Tag Archives: roasted

Best-ever roasted potatoes

Now, if you don’t like spicy things, I suppose you should just skip this recipe. But oh jeez, it’s amazing! Especially paired with my tomato garlic bisque. These potatoes are fragrant, creamy and a delight to add to any meal. Also, they couldn’t be easier to make! 

 

Best-ever roasted potatoes

2-3 potatoes, washed and scrubbed

cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, ground rosemary and pepper to taste

1-2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F(176°C). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Cut the potatoes into chunks, about two-bite sized. Place them on the cookie sheet, then drizzle with oil (don’t overdo it) and sprinkle on the spices. Using your hands, toss them to coat in the oil and spices.

When the oven is preheated, pop them in and set your timer for 35 minutes. About halfway through, toss them with a spatula to get the other side nice and cooked as well.

When the timer goes off, check with a fork for tenderness (doneness) and, if they aren’t, put them back in for 5-10 minutes. If they are, take them out to cool, and do your best not to eat them until they’re ready to handle.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Baking, Miscellaneous

Creamy tomato garlic bisque

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the recent weather reports, a cold snap has hit the Northwest, complete with snow, ice, and the usual crazy Seattlites who can’t drive in snow (or a light rain, for that matter.) We have a blanket of fluffy, crystalline snow all over, and it’s making the trees look like Christmas decorations, two weeks too late.

On the plus side, winter snow brings winter hungers, and I love nothing more than warm, hearty soups. And, since I’ve been dying to try this tomato bisque recipe for a while, I figured this would be a perfect time to try it. And to make things even better, this version of the soup serves two hungry people (or four appetizers) for less than 150 calories per (or 75, if you use it as an appetizer.) It’s light, airy, and full of flavor.

Now, I know you’ll have a few questions about the ingredients, and believe me, they’re all necessary, but, in explanation:

  • The soy and anchovies are for depth of flavor. They’re odd ingredients, I know, but they do worlds of good for the deep, rich flavor of this soup.
  • You can add more cream, or sour cream (M suggested neufchâtel , which I’m quite excited to try) to ramp up the creamy flavor, but this soup does well enough as is.
  • The roasted garlic definitely a win. I felt that it added a very subtle undertone to the soup that worked well.

Pheasant’s tomato bisque

4 beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes

3 roma tomatoes

3 cloves raw garlic

1/2 c finely chopped onion

2 tbsp roasted garlic mash (optional but recommended)

1 anchovy filet

1 tbsp soy sauce (Aloha brand highly suggested)

1 tsp vegetable oil (I used some of the roasted garlic oil)

1/2 c chicken or vegetable broth (optional)

1-3 basil leaves, to preference

1 tbsp ground dried rosemary (measure after grinding)

1 bay leaf

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tbsp fat free sour cream (for garnish)

Using a paring knife, cut a small X into the bottom of each tomato, and cut the core out of the top. Fill a small (3-5 qt) sauce pot with water and bring it to a boil. While it’s heating, set up an empty bowl on the stove, as well as a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes. Once the water is boiling, drop the tomatoes in one at a time. Count to fifteen slowly, then take them out with a slotted spoon and place them in the ice bath. You should see the skin beginning to peel off and split from the tomato at this point. After a moment, transfer the tomatoes into the empty bowl.

After each tomato has been boiled and bathed, rub the skin splits and peel the tomatoes. Set them aside. 

Empty the sauce pot of water and place it back on the burner, at medium heat. Add the oil and onion, as well as the rosemary and cayenne. Allow them to sweat and begin to brown. While they cook, mince the raw garlic very finely. Add it, stir, and add in the anchovy filet. Mash the filet to break it up a bit. Turn the burner down to low.

Slice and seed the peeled tomatoes. Seeding is critical here…if you don’t, you’ll have way too much liquid, and those seeds don’t taste very good. Dice them, and add about two tomatoes’ worth to the pot. Turn it up to medium and let that cook down while you dice the remaining tomatoes.

Allow the two diced tomatoes in the pan cook down until a medium fond develops. Deglaze with half the chicken broth and the soy sauce. Then, add the remaining tomatoes, the roasted garlic, basil leaves and the bay leaf. Allow it to simmer for about twenty minutes.

Using a hand blender, blend the soup to a smooth, silken consistency. If you don’t own a hand blender (like we don’t) allow it to cool, then blend in the blender or Magic Bullet.

After you’ve blended it, taste and correct for spices depending on your preferences, then dish it up, top it with sour cream (or cream, or softened cream cheese) and watch it disappear! 

