Spaghetti Bolognese

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix film was hosted over at This Mama Cooks! We watched a movie called Toast. Toast is the story of Nigel Slater. The movie shows us Nigel’s version of his life, based on his memoir.

The movie depicts Nigel and his family. It shows his venture into the land of culinary arts. Having grown up with a mother who only cooked from cans, Nigel always wanted something more than . . . toast. At one point Nigel has a conversation with his mother:

Nigel: Can I have Spaghetti Bolognese?
Nigel’s Mom: I don’t know how to cook such a thing.
Nigel: I’ll show you.

Nigel made a beautiful bolognese. And his mom didn’t eat it. She ate toast. She was so intimidated by that big plate of noodles with meat sauce that she just couldn’t do it and resorted to the one thing she was sure of. Young Nigel tried so hard to get his mom to love food and love to cook, but unfortunately that was a joy she never shared.

The story continues to explain more of the culinary creations that Nigel creates and explains how he became the chef and the man he is today.

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For this meal I loosely followed Nigel’s own bolognese recipe. I made adjustments, as always, to suit my pantry, refrigerator, and life on whole. I mean, I really didn’t have 2 hours to let the sauce simmer for after having worked all day long. Now – don’t get me wrong . . . I know pasta sauce is lovely when cooked for hours and gets this dynamic that is hard to replicate on a quick cook, but I just didn’t have the time. I turned the heat up and cooked the sauce way quicker than Nigel would have approved of.

But I was left with a delicious pasta sauce that was easy to make. With some garlic bread, delicious!

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 pieces bacon, cut into pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
7 oz ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Melt the butter in a heavy based pan. Stir in the bacon and ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and mushrooms, stirring well. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, allowing the vegetables to get tender.

2. Pour in the milk. Then pour in the tomatoes, white wine, and chicken broth. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for about a half hour, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.

3. Cook the pasta per the package directions while the sauce is cooking. Drain. Toss with the sauce.

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix, I’m sharing this dish with Cast Party Wednesday

 

Spaghetti with Ragu

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After skimming through December 2010′s Food Network Magazine for the one millionth time, I decided to make ragu. What a quick and easy recipe. I especially like that ragu uses vegetables to add bulk without relying entirely on meat. The celery and carrots in this sauce added some flavor of their own, but for the most part they supplemented the meat.

Served with garlic bread, this made a great dinner.

Spaghetti with Ragu
(from Food Network Magazine December 2010 edition)

Ingredients
1/4 onion
1 stalk celery, cut into pieces
1 carrot, cut into pieces
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground turkey
15-oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup skim milk
6 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Place the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and rosemary into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring until softened and golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the turkey and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

3. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles to package directions. Drain.

4. Once the sauce and noodles are cooked, toss the noodles and sauce together until well combined.

* serves 2
* Shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party & Tempt My Tummy

Beet and Potato Salad

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This potato salad couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, this is probably the most festive I’ll be. It’s funny that this was accidentally planned too. I’m not really into Valentine’s Day. I’m not bitter either – I have nothing to be bitter about. I just find it a little silly to celebrate love one day a year in such a commercial way. I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated Valentine’s Day actually. In fact, Matt and I have decided to hit up Walgreen’s this weekend to stock up on chocolate – that’s how we roll.

But anyway, if unlike me, you do celebrate Valentine’s Day, this is a perfect potato salad for the occasion.

I love beets. I’m always shocked at how my hands get so pink. It’s so crazy to me that just cutting it makes so much pink! What a strange veggie!

I made this potato salad for No Croutons Required, this month sponsored by Tinned Tomatoes. The theme is obviously potato salads. :)

Beet and Potato Salad
(source)

Ingredients
1 large red potato
1 large beet
1 egg
1/4 red onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 425. Cut the greens off of the beet and cut most of the root off of the beet. Place the beet in a baking dish and fill the dish with 1/4 inch of water. Cover your baking dish with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Once the beet is roasted, peel the skin off.

2. While the beet is roasting, cut the potato into chunks. Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil for 15 minutes, until tender.

