Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

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This month for Cooking with Herbs, I opted to make a stir-fry. For February we were challenged to make something either romantic (for Valentine’s Day) or Chinese for Chinese New Year. I decided to make a stir-fry to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I grew up in San Francisco and went to a predominantly Chinese school. I loved Chinese New Year, for the red envelopes filled with money. I really could use one of those now . . . Filled with lots of money!

Anyway, this stir-fry features beef, mint, garlic, and onion. I love stir-fry for their simplicity and quickness. A meal ready in under 20 minutes is always nice.

Stir-Fried Beef with Mint

Ingredients
1 lb skirt steak, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp crushed red chili peppers
1/4 cup garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped

Directions

1. Put the red chili, garlic, and onion together in a cup. Mush together to make something resembling a paste.

2. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. Once hot, add the onion mixture. Cook the mixture until it turns golden brown.

3. Add the beef. Cook the beef until it’s no longer pink.

4. Add the fish sauce, sugar, water, and mint. Cook for several minutes, stirring consistently, until the liquid becomes thick.

5. Serve over rice.

* serves 4
* besides Cooking with Herbs, this recipe is being shared with #FoodieFriday Foodie Friday, & Tasty Tuesdays

Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

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This month’s Pasta Please theme is GARLIC hosted over at The Spicy Pear. I love garlic. When a recipe calls for garlic, I most always double the amount of it I actually use in my dish because I love it. It helps that Matt loves it too, because that would make me sad.

To make a garlic pasta dish? YES PLEASE! I feel like garlic gives any dish (or okay, most dishes) a nice element. Please don’t put it in my chocolate cake though.

Anyway – I’ve been busy lately and haven’t been cooking too much due to interviews and work. This dish was easy to make after a Friday at work and tasted delicious. The sun-dried tomatoes definitely helped with that too.

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Chicken, Bacon, Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
(source)

Ingredients
12 oz noodles in any shape you want
6 slices bacon
1 lb chicken breasts, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta. Once al dente, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Once crispy remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add the chicken to the bacon grease and season with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink. Saute artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes with the chicken for 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and then saute for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour on top and cook for 1 minute, whisking until smooth.  Slowly poor in the milk and chicken broth, whisking to avoid lumps. Season with salt and pepper and stir, cooking for 10 minutes, allowing the sauce to become bubbly and thick. Add the garlic powder and stir.

4. Cut the bacon into small pieces. Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken mixture, and sauce. Toss to combine.

* serves 6
* besides Pasta Please, this recipe is being shared with  Weekend Cooking

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Yesterday I posted about restraint and how I love to indulge, but how I need to not indulge in unhealthy things. And then today I made bacon chocolate chip cookies and ate six of them. *sigh*

Cookies are my downfall. My weakness. My kryptonite. Chocolate chip cookies make it even worse.

But I ignored my better thinking and made these bacon chocolate chip cookies for this month’s We Should Cocoa. This month’s theme is New Year, New Ingredient and is hosted at Lancashire Food. Basically, this month’s chocolate recipe was to pick an ingredient to pair with chocolate that we’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t yet.

The chocolate-bacon craze has intrigued me. About a year ago (I think) I had chocolate bacon gelato. It was delicious. But I’ve been hesitant for whatever reason of actually including bacon with my chocolate. I shouldn’t have been, but perhaps I should have made only 1/2 a batch of cookies so I wouldn’t have devoured so many.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
(source)

Ingredients
8 strips bacon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

1. In a skillet fry up the bacon. Once it’s cooked crisp, place it on a plate covered in paper towels to let drain. Once the bacon has cooled cut it into small pieces. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamed together. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat together.

3. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and flour to the mixing bowl. Mix together well.

4. Add the chocolate chips and bacon. Using a big spoon, mix the bacon and chocolate into the dough.

5. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, place 1 tbsp sized balls of the cookie dough. Leave enough room between the cookies so they can expand a little bit.

6. Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

* makes about 2 dozen cookies
* besides We Should Cocoa, I’m sharing these cookies with Weekend Cooking

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Christmas Dinner 2013

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Though my 12 days of cookies may have fallen into oblivion (though I do have some cookies to share in the next few days that I did end up making,) December always for me is a month of cooking. I made cookies for Matt’s family for Christmas, I made my doggy chicken jerky, and I made my dad homemade barbecue sauce in two different flavors.

What always becomes a cooking marathon though, is Christmas Day. Some families go BIG and invite everyone they know for Christmas. My family is the opposite. My parents moved to California from Ohio in the ’80s and because none of our extended family is around, we tend to keep it small. We go for fancy meals instead of meals that serve a lot of people. Christmas is always a time that my mom and I spend the whole day in the kitchen, making sure we make our meal perfect.

This was another year of perfection.

Rather than share the recipes, I’m linking you to the recipes we followed.

2013 Christmas Menu in Pictures

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The star of the show was a beautiful Beef Wellington. My mom’s made Beef Wellington in the past, but we followed a new recipe this year. It was my first time ever making one. This dish took all day, but it was worth every second it took making it. The beef tenderloin was so juicy and tender, having cooked with the pate, mushrooms, and proscuitto wrapped tightly around it. Though my taste buds would have enjoyed eating all 3-lbs of the tenderloin, this is so rich that one slice was all the rest of my body could handle.

