Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week 51: Oven-baked Meatballs

The Recipe
500g lean minced beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
75g firm cheese
500g cherry tomatoes
2 bell peppers
1 garlic

Mix the beef with salt and paprika. Cut the cheese into 12 pieces. Divide the meat into 12 pieces and roll them to balls around the cheese. Put in an oven-proof dish and baste them with olive oil.
Cut the bell pepper into 2x2cm squares and put them and the tomatoes into the dish with the meatballs. Split the garlic into cloves, but leave the skin on. Add the garlic to the dish. Pour a bit of olive oil over (basil if you have it) and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 225C for 30 minutes. Serve with pasta.

The Verdict
Really, really good! I think I used too soft cheese, so most of it melted out through the meatballs - I'll go for some firmer (and more expensive) next time. The meat probably wasn't quite lean enough, but the excess fat from it, mixed together with the melted cheese and some of the liquids released from the tomatoes and bell pepper made for a really good sauce.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Week 50: Caramelized Wok

The Recipe
250g pork in thin stripes
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt, pepper
1 tbsp oil, divided
3 bell peppers
1 small squash
1 onion
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar / red-wine vinegar
Fresh basil (optional)

Mix 1/2 tbsp oil, salt, pepper and garlic with the meat. Leave to marinate while you chop the rest of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Warm up a wok or thick-bottomed pan over high heat and cook the meat until brown on all sides. Remove from wok.

Add the other 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan and cook vegetables until almost done but still a bit crisp - about 8 minutes. Mix the vinegar and sugar and pour it over the vegetables while stirring. Let it reduce somewhat and give the vegetables a caramelized coating. Return the meat to the wok and add basil.

Serve with bread or pasta.

The Verdict
I'm not sure what I did wrong, but the vinegar/sugar never really reduced so there wasn't much of a caramelized effect going on. Also, I think I would have been better off serving it with bread than with pasta (or as the fillings of a tortillas! Actually, that would probably have been the best!) as pasta tends to be rather bland, and there just wasn't enough taste in the stir-fry itself (quickly helped with a bit of chilli sauce fortunately). But it has definite potential, so I think I'll try to again, this time in tortillas rather than with pasta. Not sure what I'll do about the lack of caramelization though... I'll have to think about that.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 49: Baked Potato Soup

The Recipe
2 large potatoes
1/2 tbsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
5dl vegetable or chicken stock
25g grated cheese
4 tbsp milk

Bake the potatoes until soft. Let them cool and peel off the skins.

In a pot heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Stir in salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. Add stock and potatoes. Puree until creamy.

Add the cheese and milk. Heat while stirring until the cheese is completely melted and the soup is hot.

The Verdict
Somewhat more cumbersome to make than my usual potato soup, and tastes about the same. I don't think I'm going to make this again.

Week 48: Oriental Wok

The Recipe
400g sirloin steak
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
2 onions
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green bell pepper
1 tsp oil
2dl chicken bouillon
3 tbsp hoisinsauce or chilisauce
1 tbsp corn flour

Mix soy sauce, ginger, chili and pepper in a bowl. Slice the sirloin steak and turn it in the mix. Let it set for 15 minutes.
Peel and chop the onions. Cut the bell peppers into stripes.
Heat the oil in a wok. Cook the bell peppers and onions for about 5 minutes while stirring.
Take the meat out of the marinade and dry it with paper towels. Cook the meet with the vegetables until it's done.
Mix bouillon, hoisinsauce and corn flower in another bowl. Poor the mixture into the wok while stirring. Let the liquid thicken. Serve immediately with boiled rice.

The Verdict
I didn't have any hoisin sauce, so I used chili sauce instead. I liked it well enough. It wasn't all that different from most stir-fry dishes I make, but I usually use cheaper meat, and I could taste the difference.