Search This Blog

Follow by Email

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to cook a steak indoors

Growing up, Pete cooked steaks every Friday night. We celebrated the work/school week being over by sitting all around the kitchen table, enormous ribeyes falling off the sides of our plates, baked potatoes on the side, and smiles on our faces. I of course, demanded that Pete cut my steak for me, dipped my medium-cooked steak in ketchup (the horror!) , and gave all my leftover fat back to Pete as payment for his hard work. These days, much has changed. Now that I pay for every meal I eat, steak isn't as common as it used to be. And when I do eat it, I want it still moo'ing. I would hurt someone if I saw them put a beautiful steak in ketchup, and I keep the fat to myself.

When I do treat myself to one at home, I want it done right. And without a grill, one might think this is impossible. Well, think again. Cooking inside would never be my first choice if I had a big yard with a charcoal grill, but if we are talking gas versus indoors, same thing in my book. Plus, with the weather getting cooler each day, you'll thank me.

First step is to buy a good steak. Cut corners on other things, but not on steak. For this week, I got a NY Strip.

Next step is prepping. You'll first want to get your steak to room temperature. You'll also want to preheat the oven to 400. And then take a cast iron skillet and put it on top of the stove on high heat. I used a griddle because it's all I had. Let it heat up at least 10 minutes or so.

Take your steak and drizzle a little olive oil on both sides. Then season however you would like. I just used salt and pepper, but everyone has their favorites. Now throw the puppy in your cast iron grill (or griddle) and sear each side for about 2 minutes. Then take the steak (while still in the skillet) and throw it in the oven, cooking about 5 minutes for rare, 7 minutes for medium rare. The final step is letting it rest at least 5 minutes...this is the hardest part I know, but please don't cheat. Those juices are going to taste so much better in your mouth than on your plate. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I always keep tofu at home. Frankly, I like it. And I don't always want meat in every meal. Plus, it keeps longer than meat, so I stock up on a few packages when I go shopping. I have learned that I really like tofu the most when I prepare it in thin slices instead of cubes. This recipe was found on Cooking Light. It was easy, and I had all of the ingredients here. I added some toasted sesame seeds at the end for fun.

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
  • 2 1/4 cups chopped asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce with garlic (such as KA·ME)
  • 1 pound extrafirm tofu, drained and cut lengthwise into 9 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup preshredded carrot (i didn't have so i skipped)
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Add bag of rice, submerging bag completely in water. Boil 10 minutes. Carefully remove bag from pan, leaving boiling water in pan. Add asparagus to pan; cook 1 minute. Drain.
  • While rice cooks, heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and chili sauce in a small bowl. Sprinkle tofu with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add tofu to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Combine rice, asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon salt, carrot, and sesame oil. Serve tofu over rice.

Aunt Deane's Chicken Pot Pie

I love chicken pot pie. I used to go to the Ear Inn every Tuesday for pie night, where they make the most heavenly pot pie, which I smother in enough Coleman's mustard that my nose runs with each bite. Ok, maybe not appetizing to you readers, but it gets me excited just thinking about it. I made Aunt Deane's version last week, and it seriously lasted me an entire week! Normally, I get sick of leftovers really fast, but I suppose the combination of my love for this dish and her yummy recipe was enough to override it. This calls for a pour crust which may bit a bit different than what you are used to. It's much easier than rolling out a pie crust, but feel free to substitute with already made crust from the grocery if you prefer that style.

1 chicken
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can veg-all, drained (i used 2 cans)
1 cup flor
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup milk
1 stick margarine, melted
1/2 t. pepper

Simmer chicken in salted water until tender and then debone. Cut up chicken and put in casserole. Combine soup and broth and pour over chicken. Mix dry ingredients with milk and melted margarine. Pour over chicken. Bake 35-40 minutes until brown at 425.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brunswick Stew

This is one of Papaw's recipes that I grew up eating. I had to improvise a bit from Papaw's version, and believe me, you will too. The "wild meat" it calls for was definitely wild when he cooked it. Maybe rabbit, squirrel, whatever one could probably made its way into this stew. Because this dish makes enough for a crowd, Papaw would cook it outside in a wash pot. And you'll never believe what he used to stir the pot: a drill with a coat hanger whisp! This is a lot of work, but it is the definition of comfort food to me, so worth the time and effort. I halved the recipe below, and it still made a ton!