Because of the soft, creamy and sweet tastes that go along with this soup, M and I served it up alongside some best-ever roasted potatoes (recipe to follow) and happily sat down to eat. I must warn you, this soup is soup-er filling (how could I write this entire post without using that pun?!) and one bowl was too much for either of us to handle in one sitting. Considering how I can pack away food…that’s really saying something. Enjoy!

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Filed under Seasonal, Soup, Winter

Spinach and cheddar quiche with roasted garlic

Note on my changes: After a little deliberation, M and I have decided that neither of us liked the crust enough to want to make the quiche with it again, so I’m omitting it. It still creates an amazing, crustless quiche 🙂 

Eggs are really popular in our household. M generally only cooks when eggs (or easy mac) are involved, our roommate loves to boil them and leave them out on the counter for us to find, and I think they’re pretty swell, too. Eggs, sunny-side up, served with toast and some sharp cheddar are by far one of my favorite ways to start off the day.

When it comes to egg suppers, though, M loves nothing more than quiche. She’s mad for eggs. And yet, as much as I love quiche, I don’t make it very often. The sheer amount of cholesterol in the number of eggs it takes to make quiche are generally enough to scare me off, not to mention the glut of butter and cream the recipes call for. So, when M requested quiche for tonight’s supper, I was a little hesitant. Quiche is quick, and since we’ve got an engagement tonight, that is a great thing. I did balk at the idea of it, until Pheasant stood up and said to me, “No! You will make the best quiche ever. And you know what? You’ll enjoy every. Last. Bite.”

To the internet!

I’ve sifted through countless recipes looking for the perfect quiche recipe. And, finding none, I decided to improvise. I took pieces of quiche recipes from two or three different ones, and ended up with this one.

I love herbs, and so I decided to play with the herbs in this quiche…generally, I feel like quiche is really bland unless there is a ton of cheese (read: fat) in it. I love the idea of flavoring the eggs themselves so that no only the cheese and vegetables have flavor, but the eggs as well.

So, I set out with this lovely recipe in mind. Because we don’t have a pie pan, I used an 8×8 inch brownie pan, and just cut the quiche into nine pieces for easy eating.

Quiche, squared

4 eggs

1 c 1% milk

1 tbsp sour cream

1/2 onion, sliced thinly

10 oz fresh spinach

1 tbsp garlic mash

1 c grated cheddar

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

parsley, paprika and rosemary to taste

First, preheat your oven to 350°F (171°C.) In a large skillet, place the onions and some oil to sauté. When they’ve become golden-brown, add in the spinach until it all wilts down.

Combine the eggs, milk, and spices together, whisking to form a thin scramble. Spread the spinach and onion across the bottom of the crust. Cover in cheese, pour the eggs in, and replace the pan in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cool, then cut into squares and enjoy!

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Filed under All things eggs, Baking

Roasted garlic oil

A few weeks ago, my mom dropped by with probably the best gift M has ever received: a bottle of homemade roasted garlic oil. She’d never had it before, so I took the opportunity to serve it up the best way I know how: with a lot of crunchy, thinly-sliced crostini and small sprinkles of sea salt. M went mad. She consumed about half a loaf of bread herself before she caught me giving her that look. It was, however, officially decided that roasted garlic oil needs to be a main staple in our kitchen.

My mother’s garlic oil was given to us in the sweetest little pouring bottle, stoppered in glass. It’s quite beautiful. The golden oil is something like magic, the color of fairy dust and Cinderella’s golden slippers. It tastes and smells as good as it gets, too: lightly perfumed, with just the right amount of sweetness to make a soft sigh imperative.

Unfortunately, our oil as run low of late…we balefully watched as I poured the last bits of oil from our reserve bottle (also thoughtfully provided by my mom) into the little pouring bottle. We sighed with sorrow. I love it lightly drizzled over toast in the morning with a small dash of sea salt…served up with an egg, it’s about the nicest breakfast you can have on a cold day. Or any day, really.

Well, once I’d decided that I needed roasted garlic for those delicious sandwiches I made, I knew that I could put it off no longer: it was officially time to bring out the peanut oil I had in my pantry and get down to business.

But, my little Pheasant bleated, What if it isn’t as good as your mom’s? Oh no. No, nay, never, no nay never, no more…this oil will be the best. Ever. Just as good as mom’s, I said firmly. I nodded and set off to make the greatest garlic oil I’ve ever tasted.

