Steak House Mushrooms

I recently dined at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa.  This is a landmark restaurant – a special occasion/fancy date restaurant.  This place oozes with old Florida charm – from the dimly lit, red-walled lobby that looks like a nineteenth century bordello, to the darkly paneled bar, to the intimate dining rooms.  There’s an ornate staircase leading to the upstairs dessert room.  Yes, desserts have their own room.  The dessert room even has its own name.  I was too full this visit for dessert, but promise to save room the next time I’m there.

The steaks were dry aged for many days, and were appropriately impressive.  But the dish that I fell in love with was the steak house mushrooms.  They were garlicky and buttery, and were served in a rich gravy.  I attempted to make mushrooms that somewhat resembles that wonderful dish.  It’s not an exact replica of the dish, but, these mushrooms are sure to please anyone looking for an accompaniment to a good steak.

original recipe

Steakhouse Mushrooms

Serving Size: 2

Steakhouse Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 lb mushrooms, wiped clean and stems trimmed
2 tsp minced shallot (about half a shallot)
1 large (or 2 medium) clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
½ c dry sherry
1 ¼ c beef broth

Instructions

  1. Place oven rack on highest level. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat butter in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms. Add the worcestershire sauce, sherry, and beef broth and stir until flour is mixed in with the liquid.
  3. Remove skillet from heat and place under the broiler. Broil until mushrooms are cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Sauce will be vigorously bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes. Stir the mushrooms to smooth out the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/02/steak-house-mushrooms/

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts

 

I think I have a problem. It involves submerging food in very hot oil and frying it.  I’ve evolved past donuts and onto vegetables.  What’s wrong with me?  I took a perfectly healthy vegetable and made it much less healthy (but darn tasty!)  The sprouts don’t have any breading, because the outer leaves of the sprouts crisp up and act as a coating.  We first made this dish as part of our Thanksgiving dinner, and were pleasantly surprised by how well they turned out.  They are now my preferred method for eating brussels sprouts, although I may need to curb this deep frying kick I’m currently on.  I brought them to a potluck, and I think I converted someone to liking brussels sprouts!

crispy brussels sprouts

original recipe

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

1 lb brussels sprouts
Oil for deep frying
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
3 Tbs panko crumbs
½ Tbs olive oil

Instructions

  1. Trim the stem and quarter each brussels sprout.
  2. Heat oil to 350°F. Gently add half the sprouts to the oil. The oil will vigorously bubble up as soon as the sprouts come in contact with it, so be careful (I used a wire scoop with a handle for this part to keep a safe distance) . The oil will drop several degrees (40-50°), but that’s okay. Fry sprouts until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with half the garlic powder and ¼ of the salt. Repeat process with remaining sprouts, sprinkling that batch with the remaining garlic powder and another ¼ of the salt. Transfer sprouts to a bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add panko crumbs and toast until browned, stirring frequently. Stir in the remaining salt. Sprinkle toasted panko crumbs to the sprouts and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/12/crispy-brussels-sprouts/

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Zucchini Pie

Usually about this time of year, zucchini is everywhere. It’s on sale at the grovery store, gracing farmer’s market tables, and surprise gifts from neighbors who have an abundant crop.  My favorite way to eat it is sauteed in olive oil and garlic, with a little bit of Parmesan cheese grated on top. My second favorite way is in this pie.

 

The first time I had this pie, a friend made it for a dinner party.  I asked her where she got the recipe from, and she showed me the book.  I immediately went out and bought it. The recipes and photos are a bit dated, but this pie is worth the price of the book.  I feel like I’m getting a hefty serving of vegetables (along with cheese) when I eat it.

 

 

adapted from Classic Home Cooking, by Mary Berry and Marlena Spieler

Zucchini Pie

Zucchini Pie

Ingredients

2 lbs zucchini (about 4 medium)
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbs pesto sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs chopped fresh dill
Salt and black pepper
10 sheets of phyllo dough
4 Tbs butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grate the zucchini onto a few sheets of paper towels. Let sit for 10 minutes to soak up excess moisture.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, pesto, garlic, and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the zucchini. Spray an 8x8” baking pan with non-stick spray. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
  3. Working one sheet at a time, place phyllo on top of the zucchini mixture, lining it up so that two edges hang over. Butter the surface of the phyllo with a pastry brush. Fold the excess phyllo over back onto itself. Butter top surface again. (One side of phyllo should still hang over the pan.) Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo. Make sure top sheet of phyllo is well buttered. Cut a few slits through the phyllo sheets.
  4. Bake pie for 30-35 minutes, until pastry is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let the pie sit for 15 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/08/zucchini-pie/

