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What's for Dinner #352: the pre-Daylight Savings Time 2015 Edition

Last night, slogging home in the ice storm took a good 2 hours, as opposed to my normal commute of about half that...I arrived home in no mood to prepare anything elaborate.

I settled on quick fish tacos with TJ's frozen fish, corn tortillas, salsa, guac, sour cream and some baby spinach with a squeeze of lime. I had shredded cauliflower to use as a more traditional topping, but I wasn't feeling it. it looked so colorless, bland and blah. vibrant green baby spinach was just fine, if not as crunchy.

Tonight is dinner out. hopefully the impending snow storm won't lead to the cancellation of what looks to be a fabulous wine tasting dinner.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

looks amazing!

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

tonight i reprised the slow cooker pulled pork with some more sauce -- a mix of Carolina style bbq sauce and korean Gochujang. pilled onto ciabatta rolls with a pit of pepper jack and a mix of vinegary slaw/ kimchi. oven fries seasoned with some old bay + korean hot pepper mix on the side.

I had planned something more elaborate, but bailed after a long day of unexpected challenges, in favor of using up some leftovers. not a bad thing. and the sandwiches were quite tasty. Gochujang is my new favorite condiment.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

Last night we had philly cheesesteak sandwiches on crusty baguette. plenty of sautéed onions in the mix. topped with a mix of pepperjack and white american. normally i smear one side of my roll with a generous amount of hot pepper spread, but didn't last night. i missed the kick. random veggies on the side.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

very thoughtful. i'm sure it will be appreciated.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

Sure. i made some notes on the recipe last night so that i remember them for next time. Here's where I landed:

2 T olive oil
3-4 T of chopped garlic
2-4 Thai bird peppers, thinly sliced (I used 2)
1 lb ground pork

1/4 c dark sweet soy sauce
1/4 c Golden Mountain sauce
1/4 c fish sauce (I used about 1.5 T less than 1/4 c)
2 T sugar

2 c small broccoli florets
1 c thinly sliced red pepper strips
1 c baby spinach

12 oz rice noodles
1/2 c Thai basil leaves

Mix together the soy sauces, fish sauce and sugar and set aside. In a few T of olive oil, I sautéed the chopped garlic with 2 thinly sliced Thai bird chili peppers. As the garlic infuses the oil, but well before it starts to brown, add the ground pork. Slightly before the pork is cooked through, add about 2 T of the sauce mixture. Add the broccoli and cook until still crisp, add the baby spinach and toss to incorporate until barely wilted. Turn off heat and add the red pepper strips and the rest of the sauce. Reserve until ready to finish with the noodles.

Prepare the rice noodles according to the directions. some say soak in boiling water, some say to boil for a few minutes. When the rice noodles are done, toss into the meat, vegetable mixture. warm through over low heat and add basil leaves at the very end.

Mar 01, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
1

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

Last night i turned some slow roasted pork from the slow cooker into bbq pulled pork with some carolina style vinegar based bbq sauce. Sides of steamed broccoli, spinach kale bites (TJs) and tater tots with Old Bay seasoning. i had slow cooked the pork the day before, but ended up going out to dinner. So with that heavy lifting done, it was super quick to put together and it hit the spot for an exhausted Friday night at the end of a long a*&^% week.

Tonight I made Pad Kee Mao with ground pork, broccoli, baby spinach and red pepper strips with rice noodles, based on a Sripraphai recipe. Everything came together tonight as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. really flavorful and awesome. It had a bit of a kick from the couple of Thai bird peppers, but I would have made it spicier were it not for our delightful, last minute houseguest with a low spice tolerance. We love Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles) from our local thai takeout joint, and generally, but the homemade version is different, perhaps better. while i haven't yet found fresh rice noodles, which would end all debate of the matter, my homemade version has way more veggies than the takeout version, is less oily and has a zingier flavor profile.

Secrets to easy kitchen cleaning?

We are a family of four, including 2 kids, and I cook at least 5 days a week. I have 2 dishwashers and run one every day. If I'm doing particularly intensive or involved cooking, I will often run both in a day.

