Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scampi-Style Steak and Scallops

Over the past couple of years, Brady and I have had some great birthday dinners at fun Chicago restaurants. This year Brady opted to have me cook instead of take him to dinner. Even though we were staying in I wanted to make something special. The below recipe ended up being the perfect restaurant quality birthday dinner.  I loved the seared scallops in the scampi sauce and while I usually like a steak just plain with a little salt and pepper, I thought the herbs in the scampi sauce really added to the flavor of the beef. I served the dish with a side of roasted asparagus seasoned with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Super simple and yet still worthy of a celebration!

Scampi-Style Steak and Scallops

Serves 2
Prep/Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 medium beef tenderloin steaks
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 large sea scallops
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
dash hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Season steaks with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Add steaks to skillet and cook 5-7 minutes per side for medium-rare. A couple of minutes before the steaks are done, add the scallops to the skillet to sear, 1-2 minutes on each side, right beside the steaks, but not touching.

After starting steaks in the skillet, begin to make the sauce. In a medium skillet or sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic over medium heat in olive oil until fragrant. Add wine and lemon juice, simmer to reduce slightly, 1-2 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted into the sauce. Stir the parsley, lemon zest, basil and hot pepper sauce into the scampi sauce. Add the sauce to the skillet with the steaks and scallops and serve.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Berry-Orange Tart with Pistachio Crust

Two years ago, my family went to Sonoma over Thanksgiving.  While on vacation, we took a cooking class at Relish Culinary Adventures. One of the recipes we made was a Fig-Orange Tart. My mom changed the recipe up a bit while I was home over Father's Day weekend and it turned out AMAZING. I loved the combination of the berries and nectarines and the pistachio crust has a ton of flavor. This looks incredibly fancy but isn't difficult and it's sure to impress family and friends at your next summer barbeque!

Tart crust before putting into the tart pan.
Tart crust before baking.

Our finished tart. How good does this look???
Berry-Orange Tart with Pistachio Crust

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tsp. freshly grated orange rind
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 c. blood orange olive oil (this can be found at any olive oil store or upscale market)
1/2 c. finely ground pistachios
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

zest of one orange
1/2 fresh orange, juiced
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
6 oz. orange marmalade
1 pint blackberries
1 pint rasperries
2 thinly sliced nectarines
2/3 c. blanched almond slices

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in 1 tsp. orange rind, the ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Slowly mix in the blood orange olive oil and the chopped pistachios. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour in small batches, beating after each addition. Beat the mixture until well combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan. Prick the tart crust a few times with a fork and bake in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges.

While the crust is baking, warm the orange marmalade over low heat. When the crust has been removed from the oven, spread 1/3 of the marmalade over the crust. Cover with the blueberries, raspberries, and sliced nectarines, fanning the fruit over the tart crust. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the blanched almonds and then drizzle with the remaining orange marmalade.

Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes; remove from the tart pan, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

While in San Diego a few months ago, Brady and I ate at Burger Lounge, a new burger chain in Southern California. Instead of a burger (which Brady had and loved), I had their vegetable salad which was awesome. I recreated the salad for my parents this past weekend and they loved it. It's simple, adaptable, and perfect for summer.

Summer Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

lettuce mix- romaine, spinach and arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup sugar snap peas, halved on a diagonal
2 ears of corn, shucked and corn kernels removed with a knife
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
grated ricotta salata cheese

lemon basil vinaigrette
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 2 lemons
1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon basil vinaigrette.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Grilled Molasses Flank Steak with Fiery Grilled Peach Salsa

I love grilling during the summer but unfortunately neither Brady or I have a grill at our apartments. I came home to Kansas City this weekend for Father's Day and was able to take advantage of having a grill (and a kitchen bigger than a shoebox). I have to fess up to the fact that I wasn't the one actually doing the grilling though, I left that part up to my dad, but the rest of the meal was a group effort!

