Tag Archives: homemade

Seared Scallops in Panang Curry Sauce

I always love to order panang curry when I go to Thai restaurants. It has a slightly bolder flavor than the red, green or yellow curry dishes and is so tasty when paired with coconut milk. I once stumbled across a recipe for it online and I realized that just like making red or green curry it all begins with the paste.

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Crispy Baked Haddock

Greg brought home some haddock, a flakey white fish, from Wholey’s and I took on the task of making it. In the past whenever I had fish at home I would call my sister for a recipe. She eventually grew tired of this routine and gave me a cookbook: America’s Favorite Fish Recipes from The Freshwater Angler. I finally opened it up and found a recipe for Crispy Baked Salmon, which I thought sounded (and looked) really tasty.

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Filet Mignon Party!

 

Filet and some good friends

 

We had an absolute feast with some friends featuring grilled filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms and onions, spicy red pepper mac n cheese, rosemary and garlic mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach.  The Strip District struck again!  I had wanted to get a log of filet for quite some time because the price goes down as you buy a bigger cut, so we called on some friends to help us out.

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Chicken Crocks with Garlic White Romano Sauce

A friend was coming over and I wanted to make a little afternoon snack.  It wasn’t too hot out so I didn’t mind baking something.  I started by pan sauteing some cubed chicken breast with some salt and pepper and putting it in the crocks.

I started on the sauce by sauteing the aromatics in oil.

Browned garlic is the key for this one

I sauteed the aromatics a little longer than usual to really brown the garlic and get a deep almost smoky garlic taste.

Once the garlic was browned enough, I added some fresh basil for the last few minutes of sauteeing.

Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients which is basically an alfredo.  The cheese was grated imported Romano which we got in the Strip District for $6.99 a pound.  What the Strip provides is amazing and limitless!

Then pour the sauce over the chicken until covered.

Add a bit of mozzarella and throw into the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Top with some fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.

Recipe for Garlic White Romano Sauce

Greg


Crispy Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella Finger Sandwiches

I am sorry to say that most of these pictures are slightly out of focus. Our camera has a mind of it’s own sometimes and I just couldn’t get it to agree with me when I was cooking today. I was also running around the kitchen, cooking and trying to take pictures all at the same time. I apologize in advance, but hopefully that won’t deter you from enjoying this recipe!

Believe it or not, I found this recipe in a Suzanne Somer’s book several years ago. It has been a while since I made it, but I had a bunch of little eggplants and some fresh mozzarella in the fridge so I gave it a go.

These guys were little.  I got them from a farmer’s market (this is about half of what I got for $2.50).

The first step was to slice up the eggplant and roast the slices in the oven for about 20 minutes with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

While the eggplant was cooking, I made the herb spread (aka pesto), which was comprised of garlic, basil, oregano (which I substituted for parsley), red pepper flakes, and olive oil. I used the bullet for this.

I also prepped my work station for the next steps of the recipe. I used fresh mozzarella for the sandwiches, but if you don’t have any on hand you can use shredded or sliced. There is something about the way fresh mozzarella melts though that makes it extra special, so I definitely recommend it for this dish.

After assembling the sandwiches, the next step is to dip them in egg and coat them with grated cheese. So I prepped my egg dip and cheese for that as well.

Now for the sandwich assembly…

Basically all you do is take a slice of eggplant and spoon the herb spread over it. Add the mozzarella and then put a second slice of eggplant on top. Easy peasy.

Next, dip the sandwich into the egg and then roll it around in the grated cheese to coat.

Once you have all of your sandwiches coated it’s time to fry ’em up. They just need a couple minutes per side. Enough time for the cheese in the center to melt and for the eggplant to turn a nice golden brown.

When they are done place them onto a paper towel covered plate to drain any excess oil. Serve ’em up nice and hot and feel free to add any fillings you like. I’ve added roasted red peppers before, for example. They are also good served with marinara sauce on the side for dipping if you’d like.

Yum! These are so good!

Recipe for Crispy Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella Finger Sandwiches

-Eileen

Slow Smoked Brisket with Horseradish Sauce and Broccoli Slaw

This is our first Kittened dish in Pittsburgh and we have been discovering that food is very cheap.  This was a 9lb cut of brisket for $30, and that was not a sale.  Plenty more to come on the great deals found.  I smoked this similarly to the pork shoulder a bit back.  Slow cooked over indirect heat, but this time it was cooked as the debut dish on our new charcoal grill that we got for our wedding (thanks Mo and Stosh).

