Sunday, April 24, 2011

Head over Heels: Silicone Mat and Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps

I am head over heels for my silicone mat (mine is by Silpat), which makes baking hassle free by preventing baked goodies from sticking to the pan. I am the first to admit that my skills are not in the realm of pastries and sweets, but as a savory cook this item is still a must have in my kitchen. No need to grease a sheet pan to prevent sticking - just throw the mat down and get baking. The best part is the easy cleaning - wash with warm water, a soapy sponge, and dry. There's no need to spend valuable time scraping off baked, charred bits!

Use the silicone mat to make Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps in less than 5 minutes!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roasted Beet Salad with Croutons and Blue Cheese

My friend Ingrid has been on a beet craze since making my borscht risotto, so when I had her over for dinner a couple of weeks ago I made this roasted beet salad just for her! This is a great salad that is full of contrasting flavors, textures, and temperatures. The sweet, warm, soft beets paired with the bitter, cold, crunchy greens and tangy, rich blue cheese makes every bite of this dish a joy to eat!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Curried Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

It's technically spring here in DC but it feels more like fall, and these cold and rainy days have me cooking up some soup. This is the first time I have made this version of butternut squash soup, and I must admit that I love the curry addition to this classic fall dish. The soup's bold flavor and creamy texture gives it a decadent feel, but the secret is that it's actually low fat and healthy - not to mention easy and super tasty!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Made It! Seared Steak with Tamale Polenta and Avocado Cilantro Salad

I made my version of Lisa's Seared Ribeye with Tamale Polenta and Avocado Cilantro Salad the other day. When I went to make the dish, I ran into one major problem, but don't worry...all ends well :) The grocery store didn't sell masa flour! I opted to use a regular Italian polenta instead, all the while wondering if I would get that tamale taste without the lye in the flour.

I put that out of my mind and set out to the kitchen. The prep time was literally five minutes (salt and pepper meat, toss a salad, pour the polenta into hot water, grate cheese). Cooking time was also surprisingly fast...the 5 minutes it took to sear my steak was basically it! I used an instant polenta, so while the meat was resting, I quickly made the polenta and mixed in the cheese and salsa (I left the sour cream out and I still thought the end result was creamy). I did not miss the masa flour since the salsa gave the polenta so much flavor. The salad was a nice addition to offset the richness of the polenta and meat. The end result was a delicious, hearty meal that really tasted like a deconstructed tamale.