Sunday, September 10, 2017

September Dinner Party

I realized that when I throw a dinner party, if I don't post the recipes - that those are the recipes I want to find later. So, I'm going to post all of my recipes. For dinner last night, I made
  • Cheese Tray with lots of stuff including Olive Tapenade
  • Spinach Salad with Beets
  • Lamb and Steak with a Bagna-Cauda sauce
  • Baked cauliflower
  • Berries with whipped cream
Olive Tapenade recipe. It was really good - there's probably a better one out there, but it was really good.

For the Spinach Salad I did beets baked for 70 minutes at 450 (individually foil wrapped), then added toasted pine nuts and a balsamic, olive oil/avocado oil, and dijon mustard dressing (rave reviews).

For the lamb and steak I cooked 1-inch steaks at medium-high heat (no oil, etc.) in a cast-iron pan for 5 minutes, then flipped and did 4 minutes on the other side. They were a little more medium than I like (I like medium rare), but tasted great. Before cooking I did oil on the lamb (none on the steak) and then salt and pepper on both. I let both rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking.

I was disappointed with the cauliflower. My go-to is curry (plus salt, pepper, olive oil), but I left out the curry (added a bit of garlic) because I didn't think the flavor profile worked. But it was just a bit blah. Maybe just more garlic would do it.

The winner was the Bagna-Cauda. I couldn't find a recipe for what my friend had described, so I ended up putting in 1 cup of olive oil (1/2 would have been enough, but I wanted extra). Then I added ~3/4c of minced garlic and ~3/4c of anchovies (I pre-chopped) to already heating oil. And I cooked it (low heat) for an hour. Then I started putting in pats of ghee (Whole 30 guests or I would have done butter) - one pat, stir til dissolve, wait, add another. I put in probably the equivalent of a half a stick to a stick of butter (not a lot at that point).  After 2 hours I was sure it was a disaster. It wasn't until 3 hours that the magic started to appear - the addictive delicious nature that drives already full people to have another serving of whatever it is place on. And I think a 4th hour wouldn't have been overkill. I did keep turning the temp up and down (it would start to bubble a bit and I'd say that was too high, but then down it would do nothing and I worried). Pretty low heat though.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Epicurious to the Rescue

I wanted brisket. Who knows why. It just sounded good. So I bought it at the Farmers Market. And then I searched on epicurious and found Nach Waxmans Brisket of Beef. And it was EASY and DELICIOUS.

And I wanted carmel pudding for dessert. And I found another recipe. It was good. It still wasn't as great as the one I had over Thanksgiving. But it was pretty good.Burnt Caramel Pudding.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ribeye with Anchovy Butter

I had great steak with anchovy butter sauce at Almond recently and have been dying to make it myself. Tonight I finally did. And boy is it easy. I used my normal cooking for steak recipe. And then I modified a couple of online recipes (NYTimes Bagna Cauda, etc.) and ended up with the following


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz anchovies
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped very finely
  • Fresh parsley
  1. Melt the butter, olive oil and garlic together at the lowest cooking temperature for 15 minutes
  2. Add the anchovies and stir til melted

Seriously delicious!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heating up the Classics

I love Beef Bourguignon, but today wanted something a little spicier - and maybe a little less rich. So, I took out my normal Anthony Bourdain recipe and cooked up the beef (1.25lb) and onions (3) as directed, except that I added some chili pepper - maybe a teaspoon. I left out the wine, substituting with beef stock (dried - 2 cubes in only 2.5 cups of water) and a 2-3T of a nice balsamic. Then instead of just carrots, I added in carrots, mushrooms and sweet potatoes (I also had some cabbage, and while I love cabbage, I don't love it in stews, so I roasted it at 450 as a side dish). It's still cooking, but the broth is phenomenal. I want to eat it now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

I've been dying for Beef Stroganoff, and even being served a fabulous version (homemade noodles!!) at a dinner party this weekend hasn't ended it, so I made some tonight. And it was fabulous (because Beef Stroganoff just is fabulous), though the noodles weren't homemade, so it wasn't quite as fabulous, but still really good - and easy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ranchero Sauce - The Ultimate!