1 fat hen
1 fryer
4 lbs. hamburger & wild meat (i used half beef and half pork)
2 lbs. chopped potatoes
2 cans tomato paste
1 qt. butterbeans (i used frozen baby lima beans)
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 lb. chopped onions
1 bottle Lea & Perrins worcestershire
salt, black and red pepper to taste

Papaw's instructions: Pressure cook hen in 3 cups water. Boil fryer until tender. Strain all stock and pour into large cooker. Add beef, wild meat and onions to stock. Cook potatoes separately. Add Lea & Perrins and tomato paste to meat. Shred the chicken and add to the pot. Blend up meat when all is added by using a drill with coat hanger whisp. Add beans and potatoes. Cook on low heat about 4 hours. Add shoe peg corn last.

Sally is scared to death of pressure cookers (one blew up on her once, and she'll never forget it - scaredy pants!); if you are too, here are her instructions:
Cook hen until tender. Boil fryer until tender. Strain all stock. Add ground ground beef, wild meat and onions to stock. Cook potatoes separately. Add worcestershire, tomato paste. Shred chicken and add to the pot. Blend up meat when all is added. Cook on low heat about 4 hours. Add beans, potatoes and corn last.

One side note: Don't use all of the stock leftover after the chicken is cooked. The point of this stew is to not have too much broth. It should be hearty.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grits En Fuego

Ready for some fire in your mouth? Well, if you are out of 151, cook up these grits. I'll list the recipe I used below, but the fun in this dish is that you really don't have to follow a recipe. You can make it less spicy if you want, vegan if you prefer, or whatever your heart desires. I serve it with crumbled bacon and an egg over easy on top. The yolk makes this dish just heavenly!


1 T. olive oil (I used bacon grease cause I keep it real)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 onion, diced

1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth too)

1 cup quick-cooking grits

1 can hot Ro-tel tomatoes, not drained (if you can't handle heat, use mild)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (monterey jack would be fantastic too)

salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and saute garlic and oniion for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add grits, broth and rotel, stirring frequently. As the mixture thickens, slowly add the cheese and cook for 10 minutes. If mixture gets too thick, add water or mlk.

Now here comes the fun: Top with whatever you like! Some ideas: corn, jalapeno pepper slices, bacon crumbles, or sour cream!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Betty's Breakfast Casserole

(i'm not gonna lie, this pic is yuck)

I spent Labor Day weekend celebrating my oldest and bestest friend in the whole wide world's upcoming wedding. A bachelorette party has many secrets, but one that I reveal is that on Sunday morning we were a lot of girls, we were hungry, and we were hungover. Volunteers were needed to cook a big breakfast, and I raised my hand. I knew Betty's casserole would be the perfect choice; plus, I could prepare it the night before when I was still halfway together. I doubled the recipe below to make 2 casseroles, and it wasn't even really necessary. 1 was plenty to fill a large crowd. Congrats to Mary Margaret and thank you to Betty!

6 slices white bread, crust removed
1 lb. ground pork sausage or ham (we used hot jimmy dean)
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese or monterey jack (i used less than this, and it was fine)
6 eggs
1 t. salt
1 t. dry mustard
2 cups half and half
1 4-0z can green chilies

Lightly butter each slice of bread. Place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Brown and drain sausage and sprinkle over bread. Add cheese. Beat eggs and add salt, mustard, and half and half. Beat eggs again and pour over mixture. Refrigerate at least overnight or freeze. Remove foil and bake 45 minutes at 350 or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower has a bad reputation. You don't see it a lot. You don't eat it a lot. Most people choose its friend, broccoli, when they are looking to add a side dish. But don't overlook this guy, my friends. This is a delicious recipe, from Simply Recipes, to serve it year-round.

