Month: June 2013

tasty tuesday: surf and turf with homemade pasta with garlic basil alfredo

There's a lot going on here.

There’s a lot going on here.

Ever want to make a supper with ALL THE THINGS? Well, this one will do just that for you (I ran out of tongs, and we have 8 sets). I decided to go all out this week as something of a celebration for my good friend Amanda who is leaving Macon soon to pursue a great job opportunity closer to her hometown. So, she and her fiance came over for some Steak Au Revoir, if you will.

I was also inspired here my all of the great herbs that have really been popping in the garden lately, and despite meat, the herbs really are the stars here.

So, what all is going on the with food? Let’s just say this happened:

Like Buttah

Like Buttah

So, its not just like butter, it actually is butter. The respective toppings for the surf and turf: White wine, sage, dill, chive garlic butter and red wine, rosemary, thyme, chive garlic butter. For each, I pulsed 2 cloves of garlic with the herbs, about 1 tbsp each, in a food processor with the a little of the wine, salt and olive oil. Meanwhile, I had 1/2 stick of butter spinning in the kitchenaid with the paddle attachment. I poured the processed mixture into the bowl and raised the speed to blend and then slowed it down for about two minutes. Then, I laid out some plastic wrap and scooped the mixture into the middle and rolled it up and refrigerated for several hours.

I also made the pasta in advance using Mario Batali’s recipe. Just flour and eggs mixed and kneaded to the high heavens. After letting the mixture sit and tried my best to roll it thin, but it didn’t really work. Clearly I need a pasta machine.

This part wore me slap out.

This part wore me slap out.

Ok, the sauce.

Its a lot of butter! 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, 1 pint of cream, 1/2 cup of food processor chopped basil, 4 cloves of minced garlic 1 and 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese and a little salt. And it is so good.

Start by melting the butter, being sure not to brown. Add the cream and lower the heat to medium low. Whisk as your pour and be sure not the boil the mixture. Then add the basil garlic, and salt, and let it simmer for about 10 mins. Finally add the cooked pasta and parmesan and continue to simmer until the cheese is fully integrated. It is ready to serve at this point.

Oh, but you want to know about the meat?

Starting with the filets. They were salted and peppered and rested over night in the fridge. Before I cooked the, I let them ease to room temperature and gave them a pounding to tenderize a little bit. I surrounded them in paper towels to make sure they were dry before hitting the pan. As the pan was heating, I also preheated the oven to 400 to be the finisher. The steaks seared on both sides for about 4 mins. After the first turn, the received a medallion of the red wine butter.



After the sear, I placed the in the oven for about 5 minutes. They ended up a good medium rare.

It what was for dinner.

It was for dinner.


The Salmon were fresh and unadorned before hitting the pan that was coated with olive oil. I seared the top side for about 2 mins before flipping to the skin side. Of course, at this point, the salmon pieces were hit with medallions of the white wine butter and tossed in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the butter melted. The fish came out flaky and nice.

Oh, and for the record, I serve it with a kale salad with craisins and pecans with a dijon white wine vinaigrette with shallot:

The also ran

The also ran

It was great, by the way.

All told, a great meal that has left me exhausted. Much love to Amanda and Eric!

meatless monday, summer session: cream of zucchini pho soup with rosemary seasalt bread.

This is not split pea.

This is not split pea.

Today’s meatless monday started at 8:00 this morning when friend of the blog Carey brought a batch of zucchini to my board meeting. They were, without a doubt, the biggest zucchini I have ever seen. Take a look at this, the biggest one I named “Zuccithustra”:


Redacted for my protection, checkbook for scale. It was about 4 inches in height.

Redacted for my protection, checkbook for scale. It was about 4 inches in height.

While I did not take the Uber-Zuke home with me, I did claim one of his little brothers that was plenty for my the dish tonight. I was further inspired to make the soup by the torrential downpour that hit right when I was leaving work. Summer squash met a winter sentiment with tasty wonderment.

