Somehow the end of my time at Notre Dame managed to roll around, and a 2.6 lb corned beef brisket was left nearly forgotten in the freezer. In desperation to prevent the beautiful Costco meat from going to waste, I hastily defrosted it. Without enough time to let the corned beef cook in the slow cooker to be ready for dinner, I instead decided to slow cook it overnight and use it in a breakfast corned beef hash with eggs. To my delight, the combination of the meat, included spice packet, one can of beer, and water resulted in this beautiful sight, complete with just as satisfying an aroma.I transferred my meat to a cutting board……cut against grain, and everything fell apart quite nicely.In a separate pan, I heated up EVOO and threw in some frozen hashbrowns. I then sautéed onions and red peppers with butter, and then mixed this in with the potatoes. Then, after it got all golden brown and delicious throughout……topped it with some really nice over easy eggs. I think that next time my strategy will be to get a bigger piece of meat, defrost it with enough time to make it for dinner, and then use the leftovers in the hash. However, there is just something so satisfying about waking up from a good night’s sleep to find a crockpot full of aromatic and perfectly cooked meat, without having had to lift a finger in hours.
Posts by Christine
This is the second weekend in a row that I made a brunch starring sweet potato. While last weekend’s chili was the epitome of low maintenance comfort food, today’s sweet potato stack with salmon, guacamole, and poached egg is more of a dish where the fun is in the plating.I started off by grating a sweet potato and squeezing out the excess liquid. Then, I mixed in a chopped green onion, one egg, S/P, and a little bit of flour to hold it together. Next, I spooned the mixture into my pan….And fried until the sweet potato became tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside. To plate, I layered two of my sweet potato pancakes with some guacamole and smoked salmon, finally topping the whole stack with a poached egg.Once I cut the egg open, the yolk dripped slowly down, making a perfect sauce for the rest of the stack. The yolk was such a great consistency that I couldn’t help myself from taking a video of this yolky lava flow of perfection. However, I’m not going to share my video just because I want you to see and taste how great it is in person 🙂
I love Costco. I’m not ashamed to admit that some of my favorite sweaters and my favorite pair of leather leggings (yes, leather) come from Costco. Because they only carry about 4,000 unique items at any given time- compared to a typical grocery store which carries between 30,000 to 50,000- there isn’t any room for sub-par products. One of my favorite products they carry is the frozen Alaskan Salmon Burgers. In the past, I’ve heated them up and eaten them as burgers, or on to top of salads, as you can see here:But today I came to the realization that the 5 extra minutes it takes to make salmon burgers from scratch is completely worth it. I had a leftover filet of salmon that I had baked two nights ago and I needed to use it soon. So I chopped some red onion and carrot and added them to my nutribullet along with my roughly chopped salmon.Then I added one egg, S/P, and some focaccia seasoning before forming the mixture into two patties. After pan searing for a couple of minutes on each side, I ended up with this beauty: I know that eating a salmon patty over a kale salad doesn’t quite constitute the use of the name “burger”, but it’s really the same principle. Although I love Costco’s burgers, mine had a much more distinct “fresh flaked salmon” flavor because it wasn’t as dense. It also liked that it wasn’t nearly as salty, but that I could still choose my own spices to flavor the patties. The best part is that I froze the second burger, meaning that I now have my own frozen salmon burger, perfectly fit for a quick lunch or dinner fix.
After making my fish taco bowl the other day, I ended up with a good amount of leftover black beans that I knew I needed to use soon. So yesterday I threw together a quick chili that made for a perfect brunch when topped with an over easy fried egg. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the process as well as I should have, as I was still relatively sleepy and still in my pajamas.My chili included two spicy sausages (casings removed and cooked through), two chopped sweet potatoes, a red onion, two cloves of garlic, a red bell pepper, my leftover black beans, a can of diced tomatoes, two cups of chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. I let this all simmer on low for about an hour before topping a steaming bowl of chili with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, and a sprinkling of green onions. Although I’ve never considered chili to be a brunch food, it isn’t too dissimilar from breakfast hashes that have become so popular recently. In fact, this chili would likely keep a lot better in the refrigerator and taste even better the next day.
This week I’ve been in a deconstructive mood. By that I mean that I’ve been experimenting with some non-traditional presentations of classic recipes, including fish tacos, and now burgers. Although it’s not quite warm enough to grill outside, I can still make hamburger steaks that suit my purposes just fine. For my burger bowl burger patty, I started by first chopping some green onion, carrots, and red onion.I mixed these with my ground chuck, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and formed them into four patties.
