Homemade Peanut Sauce

This is a peanut sauce recipe that I modified, after following the recipe that came in this Hello Fresh kit.  (It goes over a great lime-marinated beef and broccoli stir fry).  I thought their version came out a little too thin and heavy on the soy sauce flavor, so here how I’ll make it if and when I make it again in the future:

(This will give you enough sauce to go over 2-3 servings of a stir-fry dish).

Start with 2 bulbs of scallions:

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Separate the white tips from the green stems– the greens can be used later as a garnish.

To start, lightly pan fry the scallion whites in oil, along with one chopped glove of garlic, until slightly browned.

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Then stir in:

5-6 tbsp of creamy peanut butter

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp soy sauce

Then, while gently stirring over low-medium heat,  add approximately 1/2 cup water (or until sauce reaches desired consistency.

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When I followed their recipe, it came out a little too watery for my liking.  But still tasted good!

End product:

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All in all, not a bad recipe, though one I would definitely tweak in the future.

Other peanut sauce ideas:

This one from Epicurious calls for lime juice and red pepper flakes.

I’m slightly skeptical– but curious– about this simple-looking one using crunchy peanut butter and hot sauce.

Last, this authentic recipe from She Simmers Thai Cooking that calls for coconut milk and curry paste.  (I think I’m the most excited to try out this one).

Happy cooking!

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Cheese Tortellini with Melted Goat Cheese & Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

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In my last post, I described a pretty easy way to cook broccoli rabe (blanching it in cold water, and then sauteing it in olive oil).

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You can then use that broccoli rabe to make this dish.

It’s super simple:

You just boil the tortellini (I used an 8 oz package of fresh Bertoli tortellini, in the three cheese flavor):

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Then you drain the pasta in a colandar.

Next, slice a log of goat cheese into thin medallions and then spread them out evenly, stirring gently so that they begin to melt.

Then add the broccoli rabe, and voila!  You’re done.  Easy side dish.

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Chicken, Bacon & Wild Rice Soup (from Pinch of Yum)

Pinch of Yum is a really great food blog I’ve been following a long time.  In addition to their wide range of recipes, Lindsay and Bjork also offer a lot of great advice on topics such as food photography and making an income with your blog.

Yesterday I followed their recipe for Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup.  Obviously I can’t give you the whole recipe here, but I just wanted to save a few notes for myself (and you, if you’re interested) about what it was like to make this recipe.

One thing: This recipe makes a creamy soup with a lot of liquid.  I ended up increasing some of the ingredients because I wanted more of a stew/one-pot meal.   I used:

  • 1.5 cups uncooked rice instead of 1/2 cup
  • an entire 1.25-lb package of chicken

It came out really, really good.

I really liked how easy it was to follow this recipe.  As I made it, I realized there were basically three main steps, which could be adapted to make all different kinds of soups: (Yep… definitely still a beginner here!).  Anyway: 

1. Cook chicken broth, scallions, and rice

2. Make the creamy bechamel-inspired sauce

3. Combine everything at the end.  For me, using pre-cooked chicken and bacon makes the recipe a little bit easier to follow, since I don’t have to worry about the meat getting fully cooked in the broth.

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It came out great, and I’d definitely make it again.  (I think next time I might add some chopped carrots in at step 3).

Anyway, that’s all for now!  If you want to know more, be sure to check out the original recipe!  Bon Appetit!

Jon’s “Take Out” Pasta: Sauteed Garlic, Alfredo & Pesto Sauce

I call this dish “Jon’s take out pasta” because it is so good, it could honestly be from a restaurant.

The recipe is courtesy of my friend Jon, who is also on a mission to become a better cook.

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Such a simple recipe with premade sauces– although Jon assures me it’s taken him a lot of trial and error to figure out the exact ingredients to buy for this dish.