Feb 27, 2015
MAH in Not About Food

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

Lamb seekh kebabs, couscous with golden raisins and chickpeas and palak paneer. I had mixed the ground lamb with all of the seasonings last night and the palak paneer is a TJ's product i always have in the freezer. so dinner came together very quickly. so much so that my 6 year old and I had time to whip up some quick vanilla pudding (the real deal, no box). it is still chilling in the fridge, but initial taste tests indicate it will be quite yummy. a very nice (rare) weeknight project.

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

please do. i just had some of the leftovers for a mid- afternoon snack. i didn't even bother to heat it up. very tasty all the same.

Feb 25, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
1

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - February 2015 [old]

i love those Ginger thins too. i crushed them to use as the base of crusts for mini mango kulfi cheesecakes i made some time ago. the gingery cookies were perfect.

Feb 25, 2015
MAH in Chains
1

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

Normally, my steaks done indoors are nearly perfect -- medium rare for me and medium for hubby. I've got it down to a veritable science. Yesterday with so many variables, it all went to hell. oh well, i'm sure the next time will be better.

For the buffalo cauliflower, I compared a few recipes and came up with the following:

I mixed up a very light batter of 1/2 c flour, 1/4 t each of garlic powder and onion powder, 1/2 t salt and approx 3/4 cup water. [the recipes i consulted called for 1/2 c water, but that produced way too thick a batter for the thin crispy coating I envisioned.]

I very lightly coated each cauliflower floret in the batter then put them on an oiled baking rack and baked at 400 for about 20-25 minutes. i then removed the rack and tossed the cauliflower in a wing sauce made from 1/2 c Frank's red hot sauce and 1.5-2T butter. then back in the oven at 450 for about 10 minutes to crisp up.

For the blue cheese dipping sauce I mixed about 3/4 c nonfat sour cream with 2-3T crumbled blue cheese and a little bit of milk to thin it out. added a bit of pepper as well.

I thought it was great. I've seen versions without the batter, with the cauliflower tossed in the wing sauce "naked," but i thought the sauce would adhere better to a light coating. Upon reflection, i don't think the rack was necessary for the first round of roasting.

If anyone tries the recipe and eliminates the rack method, please let me know how they crisp up.

Feb 25, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
1

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

yum!

Feb 25, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

tonight i had planned a solo dinner for me, but hubby returned a few hours earlier than expected from a business trip. so we had a bit of a mishmosh. I had planned to make a gorgeous thick grass fed ribeye with some buffalo cauliflower and asparagus. only to find out that the asparagus i thought was lurking in the fridge was already gone, and hubby was not feeling like steak as he had some last night while away. So, I made some hoisin marinated chicken for him, as well as roasted butternut squash in place of the asparagus. the buffalo cauliflower was a hit. oven roasted and tossed in a buffalo wing-type sauce made from Frank's hot sauce and a smidge of butter. i made a blue cheese/NF sour cream dipping sauce to go with. the cauliflower was addictive. would make a good cocktail nibble. it will go into the rotation. unfortunately, i killed a beautiful, grass fed ribeye. i mean really overcooked to nearly well done. I haven't overcooked a steak in as long as I can remember. it was so thick that after searing on the stovetop in cast iron, i popped it into the oven to finish a bit. (it was more than 1.5" thick). however, with the other 2 vegetable dishes also in the same oven and juggling things in/out/different timings, I just screwed up the timing of my beautiful steak. so sad. oh well. live and learn.

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

for any kind of crispness of crust you need to jack things up to at least 450 if not higher.

Feb 24, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

Tonight I am flying solo. I made some hoisin ground turkey lettuce wraps with mushrooms, water chestnuts and scallions. alongside there was a TJ's chicken egg roll, which wasn't bad.

for the kiddos and breakfasts I'm making some mini potato basil frittatas loosely based on Ina Garten's recipe, using up some leftover scalloped potatoes and ricotta lurking in the fridge.

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

yum. the fish sounds great, and the MIL's samosa chaat looks amazing. lucky you.

Feb 23, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

After dealing with the burst pipe/water shut off most of the day yesterday, we went out for beers and cajun food last night. It hit the spot. Happily discovered that the 1 year old prefers spicy seafood gumbo to many other foods. My crawfish etoufee leftovers made a great lunch today.

