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Chilean Sea Bass with spinach, potato puree, and ponzu butter sauce

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Charlie is out of town for the whole week.  Yeah, it’s kinda lonely and quiet in the house….but that also means I can cook things that he doesn’t like!!  One of which is fish.  I have really tried making him fish he likes, but he just wasn’t a fan of the fishy quality of the food.

This dish is incredible.  Pretty much gourmet quality, something you would see at a fancy $20-25/plate restaurant.  And it’s SO simple to make.  When I was cooking the fish, I thought to myself “seriously?  That’s it?!”  My picture vs. the picture on the website does not look as pretty (my butter sauce dots didn’t exactly turn out as dots…), but it looks marginally pretty.

The potatoes were SO creamy and rich—maybe too creamy.  I couldn’t even eat all of them.  I would maybe recommend using half and half or whole milk instead of heavy cream.  Other than that, it’s very simple, takes about an hour or so to make, and your guests surely will be full and happy :)

YIELD: 2 servings

TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS
4 red potatoes
2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
4 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp butter
1 container spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp white wine
salt and pepper

1 lb sea bass, cut in equal halves
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 Tbsp ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS
To make the potato puree, peel and boil the potatoes until it is soft, about 15 minutes or more.  While potatoes are cooking, simmer the half-and-half with the minced shallots.  Drain the potatoes and pour into a blender along with the half and half mixture and butter; season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the spinach, heat a saute pan to medium high and melt butter.  Cook spinach until wilted and then add shallot and garlic.  Deglaze the pan with wine and season with salt and pepper.

To make the ponzu butter sauce, heat mirin and ponzu over medium low heat until warm.  Remove from heat and add butter until mixture is completely combined.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Cook sea bass and sprinkle salt and pepper on top; cook 7 minutes per side, until it is flaky.

To assemble, pour potato puree on a plate, place spinach in the center, and place sea bass on top with ponzu sauce drizzled on the side.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

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Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Soup)

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Sometimes you have weeks where you need some comfort food for dinner.  For me, the absolute best comfort food is Pho.  There are restaurants everywhere that make pho, but I really wanted to give it a try!

Now today, I was ready and prepared to make it from absolute scratch, with the beef marrow bones and charred vegetables, the whole nine yards….but I took an accidental long nap.  Whoops.  But I came across an old recipe I had for pho that was sort of less traditional, more of a quick recipe.  Now, since I have not ever made pho….it was not so quick.  Silly me, I forgot to cook the noodles ahead of time as the original recipe states, but I ended up boiling the noodles in the broth when it was done, and added the sprouts and beef when the noodles were almost done.  That actually worked perfectly, because the noodles soaked up some of the delicious broth.

One cool thing about making pho tonight: I got to use my meat slicer.  Charlie got me a meat slicer for Christmas last year, but I just was never able to use it….until tonight.  Having filet mignon sliced yourself just tastes that much better because the dollars are disappearing in thin air :)

The broth alone kind of tastes manmade since i didn’t make the beef broth by hand, but if you add the lime juice and other toppings, it really makes it taste that much more amazing.  At some point, I’m gonna try making it from scratch and will post it at another time.  But if you have a couple hours, definitely give this a try.  It’s yummy and delicious!  Even my Vietnamese boyfriend gave it two thumbs up and one pinky toe up :)

YIELD: 2 servings

TIME: 1.5 hours

INGREDIENTS
4 oz. dry rice stick noodles
4 cups beef stock
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1.5 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
8 lb filet mignon, sliced very thinly (or any other type of steak, this cut worked beautifully)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 lime, cut in wedges
1 jalapeno, sliced
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Handful fresh mint leaves

DIRECTIONS
For the soup, place beef stock, onion, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, ginger, pepper, and five spice powder in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Slice your steaks as thinly as possible across the grain.  Uncover beef broth mixture and cook noodles in mixture for 2 or more minutes, until noodles are soft.  About a minute before noodles are done, add in beef and bean sprouts.

