Monday, January 18, 2010

Creamy Leeks and Spinach...and Pasta too

Here's a quick yummy pasta I made last night:

Fusilli with Creamed Leek and Spinach (adapted from Food & Wine)

1 lb fusilli
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
2 c heavy cream
5 c baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/3 c lightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Cook the fusilli and drain
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and add the leeks
Cook over moderate heat until softened, approx 10 minutes
Add the cream and simmer until thickened, 5-8 minutes
Add the spinach and simmer until wilted, approx 3 minutes
Combine the fusilli and the cream mixture and toss until coated
Add the basil and toss
Add salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Yaki Udon

I've been in Korea for the last week or so visiting beatz, which has been awesome. But we haven't really done that much cooking. With so many awesome food options, and so cheap, I haven't wanted to waste even a single meal. Last night, we came back home after spending a day at his school (super cute kids!!) and then hitting up Lotte. The only way I can describe this store is that it's basically like Macy's on steroids. There's 13 floors of things to buy. I was a bit overwhelmed so we stuck with the lower level containing all kinds of awesome food stuffs. We did each eat giant mandu (tasty korean dumplings....god I love dumplings), but a few hours later we were at home and found ourselves a bit snacky. So I made the following, not exactly authentic Korean, but at least from the same hemisphere, before we watched Coraline (excellent movie, btw). So here you go, some Yaki Udon (the amounts are estimates, I kinda made it up as I went along)


1 white onion, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
2 or 3 heads bok choi
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 lb beef, sliced into strips (not sure what kind we bought, it kinda looked like skirt steak)
1 pack frozen udon noodles

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp teriyaki sauce

Boil the udon, and when done drain and set aside
Meanwhile, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add the vegetables and saute until the onions begin to soften
Add the soy sauce and teriyaki to taste and toss with the veggies
Add the meat
When the meat is almost cooked (3-4 min), add the noodles and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cornish Game Hens

For those of us who live by ourselves, it's kinda hard to find dishes to cook just for one. I looked forever for a "cooking for one" cookbook (they do exist, but they all suck...suggestions welcome). So of course cooking a whole chicken never even crossed my mind. But aha, the cornish game hen....perfect. It's like a littler cuter chicken, and things are always better when they're small and cute. So below is what happened for dinner...yum. It could have had garlic in the stuffing (probs 3 or 4 cloves, sliced), but that's about all the complaints I have.

1 cornish game hen
2 slices bacon

6 pearl onions, peeled and sliced in half
1/4 c frozen peas
1/4 c carrots, finely chopped
4 button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Herb Rub
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper

1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp flour

Season the outside and inside of the hen with the herb mixture.
Combine the vegetables with 1 tbsp olive oil and stuff the hen to capacity
Place the hen in a small pan, sprinkling the remaining vegetables around it
Criss cross the bacon around the hen, tucking it under to secure it
Drizzle it with remaining tbsp olive oil
Pour one cup of chicken stock around the hen
Roast at 400 for 45 minutes or until a thermometer in the thickest part reads 170
Remove from oven, pour remaining stock and vegetables into a sauce pan
Add mustard, wine and flour and simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens, approx 3 minutes

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Rules...also penne

What I've come to realize over time, is that this blog is really the most useful to me (besides of course my legions of adoring fans). I use it all the time when I don't have a particular recipe or cookbook with me. And since most everything I post here are things I like and make all the time, it is an invaluable resource. However, sometimes all I want to do is post a recipe, and I'm not feeling particularly chatty or interesting. So new rules, sometimes all you get is a recipe. Yay!

