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Thursday, March 31, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

I haven't made a fritatta in a while, so I thought I would make one with some of the leftover turkey sausage and kale in my fridge. I added some onions and cherry tomatoes and topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese before putting in the broiler.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lentils and Sausage

Lentils and Sausage
From Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals
1 Cup lentils
4 Cups water
1 Fresh bay leaf
1 Small onion, peeled and halved
4 Large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Cup EVOO
8 Fresh turkey sausages, hot or sweet
1/4 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup cooked kale leaves, chopped

I was home sick watching Food Network one day, when I saw Rachel Ray prepare this dish. Her final product looked delicious, and I thought it would be a brilliant idea for using up the left over lentils in my pantry. In my version, I'm using sweet turkey sausage and kale. This meal really does take 30 minutes (maybe a little less), so it's a healthful yet satisfying weeknight dish.

Cover lentils with water in a pot, add the bay leaf and onion and bring to a boil. Boil lentils 20 to 22 minutes until just tender. In a serving bowl combine combine the garlic and EVOO and let stand for at least 15 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, place sausages in a small pan with 1/4-inch water and 2 TSP EVOO. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat to medium-high. Let the water simmer away (about 8 minutes), then crisp the casings 3 to 4 minutes more.

Remove bay and onion from lentils. Toss hot lentils with garlic oil, kale and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. I originally wanted to serve with thick slices of sausage, but since it kind of fell apart, I decided to crumble it. It may not be the prettiest dish of them all, but it's still tasty and comforting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Special Delivery

My co-worker who was vacationing in southern Spain and Morocco, was sweet enough to bring me back a souvenir today. This suspicious-looking package is actually a spice blend from a Moroccan market! We're not exactly sure what's in it, but there's definitely hints of coriander, cinnamon and cloves. If only scratch-and-sniff computers existed, because it smells unbelievable. Can't wait to use it for stews and grilled meats!

Blue Cheese Chopped Salad

Blue Cheese Chopped Salad
Adapted from Food & Wine
1 TBS very finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 TSP Dijon mustard
3 TBS sherry or white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 Cup EVOO
2 TBS Gorgonzola, crumbled
2 Romaine hearts, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 Fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
1/2 Cup shredded carrots
1/2 Pint cherry tomatoes
1 Fuji apple, dices
1/4 Cup walnuts, chopped

My steak dinner was delicious, but now what am I to do with the leftovers? A salad is a great vehicle for using up extra protein, but for my steak not any old salad was going to do. I thought this flavor-packed chopped salad from Food & Wine would be exceptional with slices of steak (keeping with the steak-blue cheese-onion theme here). The ingredients in the salad are totally interchangeable. They originally included avocado and cucumber, but I added tomatoes here. You can even swap out the apples for pears (any combo of blue cheese and pear is to die for), or walnuts for pecans. And the dressing has definitely become my new fave!

In a large bowl, whisk the shallots with the Dijon mustard and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until smooth. Add the cheese and combine until the dressing is creamy. Toss in the lettuce, fennel, carrots, tomatoes, apple and walnuts and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salad well to coat with the dressing. Top with warm slices of steak, or enjoy by itself!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hungry Yuppies' 100th Post!

Peppercorn-Crusted Steaks with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce and Crispy Onions
1 Large sirloin steak, 1-1/4 inch thick, cut into 4 pieces
Olive oil
1 TBS salt
1/8 Cup coarsely-ground black peppercorns
1/4 Cup Gorgonzola crumbles
1 TBS butter
1 Shallot, minced
1/2 Cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 Small onion, sliced into rings
1 TBS flour

Asparagus Salad
32 stalks small to medium-size green asparagus
2 lemons, juiced
2 TBS white wine vinegar
1 TSP honey
2 TBS smooth Dijon mustard
4 TBS olive oil

In celebration of the 100th blog post, I'm making an exceptionally classy meal! Throughout the past 99 posts I've tried to stay true to the Hungry Yuppies' mission - creating a great meal, regardless of long commutes and hectic schedules. There are so many more dishes I hope to create for this project, so here's to the next 100 posts!

In the past few months I have tried to challenge myself by experimenting with foods I have rarely or never cooked with before (it also helps keep dinner from getting boring). Cooking red meats used to be intimidating, but now I'm feeling confident enough to take on a luxe steak dinner. What could be better for a case of the MUNdays, than steak and Gorgonzola cheese? And now that it's officially spring, I can make this asparagus salad with Dijion vinaigrette from Alex Guarnaschelli. This dinner has a Saturday night feel, but it can certainly be whipped up anytime of the week with just a little extra time and effort.

Take steaks out of the fridge to bring to room temperature (about 30 minutes prior to cooking). Heat a small frying pan with olive oil. Lightly coat the onion rings in the flour. Fry the onions until they are brown and crispy. Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer immediately to an ice bath, then drain, making sure to dry the stalks before adding to the salad. To make the vinaigrette, combine vinegar, honey and mustard in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Toss with the cooled asparagus spears. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.

Once steaks are at room temperature, pat dry, then coat with with salt and crushed peppercorns. Heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add to the hot pan, then turn down the heat to medium. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side depending on desired done-ness. Let rest for at least 10 minutes.