3. While the beet is roasting, also hard boil your egg. To hard boil an egg, place egg in a pot. Fill the pot with water so it just covers the egg. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes. Peel the egg and then dice.

4. Once your beets, potatoes, and eggs are cooked, combine in a large bowl. Add the onion and celery as well and toss together.

5. In a small dish combine the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, and yogurt. Whisk together well.

6. Add the dressing to the vegetables. Toss together.

7. Refrigerate until well chilled.

* serves 2
* 268 calories per serving
* Besides No Croutons Required, this is being shared with Wednesday Whatsits, Cast Party Wednesday, Wednesday Extravaganza, & Food Of The Month Club – Salad Theme

Fish Pie

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This month over at BakeBakeBake the challenge is British. Frankly, my experience with British food is very small. All I can think of is fish and chips. But a baked British dish? Google was required to find something to meet the challenge! Fish pie is a pie made with white fish. It is a traditional British dish. Upon googling I found Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie recipe, using a combination of fish, shrimp, carrots, celery, lemon, tomato, spinach, and mashed potatoes.

I was skeptical, but clearly I had no reason to be. This dish was time consuming (until it went into the oven) but came out perfectly with a beautiful crispy potato topping.

Fish Pie

Ingredients
2 lbs white potatoes, cut into pieces
1 carrot, shredded
2 sticks celery, shredded
5 oz Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 lemon
2 1/4 lbs tilapia, cut into pieces
4 oz shrimp, cleaned and peeled
olive oil
1 handful baby spinach
2 tomatoes, quartered

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 12 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, mash together with several glugs of olive oil.

2. Place the grated carrot, celery, and cheese together in a baking dish. Zest the lemon into the baking dish. Cut the tilapia into bite size pieces. Mix the tilapia, shrimp, spinach, and tomatoes in with the grated vegetables.

3. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the dish. Bake for 40 minutes.

* serves 6
* shared with Tasteful Tuesday Party, Tasty Tuesdays,  Tempt My Tummy, & Recipe Box 

Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese

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Finding new ways to incorporate my veggies into my stomach has been interesting. I’m trying to include at least one veggie into my dinners. This is something I always intend to do, but have been slacking at considerably. I’m such a meat and potatoes girl. A pizza and ice cream girl. I like carbs and I like sweets and I like junk food. It’s a struggle to get my head into thinking otherwise. But I started this new year with a bang and so far have been pretty successful.

This was a smitten kitchen recipe which I slightly altered to make it work with the ingredients I had.

Baked Orzo with Kale and Cheese
(inspiration)

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz uncooked orzo
1/2 tsp tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 oz shredded mozzarella
3/4 oz grated Parmesan
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 head kale, sliced into thin ribbons
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and saute the celery for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes.  Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes, kale, lemon zest, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

2. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

* serves 2
* shared with Mix It Up Monday & Mealtime Monday 

Slow Cooker Lentil Vegetable Stew

 

The first week of my last year in law school was this week. Just two semesters left and I’ll have to change the name of my blog. It won’t be the Law Student’s Cookbook anymore, but the Unemployed Law School Graduate’s Cookbook. Well, that is until I pass the bar and hopefully get hired somewhere great. Then my blog will be called The Public Defender’s Cookbook. But more likely it will just need a new name that leaves me unaffiliated with a career. When that day comes . . . No. I can’t even think about it. It’s still so far off.

Anyway, school started this week and I have night classes two days every week. Last semester I had a ton of night classes.
Last semester I also got really fat because I ate out so much. On top of gaining pounds, my wallet got pretty slim. I would prefer things to work in reverse, so I’ve decided I really just need to implement ways that make getting home just before 9PM okay. The number one way this is going to work is if in the morning before I leave for work or school I throw everything for the day into a crockpot. That way when I do get home just 2 hours before my bedtime, I don’t feel like I need to run and get fast food to satiate myself. And frankly, anything I can make at home tastes a million times better than something that comes through a drive through.

This week has been a pretty mellow week compared to what the rest of my semester is going to look like. Two of my classes got cancelled the first week of school, so instead of two nights of needing quick dinners (rather, slow cooked dinners,) I only had one.

