Sunday, May 30, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Black Beans

I'm several weeks behind in ICBC, and it's been a combination of laziness and cheapness. But a few weeks ago, I chose black beans as my ingredient. It's a pantry staple for me, and I thought it'd be interesting to see what people came up with. Sarah Michelle made Black Bean Brownies and Becky made a Turkey Chili with Black Beans. Michele also prepared a chili recipe.

So for black beans, I decided to make a black bean and corn salsa. I was hosting a smaller dinner on Friday night, and I thought a salsa would help tide us over until dinnertime. Measurements of spices are inaccurate since it's all been by taste. In the end, I think it was a pretty good salsa. I would definitely make it again.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
one can of black beans
about 3/4 of a package of frozen corn, thawed
three tomatoes
two small cloves of garlic
jalapeno, to taste
1/4 of a red onion
1/4 of a bunch of cilantro
juice from half of a lime

Combine ingredients and stir together. Add salt, cumin, jalapeno, cilantro and lime to taste.

Tuesday Night Dinner: Beef and Broccoli

I was really stumped this week as to what to make for dinner, so of course, I took my usual route of browsing food blogs for recipes and dinner ideas. When I search for Tuesday night dinner ideas, I tend to look for fast and easy recipes, party recipes, or budget recipes. I made my way to Steamy Kitchen, a beautiful site by a food blogger who actually just released a cookbook recently. She had the most delicious looking picture of beef and Chinese broccoli with noodles that I just couldn't get out of my head, so I knew I had to make that for dinner. I also thought it'd be a good choice because we rarely eat beef at Tuesday night dinners. It was the best decision. I've discovered a recipe that I could probably pretty easily slip into a regular rotation, and it was just so so delicious. At least, that's what I thought, and I think most everyone else agreed.

Broccoli Beef noodle stir fry (adapted from Steamy Kitchen)
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced (Jaden recommends beef sirloin)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons dry white wine, sake, or Shaoxing wine (I used white wine)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch (I used corn starch)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound fresh or 10 oz dried noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped
1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 pound Chinese broccoli or common broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks or florets (I used Chinese broccoli that I did not bother cutting)
freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and wine. Add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Stir in corn starch until smooth. Add sesame oil and beef and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare noodles. You can use any kind of noodles here, just prepare according to package directions, but don't quite cook them all the way so you can finish cooking them in the saute pan at the end.

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet and stir fry garlic until fragrant. Add the beef and stir fry until tender, just a couple minutes. When you cook the beef, you should cook the slices in a single layer in your pan so it cooks evenly and creates caramelized bits. When the meat is finished, transfer it to a plate and add a little more oil to the pan. Add the broccoli and toss it so it's coated with oil. Pour in a 1/4 cup of the stock, turn the heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes and transfer to the same plate as the meat.

This is where I strayed from Jaden's recipe just a little. I tossed my noodles in the saute pan, added oyster, soy sauce, and chicken stock to taste, and tossed it around a little to flavor it and finish the cooking process. I chose to serve the noodles separate from the beef and broccoli so people could have an option of noodles or rice.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Perfect Picnic Sandwiches

My favorite sandwich at my favorite Tucson sandwich place is the Bart's Bag at Beyond Bread. It's Brie, turkey, red onion, lettuce, and tomato with honey mustard and mayo on a baguette. I get it almost every time I go to Beyond Bread and have been faithfully eating this same sandwich for years. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to see the outdoor movie in the park and I made us sandwiches and pasta salad and brought strawberries. This is my homemade version of an adapted Bart's Bag and it was amazing. Perfect picnic sandwich.

Perfect Picnic Sandwich
red onion
honey mustard

Slice the baguette in half and spread mayo on one side, honey mustard on the other side. Place turkey, then brie, then spinach, tomato and red onion. Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuesday Night Dinner

A Tuesday night dinner collage

Salad of spinach, broccoli slaw mix, shredded carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

homemade garlic bread

Spaghetti noodles tossed with garlic, diced tomatoes, and zucchini.

Baked tilapia with lemon and dill

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Garlic

For Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Garlic, I settled on this Garlicky Baked Shrimp recipe I found on Gimme Some Oven. The recipe is originally from Real Simple. It was delicious. Outstandingly delicious. I couldn't sing the praises of this recipe enough. And it was so easy.

shrimp, peeled and deveined
white wine
panko bread crumbs
melted butter
minced garlic

Peel and devein the shrimp. Toss with minced garlic and a couple tablespoons of white wine. Melt butter in a small bowl and then mix in panko bread crumbs. Put shrimp in single layer on a baked dish and spread panko bread crumbs on top. Bake in a 425 degree oven until shrimp is cooked through, roughly 12-15 minutes. If desired, broil the last couple minutes to crisp the bread crumbs on top a little more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carrie: ICBC Eggplant

I was pretty excited to receive my e-mail from Sarah Michelle and find out that the secret ingredient is eggplant. It's a vegetable that receives a lot of love in this house, so I was also excited to see what else I could do with it. I stumbled across this Real Simple recipe for Eggplant Lasagna with Herbed Ricotta and Asiago, and I adapted it for my own time and budget purposes.

