Friday, August 29, 2014

Green is the New Black

I was probably thinking
about veggies in this picture... 

When I browsing the internet for this post I came across a great article from NY magazine saying the vegetables are new meat.  Also, recently there was a new article talking about the "it" vegetable   Who knew there were trends in the veggie market. When I was child I had to be bribed to eat my vegetables  hiding brussel sprouts under the table and faking bites so I could play with my game boy.  Now a days I welcome the meatless Monday, vegetables are now the hero of plate and I ask where did this transition come from and what is my it vegetable?    

My vegetable has definitely become the mushroom.  These little bits of fungus are flavor sponges that add their earthy undertone to a variety of sauces.  I want to feature a recipe I found in the New York times that can frequently be found on my table (Jason requests this almost weekly).  I typically serve it with either soft polenta (go to recipe here) or a nice charred steak (great way too indoors here)

Polenta With Mushrooms and Soy
Photo courtesy
of NY Times 

Soy Butter Mushrooms
from the NY Times 

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, your choice sliced thin
1/4 cup water
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
pepper to taste

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan set over high heat until melted.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, be mindful that it doesn't burn.  
Add fresh mushrooms and thyme to butter garlic mixture in pan.  Saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes  Add 1/4 cup of water to pan and allow to reduce by half
Reduce heat to medium/low.  Add the remaining butter, soy sauce, heavy cream, and olive oil, whisking to combine.  
Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to preference. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Twist on the Fruit Tart!

Ethel, the swimmer
I am giving myself this Sunday off from cooking and I think you should too.  That is unless you are having a BBQ because that is fun cooking.  This upcoming weekend, Jason and I have a very fun weekend ahead of us, including a day trip up to Ogunquit, swimming with Ethel in Hingham, and a great dinner at Oleana.  So instead of a large meal this Sunday I want to provide you with a great recipe to bring to your upcoming BBQ, the crowd pleasing fruit tart!
I have discussed a grown up fruit tart before using a pretzel crust with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries, but this has been my go-to dessert for bringing to BBQ's.  I was in need a revamp.  I wanted to keep the same idea, savoring the fresh summer berries when I can.   So when I was browsing around twitter last week I found a new spin which using yogurts and pecans, which means it can be doubled as breakfast!  Check out this recipe via Food 52, enjoy while fresh berries are still available!

Photo courtesy of Food 52
Fresh Berry Tart with Pecan Crush
recipe taken from Food 52
1 1/2 cup raw pecans
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup of Greek yogurt (I use Fage, full fat or 2% are ideal)
2 pints of fresh berries such as raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries (my usual mix)

Preheat oven to 400°F.   Place pecans into a food processor and pulse until it takes on a crumbly meal consistency.

Transfer pecans to a bowl and blend in honey either using a rubber spatula or with hands.  Add chunks of butter to mixture and blend together with fingers.  Chunks are okay!

Press the mixture into a 9-inch round tart pan, or a pie dish if you don't have one.  Place into oven for about 12 minutes.  Fully cool crust.

Once crust is completely cooled, spread in 1 cup of greek yogurt.  Add berries on top, in a fancy pattern if you like!  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Bites- Mango

Joanne and I in Avalon
 this past weekend
I just got back from spending a wonderful week with Joanne, who is finally showing!  She has officially entered her 19th week.  This week is extremely exciting for many reasons, first its the size of a mango, which is a part of one of my favorite desserts ever, and two, we finally get to see what sex the little guy is going to be.   Even though the doctor will know if I am expecting a little niece or nephew, I have to patiently wait until next weekend when Joanne is having her gender reveal.  Now for the featured recipe this week I am quite excited.  I love mangoes, Joanne does not share my love claiming they make her tongue itch.... 

Chinatown Bangkok 
Mangoes are a wonderful fruit with such a bright flavor that it makes you think you are sitting on the beach in the tropics, as opposed to a cold apartment in Boston.  I first had this dessert on my honeymoon in Thailand from a street cart on the side of the road of Chinatown Bangkok.  It was such a different combination, a sweet sticky rice paired with fresh sliced mangoes served in banana leaf (or a plastic bag...).  I've attempted many times to replicate and I think I've come really close.  Of course there is no way to duplicate the hot humid climate, bustling streets, and odd serving dish, but you can at least enjoy the flavor!  

Hope you enjoy!! 

