As I am typing this, I’m still battling what feels like a never-ending cough. What the heck is going on with the air? It seems like everyone at work has also been taking turn of getting some sort of flu and cold. So maybe this week was my turn. I gave in and took some antibiotics that I used to swear off, just so that I can get some energy back. Enough about my depressing illness. I wanted to post this Stromboli recipe because if you love pizza, you would love this! I have never made this at home; and I’m surprised that it took me this long to try it. I was looking for something fun to put together, so I could also include my daughter, who’s still in the ahem… “wonderful” throwing stage at 18 months. This recipe, just like pizza, is soooo…. versatile, and you can basically use whatever filling (i.e.: cold cuts, cheeses and veggies) that you have available. What a great way to sneak some veggies into our meals. Plus, it pairs great with salad and or soups.
This dough for this recipe takes a little time to put together, so if you’re short on time, you can easily use store-bought pizza dough, which will cut the prep time significantly! If you have not tried making your own Stromboli at home, I highly recommend it!
For the Dough
2 cups (11 ounces) bread flour
1 tsp rapid rise or instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the bowl
1 cup warm water
For the Stromboli
4 ounces thinly sliced deli salami
4 ounces thinly sliced deli capocollo
4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese
½ cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, patted dry and sliced thin
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (½ cup)
1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Kosher salt (optional)
For the Dough
Pulse the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor (use dough blade if possible), to combine. While the food processor continues running, add the oil and water through the feed tube and process until the dough is formed into a ball form, about 30 to 40 seconds. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 2 minutes then process for 30 seconds longer.
Turn the dough into lightly floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Gently deflate the dough with your fist and turn it out onto a unfloured work surface. Gently reshape the dough into a ball and cover with a plastic wrap lightly sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Let the dough rest 15 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes.
For the Stromboli
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Press and roll the dough into a 12 by 10-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Layer the meat and provolone over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at all of the edges. Top with the peppers and Parmesan.
Brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Starting from a long side, roll the dough tightly into a long cylinder, using the parchment paper to lift and roll the dough. Pinch the seam and ends to seal and roll the stromboli back into the center of the parchment paper, seam side down. Transfer the stromboli on the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
Brush the dough all over with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Cover loosely with lightly greased aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. (Keep an eye on the baking time to make sure it doesn’t over cook!)
Transfer the stromboli to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, slice into 2-inch-wide pieces and serve warm.
Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008
When I returned to work after my daughter was born last summer, I was in dire need of new crock-pot recipes to go into my weekly menu rotation. I had a couple recipes that I was able to rely on, but I really needed more variety to mix it up. This was a recipe that I wasn’t open to trying at first since I never considered making my own beef stroganoff at home. I really didn’t know whether it would be successful to be done at home, and in a crock-pot to say the least. I have to say that I am glad that my hubby continued to “encourage” me to try it. He even offered to eat this dish all himself I cook it and not end up liking it!
I was seriously impressed by how delicious this dish turned out; it is full of flavor and doesn’t represent the typical “crock-pot” dishes that are usually bland with timid flavors. The meat was fork-tender because it was simmered in crock-pot all day (a minimum of 9-hrs is a must!); side by side with sliced mushrooms and grated onion in delicious blend of broth, spices, and white wine. All I need then when I get home from work is boil some noodles (5 min!), wait for about 10-15 minutes and hot delicious dinner is served! They actually taste even better the second day after the flavors have fully developed, so I always make the full recipe and look forward to the leftovers for the next day or two. I love coming home to the wonderful aroma of this dish simmering in my crock pot. Give this one a try and let me know if you agree!
Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 onions, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 boneless beef chuck-eye roasts (5lbs), trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
10 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minute Tapioca
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, tomato paste, and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the onion mixture to a slow cooker insert and stir in the meat, white mushrooms, broth, soy sauce, tapioca, and porcini mushrooms until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, 9 to 11 hours (or cook on high for 5-7 hours).
