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Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie

31 Oct

I originally made this Shepard’s Pie a few weeks ago when it was 80 degrees outside and sunny. I post this recipe now when there is snow on the ground and it’s barely in the 40s. Can someone say What.The.Hell.Happened?!?!!!?!

I admit, I’ve lived in New England all my life, and you’d think I would be used to this crazy weather by now, but you know what, I’M NOT. I’m not ready to miss what the ground looks like for the next 6 months. I’m not ready to have to carry 5 extra layers of clothing in order to stay warm while I’m waiting for the T for a half hour. I’m not ready to snuggle under my 80 covers on my bed.

Ok maybe I’m ok with that.

I really should have made this Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie this weekend, and not 4 weeks ago. Ah well. I do have a delicious pot roast happening right now in my Dutch Oven, so at least there is that. This recipe makes A LOT of Shepard’s Pie. Which is great if you need leftovers to last the week. Because it will. It might even last longer than that.

You know what I AM ready for? I’m ready for this cold to GTFO of here. This cold has been kicking my butt these past few weeks, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted….at all this week. I apologize. Guess that’s what happens when you are around a bunch of 4 and 5 years olds all day.

Crock Pot Shepard’s Pie
From Slow Cooker Revolution

 

Ingredients

  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (I used skim)
  • 2lbs 85% ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10oz white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
Directions
  1. Mash bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl using fork. Mix with ground beef, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and mix with hands.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture and cook, breaking up any small pieces, until beef is no longer pink. Transfer to slow cooker
  3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, carrots, tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook until vegetables are soft, 8-10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in broth, then transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Stir heavy cream and soy sauce into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender, about 6 hours on low.
  5. Let beef filling settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from the surface. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle into a bowl and cover with hot mashed potatoes.

 

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Blogger Dinner At Audobon Circle

16 Sep

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to check out Audubon Circle with a group of amazing bloggers. Audubon Circle is located in the St. Mary’s section of the Brookline/Boston line and I was very excited to try their full menu, as I had only been there one time before with Megan & Kathy and we only sampled the appetizers and beer (they do pitchers! Of GOOD beer!)

For some reason I was not in the mood for any of the beers they had (*Gasp!*) so I went with the acrb tea party – which was tea infused vodka with mint, lemonade & lime. When I get a mixed drink, I always prefer that I DON’T taste the alcohol and this one delivered. I also enjoyed the mint flavor as well.

We decided to go about the menu family style, so we ordered a bunch of appetizers and entrees and shared everything. Like good food bloggers do. I recommended the white bean dip because when I came before, I absolutely devoured this dip. It was smooth and creamy and the accompanying bread was soft and chewy. Yes please.

I’m pretty much never going to say no to a cheese plate, and when this baby landed right in front of me, it was hard to not take it and run. The red pepper jelly that they serve with their cheese plate is A-MAZING. Please, someone give me a vat of that and I am a happy girl. There were 3 cheeses that we tried, one soft, semi soft and hard cheese, which I liked.

I really enjoyed the tomato and burrata salad, served with crispy slices of cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette and some micro greens. Audubon Circle uses fresh, local and in season ingredients as the inspiration for their menu, and the heirloom tomatoes in this salad were full of juiciness and flavor. The creamy burrata was also a nice touch.

Next up was the marinated skirt steak with chimicurri and mango and corn slaw. This was a “meh” in my book. The flavors were nice, but it was a very forgettable dish.

The vegetarian dumplings were also a big hit and had such a pretty presentation. I also enjoyed the sauce that was served alongside the dumplings.

At this point it was time to switch to entrees. the pappardelle bolognese with pecorino romano and garlic toast was my favorite entree of the night. Long flat noodles coated in a delicious bolognese sauce and the garlic toast was covered with LOTS of cheese and was soft and gooey. I forgot to ask if the pasta was made in house, but it certainly tasted like it!

The BBQ shredded chicken with potato salad, house made biscuits and bread and butter pickles was probably my least favorite entree we tried. Not that it wasn’t good, because it was! The biscuits were full of delicious butter flavor, and how can I say no to bread and butter pickles? I can’t. I did not like Audubon Circle’s potato salad. The potatoes were too hard for my liking, I like the potatoes in my salad to be slightly soft, and these were not. The sauce was also not very flavorful.

We also tried the lobster roll, served with chips and slaw. The lobster roll was tasty, but it definitely had more mayo than I personally liked, but the slaw served along side made up for the roll’s shortcomings.

I love me a good ham and cheese sandwich, and Audubon Circle’s version certainly did not disappoint. Made with rosemary ham and muenster cheese, the mustard served on the side made for some nice dipping. I most certainly had seconds of this dish.