During the middle of my Prosecutorial&Defense Ethics my stomach started grumbling. I was happy to find this slow cooker stew when I got home.

Slow Cooker Lentil Vegetable Stew

Ingredients
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 potato, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup green beans, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry lentils

Directions

1. Add everything except for the lentils into a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. Add lentils during the last hour of cooking.

* serves 6
* 273 calories per serving
* Shared with Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen & What’s Cooking Wednesday

Worcestershire Pork Chops and Vegetable Fried Rice

This was actually intended to be a soy sauce marinated pork chop, but I didn’t realize how low we were on soy sauce and didn’t buy any. Unfortunately by the time pork chop night came, the soy sauce was all gone because the boyfriend dumped it on his rice on Black Pepper Chicken night. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to use without going to the store and opted for the Worcestershire. I later realized I had teriyaki sauce I could have used, but the Worcestershire worked well and the chops were delicious!

Worcestershire Pork Chops 

Ingredients
2 pork chops
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus some more for cooking
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tbsp onion, minced

Directions

1. Combine the ingredients in a ziplock bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Shake the bag so the pork chops are covered. Put in the fridge for 20 minutes.

2. In a skillet heat up a little bit of oil. Cook long enough for the pork chops to brown on one side. Flip and let brown on the other side.

3. Cover with a lid, lower heat, and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Add any extra marinade to the skillet.  Increase the heat. Once simmering, pour over the chops.

* serves 2
* 261 calories per serving

 The rice was also a hit. I haven’t been very good about eating my veggies. I really need to do something about that, because I obviously need them. This rice dish was a nice way to incorporate veggies in without being a “veggie” dish.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Ingredients
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp uncooked rice
3/4 cups water
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 mushrooms, chopped
2 oz canned bamboo shoots
1 carrot, chopped
3 tbsp snow peas

Directions

1. Cook the rice either in a pot or a rice cooker.

2. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a skillet. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until tender.

3. In a medium bowl blend the eggs and 1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce. Stir into the skillet and scramble with the garlic and onions. Remove the eggs from the skillet.

4. Heat the remaining oil. Place the mushrooms and celery in the skillet and cook until the mushrooms are tender and release liquid. Add the bamboo shoots, carrots, snow peas, and rice. Heat through. Then add the eggs and stir to combine

* serves 2
*146 calories per serving

* Shared with What’s Cooking Wednesday

Beef Stew

This month Food ‘n Flix was hosted by La Cocina de Leslie. The movie this month was a movie I had never seen before, Last Holiday. Georgia Byrd, a woman who lives just an average life has a life changing moment when she learns she has only a small amount of time left to live. Georgia regrets not going for her dreams while she had the chance, the dreams of being a chef, the dreams of traveling.. So she cashes in her life savings and goes on a European adventure before she dies. To enter Food ‘n Flix this month, go here to check it out. You have until the 29th!

Georgia seems to have a love affair with the Food Network, with the first dish she makes in the movie being from Emeril Lagasse. I decided that in the spirit of the movie I would make a dish of Emeril’s. This stew was perfect. The flavors were absolutely amazing. For something as simple as stew, I was surprised this could be full of so much flavor. Part of the recipe calls for Essence. I made way too much of the spice mixture just for this stew, so I’ve been including it in every recipe I’ve cooked since. It’s a wonderful combination. If you see me mention  Essence in the ingredients of my upcoming posts, this is what it is!

Beef Stew
(Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs beef, cut into chunks
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Essence (recipe below)
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp butter
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups beef stock
4 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp ground allspice
4 cups russet potatoes, chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Directions

1. Set a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 3 tbsp of olive oil. Season the beef with salt, pepper, and Essence. Add the meat to the pot and cook until brown on each side. Remove the beef and set aside.

2. Add the butter and mushrooms to the pot, and cook until well browned. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and saute until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, allspice, and beef. Bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes. Recover and cook 30 minutes more.

4. Stir in peas. Remove from heat. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

* serves 6

Essence

Ingredients
2 1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme

1. Mix all together thoroughly. 

Around the World in 52 Weeks: Fish Stew and Flat Bread

Despite my difficult making Congolese food last week, I was very happy with my kitchen’s trip to Algeria this week.