Mango Sticky Rice
recipe from Millberg Kitchen

1 1/2 cups of uncooked sticky rice
1 large can of coconut cream 
1/2 cup of sugar
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced in strips

Bring 1 1/2 cups of uncooked sticky rice and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, cover with lid.  After about 15 minutes of boiling add half the can of coconut cream, reduce to medium low heat.  Allow to absorb this amount, then add second half.  Add  1/2 cup of sugar to rice, coconut mixture, it will resemble a rice pudding like consistency.  Allow coconut cream to further absorb into the rice.  When you have a desired consistency, not much liquid, in more of a thick pudding state.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to a bowl and place mango on top.  

I prefer it served warm, you can also chill the rice then add the mango.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Jen's Savory Summary- Oven Roasted Pulled Pork (Window of Deliciousness)

BBQ flavored pulled pork,
 quite a disappointment
I want to start this review off with a quote from the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi":  "Every ingredient has a window of deliciousness".  I start with this because pork was well outside of it's window.  So far outside that my dutch oven has a tar like substance on the bottom that I will be using my best elbow grease to get rid of.  The recipe does not highlight the pork.  I should of known, seen this from the steps.  The fact the last part of the recipe is to boil the pork in BBQ sauce for an additional half hour should of been a red flag.  The pork doesn't taste like pork, it tastes like BBQ sauce.  If that's what you are going for then this is the recipe for you.

Beautiful product to start out with.
 Dear pork I apologize for drying you out 
My pork, in its ideal window of deliciousness would of had that depth of flavor that comes from the piece of meat I started out with.  The pork was from our usual meat gal at the SOWA farmers market.  We emailed her days in advance to secure our pork butt with bone and great marbling, which I thought would of resulted in a moist flavorful pork goodness.  It did not since it was roasted too long, at too high of a temperature.  Lesson learned, lower the oven temp to 225, roast still for 7 hours.  Hopefully next time this will result in a better pulled pork, until then I need to accept that this recipe is not of Jiro standards.  

If you want to know the real highlight of my Sunday Supper, we should talk about the cornbread I made, recipe here.  Also, if you haven't thought about watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, here's another reminder, watch it you won't regret it.     
The real star of the show

Jen Dreams of Home

I am traveling this week to lovely Juarez, Mexico.  I just touched down in El Paso and I am already missing home.  El Paso isn't a city with much ambiance outside of the giant fence separating it from Juarez.  It does have the allure of delicious steak houses that I will partake in during my long week spent here.  

On another note, besides dreaming of home, my husband, comfy bed, and cuddly dog (not necessarily in that order), I am also dreaming of sushi.  Something that is not advisable in this land-locked area of the US.  This sushi dream is fueled by a documentary Jason and I watching this past weekend, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  I wanted to fly over the Tokyo and eat at this restaurant for the cool price of 30,000 yen per person (close to $300).  If you haven't seen it I suggest watching it, it's on Netflix to stream. Take a break from binge watching old WB dramas and dream of sushi with me and Jiro. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bang Bang?

Tomorrow we eat kale
Tonight, Jason and I are heading down to Mansfield, MA to see the Oddball Comedy Festival.  It features a long list of comedians on two different stages, but the person I am most excited for is Louis CK.  I certainly am not as big of fan as my husband.  He religiously watches every one of his Louis episodes on FX.  I am happy he watches every episode because he sends me the best clips from the show.  One of my favorite Louis moments happened this past season when him and his overweight friend are discussing how they are going to start dieting tomorrow, all kale and that stuff, but today they are going to take on a major food challenge, a Bang-Bang.

What is a bang bang?  You eat two different meals right after another, bang-bang.  They are discussing what they want to do for the bang-bang, IHOP sushi?  BBQ Pizza?  The ultimately settle on Indian Diner.  I've been wanting to do a bang-bang since I've seen this episode.  My husband has since seeing this show, him and his brother did Thai Italian.

My ideal bang-bang would be, pizza diner food.  I love a big cheesy slice of pizza, plain is fine for me, followed by a hot open faced roast beef sandwich.  It would be so gluttonous and I probably would need a massive nap when I am done, but what an amazing day!  
Bang Bang

Whats your ideal bang-bang??

Check out the clip here

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oven Roasted Pulled Pork

Pork, its whats for dinner
Second weekly Supper Sisters recipe coming at you!  We have featured pulled pork sandwiches before on the blog, that approach was a wet braise and made in a crock pot.  I don't own a crock pot so I always look for oven roasted recipes, or i adapt a crock pot recipe to the oven.  This weeks recipe for pulled pork sandwiches is from a blog I've recently discover while looking for a dry rub style pulled pork, how sweet it is .  She loves pork and salt and vinegar chips, so I say her and I would be fast friends.

