Category: Andrew

Beans and Greens with Sardines

It’s really hard to get a decent photo of an egg salad sandwich, so there isn’t one for you. If you have any interest in the salad of eggs like I am, you should make this one. It was so good. I promise you can’t really taste the anchovies other than a hint of saltiness. I toasted sourdough and topped it with some mixed greens.

The thought of sardines may make some your nose crinkle, too. In that case, you have my blessing to add whatever else sounds good here. Anything would be good here. Nothing would be good here. I’d gladly eat collards and white beans most days [which is pretty much all I bought at the store tonight]. It’s a comforting kind of wonderful. Sardines added a nice little saltiness and protein that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You probably see all of those red flecks of crushed red pepper. You’re not surprised anymore, are you? Add more or less. I added even more after I took the photo.

I’ve been toying with making beans from scratch, but I’m afraid. Afraid I’ll never want to eat them out of the can anymore, and I never plan ahead to soak beans overnight.

beans-greens-sardines

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens, thick stems removed, and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 4.2oz tin of sardines in olive oil [I used Matiz Gallego]

Preparation

Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper. Stir often until the garlic starts to turn colors. Add greens by the handful so it’ll all fit into the pan. Toss to cover in the oil. Add the broth, cover, and simmer until the greens are tender. This should take about 5-7 minutes. Add the beans and simmer uncovered until the beans are warmed and the liquid is mostly gone. Stir in the vinegar. Add salt and pepper.

Chop the sardines into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the greens.

Thai Sausage with Bok Choy

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a steamer basket, but it’s just one more thing to add to the already cramped kitchen cabinets. I have been known to cheat the system and use the microwave, a bowl, a little bit of water, and a plate over the top. That seems to work ok. This time, I used a metal strainer in the pot of water. It meant the lid couldn’t be on that great, but it seemed to work. It definitely requires batches because the strainer isn’t that big, but it worked. It was far superior to the microwave. I’ve used it a couple of times now. I’m still toying with a steamer basket just so I can do more in one batch.

This whole thing was a vehicle to try the new Thai sausage, Sai Ua, from Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker and Olympia Provisions. It was just as good as I imagined it would be. Ricker doesn’t half-ass anything, and there hasn’t been an Olympia Provisions meat that I didn’t like. I sliced it into coins and sauteed it in a wok. The fragrance alone is enough to transport you back to Thailand.

[An Asian food aside: I just finished up Rice, Noodle Fish: Deep Travels Through Japan’s Food Culture. Officially craving Japanese food full force.]

This NY Times recipe was the base for these greens. I’ve used it a couple of times now. The first time in the wok and the second time in a large saute pan. The wok was superior, but it can be done either way. I don’t seem to have rice wine, only vinegar, so I went the dry sherry route instead. Take the time to get some broth together instead of water. I tried the water method the second time, but realized it lacks so much more flavor that way.

thai-sausage-and-bok-choy

Inspriation: NY Times

Ingredients

  • Two sausage, any variety will do, sliced into coins
  • 1lb of sturdy greens, any variety [bok choy for me]
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minuced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt to taste
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

Preparation

Trim the bottoms off the bok choy. Cut the stalks in half, if they’re large, and cut into 2″ pieces. Bring an inch of water to boil in the bottom of a pot, place a large strainer inside just above the water, add the greens and cover with a ltd. Steam for a minute before removing and squeezing out the excess water. Feel free to use any steaming method of choice if you have one you’re more comfortable with.

In a small bowl, mix together the broth, sherry, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Keep it it near the wok, or large saute pan, along with the rest of the ingredients.

Heat the wok on high heat. Add the oil. Add the sausage and sear on all sides. It’ll release a bit of oil to the existing oil. When they’re browned, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir for about 10-15 seconds. Add the bok choy. Sprinkle iwth salt and sugar. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir for another minute. Fold the sausage into the greens. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bourbon and Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

Baking is still not my forte. It drives me crazy. Every time I break out the mixer and grab a cookie sheet, I think “this is the time.” But it isn’t. There is such an exact science to this whole baking thing that I miss. I think I enjoy the process a whole lot more than the final product. I’m a lover of dough, of batter. The final product? I could take it or leave it. Look at this picture compared to the one at Bon Appétit and you’ll get what I’m talking about. They still tasted great, but aesthetics be damned. Style points matter when it comes to baked goods.

The combination of flavors here is pretty incredible. The second you start throwing rye into something, I’m intrigued. Bourbon is also my drink of choice. Mix them together with some dark chocolate? I’m ok with that kind of dessert. The key here, among other things, is do. not. over. bake. I cannot stress this enough. Even if they aren’t quite brown on the edges, I wouldn’t go much longer than 15 minutes if I like a soft chewy cookie, and I do. They are still delicious. I am such a self-sabotager, though. I follow the rules. The rules said you’ll start seeing browned edges, and I didn’t. So I kept going, and I never ended up with browned edges. I did, however, end up with some dry parts of the cookie. Devastating. Not so much for Andrew if you’re a dipper of cookies in milk. I’m not so much.

whiskey-rye-chocolate-chip-cookies

Inspiration: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • Sea salt flakes

Preparation

Whisk both flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. This takes a good 3-4 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and bourbon. Beat until incorporated. With the mixer speed on low, slowly add the dry ingredients. Once incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 16 evenly sized balls. Transfer them to a rimmed cookie sheet. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least three hours.

