Sunday, February 28, 2010

Now I'm No Food Critic....

Since I started cooking more regularly, I have become quite the food critic whenever we go out. We live in an area of town that's pretty heavily occupied by non-chain restaurants. Can't find a Sizzler or Olive Garden for miles. I find that to be pretty uncommon in this city and for that I'm a lucky girl. From cash-only under $10 Thai food to $18 breakfast plates.

Sunday's are my "me" day (I work a 40+ hour work week, am in the middle of starting my own business and I like to cook at least 4 nights out of the week, I can be exhausting.). I want to brunch, lunch, drink a mimosa or 12 and attempt to relax a little. This morning my darlings Jason and Andy scooped me up and we headed to a neighborhood favorite of mine, Reservoir I had never been there for brunch, but I do know that their dinner is D E L I S H, and the place is just adorable. Jason got the breakfast pizza (intrigued? I would be too.), Andy went with the veg scramble and I decided on 2 poached eggs with asparagus, fancy bacon on top and corn fritters. I always find myself saying "I can do this myself!" when I go to eat. It makes it really hard to eat out, when I know I could do the same thing at home for much less and most times better- I swear I'm not tooting my own horn here (toot toot). This time? Not so much. I could probably pull off Andy's veggie scramble, but mine and Jason's dishes were nothing short of a masterpiece. Presentation really goes a long way and boy do they present.

My only, yes only, gripe is that the portions are on the smaller side (I'm saying this as I took home half my meal). To give myself a little credit, I was half way full on champagne and coffee by the time it got to me. I also have to remember that usually when I go out to eat my lovely company is a 6'2 very hungry guy that could eat my weight in just about anything.

So, if you're on my side of town you gotta check this place out. Speaking of which they are having their 1 year celebration on Thursday "FREE WINE" is the only thing I remember from the flyer. Is that bad?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lemon Zing(er)

These tasty little gems are the perfect treat for after dinner, especially if you're having a couple of friends over. I assume you could make it in one dish, but what's the fun in that? You will need:

2 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

Finely shredded zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 2/3 cups (12 oz.) blueberries, divided

Powdered sugar
Heat your oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg YOLKS and granulated sugar. *make sure to hang on to your egg whites*
(You might see that I'm using more of things in photos- I was making 8 and the recipe calls for 6). After mixing yolks and sugar, whisk in flour, lemon zest/juice and milk until blended.
Zesting can be a real bitch! (sorry Mom)
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until egg whites are stiff and hold still. If you're one of the lucky ones that has a mixer this will be an easy task for you. I, on the other hand, had to ask Ryan to help because my muscles aren't big enough to beat egg whites that much. Yikes.
Fold whites into mixture until blended. Add half blueberries.
Spoon batter into ramekins. Place ramekins in a baking pan (not sheet) and pour enough hot tap water in baking pan so that the water comes up 1" onto ramekins.
Bake until cake layers are set and top is golden. 30-35 minutes. Remove from water and let cool atleast 30 minutes before serving. Serve with extra berries on top and dusted powdered sugar. Tip- if you want the pudding part on the bottom to be a bit stiffer cook them closer to the 35 minute range. I took mine out at 30 and wish I left them in just a tad longer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Crazy Girl's Dream

Ryan's extended family Patty and George were in town over the weekend for a seminar. They are absolutely lovely people, and we wanted to make sure to spend some time with them prior to their departure. Ryan was chatting on the phone with Patty trying to make plans for the following evening when I blurted "I'LL COOK!". Immediately I went to my cookbooks to start on a menu. I really love entertaining. I think it's so fun to create a menu based around the people who are coming and what's in season. There's something so much more intimate and special about having good friends and family over for a home cooked meal, great wine and delicious desserts. The fact that I thrive on cooking for 8+ people at once might sound a little nuts. Did I mention I refuse to let anyone help me? I have about 25 things going on at once and want it all to go smoothly. I have never (knock on wood) had a dinner party that was a complete failure so hopefully I can keep it up. On Monday evening I cooked for 6 and here's the menu:

Spicy beef cross-rib roast with carmelized clementine sauce
Roasted fingerling potatoes with dill
Garlic roasted brussel sprouts
Blueberry lemon pudding cakes

My recipes for this will go into 3 installments. First we'll chat about the beef, then the sides and last but most certainly not least, the dessert.

I started cooking at 3pm that day. My (like how I call it mine? Ryan has a music room that's all for himself so I guess we're even, right?)  kitchen looks onto our backyard- so this is my view:

Not bad, huh? Gotta give credit where credit is due, when we moved in the entire backyard was covered in leaves and mr. green-thumb over here has turned into this gem. Anywho, back to the beef.

You will need:
2.5 lbs clementines *I used tangerines because I couldn't find any clementines...I asked my mom, she said they taste the same.
1-2 tsp crushed red chile flakes
3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger *Because of the side dishes I chose I didn't use the ginger. It would make the beef too Chinese orange-peel for my liking. I will try it again with the ginger for an Asian based meal.
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp veg oil
1 boned beef cross-rib tied with kitchen twine like a roast
6 tbsp brown sugar
6 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dry cooking sherry
3 green onions cut into 2" matchsticks

So first you wanna tie your meat, unless you had the butcher do it. Being the DIY gal I am, I did it myself. That and the woman behind the butcher counter didnt speak a ton of English.
 Preheat oven to 450. Finely shred zest from 2 large clementines (tangerines). In a food processer/in my kitchen a fork, combine zest, chile flakes, ginger, garlic and soy. I used the brilliant slap chop to mince my garlic:
Put meat in a roasting pan, rub chile mixture onto beef and roast until browned- 20-25 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 and cook until meat is to 90 degrees, or about 20 minutes.

