Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Italian Christmas For Non Italians

Last night Shawn and I celebrated our own private Christmas before taking off to New York. It was a nice little night where we opened gifts from his parents and exchanged our own. We got a new pots and pans set - we couldnt be MORE excited!

Originally we wanted to make a ham but in the end there was no time. Ham is not really a Monday night cuisine, more of a Sunday evening let it cook for hours thing.

So we made a Spicy Seafood Linguine!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 stick of butter
1 Lemon
8 Large Shrimp
5 Tubes of Calamari
1 King Crab Leg
3 Shallots (1 head)
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Box of Linguine
2 cups tomato sauce
Red Pepper Flakes, as spicy as you want it!
Salt and Pepper to taste!

Step One: As seafood takes almost no time to cook, set up your pasta to boil and add a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking and a little salt for flavor. When it comes to a boil add the pasta - it should boil for 11 minutes usually.

Step Two: In a large saute pan add your 1/2 stick of butter. Once melted add the shallots and the garlic and let it cook until soft. Add the shrimp first and let cook until the underside looks pink then flip and cover to steam for 5 minutes. Crack the crab into small pieces. Add the calamari to cook (should only take 5 minutes) - then the crab, then the pasta sauce and cover.

Step Three: Drain pasta and put directly into the pan and toss with the seafood & red sauce.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hot Tamales (Not The Candy)

The rest of our weekend was no joke. We drove up to Auburn, CA on Saturday to attend the annual Sterling Family Tamale Party! Of course, I wanted to see my dear friend who only lives 2 hours away but I also wanted to learn how to make tamales. Two birds, baby - one stone.

..............and now I have leftovers for lunch!

My take on making tamales (I only helped spread masa) - was that is was an extremely simple task that just is time consuming. I look forward to trying them myself once I have the time. I foresee a very rainy January weekend to be the time!

An Elephant In The Room

Its been a while since we've had a weekend so filled with events and delicious food! Luckily, I am far from burned out on Holiday Cheer yet. I havent even gone to NY yet and its been booming with excitement. We have a lot of presents under our tree (that we get to open tonight!) - but we started off the weekend at Alex & Morinda's White Elephant Party where I made my annual Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti. I have been making this for the last five years, I love salty and sweet!

Shawn made traditional Christmas Wassil which is a Baked Apple mulled wine & beer with an egg cream topping! So delicious

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti Ingredients
1 cup shelled raw pistachios
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
2 ounces white chocolate, melted

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pistachios in a pie plate and bake until golden, about 6 minutes; let cool. Turn the oven down to 325°.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Step Two: Butter and flour a large cookie sheet. Pat the dough out on the sheet into two 14-inch-long logs 1 inch wide and 1 inch high; leave 3 inches between them. Bake in the lower third of the oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack; let the logs cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice logs on the diagonal 1/2 inch thick.
Bake the slices for 7 minutes on each side. Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool completely. Drizzle with the melted white chocolate and refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

These Spices Are Magnetizing!

Hey peeps! I wanted to show off our new Ktchn inspired Magnetic Spice Rack. We made this puppy from scratch even though you could buy one online just as easily. To be honest it was super simple. Shawn just bought the steel plate online and we mounted it to the wall with adhesive velcro. Then I bought these tins online for 78 cents each and we bought adhesive magnet tabs from The Container Store - then labelled them. :) All in all I think it cost $60 - and its super cute. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Book Club

What a wonderful evening we had last night at our holiday book club meeting! Randi was kind enough to have us at the Numi Tea Garden in Alameda where she works. After hours! The environment was enchanting, the tea was a flowin and the book made for excellent discussion. Oh, and as usual - the snacks were culinary deliciousness!

We read Barbara Kingsolver's Small Wonder which was a collection of critical essays on the environment, food and social issues. I very much recommend the author as well as the 2nd half of the book.

I made Basil & Sundried Tomato Mini Quiches and they were super simple and their cuteness is undeniable.
3 eggs
1 bunch of basil
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped.
1/2 carton of cheese ( I used rondele, but you could use boursin).
2 sheets of pie crust

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out the premade dough and cut circles with a large biscuit cutter. Fit each circle into the pan and bake for 10 minutes solo. Other recipes called for you to put beans in the bottom so the dough doesnt rise but I skipped that and they came out fine!

Step Two: Whisk together the eggs, sundried tomatoes, basil, cheese and salt and pepper. Spoon a tablespoon into each tin and bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot!

Other notables were Darcy's Rosemary Scones!

Some serious endive, beet and goat cheese appetizers!

Nickie's Spicy CSA box coleslaw!