Prior to baking, preheat the oven to 350°. Divide the dough balls on two parchment lined sheets about 3″ apart. Flatten each ball to about 3/4″ thickness and sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges. This should take 14-18 minutes, but I still didn’t have it at 18. Let them cool before moving them to a wire rack.

Shrimp Cobb Salad

Look at how pretty this salad is. I’m patting myself on the back here. Cobb salads are great for when you want vegetables but want more than some whisps of lettuce. Some notable Cobbs [aka, the ones I order most often] — the brisket Cobb at Podnah’s Pit or the giant Cobb from Tilt that weighs what feels like 10lbs. Ahhh, now I wish I didn’t go to Tilt’s website to get that link. I want that burger on the homepage.

I’m not normally a corn person. I’ll eat it, but not go out of my way for it. Recipes, however, are a different story. I’m one of those follow the rules people. I can’t help it. As usual, my avocado wasn’t that ripe. Edible, but not my favorite. Next time I’d just buy guacamole, but that doesn’t photograph nearly as well. That green chunky stuff you see is a deliciously simple cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Finally using an entire bunch of cilantro in one sitting was quite the experience. That never happens. The salad was just as awesome as you would expect a giant Cobb to be. Roasted shrimp is such a change from the norm. After taking the time to put it together, Andrew and I just attacked the platter with a fork. It’s a lot of salad for two people, but we pretty much conquered it.

Shrimp Cobb2

Inspiration: Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 1lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning [I might have used the carne asada seasoning blend because that’s what I had on hand]
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 large hardboiled eggs, diced
  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup cilantro, mostly leaves instead of stems
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil. In a bowl toss the shrimp with two tablespoons of olive oil and the Creole seasoning. Spread the shrimp out on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 4-5 minutes. The shrimp should be pink and cooked through.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, apple cider vinegar and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse together until relatively smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the chopped bacon on medium high heat. Stir often until the bacon pieces are crispy. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.

Assemble the salad on a large plate or platter. Start with the base of romaine lettuce. In rows, line the shrimp, bacon, eggs, avocado, corn, and blue cheese crumbles. Spread the cilantro-lime dressing over the top.

Chicken Not-Quite-Instant Ramen

I’ve been on a nostalgia tour lately. Andrew was talking about Franz hand pies and I blurted out POP TARTS. Next thing I knew, there was a box of brown sugar and cinnamon Pop Tarts in the house. They are just as good as I remembered. I’m pretty sure there is a solid part of my childhood and teen years where I was personally responsible for the demise of hundreds of Pop Tarts. They were my lifeblood [that and Taco Bell, but that’s another story…]. I can’t believe they were as good I remembered.

Top Ramen falls into that category too. I remember eating many a packet, including the sodium laden seasoning packets. They were kind of addicting. Probably by design. It wasn’t until I was much older I started eating legit ramen thanks to their status as being one of the trendy foods. The ramen shops seem to be popping up at an incredible pace. They are the new cupcake.

The broth is key. I actually prefer more minimal ingredients and just letting the base speak for itself, but no one [read: me] has time to slow cook some great broth. This quick and dirty method worked for me. Soft boiled eggs are key. I didn’t get the timing quite right and it’s a little overcooked, but it was worthwhile. To keep the cook time to a minimum, I bought a store-roasted chicken. Poaching chicken in the broth probably would assist in the flavor department, but we all know I’m lazy.

It was a solid bunch of ramen. Way better than the seasoning packet, and not that much longer on the cook time. I’m planning on making this way more often if only to practice soft boiled eggs.

Chicken Ramen

Inspiration: Fork Knife Swoon & Yes to Yolks

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of instant ramen
  • 1 breast and 1 thigh from one roasted chicken, chopped
  • 1 handful of shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste [I used white]
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 small bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 2-3 serranos, sliced for garnish
  • 2 soft boiled eggs for garnish

Preparation

In a large pot, melt the butter at medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and ginger. Stir often for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the miso paste, soy sauce, red chile flakes, and rice wine vinegar. Stir until incorporated, another 30 seconds more. Pour in the 4 cups of stock and the sesame oil. Bring to a boil. Add the chopped chicken and mushrooms. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

In a separate pot, cook the ramen according to package directions. Don’t use the seasoning packet. To serve, split the ramen noodles into two large bowls. Divide the broth between the two bowls. Garnish with green onions, serranos, and a soft boiled egg cut in half.