Here are all the ingredients you need for Jon’s Take-Out Pasta:

  • Olive Oil
  • one small clove garlic
  • Cavatappi Pasta
  • Alfredo Sauce (Jon likes Bove’s brand the best)
  • Pesto Sauce (Jon always buys Prego)

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I decided to make this dish with chicken breast, although that’s not technically not part of Jon’s original masterpiece.

Basically, you bring the pasta to a boil:

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At the same time, you finely chop the garlic and saute it in olive oil.IMG_0206.JPG

Once the garlic has become translucent, you can add chopped chicken breast and saute it as well.

OR

You can simply skip that step.

Once the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the pan.  Then add alfredo and pesto sauce to taste.  Jon basically uses two parts alfredo to one part pesto, but you can play around with the ratios.

And that’s it!

I know it’s not really a fancy or new recipe but you’ve got to try it.

It’s so quick and easy and way to get something that tastes great, with a lot of oomph, that can satisfy a craving (and help you save money on takeout!).

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I think lightly sauteed broccoli would probably go pretty well in this, but I’ll save that for next time.

Enjoy!

“Autumn” Burger: Bacon, Brie, Pumpkin Spread

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Gosh, this burger was perfection.

A few friends decided to take me out to dinner for the first night of my San Francisco trip.  They picked this really awesome artisan burger place called Roam.

I ordered the “Autumn burger” which, as you can see above, featured applewood-smoked bacon and melty brie cheese.  It also had arugula, carmelized onions, and this really subtle pumpkin spread.

I don’t know if I would have thought in a million years to put pumpkin spread on a burger, but wow–  it worked.

Their menu has a lot of other tasty-sounding options as well, for example the “French and Fries” burger, which features truffle parmesan friees, gruyere cheese, and avocado.

Next time I’m in the Bay Area I’ll definitely go back!

***

Back in Boston, where it actually feels like fall, I have seasonal recipes on the brain.

Here’s a great list of tasty-looking Brie recipes from the Huffington Post.

Top choices:

*Cranberry, Butternut, and Brussels Sprout Brie Skillet Nachos

*Strawberry Bruschetta Grilled Cheese

*Buckwheat Crepes with Brie and Honey Sauteed Swiss Chard

Happy Cooking!

 

 

 

Pan-Seared Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Medallions (Gobble)

This lovely dish l was the second meal I cooked through Gobble.  It featured fresh gnocchi pasta, pan-seared, along with a garnish of pesto, peas, radishes, and asparagus, all topped off with melting rounds of goat cheese.

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Veggie prep

Although the pasta came fresh, it needed to be boiled for a few minutes:

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before it was seared in olive oil.

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Next, the gnocchi were set aside to cool, while the tougher vegetables had some time to cook in the pan (radishes/asparagus):

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before the peas and pesto were added:

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And then, at the end, creamy, cool goat cheese medallions were added on top:

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All in all, it was a great and easy to prepare meal.  My only wish that the serving of goat cheese had been a little bit more generous.  Other than that, it tasted great and I learned a few useful techniques I can return to to make similar dishes in the future.  Thank you, Gobble!

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Steak Bibimbap (HelloFresh)

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Of all the Blue Apron and HelloFresh recipes I’ve ever tried, this steak bibimbap recipe might just be my favorite.

According to HelloFresh, bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish.  The name literally means “mixed rice,” and rice and mixed vegetables generally form the base of the dish.  They suggest adding a fried egg on top.

The particular recipe they sent me involved marinating the steak in a mixture of ginger, onion, soy sauce, and sugar to thicken it.  Obviously I can’t give you the whole recipe here, so check out HelloFresh for the full details).

Basically, you saute the mushrooms, scallions, and zucchini in olive oil, before combining them with rice and the cooked (chopped) steak.

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It was a really tasty dish, without too much effort, and with ingredients you might already have in your kitchen.

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The only change I would suggest is that you use low-sodium soy sauce– I felt my dish was a little too salty in the end.  I’ll be making that switch next time, but I definitely plan to make this recipe again and again!

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“Pickling” the scallion greens in white vinegar to make a garnish