1 head of cauliflower
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
Lemon juice from half a lemon
Olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Slice the cauliflower info florets and put in single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

While the rest of NYC was freakin out about Hurricane Irene, I just relaxed and did some cooking. Not exactly an exciting Saturday night for most, but I made the best of having to stay inside! This is a recipe that I have been using for years. Pork tenderloin is a great cut, but sometimes can be lacking in flavor. This marinade definitely brings some flavor to the party.


1 clove garlic, sliced

2 T. soy sauce

1 T. water

1 t. packed brown sugar

2 t. lemon juice

2 t. vegetable oil

1/8 t. ground pepper

1 pork tenderloin (about 3/4 lb.)

Make a marinade with all ingredients and put in a shallow glass dish or plastic bag. Add pork and turn to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate, turning occassionally, at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours. Heat oven to 425. Remove pork from marinade and put in a baking pan. Bake uncovered 27 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160. Cut pork crosswise into thin slices.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Zucchini Carpaccio

Ah...late favorite time of year for all things food. Everything just tastes SO good. Minimal preparation is encouraged and practiced over here at Casa Burnett. All that work in the kitchen can wait for winter! I went to the farmers market yesterday and loaded up on all kinds of goodies: beets, corn, tomatoes, peaches, garlic, and zucchini. Tonight I made a super simple dish that I would highly recommend for an easy appetizer or side dish.

1 lb. zucchini
4 T. pine nuts (i used slivered almonds)
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. fresh lemon juice
fresh ground pepper
fleur de sel
6 T. shaved Parmesan Reggiano

Slice the zucchini super thin, using a mandoline. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapping, on a serving tray. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge. Toast the pine nuts over medium heat in a dry saute pan until slightly brown and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice. Drizzle the dressing over the zucchini; season with salt and pepper and top with pine nuts.

Bourbon Bella Steak Sauce

I found some flat iron steaks in my freezer over the weekend - what a nice surprise! I wanted a summertime meal but have no yard for a grill, so I put the indoor machinery to work. I used the stovetop grill pan for the steaks and roasted both beets & corn in the oven. I had some baby bella mushrooms that I put to good use by pairing them with my favorite ingredient of life, bourbon.


2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces sliced baby bells mushrooms (any type work work)

1/2 vidalia onion, sliced (any type would work)

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon creole mustard (any brown type would do)

2 tablespoons bourbon (tonight's selection: Redemption)

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat with the butter. When the butter is melted, add in the mushrooms and the onions. Stir and cook until onions are fragrant and softened. Pour in the chicken broth, mustard, bourbon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes. Serve over any type of steak or pork and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Fatteh is Arabic for "crushed" or "crumbs." This dish is basically a layered dish that starts with stale flatbread, then topped with meat and a chickpea mixture, then yogurt and nuts. As you can imagine, there is a lot of room for variation. This is definitely a dish to make when cleaning out the fridge. My pal Irene and I recently took a cooking class for cooking on a budget at Whole Foods, and this was one of the featured not only is it delicious, but it's also easy on the pocket. I'm going to list the exact recipe below, but please improvise. I ended up throwing out my chicken after the first serving and eating it vegetarian style because I wasn't happy with the quality of the meat I had purchased from a new store. I used pistachios instead of pine nuts's what I had at home...and worked perfectly. And I didn't have any stale flatbread to use up, so I just bought a bag of pita chips...just perfect!


For the chicken and marinade:

2 t. sweet paprika

1 t. cumin

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. garlic powder

1/4 t. salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

1 T. cooking oil, like canola or grapeseed

4 small chicken thighs (about 3/4 lb), skins and bones removed

For the pita and chickpeas:

Three 6" round flatbread or pitas

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for cooking

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tomato, coarsely chopped

one 14 oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cup chicken broth

salt & pepper

For the topping:

1 cup strained yogurt, at room temperature

juice of half a lemon

3 T. cooking oil, like canola or grapeseed

1/3 cup pinenuts

3 T. honey (optional) - I recommend

6-8 mint leaves, torn into small pieces (optional) - I skipped like mint.

