Salad Obsession – Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Green Chop

I had my cousin Hillary and her fiancé John over for dinner on Sunday and spent Saturday night watching Game of Thrones and flipping through cookbooks to menu plan. I love reading cookbooks. I had honestly forgotten how much. I get so programmed to look at blogs or the Food Network or Epicurious that I forget about my good ole cookbooks. I was perusing Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I ended up selecting recipes from both, but the clear winner at dinner was the Everyday Green Chopped Salad. I think I am going to need to eat this salad at least once weekly for the forseeable future. So. fricking. good. It’s the perfect combination of crunch and vinegar and avocado.

Everyday Green Chopped Salad – courtesy of Jamie Oliver

Ingredients

  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 4 green onions (both white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • handful basil, sliced
  • freshly shaved parmesan
  • 3T olive oil
  • 1T red wine vinegar
  • 1t Dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper

Directions

  • Wash and roughly chop lettuce and put in a large bowl
  • After you’ve cut up the green onions, cucumber, basil, put them together and roughly chop up some more
  • Toss with the lettuce and coat well with dressing
  • Finish with fresh shaved parmesan

Serves 4

Total Cook Time – 20 minutes

This salad is perfect to serve with a lighter dinner, like halibut or salmon. Definitely worthy of guests. I served with Jamie Oliver’s Crunchy Garlic Chicken, Sauteed Asparagus, and Smitten Kitchen’s Roasted Potato and Carrot Coins.

 

 

 

 

 

Goddammit I’m Gonna Cook Today – Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew

I woke up at 11am today, which I haven’t done in a very, very long time. People who aren’t divorced, this is one perk, just sayin. 11am was really noon due to daylight savings. I had no idea that was happening last night, like I completely missed it, but ok. Normally, Sunday mornings we are up early, it’s movie day! We watch a superhero movie and snuggle, but Oliver was with is dad last night. So I had a night to myself, got real crazy, ate some Thai food and started a Match.com profile. But that’s a post for another day.

Aaaaaanyway, after feeling like a complete piece of shit for sleeping in so late, I decided to take on a serious cooking endeavor in order to feel productive. I posted on Smitten Kitchen’s Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew earlier this week and the timing seemed perfect. It’s almost spring, hence the hour gain, but still comfort food weather. This recipe boasts a 3 hour cooking time, but it’s not 3 hours of hands on intensive labor, it’s a few different simmer periods. It is really, really good. Simple but richly flavorful, highly recommend. I would tweak a few things if I were to make it again, I modified the recipe accordingly for your benefit below. I served over egg noodles. Oliver ate the egg noodles. Great.

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Dijon & Cognac Beef Stew courtesy of Deb Perelman

Adapted slightly – Serves 4 to 6 – takes about 3 hours total

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound salt pancetta diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter, more as needed
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1/2 cup smooth Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons coarse Dijon
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
  • 1/4 cup red wine

Directions

  1. Place pancetta in a Dutch oven over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and save for another use, like your salad, vegetables or, uh, snacking.
  2. Raise heat to medium-low, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.
  3. If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season lightly with salt and more generously with pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.
  4. Add Cognac to the empty pan, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and any crusted-on bits come loose. Add stock, smooth Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon coarse mustard.
  5. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pan. Lower heat, cover pan partway, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 2 hours, adding carrots after about 45 minutes. NOTE – I would really, really suggest monitoring things along the way so the beef doesn’t get overcooked and the carrots get cooked through. I had some issues with this, but I think my modifications should solve for you.
  6. As the stew cooks for the last 30 minutes, heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté mushrooms until browned and tender. Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot over wide egg noodles.

Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves & Mashed Potatoes

Oh my god. This is the best thing I have eaten in awhile. I am currently shoveling it in my mouth while typing.  I made this a few months back, before blog, but didn’t make the glaze. You need to make the glaze. I consider myself a meatloaf connoisseur, I love meatloaf. I am picky about my meatloaf. This is one of the best I have eaten. Ever. The thing I also like about this one is that it’s really meatballs, not a loaf. Meatloaf balls. Bravo, Deb Perelman. Everything you make is good.

