December 3, 2009

Fish Tacos with Chipotle Mayo and Rice and Beans

I made these fish tacos once over the summer when I was cooking for my family most nights with the condition that my Mom did the dishes, they were a hit with my family so I figured I'd try it again. I mostly used the recipe found here with a few adjustments. The only really notable adjustment is a revamp of the chipotle mayo and the addition of avocado slices to the taco. I also just realized from reading the title of the recipe I used that it may have been confused as to which sauce to mix with the slaw; I used the Chipotle Mayo, but I may try the Cumin Honey Lime sauce next time. We served the tacos with Saffron Rice (it came in a packet and we prepared it in the microwave) and Black Beans. Ruby made the black beans with some coaching, and I think they came out well, especially considering it was both of our first time making beans.

Chipotle Mayo
2 chipotles in adobo sauce (can substitute chipotle powder)
1/2 an avocado
zest and juice of 1 lime
a few dashes Frank's Red Hot
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. It came out pretty spicy, a little much for my minimal to zero spice tolerance, but Ruby really really liked it.

Black Beans
olive oil
1 can black beans, slightly drained
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup water

Saute onions and garlic in oil until soft and lightly colored. Add in the rest of the ingredients (spice measurements are approximated). Stir and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes or until they reach a consistency a little on the wet side of familiar.

December 2, 2009

Hi, I'm Jenna

I just wanted to introduce myself a little and explain how Becca's blog became Becca and Jenna's blog. Becca is my sorority big sister, and food is one of the many things we bond over, so we're sharing this blog and taking it bi-coastal. I'm living and working in Cambridge, MA. I cook for myself and my roommate, Ruby. Ruby has one specialty (sweet noodles with cottage cheese) but otherwise doesn't cook much. I am slowly teaching her things, but I like our arrangement because she does the dishes. The other interesting detail of my culinary situation, is that I cook and eat kosher. This won't be that different from any other food blog, there just won't be any pork or shellfish recipes, and recipes with meat or poultry won't also contain milk or dairy products and vice versa. If anyone actually cares I can give a Kosher lesson or FAQ later, but it's really nbd. I asked Becca to be a contributor to potentially motivate myself to cook better and more often, so let's hope that works out. This first week is going pretty well, but I don't think I'll keep posting daily. I'll work on cutting back my entries so that they are reasonable and readable. Also, I know Becca cooked a lot for Thanksgiving, and I am calling her out, you better post those up soon!

Pasta with Chunky Tuna Tomato Sauce and Green Leaf Salad

Tonight's Dinner was also the product of the empty refrigerator and my quest for protein. I ended up going food shopping on my way home because we needed capers for the sauce, and I'm glad I got them. It was at the grocery store that I found the green leaf lettuce, which I recently realized I really like because it's lettuce, but it actually tastes like lettuce. The Lemon Vinaigrette was due to the fact that I was using zest in the sauce and needed to do something with the juice. You can leave a zest-less lemon in the fridge, but it gets pretty unhappy pretty quickly. I added dill to Becca's vinaigrette recipe, because I'm a sucker for dill, no, I really just overuse it. I was a big fan of the Tomato Sauce and I'm looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch. Ruby, who is working on her food critique skills for your reading pleasure, says: Everything was delicious, the flavors blended really well.

Chunky Tuna Tomato Sauce

Olive Oil- a few turns of the pan
a pinch Dried Rosemary
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 heaping TBSP capers, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
zest of one lemon
1 can tuna
1/2 jar marinara sauce
parmesan for "garnish"
cooked pasta, I used rotini

In a small saucepan heat the oil and rosemary (rub it in your palm to bring out the flavor). Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft. I actually added some water put the lid on the pan so the veggies would soften without burning. You can let the veggies brown a little bit once soft. Then add the sauce, the lemon zest, the capers and the tuna. Stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes for flavors to meld. Mix with cooked pasta and sprinkle generously with grated parmesan. I forgot to do this but adding some reserved pasta water would probably make the sauce stick and mix a little better.

Green Leaf Salad
Green Leaf Lettuce
Dried Cranberries
Dried Apricots, chopped
Becca's Lemon Vinaigrette + Dill

The dried fruit was really good with the lemon vinaigrette, I think it might even be good if you have the time to soak the fruit in the vinaigrette before putting it over the lettuce.