Pour contents of soup into two bowls, and serve with toppings.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

original recipe here

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Herbed Pork Tenderloin

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My first post in Austin, Texas!  Charlie and I moved here mid-August, and there has been a lot of pizza and takeout since then with all of the moving in.  Tonight I was not having the greatest of days, and thought cooking dinner might cheer me up a little bit.  Grad school is posing to be a little more challenging than I thought!  Tons of practicing and preparation, and just more pressure to play at a pristine level.  But…it’s really helping me get better at a quicker pace, so I’m hanging in there!

This pork is unbelievable.  So moist, flavorful, and delicious!  It did take a little while to make, but the flavors are just fantastic, allowing really any side dish to pair well.  When browning the pork, I sliced mine in half, makes it easier if you don’t have a cornucopia of pans to choose from.  It’s a very foolproof recipe, great if you want to tackle some dishes or do a little multitasking while cooking.  Plus…a little white wine for basting doesn’t hurt, right?  ;)

YIELD: 6-8 servings

TIME: 2 hours

INGREDIENTS
1 boneless pork loin (mine was about 1.5 lbs)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground mustard
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 cup white wine

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 F and combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and lemon juice until a paste forms.  Set 1 Tbsp of the paste aside, and spread remaining over all sides of the pork in a 13×9″ Pyrex pan.  Let sit 15 minutes to soak in the marinade.

Brown pork in the remaining oil and transfer to the Pyrex pan, skin side down.  Before placing pork in the pan, pour white wine in the pan, and top pork with oils from the frying pan.  Cover with foil and roast for 30 minutes-1 hour, basting every 5-10 minutes.  Check pork to make sure it has a temperature of 140-170 degrees, depending on how rare you want your pork.

Let pork sit for 5 minutes, slice into medallions, and serve while warm.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

original recipe here

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Sticky Lemon Chicken

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I have officially finished ALL of my jobs (teaching, Music Shoppe, and Conservatory).  Part of me feels unbelievably free, but the other part feels fairly stressed with the amount of packing/throwing things away.  Mixed feelings for sure, but I’m sure I’ll be a ton more relaxed after August 2.

I have been itching to make a yummy home-cooked meal.  After perusing my brain for ideas of what to cook, I found this recipe for sticky lemon chicken which looked yummy!  The sauce is very sweet and has a very interesting combination of flavors: honey, soy sauce, and garlic.  The citrus on top really works well with the sauce and creates an excellent palate.  Took me an hour to make start to finish, which included making rice and broccoli as my side dishes.  Hope you guys decide to try!

 

YIELD: 4-6 servings

TIME: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS
6 chicken drumsticks (you could use any cut of chicken)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp honey
1 head garlic, each clove sliced in half
1 lemon, sliced
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp thyme
1/4 cup fresh parsley and thyme, chopped

DIRECTIONS
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes on each side, turning once.  Add garlic, soy sauce, and honey to the pan, drizzling over all of the chicken pieces.  Flip chicken and cook for 5 minutes, coating chicken in the sauce.  Add water and place lemon slices on top of chicken.  Place a lid on top and cook 10-15 minutes, until chicken looks done.  Sprinkle with thyme and parsley and let sit a couple minutes before serving.

 

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

 

 

original recipe here

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Chicken Stuffed with Prosciutto, Feta, and Spinach

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This is my last week before I quit all of my jobs.  The last week I teach my lovely students.  The last week my schedule is completely full.  I’m definitely having mixed feelings—looking forward to having two full weeks of nothingness (discluding my packing, ugh), but I am feeling so sad that I won’t see my students again and my jobs will be no more.

However, I finally have time to cook dinner so I thought I would experiment with a recipe!  I stuffed chicken breasts with prosciutto, feta cheese, and spinach, and it turned out amazingly!!  Now, I know many of you (including my mother and father) hate feta cheese vehemently, so you could always substitute with a lighter cheese, such as Parmesan or Mozzarella.  It’s a great weeknight dinner, full of flavor and goes great with sauteed fresh vegetables and rice!