I dont know who made these but they were awesome! Gorganzola Stuffed Figs!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect!

In an effort to not spend a ton of money but also make something new, I took the leftover ground beef I never browned for the Shepherds Pie and then the remaining wonton wrappers I had used for the crab Rangoon's and made: Basil and Ricotta Beef Ravioli!

Now I wouldnt call this an epic fail as they were delicious topped with a spicy marinara - but I really missed the boat on the preparation. I came up with the concept that seemed flawless but then when it came time to cook - I forgot how to cook them. I opted for sauteing when shawn reminded me I should have BOILED! YOU BOIL PASTA, DUMBASS! How could I have forgotten! Sigh. I think I shall keep the filling recipe in my arsenal but next time cook it correctly. Also, I made a kick ass garlic bread.

(You're looking at all these carbs and saying to yourself, no wonder kate is a fatass. Well, I talked shawn into January 1st trying to slim down, signing a contract. He may not eat Brussel sprouts with me every day, but he'll himself try and cut down on the gluttony. So that leaves 15 more days of fatty recipes!).

Basil & Ricotta Beef Ravioli
1/2 package of ground beef
1/2 onion chopped
20 wonton wrappers (to make 10 ravioli)
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 bunch of basil
1/2 cup ricotta
Salt and Pepper to taste!
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 egg

Step One: Heat pan over medium. Add olive oil. then add chopped onion and garlic, saute until soft. Add browned meat, simmer until all the pink is gone. Remove and cool for 10 minutes.

Step Two: Chop the basil up (I used food processor) - and mix together with the ricotta. then add the egg. Once the beef mixture has cooled add to the ricotta mixture. Salt and Pepper generously.

Step Three: Assemble the ravioli! Like last time, scoop a tablespoon of the mixture into the center of the circle, wet around the edges and press another wrapper on top of it between your thumb and forefinger making a crease. set aside.

Step Four: I just sauteed in olive oil in a medium pan and served hot but I advise you to bring a pot of water to boil and when they rise to the top they are doneso!

GARLIC BREAD: slice a french bread baguette in half and quarter. Microwave butter and a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Toast until crispy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

If You Were A Pie - What Pie Would You Be?

If you were a fan of the sun or leaving your apartment - this weekend wasnt for you. For 3 days straight it rained, it poured, the skies were grey and lucky for me, I had a cold so I enjoyed the solitude and lazy bones weekend.

Sunday, after a venture to the East Bay Ikea I decided we needed a warm and cuddly dinner to top off the day: Shepherd's Pie! So while Shawn framed a poster and installed a kitchen shelve I peeled potatoes and browned meat. (All the while, my favorite episode of Trading Spouses wsa playing on VH1 with Marguerite Perrin the God Warrior!) Thanks to Evie for texting me!

A few years ago I had attempted a Shepherd's pie and failed miserably but that was before I knew the value of thickening agents and flavor profiles. This time, though - I say UBER success!

Kate's Shepherd's Pie
1/2 package of ground beef
4 Potatoes
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup A1 steak sauce
1 teaspoon of flour
1 teaspoon Parsely
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil

Step One: Preheat oven to 350. Peel and chop potatoes. The smaller the cut, the quicker they will cook! Put them in a pot of water (6 quarts) to boil with some salt. Boil until a fork can pierce all the way through.

Step One: In a medium pan, heat olive oil to medium. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add meat to pan and break it up to start browning. once its starting to lose the pink add the tomato juice, the steak sauce, the wine, spices and flour. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step Three: Drain the potatoes and with a hand held mixer whip the potatoes with 1/2 stick of butter and milk - until you have mashed potatoes. Add salt to taste.

Step Four: Add beef mixture to a pie pan, and then spread the mashed potatoes on top. Sprinkle parm cheese on top of potatoes mixture. Baked for 20 minutes, then turn the oven to broil if the top is not properly browned.

Other things from this weekend:

Although skeptical of most animated movies (whatever, at least this allows me to be pleasantly surprised often) Shawn and the Ehrigs convinced me to see The Fantastic Mr Fox on Saturday night. It was a pleasure! Spry, witty, smart, old timey, heart warming. I definitely recommend this movie to adults and not children. God damn you, Clooney! You can do no wrong!

Also, we ate at Great India and I was happy. :)

Also, I may have watched Four Christmases when Shawn was out running errands.

meh. not worth it, but I guess you already knew that.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jews Love Chinese Food.

Let me set the scene: It was a dark and stormy Wednesday night in the Castro, winds were a howling and there was a something in the air. What was that my friend? It was the Top Chef Finale!

