Friday, August 31, 2012

Gazpacho


Gazpacho is a cold, tomato-based, vegetable soup originally from Spain.  It is a refreshing and great summertime dish.  I had bought the onion, cucumber, and tomato from the Crystal City Farmers Market.  I love being able to get so many fresh vegetables every week at this farmers market.  You can make this ahead of time since it tastes even better after its been chilled.  Serve this gazpacho with some crusty bread and you have a simple, delicious meal.  




Gazpacho

Ingredients
2 cups tomato juice
1 large tomato, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)


Directions

In a food processer, add in garlic, diced onion, cucumber and tomato.  Pulse a few times, do not over process. 



Next, add in tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce.  Pulse.


Chill for a few hours at least before serving.  Serve cold.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baba Ghanoush

You might ask what is baba ghanoush? It is a Mediterranean eggplant dip that is usually served as an appetizer and served with pita chips or flat breads.  I love eggplant and I bought one at the farmers last week originally to make eggplant parmesan, but I can always make that another time.  What is great about baba ghanoush is the roasted eggplant, and be sure to prick the eggplant or it might explode while baking!  I roasted my eggplant in the toaster oven also.  This is a basic baba ghanoush recipe and didn't take long to make at all.  I served it with the best flatbread by Aladdin Bakers that I discovered while in Brooklyn last weekend.  I think its only available in NY since its made in Brooklyn so I may have to ask my cousin to bring me back some when she comes home.  My cousin was nice enough to give me her flatbread to take home this weekend, thanks Cathy!




Baba Ghanoush

Ingredients
1 large eggplant
2 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt 


Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Prick eggplant with a fork and place on a foil lined sheet pan.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.  The eggplant will turn black and shrivel. You can slice the eggplant in half and allow to bake after it has turned black. The inside of the eggplant will be soft and tender.  



Allow eggplant to cool.  Scrape out eggplant off the skin.  

Mash eggplant with a fork.  (You could also use a food processor for this part.)

Add in tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt.  Mix well.



Serve at room temperature with pita chips, flatbread, chips, etc. 


The baba ghanoush can also be served cold.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eating and Shopping in NYC - Part II

Here's Part II of visiting my cousin, Cathy from Petite Therapy, in Brooklyn and New York City this weekend. 

Rooftop View of River and City

Continuing into Saturday night, my cousin and I met up with my friend Heather for dinner at Market Table in West Village.  We shared the heirloom tomato salad and the homemade cavatelli.  Both were delicious, I love heirloom tomatoes and homemade pasta is always a plus!  For my entrée, I got the halibut, my cousin got the angus strip loin and Heather got the whole grilled bronzino.  Of course we also had dessert and shared the local peach pie with sour cream gelato and crème fraiche panna cotta with cherries, port wine and black pepper shortbread cookies.  My cousin has loved panna cotta ever since we had it in Italy last year, but she said this panna cotta wasn’t the same.  The peach pie was good but the sour cream gelato was amazing!  Overall, this was a great dinner with great company.

 Clockwise from Top Right:  Angus Strip Loin, Halibut, Branzino, and Dessert

On Sunday morning, my cousin and I visited the Dekalb Market in downtown Brooklyn.  This market is made out of salvaged shipping containers.  We both got iced coffees at Joe Coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Cheeky Sandwiches.  The breakfast sandwiches were buttermilk biscuits with egg, bacon and cheese.  The buttermilk biscuit was so good.  I also picked up a few cupcakes from Robicellis bakery to share with my brother and sister-in-law.   I got one cupcake each of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Abuelita and Lime in the Coconut.  Each cupcake was delicious but my favorite was the Abeulita, which has the Mexican chocolate.  My brother also mentioned how moist the pumpkin spice latte cupcake was too.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of the cupcakes, we ate them before I even thought about it!

 Cheeky Breakfast Sandwich

Thank you Cathy for a fun weekend!  It makes me think I could actually live in NYC if I ever had to move there, because there are so many things to do and see as well as great places to eat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eating and Shopping in NYC - Part I


I visited my cousin, Cathy from Petite Therapy, in Brooklyn and New York City this weekend.  We spent the day shopping in SoHo on Friday and tried the new Chobani SoHo Cafe, a yogurt bar!   I tried the Peanut Butter + Jelly, which has peanut butter, jelly, grapes and peanuts. My cousin tried the Toasted Coconut + Pineapple, which has pineapple, toasted coconut, hazelnuts and light agave.   They were both delicious and made a perfect afternoon snack.  I wish Chobani will open a Chobani DC Cafe next!


