Category Archives: Cooking

Chilled Soba Noodles with Kimchi Slaw and Homemade Sweet & Sour

 

kimchiAnother incredibly simple lunch to take to work – especially if you’re like me and currently in a job where you are basically chained to your desk all day. Again, there’s not much of a recipe for this one, except for the homemade sweet and sour sauce, which in my opinion, is a hundred times better than any store-bought version (fresher too!)

One day I will attempt the homemade kimchi again, but for now I am content with Market District’s version you can find in their deli/prepare foods counter. It’s a delicious mixture of cabbage, onions, carrots and radishes, with a spicy tang that I just HAVE NOT mastered yet. (Kimchi = 1; Emily = 0)

Chilled Soba Noodles with Kimchi Slaw and Homemade Sweet & Sour Sauce

Ingredients:
– 1/2 bundle of soba noodles
– 3 – 4 qt water
– sea salt (to taste)
– kimchi slaw
– sweet and sour sauce (recipe follows)

1. Bring water and salt to boil, and add soba noodles. Cook until al dente, according to package instructions (about 4-5 minutes). Strain through a colander and rinse twice with cold water.

2. Combine noodles, kimchi and sweet and sour. Enjoy like there’s no tomorrow.

For the Sweet & Sour Sauce – adapted from A Family Feast

Ingredients:
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1/4 cup agave nectar or light corn syrup
– 1/3 cup rice vinegar
– 1 6-oz can pineapple juice
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes (to taste)
– 1 tbsp ketchup
– 1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to dissolve the corn starch. Cook over medium heat until thick and delicious. Cool slightly before serving or storing. (Can be stored for about a week in the refrigerator).

 

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Banana Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

pancakeOne of the best things about moving home has been cooking for my family – even though sometimes they don’t sympathize with my adventurous palate. Luckily, my mom has embraced everything I’ve cooked (so far). My love of cooking for other people has helped me realize that I need to make a career change.

This morning I woke up, and made my coffee, and decided it was a banana – blueberry pancake kind of day. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of blueberry pancakes, and I hate when the blueberries are added to the batter, but we had a ton of organic blueberries that were begging to be used so I decided to instead make a compote that could be spooned on top of the pancakes.

pancake2I’ve obviously been cooking and baking more ever since I realized my potential career as a pastry chef, and so I find it very difficult to use pre-made cake, bread, and pancake mixes. It’s just as easy whipping up a homemade batch as it is opening up a box and adding water or milk. But when I found this boxed “flapjack” and waffle mix I couldn’t resist – there’s a fucking bear on the box, after all.

COME ONNNNNN! <– and if you read that like G.O.B. Bluth, you earn 100 points.

pancake1My sous chef/baking assistant – Velvet. She’s my baby and always accompanies me in the kitchen.

Banana Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberry Compote

For the pancakes (yields 15-18 medium sized pancakes)

Ingredients:
– 3 cups Kodiak Cakes whole grain pancake mix (if you’d rather not use a boxed pancake mix, follow this recipe by Williams-Sonoma. It’s delicious!)
– 3 cups water
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 2 very ripe bananas

1. Preheat your griddle to 350 and grease with unsalted butter or cooking spray.

2. Combine the pancake mix, water, and cinnamon. Mash the bananas and fold into the pancake batter.

3. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour your batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to form and the edges are starting to crisp and flip. Yadda yadda, you know how to make pancakes. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

pancake3Yummdelicious pancake batter with bananas!

pancake4The beginnings of blueberry compote deliciousness.

For the compote (yields 1/2 cup) – adapted from Food Network

Ingredients:
– 2 cups blueberries
– 1/4 cup water
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 2 tsp lemon juice

1. Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for about 5-8 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Serve warm over your pancakes.

 

 

 

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Keeping It Simple

avocado

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest ones.

I am not a vegetarian, and have no desire to be one, however I do eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan foods, for no other reason than I just enjoy meatless meals. I must admit that when I do cut meat and dairy (especially dairy) from my diet that I physically feel a lot better, and I am aware of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, but to cut these out completely? I don’t have the willpower or the desire to do that.

