Monthly Archives: June 2008

A simple summer pasta #2

Maybe this could become a recipe mini series? Anyway, I was craving some pasta this week, so I threw together this quick and easy little ditty. Ingredients are as follows:

  1. 1 lb whole wheat penne rigatte
  2. 1lb sliced cremini mushrooms
  3. 1 yellow onion, sliced
  4. a handful of chopped italian flat leaf parsley
  5. 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  6. 1/4 cup of red wine
  7. Parmesan cheese for topping

I began by sauteeing the garlic in about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. After 2 minutes, I threw in the mushrooms and onions. I let them brown up for about 6 to 7 minutes. Then, I deglazed the pan with the red wine. I poured it in, let it sizzle, and then I scraped up all the good bits off the bottom of the skillet. Once the wine had reduced for 2-3 minutes, I tossed everything in with 1 lb of cooked whole wheat penne. I topped it all with parsley and parmesan cheese to taste. Quite delicious. I served everything with some toasted wheat bread.

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Grilling with friends

Some friends of the hungrykyle came over to the house this past Sunday for grilled meat and veg.  Those in attendance included buckleybroomlegs, ms. green tea and gelato, the binrocker, and aaron T. benko.  We kicked things off with a few appetizers and beers.  One of the more notable items on the snack list were some Spears of Influence produced by Rick’s Picks.  These tasty cumin scented morsels were a great way to get the taste buds geared up for some brats and veggie kabobs.  If you live near a Whole Foods or other specialty market, I highly recommend seeking out Rick’s pickled delicacies.  I don’t know Rick personally, but I do, however, know his brother, TheGurglingCod, all too well.

Anywho…the hot charcoal fire was quenched with bratwursts and some delicious vegetable kabobs that Margaret whipped up.  She also put together a shaved carrot and fennel salad with some tasty vinaigrette.  All of this was washed down with the champagne of beers.  A spur of the moment ice cream truck run was made by M and A. Benko.  Overall, a highly delicious end to what was a rather droll Sunday.  Nights like these make me want to savor the summer through and through.

Indian for hump day.

It’s hump day. Hooray. Time for a mid-week celebration meal. A good friend of the M and I, Adam W. Montjoy, was in town scoping out his new digs for graduate school, so I decided to cook him up some curry. I love working with lamb, so I decided to do a lamb and tomato curry. Unfortunately, I did not want to take on the expense of buying multiple Indian spices to make my own sauce, so I went with a simple jarred sauce.

The curry simmering sauce was a tomato and onion one that I got down at the Harris Teeter for about 5$. For the lamb, I went with a lamb shoulder roast, mainly because of it’s price. At 1.5lbs, it was a steal for 8$. I cut the lamb into one inch cubes, seasoned it with salt, pepper, cumin, and curry powder, and then I browned it up over high heat in my trusty cast iron skillet. After it was nice and brown, I tossed in some sliced onion (yellow). Then came the entire jar of cooking sauce. I added in a bit of water to thin it out (which could of been avoided since the liquids doubled after simmering), covered the skillet, and lowered the heat. I let the shoulder meat simmer in the sauce for 90 minutes or so. The shoulder is naturally a tough cut of meat (I mean, hey, it’s a shoulder. It does a lot of work.), so It needed time to tenderize while simmering.

After 90 minutes was over, I pulled the top off the skillet and smelled the goodness. Everything was a nice consistency and smelled great. Next, I added a can of chick peas (garbonzo beans) for texture followed by a heaping handful of freshly chopped cilantro. Mmmm. I served everything along side some basmati rice and thick whole wheat pita wedges to sop up the juice. If only they sold naan in packages…(well, actually they do…check the frozen bread section of your local Trader Joes…).

We washed everything down with ice cold beer and an ice cream sandwich followed dinner. Indian cuisine is a very simple cuisine to prepare at home contrary to popular belief. All of the ingredients are low budget, and when they are thrown together, they have a comforting taste. The only thing I would recommend is cooking with open windows and good ventilation. Your house will smell like food for weeks if you don’t.

On the cheap – Sunday dinner.

Usually Sundays are a time to buy some expensive ingredients and whip together a fancy meal with all the free time I have. With the economy being the way it is and food prices ever so increasing, this has not been the case as of late. I now find myself (like many others – home cooks and restaurateurs alike) searching for cheap cuts of meat and produce to stretch the dollar. This Sunday I purchased some top sirloin steaks as my local grocer was having a sale on them. The sirloin steak was the steak of my childhood. Nice, cheap, and if cooked/seasoned properly, can make an excellent budget steak. With the sirloin, you definitely get more meat and less marbelling (not that that’s always best…) than say a ribeye.

Anyway, sirloin steaks in hand, I visited the produce section. Tonight’s side dish was going to be a de-constructed guacamole. An avocado, tomato, and red onion stack (later to be assembled by Margaret). I decided to throw in a sliced pickling cucumber from the market for flare. I went outside and threw the steaks on the weber with a liberal dusting of salt and pepper, and then I grilled them up to a nice medium rare. Everything came out fresh and delicious. It was a great summer meal, and avocados aside, it cost around 10$ and was plenty of food for two. A much needed finish for a hot, hot weekend. There is also a great satisfaction that comes out of making a 2$ cut of meat something to lick your plate over.

Ah, summer.

Summer always signifies the return of the farmers market, and boy, does that make a kyle hungry.  It’s good to see the farmers in full swing at Eastern Market.

Grilled Pizza

So the weather was a big downer today with storms DC and even tornadoes in the dreaded ‘burbs, so no outdoor grilling took place. I opted to go through with my grilled pizza experiment on the indoor grill pan. I used a store bought (gasp!) dough round. I just asked my handy Harris Teeter pizza makers for their goods, and they forked it over. $1.99, you can’t beat that. For toppings I went with a scant amount of basic canned unsalted tomato sauce, kosher salt, red pepper flake, torn leaves of sage and basil from the garden, hot italian sausage, red pepper, cremini mushrooms, and fresh mozzarella. When topping a grilled pizza, have a light hand. You don’t want to encumber the dough and make it crack.

Once the dough was in a relatively square shape, I oiled the top with olive oil and sprinkled some kosher salt on top for flavor. I flipped it over on my grill pan that had been pre-heating for quite some time on medium high heat. Now, you just chill out. Let the dough bubble up a good bit and start to smell like burning bread. Once the bottom gets a little brown/black and crispy, lift it off the grill pan. I lowered the heat of the grill pan to low, flipped the pizza over, topped the grilled side, and put it back on the grill pan raw dough side down. I then made a little tin foil tent to speed up the cheese process and cooked it slowly until the bottom crisped up and the toppings were warm.

Delicious! It certainly would of been better / faster paced if done outside on the Weber, but hey, you gotta work with the weather.

Greek loaf.

So this is a Margaret dish. She made it a few nights ago for dinner, and it was a tasty mid week meal. It was an individual ‘greek’ loaf topped with tasty tziki sauce (sp?). For the meatloaf:

  1. 3/4 or so lbs of ground sirloin or lean ground beef
  2. greek spices and herbs (cumin, oregano, parsley)
  3. a small red onion diced
  4. small hand full of bread crumbs

Mix everything together, shape into 2 (or 3!) meatloafs, and bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. The sauce topping is just a mix of yogurt and cucumber until your desired taste and consistency is reached. M served this all with pita wedges, red pepper hummus, and marinated mozzarella balls. Mmm!