Entries Tagged as 'main dishes'

lamb chops sous vide

January 11th, 2012 · 15 Comments

So, one of my biggest Christmas presents this year was a huge addition to our kitchen: a sous vide machine! 

Because when Thomas Keller writes a book about a revolutionary cooking technique, most of us who love to cook immediately want to try it out!

Sous vide is a technique that starts with vacuum-sealing the meat or vegetables that you’re cooking, and then boils them at a low temperature for a long period of time, which breaks down proteins without toughening the meat.  You basically can’t overcook anything using this method — so long as you set the proper temperature for the water bath, you could leave the meat in it for anywhere from 90 minutes to about 8 hours with terrific results.  You can also cook foods at less than the temperature you’d need to oven-bake it to, because you’re holding the food at the temperature for longer.  Sounds good, right?  Add in dozens of people online talking about how sous-vide is the future of cooking, and I was extremely curious.

This machine is a pretty serious investment, and I’ve spent just about every weekend getting used to it.  What started with a so-so salmon filet (my fault, not seasoned properly or seared to finish) eventually became an absolutely perfect chicken breast (in bulk for weeknight dinners, even) and these terrific lamb chops.  I’m not usually much of a meat-eater (or -cooker), which you guys know already from reading this blog, but these were great.

Worth the investment?  Time will tell.  I’m still a little scared to leave anything cooking while we’re at work, both for food-safety and regular-safety reasons, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  And to save me from being stuck in the kitchen during a dinner party while everyone else is having appetizers and drinks?  Priceless. 

Lamb Chops Sous-Vide

INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound lamb chops
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Fresh cracked pepper

DIRECTIONS

Fill the sous vide machine with water and heat it to 132 degrees F.  Salt and pepper the lamb chops and rub a small amount of olive oil on each.  Vacuum seal the lamb chops.  Cook for two hours in the sous vide machine, and then sear them (in a preheated pan with a tiny bit of olive oil) on high heat for 30 seconds on each side. 

Tags: food · main dishes

chopped tomato flatbread (and fashion’s night out!)

September 5th, 2011 · 8 Comments

Ok, so, let me just explain: this isn’t pizza.

I know, it kind of looks like pizza.  It shares many ingredients with pizza.  But this flatbread is perfectly fresh and full of healthy, delicious ingredients, and — while a little bit pizza-esque — a big step up in taste and sophistication.

Chad got me this vegetable chopper for my birthday a few years ago, which I thought was kind of funny because it was straight off one of those As-Seen-On-TV infomercials (although, to his credit, he found it at Williams Sonoma).  But to my surprise, I actually use it all the time — it’s smaller and less hassle than a mandoline, and it’s great for chopping veggies uniformly in seconds.

Also, if any of you guys are putting together plans for Fashion’s Night Out, I’ll be taking street-style photos for the soon-to-open C. Wonder store (think, adorable, preppy accessories, clothes and home goods at insanely reasonable prices)! 

I’ll be roaming the streets of Nolita, so follow me in Twitter for up to the minute updates on my location!  And come dressed up in your cutest Fashion-Week-worth outfits, of course, and score an invitation to the C. Wonder grand opening in October!

Chopped Tomato Flatbread

INGREDIENTS

1 store-bought pizza crust (get this from your local pizza place for best quality)
3 plum tomatoes
1/2 small shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven as high as it will go (500 or 550 degrees F).

Chop the tomatoes and shallot into 1/8″ cubes; drain on paper towels.  Roll the dough into a large rectangle or oval.  Brush with olive oil and arrange tomatoes and shallot over the crust.  Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is puffed and slightly golden.

Tags: appetizers · food · main dishes

brie and apple flatbread

August 25th, 2011 · 13 Comments

Honestly, there’s nothing better than a recipe that combines cheese and bread.  Take a great, runny delicious brie and a crisp, tart green apple, and then add add a drizzle of farmer’s market honey and some fabulous bread, and you basically have the best meal you could possibly imagine.

I was a little lazy, and I wasn’t in the mood to make my own pizza dough (but if you want it, my recipe is here), but I bought a large-pizza-sized dough from a local pizza place for $3.50.  It doesn’t get much easier, cheaper or more delicious than that!  I had to go into two pizza places to find a spot that would sell me just the dough, but I eventually succeeded. 

I had a meeting this weekend over breakfast, and when I took a look at the menu, basically everything on it was cheese- and bread-related.  Not bad first thing in the morning!  Of course, though, whenever I have something really good at a restaurant, I always end up making my own version within a few days.  This was created maybe 28 hours after that breakfast, and if I do say so myself, the home-cooked version was even better.

Apple and Brie Flatbread

INGREDIENTS

1/2 large pizza dough
1 large green apple
1/4 lb brie cheese
2 tsbp honey

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 550 degrees F, using a pizza stone if you have one.  Bake the dough for about 5 minutes, and then remove from the oven.  Layer brie on bread and then add the apples.  Drizzle with honey, and bake for 5 additional minutes.  Serve.

Tags: appetizers · food · main dishes

while the steak cooks

July 14th, 2011 · 7 Comments

Julia Child apparently said, “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” 

Obviously, it’s not exactly my motto, but for the past few months I’ve been making an effort to occasionally splurge on foods that I would generally steer clear of.  Gone are the three diet cokes I used to drink every morning (I know, gross), and lately I’ve been all about the occasional decadent filet. 

To cook this, I used the simplest technique that even the smallest kitchen owners can replicate.  Just sear for a couple of minutes on either side of the filet, and then polish it off in the oven for ten minutes.  You could sear these an hour or two ahead of time if you have guests coming over, and then finish them off as soon as you’re ready to serve. 

The trick to making really great meat at home is all in the quality of the steak you’re buying.  Shop around until you find a butcher or market that you really trust before you order a tenderloin that feeds fourteen! 

Easy Peppercorn Steak

INGREDIENTS

2 approximately six ounce filet mignon or tenderloin steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp black peppercorns, freshly cracked
Sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Press butter into the filets on both sides, and then sprinkle salt and pepper generously over them.  Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and then add the steak, and sear for about 3 minutes on each side.  Set aside until ready to finish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  When preheated, bake the steak for about ten minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers at least 125 degrees.  Allow the steak to return to room temperature before cutting into it.

Tags: food · main dishes

easy chicken stir fry

May 13th, 2011 · 11 Comments

Sometimes I get so excited about a recipe that it’s kind of torture to wait to share it with you guys!  This was so totally easy and delicious that I was dying to post it the day that we made it — the perfect simple, fresh weeknight dinner. 

Chad and I got into a really bad take-out rut this winter, and lately I’ve been trying to make the switch to simple, quick weeknight dinners.  They’re usually nothing special so I don’t post them on Sugarlaws, but they’re healthy and easy and often surprisingly delicious. 

And this was somewhere in between — easy enough for a no-fuss meal, but special enough that I had to share it.  Breville sent me this hot wok, which is electric and runs easily on your countertop.  I was skeptical that it could get hot enough for a good stir fry, but the chicken seared really nicely!  And it was super easy to clean — just a wet soapy sponge and a paper towel and I was done. 

Easy Chicken Stir Fry

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp canola oil
2 6-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast, cut crosswise into strips
1 large white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
Salt
Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.  Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; stir-fry about 5 minutes.  Stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce and simmer for a few additional minutes. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and serve warm with brown rice.

Serves 3-4 with rice as a main dish. 

Tags: food · main dishes