First to prep the rub

Started with a quick made rub.

Yeah, $30!

As similar to the pork, I started the grill with a large pile of charcoal and once it was ashed and ready, it was moved and kept to one side.  I also used a store bought foil baking dish as a drip tray below the meat to limit the mess and possible flare up.

The grill will never look like this again.

Opposite the coals

Now a lot of waiting.  The grill was covered with the below air intake about halfway open and the lid air intake also about halfway open.  The lid intake was placed over the meat, opposite the coals so that the heat and smoke are forced to go around the meat in order to escape.  The brisket cooked for about 5 hours total.  Here is is about halfway through.  I turned it about every hour to alternate the side facing the heat.

About 3 hours in.

And after all five hours.

Allow the meat to sit for 15 minutes or so before slicing and always slice against the grain.  It would be great to have a deli slicer here, but that is a bit excessive!

Patient, patient

Hey guys, Eileen here. I am going to fill you in on the sides, which I was responsible for making.

In addition to the brisket, we served a simple horseradish sauce from all recipes (sorry, no pictures of it) and a broccoli slaw from Smitten Kitchen. I have made this broccoli slaw once before for a cook out and people seemed to like it. I decided to make it again, figuring it would be a nice complement to the meat and tangy horseradish sauce.

First, I made the dressing for the slaw, which is composed of buttermilk, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and shallots.

Give it a good whisk and set aside.

Next, it is time for the broccoli. I used the slicing blade on my food processor to cut the broccoli for me. This method is a major time saver and produces pretty uniform slices of broccoli. Here it is pictured with chopped red onion as well.

To this, I added dried cranberries and sliced almonds and eventually the dressing.

Give it all a good stir and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

It’s a great slaw and a bit different than your typical cabbage slaw. If you are looking for something new to have or bring to an event this could be it! The crunch of the broccoli with the tartness of the cranberries and the sharpness of the red onion are all tamed by the buttermilk sauce. It was a great compliment to the brisket too!

All in all, this meal was delicious! We were very happy with the final product and our guests seemed to be too.

Brisket Dry Rub Recipe

Thai Peanut Stir Fry with Skirt Steak

When we made the pork and peach spring rolls we also made a delicious peanut sauce to dip the spring rolls in. I intentionally made a lot of the sauce because it is that good and I knew I would want to use it in another dish. Alas, here is what I came up with!  The peanut sauce was made in advance and stored for about 2-3 days before I made this.

I started off with some onion, which I sauteed in some toasted sesame oil. I kept the onion pieces pretty big as you can see- I guess they were technically quarters. Typically I add my aromatics (garlic, ginger, etc) once the onions cook for a few minutes, however, this step was not needed here because the peanut sauce already includes these ingredients.

Next, I added some carrots.

And then some spinach.

Time for the peanut sauce! I thinned it out using some chicken broth.

I blanched some broccoli and then added it to the mix.

For my protein I used skirt steak. I went to Whole Foods for lunch and they were giving out samples of their skirt steaks, which were also on sale. One bite and I was sold. It worked really well in this dish too!

I seasoned it with a little salt and pepper and grilled it. When it was ready I sliced it up and threw it in with the veggies and sauce. This dish really came together nicely- I give a lot of credit to the peanut sauce. As I mentioned it packed a ton of flavor, so for this dish it was really just a matter of putting it all together.

I wanted a more broth like sauce, so I thinned it out to my liking, but you can easily adjust this depending on your taste.  I ate it as is, but I am sure it would be great over rice or some thin rice noodles. It was also great leftover.

And this was going on while I was cooking! So starving!

All in all, I thought this came out great. See our post about the spring rolls for the link to the peanut sauce recipe!

– Eileen

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

 

Pulled Pork

Pork butt also known as Boston butt (not Bill Belichick) was on sale at Harris Teeter for .99 cents a pound which made this 8 pounder quite a deal.  I wanted to slow cook it since it was summer and I had the time, but didn’t want to slow cook it for 14 hours.  I did a bit of an in between method using indirect heat.  First I got the grill started before I prepped the pork.