While the steaks are resting, heat butter in a small sauce-pan and lightly saute the shallots. Add the cream and let reduce by half. Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in Gorgonzola. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, top each steak with the sauce, onions and fresh parsley. It's seriously decadent, but seriously delicious. And the salad is so tangy and fresh, I'm going to make this all spring long!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tofu Satay Stir-Fry

Satay Sauce
3 TBS reduced-fat smooth peanut butter
1/4 Cup light coconut milk
2 TSP fish sauce
2 TSP sambal sauce
1 TBS fresh lime juice
1 TBS agave nectar or honey
1 TSP garlic powder

Satay sauce for brushing
1 Package of Tofu, cubed
Cooking spray

Stir Fry
Cooking spray
1 Package of sliced shitake mushrooms
1 Red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 Package snow peas
Reserved satay sauce
1/2 Cup vegetable stock
1 Package soba noodles

Got a craving for something salty, sweet, tangy, and spicy? This satay sauce is the perfect fix. Using reduced-fat peanut butter and coconut milk makes this sauce diet friendly, but it still packs a punch of flavor with the fish and sambal sauces. Also try with grilled chicken or shrimp.

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Brush the tofu with the satay sauce, reserving the remaining sauce. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the tofu. Bake for 25 minutes. In the meantime, cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. heat a large skillet or wok with cooking spray. Add the vegetables and cook until they begin to soften. Stir in the satay sauce and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the noodles and the tofu, tossing to combine.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo Tacos
3 links of chorizo, sliced diagonally
1 Red bell pepper sliced thin
1/2 Onion, sliced thin
Corn tortillas
1 Avocado, cubed
Pineapple salsa
Green onions, sliced thin
Limes, for serving

It may be St. Patrick's Day, but I'm really not a huge fan of Irish fare. But I'm sure these chorizo tacos will taste just as yummy with a pint of Guinness. Serving with a fruity salsa (such as pineapple) compliments the spicy chorizo nicely. And for some green - I'm wrapping up these tacos up with green onions and avocado!

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray or oil. Add the chorizo, peppers and onions until cooked through and nice grill marks have formed. In the meantime, cube the avocado and set aside in a bowl (Drizzle with lime juice to prevent browning). Assemble each taco with the chorizo-veggie mix, avocado, green onions and salsa.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

It's pizza night again, and I'm making BBQ chicken pizza since I have tons of chicken left over from last night. Baked on a whole wheat crust with spicy BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, mozzarella and fresh green onions.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Welcome Back Spring Arugula Salad

For The Salad
1 Package of arugula
Goat cheese, crumbled
Dried cranberries
Grapefruit segments

For The Dressing
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1 TBS Dijon mustard
4-5 Chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

The days getting longer and the nights are getting a little warmer, so it's time to put away those heavy, calorie-laden comfort food recipes! This salad creation (which Rich likes to call his signature salad), is the perfect dish to welcome glorious spring weather.

For the dressing mix together the vinegar and mustard, slowly whisk in the oil until an emulsion forms. Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula, goat cheese, cranberries and grapefruit in a large bowl. Before serving, drizzle with the dressing, mixing together until coated. This is a greater starter or side dish, but you can make it a main course if you top with a protein like breaded chicken cutlets or grilled salmon. Tonight I'm serving with warm BBQ chicken breast.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Soup's On!

Minestrone Soup
1 Medium onion, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1 Celery stalk, diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Cups potatoes, cubed
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 Can crushed plum tomatoes
5 Cups of water
1 Can white beans
1 Cup frozen peas

I must say that one of my top favorite food writers is Mark Bittman. His simple, yet brilliant variations have always been a success in my kitchen. I always looked forward to The Minimalist and would immediately print (or cut out) the article for my recipe files, so I was sad learn about the end of his column in January. However, I came across Creamy, Brothy, Earthy Hearty on customizable soups last week in The New York Times (Check it out here), and just couldn't wait to give these (non) recipes a try while the weather is still cold. Here is my variation on a variation.

Sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add potatoes and salt and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and peas; simmer for 20 minutes. I served with some grated Parmesan cheese and thick slices of toasty 8-grain bread.

Italian Dinner Party

Pasta Bolognese
1/4 Cup EVOO
1 Medium onion, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Celery stalks, diced
1 Carrot, diced
1 LB ground beef
1 TSP crushed red pepper
1/2 Cup dry red wine
1 Cup dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated
28 OZ can San Marzano tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 Cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper
1 LB short pasta, such as pipe rigate
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

My mom always uses this bolognese recipe from Giada DeLaurentis, and it's now become one of my Italian go-to recipes. It's Perfect for entertaining, because not only does it feed a crowd, it's quick and easy too. You can build even more flavor with this versatile sauce by adding your own ingredients. I've added red wine and mushrooms to my sauce for more earthiness. Make some garlic crostini, toss-up a quick mixed green salad, open a couple of bottles of wine, and you have an instant party!

Rehydrate the mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When oil is almost smoking, add the onion and garlic. Saute for 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 4 minutes more. Add the beef, break up and large pieces. Cook until no longer pink (about 10 minutes). Stir in crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and basil. Simmer at medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until thickened. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. In the meantime, cook your pasta of choice until al dente. I chose pipe rigate, which is a shell-ziti hybrid. Serve with fresh grated cheese. Buon appetito!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Good Morning

There is a very popular and very good crêpe restaurant nearby, but it's very overpriced ( I won't name names). While it is nice for an occasional treat, I'm hanging out at Chez Hungry Yuppie this weekend. No dress code, no need to get in the car, and no waiting for a table!

Buckwheat crêpes with goat cheese, ham and scallions.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's For Dinner Tonight?

A much needed break from consuming short ribs, chicken thighs and steak all week long. Nothing like a tofu and veggie curry to help bring back some balance to your diet. Shitake mushrooms, bell pepper, snow peas and crispy tofu lightly sautéed in green curry paste and coconut milk. Served over udon noodles with cilantro, scallions and a squeeze of lime.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Tables Are Turned

I'm always cooking for Rich, so I told him that I wanted him to cook for me for a change this week. He naturally chose his best dish, the steak and cheese sandwich. Medium-rare steak, gooey melted American cheese on a toasted kaiser roll. Homemade is always much better than anything you can get in a sub shop.

Look at those presentation skills!

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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.