Saturday, April 28, 2012

Holy Smokes... this meal has some kick!

Not gonna lie.  Rachael Ray kinda bugs me. She's all perky and stuff.  All the time.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm a huge proponent of half glass full.  I do believe you can think yourself happy.  But, seriously ... this woman's ODing on the stuff.  Check this out.

Perkiness and corn strokin' aside, the woman does produce a reliable recipe. We've got this cookbook and haven't found a stinker yet.

Tonight we made Boneless Rib-Eye Steaks with Killa' Chimichurri and Mushrooms with Smoky Chipotle and Wilted Spinach.  (does ribeye have a hyphen??)

Four 10- to 12-ounce boneless ribeye steaks, each about 1.5 inches thick
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp grill seasoning (i.e. McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning)

1 garlic clove, halved
4 slices crusty bread (we ate the bread yesterday... so simply toasted some regular bread)
Worcestershire sauce

Chimichurri Ingredients
4 stems fresh oregano leaves, stripped
5 sprigs fresh sage leaves, stripped
6 stems fresh thyme leaves, stripped
1 generous handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (oops, we forgot to put this in ours!)
2 garlic cloves, popped from their skins (we used already minced from a jar)
1 medium red onion, 1/2 of it finely chopped and 1/2 of it thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Mushroom/Spinach Ingredients
1 pound spinach leaves (stems removed, well rinsed)
3 tbsp chipotle in adobo, chopping with the sauce (or you can use 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder)
1.5 pounds (combined) shiitake and cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pat the ribeyes dry and arrange on a broiler pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with grill seasoning. Preheat broiler to high.

Prepare the Chimichurri: Pile the herbs together and finely chop. Coarsely chop 2 cloves of garlic and add to the herbs.  Put herbs in food processor or mill and pulse, then transfer to a small bowl. Add the finely chopped onions, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, a splash of water and about 1/3 cup of the olive oil and stir to combine.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, chipotle in adobo, sliced onions, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.

Place steaks under hot broiler and cook 6 inches from the heat for 6 minutes on one side, 4 minutes on the flip side (for medium rare to medium) or 6 minutes on one side and 6 minutes on the other side (for medium to medium well).  Once the steaks are cooked, let them rest 5 to 10 minutes for the juices to redistribute.

Once the mushrooms are tender, coarsely chop the spinach and add it to the pan in bunches, stirring until wilted and fully incorporated. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Toast the bread and rub it with the cut garlic clove. Place the toasted bread on plates and top each slice with a whole steak.  Tops the steaks with a few shakes of Worcestershire and generous spoonfuls of chimichurri. Serve "mountains" of smoky mushrooms and spinach alongside the steaks with lemon wedges to squeeze over all.

Chef Tanya -- First things first. The recipe has a lot of ingredients and many steps, but it was actually quite simple.  You could easily go from cutting board to oven to plate in 30 minutes.  Like I said, most (if not all) of RR's recipes are pretty good. This one is no exception.  It is spicy and the bread under the steak? Inspired!

Jason -- Excellent. Loved it! We paired it with a Founders Chocolate Stout which wasn't a good option because both the beer and the meal are very heavy.  Plus the chocolate clashes with the spiciness of the meal.   I'm not really good at pairing beers and food, but if I were to give it a shot I'd suggest an IPA or maybe a sour.

Hannah -- I liked the steak. I don't know if I'd like it medium rare or not, but it tasted good anyway. I did not exactly like the spinach stuff because it was really, really spicy. I mean, I like spicy stuff.  It's just that this is really spicy. I'm glad that it didn't have everything mixed together because then I wouldn't be able to eat the steak.  Something else that I didn't really like about it was all the fat that was left on the steak. That's not officially part of the meal, it was just a test if I could scrape it off or not. I know that fat is supposed to help your hair be shiny, but whatever.  And I didn't get to try to beer. I'm not allowed. So, I don't know what the beer's supposed to be like.

It may not have matched with the meal, but this is a most excellent beer.  Certainly put a toothy, RR-like grin on Jason's face!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seared Scallops with Crushed Mint Peas over Oven-Baked Potatoes

After last night's disappointment, thought I'd share another meal we tried this week that was fabulous! It comes from a cookbook called The GL Diet Made Simple.  Read more about the GL (glycemic load) diet and its cousin the GI (glycemic index) diet here.

I was a little trepidatious going into this one, squishy peas and all. But it's a winner all the way around (well, almost... make sure you watch the video at the bottom).  This recipes serves 2. Double or triple as needed.


  • 4 large fresh scallops (or 8 small ones... though we use more)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 cups frozen peas
  • 2/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped mint leaves 
  • one small baking potato for each person, sliced sort of thinly

Heat over to 400 degrees.  Line baking dish with potato slices and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Mix to fully coat the potatoes. Cook 20 minutes or until done.

Wash the scallops and pat dry on paper towels (or cloth towels if, like us, you don't use paper towels). Turn them in the oil and season with pepper.  Set aside while you prepare the peas.

Melt butter in saucepan, add the scallions and soften for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the peas and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir the mint through, then pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped (this is the squishy part. And one note: be sure your processor can handle hot liquid. The plastic seal on mine melted.)  Return to the pan, season with pepper and keep warm.

Put a small non-stick frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the scallops and sear 1-2 minutes on each side. Don't cook them too long or they'll come out tough.  Remove from pan.  Take potatoes out of oven.

Load a bowl full of potatoes, topped with peas, topped with scallops.

So, so, so, so good!  Jason, Olivia and I loved it.

Hannah, not so much...

Thai Noodle Salad

We pulled the old Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special cookbook out of the closet last night to try the Thai Noodle Salad. It's a super simple recipe that's great for a crazy week like we're having.

Main Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound fusilli tricolore (tricolored pasta spirals -- or if you're like us, boring non-colored pasta spirals)
  • 1 cup drained canned straw mushrooms (15 ounce can)
  • 1 cup drained canned baby corn (10 ounce can)
  • 1 cup julienned red bell peppers, cut into 1.5-inch long matchsticks
  • 1.5 cups julienned zucchini, cut into 2-inch long matchsticks

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, Thai basil or basil
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 small fresh green chile, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
  •  2 to 3 teaspoons freshly grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
  • 1.5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk 

Boil noodles as directed till al dente.

While noodles boil, bring another smaller pot of water to a boil. Blanch peppers for 30 seconds, then add zucchini and blanch another 30 seconds. Immediately remove and submerge in cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and put in large serving bowl.

Reserving 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro or basil, combine the rest of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

When past is ready, drain it and rinse well with cold water. Transfer to the serving bowl and gently toss with veggies and the dressing.  Sprinkle on the reserved tablespoon of cilantro or basil.  Let sit at room temperature at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Chef Tanya -- I'm not impressed. I want to love the recipes I try from Moosewood, but let's just say there's a reason this cookbook gathers dust in my cabinet.  You'd think this recipe would be packed with flavor, what with the peppers and spices and such. But nope.

Jason -- I really liked it. It was easy to make, colorful and tasted good.  I could have done without the mushrooms (they didn't add much in the way of texture or flavor) and maybe added more zucchini/peppers.

Hannah -- I liked it! Well, except the red peppers.  The noodles tasted good and the corns were kind of cool. (mama's note: Hannah's our picky eater, but she did eat her entire bowl of this pasta... so I guess that's something in Moosewood's favor)

Olivia -- (didn't offer a review, but did eat a bowlful before sequestering herself in her room to finish her homework)

Miranda -- (chose to sit in a car in the driveway with a boy instead of coming in to eat dinner. 'nuff said)