We invited our friends Josh and Erin over to witness the culmination of weeks of watching Kevin stomp the competition, sadly - as we all know now he died a very sad death by bacon chocolate. You're still Top Chef in my heart, Kevin!

So I thought I would do something for the occasion that was a challenge for myself.... and nothing scares me MORE than Chinese food. The experience of going to eat Chinese (American Chinese, I guess) - is mystical to me. Its the only place where I believe what happens in the kitchen stays in the kitchen and I dont need to know what transpired to give me my shumai. It could come from a unicorn or it could come directly from china, I wouldnt know the better. Anyhow, I chose my two favorite drunken take out menu items but put a spin on them: Crab Rangoons and BBQ Pork Buns!

Jalapeno Crab Rangoons
1 can of lump crabmeat
1 block of cream cheese
1/4 Cup chopped green onions
20 wonton rappers
1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded
2 cups veggie oil
salt/pepper to taste
Dipping Sauce

Step One: Combine crab meat, jalapenos and chopped green onions in a bowl - then fold in the cream cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Step Two: Take the wonton wrapper and dollop a tablespoon of the filling in the center. wet a half moon on the lip of the wonton and fold it over, then press closed between your forefinger and thumb until completely sealed. Repeat 20 times.

Step Three: Bring oil to appropriate temperature (I just eye ball it) - and fry em up! I usually wait until one side is browned to flip. Make sure you put them on a paper towel to drain the oil. Serve hot with your choice of dipping sauce!


6 Boneless Pork Ribs, cut 1x1 inch.
2 Cups Soy Sauce
1 cup hoison sauce
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sriracha
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry yeast
3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Step One: Combine sauce ingredients + pork in a crockpot and cook on low for 12 hours or overnight, stirring once. Then refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Shred the pork and pour remaining sauce from crock pot over the shredded pork for taste. :)

Step Two: Prepare dough. Dissolve the yeast in a teaspoon of water until it starts foaming. After, combine with the flour, salt, water, oil, sugar and baking soda. Please make sure to add 1 cup of water and decide from there how much else you'll need from there, if the dough is sticky you've used too much, add more flour to balance.

Step Three: Set aside the dough, covered with a wet washcloth for an hour and a half until its doubled in size. Then roll out the dough thin and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Then place a dollop of the pork in the center and bring the dough around the filling to create a bun that peaks in the middle. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Step Four: In a wooden steamer, spray the bamboo with oil or put parchment paper on the bottom and arrange the buns inside. Bring water to boil in a pan and set the steamer, with the top on inside the pan and steam for 10 minutes. Voila! Serve hot.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Butterscotch Dust.

Hello friends. How do ya like them apples? What do you see before you? A clear, crisp photo that finally does justice to my creations.

Sigh. Lovely. What a weekend we had here in San Francisco! Not much down time, and I loved it.

I made these Butterscotch Brownies for Roy's Birthday/ Going Away Party on Saturday that he held in his trailer park. They went over way better than I thought. I made these with the bag of baking supplies that Tisha gave me before she left for Wisconsin.

Before I give you the recipe there were actually some culinary standouts among these that are definitely mentionable:

*Natalie's Mulled Whiskey.
*Tamar & Dan's Date & Bleu Cheese Burgers.
*Darcy's Espresso Cookies.
*Bevmo's cheese ball.
*Bevmo's Corn Whiskey that kind of really tasted like Creamed Corn.
*Abby & Jim's Darth Vader pinata.

Butterscotch Choco Chip Brownies
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
3 eggs
2 sticks of butter
1 Cup of Sugar
1 whole bag of butterscotch chips, food processed until resembles dust.
1 cup of choco chips
1 tablespoon of Vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a bowl, using an electric mixer combine eggs, butter, sugar, vanilla and butterscotch dust until creamed or at least fully mixed.

Step 2: Slowly fold in the flour until fully mixed. Then once a hard dough forms, fold in the choco chips and walnuts.

Step 3: Bake for 1 hour of until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean!

Friday was also our company party at Ubisoft and can I say WOW? For sure this is the nicest party I've ever been to that hasnt been a wedding. They had: a full sushi bar, oyster bar with caviar, 3 open bars, 2 bands - really goes to show you that the video game industry is NOT a dying one, unlike my last career in music. I also, sang with the band - Dont Stop Believing and absolutely had a blast. Then puked.

It was a 70s theme party! Behold:

Friday, December 4, 2009

I got a new camera!

Actually, its new to me - but used from Craigslist to be honest. Everyone knows I broke Shawns camera in a freak Reeses Peanut Butter cup accident and have been vowing ever since to make up for it. And here she is! No more blurry camera photos. Maybe this will allow me to take my blogging to the next level!

I have attached some new pictures.