Ranchero Sauce is the ultimate. It makes everything a lot more delicious (though my favorite is on top of quinoa, refried beans and egg). It is fabulous to have in your fridge at all times!


  • De-seed a 1/2 pound of dry chilis (today I used a mixture of Ancho, Pasilla and New Mexico). Simmer for a few minutes in a pot of water and then let soak overnight.
  • In plenty of olive oil, sautee 2.5lbs of onions for 10 minutes, add 7 large cloves of garlic and simmer for another minute. 
  • Drain chilis (retain water) making sure that you don't add back in any seeds (any that you missed in the de-seeding should have sunk to the bottom of the pot). In a food processor or blender, blend the chilis, onion/garlic and a little more oil. 
  • Flavor to taste with salt (3 tsp), cumin (3 tsp), a little cinnamon (1/2 tsp), oregano (1-2 tsp) and then this time I added a few others (a little smoked paprika and a little aleppo pepper)
It tastes better the next day, but it's still pretty awesome day of.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Dinner Party - Hot and Sweet

I've never had so much trouble coming up with a menu before. I knew I wanted a meat main dish that had a spicy sauce, but nothing seemed right. I finally made something up myself, and it was pretty good.


  • Finger foods: 3 cheeses (Robiola, Tomme Crayuse, Manchego) plus bacon-wrapped dates with blue cheese
  • Rustic Onion Tart with a side of greens
  • Braised pork loin with Nectarine-Roasted Poblano sauce and sweet potato fries and brussel sprouts 
  • Chocolate mousse with raspberries and whipped cream

Bacon-wrapped dates
These are super-easy. Slice the dates halfway, pull out the pit, stick a piece of blue-cheese into the hole, wrap it with bacon, and stick a toothpick in. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Rustic Onion Tart
I had made this once before, it was as easy and delicious as I remembered. Though it did take close to 2 hours to carmelize the 3 large red onions (that were the perfect amount of onion for the tart). Also 1/2 pound of Gruyere gives you a little more than the needed cheese.

Pork Loin
I tried brining for 3 hours (I would have done it longer, but I only bought the pork 3 hours before I started cooking it - limitations. I would do it again, it was easy and the pork was super-juicy.) 1/4 cup kosher (!) salt per quart of cold water (it dissolves super-easily and you don't have to wait for the water to cool).

After brining I coated the pork in salt and pepper. Then made a few slits in the top into which I put garlic and a little jalepeno (had it extra). I put it on a bed of sliced onions and added about a cup of red wine to the pan. I cooked it for about an hour at 425 for 15 minutes and then 325 until it was done.

For the sauce I started with bacon grease (from one piece of bacon), added a scoop of chopped ginger (1 tsp?), cooked that with minced onion (a quarter of a small-ish one?), a bit of minced jalenpeno (1 tsp?) and a couple of garlic cloves. Then I added 2 nectarines (big ones) peeled and minced and cooked till it was mushy. Then I added salt and pepper. And then 3 roasted red poblanos (fresh from the farmer's market, like the jalepeno) as well as a touch more jalepeno. I cooked for a while. Then added some port (tawny, because that's what I had). I had planned for it to be sauce-like, but it kept drying out. So I left it and then added the wine/drippings from the pork pan. It was really delicious!!

Brussel Sprouts
I was planning to do the Momofuku recipe, but was (horrors!) out of fish sauce. And I cannot buy just any brand (since Thai Kitchen is the only one that really shows up in regular groceries and it is HORRID and I didn't have time to hit Chinatown to buy Golden Boy), I had to do something else. We decided on boiling them for 5 minutes (which we did before the guests arrived), then sauteeing for 2 minutes (just before we served the main course) with some red-pepper flakes and other stuff. They were yummy.

Chocolate Mousse
I still haven't found anything better than Anthony Bourdain for this.