Friday, March 9, 2018

Roasted Garlic Asparagus

We thought we had asparagus figured out with the pre-steaming trick we started doing which resulted in all asparagus being cooked evenly. Then, we decided to try this recipe and now it's our new favorite for asparagus. We only used thin asparagus for this recipe the both times that we have made it, but it has come out absolutely perfect both times.

Here's the original recipe: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-garlic-asparagus-364212






Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped parsley
2 pounds thin asparagus, ends trimmed
Fleur de sel or coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Prepare a cookie sheet with a silicon mat. Spread the asparagus (chop off about 1-2" of the end) in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. In a small pot, heat the oil, garlic, onion powder, and parsley on medium-low heat. Cook for 3 minutes, until the garlic mixture is fragrant but not browned.
4. Drizzle on the garlic-oil mixture.
5. Roast for 8-10 minutes, until the asparagus are bright green; do not overcook.
6. Transfer to a platter and serve hot.

What we liked:

This turned out perfect! We served it as a side to mashed potatoes and salmon and it was delicious!

What we didn't like:

Nothing, it was great!

What Kaspian thought about it:

He gave it a try. 

Next time:

No change

Ranch

So, we had some pizza that we bought from Costco and we were home and we thought, it'd be really nice to dip it into some ranch. We did have some ranch from the grocery store, Kraft brand in our fridge...but after eating Dion's ranch, it really just didn't do it. So, we thought, well, let's see what goes into ranch and it so turned out that we had all the ingredients! So, we made some. And now I don't think we could ever go back to anything else. Super easy to make and very delicious. It does taste better on the second day once the spices have had some time to permeate through though. This shouldn't stop you from enjoying it immediately though!

Here's the original recipe: https://barefeetinthekitchen.com/homemade-ranch-salad-dressing/

Ingredients:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk or regular milk
3/4 - 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon finely cracked pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste approximately 1-3 teaspoons, adjust to taste

Directions:

Mix everything together for a super delicious ranch dressing!

What we liked:

So simple and good!

What we didn't like:

Why didn't we decide to do this sooner!? 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He's not really a dipping sauce child... Astrid enjoyed it though :) 

Next time:

Adjust spices as you see fit!

Breadsticks

These were SOOO easy to make and turned out great both of the times we have made them. They are fun, fast and delicious! They pretty much get eaten instantly by the children.

We got the original recipe from here: https://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/02/olive-garden-breadsticks/






Ingredients:

1½ cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
3½ cups all purpose flour, add more or less as needed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon salt

Topping to smother them with:
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix and let stand for a few minutes.
2. Add flour and melted butter. Mix with dough hook attachment until thoroughly mixed. Add more flour if needed.
3. Knead dough for a few minutes just until dough is smooth and all flour is incorporated.
4. Prepare two cookie sheets with silicon mats.
5. Divide the dough in Half. Then, each half into 6 pieces. Roll out into strips (6 for each cookie sheet).
6.  Cover the dough with a towel and let sit in a warm place for about an hour.
7. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
8. Bake the bread sticks fro 6-7 minutes.
9.  While bread sticks are cooking, microwave ½ cup butter, 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
10. After bread sticks have cooked for 6 or 7 minutes, brush the bread sticks with half the butter mixture. Then continue to bake for 5-8 more minutes.
11. After removing bread sticks from oven, immediately brush the other half of the butter on the sticks.

What we liked:

Better than olive garden's!

What we didn't like:

A little too much butter. For the second time, we did closer to 1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 cup) for the basting sauce rather than a full stick. That seemed to work out better. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He LOVED them. 

Next time:

Continue with less butter. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Beef Bulgogi - Costco prepared meal

We got this prepared meal from Costco. It was a beef bulgogi, that just needed to be fried and served over rice. We prepared the rice and were so excited to try it. It was very disappointing. The dish was SOOOO sweet. Definitely will not be getting it again.






Chocolate Tipsy Bundt Cake

This was a very dense chocolatey cake. It turned out very yummy.
The original recipe was from The Costco Connection Magazine October 2017.
It was not too tedious to make and definitely satisfying.





Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the pan
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup rum
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
2 tablespoons rum

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 F
2. Spray the bundt pan with oil and dust with cocoa powder
3. Place coffee, rum, butter and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until butter is melted.
4. Remove from heat and add sugar until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
5. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. When the chocolate mixture has cooled, add it in to the stand mixer. Add in the flour mixture until well incorporated. 
7. Pour the  batter into the bundt pan and bake for 40- 50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
8. Place on wire rack to cool.

Icing:
1. Melt chocolate in a double broiler. Add butter, milk and rum and simmer for 5 minutes constantly stirring. Add more milk or cream if needed to reach proper consistency.


When the cake has cooled, invert it onto a wire rack over parchment or wax paper. Dust with powder sugar (optional) and drizzle with chocolate rum icing. 

What we liked:

It was great and chocolatey!

What we didn't like:

Nothing, it was great. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He wasn't into it. 

Next time:

No changes. 

Citrus Salmon with Lemon Garlic Broccolini

This salmon was supposed to be this Citrus-Marinated Salmon recipe from a Magazine page that we saved (which is even missing a page number, much less a title) but we ended up not having some of te ingredients, so we kind of made it up as we went along. The broccolini recipe was mostly from the back of the broccolini bag.  Both turned out yummy. We also had added red potatoes with simple olive oil, salt and rosemary for the side.





Ingredients:

Salmon:
Salmon Filet, about 2 lbs
2 limes, sliced into thin rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
chopped fresh dill
chopped fresh parsley
chopped chives, about 2 large stems
salt and pepper

Broccolini:

1 lb of broccolini
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
pepper

Directions:

Salmon:

1. Preheat oven to 250 F
2. Place salmon skin down on a cooking sheet with either a silicon cooking mat (LOVE) or foil.
3. Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper, dill, parsley and chives. Pour olive oil over it.
4. Place lime rings all overlapping the salmon.
5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until flaky and cooked.

Broccolini:
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Chop off about 1 inch of the broccolini stems. Place them in an alternating pattern on a cookie sheet
3. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix, and pour evenly over the broccolini.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes until done. 

What we liked:

This was a great dish that came together nicely even though we didn't end up following the original recipe plan. 

What we didn't like:

Nothing, it was great. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He actually liked the fish, though not all the "green stuff" on it. Astrid, LOVES salmon. 

Next time:

no changes. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

We made this spinach artichoke dip and it was yummy and extremely filling!
We combined a couple of recipes to make it happen. Next time, we think we should include some water chestnuts for an extra crunch in the dip.

Here are the two recipes we used for reference:
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018248-spinach-artichoke-dip
http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/spinach-artichoke-dip-1209





Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
about 12 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 can chopped artichoke hearts
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz fresh mozzarella, grated
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 can water chestnuts, chopped

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Add garlic and cook until softened, but not browning.
2. Add spinach, a handful at a time.
3. Add artichokes and water chestnuts.
4. Reduce heat and add cream cheese and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, stirring the entire time
5. Add sour cream, continue stirring.
6. Add salt and pepper.
7. Serve with pita chips. 

What we liked:

It was fun to make!

What we didn't like:

Nothing, it was yummy

What Kaspian thought about it:

Too suspicious a food for him to try. 

Next time:

Add in the water chestnuts!