On Saturday, we had lunch at Momofuku Ssam Bar in East Village.   My friend Heather is a chef there and we were able to try several dishes.  My favorite dish were the steamed pork buns; the pork was cooked perfectly.  My cousin actually said she doesn’t like steamed buns but admitted that these steamed pork buns were her favorite too.  We tried the seasonal pickles, fried duck dumplings and duck duck noodles .   For dessert, we had the corn ice cream pie which is from Momofuku Milk Bar, so visit them for their desserts.   Next time I’m back in NYC, I want to try the bo ssam, a whole pork butt and meal for larger groups, which you need to make reservations for.

 Steamed Pork Buns
 Fried Duck Dumplings, Duck Duck Noodles and Pickled Vegetables
 Corn Ice Cream Pie

Can you believe that my cousin and I actually ate all that food for lunch?  So of course after lunch, we walk all the way up to CentralPark and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka The Met).   We ended up walking 82 blocks and 4 avenues, which is about 4 miles!  This took a few hours but we were able to just stroll and shop.  We made a stop at Starbucks and also checked out HenriBendel, an upscale women’s specialty store.  

Central Park


Beautiful views from my cousin's rooftop


To be continued with Eating and Shopping in NYC - Part II ...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Mustard Maple Chicken

I made a Mustard Maple Chicken recipe before but not a slow cooker version before.  I really enjoyed the oven version so I think the slow cooker mustard maple chicken should turn out well.  The only change I made was to use red wine vinegar in the slow cooker recipe and not rice vinegar as in the oven version.  I made this for my pregnant friend as a make ahead meal/freezer meal, so I can't tell you how it will turn out yet.  I promise to include an update once I hear from her about this recipe!


Update:  I was told by my friend's husband that this chicken turned out great!

Slow Cooker Mustard Maple Chicken

Ingredients
1 pound chicken (I used 2 large chicken breasts)
½ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Directions

In a bowl, mix together Dijon mustard, maple syrup and vinegar.



Add chicken into a freezer bag and pour sauce into bag.  Mix together sauce and chicken in bag with hands.


Freeze until ready to cook in slow cooker.  I would suggest defrosting the night before to cook in slow cooker the next morning.

Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until chicken is cooked through.

Serves 2.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken 2


I have previously made Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken and it is still one of my favorite slow cooker meals.  This is version 2 of my original recipe since I made it for my mom-to-be friend as a make ahead meal/freezer meal.  I used chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs this time and left out the onions.  The sauce is basically the same, and since I froze this before cooking, I didn't add in the sesame seeds (which is for garnish).   My cousin made the first version with chicken tenders and she said it was "so delicious."  My friend is also allergic to nuts so sesame was on the safe food list, yay!  I hope she likes this dish as much as I do!


Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken 2

Ingredients
1 pound chicken (I used 2 large chicken breasts)
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used low sodium soy sauce)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ginger, minced


Directions

In a bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and ginger.



Add chicken into a freezer bag and pour sauce into bag.  Mix together sauce and chicken in bag with hands.


Freeze until ready to cook in slow cooker.  I would suggest defrosting the night before to cook in slow cooker the next morning.

Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, until chicken is cooked through.

Serves 2.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew


I adapted this Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe from Martha Stewart's Beef Stew recipe.  I was unsure about adding balsamic vinegar to a beef stew since I have never tried that before.  However, it turned out great.  I actually love balsamic vinegar but never thought to add it to beef stew.  I also added mushroom broth since it was something I wanted to use up from the fridge.  You could also make this on the stove top or oven, but I prefer using a slow cooker.  The meat always comes out tender and melts in your mouth!  I usually like to serve beef stew over wide egg noodles, but its also great as is or even over rice.  Enjoy!





Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Ingredients
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup tomato paste
½ cup and ¼ cup mushroom broth (You may use beef broth)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion, diced
1 russet potato, diced
½ pound baby carrots
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil


Directions

Toss meat with flour to lightly coat.


In a pan over medium-high heat, add oil.  Next, add in meat in batches to lightly brown.  There is no need to cook the meat all the way through since it will cook in the slow cooker.


In a small bowl, mix together tomato paste, ½ cup mushroom broth, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic.

Once meat is done browning, add ¼ cup mushroom broth to pan to deglaze. Scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon.  Next, pour in tomato-balsamic sauce and stir to mix with deglazed bits.


In slow cooker, add in carrots, onion, and potato.  Top with meat.  Pour sauce over top and add in bay leaves.






Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 8 to 10 hours.



You can also freeze in freezer bag(s) prior to cooking for a make-ahead meal.