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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moroccan-Style Couscous With Tofu

Moroccan-Style Couscous With Tofu
Packaged curried couscous, such as Near East brand
Handful of golden raisins
1 Package of extra firm tofu
1 Japanese eggplant
1 Zucchini
1 Small sweet onion
Salt and pepper
Juice of one lemon

I like to eat vegetarian at least a few days out of the week, it makes me feel healthier. I'm also a tofu nut-it's so easy to cook and so versatile. If I don't have any meat in the fridge, I know I can always pick up a package in Grand Central Market with some vegetables to whip up a quick dinner. Since there are so many possibilities, sometimes it can be hard to decide what to make it with. Luckily, I stumbled upon a recipe that uses package curried couscous, and I just so happen to have a box on hand. So that gave me the idea to grill the tofu and some veggies to top the couscous. The recipe calls for currants, but I have golden raisins which also pair well with Moroccan dishes. I prepare the couscous according to package directions and add the raisins as it steams. It's a great alternative to making pasta or rice, since it only takes minutes to cook. I slice zucchini, eggplant, onions, and tofu length wise and season with olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and cilantro. I squeeze the living daylights out of my tofu (i.e. I wrap in paper towels and squish between two plates weighted with a can) so it browns nicely and doesn't fall apart while cooking. I spoon the couscous into a bowl and top with the grilled tofu and vegetable slices and garnish with more cilantro.

Easiest. Dinner. Ever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Grilled Chicken BBQ Pizza

Grilled Chicken BBQ Pizza
Pizza dough
Bottled BBQ sauce
Grilled chicken strips
Red Onions
Serrano chilies (if you dare)
Smoked mozzarella
Green Onions

It's pizza night again, and tonight we're going to go a little crazy and make a BBQ chicken pizza. It's so good, you will never go to California Pizza Kitchen again! I had a ton of chicken in the freezer, so I decided to grill all of it with some lemon, salt, and pepper and use some for my pizza. For my toppings I'm using caramelized red onions, chilies, green onions, and smoked mozzarella. Any old BBQ sauce will do, but I prefer something less sweet like Annie's Organic Original BBQ Sauce. Some other great topping ideas would be jalapeno peppers, pineapples, diced tomatoes or avocado if you're really bold (my old roommate once put avocado on a pizza, and it wasn't half bad)! The smoked mozzarella is a must if you can find it, it smells like a wood fire and makes the pizza so unique.

Korean Grilled Beef Lettuce Wraps

Korean Grilled Beef
1 1/2 pounds rib-eye or other well-marbled steak
1/4 cup soy sauce
11/2 tablespoons unrefined sugar
1/3 cup stout or porter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 Asian pear, peeled and grated

For Serving:
Cooked sushi rice
Large lettuce leaves
Chopped scallions
Cucumbers, thinly sliced and marinated briefly with seasoned rice vinegar and chili flakes
Sriracha or other chili sauce

I've been making a lot of Italian food lately, and needed to switch things up. I was thrilled to find a new recipe while flipping through the NY Times Magazine that wasn't stir-fry or noodles! I also don't make a lot of steak, so I thought I would give this a try.

I soaked the sushi rice for 30 minutes before hand, and while I fired that up, I threw the steak in the freezer for a few minutes while I put together the marinade. Mince the garlic, scallions and the pear finely add in a bowl with the soy sauce, honey, pepper, and sugar. The recipe calls for sesame oil, but I just had hot sesame oil to make it nice and spicy. Since it was Sunday and couldn't buy the porter at Whole Foods, I had to leave that out. I took the steak out of the freezer and sliced into 1/4 inch slices and let it sit in the marinade for half and hour or so (putting it in the freezer made it easier to slice). The recipe calls for rib-eye, which is a fatty piece of meat. I think next time I would use a flank steak instead.

The rice is ready and the grill is heating up, so it's time to get all the fixins ready. I sliced some cucumbers really thin and marinated in rice wine vinegar and chili flakes (FYI, this would also be a great side dish). I also sliced the extra scallions and picked some cilantro leaves, and you can't forget the sriracha sauce. You can also add shredded carrots, radishes, hot chilies, the possibilities are endless. I couldn't find Boston lettuce, so I just used green lettuce and left the leaves whole. I put everything in separate bowls so we could just add whatever we wanted to our wraps. The steak took about five minutes to cook, and it's time to eat!