So on to the soup:

You’ll need:

about 2 lbs zucchini
1 7oz tub of greek yogurt
1 cup vegetable pho starter
2 cups water
1 onion
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic
Red Pepper Flake
Italian Seasoning
Fresh Oregano

So, start out by chopping the onion while melting the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and press the garlic into the pot and stir and cook for about 3 minutes.

While that is cooking chop your zucchini into discs. Add to the pot and stir and cook until they just start getting soft. Add the liquid and cook for about 20 minutes on medium low, making sure the zucchini stay solid (do not boil above a low simmer). During this time, add the red pepper flake to taste.

Now, the fun part. Once it has cooked, use an immersion blender and puree until all chunks are gone. You can also throw it in a blender or food processor, either way, annihilate the zukes.

Once you have a thin soup, add the yogurt and stir over low heat until well mixed. Ladle into a bowl and top with the fresh oregano (i used hot and spicy from Bungalow Garden).

Serve with a nice piece of rosemary seasalt bread (I bought mine from the store, Fresh Market has a great one…).

This recipe makes about 4 servings, but it is relatively cheap. Its a good supper for a person who is dining alone. There’s plenty for lunch tomorrow!

And, as always, follow this recipe and your bowl will look like this:




tasty tuesday: duck tacos with caramelized onions and fava beans


You want to say “…and a nice Chianti,” don’t you?

That’s exactly what I did at Fresh Market yesterday when I passed those odd bean pods and I decided that they’d be my color and crunch elements for tonight’s taco Tasty Tuesday.

I got the idea for duck tacos from one of my assistant principals at my school.  He knew that I liked to cook (and eat), so we started talking about our favorite things to make.  He’s a big hunter and cooks duck and venison frequently, so he asked if I’d ever had duck fajitas.  I was immediately intrigued, especially because I’ve never cooked with duck and have been looking for something other than duck a l’orange.  I changed the delivery because (a) Alex doesn’t like bell peppers and (b) as I began to brainstorm about the dish, caramelized onions sounded super yummy instead of fajita onions.

These weren’t difficult to make at all, but I’ve got to admit, they tasted pretty fancy!  The duck takes some time to marinate and the onions are a little needy, but it was no problem at all for me today as I was packing my life away for GHP.  Here’s what you need:

Duck Tacos with Caramelized Onions and Fava Beans

4 duck breasts, skin removed

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. blueberry ginger key lime jam, gifted by Melanie over at Cooking Up Happy

2 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce

1/3 cup olive oil

2 onions (I used one sweet white and one red, but it’s up to you)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 pkg. fava beans, beans removed from pods (about 1/2 cup loose beans)

small corn tortillas (5″)

Slice the duck breast into 1/2-inch strips and place in freezer bag or plastic tupperware.  In a bowl, whisk together the Worcestershire, soy sauce, jam, Sriracha, and 1/3 cup olive oil.  Cover the duck with the marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

In a heavy skillet, coat the bottom of the pan with 3 Tbsp. olive oil and set on low heat.  Thinly slice the onions, throw them in the skillet, and top with the salt.  Cover and let cook for 10 minutes.  Take the cover off of the skillet, stir the onions, and let them cook for another ten minutes.  Repeat this on about a 50 minute cycle.  I know it sounds tedious, but it’s really simple!  Check out this blog post from Dangerously Enough blog for a more detailed breakdown for caramelized onions–the brown color is everything here!

Once the onions are soggy, brown, and delectable, take them out of the skillet, turn the heat up to medium high, and throw in the fava beans.  Let them absorb some of the yummy onion flavor and stir occasionally.

To cook the duck, heat a grill pan to medium high and let the duck pieces cook for about two minutes on each side.  Cooking them to medium keeps them tender and not too chewy.