Marinate the chicken: Combine the spices in a medium bowl. Add the oil and stir into a thick paste. Add the chicken and use your hands to rub the mixture into the meat. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the bread: Preheat the oven to 450. Cut each piece of bread in half to make into 2 thin rounds. Brush one side of each round with some olive oil, then cut each round into 8 triangular wedges. Place the braed slices on a sheet pan and bake until crispy and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, turn off the oven, and set aside to cool.

Cook the chicken: Coat pan with oil and heat over med-high heat. Cook chicken above 4 min or until golden brown. Flip and cook until done, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Cook the chickpeas: Heat 2 T. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned. Add tomato, chickpeas and the broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

Assembly: Spread the bread chips on a large shallow bowl or rimmed platter. Spoon some of the broth over the chips to soften them. Tear chicken into bite-size pieces and place them over the chips. Spoon the chickpea mixture over the chicken and drizzle in the rest of the broth. Top with yogurt and a squeeze of lemon. Top toasted nuts over, then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with mint.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Potato Salad, Lisa Style

Potato salad in New York is gross. It's just so....white. I grew up on the yellow stuff, and that's what I like. This potato salad recipe is for the mustard-based potato salad lovers ONLY! Everytime I make this, I always get asked for the recipe. It's the closest thing to traditional southern potato salad served at meat & 3's down home.

5 lbs. potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 cups mayonnaise (don't touch that diet crap here..or really ever for that matter)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1 cup chopped onions
2 T. prepared horseradish
sea salt to taste
8 hard cooked eggs, chopped
3 dill pickles, chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a serving bowl. Stir the onion, salt and pepper into the potatoes while they are still hot to soak in the flavor. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Add the mayonnaise, mustard and horseradish to the potatoes and mix well. Gently stir in the eggs and pickles. Finish off with a generous grinding of black pepper on top and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes enough for a large bbq party....I usually half it and still have too much.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Aunt Deane's Red Beans and Rice

It's you know what is for dinner. You got it - red beans and rice, darlin. When I spent a few years living in Louisiana, this was a given. It's a bit of tradition down there. Why, you ask? Well, laundry day was usually on Monday, so the women would cook a big ole pot of beans while they kept busy washing their clothes. My Aunt Deane submitted her recipe for red beans and rice for the family cookbook, which is the version you see here. This is not the traditional recipe that I was served down in Louisiana... this one used ground hot sausage and ground beef instead of the traditional link smoked sausage or andouille...think a little less soupy and more of a thick consistency. But it was easy, and I enjoyed it. Prewarning: It makes a lot....I'm going to freeze half for later.

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. hot sausage
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cans Hunt's tomato sauce
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes (cowboy up and use the spicy version)
3 cans dark red kidney beans
cooked white rice, for serving

Saute onions and peppers. Add meat and brown. Add Ro-Tel, tomato sauce, beans, salt and pepper. Cook slowly for 2 hours or overnight in a crockpot over low heat. Serve over rice. (And if you are anything like me, add some Crystal hot sauce!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jan's Broccoli Salad

My sister submitted this recipe for the family cookbook, but like many of the Burnett recipes, it's a bit high on the calorie count level. Don't be fooled by the word "salad" here. I've missed out on my sister ever cooking for me, so I've never tasted her version to confirm this is the exact same. However, I have had similar salads and can let you know that this turned out great. It's simple to throw together to serve at a bbq or a potluck at work. I of course, will be consuming this entire dish myself I am sure. Hello, mayonnaise. I love you.

3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped red onio
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or cashews (I used pine nuts b/c it is what I had)
6 bacon slices, cooked and chopped (I only had 3 and it was fine)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
2 T. wine vinegar (I went with white wine vinegar)

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix last 3 ingredients in another bowl. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and stir well. Chill and serve.

