Monday, April 27, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Croque Monsieur

The second April recipe was chosen by Kathy of All Food Considered. I have never tried making this famous French sandwich, so I was excited to try. You make a ham and cheese sandwich, then smother it in a cheesy white sauce top with more cheese, and broil it in the oven until it is crispy and brown on top. So delicious!
I cut the recipe in half, but other than that I think I followed this recipe without change. I bought my bread from Rick's breads, a local bakery here in Lancaster City. It is a regular white French loaf. I used Boar's head maple ham, and imported Gruyere cheese. And local, hormone free milk, as usual.
Bon appetit!
Ina Garten's Croque Monsieur

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Hamburgers: Part 1 The Rolls

It is seriously warm here in PA, it feels like summer right now!! To celebrate, we have been cooking on our new charcoal Weber grill.
So tomorrow we will be grilling hamburgers!
I like burgers but one thing I don't like is figuring out what to put them on. The rolls in the grocery store are full of high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and other weird things. The bakeries near us that make their bread from scratch don't usually have hamburger rolls. So for the first time, I decided to make my own rolls!
I found a great recipe over at Coconut and Lime. Today she posted this recipe for Onion-Studded Hamburger Rolls.
I am not going to re-post her recipe, but if you click on the link above you can see step-by-step instructions. And they are not difficult to make, especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. Here are some shots of my rolls being made.

The first step, heating up some milk, water, butter, salt and sugar.
The cooked shallots to go in the rolls. (I used shallots instead of onion)

Kneading the dough in my stand mixer.

The dough after it has risen the first time.
The finished rolls!
I haven't made bread the traditional way for a while, I have been using Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method, which doesn't involve punching down the dough or kneading. I think I developed a fear of making bread the normal way. But it wasn't that much work, and I had today off so I had the time to wait for each stage. Thanks to Rachel of Coconut and Lime for the great recipe!
Tomorrow, the hamburgers!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers Budget Challenge!!

I was really intrigued by the new Barefoot Blogger Challenge-take one of Ina Garten's recipes, and overhaul the recipe to make it cost less. The recipe chosen to overhaul was Lobster Cobb Salad Rolls.
And boy, this recipe would have cost a pretty penny had I made it as written. It calls for 1 1/2 lbs lobster meat, which would cost a lot. If I went to Giant, it would cost over $60 dollars to get the amount of lobster meat required. I usually halve the recipes, since it is just for me and my husband but I would still end up spending $30-40 on the lobster meat alone for 3/4 of a pound.
I read a lot of the comments for the recipe on the TV Food Network website. Many people commented that the bacon and blue cheese made it overly salty. I decided to get rid of the blue cheese, since that is also pricey. I used a few shavings or parmesan, which I always have on hand.
Someone also commented that with all the other stuff going on (the vinaigrette, the bacon, etc) you might as well use turkey instead of lobster. So I decided to do that! I used a turkey tenderloin that cost me exactly $3.64! How is that for saving?
I also turned it into a pasta salad, using 100% whole wheat rotini. Other changes include using pancetta instead of bacon, sun-dried tomatoes instead of cherry, (not in season yet!!) and a slightly altered vinaigrette. So you can check out the original recipe here but I recommend my version :) I'm not biased at all!It is very different from the original recipe, but I really really enjoyed it. It is one of the tastiest dishes I have made in a while!
Turkey Cobb Pasta Salad Serves 3
1/2 lb whole wheat spiral pasta (such as rotini)
about 1 lb turkey tenderloin
6 slices (medium thickness) pancetta
1 small bunch organic arugula
1 organic avocado
lemon juice
1 small handful sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp honey
juice of 1/2 a large lemon
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. While the water heats up, season the turkey tenderloin with salt and freshly ground pepper on all sides. Put on a tray in a toaster oven at 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until no longer pink inside.

The cooked turkey tenderloin. I got this from "The Turkey Lady" at Central Market in Lancat
Cook the pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, remove to paper towels to cool.

I just loooooove pancetta. It has a great flavor.

After the pasta is cooked until al dente, drain and rinse in cold water to cool down. Dump in a large bowl.
Rinse the arugula and rip larger leaves in half. Add to bowl.

This organic arugula from market was tender and much better than the supermarket variety nowadays.

Cut the avocado in half, remove pit, and peel off outer skin. Cut into a 3/4 inch dice. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then add to pasta.

This avocado, from the organic produce stand, was also labeled "Fair Trade Certified"!!! It was beautiful and delicious.

Roughly chop sundried tomatoes and add in. Crumble pancetta and also add into the salad.
Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Blend the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender, or use a container and an immersion blender (This is what I did, less clean up.) Then add the shallot, garlic and honey and blend until shallot and garlic are incorporated.

This organic lemon was HUGE!

Cut the turkey into bite sized pieces and cool. Add to the pasta mixture, then mix in the vinaigrette. Serve with freshly shaved parmesan on top.

Approximate cost of this dinner: $17.00 (including mostly organic ingredients)
Approximate cost of original recipe (cut in half to serve two): $58.00

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Chinese Chicken Salad

This week McKenzie of Kenzie's Kitchen chose this lovely salad from the Barefoot Contessa.
This meal was healthy and delicious! I wanted to use asparagus, I really did. But here in Lancaster, PA asparagus is not in season quite yet. It should be very soon. But asparagus is one of those vegetables I am very picky about eating only local and in season. It is just not very good shipped in from thousands of miles away, I think.
So I used snow peas, and they worked very well. I also used rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
Other than that I halved the recipe and I felt really healthy about eating this dinner!!
Until I had a few glasses of wine with it. Whoops!
Hey, I'm on Easter break, I don't need to work tomorrow. So it's all good.
  • Ingredients

    • 4 split chicken breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
    • Good olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 pound asparagus, ends removed, and cut in thirds diagonally (Or snow peas, cut in half diagonally)
    • 1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
    • 2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
    • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted

    For the dressing:

    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
    • 1/2 tablespoon honey
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
    • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub with the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

  • Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred the chicken in large bite-sized pieces.

  • Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain. Cut the peppers in strips about the size of the asparagus pieces. Combine the cut chicken, asparagus, and peppers in a large bowl.

    Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing

  • Pour the dressing over the chicken and vegetables. Add the scallions and sesame seeds and season to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.

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