Flank Steak with Wasabi-Garlic Cream Sauce

right now i'm sitting in panera in columbia mall and dan has just taken the girls to throw pennies in the water fountain. we just got back from fayetteville, arkansas yesterday. we've been visiting a church and talking about london. i never got around to posting this recipe before we left and right now i don't have any pictures because i left the camera at the house. if i ever get around to it i'll add the pictures later. here's the recipe...

...recipe for the sauce from Bon Appétit magazine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon wasabi
salt and pepper

Heat the cream and garlic in a small heay-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by about half. Whisk in the wasabi and season with salt and pepper. Serve over the meat.

...recipe for flank steak marinade my own creation
1 flank steak
peanut oil
sesame oil
rice vinegar
garlic, minced
soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Place under the broiler and broil for about 6 minutes on each side. Cover with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain.


Tagliatelle with Mushrooms, Peas, and Truffle Oil

i made this for dinner last night. it was really good and very quick to make. i was unable to find truffle oil in a small enough bottle that i could afford, so i ommitted it. the past was still good, but would have probaly had a bit more flavor with it. the only place i could find the truffle oil was at whole foods, but you had to buy a fairly big bottle of it. here's the recipe...

...recipe from the january 2006 issue of Bon Appétit
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms such as oyster, crimini, or shitake
3/4 cup white wine
1 9 oz. package fresh tagliatelle or fettucine
1 3/4 cups frozen petite peas
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 cups shaved parmesan cheese

Melt butter with oil in a large skillet. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and saute until brown and juice evaporate. Add wine and boil 1 minute.

Cook pasta and drain.

Add peas to the sauce and warm through. Stir in basil, parsley, and truffle oil. Add pasta to sauce; toss to coat. Add enough vegetable broth to pasta to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls and top with parmesan.


Espresso Cupcakes

i made these yesterday with the girls help for minichurch last night. i was unable to find the espresso powder and so i had to use a combination of other instant coffees. the result was a milder coffee flavor and a cucake much light in color. i think before i make them next time i will try looking harder for the instant espresso powder. they still turned out really yummy. i served them with homemade coffee ice cream which added more of the coffee flavor. it was a really good combination. the ice cream recipe i got from the Williams-Sonoma Collection: Ice Creamcookbook. i'm assuming that most of you will just go out and buy your ice cream so i won't give you the recipe. here's the cupcake recipe...

...recipe from A Passion for Desserts
for the cupcakes
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons esspresso powder
4 ounces butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

for the milk chocolate ganache
2/3 cup heavy cream
5 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

for the white chocolate icing
4 1/2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces butter, softened
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Put liners in a 12 cup cupcake tin.

To make the cupcakes: Mix together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg. On low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in two additions, stirring until incorporated after each addition. Pour the batter into the cupcake tin. Bake about 20 minutes or until done.

To make the ganache: Place the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat until the cream begins to bubble around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and place plastic wrap directly over the ganache. Refrigerate until cold.

To make the icing: Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl stir the sugar, milk, and vanilla together. Add the butter and salt and beat until smooth. Stir in the cooled white chocolate.

To assemble the cupcakes: Cut out about a quarter of the inside of each cupcake with a small paring knife. Fill the indent with the ganache and place a piece of the cupcake over to cover. Frost each cupcake with the icing.


Mini Lime-Syrup Sponges

i've been wanting to make these for a while now. and now that i finally have my new scale i could. they were very simple and easy to make and really yummy. here's the recipe...

...recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
125 grams butter, softened
175 grams sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lime
175 grams self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk

for the syrup
4 tablespoons lime juice (1-2 limes)
zest for decoration
100 grams icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180C/375 F.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add the eggs and lime zest, beating them well. Fold in the flour and salt and then the milk. Spoon into a well greased mini-loaf pan, and cook for about 25 minutes.

While the cakes are cooking make the syrup. Mix together the sugar and the lime juice.

As soon as the sponges are cooked take them out of the oven and prick with a cake tester all over. Spoon the syrup over the cakes to saturate. Let cool a little bit in the pan and then remove. If you leave them too long in the pan they will be difficult to remove. Top with a little bit of lime zest to decorate.