Gently tilt the slow cooker insert and de-grease as much fat as possible off the surface of the stew with a large flat spoon. Stir 1 cup of the stewing liquid into the sour cream to temper, then stir the sour cream mixture back into the stew. Stir in the mustard, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Yield: 6-8 servings
I know that for some of you, the corn season has probably been over for a month or two. But for those of you who are lucky and still can find sweet corn in your grocery stores… make these now! Seriously. Growing up in Southeast Asia, I have had a secret adoration toward fritters for as long as I can remember. It seemed to me that everything could be turned into fritters, from fruit to veggies. This recipe is very similar to the type of corn fritters that I grew up eating, except the addition of cheese (which I don’t mind in this recipe). I didn’t have any cilantro on hand (original recipe called for it), so I chopped up the basil leaves and mixed them into the batter (instead of just sprinkling them on top, again like the original recipe called for). They browned up nice and golden, crispy, sweet and delicious. Make sure that you sprinkle some salt at the end, the saltiness added a great flavor contrast with the sweetness from the corn. They were so addictive that we gobbled up two batches in one day. The final caution that I must mention was the popping of the corn kernels during frying, make sure that you wear closed-toed shoes and have a lid or a spatter guard ready to cover your frying pan. I actually wore my safety glasses when frying these Nerd right? But oh, they were so good. So worth it.
Slightly Adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
4 ears of corns, slice the kernels
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp corn starch
1 organic egg, beaten
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp sea salt, and more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp Black pepper
1/4 cup of canola oil for frying
~10 large basil leaves, torn up
Mix all ingredients together until well combined in a bowl. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan set on a medium to high heat. Using 1/4-cup of measuring cup, spoon the mixture into the frying pan in batches. Fry each fritter on each side for around 2 minutes or until they turn a nice dark brown, do not flip before the patty is browned or it will fall apart.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Drain the fritters on paper towel and keep warm in the oven (on an oven safe plate) while you fry the remainder of the mixture.
Yield: 8 fritters
I have been enjoying the slightly cooler evenings that we’ve had in the past couple of weeks. Not cool enough to demand a thick coat or sweater, but just enough that I crave pasta and a warm crusty baguette from the oven. I was drawn to this recipe by its simplicity; there are few items required, and it reminds me of the cooking class that I took in Bologna Italy back in 2009. Our cooking instructor didn’t use anything fancy. As a matter of fact, I think her recipe was very similar to this one below. She just emphasized the importance of simmering the meat in tomato sauce for an “extended period of time”. She recommended all day, but let’s face it, I just don’t have it these days. So any cooking time for more than an hour should work. I have added this recipe into our weekly menu rotation since it can easily be doubled, freezes well, and it is a fave at my household. Perfect!
5-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
3/4 lb Italian turkey sausage, 4 inch long links
1 lb ground turkey (dark meat ideal)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-28oz can whole peeled tomatoes with their juice
1/3 cup tomato paste
3/4 lb (3/4 box) rigatoni
grated parmesan cheese for serving
Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook, turning them now and then, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the sausages to a plate and add the ground turkey to the pan along with a healthy pinch of salt and few fresh grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring here and there for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove to a separate plate.
Add another 2 or 3 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook these until softened and just beginning to brown, another solid 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice along with about 1/2 cup of water. Add the ground turkey, stir the sauce well, and nestle the sausages in.
Bring the sauce to a boil, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover almost completely with a lid (let the steam escape from one side) and gently simmer for 4 hours adding splashes of water every hour or so if the sauce is at all drying out. Uncover the sauce and stir in the tomato paste, barely cover, and simmer for 1 more hour.
When it’s about ready for serving, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Drop the pasta in and cook according to package directions.
Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta with a nice grating of parmesan on top. Perfect.
Adapted from My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow
I love using my grill to prepare most of our meals in the summer. Not only that it seems appropriate to give the air conditioner a little break by not turning up the oven unless I absolutely have to; the meal preparation is usually simple. I usually make burgers, and rotate the variety (using either beef, or turkey, and then chicken) from time to time, and add some fresh salad, and it’s done. After a successful introduction with flank steak making this Grilled Steak with Balsamic Teriyaki, I wanted to find a new recipe using flank steak. I really love simple recipes that have a little touch of something special like this one. The shallot-mustard sauce was easy to put together, yet so delicious, and have the “restaurant” quality that can make dinners at home feel a little bit more special. The steak can be grilled or cooked on the pan; and the sauce was definitely the key that made the difference here. I think I may consider using this sauce for other type of grilled steak in the future as well.
