Friday, September 4, 2009

Burger Buns

Before heading to Nagshead, goat cheese lentil burgers were back on the menu and I needed bread or buns. I didn't have milk or yogurt, so I spent some time seeking a recipe online. King Arthur's Beautiful Burger Buns were a good fit for my needs. Gosh, I love the internet.

They were simple to put together and held up really well against the prosciutto, mozzarella tomato and basil sandwiches I actually ended up eating all week. I could make the sandwich the night before, wrap it in saran wrap and leave it in the fridge with minimal deterioration. There is nothing worse than mushy food, so this was great!

The buns are slightly sweet, have a very fine i.e. messy crumb and a dry texture. While practical and good, I will probably continue to seek a different recipe for buns. I'd like a bun that makes less of a mess when I'm eating it.

Happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cooking Experiments from Outer Banks Trip

After my trip to Kitty Hawk with my parents, I was shocked to realize I had only read one book and magazine instead of my usual 3-4 books during the week. I couldn't figure out why but my mom knew: cooking. My somewhat selfish offer to cook almost all of our dinners, and lunches courtesy of leftovers, really ate into my reading time...

See below for what I made and any comments I can remember now that several weeks have passed. Clearly I was all about taking advantage of the fresh seafood!

Turkey Lettuce Wrap Tacos with Chiles, Cumin, Cilantro, Lime and Tomato-Avocado Salsa

These were easy to make and tasty. It's definitely a recipe to repeat. One suggestion: If your turkey looks juicy, drain it prior to adding the green onions, etc. or you'll have to cook the turkey longer than necessary to reduce the moisture and/or experience taco juice dripping down your arm. Not cool.
Sauteed Scallops with Garlic
Easy, fantastic and very exciting as "sea marshmallows" are one of my favorite foods. These turned out perfectly. Much better the last time I tried sauteing scallops back in Arlington; it was a disaster involving burned butter, rubbery yet undercooked scallops and an unpleasant, inedible mess. Since then I've learned that high heat is good when sauteing and paying attention to your cooking is essential!

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille, As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen
I improvised with wax paper instead of parchment and this recipe was still fantastic. I forget how rich vegetables can be on their own; ratatouille was a delicious, melt in my mouth reminder. This dish was by far my favorite item to reheat for lunch and future meals.

Pinocchio was a special eggplant.

Mafi’s ceviche de pescado or fish ceviche
Making this ceviche was torture. I was nervous it wouldn't go right. The steps were vague and numerous. AND how do you cut fish into small square pieces anyway?! I can tell you that you don't attempt it late in the evening at a condo with a dull knife while watching a movie. The ceviche looked pretty, even without squares in the end, and tasted pretty good too. If you attempt this, definitely make a smaller quantity. It was way too much for three people to eat and it wasn't something I wanted to revisit 24/7. Not sure I'll try this specific recipe again, especially without instruction on cutting fish.

Ginger Cucumber Salad with Scallops
I sort of made this... We brought rice wine instead of rice vinegar, so I used that combined with red wine vinegar to make the dish with shrimp. I also used canola oil instead of grapeseed and good 'ol in season American cucumbers. The adjusted recipe was still a success in my mouth. The ginger's bite, cucumber's crispness and the delicious shrimp go together well. We also had yummy corn and shrimp done the regular way with bay seasoning and cocktail sauce. Thank goodness cocktail sauce taught me to eat shrimp!

Mom's Improvised Banana Split :)