Grilled Molasses Flank Steak with Fiery Grilled Peach Salsa

Serves: 6-8
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes plus 4-12 hours to marinate

Molasses Flank Steak
3/4 c. molasses
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 (2-Ib) flank steak

Fiery Grilled Peach Salsa
4 large peeled peaches, havlved and pitted
2 slices red onion (1/4 inch thick)
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 T. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt

Place the first 8 ingredients for the flank steak in a large ziplock bag. Add steak; seal bag, and chill for 4-12 hours (I would suggest marinating the steak for more than 4 hours; the longer it marinates the more tender it's going to be). Remove steak from marinade, discarding marinade.

Preheat grill to 400 to 450 degrees (high heat). Grill steak, covered with grill lid, 9 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from the grill, and let stand 10 minutes. Cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Top with peach salsa.

You can prepare the peach salsa while the steak is grilling. Coat the peaches and onion with cooking spray. Place peaches and onion on a seperate area of the grill. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side and then remove to a cutting board to cool. Chop the peaches and onion and combine the chopped peaches and onion with the cilantro, and remaning ingredients in a medium bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. The salsa will keep for up to three days and would be great paired with chicken or fish.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paula Deen's Pulled Pork

Last weekend I made pulled pork for Brady as he geared up for his big test. I wanted to make something that would last all week and be easy for him to reheat when he got home from studying. I have a go-to recipe for pulled pork but I felt like trying something new. I came across the following pulled pork recipe and loved how it turned out. It's nice to have an alternative to my normal barbeque sauce based pulled pork and it's a recipe that is super simple. Put everything in the slow cooker, set it for 8 hours, and you are good to go. This recipe also get's a huge plus because it has to be the only Paula Deen recipe that doesn't involve butter or oil!

Paula Deen's Pulled Pork

Serves 8-10
Prep/Cook Time: 8 1/2 hours

1 1/2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
4 pound shoulder pork roast (aka Boston Butt roast)
2 cups apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
8 hamburger buns or large rolls
1 1/4 cups bbq sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper.  Place pork in a slow cooker and rub entire roast with dry rub mixture, pressing mixture into the roast. 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine apple juice, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, liquid smoke and garlic powder. Pour several tablespoons of the apple juice mixture over the top of the roast, then pour remaining mixture on the side of the roast.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on low heat 8 - 10 hours.  Remove roast from slow cooker and shred.  Return shredded pork to slow cooker (in broth) and allow to cook 30 more minutes.  Ladle out majority of the broth (leave about 1/2 - 3/4 cup) and pour in barbecue sauce and stir.  Serve warm, on toasted hamburger buns or rolls.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Chinese Five-Spice Roast Chicken

As much as I cook, I have never roasted a chicken. All of the recipes I have for roast chicken talk about how easy it is but it always sound even easier to just buy the rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. A couple weeks ago, I decided to give it a try. And yes, my recipes are correct, roasting a chicken is super easy and it turns out even cheaper then buying a rotisserie chicken. I loved the flavor of this Chinese-inspired roast chicken. I served mine with a simple Asian slaw and it made for a perfect Sunday dinner.

Chinese Five-Spice Roast Chicken
*** Food Network Kitchens Cookbook

Serves 4
Prep/Cook Time: 1 1/2 hour

1 3-4 pound chicken, giblets removed
3 scallions, cut into 4 pieces
6 coin-sized slices of fresh ginger
a few strips of orange zest (I used my potato peeler for this)
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

Sauce (optional)
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425. Make sure the giblets are removed from the chicken and give it a good rinse in the sink. Dry off well and then stuff the chicken cavity with the scallions, ginger, and orange zest. Set the chicken in a large oven-safe pot (I used my fake Le Creuset) or in a roasting pan coated with a little olive oil. Brush the chicken with 1 tsp of olive oil . Whisk the sesame oil through the soy sauce in a small bowl. Brush the mixture all over the chicken and then sprinkle with the Chinese five-spice powder.

Tuck the wings under the back, cross the legs, and tie them with a little kitchen twine. Place the chicken breast side down and roast until the back of the chicken is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and turn it breast side up. Cut off the twine and baste the chicken with the pan drippings. Toast the chicken again until the breast is golden brown and a meat thermometers registers 170 degrees, about 25-30 minutes more. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. The sauce can be drizzled over the chicken once it has been sliced.