Adapted from Fine Cooking
1 flank steak, about 1-1/2 lb.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. corn oil
6 Tbs. cold unsalted butter (4 Tbs. cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
3 Tbs. finely minced shallot
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup low-salt beef broth
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
Set a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat an ovenproof 12-inch sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the oil to coat the pan and sear the steak on one side until well browned, about 1-1/2 minutes. Flip with tongs and cook until the second side is well browned, about another 2 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the steak is cooked to your liking, 5 to 7 minutes for medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest, lightly covered with foil, while you make the sauce.
Set the same skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter melts, add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft and translucent but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high, and boil until syrupy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the broth and thyme and boil until about 1/3 cup of liquid remains, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the mustard. (Don’t let the sauce boil after the mustard is added.) Stir in the 4 Tbs. butter cubes, a few at a time. Stir in half the tarragon and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
With a sharp knife, slice the steak thinly across the grain on the diagonal, drizzle with the sauce, and sprinkle with remaining tarragon.
Yield: 4-5 servings
After I made my first homemade Sweet Cream Biscuits last year; I couldn’t get over how delicious they were. But in all reality; it is hard to find time to make them whenever I feel the craving for them. When I saw this biscuit recipe that specifically requires the dough to be frozen 6-8 hours prior to baking; I was excited to try them. I’m all about preparation ahead of time so that I can prepare them the night before; and have them ready to be baked in the morning as I get ready. This one is actually better yet; they can be prepared days in advance and you will only bake what you need. Fresh homemade biscuits are then only minutes away in the oven. These are great for mornings when you have company and want something special but quick to serve as breakfast. The only thing that I would do differently would be to use a LARGER biscuit cutter. The recipe calls for a 2-inch cutter; and I feel like I ended up with “mini” biscuits. I normally love miniature size of cakes, cookies, or what not; but somehow; I wanted a larger biscuit :). I was really glad to have found this recipe; now I feel like I can spoil my overnight guests with these delicious homemade biscuits. Happy Baking!
Adapted from The Best of American Test Kitchen 2008
27 ounces (about 6 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 cups cold heavy cream
Lightly butter a rimmed baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cream with a nonstick spatula until a dough forms, about 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 60 seconds, dusting with extra flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Pat or roll the dough into a flat circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out the biscuits using a 2 inch round cutter. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch space in between.
Gather up the scraps of dough, shaking off any excess flour, and re-knead briefly to combine. Pat or roll the dough again into a 3/4 inch thick round, and cut as many biscuits as possible. Repeat the gathering, rolling, and cutting for a third time. Any remaining scraps of dough should be either discarded or gently patted into rustic hand-formed biscuits.
Wrap the baking sheet tightly with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Freeze the biscuits until frozen solid, 6 to 8 hours. Transfer the frozen biscuits to a plastic zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to 1 month. Do not thaw before baking.
To bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 450º F, and place a rack in the upper-middle position. Lay the frozen biscuits on a lightly buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake at 450º F until puffed and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Note: If baking a large amount of biscuits, bake only as many as will fit on one baking sheet at a time; do not bake more than one pan at the same time.
Yield: ~ 5 dozens
Would you guys think that I am weird for not ever having tried homemade taquitos? As a matter of fact, as I thought more and more… I can’t even recall if I have ever tried store-bought or restaurant taquitos before. Still, I was really excited when I saw this recipe from Josie over at the Pink Parsley blog because Red loves those taquitos from our grocery freezer section; and when I mentioned this recipe to him, he made sure that we added this in our weekly menu. Why didn’t I find this recipe sooner? Because we really really loved these! They’re relatively quick to put together if you already have the cooked chicken breast ready (maybe from a leftover rotisserie chicken), and you can pick up some fresh salsa from your local grocery store’s deli. I actually used the leftover Creamy Tomatillo Sauce as a dipping sauce instead of a regular salsa, and it was delicious. I actually didn’t have any leftover to freeze; but next time, I would probably triple this recipe and freeze a half for a quick supper in the future. Thanks for sharing a great recipe Josie!
Adapted from Pink Parsley
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup salsa verde, or your favorite salsa
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbs chopped scallions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degree F, and line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or spray lightly with a cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the following items together: cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Add the chicken and cheeses, mix until combine.
