Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pistachio Beets a la Purple Pig

I recently went to The Purple Pig, in downtown Chicago to try their selection of wines and cheeses.  Their specialties are cheeses, wines, and pork dishes, though I found their side items to be absolutely fantastic.  I had a fava bean dish with hard boiled eggs and bacon that I really enjoyed.  However, what topped the cake at this meal was the Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette.  

It was rich and flavorful and had just the right amounts of sweetness and tartness.  Full of B vitamins, potassium, fiber and cheesy goodness, this makes an excellent dish for a pot-luck meal or even something to snack on all week.

 Colorful and bright
Spring food is so exciting,
Rich and nutritious!

  • 5 beets
  • salt
  • water
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  1.  Preheat the oven to 375F.  Peel and quarter the beets.  Place in a baking dish with 1/2 an inch of water and sprinkle with your favorite salt (not too flavorful - a smoky salt will ruin the taste of the pistachio vinaigrette).
  2. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until beets are soft when pricked with a fork.
  3. While the beets are baking, combine goat cheese and milk in a bowl and whip together until light and dollopable (word?  my mac editor says no.).  You may need to add more milk depending on the consistency of the goat cheese you use.
  4. Combine pistachios, vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper and set aside.
  5. When the beets are ready, let them cool a little bit so the cheese doesn't melt, and serve with a dollop of whipped cheese and drizzled with the pistacchio vinaigrette.

Serves 6.  Or just 1, for six days.

The Original

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asparagus Cheese Souffle

Back to French Cooking.  Back to using recipes.  Back to spending an hour and a half at least on creating a beautiful meal that makes the evening feel special.  Tonight I made an asparagus souffle (asparagus season - yay!).

Light and fluffy, a souffle is satisfying, delicious, and makes the house smell wonderful.
Souffles are the best
To show off your kitchen skills
With a special dish

  • oil
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) grated mild cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 3 Tbsp fresh minced dill
  1.  Chop the asparagus and start steaming.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan or in the microwave to very hot but not yet boiling.  Remove it from the heat and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and mustard, whisking constantly.  Turn the heat down to low, and continue to cook the resulting roux (a foundation sauce of fat and flour) for about a minute or two longer, stirring often.
  4. Slowly drizzle in the hot milk, whisking steadily.  Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a whisk and then a wooden spoon as it thickens.  Remove from the heat, and transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Beat the egg yolks with a fork just until they lose their shape and become runny, then drizzle them into the hot sauce, beating vigorously.  Add the salt, some black pepper, and cayenne to taste.
  6. Beat the egg whites until they form peaks that don't fall over when the whisk or beaters are lifted, and just a little liquid is left in the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Fold (or dump) the beaten whites into the sauce, sprinkling in the grated cheese as you fold, until the eggg whites are mostly incorporated.  Add the asparagus, tarragon and dill.  The mixture will not be uniform - there will be little puffs of "cloud" here and there (puffs of cloud may = clumps).  
  8. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.
  9. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown all over the puffy top surface.  Bring to the table and serve immediately.
I used a french herb blend that had a bit of tarragon in it instead of the straight tarragon.  It was fantastic.
Instead of the 3 Tbsp of fresh dill, if you must, you can use 1 Tbsp of dried minced dill.
I used Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose gluten-free flour.  It worked perfectly.
An electric blender makes souffle preparation quick and easy.  I've done it with a whisk.  It was just barely worth it.

Recipe from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Barbeque Pork Kimchee Tacos

Remember the Kimchee Shepherd's Pie?  Oh - this is even better

The trick to this, is to find really good farm fresh organic free range pork and get some good Kimchee.  Eventually I'll come up with my own recipe for kimchee and link it here.  But for tonight, I used kimchee made by my student, Criss Chang, which is a little sweeter than your average kimchee, but worked perfectly in this recipe.  Many restaurants will sell their kimchee to you as well.

Sweet, tangy, salty
This dish has got everything
Good leftover too!

  • 2 lbs 1 inch cubed pork, marbled,  from a reliable source
  • 1 cup kimchee
  • chopped lettuce
  • 2/3 cup barbeque sauce (your favorite)
  • cheddar cheese
  • corn tortillas (store bought, or homemade)
  1. In a large skillet or wok, cook the pork, approx 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring.  Add the barbeque sauce, stir, and cover.  Cook 10 minutes more.
  2. Uncover, keep cooking.  The sauce and pork should create a nice crust on the bottom of the pan.  Scrape this crust into the sauce and keep turning the pork over.
  3. In a small skillet, heat a corn tortilla on both sides.  Remove to serving plate and top with chopped lettuce, kimchee, barbeque sauteed pork, and grated cheese.
  4. Serve warm.  Great with a pinot noir.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sake Beef Stew

You'd think that beef stew wouldn't be appropriate for the month of May, but we have average temperatures much lower than any that have been seen in the past 27 years in Chicago, so looking forward to a pot of beef stew is JUST RIGHT.

I'm no stranger to cooking with wine, so I thought I'd branch out a bit and give the hearty beef and onions a slightly sweeter taste by cooking them in sake.

Sake in Beef Stew
Traditional with a flair
ANY time of year!

  • 2 lbs grass-fed chuck-eye roast cubed for stew
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 medium red potatoes
  • Vegetable broth
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • Water
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 5 Tbsp flour or other thickener
  1. Brown half of the onion (coarsely chopped) and beef in a skillet.  Drain the juices into a crockpot or stockpot.  Whisk flour into this juice and set aside.  Continue cooking and draining, until the beef and onion have created a crispy crust-like coating on the pan.  Dump the onion and beef in the pot and add a bit of water to the skillet to deglaze.  Scrape crust-like coating and water into the stockpot.  Add sake.
  2. Cube the onion and potatoes.  Add potatoes, onion and carrots to the pot.  Cook, uncovered until juices are at the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable broth and water to cover and cook, covered, on medium for 90 minutes.  If in a crockpot, cook on high.
  3. 15 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas, salt, and pepper to taste.
Enjoy with bread and butter or over mashed potatoes or rice.

This dish can be made gluten-free by using a thickener besides wheat flour. 
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