About a month ago I made a firm goal for myself to start bringing my lunch to work; for a number of reasons – for one, most days I don’t even have time to actually take a lunch, and eating out all the time is expensive. But most importantly, the selection of eating establishments within reasonable distance from my work is limited to fast food, so obviously the health benefits of bringing lunch to work is exponential.

This is what I had for lunch a few days ago, and in its simplicity, it was one of the tastiest.

Brown Rice with Garlic, Italian Herbs, and Avocado

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup brown rice
-1 1/2 cups water
-1 tbsp butter
-1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced (or if you are in a hurry, a sprinkling of garlic powder works fine)
-dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley or just an Italian Spice blend
-1 avocado
-salt and pepper

There is really no recipe to this meal. I cooked the brown rice with 1 1/2 cups of water, fluffed it with a fork, and then added a tbsp (give or take) of butter and mixed it in while the rice was still warm. Then I added the garlic and herbs to taste. When lunchtime rolled around at work, I chopped up an avocado while waiting for the rice to re-heat in the microwave, and added it to the rice along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Amazeballs.

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Chicken with White Wine, Lemon, & Herbs

My family and I moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Cleveland, Ohio a little over 7 years ago. Seems totally random but my parents grew up and got married here, and they had been wanting to move back for years. So when I graduated high school we finally relocated. The Cleveland area has always been my second home, I have always been fond of my close-knit, Italian extended-family here.

But I had no idea Ohio was wine country! Who knew a somewhat blah, slightly square-ish midwestern state was home to so many vineyards?

Now that I’ve reached, and subsequently passed, the legal drinking age, I’ve grown accustomed to wine-drinking (again, thanks to, in large part, my extremely Italian family and the fact that my extremely Italian uncle is in the wine business). In fact that’s pretty much all I drink. Three glasses of (white) wine- feel nothing. Two shots of tequila, however, and I’m on the floor.

One of my favorite places to go is Gervasi Vineyard, about an hour south of Cleveland in Canton. Yes, there are other things in Canton, Ohio besides the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which I’ve yet to visit… Anyway, Gervasi is a relatively young vineyard and still imports many of its wines from Italy, but the atmosphere and the food is absolutely amazing. If you for whatever reason find yourself in Northeastern Ohio, I highly recommend you pay Gervasi Vineyard a visit.

I love the idea of cooking with wine, although my repertoire usually consists of me just adding a splash of cabernet to my homemade pasta sauce (which, by the way, is amazing, not gonna lie. I’ll post that recipe another time). This time I wanted to try cooking with a white wine, and the most obvious, if not boring, protein to go with white wine is chicken, so I started thinking of some flavor profiles to google. White wine. Lemon. Garlic. I came across a recipe for a white wine marinade for chicken breast.

On my last trip to Gervasi I ended up coming home with a bottle of their Ciao Bella chardonnay, so after skimming this recipe I thought *SCORE!*- the buttery, creamy notes of this wine would go perfect with the garlic and herbs highlighted in this recipe. Not sure if that’s the wine choice the original author intended on being used, but why not?

marinade

I tweaked the recipe a little bit- I wanted the chardonnay to have much more of a presence so I cut back on the olive old and lemon just to really let the wine shine through. A wise decision on my part, I must say!

Chicken with White Wine, Lemon, and Herbs
adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts, or 4 chicken breast halves
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay, but a pinot grigio would work nicely too)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 gloves garlic, finely chopped (or coarsely minced??)
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp butter
parsley, fresh or dried, for garnish

In a small bowl whisk together wine, lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Season marinade with salt and pepper to taste.

Place your chicken breasts in a large freezer bag. Carefully pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight, depending on how much flavor is desired. I let mine sit in the fridge overnight, and I flipped the bag in the morning before I went to work as the herbs had settled.

chicken2

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a nonstick pan (or if you’re cheap like me, a 20-year-old non-nonstick pan) over medium heat. Remove your chicken from the bag and reserve about a half cup of the marinade. Add your your chicken to the pan and brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes per side.

Remove from heat and pour your reserved marinade over the chicken. Finish off in the oven, occasionally spooning the cooking liquid over the chicken, for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.

chickenNote: Don’t judge the plates. I live with my sister and we are two broke 20-somethings who coincidentally eat off of color plastic dinnerware.

the-offspring-the-offspring-album-cover-300x300Currently Spinning: The Offspring

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