Shrimp in Garlic & Chile Sauce

I always keep a bag of frozen shrimp in my freezer. It's great to break out a few just for a simple meal for myself, or the entire bag to serve to a bigger crowd. In Chinese culture, one is to eat shrimp for happiness and well-being. You don't have to ask me twice...I like both of those things! This is a great alternative to Chinese delivery, and I can definitely promise no MSG from this meal.

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. sugar
2 t. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine for cooking)
2 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. pepper
1 T. vegetable oil
1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T. minced garlic
1 1/2 t. minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 t. sesame oil
rice (for serving)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Heat a skillet over high heat and add oil. Next, add the shrimp and cook 1 minute. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in broth mixture and coo 1 minute or until shrimp are done and sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in green onions and sesame oil. Serve over rice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pasta with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage

Broccoli Rabe is one of those ingredients I never ate until I moved to New York. Now it's just about everywhere, and it is easy to prepare. The mild but slightly bitter flavor makes any meal a little more interesting. Since it is in season, I picked up a bunch at the grocery and then hunted for an easy recipe for one of my favorite dishes at old school Italian restaurants, Pasta with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage. Most commonly made with orecchiette, this dish is really quick and easy to throw together.

1 lb. broccoli rabe, trimmed
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, sliced (not diced)
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 lb. hot italian sausage, casings removed (you could use sweet too)
1/2 lb. dried pasta (use what you have, but use shapes not noodles)
Parmesan cheese (for topping)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Boil broccoli rabe for 5 minutes or until it's fairly tender. Meanwhile, put the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add garlic and cook about 1 minute. Now add the sausage and brown. Remove broccoli rabe with spoon and drain, reserving water. Dice the rabe just a little bit to make it easy to eat and add to sausage mixture. Cook the pasta in the boiled water, drain and reserve a bit of the pasta water. Add pasta to the skillet and a little bit of the pasta water and toss until well mixed. Add salt and red pepper, adding more water if needed. Serve immediately with Parmesan on top.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Red Curry Tofu

The definiton of fish sauce is "a condiment that is derived from fish that have been allowed to ferment." Does that sound as delightful to you as it does to me? Ok, probably not. And when you open the bottle, it smells...well, like fermented fish. But when you cook with it, oh when you cook with it, it brings such depth and new flavors to your food that you'll immediately start expressing your love for fermented fish all over town. I have lots of recipes that incorporate fish sauce, but this one was easy for a Wednesday night; plus, I had all of the ingredients on hand. Experiment with fish sauce - I think it's one of those "you either love it or hate it" things, but if you love it, let me know, and I'll send over many ways to use it!

1 package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup coconut milk (I buy a can and freeze what I don't use)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 T. fish sauce
1 T. lime juice
1 t. Thai red curry paste (you can freeze this too)
1 t. sugar
1 T. vegetable oil

Take the tofu and cut into 1/2" slices and blot dry between paper towels. This will take a few pieces.

Combine everything except tofu and oil into a bowl and mix together.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add tofu. Brown on 1 side (about 10 minutes) then flip and brown on the other (about 5 more.) Add the sauce to the pan and simmer until it thickens. Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pesto-Topped Flounder Packets

I've started moving away from recipes and just making my own creations in the kitchen. Not only is it fun and a creative outlet, but it saves me a trip to the store because I usually end up just using what is in the cabinet or refrigerator. I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to cook fish, which is cooking with pesto in a foil packet. There really is no set recipe. I've made using whatever I have at home and each time it turns out perfectly. Light, healthy, delicious.

Basic Ingredients:
Fish - Tonight I used Tilapia, but I've used Catfish and Flounder in the past. Pesto - Store bought or homemade.
Lemon - Fresh squeezed
Salt & Pepper

Additions: shallots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, zucchini, tomato, be creative!

