Dinner Tonight: Summer Pasta

Pasta, Recipe from Other Blogs

I subscribe to a few food blogs. Food52 is one of them. The site definitely provides me with great cooking inspirations. Just like this recipe I received in my email this morning. Can’t wait to try it for dinner tonight!

Click the link below:

Summer Weekend Pasta recipe from food52.

Note: I might substitute the bacon with either turkey bacon, turkey pepperoni, or even beef summer sausage. Let’s see ūüôā

Super Chocolaty Mini Brownies

Baking, Dessert, Recipe from Other Blogs

Doesn’t Valentine’s Day seem to get bigger each year? I see red and pink flowers, heart-shaped decorations, and of course … chocolate everywhere! Restaurant-review sites rave about best places to celebrate while cooking shows and food blogs suggest special dinner and dessert menus for the holiday. I allow the not-so-subliminal messages to get me into the spirit. I mean, why not? In the midst of this winter’s grey, snow’s blinding white, along with the blustery cold wind, I welcome a nice distraction. To me the holiday gives me an excuse to do something special like having dinner date on a Tuesday night and… making a chocolaty dessert. After seeing chocolate everywhere, on TV ads and cooking shows, at the market, and on food blogs I feel the huge urge to create something with the ingredient.

I found a Chocolate Bouchons (The New Double-Chocolate Brownie) recipe by chef Stephanie Izard (of the Girl and the Goat in Chicago) in my InStyle magazine’s January edition. Every food I have tasted at chef Izard’s restaurant has been incredibly delightful. So I got excited to try one of her recipes.

As usual, I deviate ūüôā Here’s a version adapted from chef Izard’s recipe:

We will need:

  • A 24-mini muffin tray
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup of Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
  • 3 squares of Ghirardelli dark chocolate bar (I happen to have the 72% cocoa. Next time I’ll go with 60%.)
  • 1 tablespoon of pistachios (I happen to have them around)
  • Melt the butter
  • Whisk eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl
  • Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, and melted butter. Do it slowly and one by one while keeping the whisking going. Mix well until all ingredients become one thick chocolate mixture.
  • With a food processor, chop the pistachios and the dark chocolate squares
  • With a spatula, gently mix the chocolate chips, chopped dark chocolate, and chopped pistachios into the mixture
  • Scoop the mixture to fill the muffin tray all the way to the top (or use a ziplock bag with one corner cut off )
  • Bake for 20-23 minutes in a preheated 350 degrees F ¬†and let the brownies cool outside for 30-40 minutes. Mmm… imagine the wonderful chocolate aroma in the air. Oh…la…la…
The mini brownies come out very chocolaty. Intense! Each bite represents a combination of dark and milk chocolate and a little pistachios. The chocolate chips melt after being baked inside of the brownies. They give such wonderful texture to the tiny chocolate goodness. For sweet lovers, dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with a scoop of vanilla or coffee ice cream. Jeff and I like ours without the added sweet just fine.
In the future, I’d like to mix either a¬†raspberry, blackberry, or strawberry preserves into the mix (in lieu of using pistachios). Maybe I’d also melt the dark and milk chocolate. Mmm…many possibilities!

Unfortunately, I did not find chef Izard’s original recipe online so I could not link it here. But I found a similar one (click here)¬†for those who’d like to get to know chocolate bouchons better.

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!

Celery Root and Potato Puree – A Side Dish

Recipe from Other Blogs, Vegetable Recipes

I highlighted¬†chef Anne Burrell’s short ribs recipe in my previous post. In it the chef paired the wonderful braised short ribs with a celery root and potato puree side dish and a salad. Aha! The puree piqued my interest. It involved another vegetable I had never tasted or cooked but wondered about before: celery root. I followed the recipe with a couple of tweaks: reduced the amount of heavy cream from 1 1/2 cups to 1 cup and two pats of butter to one. Jeff and I also used a fine mesh strainer instead of a food mill, which worked out perfectly. Incorporating celery root ¬†provided a subtle celery aroma and a little more complexity to the potato dish. The root vegetable did not overpower but it definitely enhanced fresh flavor. The combination made me want to say goodbye forever to the traditional thick and buttery mashed potato. I was sold!¬†

Serve with:

Special Braised Short Ribs Dinner – Going Gourmet at Home

Radicchio, Arugula, and Heart of Palm Salad
For complete recipes:

The Secret to Short Ribs : Secret of a Restaurant Chef : Food Network

Special Braised Short Ribs Dinner – Going Gourmet at Home

Beef Recipes, Recipe from Other Blogs

I watch Food Network religiously. There, I admit it. Jeff says the TV seems to default to the channel whenever he turns it on. The truth is I get a lot of my cooking inspirations, and learn tons of recipes, from some of the shows. Jeff and I love eating out but we also relish delicious home-cooked meals. Since we cook a lot, I try to add more to our recipes repertoire. So watching cooking shows helps the effort.

Growing up with Indonesian cooking has definitely developed my palate preference. It also has given me the ability to create an extensive menu of the cuisine. However, blessed and cursed with curiosity I tend to want, seek, and learn more. I’ve developed a definite fondness for trying on varieties of tastes and recipes along the way. Thanks to the plethora of recipe sources online and on TV, I’ve also been able to go gourmet without breaking the bank!

My most recent successful gourmet trial came from chef Anne Burrell’s recipe:¬†Braised Short Ribs¬†served with celery root and potato puree and salad (next blog posts). (I followed the short ribs recipe with one tweak: I did not have thyme at the time, so I went without.) Though the recipe calls for a three-hour cooking time I plan to do repeats in the future. Once cooked, the meat becomes so tender and soft that it struggles to stick to the bone. The aroma and taste of celery sticks and carrots mixed with tomato paste and red wine blends perfectly with the beef. A very rich taste—just how I like my food to be. ¬†I recommend the recipe for a special dinner with loved ones. Another great addition to my winter menu collection.

Side dishes:

Celery Root and Potato Puree

Radicchio, Arugula, and Heart of Palm Salad

For complete recipes view the source of my inspiration:

The Secret to Short Ribs : Secret of a Restaurant Chef : Food Network

Chunky Artichoke Dip

Recipe from Other Blogs, Vegetable Recipes

I am hooked on artichoke hearts and I look for more ways to enjoy them. One day I saw my friend Lindsay wrote a blog entry on Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip. I knew it was a sign to do a dip. I have roasted artichoke hearts and have also put them in salad many times but have never done a dip before.¬†The interesting part of Lindsay’s recipe was the Greek yogurt substitute for low-fat mayonnaise. I was very intrigued.

My first step was to check what I already had. I found one can of artichoke hearts in the pantry and some left over of frozen ones in the freezer. So I thought I’d just use them all up and do only artichoke dip this time. I also still had two types of cheese in the fridge: shredded Mozzarella and Cheddar—I used a handful of each (the recipe calls for Mozzarella, Parmesan, and Monterrey Jack). Though I deviated a bit from Lindsay’s original recipe, the dip was still pretty amazing. The artichoke hearts, Mozzarella, Cheddar, and the Greek yogurt created a delicious chunky dip. I enjoyed the thick consistency more than the usual creamy one. For once I could really taste the artichoke! The dip was definitely more fragrant due to the yogurt and more flavorful from the artichoke and cheese combo. The cayenne powder definitely kicked and enhanced the dish. I enjoyed using pita chips to scoop.¬†

Click the link to view the complete recipe: Spicy Spinach Artichoke Dip 

Thanks, Lindsay! What a great recipe!