I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Steak Sauce

I was in jury duty most of last week. This meant a lot of sitting around the courthouse, waiting, listening, waiting, considering, waiting. I came home each night mentally worn out. Since I didn't have a lot of time to cook and didn't really feel like spending too much time in the kitchen anyways it led to a lot of quick, no-fuss meals.

One of these meals included boneless rib-eye steaks and corn on the cob. Hardly any effort necessary and yet this meal always brings back memories of childhood summers and the parents grilling in the backyard. I decided to up the ante slightly by making a hearty pan sauce after searing the steaks in the cast iron skillet. Any leftover sauce can always be used over biscuits or pasta.

Creamy Mushroom Steak Sauce
2-3 servings

2 steaks of your choosing, seared to perfection in a cast iron skillet and sprinkled with salt and pepper
5 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 c. white wine or dry vermouth
3/4 c. heavy cream
3 TB butter
1 TB flour (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

After removing the steaks from the cast iron skillet, turn the heat to medium and toss in the mushrooms. Saute until cooked through and slightly browned, adding the garlic for the last minute or so of cooking.
Add in the white wine or vermouth to the pan, using a spoon to scrape up any meat or mushroom bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then add in the heavy cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened up slightly. If you want a thicker sauce mix 1 TB of the heavy cream with the flour in a small bowl and then add to the cream sauce at this time, and stir for about 4 minutes or until thickened. Then add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve over top of the steaks.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Carbonara with Bottarga

It is hot. Like, grab a book and go lie on the floor of the supermarket in the freezer section hot. Almost too hot to type. So I'll keep this short.

Don't turn on the oven. Don't stand over the stove for long periods of time stirring a pot. Put some water on to boil, throw in some spaghetti, cook for a few minutes. Turn off the stove ASAP. Then toss that pasta with some eggs, cheese, butter and some of that pasta cooking water. Eat. Lock yourself in your bedroom with the door shut and your window unit blasting until you need the blanket to keep warm. Avoid going out into the blazing sun at all costs.

Carbonara is one of my favorite fast meals on the nights where I haven't planned dinner or don't have a lot of time but still want something satisfying and rich. I've made it many times, but think this particular version was the best yet. Top it off with grated mullet bottarga (cured fish roe) for a unique flavor punch.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Bottarga
4-5 servings

9 oz. spaghetti
6 TB butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large eggs
1 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
3/4 c. grated parmesan
juice of 1 lemon
grated bottarga

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and a little extra virgin olive oil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Before draining, reserve around 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water.

In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat with the sliced garlic. Once melted and the garlic is fragrant, remove from the heat.

In a small bowl beat together the eggs and fresh ground pepper.

After the pasta has finished cooking and is drained, return to the pan and add about 1/8 c. of the pasta cooking water. Then add the garlic butter and toss together. Next turn on the heat to low and add the egg  mixture and lemon juice and toss until the pasta is well coated, stirring quickly and constantly. If the "sauce" needs to be thinned out a little add a touch more of the pasta cooking water. Finally toss in the Parmesan cheese and then remove from the heat. Serve topped with the grated bottarga.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Chickpeas with Chorizo and Squid

I often dream of living right on the beach. I feel so at home there with the sand between my toes, the salty breeze, and the constant sound of the waves crashing. Perhaps odd for a girl raised smack in the middle of the country with no ocean in sight, but I think there is something reminiscent of the wind rolling through the tall prairie grasses and the huge open sky that just calls to me. I always feel a sense of calm wash over me whenever I find myself near the coast. In my dreams of my beach-side home I imagine a chill day, starting with a run along the water, and where later even if I am working it is at a relaxed pace. There would be the promise of an evening listening to the water on the back porch with wine in hand or of a bonfire in the sand with many friends. I think I would make something like this for dinner. So quick to put together (15 minutes tops) and delicious with uber-fresh seafood and a kick of heat from the chorizo. Because who wants to spend all night cooking when you could be enjoying your beach??

Chickpeas with Chorizo and Squid
4 servings

1 lb. cleaned squid
4 links chorizo
1 28 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 t. coarse sea salt
1 lemon

Rinse the squid in cold water and then pat dry with paper towels. Score one side of each of the squid bodies with a couple of slashes of your knife.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the squid in a single layer (doing multiple batches if necessary). The squid will cook very quickly, about 45 seconds-1 minute per side. Once cooked through (hopefully with a little char), remove the squid to a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Squeeze the chorizo out of the casing into the hot skillet (discard the casings). Saute until cooked through and then add the chickpeas. Stir quickly and cook until the chickpeas are heated through and then remove the skillet from the heat.
Plate the chorizo/chickpea mixture and then drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Top off with the squid and squeeze the juice of the lemon over top just before serving.