. Juice remaining clementines (about 2 cups). I think I need a juicer, what do you think?
Bring a large sauce pan of water to boil. Add clementine peels and boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Scrape out all pul and cut peels into small strips. Combine soy sauce, strips, sugar, sherry and 2/3 cup clementine juice.

. When meat is to 90, pour mixture around it. Cook, stirring sauce occasionally, until meat reaches 130 degrees for medium-rare, or 30-40 minutes. As pan juices begin to carmelize, stir in a few more tbsp juice to prevent scorching.
Transfer beef to a cutting board and let rest, tented loosely with foil, for 15 minutes. Pour remaining juice into roasting pan, set pan over high heat and cook stirring often for about 7 minutes. This will thicken the sauce and carmelize it. Serve meat with sauce and green onions.

I know this was a long post, so sorry, I won't be such a Chatty Cathy all the time!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cobbler Cobley Cobweb Cobblestone

 My last name is Cobley, and ever since I was a kid people thought it was hi-larious (and witty) to call me peach cobbler, apple cobbler, cobweb, cobblestone...the list is endless. So, as I was making one of my favorite desserts last night I couldn't help but recall my "nicknames." It would go something like this "Hey Sarah, has anyone ever called you peach cobbler? Hahahaha isn't that so funny?" No, no one has ever called me that, you're so creative. Enough about my nicknames and onto the treats!

You will need:

6 ripe peaches (I used white peaches cuz I think they're more delicious)
2 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen cuz it was gonna be $10 for 2 cups)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon instant tapioca
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Slice peaches along seam and into 3 wedges per side. My first mishap of the night was learning the hard way how sensitive white peaches are. I bought these on Wednesday and today 3 out of my 7 were rotten. PERFECT! Luckily I had 2 large apples and improvised with those.

Coat fruit mixture with 1 cup sugar and tapioca. I also used a bit less sugar because it seemed to be a little TOO sweet for my liking last time I made this with the full cup on the fruit. Especially using white peaches, as those are sweeter than regular.

Cobbler top:
Mix together flour, rest of sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Rub in 2 tablespoons of butter into mixture. (Thank you to Ryan for photographing me doing this considering my hands were covered in butter)
After the pieces are full blended take the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and rub in with your fingers again.
The mixture should have little balls of butter after this process. Now pour in heavy cream and egg. This should create a shaggy (yes the recipe said that) loose dough. Take large heaping spoonfuls and lay over fruit.
Bake at 375 for about an hour. After about 45 minutes check on it because mine was done at about 50 minutes. I think my oven temp is a little off though, oh well.
We ate it on its own, no ice cream. It was really good with the apples- apples take longer to cook so it added a little crisp to the dish. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's good for your heart!

This weekend my dear friends Nikki & Jordan came to visit. I cooked once (I was a big hungover) and wish I had done more. Just a simple goat cheese and pancetta frittata with some potatoes for breakfast. Tonight I really was missin' my kitchen so I wanted to make something quick and delish. I didn't take pictures because I didn't think it was NTYB worthy but I do surprise myself sometimes!

I made salmon filets with green beans with a brown butter sauce (on a bed of multi grain pasta)..

You will need:

2-4 salmon filets
5 tablespoons of butter - I know, I know....I watched Julie & Julia last night...I'm all about butter. *PS- I am doing an ode to Ms. Child later this week*
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Fresh green beans
A lot of stove top space.

First heat up 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Season filets with salt & pepper and place in skillet. Heat until they are opaque all the way through.
At the same time boil 2 cups water in a deep skillet and add beans. Cover for about 5 minutes until steamed.
ALSO at the same time boil water for pasta- or whatever grain you would like. Cook pasta according to package.
Once everything under the sun/green beans,pasta and filets are done move to a plate. Use same skillet as green beans and heat up 4 tablespoons of butter. Add almonds. Heat until it is at a slight boil and turned into a carmel color. Any darker and the butter will burn and be super gross. Drizzle the sauce over salmon & green beans.

Salmon is super good for your ticker. I realize that butter isn't, so did I just cancel that out? Oh was delicious!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Operation Spicy Pork

Asian cuisine is not my strong suit. Since going to the market last week it has been my goal to complete at least one Asian dish succesfully. So I chose this one:

Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons chilli-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
kosher salt & pepper
2.5 lbs pork shoulder (I used 1.5 lbs)
1 cup long grain white rice - sticky rice recipe to follow
1 medium head bok choy
2 scallions, sliced

In a 4-6 quart slow cookier, combine soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, 5 spice powder, salt and pepper.

Add pork and toss until covered.
If I can give any advice for those of you using this recipe. If you're a weenie like me and can't handle too much spice only put 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce in. I may or may not have used 2 tablespoons and it was a liiiiiitttlllleeee too spicy for me but still delish.

Anywho. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5.

25 minutes before serving prepare rice. I used sticky rice- use white rice that is high in startch and cook as package directs then add a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of white rice vinegar Perfect!

Chop bok choy and scallions.
Fold in bok choy (I decided to used baby bok choy- fun fact- the smaller the bok choy the more tender it is) and cover cooked until it is heated through.

Serve with rice and sprinkle with scallions.

This is DELICIOUS and is the best part is you can throw it all into the slow cooker then go to work, run errands, do whatever...come back do 20 minutes of prep and you have dinner! Yippee!