Worth Her Salt


Archive for the ‘weeknight’ Category

Thai-style Drunken Noodles

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

drunken

Ah, drunken noodles. No, the noodles themselves aren’t drunk; There’s no alcohol in the dish, contrary to what you may be thinking. Instead, the name refers to the state people are often in when they’re eating these noodles. What drunk doesn’t love garlicky, spicy, salty food?

And really, if you’re not a fan of garlic or chile heat, then don’t make this. Don’t leave out the garlic because your mom doesn’t like it, or only put in half a seeded jalapeno because you don’t like heat. I’m sick of seeing comments on blogs and recipe sites where people explain how they changed numerous major components of a dish before they’d think about trying something. I don’t believe that recipes are gospel, by any means, but you can’t completely omit or change a dish’s major flavor profile. And in this case, that means garlic and chiles (and it could be argued, fish sauce).

Rant aside, this is a super easy and fast meal, great for weeknights. Just make sure to take some breathmints to work the next day.

Drunken Noodles

1 14 oz package of wide rice noodles
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced through a press
1/4 c Thai chiles, chopped (alternately, use 5-7 serrano chiles if Thai are not available)
1 lb ground chicken or pork
1/3 c fish sauce
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c Golden Mountain sauce, or more soy sauce
2 T sugar
2-3 cubanelle or Anaheim peppers, sliced
Thai basil, to taste

1. Cook noodles in boiling water until cooked, but still firm. Time it so the noodles are done the same time as the sauce/meat.

2. Add a little vegetable oil to a wok, then add your ground meat. Stir fry over high heat until done, then add garlic, chiles and peppers. Stir fry until peppers are tender, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Add sauces and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Toss noodles into the wok, and combine with sauce. If needed, cook 1-2 minutes more in the sauce in order to cook noodles to your liking.

4. Serve with chopped Thai basil and extra chiles, if desired.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

cookiebars

Next time you reach for a box of brownie or cookie mix…STOP! Make these instead. They’re just as fast as a mix, I promise. And chances are you’ll already have all the ingredients already in your pantry if you bake more than once a year. The recipe (from Cook’s Illustrated, once again) makes a 9×13-inch pan that’s just the right thickness, and has the perfect ratio of chocolate to dough.

This is also perfect if you’re feeling lazy but really want chocolate chip cookies. Because who wants to spoon out dough and bake in batches? Not to mention if you’re a fan of chewy, soft cookies, then this is also a recipe for you. OK, it’s really a recipe for everyone, I guess. It’s chewy, chocolatey, one-bowl, super fast and simple. What’s not to love?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

2 1/8 c AP flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking powder
12 T butter
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 t vanilla
2 c chocolate chips (about one 12 oz bag)

1. Preheat oven to 325. Melt butter in a large microwave safe mixing bowl.

2. Add sugars and mix until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

3. Dump in your dry ingredients except chips, and fold together with a spatula or wooden spoon, just until combined. Don’t overmix or the gluten will develop and make the cookies tough. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Spread in greased 9×13 pan (the dough will be a little greasy, but don’t worry). Bake until just set in the middle, 27-30 minutes.

Vanilla Macerated Strawberries

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

strawberries

This recipe, if you can even call something this simple a recipe, is all about a technique that also happens to be one of my favorite words: macerate. Isn’t that a lovely word? It evokes what happens when you macerate fruit; it gets all juicy and a little squishy and all the goodness runs out to make it’s own syrupy sauce. Yum.

Again, this is another thing that doesn’t really have a recipe, but I’ll do my best. Serve it over vanilla ice cream as we do most of the time, or in strawberry shortcake, or in a yogurt parfait, or on oatmeal, or on pancakes or waffles…You get the idea. It’s good on everything.

Vanilla Macerated Strawberries

strawberries, sliced
white sugar, to taste, but at least a couple tablespoons
half a vanilla bean

1. Slice the half vanilla bean in two lengthwise, then scrape the seeds into a bowl with the strawberries and sugar. Mix thoroughly, then let sit on the counter or in the fridge for 30 minutes. Mix again, then serve. The sugar will bring out all the juices from the fruit and create a syrup. You don’t have to eat this right away, but the fruit breaks down the longer it sits, so I usually use it within a day, otherwise the strawberries start losing their color and get mushy.

Blueberry Crisp

Monday, July 27th, 2009

crisp

Blueberries were on sale at Sendik’s, 4 pints for $5. Not too shabby. I bought them before I knew what I was going to do with them…An impulse buy I guess. In the end I decided to make crisp, as oppossed to cobbler, buckle, crumble, grunt or whatever other regional variation of fruit+carbs. I almost always have everything already on hand for crisp, I love oats, and it’s super easy. Crisp is a great way to use up those impulse berries you buy this summer.

This is a general recipe as I never really measure crisp ingredients. For the fruit, if you like it thicker, add more cornstarch. If your berries are sour and not ripe, add a bit more sugar. For the topping, you’re looking to add enough butter that it turns into wet, coarse sand. If you squeeze it together in your hand, it will hold it’s shape, then crumble into large chunks.

Blueberry Crisp

4 pints blueberries, washed and picked over
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar, to taste
3-4 T cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
2/3 c flour
2/3 c brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 stick butter, chilled and diced

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine fruit, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a bowl. Pour into a 9×13 pan.

2. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, oats and salt in a bowl. Add chilled butter chunks and work with fingers, fork or pastry cutter until butter is evenly distributed and mixture holds its shape when squeezed. Squeeze mixture, then crumble coarse chunks over the fruit. Bake until browned and bubbly, 30-40 mintues.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Monday, June 8th, 2009

bucatini1

This is a case of do as I say, not as I do. (Though, if you do as I do, it’ll still turn out extremely tasty.) Traditionally, this is made with guanciale or pancetta, but I used leftover bacon from carbonara a couple weeks ago (which, coincidentally, should also include guanciale or pancetta over bacon). If you can’t find, or don’t want to bother using either of those, just use bacon. Traditionally, this recipe calls for romano cheese, but I use parmesan because I always have it on hand. It’s still good, just not authentic.

I love this pasta because it’s one of those Italian dishes that’s so simplistic. A few ingredients, a quick pan sauce, and dinner’s ready. The quality of those ingredients really matters though, so don’t skimp and use Kraft cheese or crappy canned tomatoes.

Unfortunately, while I love this for it’s simplicity, Nick finds it boring and lacking in the meat department. But don’t listen to him, this is perfect for summertime when it’s hot out and you want something fresh tasting that won’t heat up the kitchen for hours on end. You can easily keep all of the necessary ingredients on hand for a quick, cheap meal.

Bucatini — a fat strand of spaghetti that’s hollow like a straw — isn’t necessary, but we both enjoyed it. Takes you by surprise when your first instinct is to slurp like spaghetti, but it doesn’t work because of the hole!

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

1 lb bucatini or spaghetti
1/2 lb guanciale, pancetta or bacon, in 1/2 inch chunks or strips
1 large white onion, slicedbuc
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t red pepper flakes
28-32 oz can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
Pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. While the pasta water is coming to a boil, saute onions in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and guanciale, pancetta or bacon and continue to cook over medium heat until meat is rendered and becoming slightly crisp on the edges, 6-8 minutes more.

3. Add canned tomatoes and juice, breaking tomatoes up with your hands. Simmer until pasta is done, at least 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Combine sauce and hot drained pasta. Serve topped with romano or parmesan cheese.