Friday, September 30, 2016

Swedish Meatballs!

I don't know why but I had a deep craving for some Swedish meatballs even though I've never had any prior experiences with it (I know, crazy!) but I have seen enough pictures of it and definitely known of their existence. 


So why the crave for something I've never had? Only my crazy stomach can tell you but perhaps the creamy sauce its bathe in was one of the many reasons. Nonetheless I wanted some!

So the research began...
Several recipes and videos of schooling later, I was ready to venture off on my own. 
A couple of things to note: equal portions beef and pork is key. Soaking pieces of fresh bread is always the better option than soaking dry bread crumbs, makes the meatballs more moist (and suddenly I sound so expert, haha nah!)

Swedish Meatballs
Ingredients:
  • 2 slices of white bread, teared into pieces
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • salt/pepper to season
  • 3/4 lbs of ground beef chuck (regular ground beef is fine, I had a hard time finding pre-ground beef chucks)
  • 3/4 lbs of ground pork 
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream (half & half/ milk is fine too, depends on how creamy you'd like it but also if you're watching the calories)
  • Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Procedures:
  1. In a small bowl, add milk and bread together to soak, set aside for a couple of minutes.
  2. Then mix together everything from onions down to nutmeg according to the ingredient list above including the soaked bread pieces. Form 1" sized meatballs (or whatever size you wish)
  3. To cook: You may deep fry (recommended for even browning and super juicy) or bake them (350F until golden brown), I choose to pan fry them, put down some oil in a saute pan, place meatballs into pan, gradually turning them so they brown and cook on all sides. You can also brown on a pan then finish in the oven.
  4. For the gravy: In a sauce pan over medium heat, make a roux by melting down the butter and cooking the flour in it. Once the flour/butter becomes well mixed together (somewhat gooey) then slowly add in beef stock and cream (and Worcestershire sauce too if you want) while stirring. Remove from heat once your gravy reaches a smooth, thick consistency. If too thick, thin with extra stock or milk.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Flan!

Ah, one of life's greatest mysteries, always wanting what you can't have. 

When I'm flooded with work, all I can ever think about is the stuff I would be able to accomplish if I only had the free time. Of course, when I have loads of free time, what happens? Netflix. 

Okay so to break away from my marathons of random shows (because the ones I'm truly addicted to are on hiatus!) and give my eyes a rest and wake my brain up from its deep slumber, I decided to head into the kitchen and try something new, flan!


Honestly it felt like I was making an upside down creme brulee, minus the sugar torch at the end. It was actually a nice little experiment, simple and distracting enough. The version I played with was very rich. I'm thinking of flipping the cream and milk quantities next time and see how that goes. 


The Perfect Flan
from epicurious.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  •  7 tbsp of sugar
Procedures:
  1. In a medium sauce pan, simmer the cream, milk, salt, and vanilla bean over medium heat. Remove and steep for 30 minutes
  2. Meanwhile in another sauce pan, over low heat combine the sugar and water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase to high heat and without stirring cook until sugar turns amber color (about 10 minutes, watch it as it gets close because the sugar is extremely hot, even if you turn the heat off, it continues to cook) Once its done, quickly transfer the sugar to the ramekins and tilt to get the bottoms to be well coated.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, and yolk together until blended. Slowly whisk into cream mixture. Pour mixture through a sieve into the ramekins.
  4. Place the ramekins into a water bath making sure the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. **The flans will bake in the water bath, make sure it is bath is in an oven safe pan.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F or until flan is gently set. Transfer into a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 2 hours. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms!

Want something simple, delicious, and totally healthy?  Stuffed portabella mushrooms! I love my meats (sorry, it's addiction for life) but sometimes we all need a bit of veggies so this has become my go to when I want something nutritious and filling.

The first time I put these together, it was really an afterthought to create as a vegetarian option for people who prefer their greens. I was prepping the mushrooms which was basically throw some cheese and breadcrumbs on it, toss onto the grill, done. Well... the grill was awfully busy and I had to wait... so what happens when you get bored in the kitchen with a counter full of ingredients and leftover tad bits? Genius, that what. 


I was snacking on a slice of heirloom tomato when I realized how awesome it would be if I stuffed a slice in with the mushroom... some Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese. One thing led to another and before I knew it, an accidental masterpiece. Turns out, it was a hit! Veggie and meat eaters alike, couldn't get enough! It doesn't sound like a lot but let me tell you, eating the whole thing will fill you up!

I haven't mastered the art of grilling yet so every time I've remade these I used the oven and they turn out just as tasty. I love that with this you don't have to stick to the recipe 100%, have fun with it. I haven't tried it yet, but ground turkey, onions, and bell peppers would be a tasty combo as well.


Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Ingredients: 
  • 2-3 Portabella mushrooms - de-stemmed and washed
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Italian bread crumbs 
  • approx 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp of Italian seasoning: oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1 heirloom tomato (large), sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  •  salt/pepper
Procedures:
  1. MIX: Italian bread crumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese together 
  2. LAYER: for each mushroom: add salt/pepper, oil, some chopped garlic >> bread crumb mix >> tomato >> herb seasoning >> finally top with Parmesan or Mozzarella 
  3. BAKE: cover with foil, bake at 325F for 10-15 minutes. Uncover halfway to brown or crisp the cheese  or GRILL: cover with foil, grill for 10-15 minutes or until tender