When you mix an athlete, a nerd, beer, and good ingredients this is what you get.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Steak Tip Skewers and Spinach Salad

A quick, simple, and delicious dinner we put together last week. 

Steak tips marinated in Worcestershire, garlic, soy, Sriracha, salt, pepper. Red onion and cherry tomatoes accompanied them on the skewers.

The salad is baby spinach, bacon, and feta with a balsamic vinaigrette.

We ended up pulling the beef and veggies off of the skewers and eating it all together. Perfect tasty meal for the abnormally hot weather. (And don't worry meat lovers, there were way more skewers than the single one in the photo)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mac and Cheese Pizza with Hot Dog Stuffed Crust

Threw this pizza together to bring to Jay's birthday. In Europe, Pizza Hut has a Hot Dog stuffed crust pizza so I thought I'd bring it to the states. Annie's mac and cheese on top, and cheesedogs in the crust. A little less classy than most of the things on here but a ridiculously deliciously unhealthy concoction.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chopped@Home 4: Lump Crab, Grapefruit, Shitake Mushrooms, Bran Flakes

Lump Crab, Grapefruit, Shitake, and Bran...

Immediately thought of some type of seafood ravioli. But then I was craving crab cakes. I decided to do commit a major Food Network faux pas and serve "crab two ways." I had one hour to prepare both, this is how it went:


First thing I did was make the pasta (finally, Nolan). Water, flour, salt done. The filling was ricotta, crab, shitake, provolone, red pepper flakes, and a drop of truffle oil. The filling could have used a little more flavor, I suggest garlic and some salt and black pepper but the taste was still OK. I used a ravioli press to press two layers of pasta together with some filling in the middle. I rubbed an egg wash in between the layers of pasta to make sure we didn't have any of the filling leak out.

I threw together a cream sauce with some parm and tarragon to top off the ravioli.

Crab Cakes

Crab, mayo, cherry peppers, onion, splash of pickle juice, crushed Ritz crackers, lots of crushed bran flakes, grapefruit juice, garlic powder, cayenne, and an egg. Mixed all of that in a bowl, formed the cakes, coated them in flour and pan fried them in hot canola oil for 3 minutes on each side. Pulled them and then gave them each a dollop of grapefruit tartar (mayo, pickle juice, grapefruit juice). These crab cakes were, in the words of Guy Fieri, "out of bounds." Which is a good thing, apparently. The bran gave them a little sweetness that balanced out the heat from the cherry peppers. Definitely going back to this recipe.

Finished with 10 minutes to spare... but my ravioli were way overdone since I was focusing on a million things at once. Have to step it up next time...

Chopped@Home 3: Flank Steak, Crescent Rolls, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Chobani

Lately we've been cramming a lot into our weekends. Last weekend looked a little like this: Friday night out with my coworkers. Saturday: grocery shopped (hungover) for over 2 hours, had our friend Danny over for lunch, met up with our friends Kyle & Colby for afternoon drinks, went to Owen & Jack's for dinner, and met up with another group of friends for late night drinks and dancing downtown. Sunday: had the Livadas over for brunch, and cleaned up just in time for my mom and grandma to stop by to see the new place...... WHEW. So, by 5pm on Sunday we were in no mood to head out to the grocery store and shop for Chopped ingredients. But I was still up for my second Chopped@Home challenge, so I agreed to let Anthony pick 4 ingredients from our fridge and pantry. He chose flank steak (which was frozen, yay!), crescent rolls, maple syrup and vanilla Chobani yogurt.

Since I didn't have a whole grocery store at my disposal, I was pretty limited in what I could do. I have never cooked a crescent roll in my life--I'm actually not sure I've ever used any kind of prepared dough like this, so I'm pretty lost. I know I can cook steak, but I have to defrost it first, and then (cross my fingers) have enough time to get some flavor into it and cook it enough to eat! It's sort of a no-brainer that the maple syrup will have to go into a marinade. But what the hell do I do with the yogurt?? Anthony let me have 15 minutes of "brainstorming" time since I didn't get the regular grocery store time. I also got an extra 15 minutes of cook time because the steak was frozen. Whew. After much deliberation, I ended up making what I'm now in hindsight calling steak and cheese poptarts with a yogurt dipping sauce. Yum, right? Ha, we'll see...

I started with the yogurt because I knew I would need some time to nail down the flavors. I added some half and half to the yogurt to get a creme fraiche kind of consistency. Luckily, the vanilla is pretty subtle, so by the time I added garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and some fresh cilantro and whisked the hell out of it, it tasted a lot less like yogurt and a lot more like a fresh cilantro ranch dipping sauce. It was actually delicious.

By the time I finished the sauce, the steak was thawed. I rubbed it with cayenne, kosher salt, paprika and black pepper and threw it in a plastic bag with a marinade of maple syrup, worcestershire sauce and olive oil and let it chill for 20 minutes. With 30 minutes left, I threw it on a skillet for about 5 minutes on each side. Definitely set off the smoke detector and almost ruined my skillet with all the sugar in the marinade, but it was worth it. It came off the stove a little charred on the outside, a hint of maple and a little bite. 

While the steak cooked, I laid out the crescent rolls flat and sauteed some onions. I sliced up the steak nice and thin and piled it on the raw dough with cheddar cheese and the onions. I laid another package of crescent rolls on top to make what looked like hot pockets/poptarts and pressed down the edges. 

They cooked at 375 for 12 minutes, but it wasn't enough. The dough on the first two we ate was still raw in the middle, so we popped the other two back in the oven for another 6 minutes or so and they came out golden brown and a little crispy. They weren't too bad after all, and with the yummy dipping sauce they made a pretty good meal (once they were cooked through!). If I did it again, I'd paint the tarts with an egg wash to glaze them a little and I'd make the sauce a little thicker. I'm not gonna lie, I might have been cut from the show with this one, even though Anthony cleaned his plate...