Has anyone else watched Chef’s Table?

Its a Netflix original and made by the same guy who made Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Each episode focuses on a different chef’s story and there is no host- just a beautiful story about food and those passionate about it. I have only watched one episode, but I am already enamored and excited for the rest of the season!

Disclaimer- just like fine dining, this is not bingable & this will make you hungry.

 

Foodie Friday: Smoothie

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I love making smoothies for my son Wyatt. He loves them and since he isn’t that great at eating fresh fruits and vegetables this is a good way to sneak many of them into his diet. I am also able to sneak a few more good things into my picky husband’s diet too ūüėČ

Smoothie’s in my house greatly depend on what we have around the house but generally this is what we have and what I use.

Recipe:

Follow this order and the blender tends to blend things appropriately.

6-8 large ice cubes
1 banana (I won’t eat bananas except in smoothies)
Large handful of spinach leaves (I buy Popeye’s bagged spinach)
Medium handful of blue berries (I have frozen bag in the freezer at all times)
2-3 halves of frozen peaches (I skinned and pitted and froze peaches last summer)
4 Cuties/Clementines or 2 regular oranges
Then I pour in whole milk because they’re mostly for Wyatt but you could add 1%,
I probably pour in a cup. If the blender won’t blend I add more milk.

Can you imagine all the vitamins you’re getting in this??!!

I just bought frozen strawberries that I plan to add next time. This summer I’m going to try to freeze more of my own fruit, maybe blackberries and raspberries?

When I think about this, Wyatt drinks over 1/3 of this recipe so he gets 1/3 banana, 1/3 cup of spinach, 1 half of a peach, 1/4 cup of blueberries, over 1 Cutie. That definitely hits the fruit mark and helps get us closer to the vegetable one.

Sometimes I make banana and spinach smoothies. They are green and actually really tasty too. Ice and milk is all you add to those.

Lentil Curry

My Salt Lake friends have a ‘friends vacation’ that is become annual tradition and really fun. We find a rentable home (this year it was an old schoolhouse) for 15-20 people within a 4 hour drive, so most of Utah is on the table, Wyoming & Southern Idaho. Once we find a pretty inexpensive place, we spread the word to every friend group and when you RSVP dictates if you get a bed or you are foraging for a couch/quiet floor space. Between last year and this year, only 7 people went on both trips so it’s a fun way to get to know acquaintances better or make new friends. Only a certain type of adventurous person will go to a random place with no agenda and few people they know well, so people generally mesh well and are lighthearted. It’s great. Last year we spent a lot of time at Capitol Reef National Park & this year it turned into a 4 square fest in the attached gym with some Nintendo, yoga and Lava Hot Springs. With so many people, you can usually find one, two or 15 people that want to do the same thing you are doing.

My friend Steph & I plan, buy and coordinate all the meals. The New Years risotto was actually first made for the friends vacation group and this year I found an easier dish to make to scale that was a delicious hit!

Lentil Curry

Serves 15
4 lbs sweet potatoes, cubed
3 large onions, copped
2 lbs cauliflower, copped
1 lb eggplant, chopped
4 cups lentils, rinsed
3 cans (28 oz) diced tomatoes
3 cans (13 oz) coconut milk
8 tbs curry powder

Serves 4
1 lb sweet potatoes, cubed
1 large onions, copped
1 head cauliflower, copped
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (13 oz) coconut milk
2 tbs curry powder

In a large pot, Sauté the onions over oil for a minute, add curry and stir until onions are coated with spice. Depending on your preference, you can add fresh or ground ginger, garlic, spicy curry powder, turmeric or cumin at this point.

Add sweet potatoes & stir until coated. Continue with the rest of the veggies & lentils. Most hearty vegetables would work in this curry, the sweet potatoes are essential for flavor but you can get creative here. You can also add cooked chicken at this point if you want more protein.

Add the can of coconut milk & diced tomatoes, including the juice. Stir it in. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 30 min or until potatoes & lentils are tender.

Serve over rice, with naan or by itself & enjoy!

Perfect Oatmeal

Serves 3 to 4

To double the recipe, use a 12-inch skillet to toast the oats and increase the cooking time to 10 to 15 minutes once the salt has been added.

If desired, serve with maple syrup or brown sugar, fruit, Nutella or one of your favorite toppings for oatmeal.

3 cups water

1 c up whole milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water and milk to simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant with butterscotch-like aroma, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

2. Stir toasted oats into simmering liquid, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, until mixture thickens and resembles gravy, about

20 minutes. Add salt and stir lightly with spoon handle. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon handle, until oats absorb almost all liquid and oatmeal is thick and creamy, with a pudding-like consistency, 7 to 10 minutes. Off heat, let sit uncovered for 5 minutes, then serve.

