All posts filed under: appetizers

Sous Vide Scallops

I’m a sucker for a gadget, but I haven’t been this excited for a kitchen appliance since my Vitamix arrived. I first learned what sous vide cooking was from Top Chef and have been obsessed with the idea of the technique ever since. My parents gifted me with the Gourmet Digital Sous Vide Pod Immersion Circulator Precision Cooker and I obviously couldn’t wait to start playing around with it.  I’ve spent most my time on http://www.seriouseats.com to get ideas on temps and technique. I started with scallops. Quick. Simple (allegedly). I coated it with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic after giving them a quick rinse, and followed the directions for getting them airtight in a plastic bag. With a sous vide set to 51 C I was ready to cook. By cook I mean set my alarm for 30 minutes and walk away. Once they were cooked, I heated some butter to brown and dried the scallops from the bit of liquid that cooked out so they would take a quick sear. About 30 seconds …

Tomato Parmesan Bisque

So I keep using the word “bisque” for this soup… turns out? It doesn’t mean what I think it means. Bisque Definition:  A bisque is a rich, creamy soup made with shellfish — specifically, bisque is traditionally made with the puréed meat of crustaceans, including lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish.  (Source) Whomp, whomp… you are wrong. Oh wait!: Additionally, although a classic bisque is made only with shellfish, some thick soups made with vegetables, poultry or meat are sometimes referred to as bisques. Boom. I’m NOT wrong. Or at least, not more wrong than EVERYONE ON GOOGLE. Ok, I’ll admit it. I spent way too much time trying to prove I’m right. To who? I’m guessing you guys don’t really care. At all. Where’s the damn recipe? Before you do anything, turn your oven on to 400 degrees. Start by roasting your garlic. You’ll need one head for the soup, and maybe a second one just for eating. (If eating a head of roasted garlic is wrong, I don’t want to be right.) Chop off the top …

Chocolate Covered Tuxedo Strawberries

If you’re between the ages of 22 and maybe forever (at 29 the trend is going strong) summertime might as well be called Wedding Season. I happen to love weddings, am from a family that is in the industry, and have the fun and exciting project of planning my own celebration to happen at the end of this summer.  Last weekend, part of planning meant heading out west to be part of their annual menu tasting where they invite all the couples that have booked the venue for the summer to try their food offerings and design their event menu.  After hearing of this annual kick off party at the beginning of each summer for the last several years, it was a great treat to get to be a part of it from the ‘bride’ side of the conversation. Of course, you didn’t think I was just there to sit pretty at a table did you? (Ok, maybe I did once the meal started). While there’s an incredibly talented and efficient staff that did the majority …

Mushroom, Goat Cheese & Arugula Pizza with Cheesy {Gluten Free} Crust

About 9 months ago, I thought I had come close to perfecting the art of gluten free pizza.  It was definitely a strong start, and the recipe, with minimal modification, has been my go-to since originally constructing it.  I knew even at the time it might need some modification, and it’s still one to keep in the repertoire, but I’m here to tell you – I’ve created something even better! The roommate and I were having our Fantasy Baseball draft last night and the occasion called for pizza and beer. (Ok, I try to argue that most any day calls for pizza and beer.)  Feeling the need to switch it up, I decided not only was I going to try to make a lighter, healthier pizza for myself, but I was going to try to continue my quest to the perfect crust with a new experiment. Pizza Crust. Bread. They’re in the same family, and the recipes are often very close relatives.  What is the best bread I’ve made? Oh yes, my Against The Grain …

Homemade Pickled Vegetables

One of my favorite snacks is pickles. They’re salty, sour, crunchy and… pretty much calorie (and guilt) free.  In an effort to get a nice healthy snack into the fridge to satisfy my savory tooth, I decided to try my hand at doing some home pickling. This is a very basic recipe that I plan to develop further, and hopefully can for preservation at some point (like when I invent space in this itty bitty apartment).  You can do this with any mix of vegetables. I used radishes, jalapeños, garlic, cauliflower and celery.  I’m sure it would be great with carrots, onions, olives, okra, etc. The only real recipe is the pickling liquid.  I used the following ratios and it worked excellent.  Bring the water and vinegar to boil and add your salt so it dissolves. Fill the jar with your veggies, cover with liquid, and toss it in the fridge.  They were good to go the next day and are still delicious (and getting stronger!) 5 days later. 2 Cups White Vinegar 1 Cup …