Then fried away… It makes such a big difference using 80/20 ground beef compared to my usual 90/10 that I use in meat sauce, soups, and stir frys. When the beef is the star of the meal, it’s really worth it to have a juicer, fattier flavor.
I plated my hamburger steak atop a bed of mashed sweet potato, sautéed spinach and red pepper, and garnished it all with a generous helping of avocado and a sprinkle of feta cheese. I love this picture angle because it makes my patty look like he’s wearing an avocado beret…Although I’m sure that this would taste delicious with dollops of ketchup, mustard, and relish, I decided to leave them out so that I could really appreciate all of the other fresh and sweet flavors. This burger bowl can also easily be transformed to have a “Cowboy style” with cheddar cheese, bacon and jalepeños, or maybe “Southwestern style” with salsa, pepper jack, and black beans. If the array of crazy burgers on restaurant menus today is any indication (PBJ burger, spaghetti burger, donut burger, etc.), there is really no wrong way to dress a burger patty.
I’ve been slowly trying to go through the process of decreasing the amount of food that I keep stored in my freezer and pantry in anticipation of moving out of my apartment in a month. The other day I came across a frozen filet of Swai that I thought would make for good fish tacos. However, I never can eat enough tortillas to justify buying a whole bag, so the fish tacos ended up as a deconstructed fish taco salad.I season my fish with some salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper. My approach to the spices was super laid back, I just sprinkled everything on in a thin layer and then massaged it all in with my fingers. After that, the fish went into a medium-high heat pan for a couple minutes per side.My salad toppings included some red onion, red bell peppers, tomatoes, green onion, black beans and avocado slices. I piled these all on top of a bed of spinach, slaw mix, and a little heaping of quinoa (which all the veggies are hiding in this picture). Then topped it with my spice crusted Swai. To finish it all off, I used salsa instead of salad dressing, and sprinkled some feta cheese on top for a little bit of color and extra flavor. Although maybe not as fun to eat as fish tacos, I definitely appreciate how it’s much harder to make a mess while eating!
On April 14th I woke up to a text from Sara saying that it was the 103rd Anniversary of the last day the Titanic saw daylight. Naturally, we pondered how we might incorporate this into our cooking. I decided to go with an afternoon tea, complete with a simple mug cake and a steaming cup of Earl Grey.I was inspired by this paleo recipe, and used only one egg, almond and coconut flour, frozen raspberries, mini chocolate chips, almond extract, and honey. After two minutes in the microwave I got a dense but moist mini cake that I served alongside some raspberries and strawberries.For such a healthy but decadent recipe, four minutes of combined prep and cook time was well worth it!
For the past month I’ve been following a roughly Paleo diet, meaning that snacks that satisfy my sweet tooth are rather limited. I recently stumbled across this recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins from Paleogrubs which looked really simple and quick.
Sure enough, they took me no time at all. After grating a cup of zucchini and combining it with almond butter, coconut flour, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cooca powder, and apple cider vinegar, I spooned the batter into muffin tins and topped with a few dairy/soy/gluten free chocolate chips.It was so easy to whip up this little treat while hanging around the kitchen with my roommates, and the end result was a super satisfying, no-guilt snack.For anyone with a love of chocolate and an interest in discovering exciting and healthy bites, you can’t go wrong with these zucchini muffins alongside a cup of coffee for breakfast or an afternoon snack!
For our very special 100th Post, what could be more perfect than our Thanksgiving Post! This year, we had a great time cooking together in preparation for the holiday feast.
This year, we opted for a mixed cornbread-white bread stuffing that incorporated sausage and chestnuts. I think it’s fair to say that everyone was very pleased with the final result. I especially loved that the fennel seed from the sausage came out into the stuffing mix, as fennel seed and fennel are some of my new favorite flavors.
2. The Brine – Alton Brown
The turkey recipe we choose called for us to create a brine, meaning that the prep started on Wednesday and involved a big orange Home Depot bucket. As neither my mom nor my sister wanted anything to do with the bird (they hate the naked and “just plucked” look), I was in charge of removing the insides, plopping the turkey down in the brine, and flipping it 8 hours later. The overall final result was a well-cooked bird, however I’m not sure how much of an effect the brine actually had.
