Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chicken Stir Fry with Roti

The first time we had roti, we were at Hat Yai, a Southern Thai restaurant in Portland. Roti is crisp, thin, flaky flatbread that melts in your mouth. One taste, and I was obsessed. Story of my life! Roti goes really well with this stir fry of lean protein and healthy veggies with a light, thin sauce.


When I found the roti at our Asian grocery store, I bought 5 packages. I was strolling through Fubonn in Portland, looking over all of the offerings in the frozen section, when I saw it. Obsessive label reader that I am, I approved of the ingredients. 

I have a rough life of serving as the cook to two daughters and a tall 6'2" and 200 pound hungry husband. You think I'm joking, but all I do all day is think of what I will make for breakfast, after school snack, dinner, and work or school lunches. Jereme and Gianna have pretty high standards, and Sasha is just plain picky. If I even fall into a rut, they will encourage me to get more creative. I think I took on my last well paying job just so that I could have an excuse to order food from Mediterranean Grill instead of cooking! Just kidding, anyone who knows me knows that I love going to three grocery stores a day so that I can do my meal planning. 

And since we close on a new house in May, my budget is super tight. One day we're in the front row of a Blazers playoff game against Golden State, the next, I'm browsing Managers Specials at Fred Meyer. I get so excited when I see I've got one day to use organic chicken breast tenderloins at a discounted price. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Broiled Scallops

Most recipes for scallops usually have them pan seared just a few minutes on high heat on each side. I love to use my broiler, so I decided to throw some scallops in there to see how they'd turn out.


Easy peasy, guys!

I love the flavor of sea scallops, so I don't do much to them. These were seasoned with salt and pepper, dipped in melted butter, then finished with a squeeze of lime afterwards. I use the broiler a lot because you can cook food quickly, the oven door remains open so that you can keep an eye on the food, and you can usually broil in the same amount of time as you would if you were grilling. 

I loved preparing scallops this way! Simple is my favorite way to cook.

Ingredients:
  • Scallops
  • Melted butter
  • Squeeze of lime
Directions:
  1. Roll the scallops in melted butter. Place the scallops onto a foil lined pan. Pour the remaining butter on the top. 
  2. Broil 5 - 6 minutes per side, until browned, watching closely.
  3. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Flat Iron Steak Salad

I'm a sucker for samples. Usually, all you have to do is give me a taste of food, and I'll buy it. That's probably why I frequent the same stores on a daily basis! The following recipe comes from one of my favorite grocery stores in my community. 

Ever since I discovered flat iron steak, it has been my go to. It's lean, it's easy to cook, and it delivers great flavor. I usually choose one that weighs about a pound, which is enough to feed my family of four. You can find flat iron steaks at Fred Meyer, and on occasion at New Seasons, if you live in the Northwest. If you're in the midwest or down south, you can find them at Kroger. They run about $8.99 per pound up here, but I noticed they're cheaper down south in cattle country.

The best way to serve flat iron is sliced thinly across the grain, like flank steak. I've gone back and forth between both kinds of steaks. Flat iron is still my favorite.

I marinate my steaks the way my parents did as I was growing up. We grew up using Three Crabs brand fish sauce, but now I buy Red Boat from Hung Phat. It's maybe seven bucks there, as opposed to the ten dollar price tag at New Seasons. We also used soy sauce in the marinade, but now I use Braggs Liquid Aminos. I noticed my daughter had a lot of stomach aches after she ate rice with soy sauce, so I switched to the gluten free source. A little turbinado sugar, tons of garlic powder, and that's just about how I marinate all my steak, pork, and chicken. Oh yeah, and duck and lamb too. (Think Pok Pok Vietnamese chicken wings.)

Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Marinate the steak either using my method listed above, or with half a bottle of the dressing.
  2. Broil the steak on a foil lined pan for 8 minutes on one side, then 6 minutes on the other side for medium rare.
  3. Let the steak rest 15 minutes, then slice against the grain.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients, then add the steak.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

M&M Blondies

I rarely ever crave or create desserts, but these chewy bars are so worth the lifetime on the hips. I developed the craving when my friend Dan posted a picture of his M&M cookie from a bakery in Dallas. I searched all of Portland, and never found a single M&M cookie. So we made these.


When I Googled M&M blondie recipes, the one that caught my eye immediately was from my favorite Iron Chef Michael Symon. The year that I started blogging, I was creating recipes in my kitchen that I had built, where I had chosen every detail. My friend Scott had design credentials from a school in New York, and he'd taken me on a shopping spree. In one afternoon, he laid out all of our finds to make my new house a comfy home.