To assemble, take two corn tacos in your hand, throw on about three pieces of duck and top with a pinch of onions about about four fava beans.  We enjoyed ours with some black beans and chips and guacamole!


meatless monday: heirloom tomato, arugula, and mozzarella stromboli


I’ll be doubling up on Meatless Monday and Tasty Tuesday this week because I won’t be in my own kitchen for four and a half weeks–can you believe it?  I’ll be spending my third summer in Valdosta, Georgia as an instructor for the Governor’s Honors Program.  If you know me well, you know that I’m obsessed with how awesome this program is for gifted and talented students and that I tend to go on and on when I talk about it.  For the blog’s purposes, I’ll keep it short: it’s an absolutely life-changing program for high school students, and the only drawback is that I have to eat in a college cafeteria for over four weeks.

Don’t get me wrong–the Palms cafeteria at VSU has improved significantly since I was a GHP student ten years ago, but anything for four weeks straight can become a little monotonous.  Alex agreed to let me take over the kitchen this week to stretch my culinary muscle a little bit before I’m bound by the chains of cafeteria luck, so I hope you enjoy tonight and tomorrow night’s meals!

Back to the reason you’re probably reading: stromboli.  I first fell in love with this tasty not-quite-calzone, not-quite-sandwich at my childhood BFF Bethany’s house.  Her mom, Mrs. Janet, made the most delicious stromboli with ham, mozzarella, and Italian seasoning, and I remember going home to my house and proclaiming that my mom had to learn how to make it.  I’ve since made it with salami and ham and different cheeses, but since it’s meatless monday, I knew I had to get creative.  You can go in many directions with this dish: Italian meats and cheese, spinach and artichoke, mushroom and gruyere, marinated antipasto veggies, this list goes on and on.  I wanted to lighten it up with a summer twist, and I am so happy with how this turned out!  It also reminds me of a different way of making one of my mom’s favorites: tomato pie.  If you’re a southerner and haven’t had a pie with sliced farm stand tomatoes and Vidalia onions, you are missing out, my friend!

A word on heirloom tomatoes: I got two cartons at the Fresh Market that were filled with different sizes of green, yellow, dark red, and orange tomatoes.  They’re slightly sweeter than a regular tomato, plus the varied colors are appealing to the eye.

Heirloom Tomato, Arugula, and Mozzarella Stromboli

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)

1/2 warm water

1 pkg. dry active yeast

`1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. olive oil (one for pizza dough, one for prepping the stromboli for the oven)

2 quarts heirloom tomatoes, sliced

2 lbs. fresh mozzarella, sliced

2 cups arugula leaves

2 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, thyme)

2 Tbsp. ground Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. yellow cornmeal

To make the pizza dough, you can either buy a ready-made dough or make this simple version: Turn the oven to about 225 degrees for about five minutes, then turn oven off.  In a stand mixer, combine warm water and dry active yeast and let sit for five minutes.  Next, add flour and salt and, using the dough hook, mix on moderate speed until the dough combines into one mass.  Next, turn the speed to low and let dough mix for five minutes.  Remove dough from the mixing bowl, add 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, add back the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and place dough in the warm oven for 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, slice your tomatoes and mozzarella to similar sizes–I sliced them about 1/4-inch thick.  When the 30 minutes is up, turn the oven to 375 degrees, sprinkle a counter top with some flour, and roll the dough out to a rough 12 inch x 12 inch square.  Sprinkle the dough with about 1 Tbsp. ground parmesan and arrange half of the gorgeous tomatoes on the dough:


Next, add half the mozzarella:


Sprinkle some Italian seasoning on top of the cheese, then add all of the arugula:


Add the rest of the tomatoes on top of the arugula, then the rest of the mozzarella on top of that.  Add a little bit more of the Italian seasoning, then fold the stromboli right to left, then left to right, then tuck the top and bottom sides.  Take a cookie sheet and sprinkle half the cornmeal on the bottom of the sheet.  Carefully flip the stromboli to fold side down on the cookie sheet.  Brush 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on the top and sprinkle with the remaining cornmeal.  Bake for about 30 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, and cut on the diagonal.