3. Pear and Almond Tart
When Sara said that she wanted to do three desserts to feed eight people, I was a little bit skeptical. I know all too well how leftover desserts often turn into breakfasts and afternoon treats in our house, and my plan for indulging in Thanksgiving was not meant to last for an entire week. Nonetheless, this gave us the opportunity to make one of my favorite desserts, a pear almond tart.Since we didn’t have any really ripe pears on hand and were hesitant to used any canned fruit, we poached three large pears in a vanilla sugar water. The added sugar helped to quickly “ripen” the pears and give them an additional spiced flavor.
4. Alton Brown’s Green Bean Casserole
No traditional Campbell’s cream of mushroom green bean casserole for us this year. Instead we used another Alton Brown recipe which combined mushrooms, garlic, nutmeg, and half-and-half for the sauce, and fried onions made from scratch. Definitely never going back to the traditional version after this.
With a huge feast ahead of us, we opted for a light lunch of cheese, olives, celery, and, oh yes, Bloody Marys. Sara had recently visited an orchard near Syracuse, NY where she picked up a bottle of this bloody mary mix. It’s a pretty good base, but then we added Worcestershire sauce, Frank’s hot sauce, Tabasco sauce, some lime juice, and freshly ground black pepper. It was the perfect midday snack to keep us fueled and also to help Sara relax over the too-quickly-cooked-turkey issue.
So speaking of the cooking too quickly issue, we anticipated that a 19 lb turkey would take around 5 hours to roast. As such, we put the bird in the oven at 9:30 at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, at 10:00 we lowered the temperature to 350 to cool for what we thought would be another 3.5 hours, at least. Our recipe had instructed that a 14-16 lb turkey would take a total of 3 hours to cook, so we figured ours would have to take longer. HOWEVER, after 2 1/2 hours of roasting at 350, our thermometer probes told us that the turkey was done. I could not believe this, and so we tried re-inserting the probe and even tried using a different probe. All to our efforts, however, still seemed to point to the same result – our turkey was done waaaay earlier than we had anticipated. I was extremely nervous that we had in fact overcooked the turkey, but after letting the bird sit for half an hour, I cut a small piece to check and miraculously it seemed to be alright.
THE WHOLE SPREAD:
Butter lettuce, parsley, tarragon, chives, lemon, fennel, pistachios, fennel seed, horseradish. Light and refreshing, perfect for a meal that is pretty much composed of entirely comfort foods.
Our dessert menu featured three items – Pecan Pie from Wegmans, Pumpkin Pie, and Pear and Almond Tart.
I used Bobby Flay’s Throwdown Pumpkin Pie Recipe. I’ve made it several times before, and it’s a very solid recipe. Although the recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, I used a normal pie crust and decorated the edges with cutouts of leaves and acorns.
As I sit here writing this post, I know that Hunger Games fans across the country are lining up at movie theaters to view the premier of the third movie in the series, Mockingjay Part 1. I however, will not actually be seeing the movie until I go home for Thanksgiving Break, at which point I plan to see it with the entire family. Nonetheless, I have still found my own way to celebrate the premier by taking inspiration from a scene in the first film, and channeling it into a recipe.
My inspiration came from the scene in the first Hunger Games movie where Katniss, infuriated by the unengaged tribute training judges, shoots an arrow through an apple in the mouth of a roast pig that the judges are feasting on. Taking advantage of the classic salty and sweet flavor combination often achieved through meats and fruits, I constructed an open faced sandwich with mustard, apples, ham, and of course melted brie.
To soften up the apples a little bit, I sliced about half of a honeycrisp apple and browned the pieces with some butter and chopped thyme. I then layered these on top of toast that I spread with honey bourbon whole-grain mustard, creating a mixture of sweet and herby flavors.
The apples were then topped with a layer of sliced ham (I used a slightly thicker honey ham), and brie. To melt the cheese and toast up the bread, I put the entire sandwich under the broiler for a few minutes, just to get the brie melted enough to evenly cover the ham. And because I had some leftovers, I served my sandwich with a side of roasted brussel sprouts and a drizzle of sriracha.
I am a firm believer that a good deal of the enjoyment of eating comes from the presentation of the food (which is why I am so skeptical of the pitch-dark restaurant concept). This is why my past two themed blog posts have been open-faced sandwiches/toast. It’s so important to be able to see all of the colors and texture to really appreciate and understand the different elements going into even a simple sandwich.