Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sous Vide Steak Success

 

steak + carrots + collards

I haven’t been cooking much this September. I’ve been feeling really exhausted and worn out.  So exhausted I feel like I can’t leave the house. A few weeks ago I played two ultimate frisbee games and now I feel done after walking a mile.

Today Sam was working on some house tasks, and I decided to try out the Anova sous vide circulator that I bought during the Prime Day sale. I bought a nice ribeye steak at a local butcher shop, and decided now was a good time to try something new and try to get back into the groove of things.

Sous vide is a style of cooking in which you cook the food in a water bath at a specific temperature. The idea is you can get and keep it at exactly the right temp so it’ll be safe to eat but won’t be overcooked. I  used this recipe from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s collaboration with Anova. I only used salt and pepper on the steak.

Since a carefully prepared steak needs sides to match, I decided to see what was fresh in the garden and find recipes. I had some collards and some carrots so I opened up Edward Lee’s Smoke & Pickles  and made two of the sides. I got the book from the library after enjoying him on the PBS show Mind of a Chef. I adjusted both of the recipes a bit from what was there, reducing the fat especially.

It was a great afternoon accidentally fancy lunch. The collards and carrots are definitely recipes we’ll want to repeat to improve the sides we serve with dinner. It felt good to cook as a bit of self-care.

Collards with Kimchi
Adapted from Edward Lee’s recipe. One version can be found here

  • 1 T. Bacon fat (substitute more butter if no bacon fat)
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1/2 a chopped onion
  • 2 bunches collard greens (1-2 lbs)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1.5 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup kimchi chopped

Heat bacon fat + butter until butter foaming in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook roughly 5 minutes until softened.

Add collards, chicken broth, and soy sauce. Cover and cook 30 minute on medium heat.

Remove from heat and add apple cider vinegar and kimchi. Serve immediately.

Carrots with Orange Bourbon Glaze
Adapted from Edward Lee’s recipe. One version can be found here.

Recipe made for 1/4 lb of carrots since that was all I had. Scale up for more.

  • 1/4 lb Carrots
  • 3/4 T. butter
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 T bourbon
  • juice form 1/2 orange
  • salt to taste

Heat butter up in a skillet until foaming on medium high. Add carrots and cook six minutes turning occasionally.

Add brown sugar + ginger to pan and mix for approximately 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with bourbon + orange juice. Cook for 7-8 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Salt to taste.

 

 

Lobio in London

travel food 001

When I was in London I stayed near London Fields in the Hackney neighborhood. It was my first solo AirBnB experience and I stayed in a lovely apartment on the park with a couple and their teenage son. I did a lot of walking in London, which is one of my favorite vacation activities. While walking from Haggerston Park to London Fields park I passed a small cafe called Little Georgia Cafe. After looking at the reviews online, I ended up eating their one night. It was sweltering outside, so it maybe wasn’t the best plan to get stew in a hot restaurant, but this was recommended by the woman working there and it was so delicious I wanted to replicate it when I got home!

The day after coming home I worked on this version in the pressure cooker. I froze most of it and have been taking it for lunch! People have been pitying me “sad soup” lunch, but I think it’s tasty!

travel food 003

Amolesili Lobio – stewed kidney bean and walnut stew
Adapted from Saveur

  • 2 strips bacon chopped (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 small leek
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • 1 lb kidney beans (pre-soak overnight if you’re not using the pressure cooker)
  • 10 -12 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste

If using bacon, cook it in a pot or pressure cooker. If not using bacon, add a few tablespoons oil in a pot or your pressure cooker over medium high heat. Add garlic, carrot, onion, and leek and saute for about 10 minutes until golden. Add coriander and paprika and cook until fragrant.

Add beans and stock. If using a pressure cooker, don’t go over the fill line of pressure cooker. If using stock pot feel free to add up to 12 full cups of chicken stock. Add red pepper flakes.
If using pressure cooker, bring to high pressure and cook for 20-30 minutes. Release using quick release. If beans are still firm you may have to return it to the pressure cooker for 10 more minutes.
If using normal stockpot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-2.5 hours until beans are cooked.

Meanwhile, puree walnuts and olive oil until smooth. Set aside.

When beans are cooked, ladle half of the beans to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot.

Stir in walnut puree, cilantro, dill, parsley, and salt to taste.

Berlin: Sam’s First Taste of Flammkuchen

DSC_0006

Our flight from Amsterdam to Berlin was supposed to leave at 9pm, but the plane was late arriving because of thunderstorms in Amsterdam. By the time we finally left, the pilot told us that there was a good chance of us not reaching Berlin that night, because the airport CLOSED by midnight. We’d then have to turn around and land in Hamburg. Sam and I had NEVER heard of this before, and the Israeli guy next to us on the plane was very upset about this possibility. I’m glad we made it to Berlin, but at least we had some people to call if we had been stuck in Hamburg for the weekend!

We made it to Martin and Monika’s apartment very late and they were great hosts for the weekend.

