Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, poor defunct blog. I have moved my site to a new server. You can find all the old posts and a few new ones here: http://greginnd.com/gregcooks

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Drink your veggies

I have been eating more raw foods lately. Not that I am a raw food vegan by any means. I just think it is healthier to have a high percentage of plants in your diet. And raw plants tend to have higher nutrient content and think about all that good fiber. There is the added benefit that your stomach is satisfied without all the added calories and fat that often accompanies cooking. You can eat bushels of greens and not gain an ounce.

Anyway, my green smoothie of the day is a blend of cucumbers, broccoli, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. I blended it up with a cup of Silk brand coconut milk and a bit of water. Yes, I drank the whole pitcher full and feel very full right now.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Shrimp with garlic and soba

I love Spanish tapas and one of my favorites is the classic Gambas al ajillo, or shrimp with garlic. I like it really garlicky with lots of crushed red pepper and a bit of lemon to finish it off. It is great on its own but just as nice tossed with soba noodles.

The great thing about this is that it is easy and quick to prepare. I heated up my wok and added butter and olive oil. I threw in a half teaspoon of a nice crushed red pepper in oil. This was an Asian jarred chili in oil that I found in my local market. You could use just dried red pepper flakes too but I find the chili in oil tends to infuse in the cooking oil better. In went the shrimp and lots of chopped garlic. This was tossed in the pan for a minute or two until the shrimp were just cooked and then a couple tablespoons of lemon juice were added. The cooked soba noodles were mixed in and everything was plated up.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dinner Plans

I'm trying to put together a gourmet meal for my friends who are coming over tomorrow. I considered making rabbit but thought it was not quite appropriate for Easter. But I am tempted. Anyway, here is the menu I have come up with. I'll try to update with pictures as I go along but I may be awfully busy.

Atipasto Platter: a variety of artisan cheeses and charcuterie with homemade olive bread, crackers and other small bites. I will add some boiled quail eggs in honor of Easter.

Scallops with saffron cream sauce: These will be toped with a bit of masago fish roe.

Black sesame crusted tuna: This will be seared rare, served on top of a mango plank and garnished with edamame, pickled green mango cubes and some crushed wasabi peas.

Rhubarb sorbet

Lamb ravioli with a rosemary cream sauce: The filling will be made with ground lamb and parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Tenderloin Filet with shitake red wine reduction: Served on top of a pan-fried polenta round, the tenderloin will be seared and served with a reduction of red wine, beef stock and shitake mushrooms. This will be garnished with asparagus spears.

Chipotle chocolate panna cotta with cinnamon whipped cream

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chicken and polenta

This dish turned out so much better than I expected. The hormone-free chicken was pan seared with just a bit of salt and pepper until nicely browned and crispy. Meanwhile the polenta was prepared by sweating out onions and garlic in a pan. Four cups of chicken stock went into that and a cup of coarse corn meal was whisked in once it reached the boiling point. This was cooked with frequent stirring for about 40 minutes until it was smooth and thick. The sauce was made in the pan that was used for the chicken. After the chicken was browned and set aside, chopped garlic and onions were added to the pan followed a minute later by sliced mushrooms. These were sautéd until softened and the pan, with all those wonderful chicken drippings, was deglazed with a half cup or so of white wine. The juice of one lemon was added. The sauce was reduced for a few minutes and then mounted with a pat of butter to give it a rich texture. The chicken was plated on top of a bed of the polenta and the sauce was spooned over it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Basil Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Dinner fell in to place so nicely this evening. I picked a bunch of heirloom tomatoes from the garden today - eight different varieties. So I set about to make some tomato sauce. I sautéed some onion and garlic in a pot and added a cup or so of red wine. I cooked it down until the wine was completely evaporated. Into the pot went a bit bowl of the chopped tomatoes along with some thyme, bay leaves and a few handfuls of fresh basil. Salt and pepper were added to taste. This was cooked down for about an hour and then strained through a food mill. The tomato sauce was added back to the pot and cooked down for another hour and a half until the sauce was thick, sweet and delicious.