 

Gougeres

These are incredible. I enjoy really rich and bold flavors which is accomplished with the gruyer cheese, but the cheddar cheese is more economical and still tastes really incredible. I think these are a perfect brunch pastry for entertaining, especially if served with a breakfast meat or vegetables (think English breakfast). If you have nobody to impress but your Snapchat followers, this is a perfect standalone breakfast item.

Ingredients!

1 1/4 c water
1 1/4 c milk
14 Tbs butter
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp table salt
2 c gruyere shredded (cheddar works well too)
7 eggs
1 T course (or finishing) salt

Directions!

  1. In s medium sized pot bring the water, milk, butter & table salt to a boil, once boiling, start stirring with a wooden spoon, bring the heat to medium and add the flour (this is a type of b√©chamel sauce, similar to that made in the Cauliflower Gratin¬†recipe) whisk until dissolved then stir with the wooden spoon. Stir vigorously until you have a ball (a couple minutes). Bring the heat down to low-med to make sure you don’t burn it.
  2. Remove from heat, start mixing with an stand mixer or electronic mixer with a paddle attachment until the steam subsides (5ish min)
  3. Add the eggs one by one while mixing, then add the cheese.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto pan. Each football shaped dough ball should be able 2 Tbs, you will probably need a second spoon to scrape the dough off the first spoon.
  5. Cook at 400 F for 5 min, reduce to 375 until complete (about 15-20 min)

Yields about 24 biscuits

Stir Frying

Weekday dinners¬†are all too often chicken nuggets, avocado toast or hummus & chips in my household. While that’s not the worst, its not the best. We try to east as many fresh veggies as possible and this guide has been really helpful and inspirational during the middle of the week when I’m tiered and would rather do anything else than make dinner.

Based on availability in my fridge, I usually use an onion, a couple bell peppers, frozen peas & zucchini (or any other veggie in the fridge flirting with expiration), as long as you have soy sauce, corn starch, rice wine vinegar you are in good shape. All the sauces are really good-Enjoy!

Cincinnati Chili

Thought about naming this post “the best thing i ate this week” but I think that’ll be a new series on the blog :) So, for this week I’m sharing the best thing I MADE this week. I love spaghetti. It’s not Mike’s favorite. He’s all about meat and not so much tomato sauce. I was looking for recipes I could make, reheat for left overs and share with Mitch & Molly who are still on the newlywed learning curve making dinner every night. Enter… Cincinnati Chili. Think comfort food ala Zippy Beef Casserole… nothing fancy here just good tasty food.

Cincinnati Chili – from Cook’s Country (serves 6-8)
Ingredients
1 T vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
1 clove garlic minced
2 T tomato paste
2 T chili powder ** i use a dark brown one from whole food bulk section
1 T dried oregano
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
Salt
3/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t allspice
2 cup low – sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce
2 T cider vinegar
2 t dark brown sugar
1 1/2lb 85% lean ground beef

Instructions
(tip) Toast dry spices before you add them to a recipe to deepen their flavor.
I generally measure them all out put them in a sauce pan and heat them on low heat until they smell good.
(tip) buy good ingredients – we got 3 dinners and a lunch out of this so it was worth buying good quality ground beef, tomato sauce & paste, chili powder etc. Next time i’ll probably sub the ground beef with ground turkey.

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until soft and browned around edges, around 8 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, 1 t. salt, pepper, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add beef and stir to break up meat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, low, and simmer until the chili is deep brown and slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and serve.
** note – i have never liked breaking up the brick of beef with the wooden spoon in the pan so i broke it up by hand as i added it, this gave me perfect size pieces.

(Can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months)

Serving suggestion: “2 way” over spaghetti noodles
3 way: topped with cheddar cheese
4 way: topped with diced onions and cheddar
5 way: topped with onions, beans and cheddar

I think i’m going to top mac and cheese with it next time…

 

** originally created this draft in September and was going to add a pic.  Never mind the pic Рjust make it :)

Marshmallows

Ever since I had my first homemade marshmallow at the very trendy and hipster caf√©, Cured in Boulder, Colorado I have had my sights set on making my own. I was really intimidated¬†because it¬†seems like¬†it would be really difficult and complex.¬†I was really surprised to find that¬†it was way way way easier than I had originally thought! Although this recipe isn’t quite as good as Cured’s, it was pretty good! I used this recipe from Alton Brown.

Ingredients!

3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 c ice water, divided
12 oz sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1 c cornstarch
Nonstick spray

Directions!