tasty tuesday: country fried wiener schnitzel vom schwein, bacon garlic rosemary spaetzle, wilted brined greens

A little bit of schnitzel fried

A little bit of schnitzel fried

Inspired by my last tasty tuesday adventure using A New Turn in the South, I wanted to literally do a new Southern turn on a dish I had not had in ages- Wiener Schnitzel. And then for sides, how could I not make a little spaetzle and a quick, Southern style kraut approximation? I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

So, what is Wiener Schnitzel? Officially, now, it is any thin breaded, fried steak, but traditionally it is a fried veal steak breaded in a breadcrumb and flour mixture and served with lemon juice. The alternative, thin pounded pork chops, was called von schwein to differentiate, but such nomenclature has largely disappeared (and much that you will find in the states is pork).

So, what makes it southern? Why, I used Alton Brown’s recipe for country fried steak, of course. I purchased a whole loin and cut some thick chops and trimmed the fat. The rest of the loin is safely tucked away in the freezer.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

I also dressed them up with a little left-over BBQ rub.

Using the tenderizing mallet, I pounded them until the were a little less than half as thick as they started. Roughly 1/2 and inch.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Having rub around is a wonderful thing.

Next, they were dredged in flour with ample salt and pepper, dipped in egg, and back in the spiced flour. Let them sit for about 10-15 minutes while you heat some oil in large skillet. You want to cover the bottom of the pan with oil and heat over medium high until a water droplet pops immediately. About 4-5 mins each side, until golden brown will do.

After the schnitzel is done, its time to double down on the South and make a pan gravy. Add 3 tbsp of flour to the pan and whisk until mixed and add a can of chicken broth to deglaze the pan. Continue whisking as you add 1/2 cup of milk and some herbs (I used fresh time from the garden). Top the schnitzel with the gravy, of course.

But before you do any of that, you should make your spaetzle dough. Spaetzle is a German dumpling made of flour, milk, eggs, and spices. Any recipe you choose should be good, varying only on amount, Today I used 1 1/2 cup flour, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend just like pasta, slowly working in the wet ingredients. This dough, however, will be sticky and runny, not like regular pasta.


Then, boil a pot of water and use a spaetzle maker/cheese grater/large-holed colander (check) to “cut” the dough into small dumplings over the water. They only need to boil for about 5 mins and drain immediately.

All the while, you should have some bacon rendering in a pan. About three strips will do to thoroughly flavor the spaetzle, along with two cloves of minced garlic and two sprigs of chopped rosemary. Put the dumplings right into the hot bacon grease that you’ve now flavored with garlic and rosemary and fry for about 4 minutes. To top it off with some charm, I added chopped bacon back into mix. MMMM, Bacon.

Even earlier, I made a stab at some southern flash kraut. I chopped some mustard and turnip greens and blanched them with some about 1/2 cup each cider and white wine vinegar, salt, pickling spices, and garlic (with water to cover the greens in a large bowl) and refrigerated for about an hour. After draining, I wilted them over low heat in a pan for a few minutes. I would recommend collards or chard for yours, though.

The plate came together with a lovely Southern tomato:


And, of course, a nice German dunkel:


It was all quite good. The meat had a sweetness and overall great flavor profile and the spaetzle was like little bacony pillows. The greens we ok, and certainly complemented the dish. With the dunkel and the gravy to boot, this was like Helen, GA on a plate.

meatless monday: cucumber and avocado salad with feta and mint


I have a confession.  This delectable side is just that: a side.  I made a soba noodle dish that just didn’t turn out the way I planned, but this salad was the saving grace of the meal, so it gets to be the shining star of this blog post.

It is, however, a delicious meal in its own right and would make for a great lunch on a hot day.  It has all the right major players, including avocado.  I don’t know that I’ve met anyone who doesn’t like avocado, and if you don’t, then I’m silently judging you.

