Oh the yum. A little spicy, but not too much. Keep the guac cool (don’t add jalapenos, even if you normally do!) to offset extra heat from the chiles.
These were so good that we had them 2 nights in a row. You’ll end up with a little extra chile sauce and guac, so if you have extra beef, too - save the extra ingredients just in case you want them the next night, too!
Here’s what he did:
Green Chile Sauce
1 poblano, 1 anaheim and 1 serano chile roasted, peeled, seeds removed and then diced
2 tsp water
salt and pepper to taste
Gently pulse ingredients in a food processor for 10 seconds, until sauce is still chunky but has a saucy texture. Taste it before you serve it! Fresh chiles vary in heat.
2 ripe but firm avocados, mashed coarsely (still chunky)
1/2 of a white onion, finely diced
4 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients well in a large bowl.
1lb 22% ground beef at room temp
salt and pepper
2 slices jack cheese
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 fresh onion buns, toasted
Very gently combine the beef and seasoning, with as little mixing as possible to incorporate the salt and pepper into the beef. Form 2 thick 1/2 lb burger patties.
On a pre-heated skillet, toast the buns, then set aside in a warmed toaster oven to keep warm. In the same pre-heated skillet, cook the burger patties for 4 minutes per side for medium rare, adding a slice of each cheese to the patties when flipped.
Place the guac on the bottom bun, then a patty, some chile sauce and then the bun on top.
Serve with chips and dip or fries, or just some coke on ice. Enjoy!
This was a YUMMY pizza! Dan has been talking about a fig and proscuitto combination for a very long time, and when I came home with fresh organic figs from Whole Foods yesterday, I knew we were going to try it out. The sauce Dan makes for most of our pizzas is a white sauce, with garlic, chopped onion, parmesan and half and half. I’ll have him post the recipe up here asap! It is DELICIOUS, and any remaining sauce saves well in the fridge for use as a pasta sauce within a few days.
Dan’s mom got him a fantastic recipe book called The Art and Soul of Baking, by Cindy Mushet (a Sur La Table book). Dan has used many bread and dessert recipes from there, one of the best being the pizza dough. We’ve modified it a bit to our taste. The recipe follows, and let me tell you, it is very simple - I (Stephanie) did it myself last night!
We also learned a thing or two about pizza making from an LGC class taught by Hugh Carpenter, the author of 15 cookbooks and a cooking teacher of 34 years! Here are some of the best tips we learned from Hugh:
1. You don’t have to wait as long as recipes say for the yeast to foam for the dough - as soon as you see it start to foam, it’s proofed. Continue on with the pizza dough!
2. He also confirmed the necessity of a pizza peel for a good crust - believe me, you need one. We have yet to buy one (it’s next on our shopping list) and the semolina did burn a little on the bottom last night (with a pizza peel, you don’t need to use semolina, since the pizza should just slide right off of it onto the pizza stone.)
3. You should bake your pizza at the highest temp your oven will go to - this will ensure a nice and crispy crust. MMM.
4. Less # of different toppings are best for regular pizzas; the more the better for a deep dish. And on the topping note - anything goes! One of the best pizzas we made at the class was a cheese, apple and walnut (along with a little garlic, chopped basil and black pepper). That was not our first choice to make but man was it fantastic! The sweetness of the apple was really the highlight.
Makes two 12″ or four 8″ pizzas.
¼ cup (2 ounces) warm water (110° to 115°F)
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1¾ teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) water
3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing
3¼ cups (16¼ ounces) bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
Semolina or cornmeal
Mix, rest, and knead the dough: Pour the warm water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the yeast, whisk by hand to blend, and allow the mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and looks creamy. Add the 1 cup water and the 3 tablespoons olive oil and whisk by hand to blend. Add the flour, salt and spices. Knead the dough on low speed for 2 minutes, or until it comes together in a cohesive mass. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, lint-free cotton towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes to allow it to fully hydrate before further kneading. Turn the mixer to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is firm, elastic, and smooth, 3 to 6 minutes.
Rise the dough: Lightly oil the tub or bowl, scrape the dough into the tub, and lightly coat the surface of the dough with a little oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.
Prepare the oven: Place the baking or pizza stone in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Be sure to allow 30 minutes to 1 hour for the stone to fully heat.
Divide and shape the dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down on the dough firmly to expel some of the air bubbles, but don’t knead the dough again or it will be too springy and difficult to shape. Divide the dough in half (or quarters if making smaller individual pizzas). At this point, you can refrigerate or freeze all or some of the dough.
Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then press down with your fingers (or use a rolling pin) to flatten the dough into a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Alternatively, slip your hands, knuckles up, under the dough and lift it up, then gently stretch the dough by pulling your fists apart. Rotate the dough a little each time you pull so the dough is stretched into an even circle. Brush any excess flour from the surface and underside of the dough.
Top the pizza: Dust the pizza peel with semolina and set the dough round in the center of the peel. Apply the toppings of your choice, leaving a ½-inch border at the edges. The toppings should be in a fairly thin layer, otherwise they will weigh down the dough and make it soggy.
Bake the pizza: Shake the peel or sheet forward and back to make sure the pizza is loose enough to slide. If it’s stuck, use a spatula to lift up the dough and toss a bit of semolina underneath. Once the pizza moves freely, gently shake the peel or sheet until the pizza is at the very front edge. Open the oven door and set the front edge of the peel at the back of the baking stone. With a quick jerk, remove the peel and allow the pizza to settle on the stone. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, until the dough is golden brown at the edges and across the bottom. Slip the peel under the pizza to remove it from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Brush the edge of the pizza with the 1 tablespoon olive oil to give the golden crust a beautiful shine. Use a pizza cutter or chef’s knife to cut the pizza into 8 wedges and serve immediately.
Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Basil
1 (16-ounce) package macaroni
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to butter baking dish
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated fontina
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
3/4 cup grated Cheddar
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain.
In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, saute the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Saute the onion in the bacon drippings until soft. Add the 5 tablespoons butter to the onion mixture and melt the butter stirring with a wooden spoon.
Using a whisk, add the flour, and stir constantly until well mixed with the fat making a roux. Whisk in the mustard. Gradually add the milk and cream whisking constantly.
Add the thyme, basil and salt. Let come to a simmer and stir frequently for 15 minutes.
Strain the hot milk mixture into a metal bowl and discard the solids. Working quickly, mix in 1 cup fontina, 1/2 cup Gruyere, 1/2 cup Cheddar, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the reserved bacon, and parsley. Continue to stir until all cheese is melted.
Add the cooked noodles to the cheese mixture to coat. Add the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Mix the remaining cheese and bread crumbs together and sprinkle on top of the noodles. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown. Remove from oven when done and rest for 5 minutes.
Dan and I recently took a sushi class at Let’s Get Cookin’ (LGC), and found that the making of sushi, sashimi, rolls and rice is way easier than we thought. We first attempted it at home for just the two of us, just in case we royally screwed it up (which happens a lot when you’re trying new things!). It turned out pretty fantastic. For us, a good roll means that the rice is slightly warm and perfectly sticky, but not so moist that the Nori (seaweed wrappers) get soggy and chewy. The fish must be extra fresh and cold, and a sauce, if any, shouldn’t be too overpowering that you can’t taste the fish. For sushi, same goes for the rice and fish, and sashimi (Steph’s favorite), should be thin thin thin and freshly drenched in a lemony ponzu sauce.
Here are some tips on the rice, which we found to be the most difficult part. We’ve made sushi at home three times now and that seems to be the biggest variable.
1. Wash the rice REALLY well. Rinse and drain at least 5 times under cold water. Ideally, you’re supposed to wash it until the excess water is clear. This removes the starch on the outside of the grains, to prevent it from becoming too sticky.
2. While the rice is cooking, combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 3 tbsp of granulated sugar and 1 tsp salt in a small sauce pan and heat until sugar and salt are dissolved. Move the rice into a wooden bowl and with a flat wooden spoon, fold the rice into itself gently to cool it. Drizzle in the vinegar mixture and fold it in until the rice is cool enough to handle.
3. Don’t mash the rice - it will become gummy.
4. Keep a damp cloth covering the rice bowl, and it will keep for up to one hour.
5. When you’re working with the rice to make the sushi or rolls, keep a cup of warm water nearby to rinse your hands before and after handling the rice - or you’ll end up a huge mess.
High quality ingredients are important. LGC shared some vendors with us and we found them all to be awesome.
99 Ranch Market
6450 Sepulveda Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411-1300
(818) 988-7899 *they have many other locations, but this is the closest to us
Recommended for all the ingredients you’ll need for a sushi night at home, except for the fish. Not that the fish is bad there, but it’s pre-wrapped so you won’t be able to smell it to ensure its freshness. Plus, there are other places that specialize in super fresh fish (see below).
2810 East Los Angeles Ave.
Simi Valley, CA 93065
A small place with a beautiful counter of fish - I’m sure they’ll have everything you’ll need. And I am told they get their fish fresh each morning from Hawaii. That just sounds nice, doesn’t it? And they make their own sauces, and have a variety of fish ecroutements for sale.
Who doesn’t adore Alton Brown? I’m sure there are some out there, but I think he’s a genius. And not just as the host of Iron Chef America! I find his show, Good Eats, to be smart and the techniques usable at home. Some are a little out there, though. Follow this episode link to see him whip up some crazy stuff in a dutch oven over an open flame.
This was a super easy dish that tasted great. A fantastic way to get your fix of peas and pasta (so delicious, right?). Mine was vegetarian, but add some diced and crispy pancetta for some real yumminess.
Cooking time: 10 minutes
You’ll dirty just: 1 pot, 2 bowls and a slotted spoon
1 bag of frozen 365 brand Potato and Onion Perogi
2 cups of frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan
fresh ground pepper
Bring a pot of water to boil. Quickly blanche the frozen peas; toss them in the boiling water for 1 minute, then remove them and set aside. Bring the pot back to boiling, then toss in the frozen perogi. Since the pasta is thick, cook it for 6-7 minutes after the pot starts boiling again. Strain the perogi and set aside in a bowl. Turn the heat down to medium. Get rid of all but about 2 cups of the pasta water. Add the butter, peas and parmesan and let simmer for 2 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the perogi, sprinkle with parmesan and fresh ground black pepper and enjoy!
We are partial to raw salmon, and rarely eat it cooked. However, this dish really highlights what we do like about the fish - rich flavor and flakey meat. Baking it in the couscous keeps it moist and from overcooking. Try experimenting with different ingredients to the couscous. We love adding raisins, dried apricots and pine nuts.
We’ve also done this dish with chicken and it works well.
Salmon Baked in Couscous
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
3 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups couscous
2 cups water
(or, instead of all these ingredients, use a packaged couscous with raisins and nuts)
2 (6-ounce) salmon filets skinned
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together first 7 ingredients (through salt and pepper). Stir in the couscous to moisten completely and season generously with salt and pepper. (Or simply prepare the packaged couscous).
Put the salmon in a single layer in a smallish buttered baking dish. The filets should not touch one another. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Spoon the couscous mixture over the top of the fish so that it completely covers them and fills in the whole dish at the same time. Pour over the water (not needed if using a packaged couscous). Drizzle with olive oil. Put the dish in the oven and bake 25 minutes.