“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!

 

 

 

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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

Chicken Pot Pie with Sage Buttermilk Biscuits & Red-Top Turnips (Blue Apron)

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Honestly, I usually have a hard time getting excited about chicken pot pie.   It’s so… blah.  I never really got what the big deal was.

However, this chicken pot pie recipe from Blue Apron was different.  The vegetables were so crisp and fresh; the flavors cleaner somehow.

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All the ingredients, as they came packaged.

The recipe differed from traditional chicken pot pie in several ways.  For one, instead of a “pie” crust, the chicken and vegetable “filling” cooked on the bottom, while buttermilk biscuits steamed on top.

It also used turnips in the place of potatoes, which gave it an interesting earthy, bitter flavor.  I really wasn’t familiar with turnips before this, but now I feel like I finally get why people cook with them.

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Cremini mushrooms
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Carrots, celery, and sage

I also found the recipe’s use of sage to be interesting.  Half of the sage was mixed in with the vegetables as they cooked, and the other half was actually mixed right into the biscuit batter.

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Buttermilk biscuit batter, with pieces of sage stirred in

Obviously I can’t give you the whole recipe here (you can find it on the Blue Apron website), but basically, the vegetables and sage were first cooked together, and then shredded poached chicken breast was added.

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I wasn’t really familiar with the concept of poaching before (with the exception of poached eggs, which everyone’s heard of).

Basically, to poach the chicken breast, you put it in a pot where it’s covered by 2″ of water, bring it to all boil, and then turn the burner off and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

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I think I left mine in for too long (it looked a bit overcooked), but I can see how poaching is a quick and easy way to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Then you can add it into a larger dish, where it will pick up more flavor without dictating how long the other ingredients have to be cooked.

My “after” picture didn’t really come out so great (need to invest in a better camera!) but I can tell you that the dish came out tasting much better than it looks here!  Cremini mushrooms, red-top turnips, and sage and buttermilk biscuits for the win!

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Spanish Omelette

 

Here is a really straightforward Spanish omelette recipe from Omar Allibhoy, via Jamie Oliver’s Youtube channel.

I had a roommate from Spain when I was in college, and she cooked these pretty often.  They always looked so amazing, and she seemed to make them quickly and effortlessly.

Since then, I’ve tried to make them myself, with mixed results.  This recipe, however, looks fool-proof.

Chef Omar points out that you need to use waxy potatoes for this dish, as opposed to starch potatoes.  Apparently the waxy ones hold their shape better during cooking, versus the starchy potatoes which are better for things like french fries and mashed potatoes.  This may have been part of why my previous omelettes didn’t come out so great.

Some potato reference links:

I also thought it was interesting when he explained how Spanish people tend to reuse their olive oil 5-7 times, which is why they can use it so liberally during cooking without being wasteful.  I use olive oil just about every day, so maybe this is something to think about.

Hope you found this interesting!

Chicken, Broccoli, & Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

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I’ve been really into stir-fry’s lately.  It’s been a process of trial and error, but I think I’ve finally got it right here.  What I wanted to do is come up with a very simple recipe that could be made in a hurry, with ingredients you’re likely to have in your kitchen anyway.  Here, the sauce is super simple: vegetable oil, reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce, and white sugar.

Jamie Oliver (as usual) had some very helpful advice.  He pointed out a few things I didn’t realize from reading other recipes.  Basically, you want the oil and the pan to be piping hot before anything else goes in, and you want to cook the food fast, moving things constantly.

Jamie also explains that it’s really best not to try to cook more than one or two portions at a time, because you want to give the food enough room in the pan to let off steam.  If things are too crowded, you end up sort of steaming/boiling the food, and you don’t want that.

I always appreciate your advice, Jamie– thank you.

Anyway, for my recipe, you need:

  • 5 tbsp Vegetable or canola oil
  • One clove garlic
  • Two chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 cup broccoli (or whatever other vegetables you want)
  • 1-2 cups cooked soba noodles

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A note on the soba noodles: I used the precooked KAME brand noodles, because I really think they work best and taste best.  This blog is all about saving money, but here I think it’s worth the extra dollar or two, versus the dried noodles.  I had tried the Annie Chung’s brand, but they had so much salt added they ruined the flavor of the overall dish.  Whichever brand you buy, check the sodium content first!  The KAME noodles only have 1% of your daily value per serving.

For the sauce (heat separately in another pan and add at the end):

  • 3 tbsp Vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp Reduced sodium teriyaki sauce (I used Kikkoman)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

In a nutshell:

  1. Chop up chicken, garlic, and broccoli first, so you don’t have to do any chopping while things are cooking.
  2. Heat up approx. 5 tbsp of oil in a frying pan.
  3. Throw in the chicken and garlic first, and stir them constantly for 2-3 minutes.
  4. After the chicken looks as though it has started to cook on the outside, but is still slightly raw on the inside, throw in the broccoli and continue to stir constantly.
  5. Once the chicken looks cooked, it’s time to add the soba noodles.  If there isn’t room in the pan, set the chicken and broccoli aside on a plate and just stir-fry the vegetables in oil, then recombine.
  6. Add the sauce at the end and let everything sit for a few minutes before serving,

The finished product:

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Proscuitto-Wrapped Chicken with Pesto

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Romina cooked dinner for both of us last week, and came up with this recipe all on her own.

I’m so impressed by her ability to improvise when she’s cooking.  I always try to ask questions and figure out her thought process when I see her making something new.  My plan is to take full advantage of the fact that I live with such an amazing cook, in the hopes that some of her skills will rub off on me.  (Of course, I asked her permission before putting her recipes on this blog).

Romina made this dish with the homemade pesto I wrote about earlier this week.

First, she covered the chicken breasts in pesto, and then left them in the refrigerator overnight so they would soak up more flavor.

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The next day, she wrapped them in proscuitto (I wasn’t here for this part, so unfortunately there’s no picture) and then baked them.  She put the wrapped chicken breasts in the same pan as her equally delicious vegetable side, which was carrots and Brussels sprouts with salt, cumin, and honey.

She put everything in the pan and then added a few chunks of butter, to eventually melt all over everything.  She then baked everything at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, keeping an eye on it periodically towards the end.

The finished result:

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I cut one of the chicken pieces in half, so you could see how she wrapped them.

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What an incredible recipe.  I will also be posting the recipe for her side dish, so stay tuned!