Sunday, December 31, 2006

fuddy duddy new year's eve

Not wanting to have a big party, we hosted a "fuddy duddy new year's eve" party on, well, new year's eve. It turned out to be lots of fun, involving paper bag puppets and South Park caricatures. The food theme of the evening was "chipotle". Since we weren't exactly up for a spicy evening, the food would have to be.

short ribs braised in ancho chile sauce
This recipe came from epicurious. These were great. The mixture of chipotle en adobo and ancho chiles was complex and smoky, and the coffee added a subtle layer of bitterness that complemented the ribs.
[short ribs, ancho chiles, chipotle en adobo, garlic, onions, coffee, maple syrup, lime juice, salt, pepper]

chipotle sweet potatoes
This was an amazing companion to the short ribs. The sweetness of the potatoes and the spiciness of the chiles, and the richness of the ribs were almost too much. I roasted the sweet potatoes to bring out the maximum flavor, and then whipped them in the standing mixer with some butter and the mashed chiles.
[sweet potatoes, chipotle en adobo, butter, salt]

chocolate chipotle cakes with tomatilla sauce
Another recipe from epicurious. These were super-rich. I was surprised at the spice level - I actually expected it to be higher, but the heat was a slow, subtle burn that hit in the back of the palate. It was very complex and interesting. The tomatilla sauce was a novelty. Sweet and tart, it brought out the heat from the cakes as well as some fruitiness in the chocolate. The chipotle paste was a bit laborious to make, as the yield was rather small from a fair amount of chiles. I didn't have a vanilla bean, so I added one teaspoon of vanilla extract at the end.
[chocolate, sugar, eggs, orange juice, chipotle chiles, salt; tomatilla sauce: tomatillas, sugar, water, cinnamon stick, vanilla extract]

Monday, December 25, 2006

christmas dinner

Our traditional dinner is a standing rib roast with yorkshire pudding. Sides change from year to year. No pictures because we were too excited to eat. You can see some pics at Table d'Hote.

tomatoes with burrata
I am in love with burrata. And these tomatoes from the farmer's market were awesome with the burrata.
[tomatoes, burrata, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil]

standing rib roast
We buy the meat from Howie's Ranch Market, and it's dry-aged 21 days. We then age it at home for about another week. I cook it at 250°F until it reaches 118°, and then take it out to rest it. After it's reached 130°F, I put it back in at 450°F until it's crispy and brown on the outside, about 5 minutes.
[rib roast, salt, pepper, oil]

yorkshire pudding
These are awesome because they're so dramatic when they first come out of the oven. Of course, they deflate almost instantly.
[eggs, milk, flour, salt, drippings from roast]

carrots
Sautéed and steamed.
[carrots, butter, thyme, salt, pepper]

roasted garlic mashed potatoes
I had roasted a bunch of garlic earlier, and it really needed to get used up. I mashed them in with the potatoes and milk.
[yukon gold potatoes, milk, roasted garlic, butter, salt, pepper]

lemon panna cotta
G chose this dessert, and as it was our first time making panna cotta, it was an adventure. Panna cotta is surprisingly simple to make, and it's so misleadingly light-tasting, that you don't realize you're pretty much eating solid cream.
[cream, gelatin, vanilla bean, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

wrap it up

I was starting to run out of ingredients, so I dug up some andouille sausage from the freezer, fried some onions and mushroms, and tossed on my magic chili powder. I'm such a one-trick pony.

almost-vegetarian quesadilla
I almost had a vegetarian dish here. But the meat-loving side of me won out, and I threw in a diced andouille sausage.
[flour tortilla, andouille sausage, onions, mushrooms, greens, chili powder, cheese]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

leftovers salad

This tasted better than it looks.

garlic-chicken salad
This was the remainder of the garlic chicken from Monday night. I tossed it with some greens, pomegranate seeds, and a roasted garlic vinaigrette.
[greens, leftover chicken, roasted garlic, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, roasted garlic vinaigrette.]

Monday, December 11, 2006

pre-concert dinner

We had some folks over before heading to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the Messiah sing-a-long. As a good friend said about last year's experience, "the Messiah kicked our butts." That is one difficult piece of music to sing. I'm sure the professionals were cringing in their seats.

baby salad
Baby spinach with roasted baby eggplants, pomegranate seeds, feta, and almonds. Ok, so I went overboard with the salad add-ons. I think I would have left out the almonds. The pomegranate seeds were crunchy enough.
[baby spinach, baby eggplant, feta cheese, almonds, pomegranate seeds, roasted garlic vinaigrette]

braised chicken with roasted garlic
I misread the 40 cloves of garlic recipe, and instead of stewing the garlic with the chicken (there were a few cloves in there, but not 40), I roasted the garlic instead and mixed the puree into the final sauce.
[chicken (dark meat only), chicken broth, onions, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, pepper]

no-knead bread
I love this bread. I used this flour with nice results. The crumb was slightly tighter this time, but still very chewy. I made the initial dough much wetter, and let it rise about 16 hours. I did slice it shortly after it came out of the oven, so I don't know how much that affected the final texture. Still a very excellent bread. I mashed up some of the roasted garlic with butter and salt for spreading on the bread.
[flour, water, yeast, salt]

Saturday, December 09, 2006

leftovers hash

Not as good as corned beef hash, but a slightly healthier alternative.

beet greens, bacon, and potato hash
I had some cooked beet greens that I wanted to use up, so I came up with this idea. It sounded really good in my mind, and it turned out pretty well, too. You can't really go wrong with bacon.
[potatoes, beet greens, bacon, salt, pepper, egg]

Friday, December 08, 2006

almost too cute to eat

These were so cute I couldn't resist buying them. I have no idea what to do with them. Stay tuned for the final results.

baby eggplants

Sunday, December 03, 2006

guest chef series #2: sashimi salad in the OC

D's younger brother is a dietician, and when he's not encouraging us to eat more healthily, he's cooking up good eats in Orange.

sashimi salad
This salad was amazing. And super-healthy. See what you can learn when you eat with a dietician? I think we'll be incorporating this into our regular lineup.
[sashimi, rice, seaweed salad, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, egg, wasabi, mayonnaise, ginger dressing]

Saturday, December 02, 2006

guest chef series #1: waffles in phoenix

We spent the weekend in Phoenix with D's relatives, and his cousins cooked up a fantastic waffle breakfast.

waffles
If we ever have kids, I hope they turn out even half as cool as these girls. They cooked up a huge batch of pancakes and then went on to make some really great waffles, in 3 flavors no less: plain, blueberry, and chocolate chip. And aside from being great cooks, they're also smart, talented, polite, and very mature.