14 April 2016

A quick spring snack

Do you ever have one of those days that just kind of gets away from you and before you know it the afternoon is coming to a close and you haven't eaten anything of substance all day? Well, that is what happened to me yesterday. I had a smoothie in the morning, went to work and then the day slipped away from me. By 4:00 the only other thing I had put in my body was a protein shake and I was sooo hungry.

4:00 is such a weird time to have a meal with dinner still in the cards and Sean and I were planning to go to the gym, so I still wanted to eat something fairly light and healthy but still delicious. That's when it hit me! I needed a years before, blast from the past snack. My crab, cucumber, avocado and egg bowl:

I used to make this all the time in college. It was easy, healthy, cheap, and different. Perfect for snacking. I remember it came about because my college roommate would eat cottage cheese with tuna, avocado and hot sauce all the time.  I tried that for a while, but I have a confession: I. Hate. Cottage cheese. I just do! I can't help it. I have no capacity in my brain to understand people who say they love cottage cheese. Surely, they are lying? So, I came up with this alternative in a series of different bowl attempts. It kind of evolved into this by many variations of trial and error until I arrived at this combination. You kind of wouldn't think of it, but once you try it it makes total sense.

 So here's what ya need:

1/2 avocado- peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 imitation crab sticks- chopped
1 mini cucumber- halved length wise and then sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 egg- hard boiled, peeled and sliced. I shared an excellent article that covers the proper way to hard boil an egg here if you need it.
1 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
Cilantro, sliced green onions and a dash of toasted sesame seeds for topping

And here's what ya do:

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl.
2. Drizzle with Teriyaki
3. Top with cilantro, green onions, and sesame seeds.
4. Enjoy!

So super easy!

**A tip about the article: The egg slide is slide 34 of 60. Click on "see all" to scroll directly to it.**

10 March 2016

Dishes with Dee: Korean Burgers

Don't you guys just love a good burger? There is something special about them to me. I love that you can get so many different kinds of burgers depending on what you are in the mood for. 

One of my favorite places, Quatman Cafe, has burgers that we call "backyard burgers". "It is basically like the burger your dad would grill in the summer" I say when describing the restaurant to friends. They don't even have menus! Just a menu board right when you walk in. And then on the other end of things, there is Gordo's with there incredible gourmet burgers with names like the Jean Robert and the French. AND both of these places are within 5 minutes of my house! I may never move.

So on this particular night, I was in the mood for something Asian inspired but also a burger, and so Korean Burgers were born.

Here's what ya need:
1 lb lean ground beef
2 garlic cloves- minced
3 green onions- sliced
1 egg- lightly beaten
1/4 c. panic bread crumbs
1 Tbsp gochugaru (korean chili flakes- you can find them at the Cincinnati Asian Market, but you can use red pepper flakes too)
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil, plus more for coating the grill pan
cheese of your choice (I used swiss)
Brioche buns
Quick pickled red onions (link below)
Cucumber Kimchi (link below)

And here's what ya do:
1. Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Mix until combined, but don't over mix- it will lead to tough burgers.
2. Separate the mixture into 4 equal parts and form into patties. Once formed, take your thumb and press into the center of one side of each patty. This will help when cooking because the meat will expand, and rather than plumping up into a ball, they will fill this space so you still end up with the proper patty shape.
3. On a grill or in a grill pan, cook burgers for about 5 minutes per side or to the desired doneness. Cook them with the indented side up first. When there is about 2 minutes left, top with cheese and let it get all melty. 
4. Top with lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, and cucumber kimchi. Enjoy!

Recipe for quick pickled red onions here.
Recipe for cucumber kimchi here

10 December 2015

Serial season 2 is out!

You guys.

FINALLY. Season 2 of the Serial podcast is out! The first episode is finally up. I'm listening now and I'm on the edge of my seat!

This season is about Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. solider who was held captive by the Taliban for almost 5 years. Do you guys remember this? This is the guy who walked away from his post, right out into hostile territory in Afghanistan. The guy for whom Obama made a trade in order to secure his freedom. The series will focus on Bergdahl's conversations with film maker Mark Boal, who spent hours and hours talking to him. It sounds like it is going to be totally fascinating.

I listened to season 1 in about a day, so listening to this one in real time is going to be like torture! (Free Adnan, btw)

Will you listen?

02 December 2015

The Cook's Critique: The Flavor Bible

The Cook's Critique? You've seen it only twice before. What is it? Well, let me explain. Cook's Critique is a category for posts in which I review cooking related things. Home delivery services, products, helpful tools, the latest "it" name it!

This time around I want to share a little secret with you all..

Meet the Flavor Bible. This book is your new handbook to cooking. Forget cookbooks. You don't need them if you own the flavor bible. Written by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, this book is a serious weapon.

To start you off, there is a chapter on flavor. What is flavor? How do we identify it. It covers what your dish should have to come out with really great flavor and helps you understand how to get creative and build a balanced dish. Scallops with fennel and oranges? Yep! You'll read about how we taste, feel and experience our food. It is seriously eye opening.

Next, they cover how to take your knowledge of flavor and translate that into great cooking. There is a huge focus on the feelings we develop about food while eating- the emotions behind communicating with food. It helps you understand more how the best chefs tap into people to create their dishes.

