Sunday, September 25, 2016

Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad

Subscription boxes are all the rage now and goodness knows they have them for just about anything your heart desires (food, makeup, planners, pets, fitness, etc.)  One of my favorite subscription boxes is Hello Fresh, a weekly food subscription box that comes with all the ingredients for three recipes.

I've been a member of Hello Fresh for about a year. Each week they post six recipes and you can choose up to three recipes for delivery.  I must admit that when I'm working I really love this service.  I never feel like running to the grocery store after work and the Hello Fresh boxes give me a break, but also give me something fun to look forward to when I come home.

I was super excited when I heard that Hello Fresh partnered with an IHCC chef, Jamie Oliver. Now I can order a Jamie Oliver recipe each week and have it delivered right to my doorstep. This week was a particularly busy week with lots of running around and I did not have time to think about what I was making for my blog, much less go to the grocery. It was so nice when the ingredients and recipe came in the mail for Jamie's Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad.

Everything you need comes packaged in a cute little meal kit, the ingredients are fresh and delicious, and everyone usually raves about the food. This Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad was packing some major heat with a very fiery red chile, but the creamy tzatziki sauce helped to cool things down a bit. We loved mixing little bits of spicy meat with the lettuce and couscous and dipping it in the sauce. It was a fun meal that everyone loved!

Have you tried a food subscription box? If so, how was your experience?

Beef Kofte with Herby Couscous Salad
Recipe by Jamie Oliver 
courtesy of Hello Fresh
Serves 2

10 ounces ground beef
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 red onion
1/2 a cucumber
1 romaine heart lettuce
1 lemon
1 fresh red chile
1 bunch of fresh mint
4 ounces ripe grape tomatoes
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Fill a small pot with water, place over a high heat and bring to a boil

Meanwhile, pick the thyme leaves into a bowl, then add the beef, garam masala and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to combine, then with wet hands divide into 4 portions. One at a time, squeeze each portion in your fist so it forms a ridged oval shape.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat, then add the kofte and fry for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides, turning occasionally, then set the pan aside off the heat.

Meanwhile, place the couscous into a bowl, pour over 1 cup of the boiling water, cover with a plate and set aside.

Peel and coarsely grated the onion into a bowl. Halve the cucumber length ways, scoop out the seeds with a small spoon and discard then coarsely grate into the bowl.  Season well with salt and leave for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim and cut the lettuce into wedges, then arrange on a nice, wide platter.

Squeeze out the excess salty liquid from the cucumber and onion, then add half the lemon juice and a pinch of pepper.

Halves and seed the chili on a large cutting board, then pick over the leaves from 3 sprigs of mint. Finely chop it all together, mixing as you go. Fluff up the couscous with a fork, stir through 1 teaspoon of olive oil, the chili and mint mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop the tomatoes, then stir half through the couscous.

Pick and finely chop the remaining mint leaves, then place into a bowl with the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and mix well.
Spoon the couscous onto the salad and lay the warm koftes on top.  Scatter the rest of the tomatoes in and around the plate, then drizzle over the minty yogurt. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Jacques Pepin's Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style {French Onion Soup}


Awhile back I bought some soup bowls specifically made for serving French Onion Soup. I had intended to make the soup straight away, but every time I thought about it I envisioned standing in front of the chopping board with tears streaming down my cheeks. Now I love onions, especially when topped with crusty bread and lots of cheese, but I do not love continuously crying over mounds of onions. Never mind that it ruins my makeup.

Fast forward to today when I was planning on spending a lazy Sunday at home in my pajamas, no makeup necessary.  I decided it was time to blow out my Farmer's Market candle and get this house smelling like proper French Onion Soup.

Now if you love French Onion Soup then hear me when I say this recipe is total and complete perfection. In fact, it's easily one of my favorite recipes I've made since blogging almost 8 years ago! Why? Well, the French Onion Soup we've all come to know and love is so delicious because it is topped with that crusty bread and melted cheese. That crusty bread and melted cheese is easily the pièce de résistance.  Now, how do we improve on that? By adding more cheese and bread, of course! How about crusty bread and cheese on the bottom of the bowl and on top? Yum! What's more, Pepin makes this soup even more easy to eat by running the soup through a food mill to chop the onion into bits so that it fits on the spoon better. This means no juggling big rings of onion on your spoon while you spill broth everywhere. Score! Now we have a French Onion Soup worth crying over!

Onion Soup Lyonnaise-Style
Adapted from Essential Pepin
Serves 6-8

15-20 slices baguette, 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
8 cups homemade chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sweet port
Optional: sprinkling of Herbes de Provence, to taste

Note: This recipe can be halved quite easily. Also worth noting that I skipped adding the egg yolk and the port, although I'm quite sure it would be delicious.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside (Leave the oven on).

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and saute for 15 minutes, or until dark brown.

Add the stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Push the soup through a food mill, if desired.

Arrange one third of the toasted bread in the bottom of an ovenproof soup tureen or large casserole. Sprinkle with some of the cheese, then add the remaining bread and more cheese, saving enough to sprinkle over the top of the soup. Fill the tureen with the hot soup, sprinkle the reserved cheese on top, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a golden rust forms on top. 

Combine the yolks with the port in a deep soup plate and whip with a fork. With a ladle, make a hole in the top of the gratinee, pour in the port mixture, and fold into the soup with the ladle. Stir everything together, bring the soup to the table, and serve.