Oops, by the time we devoured everything we realized we forgot to take a picture of our beautiful spread! I know I will be making this again, so next time!

P.S. This marinade would also be great with chicken or shrimp!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pasta "Bake"

Chicken Sausage, Asparagus and Pea Pasta "Bake"
1 box penne pasta
1 pound chicken sausages (I'm using sweet Italian)
1 cup asparagus spears cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
Handful fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Today I scoured the Internet for a Rachel Ray pasta recipe I remember making a long time ago, which she calls a "fake bake." It has all the fixings for baked pasta, but no oven required! The recipe is easy and delicious, but I'm going to put my own spin on it this time around. I'm going to use penne pasta instead of rigatoni (rotini pasta would be good here too), leftover asparagus and peas instead of peppers, and I'm going to leave out the tomatoes and make it a white pasta. We just joined a wine club, so I'm excited to cook with one of the Pinot Grigio's!

Start boiling the pasta water. In the meantime heat olive oil in a skillet and brown the sausage until crisp at the edges. Add the garlic, asparagus and peas and season with salt and pepper. Cook together until veggies soften and garlic browns. Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice. Bring to a bubble, reduce heat to low. Once pasta is al dente, drain and return to the warm pot. Add the Parmesan and ricotta cheeses, basil and combine. To serve layer the meat and veggies with the pasta mixture and top with more Parmesan cheese.

You can also throw into a baking dish and put under the broiler for a minute or two, but I think it's yummy just the way it is!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chicken alla Puttanesca

Puttanesca Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28.2-ounce can of tomatoes
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

I've never had puttanesca sauce before, so I wanted to give it a try. The sauce didn't appeal to me because of the anchovies, but after trying them for the first time I realized they're not so bad after all. If you're brave, give them a try-no matter how creepy they may look in those jars. This recipe also calls for kalamata olives, but since I don't have them on hand I'm going to leave those out for this time around. Now pasta would be the obvious accompaniment with this sauce, but since it's bikini season we're going to try go easy on the carbs (most nights at least). I'm going to serve this up with some sautéed chicken breast and broccoli rabe (OK, maybe some garlic bread too).

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes with puree, anchovies, capers, oregano, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. I had cooked the chicken the night before, so I just heated it up in the sauce while I cooked the broccoli rabe and Rich made the garlic bread. Top off with some fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.

I'll be making this sauce all summer long, and I can't wait to try with pasta and seafood!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Roasted Balsamic Veggie Salad

Roasted Balsamic Vegetables with Fresh Mozzarella
1 Red bell pepper cut into chunks
1 Small squash sliced cross wise
1 Fennel bulb quartered
2 Garlic cloves chopped
Balsamic vinegar (We used a port wine vinegar which is good if you can find it)
Fresh Mozzarella cut into chunks

It was just one of those nights when we had really random items in our fridge that needed to be consumed: $10 worth of fresh mozzarella, bell peppers, fennel, squash, chicken. What the hell are we going to make from this? You can't go wrong with roasting vegetables, and I'm thinking I can make some sort of salad out of them and incorporate the mozzarella. I tossed the garlic and veggies in EVOO and balsamic on a cookie sheet and roasted for about 25-30 min at 475. I let cool while I grilled up some chicken marinated in garlic, EVOO and balsamic. Once the chicken was done, I added the mozzarella to my cooled veggies for my "salad." Rich and I gobbled it up! Not bad for on the spot improvising. The fennel, which usually has a very strong flavor, was sweet and caramelized. If you're not a fan, you can pretty much use any vegetable for this dish. The mozzarella added some creaminess, but you can surely substitue feta or goat cheeses. Since we descended on this meal like vultures, we didn't take any pictures first!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Banana Muffins
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp espresso or strong coffee (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake
2 Large eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed(1.25 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
21/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts(optional)
1 cup chocolate chips

Keeping bananas can be a pain. They're green when you buy them at the grocery store, and before you can finish the bunch they're black mush! We bought way too many bananas last week, so now we have 10 decaying bananas in our pantry. You know what that means? Banana bread time, of course!