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As a side dish we had Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding from the cookbook that can do no wrong. I gave my mom Barefoot Contessa Foolproof last year for Christmas. She cooks out of the cookbook a lot and has told me everything in it is divine and flavorful and yet, easy to make. We decided to make this bread pudding and it hit the mark.

We also made Roasted Brussels Sprouts, but I did not take a picture of those. We seasoned them with salt and pepper and tossed them in some olive oil and roasted them. Though simple, this decadent meal needed a simple veggie.

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To put an end to our Christmas meal, we had Vanilla Roasted Pears with vanilla ice cream. The fruit dessert was a great end to the meal. My aunt had sent us pears for Christmas. This was a great way to use them. They were so soft and delicious.

What did you have for Christmas this year?

* This recipe is being shared with Full Plate Thursday

Pork Chops Chinese-Style

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We truly went random this month at Dom’s Random Recipes. The random number generator told me that #8 was the cookbook to choose. #8 on my shelf was a book I got for free called Wok Cookery by Ceil Dyer. I had not used this cookbook yet – for one big reason. I do not own a wok. I really want a wok, but I have not purchased one (for no good reason.) Even sitting here, having cooked from Wok Cookery, I still do not own a wok. I just made it work with what I did own. After digging through my cooking collection I opted to use my double broiler. I’ve never thought to do meat in it before. It worked perfectly.

I did not let the pork chop marinate as long as I was instructed. I mean, I had all day. I could have. But I didn’t actually read the recipe until I was going to make it. I ended up marinating the pork for about 30 minutes. I’m sure the additional time would have made these even better, but I’m not complaining. The flavor was great. They were very tender. And served on top of a big mound of fried rice, I was pretty happy.

I’m not going to include the fried rice recipe, because.. It’s fried rice. But just in case you’re curious, it has onions, garlic, red bell pepper, corn, green onions, cashews, and soy sauce in it.

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Pork Chops Chinese-Style

Ingredients
4 boneless pork chops, trimmed
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Directions

1. Place pork chops in a shallow dish. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the pork. Turn the chops several times and pierce the pork chops with a fork. Let marinate at room temperature for 2 or 3 hours (or a half hour if you’re like me.)

2. Fill a double broiler with water. Bring to a simmer. Place the pork chops on the top part of the double broiler. Cover and steam for 1 hour.

* serves 4
* Besides Random Recipes, this is shared with Mix It Up Monday

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

 

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad

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I would have figured that being done with the bar exam and having significantly more time in my life that I would have more time to cook. And that’s true – I have a lot more time to cook. But the weather has been making it really hard for me to want to. When it’s 100 degrees outside, turning on any source of flame just seems unbearable. So I’ve been eating out more than I should, so that I can pay other people to be in a kitchen that’s too hot.

Last night was an exception though. It wasn’t excruciating hot and I really did need to cook. So I made this very easy recipe.

I can’t even believe how easy it was. It was so easy. But despite being super simple, my boyfriend announced, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

I’ll leave that credit to the very garlicky store bought hummus.

Though not pictured, we ate this with tortillas that I fried up in the leftover cumin infused oil.

Lebanese Beef and Hummus with a Simple Cucumber Salad
(source)

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skirt steak, cut into small strips
1 tbsp ground cumin
6 tbsp garlic hummus
2 cucumbers
1 wedge lemon
salt, to taste

Directions

1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Heat the olive oil. Add the beef and stir fry the beef for 2 minutes.

2. Add the cumin and continue to cook the beef until no longer pink. Stir occasionally.

3. While the beef is cooking, skin the cucumber. Then shave the remaining cucumber into thin ribbons, making sure to discard the watery seeds in the middle. Place the cucumber shavings in a bowl. Toss with the juice from the lemon wedge and salt.

4. Smear 3 tbsp of hummus on each plate. Top with the beef. Arrange the cucumber salad on the side.

* serves 2

Mediterranean Burgers

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Nine days. This is the absolute worst countdown ever. But it’s coming closer and closer and before you know it I won’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been so intertwined studying I haven’t had time for much else. I have done some secret shopping and I’ve done a little cooking, but getting my cooked recipes up on here just hasn’t been happening. But 9 days. And then 3 days until it’s over.

All I’ve been able to think about all day is how I want to go camping, to go canoeing, to go on a picnic, to be outside. All I can keep telling myself is, soon enough.

Also, for an update on Pantry Party. Due to my unavailability this month, this month’s Pantry Party will be extended until the end of August.

Anyway, this recipe was made because of one of my favorite blog round ups: Random Recipes at Belleau’s Kitchen. This month Dom challenged us bloggers to pick the 30th cookbook on our shelves and turn to page 30. Luckily there was a recipe on page 30 in my book.

