31 July 2008

Orange-Soy Pork with Sesame Green Beans

I made this dinner several days ago, but I've been too lazy to upload it until now. Still feeling kind of lazy really - don't quite know what to say about it. I wanted to get it done before the end of the month, though.

It was very tasty, that I recall, though I was a bit annoyed that my sauce didn't turn into a sauce, despite a lot of reduction. I think it would have been quite nice with ginger. A thought for the future, anyway.

The green beans were a little boring. Usually I steam them, then lightly sauteed them with some red pepper flakes, but decided to try them with sesame oil instead and maybe I didn't use enough oil, but it didn't really enhance or change the flavour. Ah well, I love green beans plain or not plain, so it was fine, even if it was a little boring.

27 July 2008

Old Bay-Lime Tuna Steak with Basil-Arugula Couscous

Every so often I have an "I need to eat more fish! Omega 3!" freak out because I really don't eat this stuff all that often. (I mean, how many entries in the past year have featured fish vs entries that have featured chicken? Do I even want to know?) I often say that I don't like fish that much, but that isn't really true. I think I've only had fish turn out nastily twice, and both times it was because I used the wrong sort of fish for the recipe. And whenever I eat it in restaurants, it's always fabulous and amazing and good. Maybe I just don't like to cook it. (I know I don't like the smell much. So that's probably part of it too.) At any rate, I decided I should institute a Fish-For-Supper Sunday. So today was my first Sunday.

This was really tasty. I mean... really, really tasty. Really overcooked. But so tasty.

I found the recipe over at All Recipes and most of the reviews said not to marinate for the full twenty minutes, and several also warned about the cooking time, since tuna should be rare or medium rare.

I tried. I tried so hard! I marinated the steak for about 8 minutes, rather than 20, and I only cooked it for 6 of the 8-10. And yet. And yet it was very well done. It was dry. It was texturally very uninspiring. I mean... drier than canned water-packed tuna. But the flavour! Yum. If I'd made two rather than one, I'd have eaten them both. Even overcooked.

The couscous was sort of a variation on a Rachael Ray recipe for rice pilaf. I didn't want to buy a rice pilaf just for the recipe and I didn't feel like taking the time to make my own, so I made couscous instead. Basically, I sautéed onion, garlic, and red pepper in a bit of oil, then added vegetable broth, and the couscous. After it had absorbed the water, I stirred in some torn up arugula and basil (that was the RR bit). It was quite good, though I think I didn't use enough water for the volume of dry couscous, since it didn't seem to expand very much, but had absorbed all the water.

All that said, I know I'm going to try the tuna again, and I'll very likely give the couscous another go as well (though I don't know when that'll happen, as I don't like buying arugula - I don't eat enough to warrant spending $4 on a giant tub of the stuff).

(Incidentally: Fish 8, Chicken 54.)

26 July 2008

Vegetable-stuffed Omelet

Okay, I know eggs are boring. But you know what's even more boring? Eating nothing but cottage cheese, pudding, and yogourt for 2 days.

I had a root canal; biting is not much fun just now.

But eggs are soft, and so are all the vegetables stuffed inside these eggs: mushrooms, red and green peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and onion. (It's a mix of frozen, diced vegetables by Europe's Best.) Delicious with some herbs and salt and pepper.

I didn't even overcook my omelet today, which is usually what happens when I try to make these. I'm a master at singed omelets.

I sometimes feel not-quite-but-almost-guilty about labelling something like this vegetarian, since eggs are obviously not vegetarian by its proper definition. But I don't want to label things for ovo-lacto-veg or ovo-veg or lacto-veg so I use vegetarian to mean "No animal flesh" and vegan to mean "no animal flesh or other animal products". Most of the things I label vegetarian COULD be made vegan (though this couldn't, unless someone's come up with a decent substitute for an egg-like omelet) or at the very least, properly vegetarian, so I don't feel too guilty unless it's something like this that relies so heavily on the animal product.

24 July 2008

Recipe: Balsamic Lime Chicken with Fruit and Greens

This recipe comes from the diet/cook book The Fiber 35 Diet by Brenda Watson. It recommends this as a lunch or with brown rice for dinner, but I found it filling enough on its own - salad and chicken - for dinner. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I did find the dressing for the salad a tiny bit... boring. It all tastes good together, particularly if you have a little bite of each thing at once, but if you've got some lettuce on it's own it's just... boring. It maybe just needs something to perk it up a little bit, like some garlic maybe.

To serve two.
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 small red chili, chopped [I used a couple dashes red pepper flakes as I couldn't find a chili]
2 chicken breasts
spray oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups spinach [I used a romaine/butter lettuce mix]
1 pear, cored and cubed
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Mix 1 tbsp vinegar with lime juice, garlic, half the thyme (~1-1/2 tsp) and chili into a large ziplock bag or a bowl with the chicken. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to marinate. When ready to use, remove the chicken and discard the remaining marinade.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. On the stove top, heat an oven-proof frying pan, coat lightly with spray oil, and sear chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Place pan in the oven until chicken is cooked through [~15 to 20 minutes, I think, I forget what I did]. Allow chicken to rest, then slice.