It's been a while since I've made muffins, so I'm giving a new banana muffin recipe with espresso a whirl, but it only calls for 3-4 bananas. So what to do with the rest? My mom reminded me of a tasty banana chocolate chip cake she makes that's sooo good. So I'm doing bananas two ways-for breakfast AND dessert! Making two different confections in one night (while putting dinner together) won't be easy, and will require major multi-tasking!

First the muffins:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt butter. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
3. Mix in the sugar, egg, espresso and vanilla.
4. Add the baking soda and salt to the mixture.
5. Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated.
6. Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Then the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
3. Add eggs,bananas,sour cream, vanilla
4. Whisk together flour ,baking powder,baking soda, and salt in medium bowl
5. Add flour mixture to sour cream mixture
6. Stir in chocolate chips
7. Pour into greased baking pan
8. Bake 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Eggs Benedict

Easy Hollandaise Sauce
3 Egg yolks
1 Tbs lemon juice
10 Tbs unsalted butter

I love breakfast and brunch foods. I could probably eat eggs 24/7. Week days are usually hectic, so the weekend is when I can go really crazy and make something special. Eggs benedict seems so fancy and difficult to make, but after tackling this dish I don't think we will ever have to go out for brunch ever again! I found a recipe for blender hollandaise sauce, which seemed to be the easiest. I melted the butter slowly, while I added the egg yolks and lemon juice into the blender (I used salted butter, so I left out the extra salt). I blended the yolks and lemon for 30 seconds until they become frothy and light yellow. Then you slowly add the melted butter on low speed until everything was combined, the heat from the blender and the melted butter cooks the yolks. Voila! I let the sauce sit in a warm spot while I poached the eggs and cooked up the remaining turkey bacon from pizza night. I toasted some whole wheat English muffins and topped them with the bacon, eggs and the hollandaise. We served up some fresh berries with whole milk on the side. It's going to be really hard not to indulge in this every weekend!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lemon-Tarragon Chicken Kebabs and Summery Sides

The Kebabs
Bamboo skewers
Chicken breast (cut into large chunks)
Juice from one lemon (or half, depending on how many you're making)
Fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper

Corn on the Cob With Tarragon
Corn on the cob
Chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

Romaine and Radish Salad With Creamy Parm Dressing
Romaine hearts, chopped
Radishes, quartered
1/4 cup EVOO
1/8 cup Sour cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 TBS White wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

I spent most of the morning at my office computer browsing the usual cooking sites. It's a nice, relaxing way to ease into the work day after a long weekend. Chicken was on the menu tonight, but how to prepare it was the question. It was a hot and humid day, so something seasonal was in order. So many endless possibilities when it comes to chicken. I have been using our grill pan a lot lately (sadly we have no outdoor grill, sigh), so I decided on kebabs instead of the usual grilled chicken breast. I am inspired by a corn dish from Real Simple, Corn on the Cob with Tarragon. Corn on the cob! There is nothing more summery than that! Tarragon does go well with chicken. I also found a salad recipe with arugula, radishes, fennel, and green beans with a creamy dressing (I am currently obsessed with radishes, though I never really liked them before. Maybe just a newly acquired taste that has developed). I'm excited, I think this is going to be delish.

I make my shopping list before heading out of the office to Grand Central Market. It's become my go-to spot to pick up fresh veggies and other goodies. It's always packed though, and a gamble because they don't always have what I need. And alas, no arugula and no green beans! Time to improvise. I grab some romaine and radishes to make my salad.

I make it home with my bag of groceries and get to work. I slide the chicken chunks onto the skewers and marinate in the lemon, tarragon and salt and pepper while I wait for the boil water for the corn. I whisk the EVOO, sour cream, cheese, vinegar and S&P for the dressing and get the romaine ready. I throw the skewers on our grill pan while I chop up some more tarragon for the corn and quarter the radishes. The chicken is taking a long time to cook, and we're both starving, so I through the chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes. It's perfectly done; time to put everything together! I coat the cooked corn cobs in some EVOO, S&P, and the chopped tarragon. I slice some big 'ole pieces of eight-grain bread. Top the romaine and radishes with the dressing. Pour some wine. Yum!

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About Me

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.