Angel Hair with Shrimp and Asapragus

i made this for dinner tonight. it was quick, simple, and delicious. here's the recipe...

...recipe my own creation
3/4 pound angel hair pasta, cooked
1 pound shrimp, peeled and devained
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil + a little bit more
1/4 cup chopped chives
lime wedges
salt and pepper
freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil and saute the minced garlic for a few minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the shrimp and saute until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent. Remove the shrimp from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving the olive oil and garlic mixture.

Preheat the broiler. Place asparagus in a baking dish and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place under the broiler and cook, turning occationally, until lightly charred and tender. Cut the asparagus in half.

In a large bowl toss the pasta with the olive oil and garlic mixture. Toss in most of the chopped chives and some grated parmesan cheese. To serve, place a mound of pasta in the center of each bowl. Place several asparagus spears cut in half on top, then about 5-6 shrimp. Top with extra parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of chives. Serve with lime wedges.


Valentine's Day Dinner

we celebrated valentine's day with a special family dinner this year with the cranes. i wanted to make something special but not too complicated so i made shrimp alfredo with linguini. it was delicious! and for dessert i served tiramisu. here's the recipe...

...recipe my own creation
1 pound shrimp, peeled and devained
1/2 stick butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 stick butter
3 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 pound parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 teaspoons salt

1 pound linguini, cooked

for the shrimp...
In a small saute pan melt the butter and saute the garlic for a few minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and no longer transparent. Season with salt.

for the alfredo sauce...
In a large saute pan melt the butter and saute the garlic for a few minutes. Pour in the cream. Gradually add the parmesan cheese, stirring constantly. Add the salt to taste.

To serve pile the linguini in the middle of the plate and spoon the alfredo sauce over the top. Place about 5-6 shrimp on the top and sprinkle with chopped chives if desired. Serve warm.


Valentine's Day Cupcakes

the girls have a valentine's day party tomorrow at school and today we're decorating cupcakes. they had a grand time helping me mix up the batter and then icing them and putting on all the sprinkles. for the cupcakes i just used my normal chocolate cake recipe which is hershey's "perfectly chocolate" chocolate cake and i just made a white icing from butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk which i got from the The Joy of Cooking. did anyone else doing any baking/decorating for valentine's day?



this is a picture of our car and our neighborhood. it started snowing yesterday afternoon and continued snowing through the night and all morning. i think we got a total of about 18 inches. the girls were really excited to get to go out and play in it this morning. we're planning on sitting by the fire all afternoon and evening today and we're having paninis for lunch on bread that we bought at the metropolitan bakery in chesnut hill yesterday. mmm....


Creamy White Bean and Sausage Soup

i made this soup tonight for dinner. the sausage went really nicely with the beans. i used a mild italian sausage, but this would also go really well with something spicier. here's the recipe...

...recipe from the february 2006 issue of Bon Appétit
1 pound dried cannellini or great northern beans
8 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic; 2 smashed, 2 chopped
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
4 cups chicken broth
1 pound italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup whipping cream

Place beans in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the beans by 4 inches. Let beans soak overnight at room temperature.

Drain and rinse the beans and reutrn to the saucepan. Add 8 cups water, 1 tablespoon oil, smashed garlic, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer partially covered until the beans are just tender, about 1- 1 1/2 hours.

Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the rosemary sprig and bay leaf.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon thyme and saute 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the reserved bean cooking liquid, 4 cups chicken broth, and beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Cool the soup for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Using a slotted spoon remove 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture from the soup and set aside. Puree the remaining soup in a food processor or blender. You may need to do this in batches. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the reserved bean mixture, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, sausage, and cream. Rewarm the soup over medium heat.


Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Vinegar

right now i'm sitting in panera using their free wifi and blogging. it is my new favourite place to go in the morinings. they have these wonderful spinach and artichoke souffles. anyway last night i made the cornish hens. i though they were only okay, but the rest of the family liked them. they are very hard to make at all. the hardest part is remebering to marinate them. i didn't quite get in the full 24 hours of marinating that the recipe calls for, i think i only managed about 7 hours. i just served the hens with some roasted broccoli and a box of wild rice. here's the chicken recipe...