Preheat oven to 400. Place each filet on a square of heavy foil and tuck under any thin edges to make thickness equal. Cover your fish in lemon, salt & pepper, garlic, onion and then top with pesto. Add any other ingredients at this time. Bring together the two opposite ends of the foil and seal with a double fold. Fold the sides together to completely close, but remember to leave room for steam. Place pouches in a baking pan and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until your fish flakes with a fork.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dragon Breath Pasta

I decided to just whip up something random for dinner tonight instead of hunting down a recipe or going to the grocery. Because I wasn't sure if it would be worth posting, I didn't write down any measurements. I don't think you could mess this up. It only took about 15 minutes total to make so try this out when you want something delicious that doesn't take a lot of time. And it will leave you with a nice suprise - Dragon Breath! (so don't make for date night)


Pasta (I had adorable mini-wheels - Use whatever is in your cabinet), cooked

Bacon - I used 4 slices, which was plenty

Onion - I used about 1/4 of a red, diced

Garlic - 2 cloves, sliced

Cream - I just used the rest of the container I had....probably a between 1/2 -3/4 cup.

Pesto - I just used the store-bought kind

Parmesan Cheese for serving

Red Pepper Flakes for serving

Cook the bacon and then dice into bite-size pieces. Cook the onion in the bacon grease and then add in the garlic, making sure not to let it burn. Add the cream and bacon and heat over low heat until a bit thick. Then add in the pasta and pesto and mix together. I used about 2 spoonfuls of pesto, but taste as you go. You'll probably want to add in some salt & pepper too. Put into a bowl and top with grated parmesan cheese & red pepper flakes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Aunt Deane's Macaroni & Cheese

No, this doesn't involve a blue box. Or that weird boxed cheese that doesn't need to be refrigerated. This is the real deal.....and definitely worth the few extra steps. Aunt Deane submitted this recipe for the Burnett cookbook, and I just got around to trying it tonight. Many of the recipes from the cookbook are a bit hard for me to try as a party of one, but I was able to use this adorable tiny Le Creuset cocotte for this and divide the recipe by 1/3. It''s a good thing I didn't make the entire thing...I might have eaten it all. It was delicious, and I even have leftovers for tomorrow! Feel free to get creative here - Try different cheeses or add in some additional ingredients. I had some jalapenos and bacon around, so I added that in as well. I followed the cooking instructions exactly as written and wouldn't change a thing. I will definitely be making this again. That Aunt Deane knows her stuff; All those years in home ec really paid off!

1 cup elbow macaroni (I used little shells because that is what I had)
1 1/2 T. margarine
1 cup soft bread crumbs (I used panko - delicious)
2 T. margarine
1 1/2 T. flour
1/8 t. mustard
1 t. salt
1 1/2 cup milk
1/3 lb. sharp or medium Cracker Barrel Cheese
1 T. grated onion (I diced mine - I wanted to taste)

Cook macaroni in boiling, salted water until tender or about 9 minutes. Melt 1 1/2 T. margarine in a saucepan. Add crumbs and toss. Remove to bowl or waxed paper and save for topping. Melt 2 T. margarine in same saucepan. Add onion and cook lightly Add flour and blend until smooth. Add milk, mustard and salt. Stir and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat. Grate all the cheese and add half to the sauce. Reserve remainder for topping. Stir occassionally until cheese is melted. Drain macaroni and add to sauce. Pour mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole. Top with grated cheese and then buttered bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until slightly firm and nicely browned. If the casserole is refrigerated before baking, increase milk to 1 3/4 cup and bake for 45 minutes.

Serves 4-5 as a main dish.

Look how cute this dish is!

Interior Shot

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Edamame Tofu Salad with Sesame Chili Dressing

Yes, it's still me writing this. I'm sure you're already worrying about me. Lisa? Tofu Salad? No way! One of my team members at work is super duper healthy and always eating nuts & berries and that sort of nonsense. I give her a hard time about it of course, because I am good at that sort of thing. One day she was eating a tofu salad from this place called Fresh & Co., and she offered me a bite, which I took, expecting to be disgusted. Instead, I wanted more! It was delicious and had such a great combination of flavors and textures. I told the team that I was going to re-create the dish and bring it in, which I did this past Monday, making a few changes along the way. The girls all raved about it and voted it to be ever "fresher" that the Fresh & Co. version, which was the ultimate compliment to me! I have all of the ingredients at home, and if you don't, highly suggest you make the investment. If you don't know what else to do with Mirin or Sesame oil, just contact me and I can send tons of recipes! This is definitely going to be on my recipe rotation, which should keep the co-workers happy!