On Saturday after an excellent late brunch of bread, meat, cheese and fruit we took a stroll around the central area of Berlin (Alexander Platz to Potsdammer Platz). Since it was the same day as the Champion’s League final in Berlin, Juventus vs Barca, the central area was packed with fans so we retreated in the heat to a Beer Garden and the cool, refreshing Radler that awaited us there. Radler is the best thing on a hot day: lemon soda (like sprite) mixed with beer.

That evening we went out for Flammkuchen and Beer before watching the Football match. This was Sam’s first taste of Flammkuchen and it was a hit! Flammkuchen (literally Flame Cake) is traditionally more from the South of Germany bordering France, and is known in France as “Tarte Flambee”. Legend has it that it was invented when bakers would test the wood burning ovens temperature by tossing in some flat dough. If it burned or caught on fire, then it was too hot. One day someone decided to top it with sour cream, speck (thick bacon), and onions and the rest was history!

Our first full day back in Seattle was also a hot day and we decided to test out some of the recipes we found online. I opted to not go for the yeast dough recipes as we enjoyed the crispness and flatness of the one we had in Berlin.

DSC_0012

Flammkuchen Dough
Adapted from food.com

  • 200 g (7 oz) All Purpose Flour + more for rolling out dough
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 175 ml water
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together. Dough should not be sticky, so add more flour until it comes together and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Dough can be used immediately.

Classic Flammkuchen

  • 1 Flammkuchen Dough recipe
  • 7 oz Creme Fraiche (can also use sour cream. I didn’t have quite enough creme fraiche so I cut it with some greek yogurt)
  • Speck / Pancetta / Bacon cut thinly
  • Red onion cut thinly
  • Scallions (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 450F.
  2. Pan fry bacon until lightly browned. It will also partially cook in the oven so you don’t want it crispy yet.
  3. Roll out dough and bake on pizza stone or cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
  4. Take dough out and layer on creme fraiche. Top with Red Onion and Bacon and any other toppings.
  5. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Kitchen Nook Progress

IMG_20150103_113547_582IMG_20150103_113513_599My house was built in the 50s, but the area off the kitchen was built in the 90s and was built from garage space. Our garage is laughably narrow so it was probably actually a good thing that they took this space from the garage. The kitchen nook has been on of the most neglected place in our home so far. It’s been a dumping ground for stuff that doesn’t quite fit in the kitchen or hasn’t been put in the garage yet. The pictures on the right show that it’s been in a haphazard state: too big dining room table moved in their once we bought one for the dining room, mismatched chairs, random lamp, and random stuff on the table. I’m also not a fan of the light green paint that extended from the kitchen to here.

I knew I wanted to paint it a clean white. Since this room gets a lot of light, the white would work. Small, dark rooms don’t do well with white because the white tends to get grey and dirty. Here’s the result!

winter 2015 308

I bought the bench on craiglist for $75. It actually has a corner part you can see above, but since that didn’t have a leg for support we didn’t want to attach it until we could build something. It’s clearly handmade and fairly sturdy, and the seats have some shallow storage space in the bench seat. The table I bought a bit later on craigslist for $50. It’s very sturdy and it’s got two small fold down leaves.

winter 2015 309

I also took some leftover paint from the kitchen and repainted this little IKEA cabinet that was left in the house when we moved in and was originally painted the same light green color as the previous walls in this space. It now ties in nicely with the kitchen. You can see my silly outfit in the reflection of the cabinet in this picture!

winter 2015 307

I’m not sure about what to do in this space in the corner. The kitchen cart fits there, but I’m thinking of putting some shelving above it to hold my cookbooks, which are currently living in the dining room. The room also needs some art to break up the blank walls. Here you can see the great view into the back yard!

winter 2015 312 This space is also a bit of a mystery. It currently has this wire frame set of drawers that we moved from the garage to make way for some more space, but it definitely doesn’t fit or belong here. I’m considering putting some sort of pot/pan storage as it’s too narrow. I’m looking at a few different options like shelves or hooks or a pegboard.

winter 2015 310

 

The Long Room: A Start

The third bedroom is the last major room in our house to get any sort of attention, and it’s been a dumping ground of sorts. I’ll be able to get the piano from my mother’s house that I learned to play on, so I wanted to get things started by putting on a new coat of paint. Clearly this whole space needs a lot of work, but I think it has a lot of potential given the size of it and all the natural light.

