Thursday, June 30, 2011

How To Butterfly Lobster Tails

Yesterday was the first time I made lobster tails at home, and it turned out to be quite a success!

Lobster tails were on sale so I purchased two.
I decided to "Butterfly" the lobster tail, which is how its typically done in restaurants.  To butterfly lobster tails, you are basically pulling the meat out of the shell and placing it on top the shell.

How to Butterfly Lobster Tails:
  1. Hold the lobster tail with the top side facing upward.  Using kitchen shears, you cut a line through the top of the shell all the way to the base of the tail.  Don't cut the meat!.  (If you can see.. I cut a line down the top lobster tail).
  2. Using your fingers, gently (emphasis on gently!) separate the entire lobster meat from the lobster shell.  but leave the tail intact, so the lobster meat is still connected to the tail part.  Keep working until the entire lobster meat is separated from the shell.
  3. Close the empty lobster shell together and gently rest the lobster meat on top.
  4. Cut a small slit down the center of the lobster meat, and seperate the two flaps (I could have done that more....)

How to cook:
Lobster is so good on its own.  So no need for a marinate or salt or pepper.
Simply preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, and bake the lobster tails for 12-14 minutes.
Make sure to check on it periodically to make sure it does not burn.
Before eating, put a small pat of butter on top (optional).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Black Bananas = Banana bread

It surprises me when I hear that people toss black/overripe bananas.


What a waste! 
Throw that banana in your freezer and use it later!
There are 2 ways to deal with black /overripe bananas:
  1. Make a smoothie
  2. Make banana bread!
I can only drink so much smoothies, and it only gets rid of banans 1 at a time.
If you start to accumulate a lot of black banana, then the best way to get rid of all of them is make banana bread!  Also, I personally prefer banana bread over smoothies (taste wise) and are much more filling for breakfast too.  =)

Here is what you need:
2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, ~2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until its mixed together. Stir in the flour and baking soda then pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Bake in the oven at 350F for about 70 minutes, or until it's baked thoroughly.

It's soo yum! 

Bugolgi at home

A couple weeks ago, we enjoyed bugolgi at home!
Jealous?  =)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy) - slow cooker version

The french dish, Boeuf Bourguignon (beef burgundy), is normally made in the oven, however fpr this dish, I decided to adapt it for the slow cooker, since it's much easier to make on a work day.
(However, one of these weekends... I *will* tackle the dish with the traditional oven method).

When I had boeuf bourguignon in France, it tasted like every other regular beef stew that I make.
But when I made my own slow cooker version of boeuf bourguignon, it tasted different than my regular beef stew, and it was very delicious! 
Jeff was a fan, and we finished the dish faster than I expected! =D. 
It's always a compliment when food is consumed quickly.

The ingredients list is a bit long, so be prepared to make a grocery list:
1.5 cups red wine (what a good excuse to use up that opened bottle of red wine that is sitting in the fridge!), 2 tbps dry minced onion, 1 tsp dried leaf thyme, 2 tsp dried parsley flakes, 1 bay leaf, salt & pepper, 4 pounds lean stew beef (you can cube it up, but I just threw the entire chunk into the slow cooker), 1/3 cup flour, 8 slices bacon (diced), 1 large onion (chopped), 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 box of sliced mushrooms.

In a ziploc bag, add in the wine, minced onion, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, pepper, and the hunk of beef,  Marinate overnight. 
The next day, heat up a large skillet with some oil and brown the hunk of meat.  When carmlized and browned add the meat to your slow cooker.  In the same skillet, add in the bacon until browned, then add in the garlic and onions.  Add the bacon, garlic, and onion to the slow cooker.  In the same skillet, add in the mushrooms and cook until it softened.  Add the mushrooms to the slow cooker, than pour the red wine marinade from the ziploc bag into the slow cooker. 

Turn on the slow cooker on low for about 9 hours.
Come home to a house smelling like red wine and beef!  Mmm!
Enjoy the dish with some bread or some baked potato.

Fresh Strawvberry Pie

It's nearing the end of strawberry season, so I had to hurry and bake a strawberry pie before the season ends!
I normally do not bake my own pie crusts because they are so much work and I can just buy a yummy pre-made one from the store.