Combine and mix until emulsified the olive oil, 1 tbsp vinegar, remaining (~1 1/2tsp) thyme, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over plated spinach and cubed pear (or toss, like I did, but it doesn't look as pretty). Top with chicken and finish with raspberries.

21 July 2008

Cassoulet Stuffed Bread Melts

Another of Rachael Ray's recipes. I have too many healthy cookbooks, so when I want to use something like pork or sausage, she's more or less the only person I have to turn to. (Or, you know, the internet.) But her food does taste good, so I can live with that.

You know, I almost wish I were a bigger part (or a part at all really :D) of the food-blogosphere because I'd love to start up a blog or group for people to cook all the way through Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats cookbook. Just to say it's been done, because I can't imagine any one person (or family) would ever ever cook their way through it. A photo for each and a blurb about what was good and what wasn't and if it was worth the bother or whatever.

Anyway... this is cassoulet for the lazy and poor - not a dab of duck confit in sight and it wasn't a slow-cooked stew but a 20 minute from start to finish dinner. Still, quite tasty. And I've never had the "real" thing and also the real thing was peasant food to begin with anyway, so I suppose this is kind of modern day peasant - pre-cooked sausages and canned beans (I used Eden's organic navy beans - I can't say enough good things about Eden's canned beans) and cooked quickly because two-income families don't generally have time for truly slow-cooked dinners.

I wish that I'd gotten this a bit more saucy, but I didn't measure the liquid added toward the end and it really just cooked away too much. It was fine without a sauce or gravy or whatever, better than fine, but I had a thought that it'd probably be pretty spectacular on baked potatoes, if it were liquidy enough to keep the potato moist. As it was, on the crust of a bun (I scooped out the insides), it had just enough liquid to keep from being dry but not so much that it wound up soggy.

If I'd had a more plainly flavoured sausage - I had just spinach/feta sausages - I might have flavoured it with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. That's a mighty good combination with sausage and... ohhh, mushrooms, and a more proper white gravy. Yum. Now I've got ideas, and ideas can be dangerous things... (at least when it comes to not generally healthy foods like sausages).

20 July 2008

Poached Egg and Canadian Bacon on Rosti

I made breakfast for dinner tonight. It was quite tasty, even though I had issues cooking the rosti - I don't know if I used too much oil or not enough or... I don't know. But it didn't really want to hold together and that kind of drove me nuts. I always have issues with anything vaguely pancake like - they just never want to cook properly. (This hasn't got flour or anything in it, so it's not really a pancake, per say, but it cooks similarly.)

I suppose I shouldn't call it a poached egg, since it wasn't cooked in water but was steamed. And I should have eaten it with a mound of ketchup instead of the cheese because that's the best way to eat ketchup, on eggs and fried potatoes.

Anyway, not too pretty, but it tasted good.

I seem to be having issues with my angles the last couple of days - I'm having a really hard time editing my photos so that they don't look like I was suffering from vertigo while drunk and riding a mechanical bull. I mean, okay, it's not THAT bad, but it looks like I took the picture with the camera tilted oddly and I really didn't. Or didn't think I did. Or didn't mean to.

18 July 2008

Cumin-Lime Pork Chop with Spicy Creamed Corn

I'm too busy watching Doctor Who to think of anything to say just now, but it's over in a few minutes...

Right then... this is another Rachael Ray recipe from her book 365: No Repeats, though as always, I've cut back the portion size. She'd have twice the meat. That is the proper amount of vegetables (according to her) though, and after I took my picture, half of it got put away with the extra pork chop I cooked for tomorrow. (So, uh, no update tomorrow.)

Anyway, for creamed corn, it was really good. I've never been a particular fan of the stuff, at least not from a can. I can remember when I was younger that if we had canned corn, my parents would often have to make creamed corn for my sister and plain kernel corn for me because I couldn't stand the creamed stuff. (Or more likely, I decided that I didn't like it, just because my sister did. I didn't like ham when I was a kid for just that reason.) Homemade really is better, at least sometimes, because this I liked. Possibly that's because it's got so much more flavour, with jalapeños, red pepper, onion, parsley and cilantro. (Wish I'd had yellow onions, though, because I only had purple and it looks really nasty when the colour leaches out like it has in this.)

The pork part of the recipe is almost, but not quite, the same as one of my favourite chicken recipes, one I haven't made in far too long. So not surprisingly, I really liked this. Actually, this meal would probably be equally good with chicken in place of the pork. Something for another time, I guess. Definitely worth making again, someday.

Balsamic Lime Chicken with Fruit and Greens

Over two weeks since my last post - shame on me. It's not that I haven't been cooking. Well, no, okay, it's partly that I haven't been cooking. But also that the things I've been cooking haven't been very interesting - stir-fry, chili, stuff from the freezer... There's just nothing interesting about a barbecued burger or sausage. I've taken a few photos of things, but nothing that's stood out, so I haven't put anything up.

This stands out though. For me, anyway. It's just so pretty! (Shame I tossed the salad with the dressing like it said - it'd look nicer if I'd just drizzled some on.) The raspberries look amazing and they tasted amazing.

Actually, the whole thing tasted amazing - a bit of chicken with a bit of pear and lettuce and a raspberry all at once. Just delicious. And definitely a Make Again sort of recipe.