Another favorite of mine was the pork schnitzel served with arugula and pickled onion. You can’t really see it in this picture, but the schnitzel was incredibly thin with a perfect brown crust. I was instantly transported back to Germany (well, besides the arugula part). I told the husband about this dish and he was asking me when we were going to visit Audubon Circle.

Another forgettable dish in my book was the salmon served with sweet corn succotash and heirloom tomato. Maybe I’m just over salmon but this dish was pretty mediocre considering I don’t remember much of what it tasted like. I remember liking the succotash, so that’s a plus?


Audubon Circle only has one dessert on its menu, and for good reason, it’s fan-freaking-tastic. Chevre cheesecake with an oreo crumb. In case you’ve forgotten, chevre is goat cheese. And it’s amazing. I’ve never had a goat cheese based cheesecake, but I obviously need to get in the loop, because it is super creamy without being heavy. I hate heavy cheesecakes (I’m looking at YOU Cheesecake Factory!) but this was pretty much the perfect ending to a great meal.

It’s easy to forget Audubon Circle. It’s located in the middle of St. Mary’s and Kenmore, next to a bike shop, but believe me when I say, Audubon Circle is worth the visit!

Audubon Circle Restaurant Bar on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer: Dinner at Audubon Circle was provided to me free of charge. I was not asked to review Audubon Circle, so all opinions stated in this review are my own. 

Eggplant Burgers

14 Sep

One of the many good things that has come from getting a CSA this summer is how much more vegetables that we consume than we used to. It’s very rare that I actually go to Whole Foods and buy any meat anymore, because of the abundance of veggies that we get each week. We usually supplement our veggie meals with some sandwiches, and when we go out to eat we usually have meat, but we’ve unknowingly become almost vegetarian!

I explained this phenomenon to my husband, and he wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it.

But when you are eating deliciousness such as Eggplant Burgers, who needs meat anymore?

When I spotted these on Lizzy’s blog, I knew what I needed to do with the excess of eggplant we had been receiving of late. I clicked over to the inspiration behind Lizzy’s post  to see what kind of ingredients I needed.

I noticed that there actually wasn’t as much eggplant as I was hoping there was, so I adapted it and got rid of the extra beans, and subbed much more eggplant and hoped for the best.

And the verdict?

They were delicious! They definitely had the extra oomf of eggplant that I was craving, and because they are baked, they are super healthy to boot! I served them with a simple tahini sauce and pickles on a seeded bun, and BAM, dinner, is served.

 
Eggplant Burgers

Adapted from The Tolerant Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 medium sized eggplants, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and line the eggplant slices on the pan (you may need to use 2). Brush on olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper onto both sides of the eggplant.
– Bake for 10 minutes on one side, flip over, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Take the eggplant out of the oven and reduce the oven to 400 degrees.
– In a medium skillet, add 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan and cook the shallots and garlic until the shallot softens, about 10-15 minutes.
 – In the bowl of your food processor, combine the shallot mixture, parsley, pine nuts, cumin, red pepper flakes, hummus and eggplant and pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth, about 15-20 pulses.
 – Scoop the mixture into a bowl and with a spatula mix in the panko breadcrumbs. If the mixture appears too loose, add a few more tablespoons of breadcrumbs.
 – Make four large patties and place them on an aluminum or parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake the patties for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through, until browned.
– Serve on a bun with tahini sauce (recipe below) and your favorite condiments.
Tahini Sauce
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp tahini (based on your preference)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined. Add additional lemon or tahini to suit your tastes.

Corn & Quinoa Burgers

9 Sep

Scary things are happening this week.

Something that hasn’t happened in over 2 years.

Yep, I’m going back to school.

I promise that I won’t be one of those annoying undergrads.

I’ll just be one of those poor graduate students that look down on undergrads with disdain.

With school coming up that means it’s almost the end of corn season. Delicious, sweet, yellow corn on the cob. This makes me sad. Even though with the end of corn season comes apple season, I will still miss all the corn we have been receiving in our CSA. I don’t think I’ve ever actually ate so much corn in one season. It’s boring to just eat it off the cob, even though it is delicious, so I’ve got to be more creative when it comes to using my ears of corn.

Obviously the next logical step is to turn them into burgers. Delicious burgers. With creamy homemade onion dip to go on top. If you decide to shallow pan fry these babies, uh, just be careful that your corn doesn’t become pop corn.

Just sayin’

I’m going to go back to the library now, where I will be living for the next two years. And glaring angrily at the undergrads. Ah, school days.

