Nibbles! Figlings!

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So school is starting, which means posts might be a little slow (hopefully not too slow, though!) This is a little remnant from the summer where I ran a trip to Trader Joe’s and for some reason decided to combine pork dumplings and figs (of course).

The sweetness of the fig when paired with a chili vinegar soy sauce actually works. Also this is super quick to make so makes for a perfect nibble!

 

Yum! Neua!

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So in case you were confused by that title, Yum Neua is basically a spicy Thai beef salad! I’ve been missing home since being at school over the summer and thought I’d cook some up after spotting some choice looking skirt steak at the supermarket. Let’s get into it!

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I roughly followed this recipe for the dressing/marinade of the salad but made some adjustments as I’m sure you’ll see.

Obviously the “hero” (thanks Gordon Ramsey) of the dish was going to be this awesome meat and I wasn’t sure how to go about maximizing the flavour/ not overcooking such a thin cut so obviously I did some research!
After following these simple tricks to getting a perfect skirt steak – I’d say my meat turned out pretty good-looking.

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I’ll admit I had some trouble slicing them into even slices, but after I finished eating I cooked up another section of beef and better got the hang of it!

(+1 knife skill achievement)
I was a little concerned about the meat being a little rare, but then remembered that the lime in the dressing would further cook it a bit so no worries there!

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Mm Everything looked pretty good as it was coming

together

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But of course I couldn’t just leave it

like that! (It wouldn’t be a real Max dish without some weird substitution) I substituted the cherr

y tomatoes in the recipe for some fresh raspberries, which I hoped would still give it a kick while complimenting the

beef.

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I also cooked up a portion of rice (a boy’s gotta eat!) and though usually yum neua would be but one small dish of many, I was obviously too lazy to  cook anything else. I threw some cucumbers on the side to help me to combat the spice, but it turns out I didn’t really need them. In the future I’ll definitely throw some more chilis in.

So, the final verdict:

My ratings!:
Dishliciousness : 9/10 – The sauce was SO GOOD. So simple but really brought me back to my mom’s cooking and I think had a really good balance. I also kind of liked that I added raspberries, though it might not be for everyone. Also the skirt steak tips really did it and ensured the beef was super tender and flavourful.

Recipe difficulty: 3/10 – It was actually super simple to throw everything together (considering there was little cooking involved)

Overall experience: 4 Max heads out of 5 – Definitely going to make this all the time now

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Nibbles! Double Feature

Hey Guys!

So it’s been pretty quiet around here recently, but we’ve got some good excuses! (not really) I actually had a whole post planned out with pictures taken and everything, but then my harddrive failed and I didn’t get a chance to back up the latest photos – so that was kind of a bummer. Also, Connie’s been back home and without us being in the same city to motivate each other, it’s been pretty slow.

Which isn’t to say that I haven’t been cooking! I just haven’t really been following recipes. So I figured who not post a little to give you guys a taste of what I made with bits and pieces from home – here we go:

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1) Openface Beef+Mushroom+Spinach Sandwich and 2) Chicken Tom Yum

1) It’s literally what it sounds like. From the bottom up:

– Whole wheat bread, toasted
– Herb + garlic goat cheese
– Spinach and mushrooms sautéed in garlic and shallots, salted
– Beef seared in a pan
– Fried egg
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2) Mostly followed this recipe

Made with rice noodles, chicken, and mushrooms
garnished with cilantro
Had to improvise and make due without kaffir lime leaves and tamarind

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Hopefully there will be more to come! Cheers!

Morning After – Complimentary!

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So I woke up this morning with a lot of leftovers from my first recipe and decided to bring some to work for lunch! To add a twist, I cut up an avocado and threw on some more pomegranate seeds to make the dish more of a summer daytime meal. I love how the complimentary colors (hey whut art theory!) make the dish so vibrant. It definitely hit the spot!

So basically:

1) Reheat pasta

2) Slice avocado in half, remove pit, slice lengthwise and scoop out with spoon.

3) Salt and pepper avocado to taste

4) Throw on more pomegranate seeds (really this recipe is unnecessary, I covered everything above ^ )

5) Yum!

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First Post!: Droppin’ the Beetz

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Hey All, Max here!

So first post – this is exciting! I don’t want to waste your time so let’s jump rightin:
THE RECIPE

Spicy Cajun Sausage Pasta with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pomegranate Seeds
Adapted from this recipe over at Not Without Salt:
http://notwithoutsalt.com/2011/01/15/dating-my-husband-2/

Just add:

Spicy cajun sausage (sliced and cooked in a pan)

Pomegranate seeds (even if Connie strongly advised against them)

Cilantro (because I had some cilantro lying around and cilantro makes everything better!)

THE BREAKDOWN (aka how it all went down)

I love colorful food, so I jumped at the chance to make this really striking looking pasta dish – I mean how difficult could it be to make a sauce, right?

IMG_7308So, I didn’t have any whole wheat pasta and I didn’t find any whole wheat farfalle at the grocery store, but I thought having little red bowties in my food was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I went ahead and just got some – In the end I think I managed to get the al dente texture that I wanted (thumbs for being able to boil water!) though I probably should have saved the pasta for last, seeing as how it was the simplest thing and leaving the pasta sitting there for a while made it a little cold/ dry.

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I was a bit skeptical of cooking a whole onion, since I don’t really use onions on a regular basis, but it all worked out in the end! (It probably had to do with the fact that I left these on for like 15 minutes until they started to brown rather than the 5 required by the recipe…)

IMG_7309 This is Connie dangerously “grating” the beets with a peeler. I feared for her life (especially since on the episode of Masterchef we were watching one girl cut her finger clear off… I tried to chop the beets to make the process go faster, but those pieces weren’t as cooperative for turning into sauce… Darn!

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Oh, also we forgot about the walnuts we left in the oven so ended up having to re-toast the walnuts, since our first batch was toast…

The sauce in the end didn’t end up as consistent as in the original recipe, probably because we didn’t grate the beets (also, I don’t know if this is a dumb question, but what the heck is cooking liquid?? – I just added water because at one point the sauce was more like a cooked beet salad.)

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On a positive note, I’m really glad I made the changes that I did to the recipe – the sausage helped turn this into a whole, hearty meal (and the spicy kick really played well with the flavour of the beets/ goat cheese). The Pomegranate seeds helped to add acidity and lightness so that the dish didn’t become overwhelming, and the cilantro added colour! (because as much as I wanted this to be a red dish, it would have looked pretty intimidating to the casual observer.)

SO?

I definitely would want to try this recipe again at a later date because I feel like a beet sauce could be super versatile tool to have in my cooking recipe – imagine a picnic side of cute red bowties! So adorable (and probably what the original creators intended…)

My ratings!:
Dish deliciousness (dishliciousness?) : 7/10
Recipe difficulty: 6/10 (It was pretty straightforward, I just think it requires more time/ a grater)
Overall experience: 4 Max heads out of 5 (A fun kickoff to this blog, no?)

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Overheard in the Kitchen:

Connie: “Let’s embody vegetables!”
Max: “Ok ouch, hot boiling steam is hot”
Connie: “So what do you use to stir your pasta? Chopsticks. So what do you use as a cutting board? Aluminum foil.”

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