killing time between meals

where talking about what's for dinner while you're at lunch is totally acceptable


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A Few of My Favorite (Kitchen) Things

1. A new recipe. Confession #1: I easily get into cooking ruts. But last Saturday I unearthed an Everyday Food cookbook I hadn’t used in a while and decided to branch out. So I made this. (Scroll down for Lime-Marinated Flank Steak recipe.) sliced

2. This juicer. For only $20 you can have fresh squeezed citrus juice in seconds. Generally I am against buying appliances that are only good for one thing, but I am never sorry that I have this citrus juicer when I am making drinks or marinades. (Watch for sales. I swear I saw this thing at Kroger for $12.)
juicer

3. Microplanes. I have two. One for smaller zesting (lemon zest, garlic, ginger) and one for larger grating (hard cheeses, chocolate shavings). If you put one of these on your wedding registry, I WILL buy it for you. Heck, I might buy it for you anyway out of that tiny piece of goodness left in my heart.
microplane

4. Culinary treats from abroad. I purchased a cute jar of red pepper flakes while in Sorrento (which I didn’t know is known for their chili peppers) at Aromi di Sorrento, a spice shop off the beaten path. This is a fun thing to look for while traveling. I’ve picked up vanilla in Mexico, maple syrup in Canada, bacon in Knoxville … you get the picture. And speaking of picture, look at the difference!

red pepper

Kroger brand (left), the real Sorrento deal (right)

5. Le Creuset. This little roaster has become my favorite size around the kitchen. Clocking in at 8×11 3/4 inches and holding 2 1/2 quarts, it’s the perfect vessel for half a casserole recipe, a Thanksgiving side dish, or holding my marinating meat in case of any drips.
marinate
6. New skills. Confession #2: I don’t know how to grill. The fire scares me. Plus it’s already hot outside when you grill, so I know I’m gonna sweat, what with the blazing sun and the flames that you are reaching your hands into. Nevertheless, I feel this is a skill that it is beyond time I learn. So my brave neighbor Nate has agreed to teach me. And the first lesson didn’t go too badly, even if I did squeal like a small child when putting the meat on the hot, hot flames.
grilled

What are your kitchen essentials? I’m sure this post is just the first installment of many.

Lime-Marinated Flank Steak
Adapted from Everyday Foods
Serves 4

Juice of 4 limes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 scallions (about 1/3 cup), thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced, peeled fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Vegetable oil, for grates
Coarse salt and ground black pepper

  • In a resealable plastic bag, combine lime juice, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Add steak, and seal bag; marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat grill to high; lightly oil grates. Remove steak from marinade, letting excess drip off (discard marinade). Season with salt and black pepper. Place on grill and  cover.
  • Cook, turning once, for 6 to 8 minutes (for medium-rare). Let rest 10 minutes before slicing thinly.
  • Serve with sides or on top of a salad.


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Inspiration & One-Pot Pasta

blackberryfarm

At Blackberry Farm

Last weekend I seized the opportunity to attend the Southern Food Writing Conference in Knoxville, TN. Along with a full stomach (thanks to Blackberry Farm, Tupelo Honey Cafe, and Benton’s Bacon) and some new friends, I walked away with a head full of inspiration.

bentons

Allan Benton smokes a mean pig and is the kindest man you’ll ever meet.

I realized that I’ve gotten into a bit of a cooking rut, making the same three dishes each week and visiting my usual restaurants in between. It’s time to branch out! So here we go.

fullpot

A few weeks ago, I randomly got a Martha Stewart Living magazine in the mail and came across a recipe for one-post pasta. I was intrigued. You just cook everything in there together all at once. Could it really be so easy? I had to know.

skettiingredients

With the simplest ingredients that I already had in my kitchen, this dish magically cooked itself into a delicious pasta and sauce. The only thing left to add was salty parm.

serve

One-Pot Pasta
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Serves 2

6 ounces dried linguine (All I had was wheat spaghetti and it worked, but I think linguine would have been better. The spaghetti broke up quite a bit.)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
½ a yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large sprigs basil, plus more for garnish
2¼ cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

  • Place all ingredients (sans Parmesan) into a large pot.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
    magic
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lots of Parmesan cheese and basil leaf threads.