The 30th book on my shelf was The Mixer Bible, a book I got when I first got my KitchenAid stand mixer. I haven’t used this book nearly as much as I should. I like that it teaches techniques with the mixer. Page 30 had two recipes: Hummus and Roasted Garlic Hummus. I decided to go with the Roasted Garlic variety. It was good, but I think it actually needed more garlic. I spread it on the bun of this burger and YUM!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Ingredients
1 head garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

1. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the garlic head. Place it in a large square of foil and drizzle with the 1 tsp of olive oil. Enclose in foil and place in an oven preheated to 350 for 45 minutes. When the garlic is done and cool to touch squeeze the cloves into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.

2. Place the chickpeas in the mixer bowl. Attach the flat beater. Set to speed 2 and mix until the chickpeas begin to break up. Increase to speed 4 and add the garlic, the remaining olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, 1 tbsp of water, and salt. Mix for 2 minutes until slightly lumpy, but creamy, add 1 tbsp more of water if necessary.

* makes 3 cups

Mediterranean Burgers
(source)

Ingredients
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cumin
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
handful cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful arugula
6 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 cup hummus

Directions

1. In a medium bowl combine the ground beef, spices, lemon juice, and egg. Mix together with your hands. Form the meat into 6 patties.

2. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the patties and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.

3. Spread the bottom layer of each hamburger bun with hummus. Place a patty on top. Divide the cherry tomatoes and arugula between the burgers.

* serves 6
* Besides Random Recipes, this recipe is being shared with Kahakai Kitchen‘s Souper Sundays & Weekend Cooking

Baked Reuben Sandwich

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This month’s Alphbakes letter is the letter R! Alphabakes is a monthly round up hosted by Caroline Makes . . . and The more than occasional cook. Each month a letter is picked and what are bloggers supposed to do ? Bake the letter of course!

When I first saw R I thought I should do raspberry something (which I still might do actually.) But I’m not one who likes predictability. Instead I decided to go as far from raspberries as I could get: a reuben sandwich.

When I was little my mom made reubens all the time. Of course, she did it the right way. She used corned beef. She used rye bread. But… I can’t find sliced corned beef at my grocery store nor did I really feel like making corned beef. So I opted for another cured meat: pastrami. It’s not quite the same, but it’s salt like corned beef.

Now obviously, this isn’t the standard reuben at all. A reuben is a sandwich on rye with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. So, my reuben maybe shouldn’t even be called a reuben, but it had the same taste I vividly remember from the sandwiches my mom used to make.

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Baked Reuben Sandwich
(source)

Ingredients
2 cups bisquick
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 lb sliced pastrami
1/4 cup deli style mustard
6 slices swiss cheese
1 14-oz can sauerkraut
1/2 cup thousand island dressing

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix together the bisquick, milk, eggs, and 1 tsp of the caraway seeds. Spread the 1/2 of the bisquick mixture onto the bottom of a 5-inch baking dish.

2. Spread the mustard all over the pastrami. Layer the pastrami on top of the bisquick. Cover with cheese. Spread the sauerkraut on top. Sread the remaining bisquick over the sauerkraut and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 tsp of caraway seeds.

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with the thousand island dressing on the side.

* serves 6
* besides Alphabakes, this recipe is shared with Pantry Party’s Cheese Theme, & Mix It Up Monday

Bacon Crusted Chicken

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The idea of meat crusted is not something I ever could have fathomed. It’s also probably something that has vegetarians shivering at the sight of this dish – my apologies! But I saw this recipe posted on PaleoDish and I just had to make it. My confession of the evening is that I don’t even know what the Paleo diet is, I just know I’m probably not paleo, but if bacon covering chicken is some type of delicacy for those that eat paleo, well.. I need to start following some paleo blogs for food ideas or something.

OK – I just skimmed about paleo. I don’t get it. But whatever. Bacon is good in my book.

Word to the wise: I am not paleo, like I just said above. Please be advised, I’m sure my use of all-purpose flour does not fit the diet guidelines and is my own . . . addition. For the real recipe that uses almond flour, go here. I can’t justify buying almond flour. I don’t particularly like it.

In other news, I was just thinking, maybe I shouldn’t have named my blog the Law Student’s Cookbook. Now I’m like, the Law Graduate. Then what? Do I stay at the Law Student’s Cookbook forever? Right now I should be the Bar Slave’s Cookbook or something, because besides cooking, eating, and blogging, the rest of my life has been dedicated to trying to learn things

I may have known at one point, but definitely don’t anymore.

Bacon Crusted Chicken

Ingredients
1 lb bacon
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded out
several tbsp of flour
2 eggs, whisked
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions

1. Line a baking dish with aluminium foil. Cover with bacon. Place in a cold oven and turn the heat on to 400. Cook bacon for approximately 20 minutes, or until desired doneness.

2. Drain the bacon and let cool. Once cool place in a food processor and process until well chopped.

3. In a shallow bowl, combine the bacon, flour, and spices. In another shallow bowl, combine the eggs.

4. Dip each piece of chicken in the eggs. Then cover with the bacon.

5. In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once hot add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side.

* serves 2
* shared with Full Plate Thursday & Showcase Your Talent Thursday