Friday, October 28, 2011

Eggplant, Prosciutto, & Mushroom Pizza

This could also be considered a "Leftover Pizza" but really I was just fortunate with what I had on hand that I could make something this awesomely tasty!

Raw dough left to rest and the stretched by hand got topped with some olive oil and salt and was then given about 5 minutes to pre-cook in a 475º oven.

I had some leftover eggplant that had been cooked in tomato sauce, so I used that for my base. Onto that I added some sliced mushrooms I sautéed with just a splash of olive oil and salt, some thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, some prosciutto, and some torn fresh basil.

Sprinkled with a light dusting of pecorino and it was ready for the oven.

14 minutes later this was bubbling madness, but it was delicious madness. 
Pizza is pretty much always a crowd pleaser, and a really easy way to make use of little bits and pieces of leftovers that otherwise would not make up a meal by themselves.
Get creative!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ginger Sesame Tuna Steak

So tasty and so fast. Fresh ginger gives it zing and a touch of toasted sesame oil makes it a pungent and pleasing meal.

That's about one inch of fresh ginger I grated into a bowl. 

Season your tuna steaks with salt and let a pan get nice and hot with TBSP of grapeseed oil (or olive oil) and a splash (maybe 1/2 tsp) of sesame oil.

Add your tuna in, seasoned-side down, and cook about 2 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remember you want it to finish still pink inside before you take it off the heat.
Once I had flipped the tuna I added the grated ginger to the pan so it could infuse the oil in the pan and get into the tuna.
Finish by sprinkling with sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds) and drizzle with the ginger-sesame oil.

In the background is some leftover avocado purée, as tuna & avocado are a fabulous pairing, but if you had a regular avocado, just slicing it and giving it a spritz of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt would make a nice creamy accompaniment.
This was a definitely a successful dinner to keep in mind the next time tuna steaks go on sale!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Kale & Leek Leftover Soup

The more I cook, the more I am into making leftovers into soup.
I didn't have the soffritto trifecta of celery, carrot & onion on hand with which to start this soup, but it still turned out nicely.

This time I had half a roast pork tenderloin leftover as the hubs was 3,000 miles away with his family, and I had already made 2 meals out of the first half.
So, soup it is!

I started by sautéing half a leftover leek in some bacon fat and olive oil (also leftovers from making the Linguine w/ Clams, Leeks & Bacon) with the stems of the kale with a pinch of salt.
Halfway thru the wilting process I added 2 cloves of garlic, minced.

Chop the kale leaves into manageable pieces and add to the pan with a splash of white wine.
Add the lid to wilt.

While the kale is wilting I purée one can of white beans with some chicken stock. If you prefer, keep your beans whole. I like how puréeing them thickens the whole soup.

Add the beans and season with salt and an optional tsp of ground rosemary.
(My pork tenderloin had been cooked with rosemary and sage, so I did not add extra to the soup, fearing it would overwhelm the final product.)

Cover everything with chicken stock, add a hearty handful of grated parmigiano reggiano, and bring to a simmer.

I dice up the leftover pork (note it is nice and pink in the middle) and keep it wrapped in the fridge to add a little bit per portion once the soup has already been reheated. That way the pork does not get overcooked or tough. Instead the heat from the soup warms each bite thru while maintaining its tender texture.

The bacon from the beginning adds a background of smokiness, the leeks add sweetness, the beans protein and body, the kale is a superfood, and the tender bites of pork are always a treat.
I love making Leftover Soup!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Garlic Bean Steak Sandwich

This was immediately voted into regular meal rotation. It's delicious, it's filling, it's packed with protein and iron, and it's super easy to make.
All good things.

Looks like a lot, but really was not
This came about because I got a hanger steak (from my food delivery service) and it was barely .65lb of beef, which was just not going to be enough for the steak dinner for 2 I had planned. I had to come up with some way to stretch it out, and a peek in the fridge for leftovers was my answer.

Once again, the Garlic White Beans came to the rescue. I layered those on a toasted ciabatta roll (par-baked and kept in the freezer, they are ready to use in 20 minutes whenever I need them) and then layered the steak on top.
If you want to make this sandwich easier to eat you could mash or purée the white beans before slathering them on the toasted ciabatta.

The steak was cooked to medium rare in a hot pan with a touch of olive oil,  seasoned with salt (and pepper if you like) and allowed to rest 5 minutes before carving. 
The tender chewiness of the hanger steak, the garlicky creaminess of the beans, and the crunch from the roll made a fantastic and filling sandwich.
Try this the next time you need a quick yet filling meal.
Note: This also makes an easily portable picnic or lunch item, still delicious at room temperature.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tomato Soup Comfort

Do you remember those Campbell's Soup commercials where the kid comes home from school and the mom puts out a warm bowl of tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich?
It always looked so warm and tasty.
Unfortunately I have always hated tomato soup as it is no longer a fresh vibrant tomato, nor is it slow-cooked tomato sauce. It's something kind of sad in a middle stage.
However, on the afternoon after we got home from London there was little in the house, I'd only grabbed a few things from the store, and it was a cool and rainy night.
I decided to attempt some tomato-ish soup and grilled cheese.
I wanted that picture from the commercial!

I started with the usual suspects of diced onion/shallot and 2 cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil. I then added 2 carrots that I had peeled and diced. Once those had started to soften I added a pint of sliced grape tomatoes, because that was what I had grabbed at the store, and a few cups of chicken stock.
Add a pinch of dried thyme, some salt, and a bay leaf.

After about 20 minutes I removed the bay leaf and puréed the soup with an immersion blender.
Popped the bay leaf back in and left the soup on low heat to give it more time to combine flavors.

I happen to love having muenster cheese in my deli drawer. It's great melted over corn chips for nachos and makes nice, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches seasoned with a pinch of garlic salt.
Tip: butter the bread instead of just melting it in the pan and everything will come out evenly.

Instead of adding cream to the whole batch of soup, I just put a dollop in each serving. That means that the leftovers will freeze nicely, as dairy doesn't always freeze well in soups (it tends to separate.)
If you wanted to get really decadent, use a spoonful of mascarpone cheese instead of cream.
Happily for my arteries, I was lacking in that much decadence at the moment.
Still it was a fairly tasty meal, and very satisfying.
And while I have not come close to perfecting my recipe for tomato soup, I'm guessing this tasted a damn sight better than anything out of a can!