Monday, June 7, 2010

DIY: Stir-Fried Noodles w/Beef & Vegetables

This week I've decided to challenge myself with a few recipes that "intimidate" me.  I love Asian food of all kinds, but whenever I read the recipes, I have to admit, I'm intimidated.  There are just so many ingredients I'm not familiar with that I just sort of glaze over and turn the page.  Not this week.  Nope. I've come across one too many recipes that requires rice vinegar, fish sauce, or sesame oil so, here we go... 

Seriously friends, this could not have been easier! The whole production took less than an hour, and that includes eating time.  I will definitely be making this again, and the great thing is, you can easily swap out meats and veggies to change it up.  

  • Drizzle a little sriracha sauce on top (and maybe a squeeze of lime) for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Timing is very important with this recipe, make sure you read it all the way through before starting.
  • The 3 oz. of noodles doesn't seem like a lot, so I used 5 oz and it ended up being more than enough, aka - 3 oz. was probably fine.  Once you throw everything in, it really becomes quite a bit of food.  
  • Be generous when adding the sauce ingredients, although I probably only needed a bit more because of the extra noodles used.  
  • You could go for 3/4 lb of meat, but not completely necessary.  Speaking of, consider upgrading from flank steak to something a bit higher quality.  I wasn't too impressed with flank, but it did the job just fine. 

P.S. I think I have a new love for sesame oil. If you have any fav recipes that use it, please pass them along!

Make it Your Own: Grilled Mozzarella & Spinach BLT's

I came across this fabulous recipe in one of my most recent issues of Fine Cooking.  It's kind of ironic, because displayed quite prominently on the cover is "100+ Healthy Recipes," but the cover image is of a Grilled Mozzarella and Spinach BLT.  I like to think that that illusion was the reason I let myself make this one :) I'm thinking it probably shouldn't be categorized as a "healthy" recipe.

I'm calling this one "Make it Your Own," because I made one seemingly minor change, and it made the absolute world of difference in this sandwich.  Arugula. Wow - talk about awesome!  Although the recipe calls for spinach, I had a mix of the two and I decided to improvise, really glad I did.  I might even write in to the magazine... 

  • I honestly don't know the difference between sliced mozzarella and the "good" stuff that you usually get in Caprese sandwiches.  This recipe called for the latter judging by the picture, and maybe by the use of the word "fresh," but I just had some thick slices cut at the deli of what I'll call the "regular" mozzarella, and it worked great.  If you do this, make sure that the cheese is the appropriate size, I ended up trimming it down.  Originally, I had thought the more cheese the better, but honestly that coupled with the bacon, greens and tomato, makes less OK here.
  • Two pieces of bacon, as opposed to 3, works just fine here. (Hey - gotta try to make it "healthier" if it's going to be in the healthy issue!)
  • Use yogurt-based margarine instead of butter or olive oil. It gives that buttery taste without all the calories!
  • Per sandwich, you'll use one generous handful of greens, as they reduce down quite a bit when they're cooked.
  • If you don't have a panini press, you'll survive.


Pizza Challenge 2k10!

A few Friday's ago, a couple of friends and I were trying to figure out something fun and inexpensive we could do together. Going out for dinner and drinks can really add up, so being the food-loving bunch that we are, we decided on... Pizza Challenge 2k10!

Here's how it works - the host provides the basic ingredients (dough, sauce, cheese) and each team brings the toppings (for a fun twist, have everyone bring a topping to swap or provide a secret ingredient that everyone has to use!).  Create categories (i.e. Taste, Texture, Creativity, etc) and have everyone vote on the finished product.

Our Team Breakdown:

Sam & Jon aka "The Winners" - Sun-dried tomato alfredo, spinach, chicken and onions

Erin & Dan - Mushrooms, bell pepper, olives and pepperoni

Claud & Matt - Italian sausage and jalapeno

It was a blast - Here are a few pics from the night! 

Winner of Most Creative by far - by Dan & Erin