Salad Ingredients:
4 ounces soba noodles, cooked
1 pound firm tofu (marinated & fried, see below)
2 cups shelled edamame (I blanched for 2 minutes)
1 -2 cups shredded cabbage (napa is preferred, but i used normal cabbage and it was fine)
2 carrots, grated
Fried Tofu Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4-5 slices (1/8-inch thick) of fresh gingerroot
1 cup water
1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup tamari or shoyu (I used soy sauce)
Coconut oil (I used canola oil)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
5 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin (or sake)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons chili sauce (Thai )
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons hot pepper sesame oil

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

To prepare tofu:
In the morning, combine all ingredients for marinade. Cut tofu into 1/2” slabs, and then cut slabs into triangles. Put marinade and tofu in a glass storage container with a tight-fitting lid for ½ hour to 8 hours. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavor in the tofu.
Heat ½ of the coconut oil in a skillet to medium high. Remove tofu from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. This will protect you from sputtering oil. Place ½ of the tofu pieces in oil and brown on both sides. Repeat with remaining oil and tofu. Set aside.

Combine all the dressing ingredients except oils in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil and sesame oil in slowly and whisk well to incorporate. Dress cooked soba noodles with 2 tablespoons of the dressing while still warm.

Arrange noodles, tofu, edamame, carrots and cabbage in separate piles on a large serving platter. Garnish noodles with the sesame seeds. Put dressing in a small pitcher. Try to have prettier plates at your job than I do.

Papaw's Country Ribs

The closest grocery to me is sometimes great, sometimes good and sometimes lame. It really depends on when you visit, as well as how many peeps have been there before you. I went last Saturday to find something to cook, and the only thing left in the very tiny baby teeny weeny meat section was some baby back ribs. Now, I've never made ribs in my life...(that's a man's job) and it seems like a total sin to do such a thing indoors. But hey, after almost 10 years in New York, I've learned to accept the fact that I don't have a yard, a grill, a smoker or anything cool that normal people in America have. Luckily, Papaw came to the rescue with his Country Ribs recipe. I kind of fiddled with this honey apple bbq sauce from another cookbook that I would not repeat, but the ribs came out good enough to try again. A good option when you don't feel like dealing with the smoker...or don't own a smoker.

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup hot water
salt & pepper

Mix vinegar and hot water. Smear over side of ribs. Salt and pepper and cook at 300 for 1 1/2 hours or until dry.
I served with baked beans, coleslaw and jalapeno cheddar biscuits, yall.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pork Medallions with Chili Maple Sauce

Last week was "Clean Out The Freezer" week at my apartment. Lucky for me, my freezer is full of fun stuff, mainly meat. My grocery store nearby my apartment is fantastic, but I prefer to get my meat somewhere else, so usually when there is nothing left in my entire fridge and cabinets, I have meat.

This week's recipe challenge: Pork Tenderloin. I have tons of recipes to use with pork tenderloin, but I wanted to try something new. I came across this great recipe on that had really good reviews and even better, had ingredients that I had on hand at home. I love the mix and spicy and sweet. Chinese five-spice powder is one of my favorite combination of spices; it combines all five flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty. You can make it yourself if you want, but I suggest the lazy route of buying a bottle on the spice aisle. I have tons of recipes that I can share with you using the spice, so if it's just sitting on your shelf gathering dust, let me know.


1 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 green onion, chopped
White rice, cooked

Cut tenderloin crosswise into 6 slices. Using meat mallet, pound medallions between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 1/2-inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and five-spice powder.

Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add pork; cook until brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter.