Tonight hubby will be away. I'm thinking either hoisin turkey lettuce wraps or a beautiful ribeye, asparagus and I've been wanting to try the buffalo cauliflower recipe making the rounds. we'll see what happens this evening.

I'm SOOO over this winter.

Cooking for a Very Hungry, Slightly Picky Crowd

a few ideas:
- slow roasted pork sandwiches with a variety of toppings: sautéed garlicky broccoli rabe, pickled or sautéed onions. cole slaw, provolone cheese, bbq sauces. guests can assemble and top as they like, either Philly style with broccoli rabe and provolone or bbq. sides could be baked beans, oven baked sweet potato fries, etc.

- sausage and pepper sandwiches: you can use a few different kinds of sausages, chicken, turkey, pork, etc.

- taco bar: you can have a selection of hard shells, corn and flour tortillas. toppings can include ground turkey, chicken, black beans, fajita veggies; then all the usual favorite toppings -- onions, cheese, tomato, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, variety to salsas. super fun and easy for a party. i know you said that this crowd likes Belgian beer. tacos pair well with beer. and also margaritas, which you can mix up by the pitcher.

- pizzas -- either assembled by you in advance, or guests can make their own with a wide variety of toppings. i've found some decent prepared thin crusts that i have on hand for quick MYO pizza with the kids. you can do a selection of tomato sauce, pesto, alfredo, toppings of all sorts, and shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan, etc. fun and interactive for the guests if they are into that kind of thing. sides could be a great big salad. or if you are looking for something a bit "more," you could assemble caprese skewers with bocconcini balls of fresh mozzarella, a grape tomato and a basil leaf. great drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Feb 22, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
2

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

it sucks. i'm pretty annoyed that our water is off for who knows how long until they can come address the issue. i really do want a hot shower.

Feb 22, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
2

What's For Dinner #350: The Robins are Back So it Must be Spring Right? Edition [through Feb. 25, 2015]

yesterday we got more snow, piled up on top of all that came before. we are really getting sick of all the white stuff. this morning we woke up to a burst pipe in the garage. wow, the fun never ends.

last night WFD was cheeseburgers and tater tots. Hubby's on a whole wheat kaiser with pepperjack. mine was on onion brioche with white american. TJ's tater tots alongside. very comforting and reminded me of spring. I looked longingly out at my grill buried in a foot of snow. *sigh*

What's for Dinner #349 - the Sub-Zero-For-Some Edition [Old]

yesterday we got more snow, piled up on top of all that came before. we are really getting sick of all the white stuff. this morning we woke up to a burst pipe in the garage. wow, the fun never ends.

last night WFD was cheeseburgers and tater tots. Hubby's on a whole wheat kaiser with pepperjack. mine was on onion brioche with white american. TJ's tater tots alongside. very comforting and reminded me of spring. I looked longingly out at my grill buried in a foot of snow. *sigh*

What's for Dinner? #348 -- The Valentine's Day Edition [through Feb 15, 2015]

tonight hubby had a work dinner, so I polished off the last of the paella with sea bass, cockles, shrimp, bay scallops and chorizo, and the shredded brussel sprouts (sautéed with onion and garlic, braised in a bit of chicken stock).

As soon as I finished dinner, I set about baking various treats for Valentine's gift boxes for my daughter's teachers: parmesan blue cheese herb crackers; chocolate chip cookies. tomorrow i'll bake the Supernatural brownies and package the little gifts.

After a very long day in the office, and the baking-fest, I'm worn the heck out. having a little glass of wine just to decompress with my feet up before calling it a night.

What's for Dinner? #347 - the Post-Groundhog & Pre-Valentine's Day Edition [Old: through February 9. 2015]

tonight I made a paella with Bomba rice, chorizo, shrimp, scallops, cockles and sea bass fillets. we had a lackluster paella out at a restaurant this week and I wanted to satisfy my craving. i didn't get my socarrat exactly as I wanted but the seafood was nicely cooked and the flavor was great. Now, we await the storm.

for tomorrow a pork loin roast will be seared and plunked into the slow cooker with some onion. seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and curry powder. maybe some quartered apples.