Roasted Red Pepper Stuffed Jalapeños

Have I really been absent for three weeks? I think this is my longest hiatus since I started this blog. What a slacker. So much has happened, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start with the photos you’re about a see. I finally invested in a big girl camera.  This one. And a nifty fifty lens. (Yeah, I’m already getting the DSLR lingo down. NBD.)  I’m super excited to bring you recipes that look as good as they taste. These peppers were a product of a delicious appetizer my aunt made at Christmastime, when she stuffed jalapeños with sausage and cream cheese. I’m not gonna lie, they were absolutely delicious. But it’s no longer the holidays and I’m trying not to eat with flagrant disregard for calories, portions, or nutrition in general. Plus, we didn’t have any sausage defrosted. A quick raid of what we had in the kitchen, and the brainchild of what you’re about to see what born. Like a popper but not fried. And definitely more nutritional value. INGREDIENTS: 6 Jalapenos, …

Kona Steak & Black Bean Chili

 There’s something about football and the weather changing that makes chili seem like it should be its own food group.  If you’re in the market for something with a robust, earthy, slightly spicy flavor that’s absolutely packed with protein to get you through lunch on a Monday, you’re in luck. I was at a dinner at Capital Grille two Christmases ago for a work lunch and one of the options was to have my filet ‘Kona Crusted’ (I know, I know, #firstworldproblems). I said “Kona? Like the coffee? What?” The waiter assured me it was delicious, and (as I generally do at a nice steak house) I trusted their judgement and went with it. Steak? Good. Coffee? Good. Together? SO GOOD! It doesn’t taste like you’d expect (if you’ve even developed expectations at this point). It’s just a nice earthy “what’s that spice she threw in there?” taste. Trust me on this one. Don’t care for steak? Or generally eating anything that once had eyelashes? I get it (kinda). Go ahead and follow this exact …

Roasted Tomato and Wild Mushroom Bisque

So much good news to report! First, on November 4th, 2013, my life changed dramatically. I got a VitaMix. This one. Ten days later, I already don’t know how I ever survived without it. I’m bound to become obnoxious singing its praises; I apologize in advance. Second, the folks over at http://www.battr.com extended a very exciting invitation to share some of The Natural Ginger’s recipes on their new site.  Go check them out (and me too while you’re at it!). This soup is there, as are hundreds of beautiful, delicious looking recipes from the very best food bloggers around the net.  I want to eat everything I see. This soup! So good.  I had some tomatoes and, well, I just HAD to make something in the VitaMix (I think she needs a name). I feel like I’m in the infatuation stage of a new, exciting relationship. Every day still doesn’t feel like enough. First things first. Gather all your ingredients. 3 Vine Tomatoes, halved and cored 1/2 Onion, peeled and coarsely chopped 1/2 Cup Wild Mushrooms (Shiitake, Crimini, etc.) Coarsely Chopped 1 …

Stuffed Portobella Mushroom Caps

I love when a trip to Trader Joe’s turns into a kitchen inspiration. I traveled past my usual store that’s on my daily trip home from work in favor of heading to the magical Brookline location that offers WINE. I know what you’re thinking, “Two Buck Chuck, that’s their thing! Don’t all Trader Joe’s have wine?” No. No they don’t. Thanks a lot, Massachusetts. The Brookline location really is an amazing place. Large aisles, room for carts to pass, products I’ve only dreamed of being carried in the Boston downtown location. I think I spent 30 minutes just wandering aimlessly, browsing my new options. Did you know they carry hard alcohol too? They really just have things figured out over there. After I grabbed a basket, I found the wine first. Obviously. Fun Fact: My big work bag can comfortably carry 6 bottles of wine in addition to a pair of shoes, a wallet, headphones, lip gloss, hand sanitizer, and even a jetBlue sleep kit (ok, maybe it’s time to clean it out). I wandered the produce for dinner …

Perfect Shoestring French Fries

Do you have one of these? It’s a mandoline slicer. If you don’t have one, first things first.  Buy it here. Next, familiarize yourself with the most amazing and terrifying piece of equipment a kitchen has ever seen. Seriously, it’s like something out of a horror flick. I always vacillate between terror and amazement when I use it. Watch your fingers and always keep a reverent respect for this thing. Or prepare for stitches. If you’re wondering why I even bother, then you probably haven’t used one.  It’s only the most fantastic time saving device ever (and clearly designed by a Type A personality that craves uniformity). Plus, anything that has a “French Fry” setting is good with me. If you have the ability to slice up some potatoes, you’re already 75% of the way to making some fast food caliber french fries. (If you don’t think fast food and/or dirty drive thru burger joints provide the best french fries known to man, stop here. I can’t help you.) I usually go for a potato …