There are SO many ways to use this oil, and it’s really only limited by your imagination. Here are some ways M and I like to use our garlic oil:

  • Drizzled into mashed potatoes for a more subtle garlic kick (paired with mashed roasted garlic, it’s always a winner!)
  • Use it to sauté onions and mushrooms before tossing with pasta
  • Open up a hot baked potato and spoon a bit inside before salting and continuing with your usual toppings (skip the butter.) It adds a great, subtle garlic flavor that kicks everything up a level.
  • Use it in place of olive oil for aioli…come to think of it, sub the roasted garlic for plain in aioli and you’ve got yourself a winner!
  • Use it on little crostini with sea salt…it’s by far our favorite thing to do!

Roasted garlic oil

1-2 large, tight heads of garlic (depending on whether you want just oil, or garlic mash too)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 c peanut, olive or corn oil

 Using the directions for my best-ever roasted garlic, roast your one or two heads. 

Once they are cooked and cooled, pour the 2 cups of your oil of choice into a non-reactive saucepan or small soup pot. Carefully peel every clove of roasted garlic from one head and drop it into the oil. Set the pot on low heat and let it go for 2 to 3 hours, checking every so often to make sure it isn’t simmering. A few small bubbles here and there are fine, but nothing big. Once done, take it off the heat and leave it to cool.

If you’re making two heads for garlic mash, take the cloves from the second head and smash them all in a small jar. Cover and place it in the fridge.

Garlic mash made easy!

After you’ve let the oil cool, scoop out all the garlic from it and place them into the small jar along with your garlic mash. Place oil in the jar just until it covers all the garlic; replace in the fridge.

In a small glass jar with a lid, or some kind of cap (ours is just like a tiny doorknob with a silicone cap on the bottom for a seal) pour your oil. Pour any excess into a glass bottle (either recycled or new, it doesn’t matter as long as it seals.)

Both bottles will keep in the pantry for about three months. Granted, ours never lasts so long. Keep the garlic mash refrigerated well, and use it for antipasto, in garlic mash potatoes, as a flavoring in tomato and cream sauces, or anything else you like!

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Filed under Sauces and condiments, Seasonal, Summer

The greatest beef sandwich I’ve ever eaten

I really, really, really dislike cold sandwiches. There’s really no way to put it gently. The mushy bread, and all sorts of  cold filling makes it really unpleasant for me. Hot sandwiches, on the other hand…hot sandwiches are something I can get down with. Anything with flavorful, warm ingredients accompanied by crunchy, crusty bread is definitely on my good side!

To start with, there are a few things to know about this recipe:

  • It isn’t fast if you do it all by hand, but it will definitely pay off. You can always thinly slice the meat using a food processor attachment, or even buy it pre-made if your grocer or butcher offers it, but I prefer to pick a hunk of good meat with little fat to slice thinly and marinate.
  • If you’re in a hurry, or just looking for an easy way to tweak the recipe, use leftovers! Flavorful pot roast, leftover grilled chicken or even steak, provided your knife is sharp enough to slice it thinly, would be amazing flavor additions
  • Don’t skip the roasted garlic spread. I swear, it will make these sandwiches SO much better (although they’re pretty good as-is, better is always better, right?)
  • Although you can use toasted French bread, or even regular sandwich bread for this recipe, a lightly-flavored artisan bread, with a thick crust and rugged crumb, will do these sandwiches their best for taste and presentation. M and I just headed to our local QFC and picked up a nice rosemary and olive oil loaf from their “artisan” line. It was great!
  • This recipe serves two (very hungry) college students, but you can easily double it for family meal night.

More than anything else, don’t be afraid to experiment. Sandwiches are meant to be delicious and hold whatever’s in the fridge. Make use of leftovers and change this up to form whatever amazing sandwich you can think of!

Shaved beef sandwiches

8 oz eye of round roast, completely frozen

1 medium yellow onion

2 large crimini mushrooms, cleaned

1 clove garlic

2 reserved cloves of garlic from my amazing roasted garlic recipe

2 tbsp sour cream (I used fat free and it was great)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Lettuce, tomato and cucumber for topping (optional)

Cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper to taste

First things first: take your roast out and let it thaw on the counter for about an hour and a half. When it’s just beginning to sweat, where the outer layer of meat is softened but the inside is still frozen solid, take a sharp knife and begin shaving. I know it’s a tedious process, but the end result is well worth it. Each shaving should be thin enough that you can see light through it. Yes, you read that right. Good food takes time.

Once you’ve shaved the entire hunk of beef, place the shavings into a bowl with one tablespoon of olive oil, and spices to taste. Toss it all, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit while you finish everything else.