  1. Combine the gelatin with 1/2 c water
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 c water with the salt, corn syrup & sugar & over medium heat, mix in to dissolve, cover & cook for 3-4 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, take the cover off once it reaches 240F), uncover and cook for 7-8 minutes then immediately remove from heat.
  3. Slowly pour the mixture from the stove into the gelatin mixture while whisking on low and increase the speed to high for a 15 minutes, the mixture will double+ in size. In the last minute add the vanilla
  4. Combine the powdered sugar & corn starch
  5. Prepare a 9×13″ pan, sprinkle the sugar/starch combo on the bottom and sides of the pan to coat, the pour the mixture into the pan and let sit 4 hrs + (I did overnight).
  6. Turn the marshmallows onto a cutting board, dust with sugar/starch combo & use a pizza wheel to cut into smaller squares. Toss the squares into the sugar/starch combo &  roll until coated. Alton says you need to consume within 3 weeks if packed in an airtight container, but I found the sugar/starch combo is soaked up by the mallows within 4 days.

 

 

 

Winter Hearty Risotto

I just spent a fantastic New Years weekend in Olympia with a house full of family and could not be more refreshed! Each meal was assigned to different family members and I made this delicious Winter Hearty Risotto that was served during our Murder Mystery Dinner! The food prep is a bit intense from the stirring perspective, but it comes out really nicely and easy to serve the masses! I somehow didn’t take a picture of the food, but if anyone did- could you send it to me?

 

Ingredients!

Serves 4:
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 onion
2 c dry Arborio rice
20 oz broth
1c peas, frozen
1c corn, frozen
1c steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
1 c parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil
Serves 45:
6 garlic cloves, diced
6 onions
84 oz dry Arborio rice
250 oz broth
5lbs peas, frozen
5lbs corn, frozen
5lbs steamed asparagus¬†& cut into 1″ parts
10 lbs butternut squash, cubed
64oz+ parmesan, shredded
salt
olive oil

Most of the ingredients are set in quantities that Costco sells (except for the Arborio rice, that can be harder to find at a decent price).

Directions!

  1. Set the oven to 350F, put your butternut squash on baking sheets, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & cook for 50 minutes.
  2. In a large pot coated with olive oil, over medium heat cook the garlic & onions until onions are almost transparent.
  3. In a separate pot over medium heat, warm the broth.
  4. Add the Arborio rice and mix until it is all coated with olive oil.
  5. Slowly ladle the broth into the large pot, this is where it gets technical. From now until you are serving the risotto, you will not stop stirring. Pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, pour one ladle of broth into the pot and stir until the risotto has absorbed the broth, continue like this until the risotto is no longer crunchy, the color will also be more consistent.
  6. Add peas & corn slowly (as you continue stirring), you don’t want the temperature to drop suddenly.
  7. Once the peas & corn warm and no longer frozen, stir the asparagus, butternut squash & parmesan.
  8. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Gratin with Turmeric and Hazelnuts

I have been enjoying cooking out of my cookbook, The French Market Cookbook for the past year, its¬†organized by the season and availability of produce so you can really enjoy fresh and seasonable dishes. The name is deceiving as the author lives in France but draws her inspiration from many culinary cultures. I am working my way through the winter section right now and although I don’t enjoy cauliflower, I gave this recipe a try and it is fantastic! It serves as a hearty side or we just ate it for dinner alone which was filling and pretty healthy.

Ingredients!

1 lg head of cauliflower (about 7 c)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 c hazelnuts (toasted and roughly chopped)
2 T plain breadcrumbs
Bechamel Sauce
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 1/3 c milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
Nutmeg
Black pepper

Directions!

Cauliflower Gratin
Break the cauliflower into manageable chunks and steam until tender (microwave or stovetop).

Arrange the cauliflower into a shallow baking dish, season with salt and a touch of nutmeg. Top with hazelnuts (I was actually out of hazelnuts and used a mixture of almonds and walnuts, hazelnuts would be better though)  and half the grated cheese.

Preheat over to 350F

Pour the Bechamel Sauce evenly over the cauliflower and sprinkle the remaining cheese and bread crumbs. (I also put about 2T of butter in small chunks on top of the breadcrumbs for more flavor)

Bake until golden, 20-30 minutes, switch to the broiler setting for the final few minutes for optimal browning.

Bechamel Sauce 
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over the stove, once liquid add in the flour and whisk it for 3 minutes stirring constantly.

Slowly, add the milk while still whisking watching out for any clumps on the bottom. Bring to a simmer still stirring as the mixture becomes creamy.

Add turmeric, season with salt, pepper and a whisper of nutmeg.

 

Enjoy!