December 1, 2009

Egg Sandwiches and Roasted Carrots

I'm Jenna, I'll introduce myself properly soon. I'm not yet as blog-savvy as Becca, but here is my first post:

So after the leftovers bonanza that cleaned out our fridge pre-thanksgiving break, I was left with very little to work with for tonight's dinner and very little motivation to actually drag my butt to the grocery store. So at work I got to thinking about what to make (something I do most days). I knew I had some homemade pesto in the freezer, but also wanted to include some form of protein because we don't get much. I landed on egg sandwiches which I would model on one I had at Toscanini's the one time I went there for brunch (with Becca), a fried egg sandwich with spinach pesto, caramelized onions, and feta. After spending a few hours searching for a place to buy some good (hopefully sourdough, yum) sandwich bread on my very short commute home, I gave up and opted on using the pita in my fridge. The rest just came to me as I was cooking, and probably a little as I remembered the Tosci's sandwich. The carrots were also the only vegetable in my fridge, and my roommate really likes cooked carrots, and I like to hook her up with things she likes to eat where I can.

Also, sorry for the lame picture, I asked Becca to let me contribute after we finished eating, so all I have to show is the leftover carrots. I promise to take better pictures in the future, because nobody likes a cookbook without pictures.

4 eggs
2 pitas
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
balsamic vinegar
pesto ("recipe" below)
cooking spray
cheese (I used the little bit of monterey jack I had)

Cut pitas in half and place on baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with S+P. It's important to cut it before toasting, because trying to slice toasted pita just results in a lot of unnecessary crumbling. Toast in oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 minutes, just keep an eye on it as you cook everything else.
Spray a skillet or saute pan with some cooking spray and then melt some butter in the pan too (I like cooking with butter and oil together, after I saw Julie and Julia I realized how deeply devoid of butter my life and cooking were). Add the shallot slices and saute for about 2 minutes, I then added some balsamic to help along the caramelization, I added a generous splash, which I thought was too much but it turned out fine. Continue to saute for 2-3 minutes or until they look soft and caramel and yummy.
In the meantime I had taken the pita out of the oven and sprinkled one half of each sandwich with some shredded jack, there was not much left in the bag so the retained heat of the bread and the shallots which I put directly on top of the cheese was enough to melt it, plus I forgot to put the cheese on before toasting the bread. I defrosted the pesto and spread it on the other half of each sandwich.
(My roommate and) I have a strong preference for scrambled eggs, so I haven't spent much time perfecting my other egg preparation method techniques. Beat the 4 eggs with a splash of milk and some S+P, then scramble in a pan sprayed and heated with both cooking spray and butter. I like my eggs light and fluffy so I let them sit in the pan for a minute before stirring then I start bringing in the edges as the cook and then keep it moving till everything looks cooked. Then I take it out of the pan as quickly as possible to prevent well done eggs. I put half of the eggs on top of the shallots in each sandwich, sprinkled them with some more S+P (I like it in and on my eggs) and closed the sandwiches with the pesto'ed top.

A little drippy (potentially from the milk in the eggs or the loose pesto) but pretty delicious. And my always very kind and complimentary roommate, Ruby, says they were very good.

Roasted Carrots

half a bag of baby carrots, halved lengthwise
3 scallions, halved lengthwise then chopped
olive oil
juice of one lemon
chopped parsley

Place halved carrots and chopped scallions in a pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with S+P and a little bit of sugar. Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
When the carrots look nicely roasted squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle chopped parsley over them and toss.

Next time I think I would go with the roasty scallion flavor (as the scallions cook and "brown" a lot faster than the carrots) OR the fresh lemon parsley flavor, but they were still yummy.
Ruby says: I really liked the carrots.

garlic cloves
toasted walnuts
parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil

As you will probably learn (and despise me for), I'm like a grandma from the old country when it comes to measurements, I don't record them or pay attention to them, ever. I have no excuse, my grandmothers are both American, but I will try to work on including measurements.

Pulse to rough chop basil leaves in a food processor (mine is mini), add garlic and chop fine, add nuts and drizzle in olive oil if you can. I can't because the holes on my processor lid are too small, so I just pour it in in increments until the sauce comes together. I add the cheese last because I saw someone do it that way once but it doesn't matter. Honestly, I'm sure you could just throw everything in at once and blend it up.