What's for Dinner? #347 - the Post-Groundhog & Pre-Valentine's Day Edition [Old: through February 9. 2015]

Catching up on a few days -- Superbowl Sunday was a frenzy. I made pork and scallion dumplings with my 6 year old (who loved pleating the dumplings). and used my bamboo steamer for the first time. we also rolled some rice paper wrapped summer rolls. Most of them were filled with shrimp, baked tofu, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, mint and basil, but some had strips of leftover Kalbi that i had on hand. Also made oven fried Korean chicken wings that were awesome. Love that sweet, spicy combo.

Last night I made a quick chicken curry with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, kale and chickpeas with brown rice. Tonight was a philly cheesesteak on an onion long roll with hot pepper spread, pepper jack and oven fries on the side. DH is traveling, I'm enjoying some wine and the quiet after the kiddos are asleep.

What's for Dinner? #347 - the Post-Groundhog & Pre-Valentine's Day Edition [Old: through February 9. 2015]

I, too, really enjoyed reading your blog. I always loved reading of the meals you made for your Oldster and profoundly admired the dedication and patience you and your sister embodied in caring for your parents. thank you for allowing us to share with you the profound love and loss you must feel. you are a gifted writer, and I look forward to hearing of your food and travel adventures.

What's for Dinner? #346 - The Deep Freeze Edition! [through Feb 3, 2015]

For Superbowl festivities we had a variety of things. A trip to the Asian market yesterday inspired some last minute changes to the menu:

- rice paper wrapped summer rolls (some with five spice chicken, some shrimp, some kalbi -- all with a variety of baked tofu, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, mint, basil) -- paired with spicy peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce.

- pork and scallion dumplings -- this was a very fun project for my 6 year old and me. she loved helping pleat the dumplings. It was my first attempt with the bamboo steamer. I steamed first then pan fried briefly to get a little crust on one side. paired with soy/ginger/scallion dipping sauce.

- make your own mini pizzas for the kiddos (who also tried the summer rolls and dumplings).

- classic sliders. pepperjack for DH; american for me. on Eli's mini brioche rolls.

- oven fried Korean chicken wings: neither DH or I love wings, so these were good, but we'd love them more with boneless tenders. the sauce, on the other hand, is ridiculously, insanely, i can't say enough about it, good. and for those who like wings, this recipe works well. the egg white treatment and drying out in advance made a nicely crispy wing. I baked them on a rack at 450 for about 35 minutes (maybe more), turning twice. I then rolled them around in the sauce and kept them on the rack/baking sheet until we were ready to eat them. then they got sauced again and back into the oven for about 10 minutes to recrisp. the double sauce treatment worked well. they were very flavorful and the sauce is killer! nicely spicy, savory and a bit sweet. the gochujang is essential. don't substitute anything else for it. it is uniquely awesome.

http://www.eatthelove.com/2014/01/kor...

some obligatory veggies alongside, but, to be honest, they were forgotten.

What are you baking these days? Happy New Year January 2015 edition! [OLD]

it was fantastic. very moist crumb -- perfect texture and the sea salt caramel/praline (or brittle) topping is just awesome. it was gobbled up by my coworkers with not a bit left. going into the file to be repeated.

What are you baking these days? Happy New Year January 2015 edition! [OLD]

For a Superbowl party in the office I made a chocolate, salted caramel praline bundt cake loosely based on this recipe.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

I discovered I don't have a 10 inch round pan and my 10 inch springform is strangely missing its bottom disc. So I subbed a bundt pan and reduced the baking time to 40 minutes. The cake seems to be very rich, but not too dense -- definitely chocolatey.

Jan 30, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking
2

Fifth anniversary coming up - Please help me plan a meal that I can cook for my girlfriend.

I always serve with the traditional risotto, but you could do orzo or polenta as well that are less timing sensitive. I've got an oven baked polenta recipe that sets up and is cut into squares or scooped. It would pair well with a braise and is hands off, oven easy.

Let me know if you'd like the recipe. Good luck and do report back.

Jan 29, 2015
MAH in Home Cooking