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Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

 

Last week, the lovely Julie of The Little Kitchen invited me for Bunko night. I had never played Bunko, so it was a new experience. The party was also a 1,000 Cooks For The Cure event. We all brought an appetizer, Julie made some killer smoked salmon rangoons and delicious cupcakes. I would like to send a special thanks to Katie, who carpooled with me. It made the hour drive to and from the party much more interesting, and I got to drive her new Prius as well! Sweet ride.

 

For my part, I brought guacamole stuffed cherry tomatoes. I saw a picture of stuffed cherry tomatoes in an old W-S cookbook, but they were stuffed with chopped olives. All I could think about when seeing that picture was this one scene from Sex and the City. So I opted to fill the tomatoes with guac. The melon baller was infinitely useful when I had to hollow out the tomatoes. And I added mango to the guacamole at the request of fellow blogger Kelly. Here’s a picture of the four of us (me, Katie, Julie, Kelly) at the party.  P.S., I won at Bunko!

 

original recipe

Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

50 cherry tomatoes, about 3-4 lbs
For guacamole
3 ripe avocados
Juice from 2 limes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro
1 mango, small dice
Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. For each cherry tomato, slice off the top, and slice a teeny bit off the bottom (to give the tomato stability.) Using a melon baller, scoop the insides out of the tomatoes. Place tomatoes upside down on a few layers of paper towels.
  2. Meanwhile, scoop the flesh out of the avocados into a medium bowl. Stir in the lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and mango. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon guacamole into a zipper seal plastic bag. Snip one of the bottom corners off the bag.
  3. Turn tomatoes over and place onto a serving plate. Pipe the guacamole into each tomato. Serve immediately.

Notes

Make sure the mango is diced small enough to fit through the opening of the piping bag.

http://kokocooks.com/2012/08/guacamole-stuffed-cherry-tomatoes/

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Brussels Sprout Pizza

 

Last month, I attended the Food Blog Forum which was held at Disney.  While there, we received the royal treatment: 2 nights at the Polynesian Resort, welcome reception at the Grand Floridian, gourmet meals, park tickets, and special viewing of the Illuminations show at Epcot.  I met tons of fabulous food bloggers, listened to sessions by food blogging rock stars, and met with representatives of the event sponsors.

Two of our sponsors were Kitchenaid and OXO.  One of the things they did was provide some fun kitchen tools in our swag bag.  My favorite by far was the mandolin slicerfrom OXO.  It quickly became my favorite kitchen gadget.  Look how thin and even these brussels sprout slices are!

The strips of brussels sprouts worked perfectly for this pizza.  They were thin enough to brown as the pizza baked.  Prosciutto and parmesan cheese added some saltiness.  And luckily, Kitchenaid provided a pizza cutter in the FBF swag bag.  We had recently misplaced ours, and the new one is sharp as a razor!
original recipe
Brussels Sprout Pizza

Brussels Sprout Pizza

Ingredients

1 batch of pizza dough
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks
3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
8 medium brussels sprouts, outer leaves torn off, and very thinly sliced
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of an oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Roll out pizza dough into a thin circle. Let dough rest and re-stretch until it is the desired thinness. Lightly flour a pizza board and place dough on it. Drizzle olive oil onto the pizza dough and brush to evenly coat the surface. Layer mozzarella cheese, proscuitto, and brussels sprouts over the dough. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  3. Transfer pizza to the pizza stone. Bake until the cheese begins to brown and the crust is crisp, about 10-12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven, and sprinkle with black pepper. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2012/04/brussels-sprout-pizza/

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Vegetable Tart

I have a thing for vegetable slices arranged in an attractive layer. This tart was published in the Light and Healthy issue of America’s Test Kitchen. We have tried several recipes from this magazine, to much satisfaction. The crust of this ended up being very delicate – probably because it used olive oil instead of butter. In the future, I may just substitute the crust for my favorite pastry dough.
 