I was trying to come up with something to make with the sauce when I spied a package of ground lamb in the freezer. Aha! Lamb ragu! I just need some pasta to go with it. Why not make some fresh pasta tonight? So I did. This is a simple pasta dough. I just threw 1 cup of semolina, 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 egg and about a half cup of water into my food processor. I wanted to flavor it up and give it a nice color so I threw in a large handful of basil leaves as well. The dough was kneaded in the processor for a few minutes and then for a minute or two by hand. This was wrapped in plastic and allowed to rest for 30 minutes. I rolled out the pasta into sheets using my pasta roller and then cut wide pappardelle noodles using my pizza cutter.

Here you can see the fresh pasta being gently simmered in a pot of hot water. Some of the green color disappeared on cooking but a subtle basil flavor remained in the pasta.

The ragu was made with some finely chopped carrots, onions and garlic in the sauté pan. The lamb was added and cooked through. The pan was deglazed with a half cup of red wine. The meat mixture was flavored with some corriander seed and dried and fresh rosemary. The tomato sauce was added and the mixture was simmered for about 40 minutes.

Once the pappardelle were cooked, they were tossed in the pan with some of the ragu to coat the noodles. About 60% of the ragu was removed from the pan prior to adding the noodles.

The pasta was plated up and topped with a good portion of more ragu and some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.


This dish was SO good. Not a morsel was left!


Friday, August 27, 2010

Blueberries and Arugula?

I like to mix it up with my morning breakfast smoothies and today I tried something new. It certainly pleases my palate and it might tickle your fancy too. This is a very simple smoothie - 1 cup light soy milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup water, 1 scoop of whey protein powder (unflavored) and a handful of fresh arugula. The greens are from my garden and are particularly peppery this time of year as the August sun starts to wane. The drink is remarkably good with a subtle hint of spicy arugula providing an undercurrent to the berries.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Asian Pork Lettuce Wraps

I made these tasty pork wraps and just have to share it with you all. It is really easy to make and is so delicious. Not only that, it's a nice light and healthy appetizer or meal.

For the pork filling I combined 1 pound of ground pork, half of a red onion, finely chopped, two Thai chilis, finely chopped, a couple tbsp of toasted sesame oil, a couple tbsp of rice vinegar, a couple tbsp of soy sauce and some black pepper. If I had some green onions, those would have gone in too. Oh, I also added a tbsp of minced ginger. This was simply cooked in a sauté pan until cooked through and then served in bibb lettuce leaves.

You can see I accompanied this with some shredded carrots and daikon radish. I also made a cucumber and pickled bamboo shoot salad with a little rice vinegar and mint. I found the pickled bamboo at my local Asian market. They were pickled with some small red chilis which provided more depth of flavor.


Friday, July 2, 2010

A Very Berry Breakfast

I love smoothies for breakfast. I have one almost every day. It's the perfect thing after a brisk morning run. I have been playing around with different combinations of fruits, vegetables and whey protein. I stumbled on this one which is a winner. This is a Blueberry Mint and Protein smoothie. It's very simple. I used one cup of light Silk soy milk, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 scoop of protein powder and about a dozen fresh mint leaves. The mint and blueberry works so well together. It's refreshing and nutritious. Chock full of wonderful vitamins and antioxidants.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's About Sprouts

It seems I've been obsessed with sprouting things lately both in the garden and in the kitchen. I love the typical bean sprouts that you can buy in the grocery but I love even more to eat seeds that have just sprouted. I use them raw in salads or sauté them with all kinds of dishes. On the plate above are some sprouted seeds that are just a few days old. From left to right we have sprouted green peas, sprouted mung beans and sprouted brown lentils. As they get bigger they grow shoots and will grow their first leaves. I simply soak the dried seeds overnight, drain and then rinse them two to three times a day.

I used these sprouts to make an egg white scramble recently.

I cooked the sprouts with some shredded carrots, a thai chili and some dried chipotle pepper for a bit of smokiness.

After a few minutes in the hot pan I added beaten egg whites and scrambled them all up together. It was a wonderful quick and easy dinner.

You can sprout all kinds of things including many grains. In addition to those depicted above, I also love to sprout radish and kamut.