Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dos Coyotes

Lisa cooked...we had take-out Dos Coyotes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meat Loaf

Lisa loves meat loaf, but I have never made one that I really cared for. This was from Cooks Illustrated's Best Recipes. I didn't much like this one either. And I even ground the meat myself...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken and Bread Salad

The best roast chicken ever...or maybe it's the bread salad. This is the way I roast chicken ever since I got Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe Cookbook. The chicken needs to be a small fryer (we use a Rocky Junior). Then it needs to be salted with Kosher salt and left overnight in the fridge. Then it needs to be roasted at pretty high heat.

But the most important part of the dish is the bread salad. A good chewy non-sourdough is toasted, then tossed in a tart/salty dressing with pine nuts and green onions. The salad is finished by tossing the bread mixture with arugula and served with the chicken.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Clam Chowder

Another staple in our arsenal...this is from a Cooks Illustrated recipe for Quick Pantry Clam Chowder where you use canned clams and clam juice instead of fresh clams. We like chopped clams instead of the minced clams because we like the occasional big bite of clam. This is a really easy recipe.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pressure Cooker Chili

Cross rib roast on sale...see the January 5, 2008 blog post.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bistro 33

We had an awful dinner at Bistro 33 in Davis. The service was poor. The food was poor. But Lisa had a gift certificate...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lemongrass Beef on Cool Noodles

This is a recipe from Mai Pham's Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table. Rice Noodles are tossed with lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber, mint and basil. They are topped stir fried sirloin beef strips that have been marinaded with lemongrass, oyster sauce, fish sauce and garlic. The salad is then garnished with Scallion Oil, Roasted Peanuts and Vietnamese Dipping Sauce (recipes in the book)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Achiote-Marinated Chicken Breasts

Another recipe out of the Mustards cookbook. I only discovered achiote paste when reading Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday. A canned paste found in Mexican Food markets, achiote paste is made from ground annatto seeds, garlic, an acid and spices. The achiote marinade in the Mustards recipe includes orange juice, rice vinegar and cumin and minced herbs.

The recipe recommends Erasto's Chile and Orange Black Beans also in the Mustards cookbook. These are black beans embellished with onion, garlic, chile, red bell pepper, cumin and the grated zest of orange and lime. I make it in the pressure cooker.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Potato Soup

A little bit of leftover mashed potatoes from last night, some chives, and some chicken stock. A nice easy light dinner.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mongolian Pork

This is one of our semi-regular dinners. The recipe is from Cindy Pawlcyn's Mustards Napa Valley Cookbook. Whenever center cut pork loin chops go on sale, I think of this dish. These are grilled pork chops that have been marinated in a Hoisin Sauce based marinade. They are best when marinated overnight. The recipe calls for bone-in center-cut double chops but these are never on sale so I go for the boneless version.

The recipe suggests serving with Braised Red Cabbage (recipe in the book), and Mashed Potatoes. I always make mashed potatoes, but I make Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes at the suggestion of Judy Rodgers from the Zuni Cafe. She writes that she normally doesn't use leftover mashed potatoes. But she likes to make a simple potato soup out of leftover mashed potatoes made with buttermilk. I do too.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spaghetti at Midnight

This is a simple canned tuna and pasta recipe from Biba Caggiano. If I recall, the name comes from the ability to make it from items in the pantry. So if you get home late and need to make dinner at midnight...All you need is some good imported italian tuna, an onion, some anchovies, some garlic, some white wine, some parsley, some hot red pepper flakes, butter and spaghetti.

While you boil the spaghetti, saute some minced onion in some olive oil and butter. Add some chopped anchovy fillets and a little garlic. Then add some drained and chopped tuna and stir into the sauce. Add a half cup of white wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Add some chopped parsley, salt, pepper and hot red pepper flakes. Add a bit more butter and take off the heat. When the pasta is cooked, drain it but reserve some of the water. Add the pasta to the sauce and turn on the heat. Warm everything up and add some of the reserved water if necessary...Spaghetti at Midnight.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


We asked Tess' friend Chloe to name her favorite dinner. "Beep and Bop" she answered. So I spent a fair amount of time online trying to find a recipe. It turns out that she was describing a Korean dish, Bibimbap (or Bibimbop). I found a recipe on the Food and Wine website. I added some beef Bul Gogi from the Sunset Oriental Cook Book. This was really good.

Chicken and Dumplings

Tess had her friends Chloe and Lauren over for dinner Saturday night. We had Chicken and Dumplings. When I was growing up, my mother would make Chicken and Dumplings. She would cut up a whole chicken and cook it in water until it was done. Then she would add Bisquick Dumplings. And it was perfectly good.

I on the other hand, boned chicken thighs, seared them with their skin on, cooked onions in the rendered chicken fat, then made Feather Dumplings out of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook. Good, but no better than Mom's.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Chicken Groundnut Stew

This is my adaptation of the recipe for Lamb and Peanut Stew (Mafe) in Seductions of Rice, the wonderful cookbook by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. I use boned, skin-on chicken thighs instead of lamb. I start by pan frying the chicken thighs. I then remove them to cool and fry the onions in the remaining fat. When the thighs are cool enough to handle, I remove the skin and cut the chicken into 1 inch chunks. I add them back to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. I also like to grind my own peanut butter in the food processor. I process 2/3 cup of raw peanuts until they form a ball and ride on top of the blade.

Tunisian Poached Halibut with Olives, Preserved Lemons and Capers

My friend Murre gave me some Halibut that he caught in Alaska, so we tried this dish from Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. One of the problems I have with cooking halibut is cooking it through without drying it out. In this recipe, the fish "slowly cooks in the receding heat after a light spicy tomato sauce is brought to a boil, then poured over the fish. The sauce was great, and the fish was perfectly cooked. I made the preserved lemons last week with Meyer Lemons from our garden. I couldn't find a link to the recipe.

Flank Steak Fajitas

Lisa prefers Chicken Fajitas, but Flank Steak was on sale. Our Fajitas are pretty simple...meat, roasted red bell pepper, roasted red onion, salsa, and avocado. I grill them on either the indoor or outdoor gas grill. They make pretty good leftovers too. Another recipe from America's Test Kitchen (Cooks Illustrated) The New Best Receipe.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Our friends Mary (Ann) and Keith were visiting on from Alaska with their three year old and two-month old. I figured meatballs would appeal to Julia, the three year old. I also fixed an Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel and Parmesan. The meatball recipe is out of America's Test Kitchen's The New Best Recipe. The link below takes you to their Cooks Illustrated site which requires a membership but can be accessed with a free trial membership.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Pressure Cooker Chili

The key to this Chili is to use Cross Rib Roast for the meat. I got that tip form Victoria Wise's The Pressure Cooker Gourmet. When Cross Rib Roast goes on sale at the grocery store, we have Chili. This is a really simple recipe from Alton Brown. I leave out the chipotles and adobo and use ground California Chili if I want Tess to eat it.,,FOOD_9936_28231,00.html

Rosti with Smoked Salmon

We used the smoked salmon and creme fraiche left over from the blinis. I grate fresh horseradish and mix it with the creme fraiche to make the Horseradish Cream.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon, Caviar and Creme Fraiche

A New Years tradition at our house. They have to be made with enough clarified butter to run down your elbows as you eat them. I used the blini recipe in Cindy Pawlcyn's Big Small Plates.