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen,
Light and Healthy issue

Vegetable Tart

Vegetable Tart

Ingredients

Crust
1 ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
6 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
¼ c ice water
½ c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Filling
1 small zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
3 plum tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ c part-skim ricotta cheese
2 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. For the crust:
  2. Process the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Drizzle the in the oil and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse grains. Add 3 Tbs of ice water and continue to process until large clumps of dough form. If the dough doesn’t clump, add the remaining tablespoon of water and pulse to incorporate.
  3. Press the dough into the bottom and ¾ inch up the sides of a tart pan with a removable bottom. Smooth out bumps. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Make sure the tart pan is resting on a flat surface (place on a cutting board or plate if necessary.)
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set the tart pan on a large baking sheet and remove plastic wrap. Press a double layer of foil into the tart shell and over the edges. Fill tart shell with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until dough is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and remove weights and foil.
  5. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the bottom of the tart shell and continue to bake another 5 minutes. Cool tart shell while making the filling.
  6. For the filling:
  7. Increase oven to 425 degrees. Spread zucchini slices and tomato slices in a single layer over several paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit for 30 minutes. Blot the tops of the zucchini and tomatoes dry with a few more paper towels.
  8. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp of the olive oil with the garli. In another bowl, mix the remaining 1 tsp of oil, ricotta and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange zucchini and tomatoes in a layer on top of the ricotta. Drizzle the vegetables with the garlic-oil mixture. Bake the tart on the baking sheet until the vegetables are slightly wilted, about 20 minutes.
  9. Let the tart cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with basil. Remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan. Carefully cut into wedges and serve.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/07/vegetable-tart/

 

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Corn Casserole

This is not the type of dish I usually make. I like to make dishes with at least one or two fresh ingredients. And I haven’t had creamed corn in a good 15 years.  But, a friend brought this to a potluck we had with our friends, and it disappeared within minutes. The casserole dish was scraped clean. And I found myself craving some corn casserole about a week later. So I called up my friend to get the ingredient list.
 
I’ve seen a few versions of this recipe. This version has a little less butter, in an effort to cut back the amount of fat.

Corn Casserole

Corn Casserole

Ingredients

1 box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1 15 oz can kernel corn, drained
1 c sour cream
4 oz (half a stick) butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a 2-qt casserole dish.
  2. Bake, covered for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/03/corn-casserole/

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Ratatouille Tart

Why have I never used the slicer blade on my food processor before??? I guess it was simple laziness – not wanting to dig the blade out of the cupboard, and not wanting to deal with the clean up of all the parts of the processor. In the long run, the slicer saved me a ton of time, effort, and probably a few fingers. And having neat, uniform slices makes this tart so much prettier.


The food processor also came in handy when mixing the dough. I’ve watch food shows that have done this, but once again, was too lazy to do it. I may start making homemade piecrusts once again.

Anyway, this tart was fairly easy to put together, though a bit time consuming. I got to use the tart pan that my friend Jennifer gave me for my birthday last year. The result was well worth the effort. Hubs claimed that it was one of the best things I’ve made recently. He especailly liked the healthy portion of veggies.


Ratatouille Tart
adapted from Cuisine at Home
August 2009

Dough (recipe follows)

1 yellow squash
1 large zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1/4 red onion
3/4 c shredded firm chevre (goat cheese)
2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh basil
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

For the dough: Pulse 1 1/2 c all purpose flour and 1/2 tsp each of table salt and black pepper in
a food processor. Add 6 Tbs of cold, diced unsalted butter and 3 Tbs cold diced shortening; pulse
until pieces of butter and shortening are the size of peas. Add 3 Tbs ice water; pulse to combine.
Shape dough into a flat disk. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Fit dough into a 9-inch tart pan. Press dough into edges and trim excess. Cover dough with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake until crust feels dry, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans and bake shell for another 5 minutes, until light brown. Let crust cool to room temperature.

Using a mandoline, or the slicer blade of a food processor, slice squash, zucchini, and bell pepper into rounds, and the onion into half-rounds. Sprinkle chevre and basil over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange vegetables around the edge of the shell, repeatedly overlapping two slices of squash, two slices of zucchini, a slice of bell pepper, and three slices of onion (or whatever combination you wish). Arrange a smaller circle inside the first. Use squash slices to cover the center.

Drizzle tart with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tart is golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

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