I served with steamed green beans and Yukon gold mashed potatoes (cut up potatoes into small pieces, boil for about 10 minutes until tender, mash with milk, butter, salt & pepper). She serves with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes, which looked amazing, but I was cooking for 1. If I had guests coming? Absolutely.

Tomato-Glazed Meatloaves – (from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook)

Ingredients

Glaze

  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2  tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
 Meatballs
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
  • 2lbs ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs

Directions

  1. First, make the glaze.  Combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, whisking, for about 2 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. To make the meatballs, preheat oven to 350°F. Tear the bread into chunks and then blend it, in a food processor, into breadcrumbs. Place the breadcrumbs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot to the food processor and pulse it until they are finely chopped.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Once the skillet is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil and heat the oil for a minute; add the finely chopped vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetables to the breadcrumbs, then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the ingredients together with a fork. With wet hands, form the mixture into twelve 3-inch meat meatballs.
  5. Space meatballs so that they are not touching, in a baking dish. Drizzle or brush each meatball with a teaspoon or so of the tomato glaze and bake until completely cooked through, about 25 – 30 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a cooked meatball will register 160 to 165.)
  6. Serve with any leftover glaze on mashed potatoes.

Sunday Dinner – Roast Chicken & Veggies

All of Seattle is watching the Seahawks play the 49ers for a shot at the Superbowl. I, however, am listening to Jake & the Neverland Pirates as I am home with a sick little guy who has commandeered the TV. I am making one of my fave Sunday dinners, roast chicken and veggies. Until about 5 years ago, the thought of roasting a chicken was completely intimidating. In hindsight, I have no idea why. It is seriously easy, and one of those dinners you just throw in the oven and let ‘er rip. Perfect for company, makes your house smell amazing.

I have been doing various versions of roast chicken, one of my favorites is Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken. I love the gravy you make at the end, it’s the best part. I have also been digging Smitten Kitchen’s Flat Roast Chicken, where you remove the backbone from the chicken (or have the butcher do it). This shortens the cooking time to about 45 minutes rather than 75 minutes. Both are totally fantastic recipes. Staples. But today I felt like getting crazy today and trying something new. Enter Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken. What I like about this guy – you pierce a lemon all over and insert the entire thing into the cavity, as well as garlic cloves, fresh thyme, salt & pepper. Gives the final product such great flavor.

Veggies on the menu tonight are Yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, yellow onion and carrots. Also planning to roast a little kale to green things up.

Sunday Roast Chicken & Veggies

adapted from Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken (so, I guess it wasn’t quite perfect)

Ingredients

  • 1 4lb organic chicken
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled (plus 4 more to include with veggies)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more to include with veggies)
  • 1 medium onions, peeled, cut in half width wise, then sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 bunch carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into even chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Let chicken and 1T butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  3. Cut up all veggies and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Make sure the veggies are all around the same size.
  4. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body.
  5. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  6. Place the lemon on the counter and roll back and forth, this softens the lemon and allows the juice to flow more freely. Pierce entire surface of lemon with a fork. Using the side of a large knife, gently press on garlic cloves to open slightly. Insert garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and lemon into cavity. Place chicken in large roasting pan. Cut about 18 inches of kitchen twine, bring chicken legs forward, cross them, and tie together.
  7. Spread the softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Spread veggies evenly around the chicken in the roasting pan, if they are too crowded, they will steam, not roast. Place in the oven, and roast for 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce temperature to 350º after 15 minutes.
  9. Continue to roast until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and the juices run clear when pierced, about 1 hour. When chicken seems done, insert a thermometer into the breast, then the thigh. The breast temperature should read 165º.
  10. Remove chicken and place on a platter to rest for 10 – 15 minutes. Raise temp back up to 425° and throw the veggies back in to continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes.

Pretty exiting, Oliver let me turn on the Seahawks game and we got to watch them beat the 49ers and get their 2nd chance to play in the Superbowl!! Dinner was delish as well. Good Sunday in Seattle.