Ok, maybe not.  But if you think you don’t like it (and I’m just going to say “think” to be polite here), try this salad and let me know what you think.  Here’s hoping you’ll change your mind!

Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Feta and Mint

Serves 2

1 English cucumber

1 avocado

2 Tbsp. feta cheese, crumbled

1 lime, zest and juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

A word on the English cucumber: sometimes they’re called English, sometimes, seedless, sometimes hothouse.  The easy way to spot them is that they’re longer and skinnier than the regular guys and they’re usually packaged in shrinkwrap at the grocery in the produce section.

Take the cucumber and slice it into 1/4 inch rounds.  Chop the rounds into small squares (about six pieces per slice).  Split the cucumber pieces into two bowls or salad plates and set aside.

Halve the avocado and remove the pit.  While the flesh is still in the skin, use a dull knife to cut it into 1/2 inch squares.  Use a large spoon to scoop the avocado out of each side and donate one side to each salad plate.

Halve the feta between the two bowls.  In another small bowl, add the olive oil, lime juice and zest, mint, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Drizzle the dressing over each of the salad plates evenly.  Enjoy!


sunday special: bungalow breakfast with savory sweet potato waffles, country ham, and sunny side up egg

Good Mornin', Good Mornin'!

Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’!

What to do when you wake up at 7am on Sunday morning and you have some excellent leftover ingredients about? Why, make a special breakfast of course. This was certainly a good break from my usual cereal.

After this week’s tasty tuesday, I had extra eggs and country ham and was trying to think of a good way to employ them, then my eye fixed on the box of Bruce’s Sweet Potato pancake and waffle mix that has been lingering in the kitchen, ready for such an easy Sunday morning (they have been fewer than we’d like lately). It hit me, combine the notion of a benny with bright flavors and a little southern charm.

Starting with the waffles, I used the box recipe for waffles (1 cup mix, 1 egg, 2/3 cups water, 1 Tbsp oil) and then added fresh minced garlic, fresh rosemary from the garden, and salt and cracked pepper. Not wanting to overwhelm the dish, I went light on the garlic (half a clove), but you could certainly add more if you like. Cook it in the iron (this one should really be in a standard iron, not belgian) until slightly crispy.

For the ham, I cut it into smaller pieces, seasoned it with a little black pepper and griddled it for about 10 minutes, while the waffle and eggs were cooking, until there was some nice color. If you are so inclined, this dish would take kindly to a little red-eye gravy drizzle (or bacon-garlic oil).

I cooked the eggs exactly like I did tuesday, with some butter and over medium-low heat. Cover for a few minutes to cook the top, but not to overcook the yolk. You want the yoke to stay runny to act as the syrup for the waffle. I topped the eggs with some hot and spicy oregano from the garden.

Half a waffle for each of us was plenty. We enjoyed this lovely breakfast with some hazelnut coffee. If you’re lucky, someone might wake you up with this tasty plate next weekend!

tasty tuesday: okra and country ham risotto, blackened chicken cutlets, fried egg, bacon garlic oil



Sometimes you are just inspired. Sometimes the right ideas come along and force you into a dish that you might say is the best thing you’ve ever made, and among the best things you’ve ever had. Sometimes the right advice hits you at the right time.

I have to thank Hugh Acheson, 29 South, and esquire for their recipes tips and inspiration for tonight’s food.

Since the first time I made risotto, I wanted to make it better. Since I had a wonderful carbonara with a duck egg, I wanted a similar taste, ever since I read I had been frying eggs wrong, I had to prove myself. Wins all around.

I also wanted to feed my dear friends Tim and Amanda before they left my beloved Macon.

So, I made this lovely risotto and chicken meal that knocked my socks off.

I started with cutting everything our for my Hugh inspired risotto:

Take a taste or two, you've earned it.

