Monday, December 26, 2016

Icelandic-Style Hot Dogs

I hope everyone (who celebrates) had a Happy Christmas. We had our family party yesterday, which was fun, and now I'm ready to wind down. I'm taking this week off from work so I'm going to do lots of leisurely activities and I think I might attempt to make pho or soup dumplings. We'll see! I mean, in addition to being delicious, it would make great blog fodder; if you haven't noticed, posts are less frequent these days as I start to run out of inspiration (and because 2016 was just really busy in general so I just had less time for my favorite hobby).

Today's post is one that tugs at my heartstrings because it's a meal inspired by my recent trip to Iceland. We enjoyed these awesome "gas station hot dogs" on our road trip and decided that we can't ever enjoy a plain old hot dog with just ketchup anymore. There really isn't too much to this post, except that I do share my recipe for remoulade, which is a really important ingredient and sorry, you can't just substitute mayo. It's like a super indulgent junk food experience and I think I might make these again when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around in a month.
hot dogs
french fried onions
diced raw onions
honey mustard

1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon caper brine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup olive oil

Monday, December 19, 2016

What I Ate: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I'm a little sad and ashamed to say that I didn't break out my ice cream maker at all this past summer and I didn't try and attempt a new flavor. The last time I made ice cream, it was a salted caramel one and that was the summer of 2015. I don't even have any real excuses because the chiller bowl for the ice cream maker has a permanent spot in my freezer so as long as there's some dairy in the fridge, I could potentially make ice cream at any time.

Well, I didn't whip up a new flavor for autumn or winter, but I did revisit an old favorite: vanilla bean ice cream. It's the first ice cream I ever made with my little trooper of a machine and it's still my favorite. It's lusciously simple but powerfully flavorful and it was the perfect topper for the sticky toffee pudding I served at Thanksgiving.
Even though this is a 'what I ate' post, I threw the recipe page down at the bottom for convenience. Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

George Michael Eats: Meaty Birthday Cake

George Michael turned 9 this year and I wanted to make him a treat because he's such a good boy. I wanted to make him an actual cake (instead of just little pupcakes) and I wanted the cake to be meaty and function as a meal instead of like a dessert. And because his birthday is in November (I'm sharing this about a month late) I decided to make him a turkey cake.

I love making him homemade treats because they're decadent but at the same time, I choose really healthy ingredients and try to make him something wholesome and nutritious.
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup grated carrot
1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 banana, sliced
¼ cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

1 medium sweet potato
¼ cup cream cheese, room temperature

freeze-dried blueberries

Monday, December 12, 2016

Roast Turkey

I've been hosting Thanksgiving for a few years now; basically, since I was a senior in college. And with these past few years of experience, I've come to learn a lot about roasting turkeys. Usually in the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparation, I haven't been the best at documenting the process, but this year, I made a bit of an effort so that I could share the fruits of my labor.

Because we think younger, smaller turkeys are more delicious (and more natural; no steroids or hormones, thank you) we like to limit the number of attendees to our dinner. It's v. exclusive. I suppose the techniques I'm sharing here will also work for a larger bird, but in all honesty, I doubt a 22 pound monster would taste as good as our normal-sized 12 pound bird. That being said, it wouldn't hurt. And maybe you're thinking, "Well, what do you do when too many people show up to your exclusive event?" If the guest list gets out of control, we usually make a second protein (like a beef tenderloin) and stick with a small turkey.
10 to 15 lb. turkey
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 lemon, quartered
1 small onion, halved
1 bulb garlic
handful thyme sprigs
handful rosemary sprigs
cinnamon stick

brine (adapted from Alton Brown's recipe)
8 cups vegetable stock (two 32 oz. containers)
8 cups water (I just refill the stock containers twice)
½ cup rock salt
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice berries
8 cups ice water

turkey giblets
turkey neck
4 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
+ any flavorings you like (garlic, mushrooms, herbs)
2 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper, to taste

big plastic bag (brining bag or garbage bag)
large container (or cooler)
thick, strong rubberband
large pot
small pot
roasting pan with rack
aluminum foil

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dan Dan-Inspired Noodles

I've only had dan dan noodles three times in my life and all three times, it was frankly disappointing. Based on the description in the menu, I had an idea of what I wanted and what was served to me on all three occasions (which were at three different restaurants) was overcooked noodles swimming in red grease.

So, I decided to tackle the recipe on my own and made what I wished I'd been served and honestly, the result was super satisfying. In addition to thinking that my noodles were super delicious, they were also prepared with 75% pantry ingredients so I can see myself making this over and over again during harried weeknights when I'm looking for an easy way out during dinner prep.
4 servings round rice noodles
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ onion, diced
2 long hot peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. ground beef
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons shrimp paste
2 tablespoons sweet chili paste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 handfuls baby greens

Monday, December 5, 2016

Spicy Korean-Style Beef Back Ribs

This dish was an experiment; it was a successful experiment. Yet again, I was looking for ways to use some habanero peppers and I decided to try it out in some Korean-inspired cooking.

Short ribs are stupidly expensive (in general but even more so at my local store) so I decided to buy a pack of beef back ribs, which were not only cheaper but were also on sale, and make a kalbi jjim-inspired dish. Of course the twist was that it would be spicy and also cooked in the oven, instead of on the stovetop, since beef back ribs do a bit better in ambient heat, as opposed to simmering in a liquid (at least from my limited experience working with them).
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 rack beef back ribs
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ apple
¼ onion
1 red habanero pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 sweet potato, chopped

Thursday, December 1, 2016

What I Ate: Crispy Roasted Chicken

You might be over poultry after Thanksgiving weekend, but I thought I would quickly share this pretty awesome chicken I made a couple of weeks ago. I had bought thighs with the intention of making salsa chicken but realized I'd bought bone-in thighs and therefore had to change plans.

I ended up grabbing some rosemary out of the garden (it's still doing remarkably well) and whipped up this all-American dinner.
I don't have a recipe page for this one - it's just too easy to require it and that's why I went with a 'What I Ate' style - but I'll do my best to outline the instructions throughout so you too can whip up this delicious weeknight dinner.
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