Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spanish Omelet, or something like that

Mirna is always talking about how good this omelet with potatoes from Spain is. So I added some potato to my omelet. twas quite good. Don't feel bound to this recipe, though. It was more of a first try that turned out really well.

3 eggs
1 Yukon Gold potatoe
handful of shredded cheese (sharp cheddar is cheap and good)
a splash of water
1-2 tbsp olive oil
and Vegeta (of course)
a nonstick pan is absolutely necessary

PLUS: cooked rice (I know, this is kind of weird, but I was vegetarian when I lived in Thailand and fried eggs on rice was one of my street-food staples. They eat it with some spicy orange sauce and ketchup. or i might have made up the ketchup part.)
aaand sour cream or ketchup

1)Peel the potato and cut it into small, 1/2 inch cubes.

2)Heat a splash of olive oil in your nonstick pan on medium high.

3)Add potato cubes and brown them on as many sides as possible, which took me forever. Let me know if you have a better way to do it! I just stirred/flipped them as they browned on each side until they were cooked through and slightly crispy. It took something like 15 minutes.

4)Scramble the eggs with salt, Vegeta and the splash of water. Its probably about 2 Tbsp but I've never measured it.

5)Once the potato is cooked, make sure the pan is not too hot. It will heat up a lot while cooking the potatoes that long, so lower it to med-low and take it off the heat for a minute. Once the pan is the right temp, pour in the eggs.

Egg cooking note: You'll see the egg start to cook around the edges, at which point you can use a spatula to lift up one side at a time, allowing some of the uncooked egg to get under and cook. To cook the egg left on top, either flip the omelet, or if you don't feel up to it, stick the whole pan in the oven on broil, watching it for a few minutes till it looks done (doesn't jiggle too much)

6) Add cheese on top of omelet, let melt, and enjoy over rice with sour cream or ketchup!

Who knew? Cabbage, Potato and Celery Root Soup

I had checked out a three foot stack of cooking books from the library and was frantically copying some recipes before turning them in when I came across this recipe. Honestly, I copied it because it looked too simple to be good and I wanted to know.

Turns out, its not only simple (four ingredients?) but cheap (seriously, one potato?) and really good! who knew?

The recipe was originally from
"Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison's Kitchen"
but I changed two ingredients (leeks to celery root, and of course Vegeta allspice)

1 lb green cabbage (they say preferably Savoy. I didn't know there was more than one kind of cabbage)
2-3 tablespoons butta
1 med-large celery root
1 Yukon Gold (or whatever, i guess) potato
salt and Vegeta allspice to taste (about 1/2 - 1 T each?)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Quarter the cabbage, cut out the hard center part, and cut it lengthwise into slivers. Im not really sure how to describe this, but it probably doesn't matter how you cut it. When the water is boiling submerge the cabbage into the water and boil for 1-2 minutes. Strain the cabbage.

Peel and cut your potato and celery root into 1/2 inch cubes (for 'how to peel a celery root' this site is great).

In your soup pot (it seems thick bottom is best, but I don't have one and it works perfectly fine) melt the butter and add cubed potato and celery root, stirring for a few minutes. Add salt and vegeta and stir (I think it would be good without the Vegeta, but try some other spices if you'd like as a substitute).

Add cabbage, stir, and pour in 5-7 cups water. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked: about 20 minutes. Season to taste: meaning, add lots of salt. The flavors in this soup are really warm and natural, so salt definitely helps bring them out.

They suggest adding sour cream or yogurt, and minced parsley or dill. I liked it best plain.

Thank you, little cabbage and celery root, for comforting me on my stay-at-home-with-a-cold Friday night :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Shortbread Cookies; buttery goodness

Happy New Year! I landed back in Saint Louis this week and am trying to clean out my life before the semester starts. With that goal, I decided to return the three foot stack of cooking books I had checked out from the library. Two hours later I had photocopied 21 recipes before marching down to University City public library with two huge bags of books. Ill give you each five bux if I ever get around to all of them...

But I did one! Yom Tov Shortbread Cookies from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman. I've only changed the recipe by one ingredient, so all credit goes to her. Where I grew up there wasnt a distinct Jewish culture that I was aware of. Turns out I was really missing out. The two recipes I have tried from this book have been some of my all time favorites. Challah is next.

Cooking from scratch is basically a pain. Ready to bake stuff is way easier. So I stuck half the dough in the fridge so that later this week I will have ready to bake shortbread cookies :) Ill let you know how that goes.

1 c unsalted butter
2/3 c firmly packed brown sugar (the original recipe uses white, so that's fine, too)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
a few drops vanilla extract (optional; potent stuff, so seriously, just a few drops)

a note on the butta: DONT USE MARGARINE! okay, thats one. The other is that you're going to cream the butter, so it needs to be softened (left sitting out until its about room temperature and very soft) before you can start. The thing is, I noticed the dough getting harder to handle the longer I worked with it, which I am guessing is because the butter was warming.

So, my suggestion is to leave it out so that its not rock hard as it is coming straight out of the fridge, but to keep it a little cold, work quickly to get them in the oven, and if it gets too hard to shape the cookies, stick the dough in the fridge for a little while.

TO BEGIN: cream the butter. I use a fork and bowl. Most recipes have the hard method; fork and bowl, and the easy method; a food processor. I don't have one. Boo. If you do, you can just pulse the butter and sugar, then add the salt and flour, pulsing all the while. Once it is crumbly, remove it from the processor and use your hands to knead it all together.

Its hard to get all of the flour in this dough because its really stiff, as you can see from the picture of the dough up top and the fact that I could press a little in it :) But just add it slowly and it will work fine.

Preheat oven to 350 and shape the cookies.

On a slightly flowered surface roll the dough out (fear not for lack of a rolling pin - I used my hands) until it is about a half an inch thick, and cut it into shapes. Goldman suggests 3x1 inch strips, marked by the tines of a fork. I thought that looked like little keyboard, hence the name. I tried some other variations and liked the way the little triangles browned the best.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges start to brown, and cool on a cooling rack (this allows the bottoms to get crispy instead of soggy, as they might if they are pressed up against the baking sheet, trapping the moisture it will sweat)

The brown sugar gives it a great, rich flavor and they have a fabulous, buttery, crumbly texture.

Seriously, these are good.