I was quite passionate about cooking new things, and I loved sharing the recipes. My older posts are amateurish, but they were fueled with excitement. I never cared who read, but friends were telling me they loved my posts, even though they didn't cook.

When I decided I was tired of outside sales, my husband let me quit my job. It came with a price. We had to sell our house that I loved. When I lost my dream kitchen, I lost a little of that food blogging love. I buried all my feelings away and lost myself every single day at Barnes and Noble. I read cookbooks in their entirety, looking for something to keep me going. The two books that I remember were from chefs Michael Symon and Sam Talbot

The Sweet Life is about Sam's life as a diabetic. I loved his voice in the book, and I was inspired to share my own voice in the same manner. I started cooking with shirataki noodles, and I never forgot the moment he had the best pork chop of his life. I was hoping he would win this season's Top Chef, and I was shocked when he made his exit. I hope to visit his new restaurant Pretty Southern in Brooklyn.

The other book I loved that year was Michael Symon's Live to Cook. Here's hoping I'm back in my dream kitchen again soon so that I can live that dream again. It didn't happen in 2016, but I'm optimistic about the possibility in 2017! Happy New Year! You can find his M&M Blondies recipe here: M&M Blondies



Friday, December 16, 2016

Reverse Seared Steak

There are so many ways to cook a steak. I found that in my Meatbook group on Facebook, many of the members loved this method. I checked it out, and here's what I found!


The ribeye was about 16 ounces, or a pound. I also cooked another alongside it.


The result was a perfect medium rare in my book.


I used a thermometer, but maybe it's out of date. Because most recipes I found for medium rare said 125 degrees was the target temperature.


I chose to use ghee for searing because it is clarified butter that is great for high heat, and some think it has healthy benefits for you. 

Ingredients:
  • 2 steaks, about a pound each (mine were ribeyes)
  • Marinade: I use about 2 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp liquid aminos, tons of granulated garlic, & a pinch of turbinado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ghee
Directions:
  1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Place the steaks on a foil lined pan.
  3. Insert thermometer, and cook until the temperature rises to 125 degrees (about 18 minutes.)
  4. Prepare a pan over high heat with the ghee. Sear each side about 90 seconds until browned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pozole

A good pozole takes hours to make from scratch. But 30 year old Chris Bailey has mastered the base for us in the Portland area using all natural, vegan ingredients, saving you hours in the kitchen. When you taste the perfected flavor with the best hominy you can find, you'll want this in your regular dinner rotation.


I've met Chris twice now, and I've bought many jars of his Pozole to the People since. I love buying local products, especially when I get the chance to interact with the owners to hear their story. This traditional soup from Mexico is something that you can easily incorporate into week nights with the addition of your favorite proteins, or veggies to bulk it up a bit. 

Chris has a couple of pop ups coming soon, if you're in the Portland area. Friday, December 9th, you can check out his pozole at New Seasons in Happy Valley from 5 - 7 p.m. There will be a full bar of toppings, so go by and try it for yourself. Then Wednesday, December 14th, you can check out Pozole to the People at the Portland Mercado. For more details, find them on Instagram.

If you can't make either event, you can find Pozole to the People at New Seasons, Whole Foods, Green Zebra, and more! Check out their web site to see: where to find Pozole to the People. For my recipe, keep reading.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Braised Chicken Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

I found this recipe in the October issue of Food and Wine last month, contributed by Portland chef Naomi Pomeroy. We've made it twice now, and it has become my older daughter Gianna's favorite chicken dish. My variation was made with limes and peeled garlic instead of lemons and the halved head of garlic. Pictured below is the halved version of the recipe.


Now that my husband is back at work in Alaska, meals at home will be more geared towards my own taste. When he called to let me know they wanted him back, I immediately dropped the slow cooker cookbook that I'd been reading, and dove right into Bon App├ętit. While he likes thin fried pork chops and spaghetti on a regular basis, I prefer to experiment with new dishes that are generally more blog worthy.

"What do you think about your dad heading back up for 4 weeks?" I asked Gianna. "I am starting a show about my life when I get older!" she said. "Like The Goldbergs?" "YES!!!!" We had just left a restaurant where the hubby was his usual animated self expressing every thought that came to mind, pretty much on a rampage, while I sat without hiding my discontent and total dissatisfaction for the bad service that we were receiving. 

"Are there hidden cameras?! Are we in a reality show that I don't know about? Is that why you guys act the way you do?" I play dumb, driving, as if I have no idea what she's talking about.