All the chili paste I could find had fish sauce/shrimp contaminant in it, so I couldn’t have it in my house due to allergy. However, my roommate/partner/spouse brilliantly bought Korean chili paste instead, a.k.a. gochujang. Even better. Specifically, Mother-in-Law’s Gochujang, with a reassuringly hipster-y label.
I used half a yellow onion and one quarter of a red onion on hand. Red onions made for beautiful contrast. We had lots of onion left. I am excited to make noodles or something else with the leftover sauces.
One overcast Monday morning, I ventured over to the Book Larder, a community cookbook store on Fremont Ave of Seattle. I’ve ridden past there many a time by bike and by bus, and always meant to go. Finally, I found time and managed to sign up for classes a few days ahead.
Note: if you are scrambling for last minute gifts for people who love to eat, cooking classes may be a good option that ships instantaneously! Be mindful to check if it’s a demo, or hands-on, as that may matter depending on how much your loved one likes to cook (i.e. more hands-on for those who are into working with their hands, more demo for those who are more into eating the final product). Go ahead, click away from this post, I won’t mind.. 🙂
Chef Kyle Wisner did a delicious demo for the group on some straightforward recipes for swift home cooking, perfect for a hectic holiday season. Below are some recipes he shared, editorial commentary is my own.
Center-cut pork roast
Enough za’atar spices to cover surface of the roast
kosher salt to preference
Tools: oven, , baking dish, meat thermometer
Salt the roast “aggressively”, like any steak or other big cut of meat, rest the roast out to room temperature before roasting. Preheat oven to 400 (or 425F if your oven is weak sauce).
Cover surface in za’atar spice.
Bake roast in oven until it reaches an internal temp of 120F, approximately 18-30 minutes. It will likely still be a little pink in the middle, but the juices will disperse back and finish as you let the roast rest a while before serving.
Optional: bonus points for drawing a depiction of “aggressively salting.”
Double-feature bonus posts this week! My offering to you, Dear Reader, for being a faithful audience. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I found myself buying one of those cup-salads from Whole Foods a lot in the summer. I liked it so much I figured I should start making it, so I can (a)get it without cilantro and (b)stop feeling like such a yuppie for buying a salad I could clearly reverse-engineer to make myself. Now when I’m up for more than throwing together some greens with nuts (read: up for more chopping), I’ll use this mix as the base recipe and improvise from there. I was actually pretty surprised when I couldn’t find a blog entry for this. Perhaps because it’s so straightforward, it didn’t feel like a recipe. This week’s weather in Seattle is sneaking up to the mid-80s, which counts as hot, so here’s a good option for those hot late Summer days when you don’t want to add another degree to your house by turning on cooking appliances. Air conditioning is a luxury, yo.
Fresh back from a cross-country road trip through 4 national parks, three rolls of campfire-cooked Pillsbury products, and too many kinds of 80+-degree weather, I give you…
Cold Zucchini Basil Salad A variation from simply real health I googled after a random Instagram find.
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced into bite-sized pieces
3-4 zucchini total (prefer a mix of green and yellow summer squash)
1/4 c goat cheese
A handful of basil, rolled and chopped into ribbons
olive oil (the highest quality you have on hand)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 fresh lemon
1/4 c slivered almonds
1. With a vegetable peeler, thinly scrape the zucchini and summer squash into long ribbon slices, tossing the seedy core, or saving it for a Sunday frittata mix.
2. Add the ribbons to a bowl, season with sea salt* and pepper*, basil, drizzle with olive oil* per preference. [*NOTE: if you want salad for later, pack the zucchini separate from the olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice to keep the crunch, and combine just before eating]. Toss to mix.
As a kid, my mom would make steamed broccoli, and my favorite parts to eat were the little slices of tender stalk (outside bark was peeled off) that she would steam along with the usual tree-like shapes I would stick in bowls of rice to create a tiny diorama before eating. It wasn’t until years later that I learned other people don’t necessarily consider the stalk worth even cooking. I found this combo while searching for recipes to use up the giant quantity of miso I will have left over from another one that calls for only a few tablespoons.
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons yellow or red miso (note: check labels to ensure specific gluten-freedness)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Step 1: mix everything in a blender.
4 broccoli stalks, julienned into bite-sized pieces*
4 cups chopped spinach
1/2 cup finely chopped sliced almonds
Step 2: mix dressing and salad ingredients in a large bowl. Garnish with almonds and chill or serve.
Today’s Recipe Rating: Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
This was astonishingly a salad I was both happy to eat, and that I thought was good for me, and the flavors only seemed to get better on day 2 and day 3. Likelihood of Repeat: 20% See below. Lesson Learned: Unfortunately, being the thrifty person I am, *I did not buy “Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw,” so the amount of time it took to shred broccoli stalk myself was maddening, and did not feel equal to the amount of slaw I got out of it. Still seems weird that Trader Joe’s would sell something people often might thing to throw away, or could get out of spare stalk, though..
So first I must say I first had this from my sis Y_________. It was so good when she made it twice for me. So I had to ask her for the recipe because I needed a good main dish for a dinner/date I was making. Need something good to impress lol. The Parmesan Crusted Chicken was the main. Then Oven-Roasted Asparagus and just a normal salad on the side and Riesling for drinks.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves –if from frozen, try and cut thinner so the chicken is not too thick to cook in 30 minutes (shouldn’t be more than two finger-widths thick).
4 tsp. Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs + dry herbs), or however much you need to cover one side of chicken
optional: a little salt & pepper
Combine mayo and cheese. Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with bread crumbs, salt & pepper. Bake at 425 degrees (F), 20-35 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, usually 30 minutes, at least. Safe temp for chicken to be cooked to is 160F.