Cut the crimini in half horizontally, so that they’re flat hunks of mushroom patty. In a ridged skillet, or in your panini-maker, place the mushrooms with about half of the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cook. Turn over once they’re rather browned on the bottom. While they cook, cut the onion into 1/2 inch slabs, as if you were making onion rings. If the pan is big enough, add them in with the mushrooms. Drizzle some olive oil and salt over them, and allow them to cook until they have nice blackened grill marks, or are a caramelized brown.

In the meanwhile, cut two thick slabs of bread from your loaf (ours were about 2 1/2 inches wide.) Turn them on their sides, so the crust side is pointing out instead of up and down, and cut them in half using a downward motion, to make two small sandwich loaves.

To make the roasted garlic spread: crack some pepper into a small bowl. Add in the roasted garlic and mash until smooth. Blend in the sour cream, and set aside.

Once all the vegetables are done cooking, toss your beef and place enough pieces in the pan that they aren’t crowded, but cook well. Turn, if you like, or if you prefer your meat rare, just move them from the pan once one side is nicely browned.

After the meat has cooked, turn up the heat to medium-high and find another heavy pan that will fit inside your skillet. If you have a panini press, use that. Place your mini loaves, cut side down, into the pan and add the weight on top so they brown nicely. You can repeat on the other side if you please, or just leave them browned on the inside.

Once you've cooked all the components, it's time to assemble!

Once everything has cooked, spread some of the garlic spread inside the toasted bread, followed by lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, mushroom and meat. Sandwich them together, pat yourself on the back, and go eat the best sandwich you’ve probably ever tasted!

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Red meat

Roasted garlic

I love garlic. Everything about it: it’s taste, the texture, the sharp, heady smell of it. It’s beautiful. M loves the smell of my fingers after I’ve sliced into a clove of garlic. She says the smell is sexy. I disagree; I think everything about garlic is sexy. It’s the ultimate flavoring when it comes to soups, sauces and roasts. It can add a sharpness to a vinaigrette like nothing can, and it makes pasta approximately fifteen times better just from basking in its presence.

There is something, however, that regular garlic cannot add that roasted, it does…the sweet, caramel-y flavor of roasted garlic is unmatched. Spread on toast and drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, it makes for an amazing antipasto treat. Crushed into mashed potatoes, it drives such a comforting American dish up to a level it had never before attained!

I think that roasted garlic can go on or in absolutely anything your mind can dream up, but, more than anything, I love it piping hot from the oven, sweet and warm, spread on a piece of crusty, crunchy crostini. There’s nothing like sitting around on a hot day with your lover eating little swipes of this caramel-colored, sweetly-scented roasted garlic with a nice cup of black tea.

Remember that, when picking heads of garlic for roasting, you want to choose firm, heavy heads with tightly-closed cloves. No sprouts!

Roasted garlic for one

1-2 heads garlic

Olive oil for drizzling (not extra-virgin)

Preheat your oven to 350°F (171°C.) On a 12×12 inch square of foil, drizzle about one tablespoon of olive oil. On a chopping board, cut off the top of the garlic head so that just the tops of the cloves are exposed.

Set the garlic cut side down onto the oil. Drizzle another tablespoon of oil over the garlic and close the foil in a tight package. Set the garlic in the oven and set your timer for one hour.

It is your duty to enjoy the lovely smells as they waft from your oven. Bask in it. Bathe in it!

Once the timer goes off, take out your little packet. Let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes (if you can resist!) Eat it just like that with toast, or let it cool and use it in any recipe you can come up with. Don’t forget to save at least two cloves for my next post, though…or just make two heads. That’s generally what I do 🙂

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Filed under Ethnic, Miscellaneous

Baked chicken á la M

So, here’s the short and sweet about my love life: I may or may not be cheating on my girlfriend with baked chicken. Yes, you can gasp now as I scream it to the world: I lovebaked chicken! But, another confession: I’d never really, truly had it this way until I moved in with my girlf.

This was tonight's beautiful, succulent supper.

The first night she made baked chicken for me, I whipped up an Asian-inspired glaze with anything I could think of, which she spooned over it, stuck into the oven, and baked per my directions. They looked gorgeous, but even better, they tasted like…heaven! Really, truly, honestly, I about scarfed down two whole thighs myself. Seriously, I may or may not have inhaled them whole. They were golden crisp and dark on the outside, tender, moist and succulent (yes, I said succulent) on the inside. Eat your heart out. I died a little inside when I looked down at my plate and realized those beautiful, tender, moist thighs were no longer in this world.

Well, Pheasant said to me happily, Then we just make more, right?