If you are not maki ng your own pie crust, then this dessert is SO easy.  and no one will have to know that it was easy to make  (If you buy one of these from Marie Calendars, you are paying at least $13 for one of these).

Just make sure that if you are making the pie to give to someone, and you need it to look pretty, don't get the red jelly stuff spilled onto the pie crust!  Does not look nice! oops!

To make two pies, you wil need:
2 pie shells (already baked), 2 1/2 quarts of fresh strawberries (this is about 2.5 boxes), 1 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 cup boiling water, 1 (3 ounce) package of strawberry jello.

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook until everything is mixed and thick. Turn off the stoveand add in the jello powder until its all melted. Let it cool to room temperature.
Wash the strawberries, remove the stems, then place the strawberries in the pie sell with points facing up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours until the gel is hardened.

Making your own strawberry gel tastes WAY better than the store bought stuff.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I thought I already posted about my mac & cheese recipe, but now that I look through my archive, I guess I did not!
Good thing I caught it.  How can good ol' mac & cheese not make it on the blog?  =)

I think both Jeff and I are spoiled from eating lots of homemade mac & cheese bakes.  Now, whenver we hear people say "i made mac & cheese today", or "I ate some mac & cheese", we automatically think that they are referring to homemade macaroni and cheese bake casseroles! 
But no... majority of the time, they are referring to the boxed macaroni and (fake) cheese sh*t. 

Well, boxed-macaroni-and-cheese eaters, here's your chance to make your own crispy, (real) cheesey, noodley goodness.  It's actually quite easy.

For your ingredients, you will need:
8 ounces macaroni, 4 tbs butter, 1/4 cup flour, salt, pepper, 1 cup half-and-half, 1 cup, 1 cup bread crumbs, 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

Cook the macaroni, then pour the macaroni into your baking dish.  In a seperate sauepan, melt the butter, then stir in flour. Add the salt, pepper, and milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add 2 cups of the cheese.   When everything is melted, pour the sauce over the macaroni in the baking dish, and mix.  Top it with the rest of the cheese then top it with bread crumbs.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Some toppings you can add with the bread crumbs and cheese is ham or bacon.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sautéed Swiss Chard

Recently, my sister moved to a different apartment, and was unable to take her plants with her (no balcony at the new place). So she harvested her swiss chard and gave some of the chard to me.  In addition to the chard was 1 leek.

I was not sure what I can do with simply 1 leek, so I decided to mince it up, and sauté it with the Swiss chard! 
After washing all the soil out of the chard, I seperated the leaves from the stem, and chopped the stem into little pieces.  I minced up a little bit of garlic, and the 1 leek, and added it to a heated pan with olive oil in it.  It was so frangrant already.
Add in the chard stem first as they take a while to cook, then add in the leafy green part later.  Season it with kosher salt, stop cooking when the stem is tender.

The red is quite pretty.
You can also add in spinach if you like, to add a little more green to red ratio.  :) spinach takes the least time to cook, so you would add that in at the very end.

Beef Pot Roast

I actually made this dish a couple of months ago, but forgot to mention it on my blog!
I was making beef pot roast in the slow cooker, as a "test trial", in preparation for a beef pot roast dinner with my next door neighbors.

The photo you see here is of the "test trial" pot roast.  There is no photo evidence of the actual pot roast I made on the day of, because I was running late, so I never stopped to take pictures.

Making pot roast in the slow cooker is actually quite simple.  All you need is some beef  (whatever is on sale. usually beef chuck roast is cheap), onion soup mix (its a powder that comes in a pouch), beef broth, carrots, potatoes, carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper.  That's it!

I like to pan sear the meat first before putting it into the slow cooker, but you don't have to.  I'm not entirely sure if it really makes a noticable difference once you cook it in a slow cooker for several hours. haha.
I also prefer putting the entire chunk of meat in the slow cooker whole, rather than cutting it into cubes first.  up to you.
Then add in the rest of the ingredients, then cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

Right before serving, slice up the chunk of meat into think slices, and serve it with the vegetables on the side.
I served it with a side of egg noodles and salad.