For reheating: bake at 425 degrees for about 5-8 minutes until you know it’s heated through, then broil on high for 1 minute to obtain slightly crispy exterior.
Can also freeze raw and bake 20-27 minutes plus broil.
Trying to impress I decided to prep some of the ingredients before I headed over to her place to make the food. Also she is a bit of a health food person so I decided to use light hellman’s mayo and just let her know it was a white sauce. Also I was able to pick the chicken from Whole Foods, some free range chicken from the meats section.
Being the person I am I happen to forget the dry bread crumbs. So I decided to improvise and use her Italian seasoning and rosemary. Lots of rosemary, ’cause I just love that spice and just bit of sea salt and pepper.
She had a gas oven and it only took 15 mins to cook. It was not raw but cooked enough and just juicy and good.
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.
I did not do much making the asparagus. This was her side. We were able to just put it in when the chicken was still cooking because it was the same temp.
The salad -nothing really to it. I kind of just picked random ingredients and put them in the salad. Also I just put the walnuts on the stove top and put them on top of the salad. The balsamic was a good choice, surprisingly. I don’t really know much about salads but we both liked it.
Overall this meal was great. It did impress. So MISSION ACCOMPLISHED lol. Also forgot we had a Riesling for drinks. This is something that I would repeat for sure. Easy, fast and good. Would maybe pick another random side to mix it up though. Keep in mind the chicken says to use 4 breasts. It was too much for 2 people but leftovers for lunch, so, not that bad.
Wish I took more pictures but didn’t want to seem to be that person yet.
Another time for me to cook to impress. Instead of going out to brunch we decided to make food instead. I was able to find a there Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes that just sounded great to make. For sides we decided to have some cut oranges, bacon and orange mango juice.
Whole Wheat, Oatmeal, and Banana Pancakes
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons dry milk powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed
Place the rolled oats into the jar of a blender and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Whisk together the blended oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
Whisk together the egg, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle, and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Flip, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
First off when we walked over to Wedge, my phone died and I had to go off memory what we needed. I had to alter the recipe a bit. I didn’t add the dry milk powder and switch the whole wheat flour with just all-purpose flour. Also we added 2 ripe bananas instead of just one. Made it so much better.
After getting the batter prepared I do wish I read the other comments because we could have just mixed everything in the blender instead of using so many bowls that needed to be cleaned. Also this makes a ton of pancakes. We only made 4 pancakes and half the batter was still left.
What I do love about the recipe is that you mash the bananas in the mix and you can taste gooey banana parts in some bites of the pancakes. Also used real maple syrup. Makes it just so much better
Bacon was just fried and dried to crisp and we just cut up oranges.
Again this meal did impress yet again. MISSON SUCCESS!!
I would like to do these pancakes again but in a blender. I bet it would be a lot faster and easier. Also maybe with eggs and bacon and fruit. Good stuff.
That’s it for now. Thanks, Alex! Stay tuned for another recipe from another J_____ brother, coming soon!
P.S. This parmesan-crusted chicken recipe was originally from my friend good Jennifer from grad school, who got it off a *gasp* Hellman’s Mayo jar. Thanks, Jennifer!
P.P.S. Bonus points to Alex for cooking the other dish at the same time due to same temp requirements.
3 tablespoons good olive oil 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups) 1.5 cups croutons
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (used a mix of heirloom cherokee purple, cherry tomatoes and a couple romas)
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Added: avocado, chopped in large chunks 3 tablespoons capers, drained (I don’t like capers)
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar sherry vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Steps
0. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.
1. For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.
2. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 3 of 5 stars.
This was a nice, relatively low maintenance way to still be able to see the different kinds of tomatoes I put in and the pretty colors from the cherokee purples. Likelihood of Repeat: 30%
I think there might be too much delicious salty crouton in this recipe for it to be good for me, plus they get soggy after a little bit so this is not a salad for next day unless you separate things out. Plus, I almost never have bread around to make croutons or buy croutons or basil on their own.. Lesson Learned: meh.
I had some leftover red rice from a meatball dish, and did a simple ad hoc salad out of it. In case you’re feeling uninspired in simple salad-making, here’s what I did, approximately:
3 stems rainbow chard, stems stripped and leaves chopped into ribbons
1/4 c Red rice ( I think it was Bhutanese), cooked
red onion, minced
1/4 of an orange bell pepper, diced
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp Rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp Lemon juice
half an avocado, sliced with a little lemon juice (not shown in picture) for croutons:
1 leftover dinner roll or other bread, stale
1 dash of garlic powder
salt & pepper
a dash of dry basil, and/or oregano
Note: time needed depends on (a)if the rice is leftover and already cooked, and if (b)you made croutons ahead of time.
1. After chopping other ingredients, cube bread roll, mix with olive oil and other spices listed above, bake in toaster oven (or oven) at 300 for 20-30 minutes, checking halfway through.
2. Place everything but the croutons in serving container in separate portions (see picture) until ready to eat (except I put the vinegar and oil atop the onion to neutralize it a little), mix in croutons, and enjoy.
Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Yum, how novel to eat red rice in a salad! The addition of this, and omission of balsamic vinegar made it feel like a new salad combo. Likelihood of Repeat: 90%
Due to work and other appointment time constraints, I was forced to wolf this down in about 15 minutes, in which time I decided it was very tasty, although I would have liked to have had more time to savor it. I added the avocados on a whim, motivated by the ticking time bomb of avocado ripening, but it really pushed the combination over to officially tasty. Lesson Learned: Unless bacon is in play, avocado always wins.