 

Keeping all of the heat to one side

I put down a base of charcoal and a few small logs on top as added fuel and to get a smoky flavor.  I kept all of these to one side and started them up planning to put the pork on in about a half an hour.

In the meantime, I prepared the pork.

 

Fat jackets are gross, but necessary for flavor and tenderness

There was a bone in the meat

Next I took about 8 cloves of garlic and cut them in half.  Then I cut small slits throughout the meat and put the garlic in, making sure it was deep enough that it could not be seen.

You wouldn't know it, but there is a lot of garlic in there

Next I prepared a dry rub by combining some dry seasonings.  I prefer doing this over using a store bought one as they are often packed with sugar and or can be way too salty.

 

Just pick what you like and mix it up

Then I thoroughly covered the pork on all sides.

Next onto the cooking.  The coals were white and ashed over and the wood was burning and smoking well.  I opened the bottom air intake of the grill about half way and placed the pork on the grate on the opposite side of the heat so that there was nothing underneath it.

 

The flames will die down when covered but will still be plenty hot

I then covered the grill putting the top air intake over the meat and opening it about halfway also.  This makes the smoke and heat travel over and around the pork in order to escape out of the top.  Opening the intakes up halfway gives the flames enough air to be hot and continue to burn.  To truly slow cook it, you would have barely opened the air valves, but it again would take twice as long (up to 8 hours 0r more).  This is what I meant by using a hybrid method that was still slow (about 5 hours), but not the typical slow cooking process.

After about 2 hours, I opened the grill up and took the whole grate, pork and all, off and placed it aside.  I stirred up the coals, got rid of some of the spent ash, and added a few more coals and small pieces of wood.  Then I turned the pork so that the other side of it was facing the heat source.  It was looking great already and could have probably been eaten, but it would not have been very tender.

 

After about 2 hours of indirect smoking

This was also going on during the process which really helped. The site's namesake!

I let the charcoal and wood heat back up uncovered for about 10 minutes then put the flipped pork back on.  I checked it in about an hour and flipped it around again, and the same in another hour.

Because the temperature was close enough to what I had wanted it to be and it was getting late, I took the meat off after about 4.5 hours of total cooking time.  This method also uses the fuel very efficiently as the coals could have gone for another few hours.

 

Got to about 205 degress at its highest

Government official numbers say to cook the pork to 160-170 degrees, but when slow cooking it like this, you want to get it closer to 200 for the tenderness.  This was tender and did come apart pretty easily, but also could have gone for another hour or a little less.  Towards some of the bone, the meat was not as uniformly tender, but was still tender enough.

 

Finally ready to come off the grill

I let the pork rest for a bit so that it could be handled.  The fat jacket came right off and many other visible fat pockets were easy to remove, though some people(southerners) would keep most of them for the extra flavor.

In the meantime, I cut up some cauliflower and covered it in vinegar and mustard before grilling.  I wanted something tart to contrast the pork and this easy mixture did that well.

 

Threw it in the grill basket for about 30-40 minutes

Once the pork was cool enough to handle, I shredded it with two large forks which was pretty easy except for a bit around the bone as mentioned.  The smoky flavor and rub had really penetrated throughout and there were pockets of stronger garlic flavor than others which I considered prizes.

 

Pulled Pork

We put the pork in a bowl with some cauliflower and ate some plain and ate some with a bit of BBQ sauce.

 

Was good enough plain

BBQ sauce is good too.

It was great and I am really pleased at how it turned out.  It could have been enjoyed on buns or with slaw or many other ways.  As you may have noticed, we do not know how to cook for 2 people and base our portions on a family of 8 which means that there were tons of leftovers which you will see some uses of in the coming days.  This may sound difficult, but really was not and also did not require a lot of attention.  Don’t put it on and go to the store, but is easy to set up and entertain while the magic happens.

 

Recipe for Pulled Pork Dry Rub

Chicken Piccata

My sister sent me this recipe for chicken piccata almost two years ago and  Greg and I been loving it ever since. It ‘s certainly a basic version, but it’s  a nice easy to follow recipe and tastes great. I’ve served it with different sides in the past, including pasta, rice and veggies. Rice is probably the best as it soaks up the delicious lemony sauce. For this go round however I served the chicken with some steamed broccoli (another good sauce absorber),  squash and zucchini.

