Who's That Girl

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WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Onion-Filled Quiche

Quiche -- it can be vegan or vegetarian, hearty or mild, sweet or savory (through traditionally savory), hot or cold. What a wondrous, versatile dish!

I send my thanks to the French, or the Germans. Anyone have the final word on the actual origins of quiche?

I have grown quite fond of quiches. The quiche is the quintessential provincial dish. Perfect for the range of occasions -- potlucks and surprise romances included -- the quiche is simplistic, yet sophisticated.

My most recent quiche called for caramelized onions, scallions and chives. It was a true celebration of the onion family made slightly delicate by the introduction of basil.

Friday, September 12, 2014

First Pulled Pork

It was during a friend's birthday party, years ago, that I was introduced to the joy of tasting a tender, luscious taste of pork shoulder (pork butt).

I'd had shredded pork countless times in life -- mostly on sandwiches. She had one of those glorious smokers and cooked the shoulder for something like 8 or 10 hours. I remember being thoroughly impressed with both the size and flavor of the shoulder. It is quite versatile, I realized. And it involves the type of preparation that awards the patient chef -- with all those hours, you cannot rush the cooking process.

I do not have one of those amazing smokers, so I opted to rub the shoulder with an ample amount of spices and cook the shoulder in the oven at about 350 for six hours or so.

The result -- a lovely, moist, succulent and semi-sweet shoulder that began to shred the instant you touched it, perfect for sandwiches, tacos, salads, a bit of BBQ sauce and a whole host of other dishes: 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sauteed Steak Meets Hollandaise-Smothered Poached Eggs

Its culinary mashup time.

This creation was born from indecisiveness. For dinner, I wanted a meaty steak with vegetables, but I also craved eggs Benedict. 

So why not combine the two?

This dish is surprisingly easy, though it took quite a bit of time and coordination to pull off. I made the Hollandaise sauce from scratch, adding kosher salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne along with the lemon juice. 

Oops: I should have used butter instead of clarified butter. I love the taste of clarified butter, but it overwhelmed the flavor of the Hollandaise sauce. I also put too many squirts of lemon juice in the mix. The sauce tasted a bit sharp, not silky and smooth as I wanted. But it was still quite nice.

For the steak, I seasoned it with salt and pepper and seared it on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet. It then went into the stove for about 10 minutes. 

I absolutely love this method of cooking steaks, especially when there is not enough time for grilling. The method lends a nice richness to the steak and allows for a crusted trim. It is also quite swift, and easy on the cleanup.

Meanwhile, I prepared the spinach and mushroom, cooking them together, without seasoning, in a pot. I had never cooked mushrooms and spinach together in this way, but I was going for simplicity and figure, why not? I worried that the mushrooms would be mush, but they remained perfectly formed and nicely cooked through. I did go with baby bellas here. I don't imagine this would have gone over as well with white mushrooms or even shiitake mushrooms. 

As I was wrapping up the mushrooms and spinach, the steak had been cooling for about eight minutes. Perfect time to start poaching the eggs.

My darling kitchen companion watched in disbelief, eager to have her first bite.

It came together beautifully!

What a lovely marriage of flavors, and a gorgeous sight, too.

I was also impressed with the plating: steak first, topped with the spinach and mushrooms, then the poached eggs and a generous serving of the Hollandaise sauce.

This seems like one of those wonderful special occasion meals, perfect for impressing someone.

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