...recipe slightly adapted from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook
4 cornish game hens
2-3 cups white wine vinegar
1/2 cups water
4 green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths

Place the hens in 2 large ziplock bags. Add the vinegar, water, and onions. Seal the bag and marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator, rotating occationally.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove hens from marinade, discarding the marinade and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour or until the juices run clear.


Mixed Greens with Lamb and Rice

this is what i made for dinner tonight and it was really good. i was unsure how it would turn out, but it was a success. i forgot to take a picture of it, but it isn't very impressive looking anyway. just read the recipe and you can probably picture how it looks. i know it doen't sound that exciting but it has really good flavour. here's the recipe...

...recipe slightly adapted from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook
2 pounds mixed greens, such as spinach, kale, or collard greens
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground lamb
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup rice

Wash the greens well, then place in a large pot or wok with 1 cup of lightly salted water. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the greens are wilted. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water (if neccesary add water to make 2 cups). Roughly chop the greens.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onions until soft. Add the lamb and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat into pieces as you cook it. Add the tomato paste, pepper, allspice, and salt to taste. Cook 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the chopped greens, reserved cooking water and the rice. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked and all the cooking liquid is absorbed, about 17 minutes.


Sesame Crusted Salmon with Bok Choy and Sushi Rice

in december for our anniversary dan and i ate at true in fells point, maryland. for dinner i had this wonderful salmon dish. so tonight i tried to recreate it at home for dinner. it was really good and very close to the original. here are the recipes...

...sesame crusted salmon
skinless salmon fillets
sesame seeds
sea salt
peanut oil
sesame oil

sprinkle the bottom of the fillets with salt. completely cover the top of the fillet with sesame seeds using the back of a spoon to gently press the sesame seeds into the salmon. refrigerate for about 30 minutes. in a non-stick skillet heat some peanut oil and sesame oil and fry the salmon fillets sesame seed side down until brown and crispy. remove the fillets from the oil and place sesame seed side up in a greased baking dish. bake for about 20 at 350 F until the salmon is cooked through.

...braised bok choy
1 bunch of bok choy, chopped
peanut oil
1 cup chicken stock
soy sauce

heat the peanut oil in a wok. saute the bok choy for a few minutes. add the chicken stock and some soy sauce. reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. cook for about 15 minutes.

...sushi rice
cook sushi rice according to the package instructions. then stir in about 1/2 cup of rice vinegar. press the rice into small ramekins and turn them out onto each plate.

Metropolitan Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

this afternoon i made these cookies with the girls. the metropolitan bakery is in philadelphia. though i have never visited the bakery, i just bought their cookbook. their chocolate chip cookies jumped out at me because they called for ground up oats and grated milk chocolate in the cookie dough. i had never seen these ingredients before in a chocolate chip cookie recipe and had to try them. these cookies are fantastic. they are crunchy yet chewy and have a delicious nutty flavour. you should definately try them and i will definately be making a trip to the metropolitan bakery soon. here's the recipe...

...recipe slightly adapted from The Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chunks, grated
1 1/2 Cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups dark chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a food processor grind the oats into a fine flour. In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and grated milk chocolate. Mix together and set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed beat in the flour until just combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

4. Drop the dough in 2 teaspoon portions on the cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets between the upper and lower racks of the oven halfway through cooking. Let cool a couple of minutes on the cookie sheets, then let cool completely on wire racks.


Chocolate Demise

i made this cake for dan's birthday. it was delicious! the picture doesn't do it justice. it was like eating a truffle in the form of a cake. it is a layer of flourless chocolate cake, a layer of ganache, a pecan tuile, a layer of ganache, a pecan tuile, a layer of ganache, a pecan tuile, a layer of ganache, a pecan tuile, a layer of ganache, a layer of flourless chocolate cake, topped off by a final layer of ganache. the cake is then decorated with rolled pecan tuiles. talk about super rich! i got the recipe from Death by Chocolate : The Last Word on a Consuming Passionby Marcel Desaulniers. i'm not going to bother putting the recipe here because it is long and complex and i'm assuming most of you won't want to attempt to make it. if you do want to make it i'd suggest buying the book.