewhat) quieter part of my bachelorette party in it’s basement. Her book reminded me of the immense joy I take in simple food, and I went to Trader Joe’s Saturday and picked up ingredients for one of my favorite lunches ever: a par-baked baguette, prosciutto, cornichons (tiny, garlicky French pickles), and radishes. I was thrilled with my cornichons, radishes dipped in butter (ripped off from Prune), and my prosciutto laden baguette (smothered, guiltlessly, with olive oil AND butter).

Tonight, I’m back in the game, and I’m creating a quick recipe for some (alas, frozen) yellowfin tuna steaks Chris and I bought, feta, tomato, and couscous. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Planning for the Week

I have to go back to work on Monday, which sucks. We’ve been having so much fun cooking, and I’ll have way less energy for it while I’m working, so I’m trying to plan.

Today, I’m making this vegetable stock. I think I’ll make a lentil soup one day, maybe with some chicken sausage. I’m also going to use the stock to make a meatless chili this week, which we can reuse for a taco night, too. I almost bought El Paso refried beans, but have you ever looked at the ingredients?! It has a ton of chemicals, and lard, which probably is why it’s so delicious. And gross. We’re going to Jeffrey’s Meats tomorrow to pick up something for Sunday dinner.

We still have some tofu to use up. Any suggestions? We’re having trouble finding appealing tofu recipes.

McDonald’s Nasty Oatmeal

Ugh: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/how-to-make-oatmeal-wrong/?partner=rss&emc=rss. It contains about 11 ingredients, disgustingly, and costs almost $3. This link, via Bittman, explains how to make your own instant oatmeal for like 43 cents a serving, and bring it to microwave at work or whatever.

Fritatta, Salad, and No Meat

As part of our pretty dedicated quest to eat less meat, we’ve had a vegetarian day. I made homemade biscuits for breakfast, which we served with Bonne Maman mixed berry preserves. I halve the biscuit recipe, but use an entire half cup of (nonfat) yogurt, and just spoon the dough out into rough drop biscuits. Then, for lunch, Chris boiled some of our frozen ravioli and served it with mushrooms sauteed with butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a splash of cream at the end. Delicious.

Dinner was a very easy fritatta, fueled by a late, vacationy afternoon of beers and Dickel whiskey at Black Swan. Chris made a salad on the side with homemade croutons, baby spinach, red onion, and our honey/mustard/balsamic/olive oil dressing. My fritatta was even easier. Chris pre-chopped my scallions and sundried tomatoes, afraid I’d chop off my fingers with the knife, and I sauteed them in some olive oil for two or three minutes before adding five eggs, beaten with a teaspoon of cream, two tablespoons of goat’s cheese, and salt/pepper. I stirred this around lightly over low heat, to make sure the goat cheese was mixed in, while trying to keep the omelet intact. I heated the oven to 350, and when the omelet’s edges were all set, and hte thing was just runny around the middle, dumped a bunch of parmesan on top and stuck it in the oven for 5 minutes to set. What was left was a nice quiche-y item, sans pie crust, and Chris and I each had two hearty pieces for our dinner.

Who needs meat, on a night like this?

Dessert will be Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. Yum.