Sunday, October 30, 2011

Prime Rib for dinner and breakfast!

One of the fun things about getting married is how, now, there are items all around the house that remind me of a person because that person bought me that item for our wedding. I have lovely turquoise Victorian tumblers from Authoress, a coffee table made of mango wood from my aunts and uncles in Vietnam, and a shiny All Clad roaster from our good friend, Mike. To break in said roaster - and to have a last little hurrah before I had to go back to work - I decided to make prime rib.

Prime rib is so fancy that it sort of intimidates me every time I make it, but I have a recipe that's pretty much fool proof.

Garlic Prime Rib from

I basically follow the recipe except for a few changes:
  • My roast is 5lbs instead of 10
  • I use fresh thyme instead of dried (I learned that dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor so if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of a dried herb, you'll need 3x as much if you're going fresh)
  • I always add extra garlic (I like to cut up thin slices of garlic, make slits in the meat, and slide the garlic chips in)
  • And, per the reviews, I use the following cooking times: 460 for 12 minutes, 400 for 8 minutes, and then 325 for 20 minutes / pound (I take out the roast when my meat thermometer reads 130 so that after resting, the inside is a nice medium rare)
  • For the au jus (which is SUPER key - seriously, this stuff is mouthwatering), I use Bobby Flay's thyme au jus recipe here (to make less than the quantity specified, I only use a cup and a half of red wine and a can of low sodium beef broth)
Voila! Fool proof:

The outside may look burned, but it's not. It's a very tasty crust. You'll probably be peeling off the pieces to snack on even before it hits the table. For sides, I decided to try two new recipes: Grilled Romaine and Creamed Corn.

I know, grilling lettuce may sound weird, but with fresh pecorino romano, it was very yummy (thanks to my cousin for the recipe). Warm, slightly wilted, slightly crunchy - I am going to make it again this week.

The creamed corn was also a hit with my new husband. The changes I made were: I used one can of corn (drained) instead of frozen, I used one cup of 2% milk total (no heavy cream), I added one sugar cube because that's what I had lying around, and I started with 1 tablespoon of flour, but added a little more because I wanted it thicker. Next time, I'll just add less milk.

Best part about making prime rib? Leftovers for breakfast! Or, breakfast for dinner. Steak and poached eggs, anyone? I made the mashed potatoes by first boiling the potatoes in the microwave - something else I haven't done before. Learn how here. Then, I just heated up some milk, butter, and garlic on the stove and poured the hot concoction over the potatoes I mashed with a fork. Served with fresh fruit!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I'm a wife!!

Hello, Internet! I'm back and a Mrs.! The wedding was the most fun I've ever had in my life and everyday, I wish we could do it all over again! But, after a lovely honeymoon in Hawaii and two never-ending weeks unpacking boxes and moving my new husband in, it's back to reality!

I am more than ready (though, admittedly, also more than rusty) to jump back into writing, but I'm waiting for one of the stories swirling in my head to become clearer and take hold. I may go back to a piece I was working on while I was planning the wedding, but I'm also intrigued by this new idea that seemed to appear out of nowhere. How many stories do you have in your head before you pick one? And after you pick one, how many are still in your head, vying for your attention?

There are two things I'm not quite ready for: (1) Going back to work after 5 glorious weeks off and (2) cooking everyday. Don't they both sound scary?! Yup, I have more appreciation for my mom (and all moms out there) who put something different on the dinner table every single night. How the heck? I'm so intimidated, I've been scouring the Internet for recipes. I don't outline my novels, but I've been trying to plan out my week. Watch out world! New working woman / wife, so excuse me while I collect recipes to try this whole making dinner everyday thing.

Chicken Parmesan
* the original recipe teaches you how to make a tomato sauce from scratch, but I decided to take the easy route and use jarred sauce

4 chicken breast cutlets (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Working one at a time, place a chicken cutlet between two layers of wax paper (or plastic wrap). With a meat pounder, pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness - between 1/4 - 1/2 inch. (If you don't have a meat pounder, you can use a rubber mallet, an empty wine bottle, or a heavy rolling pin.) Salt the chicken pieces well.

In a shallow bowl (large enough to dredge the cutlets), mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and pinch of salt. In separate shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.

Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat. The oil should be shimmering, not smoking. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time first in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs. Then lay the pieces in the hot sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium, then gently fry the cutlets until they are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Spread enough tomato sauce to thickly coat the bottom of 9x13 casserole pan or baking dish. Once the cutlets are browned on both sides, arrange them on top of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Place sauce over each of the cutlets. Sprinkle the tops with sliced basil. Then top the cutlets with slices of mozzarella and the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to brown.

Serves 4.

For a side dish for above chicken, how about some grilled lettuce! Got this idea from my cousin's food blog:

1 head of Romaine lettuce
enough olive oil to slather both sides
1/2 cup of fresh grated Romano (Parmesan or Asiago could also be used, just nothing from a green can)
pinch of salt
couple turns of black pepperdusting of granulated garlic

Basically, grill the lettuce until it's slightly charred and then sprinkle with the cheese before serving.

Panko-Crusted Salmon

4 teaspoons olive oil
4 pieces thickly cut, boneless salmon (each 6 oz)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp honey mustard or sweet-hot mustard
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet skin side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the honey mustard and 1 teaspoon of the thyme. In another small bowl, mix the panko with the remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, 4 teaspoons of olive oil, parsley, and paprika. Add salt and pepper (a light sprinkle).

Using a small spoon, spread the mustard mixture on the salmon; top with the bread crumb mixture.

Roast the salmon for 12-14 minutes (test at 10) or until it is almost completely firm to the touch and flakes when poked with a fork. Serve at once.

Other recipes I want to try sometime:

Hamburger Stroganoff (might try it with turkey and yogurt to be a little healthier)