Ok, so moving on, I recently purchased the Williams Sonoma Pasta book. The awesome Penne ala Vodka from the last post was from this book, and the second one I tried (see below) was a success as well. Here it is, with some minor adjustments by me:

Penne With Spring Vegetables

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 in pieces
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
10-12 scallions, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 c baby spinach
1 1/2 c frozen peas
1/2 c white wine
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c basil (before mincing), finely minced
1 lb penne
salt and pepper

Boil water for pasta. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water for approx 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil over med-low heat
Add the scallions and saute until wilted, approx 5 minutes
Add the spinach and peas and saute until the spinach is wilted, another 3-5 minutes
Add the asparagus and white wine and cook 3-4 minutes, until reduced
Stir in the cream, and bring to a boil
Simmer until the cream is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, then add the minced basil
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Toss with the penne and enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Vodka Sauce!

And I'm back! Things got a bit busy for me...and then basically I just got lazy, so no posts for the last few months. But now that its summer, the time of year when I do most of my cooking, I've got a few tasty treats that need to be shared! First, I made a new Penne ala Vodka the other day and it was amazing. Now I've made this dish more times than I can remember, and with a ton of different recipes, but I think this one might take the cake. Sometimes less is more! The other little detail is that you actually dissolve the tomato paste in the vodka, creating this liquidy mixture before mixing it with the cream. The consistency is just right. The sauce perfectly coats the pasta without overwhelming it, a pet peeve of mine (listen up Italian restaurants, pasta is more than just a sauce conduit!)

Penne Ala Vodka

4 tbsp butter
1 c heavy cream
1/3 c + 2 tbsp vodka
1/4 c tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh basil, slivered
1 lb penne

Melt the butter with the cream
Combine the vodka and the tomato paste
Add the tomato mixture to the cream
Add the basil and salt to taste
Cook for approximately 5 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened
Combine with penne and serve!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


This post is really not about cooking, so much as just something super yummy. You see, I made myself the most awesome sandwich the other day. I realize that I'm delving a bit into Beatz's territory here, but I have to share the wealth. First, I got a square ciabatta loaf from my corner bakery. On a trip to Fairway the other day, I picked up this Calamata olive spread. It looks like mud, literally. I had to get over this before being able to spread on the bread. I also got some yummy meats and other goodies there. It's a bit unconventional, but trust me. So now let me diagram said sandwich for you....BEHOLD!

Ciabatta (top)
Calamata olive spread
Serrano Ham
Grilled Artichoke Hearts (in olive oil)
Serrano Ham
Red Onion Slices
Nostrano Salami
Calamata olive spread
Ciabatta (bottom)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a vacation....and slaw

I went on vacation! And 'twas glorious. Yes, the whole Muffin family made their way back to Mama Muffin's homeland for a few days. The land of red sand and sage brush backed by "they just don't look real" cliffs. So in between hiking (and I use that word loosely, what exactly is the difference between walking and hiking) through the surrounding canyons, hopping across the "river bed" (again, if its a path of moist sand, does that count?) to play tennis on the other side, and various other wholesome activities, we still managed to fit in the normal stuff. Normal stuff, of course, being copious amounts of eating and drinking, we wouldn't do it any other way.

Now because the weather was so nice and spring/summer-like, I started thinking salads. Of course, though I would love to, I don't usually travel with my entire cookbook collection, so I worked with what I had. About a year ago, my good friend CultWife sent me a recipe I've been dying to try (to give credit where credit is due, I think it might have originated with Mr. CultWife). And since it was sitting in my email, available, I jumped on it. And who doesn't love a little slaw. So I changed a few things and the result is below. Tasty tasty, and just gets better after a day or two of sitting in it's juices. I kinda winged it on the ingredient amounts, this one's all about tasting along the way.

Asian Themed Napa Cabbage Slaw

1 head of napa cabbage
approximately 3/4 c loosely packed chopped cilantro (2 handfuls)
6 scallions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced
a generous pinch of salt
juice from 1 lemon
juice from 1 1/2 limes
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey

combine garlic and salt and muddle it
add lemon and lime juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and salt and pepper to taste

taste as you add each ingredient. If it's too citrus-y add more sesame oil or soy, if it's too sweet, more vinegar, etc.

Toss with the greens and enjoy