I was wrong. I wasn’t just wrong: I was erroneous, I was counter-factual, I was absolutely, positively incorrect. Because, you see…I’d made the first mistake that any budding cook learns not to make (barring adding salt before you’ve tasted): I didn’t write down the ingredients. Not a single one. Oh, but you say, couldn’t you just remember? Well, of course! But remembering and know the exact measurements are two very different things.

So, the next time I craved myself a succulent, tender, juicy chicken thigh coated in a most amazing shoyu-honey glaze, I stood myself at the counter, ingredients spread before me, and began carefully, carefully tasting. I tasted for nearly half an hour, y’all. I slowly added more honey, more shoyu, more rice wine vinegar. Everything. I tasted and tasted and tasted, until I could taste no longer. And you guys, it was delicious. It was sweet, salty, slightly tart…beautiful. Now, to put my plan into action. I coated some thighs, stuck them on a Pam’d, foil-lined baking sheet and baked those beautiful chicken parts to my heart’s content. They were gorgeous! Still soft, tender, juicy (can I used those adjectives anymore, in reference to these thighs? I may have used up my quota…) but with that shiny, crackling, “I can thump it with my finger and it makes a hollow sound” crisp skin. Bee-u-tee-full. Here it is, everyone: the lovely, the tender and delightful….

M’s Baked Chicken

3 chicken thighs, cleaned, bone-in, skin on

2 tbsp shoyu (soy sauce. I highly recommend Aloha brand shoyu. It’s not as salty as, say, Kikkoman)

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp rice or red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp pepper (fresh or pre-ground, it makes no difference)

1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 1/2 clove, very finely minced (press it, if you can)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1/2 tsp garlic OR olive oil

PAM

So, you’ll need a little tupperware for this, about enough to hold maybe half a cup of liquid. We’ll be making all of this in the Tupperware! Isn’t that handy? So all you’ll really need to clean up before supper is a little whisk or fork.

Mix all the spices together: garlic powder, curry powder, pepper, and the cayenne, if you’re using it. Mix them, and mix them well. Add in the garlic oil and whisk to form a bit of a garlicky, curry-y paste. Beautiful, isn’t it? If you’re adding fresh garlic instead of powder, mix it in after the oil.

Add the honey, mixing until it’s nice and thick. Add the shoyu and vinegar. Stir them up until everything is super-mellow and cooperating nicely.

Now, you can either set it in the fridge and forget about it until it’s time to make the deliciousness that will be in your Pheasant later, or, you can do it immediately. I like to let it sit, because I feel it gives everything time to mix and blend until it’s absolutely perfect, but that’s just me.

Now, when you’re ready for glory, you have two options:

1) Set the oven to 375° F (approximately 191° Centigrade.) Line a baking sheet (jelly roll, or something with a small lip all around) with foil, then spray the foil with Pam (or the cooking spray of your choice.) Spread the thighs out on the sheet, giving them a goodly amount of room. Make sure the skin is extremely spread out so it gets nice and crunchy-crisp. Hey, chicken skin is loaded with fat. You may as well make it taste good, right? Take out your sweet-salty baste, and mix it up to make sure it’s all nice and incorporated. Spoon a bit over each thigh, making sure it clings and coats it well. Then, when the oven is preheated, slide them in. Ten minutes into the cooking process, take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with a little more of the sauce, and stick it back in. Repeat one more time. Proceed to the section sign.

2) Take the thighs and the sauce, and put them together in a plastic zip-top bag. Let them rest for an hour, maybe two, or even overnight. Once you’re ready to cook, set the oven to 375° F (191° C.) Line a baking sheet (jelly roll, or something with a small lip all around) with foil, then spray the foil with Pam (or the cooking spray of your choice.) You’ll still want to spread the chicken out well, making sure the skin is going to be good and crisp. I like to score the fat to make sure it all drains well, because I hate biting into globs of chicken fat (ew…) Once everything’s all set up and your oven tells you it’s ready to roll, stick those puppies in there. Watch them. And…

§ Around the 30 minute mark, you’ll want to take them out and prick each one (under the skin, not through it!) with a fork or knife. If the juices run clear, great! You’re done. If not, stick them back in another ten minutes. Once everything is running clear, take them out and inspect those babies. If they’re brown and crunchy looking, with a solid “thumk” sound when you flick your finger against them, let them sit out as you finish preparing supper. If not, set them under a hot broiler, watching them carefully, until they reach said doneness. This is sugar we’re dealing with, people. Don’t be stupid. Watch your chicken.

Let them sit for at least five minutes to incorporate the juices back into the chicken (you know, if you can wait that long…) and then…feel free to shove as much of it in your mouth at a time as you can. Relish the delight in your mouth!

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Filed under Chicken