Lastly, and this is my favorite section which basically takes up 90% of the book: the match making section. The entire section is full of ingredients. It takes an item, and in column form lists its taste profile, weight, volume, best cooking method and everything that compliments it. And here is where it gets really good: ingredients in lower case, normal font are good matches, those in lower case, bold font are better, and the stuff in ALL CAPS AND BOLD are best. For example:

Taste: Salty
Weight: medium
Volume: moderate
Technique: fry

cheese: fontina, Parmesan
....(many more)
pepper, black

It is incredible! Often at the bottom of a column you will get a full combination recommendation and even it will tell you what to avoid. Throughout the book there are snippets from chefs from top restaurants about the ingredient, what they do with them, why.... everything. If you love to cook, and especially love to do it for crowds and be creative, I fully recommend you purchase this book. Hardcover retails at $38.00 and digital versions are available for $16.99 via iBooks and others.

Hint: This makes an excellent gift.

01 December 2015

Dishes with Dee: The Easiest Stove Top Turkey Chili

When I was younger I would often remark on the passage of time. 
"Whoa, how is it already the end of the school year/ end of summer/ 1999!?" I would question in disbelief. 
And without fail, each time my counter-part- whether teacher, relative, or friend's parent- would always reply "Just you wait, it only gets faster!" 
Typical older person response, I would think. And yet. IT IS DECEMBER, YOU GUYS. This year flew by like none of its predecessors and I AM AN OLDER PERSON!
When did that happen?!
I feel like it was July, I blinked and suddenly: Christmas Lists. Amazing.

And so, here we are on the verge of another Cincinnati winter. Though Mother Nature is being quite kind keeping things in the 50s this week, we know it will not last forever. You will need some cozy winter recipes in your arsenal. Especially ones that don't require you to leave the sofa for long. This chili was super comforting and the greek yogurt based topping helped keep things pretty guilt free. Or in my case, served as my justification for more cheese!

So! With that, I give you the easiest stove top turkey chili ever:
(psst... keep scrolling at the end of the recipe for a bonus meal idea!)

So here's what ya need:

For the yogurt topping:
1 single serving container of plain greek yogurt
1-2 tsp of liquid smoke
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
A dab of honey

For the chili:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
1 garlic clove- minced
1 medium white onion- diced, about 3 tbsp reserved for topping
1 red bell pepper- chopped
1 yellow bell pepper- chopped
1 cup frozen corn
2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes- fire roasted with chilis if you can find it
2 8 oz. cans of tomato sauce
2 15 oz. cans of black beans- drained and rinsed
2 15 oz. cans of dark kidney beans- drained and rinsed
1/4 c. jarred jalapeƱos- roughly chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp onion powder

Additional toppings:
Finely shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced green onion
Tortilla chips
Fresh diced white onion

And here's what ya do:

1. For the yogurt topping: combine all ingredients in a mason jar and stir to incorporate. Seal and refrigerate while the chili cooks.

2. In a large pot or dutch-oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat until fragrant. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add ground turkey and cook until it just begins to brown.

3. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and use the liquid to help scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir to combine, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook at a simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours.

4. Spoon into bowls and serve with all your toppings. Enjoy!

Bonus Meal:

You'll have plenty of left overs of this chili, so do what the pros do and make your own 4-ways! Simply cook a pasta of your choice, reheat the chili, and top with freshly diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese and anything else you want! For me: tons and tons of black pepper and the yogurt topping hit the spot!

Here is my secret to an amazing 4-way: when you spoon the pasta into the bowl, add a thin layer of shredded cheese to the steamy pasta before layering on your chili! It makes it super gooey and delicious.

This cheesy chili-mac is best served with a cozy blanket and an episode of Game of Thrones. (I just started watching and I'm hooked!)

29 October 2015

The Wine Record: Progress Report

How many of you have ever done a major renovation on your home or business? My goodness! The anticipation is more exciting than the build up to Christmas when you are a kid! We can't wait for all of you to come have a glass of wine, a good beer, or a cocktail designed and served by some pretty talented folks (more on that later)....

In the meantime, we have been passing inspections left and right so I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the new spot!

We love our custom made sign. Welcome to The Cellar!

The walls of the lounge area are made out of wooden wine crates, and oh-so cool:

Storage under the stairs is perfect for holding the bottle list selections: 

Our bar is 25 feet of poured concrete. Complete with USB ports for charging your phone... this is extremely important to me. 

The two top seating is a perfect place for some charcuterie and chats with good friends: 

The back end of the bar boasts unique shelving and a very cool old incinerator:

You'll even be able to catch a game on one of our tvs... plus check out those awesome window wine bottle installments:

I love everything about the space, but my favorite part? These Edison style light fixtures made from old wine bottles:

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I am so excited for this space to open! Very big thanks to all who have worked so tirelessly to get us up and running. Especially all the staff coming on board, our amazing contractors, and every one of the customers that we are so proud to serve.

Details on the Grand Opening to follow! 

19 October 2015

A penny-pinch...

So. Guys. How often does this happen to you?

You're making a recipe. It's from scratch and it's gonna be amazing and it only needs 1 Tbsp of CANNED COCONUT MILK. Gah! Maddening! What are you supposed to do with the rest?!


Freeze it of course! Freeze those left overs in 1 Tbsp portions using your ice trays and save them for the next time you're going to make that recipe! Here I have heavy cream, two kinds of mushroom stock, and shrimp stock!