The ingredients include olive oil, chicken (of course), chicken stock, lemon juice, butter, capers and flour ( not pictured). I actually experimented a bit and substituted almond flour for traditional all-purpose flour. Almond flour/meal has more fiber and less carbohydrates than regular flour and worked pretty well in this dish.

I purchased chicken breasts that were already sliced thin. If you are using regular chicken breasts you can slice them in half and pound them out. This is a bit easier if the chicken is still semi-frozen or if you buy it fresh, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice.

The next step is to coat each chicken piece with flour.

Then get your butter and olive oil going in a pan and begin to cook the chicken. Since the pieces are pretty thin they do not need much time, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.

As each piece of chicken finishes cooking just set them aside. Once all of the chicken is cooked and removed from the pan, add the chicken broth and lemon juice to make your sauce. Let the sauce get up to a boil, then turn it down to simmer and reduce. Once the sauce is nearly finished you can add capers (this was not part of the original recipe) if you’d like. Then dip each piece of chicken into the sauce, coating it completely. Plate the chicken and pour sauce over top or serve in a gravy boat.

Some pre-sauce shots:

and after the saucing… (I covered the veggies in the sauce too!)

I hope your enjoy this one!

Recipe for Chicken Piccata (courtesy of my sister)

Roasted Corn Salsa Dressing on Peppercorn Steak Salad

This is Greg and this is my first Kitten post!  A teacher has some summer time so you should be seeing me around here more often.  The original idea for this was black and blue steak salad and I decided to really focus on the black part and made a peppercorn rub for the steak.  I used a porterhouse cut of about 1.5 pounds which is not the typical or easiest cut for a steak salad, but they are always on sale at Giant in the summers and was a great deal for some quality meat.  With the trimming off the bone, there were some convenient scraps that had to be tested too.  When grabbing the blue cheese, Gorgonzola was right next to it and I decided to switch up the black and blue philosophy though it is not a major change as they are pretty similar.

Filet on the right!

The rub was just a combination of some dried spices and whole peppercorns that I ground in our spice grinder.  It was very loud at first and I ran it until itwas quieter but not fully ground.  I wanted to keep the peppercorns a bit coarse.

Preground peppercorns and spices
Don’t be afraid to use your hands and get it well covered

It is called a rub because you are supposed to rub it into the meat, so pour half of it on and get to work!  Flip it over and make sure that the whole piece is thoroughly covered. Grill it as you normally would a steak.  If possible, it is best to plan some rest time once the steak is done to allow the juices to set and to allow it a bit of time to cool to cut it and serve on a cold salad.

Where the term blackened comes from

Despite how it looks, the meat was cooked medium rare.  The rub just really blackened it that much.  It did not taste over spiced, again despite it’s appearance.  I let it sit for about a half an hour and sliced it up.  I kept the filet separate to make sure we got fair shares and as mentioned, many samples had to be had while carving it along with cleaning the bone.

Once the steak was sliced, I placed it on a bed or romaine lettuce and applied the salsa/dressing that I was simultaneously making.

Could always stop here and add a premade dressing

I had a hard time naming the dressing because it is sort of a salsa mixture that we used as a dressing.  There were so many important ingredients also that it was hard to focus on a few to give it an identity.  No other dressing was added once we topped the salad with this.  I first wrapped the peeled corn in foil with some butter and salt and pepper and roasted it on the grill for about 45 minutes or so turning once in a while.

Good ol sweet summer white corn
Double wrapped and ready for the grill

While the corn was roasting, I combined the remainder of the ingredients.  The lemon juice, oil, and vinegar tied it together as a dressing consistency which spread well on the salad and held the whole thing together too.

All of the ingredients for the dressing except for the corn

Once the corn was roasted, I let it cool until it could be handled and removed the kernels and mixed it in with the rest.

Apparently the center was on the most intense heat

Once all of the dressing ingredients were combined and well mixed, we used it as you would a normal dressing on the steak salad and sprinkled a little bit of extra Gorgonzola on top and enjoyed.

The final product!

It was sort of a lot of work but was well worth it and we really enjoyed it.  The dressing was so good itself that salad bites without steak were still really fulfilling.  An added bonus was that about half of the steak bites were filet mignon which most would consider a sin to be placed on a salad but the price was so great that it was just fine.  Give some or all of it a try!

Recipe for Roasted Corn Salsa Salad Dressing

Recipe for Peppercorn Rub