3 medium eggplants, sliced into thin discs
olive oil
3 eggs
3 cups of ricotta
dried basil and oregano
salt and pepper
two cans of crushed tomatoes
two cans of tomato sauce
shredded mozzarella

Prepare marinara sauce. Dump crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce into large pot, season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. (You could sub out the basil and oregano for an Italian seasonings spice mix too.) Simmer on medium-low while you prepare the eggplants.

Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. Dehydrate them on cookie sheets by sprinkling with salt, washing off the salt, and patting them dry with a clean cloth.

Prepare cheese filling by mixing ricotta with eggs and seasonings.

Place some marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking pan, then eggplant, then ricotta, and repeat. Top it off with shredded mozzarella. (This recipe requires two baking pans. I used a 13x9 and an 8x8.) Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is slightly browned and bubbling.

Becky: ICBC Black Beans

Swanson Turkey, Black Bean and Corn Chili

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth (Regular, Natural Goodness™ or Certified Organic)
1 cup Pace® Thick & Chunky Salsa
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, onion, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper and garlic powder. Cook until the turkey is well browned, stirring often.
Stir the broth, salsa, sugar, beans and corn in the saucepot and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

This was a recipe that I came across online on Ironically though, even though this was a Swanson chicken broth recipe, I did not use Swanson chicken broth. Instead, I used some chicken bouillon granules that I had on hand and dissolved them in water to make my own broth, since I'm cheap and didn't want to spend extra money lol. I also used this hot habanero salsa I had in my fridge instead of the Pace kind. Also, since I've been trying to lose some excess weight, I used Stevia instead of the sugar, which is an artificial sweetener that is supposed to actually be good for you, unlike aspartame or any of the other unhealthy artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas.

This recipe turned out to be really good! Even my husband liked it, which really surprised me since he typically doesn't like turkey. The only thing was that I could tell that it had artificial sugar in it. Stevia is really sweet, and I could definitely taste the sweetness in the chili. Regular sugar you probably wouldn't notice as much, so unless you're watching your diet, I say use regular sugar instead. I also liked the hot habanero salsa because it gave the chili a nice kick :) Plus, this was really easy to make, and quick too!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sarah: ICBC Garlic

Julia Child's French Onion Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 lbs onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced very fine
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 6 cups beef stock or chicken stock (the beef will make a darker, more robust soup)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ovenproof soup bowls
  • 12 toasted slices of French baguettes, 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  • 3 teaspoons Parmesan cheese, grated

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and oil together.
  • Add the onions, garlic, and sugar. Saute until slightly colored, stirring occasionally (don't stir too much - you want them to brown), for 7 minutes.
  • Add the white wine, raise temperature to medium high, and bring to a boil.
  • Lower temperature back down to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, raise temperature to medium high and bring to a simmer.
  • Lower temperature to low and simmer *uncovered* for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes).
  • At this point you can freeze the soup for reheating later (after thawing).
  • To serve at this point, continue with steps: first, preheat your broiler.
  • Ladle the soup into the ovenproof soup bowls (6 of them).
  • Place two slices of toasted baguette onto the top of each soup bowl.
  • Sprinkle each serving with 1/3 cup of Swiss cheese, then 1/2 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.
  • Place soup bowls onto a baking sheet and place in oven under preheated broiler.
  • Broil until the cheese melts (watch them carefully - depending on your broiler and how far the rack is from the heat, it can take anywhere to 45 to 90 seconds or so).
  • Serve immediately.

  • ---REVIEW---

    So... let's get real for a minute here. We're all friends. You can take it.

    I've never loved anything more than I love french onion soup. Ever. In my life.

    This soup... was not my favorite french onion soup. I am not saying that this is the fault of Mrs. Julia Child, it is the fault of whoever decided that beef broth should come in 4 cup containers instead of 6, and didn't think the mention it on the container.

    The soup was OK with 4 cups, but not as rich and full bodied as I would have hoped. Also, maybe this had something to do with the fact that I bought the cheapest bottle of white wine I could find... at Target.

    Don't judge me.

    Also, I thought you all needed to know EXACTLY HOW MUCH 3LBS OF ONIONS REALLY IS. A lot. A lot a lot.