This week my kitchen teleported itself to Northern Africa. I made a fish stew, which while simple was packed with delicious, comforting flavors. I also made a flat bread. In the past, I have tried to make naan. Naan is my only experience with unleavened bread and while the naan was tasty, I just couldn’t get it right. Now, I don’t know if this Algerian flat bread is right. But it definitely was flatter than the flat bread I’ve made in the past. It also was full of flavor (thank you turmeric.)

For as much as I love turmeric, I think I need to be more careful using it because my fingernails are kind of stained yellow because of it.

The combination of the flavors of the soup and the bread was excellent, making a wonderful pair. It was a yummy trip this week. As I say every week, I am sure this is not even close to what authentic Algerian food is like. But it’s good nonetheless!

Fish Stew

Ingredients
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 0z canned whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large potato, cubed
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cups chicken broth
2 tilapia fillets, cut into pieces

Directions

 1. In a pot heat the olive oil. Fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and simmer until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated. Add the paprika, potato, celery, and broth. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add the fish and cook for 10 more minutes.

* serves 2
* 350 calories per serving
* This soup is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays and KB and Whitesnake‘s Simply Delish Saturdays.
* Recipe came from here, with few alterations.

Flat Bread

Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric

Directions

 1. Stir together the flour, salt, and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large bowl. Slowly stir in the water until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough on a slightly floured surface for approximately 15 minutes.

2. Form the dough into a ball and coat with 2 tbsp olive oil. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let stand for an hour.

3. Stir together cumin, paprika, turmeric, and the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil.

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, keeping the pieces you are not currently working with covered with plastic. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle, getting it as thin as you can. Spread 1 tsp of the spiced oil on the dough with a pastry brush. Roll the dough up like a straw and then create a spiral with the dough.

5. Place your dough spiral between two pieces of parchment paper and flatten with the rolling pin, so that the dough is 6-inches.

6. Place a dry skillet over heat. Once hot place the flat bread in the skillet. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the bread starts to puff up. Flip and cook for about 2 minutes on the other side.

7. Continue until all the dough is used.

* makes about 12 pieces of flat bread
* 183 calories per piece of bread
* I followed the recipe here for how to make the bread.

I’d like to see people travel the globe with me.
Every Saturday I will be posting my recipe, as well as pictures to ethnic cuisines you have made and want to share.

- You must mention The Law Student’s Cookbook‘s Around The World In 52 Weeks in the entry you link. You can either use a link or use the banner.
- In your post you must  at least mention what cuisine the dish is.
- Email me your recipe at elizabeth@crabtech.net. Make sure to include:

* Your name or blog name
* The direct link to your post
* A picture of the dish or permission to pull a picture from the post

- Make sure to email me by Saturday at 12noon Pacific Standard Time

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Despite this rather warm winter, I’m still shivering. Here in Sacramento this winter has been mild. Unfortunately for the snow businesses in California there hasn’t been much snow. My brother works at a sports store in the ski and snowboard section and had his hours cut because of the lack of snow, therefore the lack of business. While it sucks for the economy that there has been no snow and it will probably result in a drought, the fact that I’m shivering when it isn’t even cold makes me happy that the mountains aren’t white. But really, when I say it isn’t cold I mean that it’s above freezing. It’s still only about 50 degrees out right now, which I think is painful.

So while I’m sitting here shivering with my heater on and covered in blankets, I get to tell you all about my soup recipe that warmed me up from the inside out. I think that’s the best part of soup; it makes you soooo warm. This recipe was yanked out Food Network Magazine‘s October 2011 magazine on page 108. The soup is actually featured on the cover of the magazine also. It’s easy to make, it’s hearty, it warmed up my belly, and it tasted incredibly delicious.

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb yams, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/3 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery. Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, half-and-half, potato, yam, broccoli, bay  leaf, 2 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, for about 10 minutes.

3. When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf and transfer the soup to a blender.  Puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot. Simmer over medium-low heat and season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the cheese and stir until melted.

* serves 4
* 607 calories per serving
* This recipe is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays and with Cream Puffs in Venice‘s Magazine Mondays.