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen
Theme: Monthly Featured Chef: Jacques Pepin

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Fiery Habanero Salsa

Some dishes are all about the finishing touches. Peanut butter topping, chunks of peanut butter cups, and whip cream sure do jazz up a plain bowl of vanilla ice cream. A ladle of homemade marinara and a grating of Parmesan cheese transform a bowl of pasta into something comforting and delicious. Enchiladas are a feast for the eyes with a spoonful of salsa and a good sprinkling of cheese, scallions, cilantro and avocado. It's always those finishing touches that make our eyes light up in anticipation. Those few extra minutes spent fussing over your dish, usually at the last minute, are often the most pleasing to the eye and palate.

These Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Fiery Habanero Salsa are just that! They draw your eye in with all their finishing touches. Fiery Habanero Salsa? Yes, it is hot, but the potato and zucchini filling is mild and goes a long way in toning down the heat. Plus, don't forget the added cheese will also help to tone the heat down as well.

I really can't say enough good things about this dish. The salsa is perfection. It's perfect balance of flavors, especially if you love all things spicy! I can see myself making batches of this salsa just to have on hand. The potato and zucchini filling is somewhat creamy and oh so delicious. I had a hard time keeping my spoon out of the bowl. Overall this is a truly wonderful dish. One that I will most definitely make again.

Potato and Zucchini Enchiladas with Habanero Salsa
Adapted from Good Food, Good Life
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

3 ripe tomatoes (1-1/4 pounds total), cored
3 fresh Anaheim chiles (8 ounces total)
1/2 to1 habanero chile, seeded
7 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste 
10 fresh cilantro sprigs
3 garlic cloves, 1 whole (but peeled), 2 finely chopped
2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound total), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 zucchini,cut into 1/2-inch dice (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 white onion, finely diced (1 cup)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1 large or 2 small scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/3 sour cream
1 avocado diced

To make the salsa and filling, preheat the broiler.

Line a baking sheet with foil and put the tomatoes and chiles on it. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil over the tomatoes and chiles and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil, turning as needed, until the tomatoes and chiles are tender and their skins have charred, about 10 minutes for the habanero, 15 minutes for the chiles, and 20 minutes for the tomatoes. When the chiles are done, transfer them to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until cool enough to handle. When the habanero and tomatoes are done, transfer to a plate and let cool slightly, Peel, seed, and coarsely chop the chiles; set aside.

Meanwhile, remove the leaves from the cilantro and place the stems in a blender. Coarsely chop the leaves and reserve in a medium bowl. Add the whole garlic clove, the broiled tomatoes, habanero, and any accumulated juices to the blender and blend until smooth. Season the salsa to taste with salt. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy nonstock skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then add the potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are beginning to soften. add the zucchini, onion, and the chopped garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the chopped chiles and 1/4 cup of the salsa and season to taste with salt. Set aside to cool.

To assemble the enchiladas, preheat the oven to 450F. Line a small baking sheet with paper towels.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla to the pan and cook for about 20 seconds per side, or until just pliable. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla to the paper towel lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, layering them between paper towels.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the potato mixture over the bottom third of one tortilla, then roll up, and place seam side down in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.

Bake the enchiladas, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or just until heated through. Reheat the remaining salsa.

Drizzle about 2/3 cup of the remaining salsa over the enchiladas, then sprinkle the cheese, scallions and reserved cilantro leaves over the top. Serve with sour cream and avocado and pass remaining salsa at the table to spoon onto plates when serving.

Theme: Finishing Touches!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Kimchi Fried Rice

I love cabbage, as well as all things spicy, so I always figured I would love kimchi. Trouble was I  couldn't seem to source it locally. This sourcing issue went on for some time until one day (years down the road) I wandered into a Whole Foods and in one of those hallelujah moments happened to spot a jar.

The first recipe I couldn't wait to try was Curtis Stone's Kimchi Fried Rice. I just knew I would absolutely love it! Visions of eating kimchi fried rice on the regular were running through my mind while I was prepping the ingredients. In fact, my mind must've ran away from me completely because I failed to drain the kimchi, producing less than desirable results.

The whole point to using leftover white rice is because the leftover rice is somewhat dried out and therefore stays nice and fluffy when fried. Being in LaLaLand and pouring kimchi juice over the rice really changes the overall texture of the dish. Acknowledging the texture of the dish was ruined, I was still feeling very positive that I would enjoy the flavor of the kimchi. Imagine my surprise when I did not. Don't you kinda hate that? Those times when you just know you're going to love something and then you just don't?

I'm not ready to say I don't like kimchi. In fact, I'm convinced I just had a bad experience and I'd like to give it another try one day. So please share your thoughts. Do you like kimchi? Is there a certain brand you buy? A certain recipe you follow?

Kimchi Fried Rice
Adapted from What's For Dinner?
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

10 scallions
6 tablespoons canola oil
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups cold Perfect Rice (see below)
3 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1-1/2 cups napa cabbage kimchi, drained and very coarsely chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1-1/2 teaspoons black and/or white sesame seeds, toasted
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for serving

Cut the dark green tops of the scallions on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.  Finely chop the white and pale green parts. Reserve one-fourth of the dark green scallion tops for garnish.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil and tilt to coat the cooking surface. Add the eggs and quickly stir for about 30 seconds, or until just cooked but still wet. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup canola oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the rice and cook, allowing the rice to become slightly crisp on the bottom of the wok before stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until heated through. Add the carrots and stir for about 1 minute, or until beginning to soften. Stir in the kimchi, followed by the scallions (both tops and bottoms), and stir for about 2 minutes, or until heated through. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the eggs and season to taste with salt.

Transfer the rice to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the reserved scallions. Serve hot, with the hot sauce.