Take a taste or two, you’ve earned it.

I tweaked his recipe for country ham, okra and boiled peanut risotto to include rosemary and, sadly, remove the peanuts. Other than that, I followed his recipe to the letter so, out of deference, I will not post it here.

But I will show you that it started out like this:

Like butta

Like butta

While that was cooking I started my personal invention, bacon garlic oil. Taking three strips of thick sliced bacon, start rendering the fat:

It makes everything better...

It makes everything better…

And cook it for about 5 minutes, until most of the fat is gone. Once the pan has a a good layer of grease you are ready for the next step. Peal three cloves of garlic and then fry the garlic in the bacon grease. This will take about 10 mins, until brown on all sides:

You heard me.

You heard me.

Once the garlic is soft, strain the grease into a food processor with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the garlic and pulse until it is smooth and set aside in a microwavable bowl.

Now that is done, it is time the sauté the chicken cutlets. The key to the cutlet is the cut. Using a boneless breast, start at the fatter neck end and cut from the top corner toward the middle on the diagonal. One breast should net four good cutlets following this course. Pound the cutlets to tenderize and coat them in olive oil. I used a pre-made blackening seasoning packet as a short cut, but it is essentially a spicy rub with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 mins per side, until cooked throughout, but still tender. It should squish a little bit.

Now that you have your chicken, it’s time for an egg!

I fried one egg per plate in butter in a non-stick pan. Over medium low heat, slowly crack the egg so it doesn’t spread all over the pan. Once all three are down, cover for about 4 mins so the tops cook, but the yolks stay runny. If you keep the heat low, the egg will cook perfectly, but not burn or even brown on the bottom.

Since you have been stirring and watching your risotto, it is now time to finish it off and plate. Add the risotto to a pasta bowl, then top with two of your cutlets. Place the egg and drizzle with the bacon garlic oil. I topped it with some parsley from Bungalow garden and shared with my dear friends.

This meal was divine. I highly recommend.

Bacon garlic oil:

3 strips thick sliced bacon, fat rendered
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Meal was served with Honeycrisp Apple Wheat Shock Top and finished with Sandeman Tawny Port. Cheers.

meatless monday: asparagus and tomato pizza- JAM

Eleta is here:

Yeah, I know.

Yeah, I know.

So I am manning Bungalow Kitchen solo this week. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good meal right?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: When in doubt, trust The Smitten Kitchen and add garlic. I stand by that with with tonight’s pizza.

After you follow the linked recipe, set about with your toppings. I re-appropriated one of Mrs. Perelman’s recipes to create my cast of characters.

I started out with some nice, spring asparagus and slivered it like so:

It takes some getting used to.

It takes some getting used to.

Get as much asparagus as you would like and add a little salt and pepper and olive oil and set aside.

Once your dough has risen, flatten it out on a floured surface and brush the top with olive oil and garlic, like so:

Allow the oil to absorb the garlic for about 20 mins.

Allow the oil to absorb the garlic for about 20 mins.

Then, add a layer of parmesan cheese!

Pizza sauce? Pfftt.

Pizza sauce? Pfftt.

This will form the base for your pizza. Sauce would be too much here, and you’ll be glad you added all that garlic.

Now, you are ready to top. Add slices of tomato to your heart’s content and the asparagus from earlier. Add 1/2 lb of mozzarella slices and top with basil and any of your garlic and oil from earlier atop the cheese.

Aroma= Divine.

Aroma= Divine.

Now, place in the oven, preferably on a stone, though a foil covered cookie sheet will do (if you have an egg, go to town, but you’ll need the stone there! Mine is broken). If you use the stone, make sure the pizza is on a cornmeal dusted peel. Baked at 500 degrees until the cheese is melted and browning and the crust is crisp, about 13 mins.

I want PIZZA P-I-Z-Z-A.

I want PIZZA P-I-Z-Z-A.

Slice and enjoy!