 

YIELD: 2 servings

TIME: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
poultry seasoning
1/2 cup spinach leaves, divided
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles, divided
1 slice prosciutto, cut in half vertically

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 F, and brown the chicken 5-8 on each side, until cooked through.  Slice chicken on one half until you form a pocket, and stuff each with spinach leaves, feta cheese, and prosciutto.  Place in a square Pyrex dish and bake for 20 minutes, until feta cheese has started to become soft.  Let sit for a couple minutes, and serve with fresh vegetables.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

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Whiskey Round Bottom Steak

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Recently I had to pay $1330 for a major car repair, and I have car insurance due soon, AND I’m moving.  So I quickly realized that I need to save money like crazy.  I have gone through my fridge and discovered so much meat I saved for a later date!  Including tenderized round bottom steak.  I remember buying this a couple months back, thinking it was ground beef but after looking more carefully realized it was a different cut of beef.  I have never used this type of beef before, so I looked up a few recipes and found one where I didn’t have to buy a single thing from the grocery store: whiskey steak.  WHISKEY.  STEAK.  Who can say no to that?

This is literally the easiest recipe ever.  It does take about an hour, so not the quickest, but even the most amateur of chefs could make this.  The sauce is scrumptious, with great hints of Bulleit bourbon.

If you happen to have some frozen round bottom steak in the freezer, or are looking for a new great recipe, give this a try!  It’s especially yummy with a glass of red wine :)

 

YIELD: 4 servings

TIME: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS
2 lbs tenderized round bottom steak
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup honey mustard, divided
4 slices bacon
3 Tbsp chopped rosemary
2/3 cup bourbon whiskey (I used Bulleit bourbon)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I used fresh lime juice, worked great!)

DIRECTIONS
Season steaks with salt and pepper on both sides, and place on a plate.  Mix garlic and mustard together, and spread half of garlic mixture on steaks.  Let sit for 30 minutes.

Fry bacon until crisp, set aside and crumble, and reserve bacon fat.  Heat the bacon grease over medium high heat and cook steaks mustard side down for 5 minutes.  While cooking, spread remaining garlic mixture on steaks, reserving about 2 teaspoons.  Flip steaks over and cook 2 minutes, and transfer to a serving platter; keep warm.

Stir in rosemary, whiskey, mustard, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and lemon juice in the skillet, and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Pour sauce generously on top of the steaks and top with crumbled bacon.

 

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

 

original recipe from here

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Lemon Bars

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Lemon bars are THE BEST.  Nothing better than the gooey lemon, shortbread crust….powdered sugar….man, now I’m getting hungry!  These pair well pretty much with anything.

The only issue I had was if the lemon part was going to turn out gooey or not.  I let the bars sit for a good 2-4 hours, and the consistency was nearly perfect!  When I took it out of the oven, the top seemed to shake a bit which worried me, but it looked like it was fully cooked!  As I let it sit, the shaking subsided, so don’t freak out if it seems like it wasn’t fully cooked!

Another issue was I didn’t measure out the lemon juice; I just squeezed 3 lemons and assumed that was enough.  I felt like the bars turned out a little sour, so you might want to actually try measuring the 1/2 cup, or do a little less than 1/2 cup.

Hope you guys decide to try these!  They are quite delicious :)

 

YIELD: 16 bars

TIME: 1 hour

CALORIES: 303 per bar

INGREDIENTS
2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 3 lemons)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 F and butter/flour a 13×9″ Pyrex dish.  Combine flour, powdered sugar, butter, and salt until dough forms.  Press into the pan and poke a few holes in the crust (I used a chopstick, ha!).  Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.

Whisk eggs and add sugar, whisking constantly.  Add flour until mixed well, and add lemon juice.  Pour over the crust immediately after it comes out of the oven, and let cook an additional 15 minutes.  Let cool completely, and sprinkle additional powdered sugar on top if desired.  Cut into bars, and consume immediately.

 

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

 

original recipe here