Add next 3 ingredients to skillet. Boil until reduced to scant 1/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Pour sauce over pork; sprinkle with green onion.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hangover Cure

I'm pretty sure the Brits have always thought they are smarter than us Americans. Well, did you hear that they found the cure to the hangover? The bacon sarnie! The bacon what, you say? Because they have to be weird and have silly names for everything, a "sarnie" is just a sandwich, a name they made up too, but apparenly isn't good enough for them. Looking for any excuse to eat bacon, I went for it.

4 slices of the best bacon you can find
2 slices bread
room temperature butter
ketchup or HP sauce, or both

Cook the bacon the way you like it. Then drain it on some paper towels. Butter 2 slices of bread. Fold over bacon slices on the buttered side of 1 slice of bread. Now cover it with HP sauce and ketchup.

Wait, what's HP sauce you say? HP Sauce has a malt vinegar base, blended with tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices. If you don't have it, there is no reason to go out and buy. Ketchup with do the trick. But hey, if you want to try it, Amazon sells it.

Now cover with other piece of bread, buttered side down and smush together. Slice in half and serve.

And if that doesn't fix your headache, have a bloody mary. Always does the trick for me.

That Thomas Keller knows his stuff

A guy doesn't run some of the best restaurants in the country without knowing a thing or two about food. But when someone tells me to use one of his recipes, I immediately think it has to be complicated, expensive and involve some difficult technique. Friends have told me about this recipe for a while now, and I had the opportunity to try it at my friend Joe's on New Years Day, and it is delicious. So simple, but so flavorful. So I went out and bought a chicken - deciding to give it a try on my own tonight....SUCCESS!

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken (get the good stuff here -it's worth it)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

The first step should start as early as you can. Rinse the chicken and dry dry dry it, both inside and out. If you leave water, it will steam the chicken, and there will be no crack, I mean, crust, to enjoy. I patted mine down with paper towel and then put in the fridge for a few hours to keep drying.

About an hour before you are ready to start cooking, take the bird out and let it come to room temperature. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 450...oh, and take the batteries out of the smoke detector and open every window in your house.....believe me.
Salt and pepper inside the bird and then truss the chicken. Truss? Whatdayasay? Yep, trussing. It's easy. And it makes a difference. Do it. Don't know how? Watch this.

Now lay the chicken in a roasting pan and salt the bird. Don't be shy. You want to see the salt. Use at least a tablespoon....I used more I am sure. Throw a little pepper on there too.

Now roast for about 50 minutes or until the bird is done. Your oven is going to go crazy. Fat is going to go all over the place, making really cool noises, but also lots of smoke. Don't freak out. Don't mess with the chicken. Just sit down and get excited for dinner.

Remove the chicken and add thyme to the pan. Baste the chicken with pan juices and then let it rest on a cutting board for about 15 minutes. This might be the hardest part of the whole recipe.
Then carve that baby up, baste with butter, and serve with dijon mustard on the side for dipping.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Frou Frou Grilled Cheese

Forget the grilled cheese whose only prep work was to remove a little square of plastic. This sandwich takes only about 1 more minute and uses fresh delicious ingredients (what's in that square of "cheese" anyway?)

2 slices of bread (a nice fresh loaf is preferred, but I used store brand wheat)
olive oil (or butter if you don't have)
fresh mozzarella
pesto (homemade is always best, but the store-bought kind works just fine)
salt & peppper

Preheat your pan, griddler, panini maker...whatever you got, on medium heat. While it heats up, you can make your sammy. Put a bit of olive oil on 1 side of both pieces of bread. Flip over and spread the pesto on both slices. Slice your tomato really thin and cover an entire side of one piece of the bread. Then slice your mozzarella and put on top of tomatoes, covering with salt and pepper. Cover with other piece of bread and grill just like you would a grilled cheese. I lowered the heat a bit to make sure that my cheese was definitely melted before the bread burned. Slice and serve when bread is golden brown and cheese is melted inside.

And put those nasty cheese squares back in the know they'll last forever in there anyways.

(really bad shot, sorry)