SOWA Pickle Truck
To serve these sandwiches, I always go with potato rolls and some delicious pickles. I prefer grillo's pickles, a Boston local company that sells 2 spears for $1 at SOWA market.  Jason eats his bun-less, if you are avoiding carbs this week.  Also, I roast mine cover on for a juicier meat.  The initial sear is key for an even juicier meat; this sear locks in all the moisture.  The pork is going to be roasting slow and low for 6+ hours so go for a more fatty cut, the fat meas flavor and moisture.  Are you sensing a theme here?  Moisture is important! 

Hope you enjoy this weeks spin on pulled pork.  Bring to your summer BBQ or make a big pot on Sunday to last you through a part of the week's lunches!
saucy pulled pork sandwiches I
Picture courtesy
of How Sweet It Is

taken from How Sweet It Is 
5 to 6 pounds pork shoulder, fatty cut preferably bone in
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 beer (dark preferably Guinness)
1 to 2 cups BBQ sauce 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Make sure pork is at room temperature prior to cooking.  Pat completely dry before seasoning.

In bowl mix, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili, and onion powders.  Take mixture and cover all sides of the pork.

Heat large dutch oven over high heat and add oil.  Add pork and sear on all sides, roughly 2-3 minutes per side.  (First sear is key!).   Pour in beer and place into oven with cover on.  Roast for 6 to 8 hours or until pork is easily pulled apart with fork.  Remove from the oven and pull completely apart with fork, be mindful with bones if you are using a bone-in shoulder. Coat pork with one cup of sauce and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Serve your favorite way!  (Mine- potato rolls and pickles!)


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Baby Bites- The Onion

As Joanne enters her 17th week of pregnancy, we wanted to continue on this Baby Bites feature.  Last week Joanne's little guy was the size of an avocado, this week he has grown to the size of an onion!  A perfect recipe highlighting the onion is the classic French onion soup, a fall staple for me.  The recipe we are featuring is the best one I've found for French onion soup with a very delicious twist, pork.  Anything that adds pork needs no reason, it is always a good idea. 

I had tried this soup at the restaurant Au Pie De Cochon in Montreal during our first fall living in Boston.  Jason and I are big restaurant people, we visited this restaurant both nights during our stay in Montreal, so you know it most be good.  It calls the usage of pork broth, which can be difficult to find, even though its become more and more popular with the rise of Ramen.  You can always make it yourself using this recipe, or use a beef broth, more flavorful than chicken.   I buy mine from the gourmet food shop, Fromaggio Kitchen.   

French Onion Soup.
6 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 lb slab bacon, cut into 1 inch lardons
7 ounces (roughly 1.5 cups) Gruyere cheese, grated
7 ounces (roughly 1.5 cups)  Emmenthal cheese, grated
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup red beer (I use Guinness not really red but full body)
6 cups pork stock
2 branches rosemary
French Baguette cut into croutons 
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and caramelize the onions. Add the lardon and rosemary and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the beer and reduce by one half. Add the pork stock. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
Pour the soup into (oven proof) bowls. Cover with the croutons and cheese, brown under a broiler 

Jen's Savory Summary- German Pancake

Marblehead Neck
Our first weekly recipe back was a pretty simple one, which I think was definitely needed.  I didn't even make it on Sunday since my weekend got away from me.  Jason and I spent the weekend exploring more New England places, falling even more in love with our little corner of the United States.  We took a day trip up to Marblehead, which is only 15 miles away for our house.  It is the self proclaimed birth-place of the Navy.  The town itself is all coastline, dotted with gorgeous houses and too many sailboats to count.  I absolutely loved it, it might be a close second to my favorite place, Nantucket.  The short drive definitely makes it more appealing.

All the ingredients ready to go!
This recipe was so unbelievable easy.  I think it is perfect if you are craving pancakes but don't want to babysit a pan constantly flipping batches.  The one tricky part was the brown butter.  I love brown butter, its butter that's living on the edge.  It develops such depth of flavor with nutty undertones, but its right on the edge of being burnt.  If you let it go a bit too long you have a disgusting burnt mess.  I use another recipe that calls for browned butter that is out of this world, grown up rice krispy treats from Flour (recipe here).
Almost browned butter

The rest of the recipe was foolproof, pour batter into brown butter and pop in the oven for 15 minutes.  Now you have 15 minutes to do whatever you please, surf Pinterest for more food ideas, binge watch Pretty Little Liars, my new obsession, and no I am not 15 years old.

Once its done its a beautiful puffed pastry, reminding me almost of a funnel cake.  I drizzled a bit of maple syrup on it.  I'd eat right away since it deflates pretty quickly.  Hope you enjoyed too!