Corn & Quinoa Burgers
Adapted from An Edible Mosaic

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups corn (about 2 ears)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4-6 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • canola oil, for frying
Directions
 – Soak the quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve then rinse under cold water. Add the quinoa, warm water, salt and pepper to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 14 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 5 more minutes before fluffing with a fork. Set aside
– In a medium saute pan, add the olive oil, garlic and onion to the pan. Stir until the onions are opaque, about 5-7 minutes. Scoop out about half of the onion mixture and set aside. Add the corn and stir until the corn is starting to turn brown, about 5 minutes.
 – In a large bowl mix the quinoa, corn mixture, eggs, parsley, and red pepper flakes together. Add 4 tbsp of the breadcrumbs and add the extra 2 tbsp if the mixture is still too wet.
 – Form into patties (I used my biscuit cutter). Heat canola oil in saute pan and cook the patties until they are nicely browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with Creamy Onion Dip (recipe below)
Creamy Onion Dip

Ingredients

  • Remaining onion mixture
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve with the burgers.

 

 

 

Corn Pesto Pasta

29 Aug

So as I write this we are currently in the midst of the beginnings of Hurricane Irene. Hopefully by the time this post goes live, everything will be back to normal with not too much damage. One can hope at least!

But let’s not talk about such things as measly hurricane’s (you here my Irene?!? I AIN’T SCARED OF YOU) and let’s instead talk about this amazing corn pesto. Oh, you’ve never HEARD of corn pesto? Yeah, I didn’t either, until I saw Joanne post about it. We have been consistently getting beautiful and delicious and sweet corn from our CSA for the past couple of weeks and when I saw her post, I immediately knew what I was making for dinner.

As the pest whirred away in my food processor, I snuck a taste just before adding the beautiful concoction to my pasta. I’m pretty sure it took all my being to not consume the entire bowl. It was creamy, it was sweet, it was cheesy, it was AMAZING.

You pretty much need to go to your nearest farmer’s market, buy some fresh corn, and immediately make this dish. You will not be sorry. I promise. Scout’s honor (not that I’ve even been a scout, but you get the idea)

Corn Pesto Pasta
Adapted from Eats Well with Others, originally from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears of corn)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used a 3 cheese blend of Parmesan, Asiago & Romano cheese)
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 4 tbsp
  • 1 package of your favorite pasta, cooked according to directions (I used brown rice shells)
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
Directions
 – In a medium saute pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes, until the garlic starts to brown. Add corn, salt, and pepper (to suit your tastes) and stir until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and put all but half a cup of the corn mixture into your food processor.

 – Add the cheese and pine nuts to the processor and turn on. While the food processor is going, slowly add in the olive oil until the pesto is smooth. Turn off the food processor and add in the remaining kernels. Using a spatula, mix everything together and set aside.

 – In the same saute pan add 2 tbsp olive oil to pan and then add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the arugula and stir to combine. Cook until arugula is slightly wilted, about 2 minutes more.

 – Once your pasta is cooked, drain pasta, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot and add the corn pesto, arugula & onion mixture, and chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Thin the pasta to your liking with the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle more cheese on top if you like your plate extra cheesy.

Pan-Roasted Fish Fillet w/ Olive, Almond & Orange Relish

21 Jun

Fish is something I grew up with when I was a kid. Being half Portuguese, I would probably be excommunicated if I didn’t like fish. Especially if that fish was cod or sardines. My Mom makes this killer baked cod with olive oil, potatoes, & onions. I’ve tried making it a few times, and my husband says that my version is pretty tasty as well.

This particular dish left me with some battle wounds. You see, I tend to get a little frazzled in the kitchen. I have my music playing in the background, 4 different pans going, the oven on high, and stuff scattered EVERYWHERE. Sometimes I don’t pay attention. Sometimes I take a pan out of the oven, plop it on top of the oven, go do something else, and FORGET that I JUST took said pan out of the oven, and proceed to grab HOT handle and yelp and run to the bathroom.

All while my husband plays video games.

While it hurt like a b&*tch it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought. And I got my first kitchen battle wound. Guess worse things have happened….

Have you entered for a chance to win a copy of America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two yet?!? Head on over HERE to enter. Remember, you have until 3PM on Wednesday 6/22 to enter!!


Pan Roasted Fish Fillets w. Olive, Almond & Orange Relish
From Cooking for Two 2011 

For the Fish

  • 2 (6-8oz) skinless white fish fillets, 1-1.5″ thick (I used haddock)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Adjust oven to middle position and preheat to 425 degrees. Pat fish dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1/8 tsp sugar evenly over skinned side of each fillet.
Heat oil in 10″ oven safe non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Place fillets in skillet, sugared sides down, and press down lightly to ensure even cooking. Cook until browned 1-1.5 minutes. Using two spatulas, flip fillets and transfer skillet to oven.
Roast fillets until centers are just opaque and register 135 degrees on instant-read thermometer. 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately w/ lemon wedges and relish.
For the Relish
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted lightly
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest plus 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh mint
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Pulse almonds, olives, garlic and orange zest in food processor until nuts and olives are finely chopped, 10-12 pulses. Transfer to bowl and stir in orange juice, olive oil, mint, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon over fish before serving.