Here’s the view when you come in the doorway for the room. I’d like to keep the desk and bookcases in the same general space, but will probably upgrade the bookcases and the chair in the future. I’d like the area where the twin bed currently is to be a comfortable seating and reading area.

winter 2015 287

This is the view from the desk area. I’m planning on putting the piano on the left back wall, and then putting a sleeper sofa or something like the Ikea Hemnes Daybed that can work as guest space when we have people to visit. For now I’ve also set up my yarn and some other craft stuff on the right side.

winter 2015 285

The white bookcase Sam bought from Goodwill and the wood one is pretty broken, but my stepdad gave it to me for free. The desk is my former dining room table that I moved from the kitchen nook space, where it was clearly way too large. I think it’ll end up doing nicely here for now!

winter 2015 282

I definitely need to get rid of the valances here, because they definitely aren’t my style. (Although they appear to be lovingly handmade!). I included this picture because the blossoms on the tree outside are really beautiful, and really crazy for February.

winter 2015 280

We painted all the existing Behr paints we had to test with. The Classic Silver is our living room color and the Grape Creme is the small bedroom color. It’s crazy how different (and wrong) the living room color looked in here. We narrowed it down to Gray Morning and Contemplation. We ended up choosing Gray Morning and I’ll show the first half painted in the next post.

winter 2015 294

Chimichurri and Steak Pizza

DSC_0286

I got some chanterelles from a coworker this week, and decided to make some pizzas friday night! The pizza dough recipe that I always use makes three pies worth, so we did three different variations. Pizza 1 was a chanterelle, portabello, onion pizza on a bechemal. Pizza 2 was my classic pear, caramelized onion, goat cheese, honey, and mozarella pizza. Pizza 3 was where we got… creative. My friend Stillman was talking about doing a verde pork pizza, which got me thinking about using chimichurri sauce as a base. I’ve really liked making chimichurri sauce for steak over the last few months so this was just the next step.

I started out with a 3/4 lb NY Strip steak. I learned to cook steaks using the Serious Eats guide to pan seared steaks. The short hand is:

    • Heat cast iron skillet in an oven at 400F for 20+ minutes
  •  Turn on burner up to medium high (6/10 on my burner)
  •  Salt and Pepper the top of the steak liberally
  •  Transfer cast iron skillet from oven to stove top and toss the steak on pepper/salt side down
  •  Salt and Pepper the top of the steak
  • Flip steak after a couple minutes
  • Keep flipping steak and until all the outside is seared. You want to keep it more rare since it will cook in the oven on the pizza.

We made a basic chimchurri sauce. Put all of the following in a blender or food processor and process:

    1. 1 cup parsley
  •  1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 deseeded jalepeno
  • 5-7 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste

We then topped the pizza dough with chimchurri, sliced steak, light spread of mozarella, and some gorgonzola chunks.

DSC_0279

Here’s the final result! The gorgonzola was perhaps a little much for some of our group. I liked it on the pizza, but it did pull away from the chimchurri flavor. Next time i’d also consider putting some chimchurri on TOP of the pizza once it’s done baking to add some of the freshness back. Definitely doing it again!

DSC_0284

Painting the Living Room (Before and After)!

dining before and after

living room before and after

I bought a house in June of last year and FINALLY got around to painting the living room this weekend. The house was very well taken care of by the previous owner, but the paint color choices are definitely not what I would have chosen. It’s been somewhat livable this whole time, but I underestimated how great it would feel to have it done and looking more our style.

Here’s the before. I think the paint color was some sort of cream/peach combination (sorry for the bad quality in the before picture, it was my phone camera)

Dining Room Before

Living Room Before

On Friday night, our two friends Michael and Stillman came over to help Sam and I. We cleared out all the furniture in the room except for the couches, entertainment center, and the bookcase, which we covered with drop clothes. We then went painted one coat of Behr Ultra Pure White on the ceiling and one coat of Behr Classic Silver on the walls. We ended around midnight and made a late night Dick’s run before dropping the boys at their apartments.

The next morning Sam and I woke up and it looked very BLUE. Sam was convinced that I got the wrong paint or mixed it up with the paint we made in the bedroom. We did the second coat together and then I did another coat on the ceiling and did one coat on the trim. I need to do another coat of the trim, but was too tired to do it this weekend. At least it looks a lot crisper!

Here’s the after! The befores were taken in the summer and it was a rather dreary afternoon here in a very rainy spring, but it’s definitely a positive change and I’m loving coming home to it!

4.6.2014 dining room

2014-04-06 18.58.30 Living room Full

I’d like to eventually get a new entertainment center (especially since the Expedit belongs to my sister Linnea). I’d also like to put a gallery wall around the TV to blend it in a little bit more. I think the fireplace would also look great with a different screen in front of it.

2014-04-06 18.58.59 TV Wall

The entry way is so much better than the arrangement I had when we first moved in, but it was a learning process. I’ll post about that original fail and the subsequent save of a craigslist purchase later. I think the only thing on the entryway is probably some art or decoration and then a new lamp!

2014-04-06 18.58.43 Entry

I’m feeling really happy about the arrangement of the furniture in the room, but with the new walls it’s definitely obvious that we’ll have to get new couches eventually. I’ve actually never bought a couch! The loveseat is a couch that’s been in the family a long time, and the sectional is a couch we got for free from some friends who were moving out of their house. It’ll definitely feel very adult to buy some (possibly new) furniture!

2014-04-06 18.59.24 Living Room Corner

Next steps for the living space:

  • New couch
  • New loveseat
  • New carpet (this one shows all the flecks)
  • Better lighting for the entry way
  • Art on the walls!
  • New doorknob on the closet door (the gold sticks out in a weird way)