Finished pancake still puffy from the oven! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today's my cheat day

It's Monday morning and I don't know about you but I am dragging already.  It is barely past 8 AM, already through my first cup of coffee and I'm ready for a nap.  Whenever I'm tired I always crave sweet treats.  I know once I have my first sweet treat I will automatically declare today my cheat today.  So fellow Supper Sisters people for your cheat day needs, or Monday morning blues, please enjoy these recipe, Nutella Cheesecake Bar, found on Tide and Thyme.  These bars are also great to bring over to a weekend BBQ, holiday dinner, or just to eat right out of the pan.   
Nutella Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Tide and Thyme
2 cups Oreo crumbs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners.  Set aside.
In a food processor, pulse Oreos until they become crumbs.  Add in melted butter and pulse until moistened.  Press Oreo mixture evenly into the bottom of your baking dish.  Bake crust until set, about 12 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
Clean out the food processor. Add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, ¼ cup heavy cream, and vanilla. Pulse until smooth.  Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside.  Add Nutella and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to the remaining 1/3 cream cheese mixture in the processor.  Pulse until smooth.
To assemble, spread the plain cheesecake mixture over the cooled Oreo crust, being careful of the crust. Then pour the Nutella cheesecake layer on top of the plain cheesecake layer and spread evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When ready to serve, lift the bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily).  Cut into 16 squares and serve.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

German Pancake

We are all grown up Linuses 
A good conversation starter is the simple question of 'What one thing would you take out of your home if it was on fire?'.  The answer can tell you a lot about the person.  Most people will probably say the most socially acceptable answer of something sentimental like family portraits or wedding albums.  In the age of Facebook albums and Instagram, I call bogus on this answer.  Some people will say what they are actually thinking: their favorite shoes or their pillow they've had for years (a grown up version of a ratty security blanket children have).  What would I take?  I would run up to my kitchen and grab my great-grandmother's cast iron pans.  Your first reaction I'm sure is 'Wow, you are so sentimental'. I could claim this but I will not.  I would take these pans because they are the most valuable items I have in my house.  All those years of seasoning, clever term for not thoroughly washing and treating with oil, is priceless.  I find any excuse to use these glorious objects that always result in delicious morsels with a certain je ne sais quoi.  

I want to feature something I saw on the Rachel Ray Show (via twitter).  I typically avoid RAAACH but Twitter sucked me in.  I am featuring a German pancake for our first Sunday Supper back!  It's the summer so your time should be outside and not in the kitchen.  This will leave plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine on Sunday! 

I hope to feature more cast iron recipes in the coming weeks.  The use of these pans is so versatile.  They also are wonderful at replicating flavors from the grill for an apartment dweller with no outdoor space.  

German Pancake
adapted from the Rachel Ray Show
German Pancake
German Pancake- courtesy
 of Rachel Ray Show
3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1/2 cup milk 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon granulated sugar 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
A pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice 

Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, granulated sugar, nutmeg and salt until combined. The mixture will still have some lumps and that’s a good thing. In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, lower the heat slightly and allow the butter to brown.

Carefully pour the pancake batter into the skillet and transfer it to the oven. 

Bake until the pancake is golden brown around the edges and puffed, 15-20 minutes. 

Garnish with lemon juice and powder sugar.  Either cut to serve or eat right out of the pan!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lay Off Me I'm Starving

So it's no secret that I have been on a diet for the majority of my adult life.  I was an avid weight watcher throughout college and a few years outside of college.  I learned to appreciate certain foods that I always avoided with passion as a child.  Who knew that I could actually crave a vegetable or a healthy starch?  Today I wanted to feature my favorite way of making my adult obsession, sweet potatoes.  This weird orange vegetable always used to scare me.  I would never try my mom's out of this world delicious sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving because it was just "weird" looking.  Now that vegetable side dish is not very conducive to a Weight Watcher's life style, but I want to introduce you to an absolutely yummy and simple alternative sweet potato dish!

Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes
roughly 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Salt to taste
1 large cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Place cookie sheet in the oven while preheating so that is nice an hot when you place the oil and sweet potatoes on it.
Skin potatoes and chop into 1 inch cubes (don't have to be exact 1 inches but around that size)  Uniform size is key for even cooking. 
Remove cookie sheet from oven when oven is preheated (be sure to use an oven mitt).  Place oil on the cookie sheet so that it melts down.  Add potatoes and shimmy around to coat evenly.  Salt potatoes to preference.   

Bake in oven for 45 minutes, shaking pan periodically so they do not burn.