Season with additional salt and pepper to your liking.
Next, warm up the corn tortilla for easier handling: dampen two pieces of paper towel, and place 6 pieces of corn tortillas between the two dampened towels. Put the stack inside a large plastic bag, leave the seal open. Microwave for 1 minute.
Working quickly, place 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Line them up on a baking sheet with seam sides down. Fill the rest of the tortillas with the remaining filling.
Spray the filled taquitos with cooking spray lightly, sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with with your favorite toppings (salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole).
Yield: 3-4 as first course
I have been in a rut lately with my pasta dishes. I wanted to make something delicious but yet is still relatively easy to make and doesn’t require elaborate preparation. Since we’re now getting into the asparagus season, I wanted to try a new recipe using asparagus and I thought this was a perfect one to try. This dish is simple, quick to put together, and delicious. I didn’t have smoked mozzarella; so I used regular mozzarella–and I think it still tasted fantastic. The recipe recommends ziti over penne, which more resembles the shape of the asparagus pieces. This is a great quick and easy weeknight dinner for the spring. Happy cooking!
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis Everyday Italian cookbook
8 ounces dried ziti, or other tubular pasta
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, diced (about 1/2 cup), or regular mozzarella cheese
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, or 3 teaspoons of dried basil
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a couple of pinches of salt. Add the ziti and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sliced asparagus and cook until the pasta is tender, but still firm to the bite, with the asparagus crisp-tender, approximately 2 minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until it’s fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add pasta, asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper along with the reserved cooking liquid, and toss to coat. Remove skillet from heat. Add the mozzarella, prosciutto and basil. Toss everything together to combine. Season more with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pasta to individual serving dishes and serve.
Yield: 4 first-course servings
In celebration of Chinese New Year’s, I wanted to post this delicious spin of a favorite Chinese take out dish. It is even perfect for me because it combines two favorite ingredients at our house. I love broccoli in just about any forms (raw, steamed, sauteed, pureed in soups, etc) and Red loves beef dishes (he’d have them every night if he can!). I haven’t had a lot of luck finding a favorite dish from local Chinese restaurants, so I thought this was an appropriate dish that I should try to be making at home; especially since the ingredients are so accessible. I was pleasently surprised at how quickly this dish was to put together and how delicious! I do love sauce on my stir fry, so I think in the future, I would double the sauce to make sure that I have plenty leftover. Wishing you a very prosperous the Year of the Rabbit!
Adapted from Jaden Hair’s Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
1 lb top sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced into 1/8-inch thick strips
1-1/2 lbs broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1 tbsp high-heat cooking oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cooking oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to season the beef
3 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
In a bowl, combine the ingredients for the Beef Marinade. Add the beef and let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Stir-Fry sauce.
In a wok or large saute pain, add 1-inch of water, and bring to boil. Add the broccoli and cover to steam for 3 minutes. The broccoli should be bright green, crisp tender, and you should be able to pierce the stem with a fork. Drain.
Discard the water in the pan and dry the pan well. Set the pan over high heat and when hot, add the high-heat cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and fry for 15 to 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the steak strips, keeping then in one layer and fry 30 seconds. Flip the strips and fry the other side.
Pour in the Stir-Fry sauce and stir to combine. Simmer until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked broccoli back into the pan and toss to coat well.
Yield: 4 servings
I know my recent posts have all been dessert; but I do eat other things in addition to dessert I was basically lured into trying this recipe because I kept on seeing it advertised on every magazine that I was reading at that time. I couldn’t remember when the last time I had pulled pork and never made it before; so I wanted to give this a try. I didn’t have a boneless pork butt, so I used a bone-in version, and let it cook for 12 hrs. It was super tender, fell apart beautifully and was ridiculously delicious. I sprinkled some smoked paprika as well to give it a bit more spiciness to it, and it was perfect. I love that it makes so much and they froze and reheated well. I served it with this Carolina Cole Slaw and used store-bought barbecue sauce (although I think they were delicious without it as well. What could be more perfect winter meal than this? Happy eating!
1 5-pound boneless pork butt (shoulder) –I used a bone-in version that I think made it even more flavorful!
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Soft sandwich buns
Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours or until pork is very tender.
Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve in buns with barbecue sauce.
Makes 16-20 servings