A Year in the Making & A Giveaway!

17 Jun

It’s been a pretty good week over here in Beantown.

Boston has officially become Championship City thanks to the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup this week. THANK GOODNESS. I’m not a huge hockey fan by any means, but I’ve been GLUED to this Stanley Cup series and have been washed up in Bruins pride.

This week also marked my ONE YEAR BLOGIVERSARY! It’s pretty crazy that it’s already been a year. It feels like I’ve only been doing this for a day. I started this blog after I got married because suddenly I didn’t have a wedding to plan anymore and had a BOAT LOAD of free time. With grad school coming in the fall, keeping up with this blog, and life in general, life’s going to get a whole lot busier. And now, because I like bullet points, let’s talk about all the awesome things that has happened because of me starting this little ol’ blog:

  • I’ve met some amazing people. A-MAZING. People that I consider to be my best friends. People I talk to every day now and make my days at work bearabl
  • I’ve become way more confident in my cooking and baking abilities. Granted, I still feel like I have a long way to go, but I’ve grown exponentially as a result of this blog. I was one of those girls that used to be too lazy to take some frozen orange chicken out and make it. Now I make it from scratch. I’m hoping in my next year of blogging I can do more experimenting to create more of my own recipes
  • Most Popular Blog Post: Apple Cinnamon Pop Tarts.  Does this surprise anyone, really? I mean, 1 it’s pop tarts, and 2 the recipe is from the Flour Bakery Cookbook. DUH. You people have good taste
  • I never thought that I would be part of such an amazing food blogger community. Even though I have WAY too many blogs on my Reader, I still try very very hard to read all of it because I truly enjoy being part of this community and going to blogger events.
  • My family almost expects me to make something magnificent every time an event happens. I still haven’t decided if this is a good or bad thing
  • I like to giveaway stuff to my readers. One, because sharing is caring and two, it proves that people other than my husband and mom reads this blog.

Which brings me to……

A GIVEAWAY!!! The lovely people over at America’s Test Kitchen provided me with a copy of Cooking for Two 2011 to try out and they have graciously offered me another copy to give to one of my readers!!!!

Let’s face it, a good number of recipes are usually for 4-6 servings of something or other. That is difficult if you are a household of 1 or 2. There are some recipes I make that give us leftovers for DAYS (mainly because again, I’m too lazy to scale it down. It’s the math). What’s great about this book is that it’s perfect for 2 people, or even for 1 person that wants some leftovers for the day.

My favorite section is the dessert section, for reasons that are not so obvious. Many many times I find myself wanting to make a dessert but not wanting to have any leftovers. If I bake a whole cake, I’m most likely going to eat it. Same with pies, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, brownies, WHATEVER. Cooking for Two includes a whole section on desserts for two, in which a smaller pie is made, or only 4 muffins are in a recipe, which drastically cuts down on leftovers, and keeps my waistline intact. I plan on using those recipes as a baseline to create multiple different flavors.

I love this recipe for Linguine with Arugula-Mint Pesto. Most of the ingredients are pretty basic, and I happened to pick up most of those ingredients from the farmer’s market, so the flavors were tripled. This couldn’t be a simpler meal to make, and it took no time at all. While the spaghetti is cooking you could be making the pesto and then all of a sudden BAM, dinner is ready.

So I’m really excited that one of you will be able to get a copy of this amazing cookbook.

Rules:

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what you are looking forward to doing the most this summer, food or non food related. Please make sure to include your email address in the form so I know how to contact you!

Entries will be accepted until Thursday June 23rd @ 3PM. Any comments left AFTER that time will NOT be counted.

Winner will be announced on Friday June 24th.

For EXTRA entries:
– Follow me (@Kitchenmisfit) & America’s Test Kitchen (@TestKitchen) on Twitter and Tweet: I want to win a copy of Cooking for Two thanks to @KitchenMisfit & @TestKitchen http://wp.me/pVDUw-iq and leave a comment saying you did that
– Like Tales from a Kitchen Misfit & America’s Test Kitchen and leave a separate comment stating you did so.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

 

Linguine w/ Arugula-Mint Pesto

Recipe from Cooking for Two 2011

  • 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
  • 4 oz baby arugula
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz cooked linguine, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1/4 grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Toast garlic in skillet over medium heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant and color of clove deepens slightly, about 7 minutes. Let garlic cool slightly, then peel and chop.
Process garlic, arugula, mint, walnuts, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp salt together in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Add pesto and Parmesan to pasta and toss to combine, adjusting sauce consistency with reserved pasta cooking water as desires. Season with salt and serve with extra Parmesan. I also served mine with some fresh heirloom tomatoes I got at the farmer’s market!
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