Saturday, January 19, 2008

In Seattle...

for a few days visiting the parents. I'll be sure to take some great pictures of all the home-cooked food I'll be eating.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Orzo Keema

I’m a big fan of orzo. For those people who don’t know what orzo is, it is a beautiful rice-shaped pasta that is often times used as a substitute for rice. I have included some of my favorite orzo recipes on this site before – like this one for saffron orzo and this one for a summertime orzo with veggies.

I would have to say that the orzo recipe I made a few nights ago really was one of the best I've ad, and it can be a complete meal rather than a simple side dish. It incorporates many wonderful Indian spices and you can use ground beef, ground lamb, or ground turkey.

For some reason though, I can never take a good photograph of an orzo dish. It’s like my camera wigs out on me when it sees orzo on the plate. So just remember that this is much tastier than it looks in this photograph.

Orzo Keema
Serves 4

2 T vegetable oil
1 lb. lean ground beef, ground lamb, or ground turkey
2 T minced garlic
2 T minced peeled fresh ginger
1 jalapeno with seeds, chopped
4 or 5 whole cardamom
1 ½ tsp. curry powder
8 oz. orzo pasta
2 cups beef broth
1 cup chopped tomato
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and sauté until cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer meat to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, ginger, and chili to same skillet and sauté 2 minutes. Add cardamom, curry powder and orzo and stir for a minute or so. Add broth and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until orzo is tender and most of broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking on bottom of skillet, about 15 minutes. Return meat to skillet, add tomatoes and cilantro, and mix in. Remove cardamom before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Recipe adapted from Epicurious.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Moroccan Spice Rub

The other day I was going through my magazine rack, full of old Food and Wine magazines. I decided to peruse each one of the magazines for any recipes before I tossed them in the recycling bin. To my surprise, I actually found a handful of recipes that I would actually make. I say only a handful because, honestly, Food and Wine recipes are to high-falutin' for me.

This recipe is for a Moroccan Spice Rub. According to Food and Wine, the best uses for this spice rub are on beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. I tried it on some skirt steak, and I highly recommend it.

Moroccan Spice Rub
Makes about 1/3 cup

1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground chile powder
1 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp caraway seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients, pressing out any lumps of brown sugar.


Monday, January 7, 2008


This soup is even better the next day, so make sure to keep some leftovers.

French Onion Soup
Serves 6

2 lb medium onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 sprigs fresh thyme (I used one teaspoon dried and it worked just fine)
2 bay leaves
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups reduced sodium beef broth (32 fl. oz)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 diagonal slices of baguette
1 (1/2 lb) piece Gruyere cheese, grated
2 T finely grated parmesan

Cook onions, thyme, bay leaves, and salt in a large pot over medium heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Add flour and cook, stirring 1 minute. Stir in wine and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally 30 minutes.

While soup simmers, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange bread in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and toast, turning over once, until completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove croutes from oven and preheat broiler.

Discard bay leaves and thyme from soup and divide soup among 6 flameproof soup crocks or ramekins, then float a croute in each.

Add Gruyere cheese to the soup bowls - enough to completely cover the soup and sprinkle parmesan on top. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until cheese is melted and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.

*If you anticipate having leftover soup, do not add the croute and cheese to the soup. Just refrigerate the soup and add the croute and cheese when you are ready to eat.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

A Duo

The Duo above is french onion soup, one of my absolute favorite soups, and a cauliflower gratin, one of the first of the two recipes I will be making out of Eating Well magazine (see New Year's Resolutions below).

I always thought that french onion soup was something that you shouldn't make at home because 1) it takes too damn long; and 2) the melted cheese is always better in the restaurant. But I was wrong. This recipe for FOS is very good. You have to be patient to make it though because it does take almost two hours. Honestly, it's worth the wait. Guess what though? I'm not going to give you the recipe quite yet. I'm going to be a tease - you'll have to check back in the next few days for the recipe.

The cauliflower gratin was really delicious. I was surprised because, seriously, it's a "healthy" dish and I wasn't sure that I would really like it. But I did!

Try it out, you won't regret it.

Skillet Cauliflower Gratin
Serves 4

4 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets
1 1/2 cups nonfat milk, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 T all-purpose flour
1 T chopped fresh chives
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp white pepper

1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
2. Bring cauliflower, 1 1/4 cups milk and salt to a boil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cheese and oil in a small bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 1/4 cup milk in another small bowl until smooth; stir the mixture into the pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, chives, mustard and pepper. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil until the top is crispy and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S!!!!!!!!!!!

My top 5 food-related New Year's resolutions:

5. Make two recipes from Eating Well and Saveur magazines each month.
4. Visit more Farmer's Markets and sustainable farms around the area.
3. Cook an entire meal out of farmer's market ingredients only.
2. Bake one FABULOUS cake from scratch.
1. Share more recipes with all of you!

What are your New Year's Resolutions??