Friday, March 28, 2008

San Francisco eBay

My new camera arrived in the mail today. I'm no photographer, so it's not a fancy one, just another point-and-shoot. It's got some more megapixels so hopefully that will translate into better detail and quality. Or maybe I just have to practice. I got it brand-new on eBay for less than 1/2 of the retail price. Yay!

Speaking of photos, here's a few from bf and I's trip to San Francisco:

(Why don't we have public toilets in Portland?)

It was a nice trip. Bf has all the food photos; I still have to get those.

Just being lazy about writing up the Mac-n-Cheese. I'm almost done, I swear!

Monday, March 24, 2008

WCC#26: Not Too Romantic

...but it's pot roast.

It's supposed to be something using a Dutch Oven, Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker, according to the rules of Weekend Cookbook Challenge Number 26. So, I pulled out this random piece of meat from the freezer and gave it a go.

The recipe is loosely based on this one from Tyler Florence's Ultimate series. I guess I'm not really following the spirit of WCC by not using a cookbook, but I'm doing it in the spirit of making something I've never made before! Plus, I got to use my wonderful Lodge Dutch Oven that bf gave me for Christmas.

The roast I used was a shoulder roast, I think. Actually, I'm not sure at all what cut it was. It was on sale and I grabbed it up for the freezer. Use any big bone-in roast. I took it out of the freezer 2 days early and it still wasn't completely thawed, so I stuck it in the sink under running cold water for 20 minutes. (I also overflowed the sink and flooded my kitchen doing this, but that's another story.) Then I patted it dry with a multitude of paper towels and let it sit for about an hour to warm up.

Now, I was ready to rock! I generously salt-and-peppered the meat on all sides and rubbed it in a little. Then I set the oven to 200 degrees and set my Dutch Oven on the stovetop over medium-high heat. I dumped some olive oil (NOT EVOO) in it, enough to coat the bottom, plus a little more. I let that heat up a few minutes, then got ready to brown the roast.

Problem. It was a little too big for my Dutch Oven. Oh well, I just smooshed it down with my tongs and hoped for the best. Anyway, it browned up just fine and smelled good, too. Go me.

After the browning, I turned the heat down and added one big can of crushed tomatoes, a cup of water, two onions, a couple celery ribs, a bunch of baby carrots, an equal amount of button mushrooms and plenty of baby Yukon Gold potatoes to the pot. The onions and celery I cut into big chunks, but the rest I left whole. I grated a couple-three garlic cloves and tossed them into the pot as well. I seasoned it with rosemary and thyme and more salt and pepper. Use fresh herbs if you've got 'em, but I didn't and it was fine. Also add 2 bay leaves and another glug of olive oil and kinda stir the best you can to try to coat the veg.

I covered it with my tight-fitting Dutch Oven lid and slid that heavy thing into the oven. You probably should cook it 4-6 hours or so and baste it a lot. Mine wasn't quite done after 3 hours and I had to go to bed, so I just left it overnight.

What? Pot roast is good for breakfast, too.

And it was good. The meat broke apart and combined with the tomatoes and liquid from the veg and created a kinda stew-like mess. I loved it. I was going to give some away, but bf refused to let me. It'll be gone by tomorrow.

Thank you to this month's host of Weekend Cookbook Challenge, Lis from La Mia Cucina!

I know I said it was Mom's Mac-n-Cheese next, but I had to get this up before the deadline of March 26th! So forgive me, please.

Also waiting in the wings are Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo and a Blueberry Tart.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Coming soon...

All right, Mom's Mac-n-Cheese up next.

Bf and I had a great time in San Francisco. Went to Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, the Ferry Building and had two great dinners at Boulevard and Postrio. Bf took some pictures so I'll try to get those up soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tom Kha Gai

This is the best soup I've ever had in my life - at least how Jack Yoss at Ten 01 made it last month. It is tangy, smooth, complex and a little sweet. He created it for family meal and made quite a lot; so, knowing I love soup, he offered me some in a take-home container. I took it home and opened it as soon as I stepped in the door. Lemongrass and chiles and lime and coconut, oh my. I didn't bother to heat it up again but slurped it up. Jack made his with some roasted pork still clinging to the bone and left the inedible bits of lemongrass and ginger in the broth. Oh, the broth! My favorite part of any soup, this broth shone with citrus cut with coconut creaminess and finished with a spicy kick.

I tried to re-create it with this recipe, but the results were not the same. Oh - it makes a good soup, though, don't get me wrong. It was easy and flavorful and I would make it again. But, I'm working on getting Jack's recipe.

This recipe is based on one from another blog I recently discovered: Tigers & Strawberries. It's a cinch to put together after you locate the ingredients.

Tom Kha Gai adapted from Tigers & Strawberries
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk (I used the 'lite' version)
1 quart chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass, the bottom third only, outer layers removed, cut into 2-inch chunks and smashed slightly with the back of a knife
5 slices galangal, 1/4 inch thickness
5 kaffir lime leaves
5 dried red chiles
fish sauce
6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
green onions for garnish

In a large pot combine the first 6 ingredients and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce to taste. (I used about 4 teaspoons but could have used more. This soup has no salt in it, remember, all of the salty taste comes from the fish sauce.) Reduce heat and let simmer for one hour.

Remove lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal from broth. Take out the chiles and squeeze the insides into the soup. You can add the pods back in, too, or discard them - it's your choice.

Add chicken and mushrooms and simmer until chicken is cooked through. I cooked mine 10 minutes, but less would probably do it.

Remove from heat and add lime juice. Ladle into individual bowls and top with cilantro and green onions.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Outta Here

It's been the busiest week! I have a Tom Kha Gai recipe post all ready except for the pictures. Of course, it's been ready for a week and I haven't uploaded the pics yet. And then I have my mom's mac and cheese recipe to share with y'all, too. Well, that one will probably have to wait a week or so. Bf and I are heading to San Francisco next week for a much-needed break and to celebrate bf's 30th birthday. Wow, we are getting old...

I'm planning on getting the Tom Kha up by this weekend, so as not to leave you high and dry while I am gone.