Portobello Stroganoff

Happy Friday!

I hope you have super exciting plans for the weekend. I know I do; I plan on spending the least amount of time possible being awake. My life is very exciting. Adventures every second!

So I must say, after becoming a de facto vegetarian, I really do miss a few select dishes since red meat no longer rests lightly in my tummy. Beef stroganoff is one of these dishes. Steak is another but I wouldn’t touch that one with a 10 foot pole these days. I’d be out of commission for a week if I did.

I love the creamy texture of the sauces that envelop the tender beef strips and the general coherence of a plate of stroganoff. It’s perfect.

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The sauce is great on its own and you can pour it over any casserole or pasta dish that you want, but what’s truly fantastic is that thick cuts of portobello mushrooms create the perfect chewyness needed in a proper stroganoff.

So here we go! I present to you…

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Portobello Stroganoff

About 1/2 lb rigatoni, al dente
2 caps portobello mushrooms
1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup carrots
1 small clove garlic
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup evaporated milk
Plenty of salt
Pepper to taste

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1. Get your pasta to cookin’! Cut your portobellos into 1/2″ strips. I know it seems thick but have faith!

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2. Set your saucepan on the stove to medium-high heat with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the portobellos until brown on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you flip.

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3. Set aside the cooked portobellos.

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4. Now, into the same saucepan, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and add a crush and peeled garlic clove to the oil. This will make the oil all garlicy without being overpowering. Lower the heat to medium.

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5. Remove the garlic when it browns and looks like this.

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6. Next, throw in your sliced onions and carrot. Let them sweat a bit, undisturbed. Then, throw on a good amount of salt and pepper and let them cook some more, until transparent and limp and so deliciously caramelized.

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7. At this point, your pasta should be cooked to perfection.

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8. In a bowl, measure out your yogurt and evaporated milk. Mix well.

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All my dishes were dirty, okay? Don’t judge me. (Btw, thanks for the mug Eric!)

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9. By the time you’ve done all that, you should be ready to assemble! Get out those lovely mushrooms you cooked before, and throw ’em right over the onions and carrots. Let them hang out in there for a few minutes, just to warm them up.

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10. Now, Drizzle all the yogurty goodness. Salt and pepper to taste.

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11. Throw on the pasta and mix, allowing all the juices to seep into the pasta and make everything wonderful.

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12. Make a mess.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Mousse

I have a confession to make: I did not know the difference between mousse and pudding until recently.

*Gasp!*

I know. What a let down.

I made a chocolate pudding a while back, so it’s only natural that I follow that up with its uncooked counterpart- the chocolate mousse. Because that’s the somewhat ugly truth, this dessert contains raw eggs. So if you’re pregnant or will become pregnant, you probably may want to hold off on this one until later.

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Now, I did quite a bit of research on raw eggs before venturing on this mousse-making path.  And the general verdict is, in moderation, it’s totally fine and healthy bodies will be able to digest it, no problem.

So it’s settled! Let’s get to whippin’ up some heavenly mousse!

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Chocolate Mousse

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup very cold heavy whipping cream

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1. Get out your chocolate. Bittersweet works fabulously here.

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2. Put your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.

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3. Put your butter on top of your chocolate in your microwave-safe bowl.

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4. Microwave your butter/chocolate! Zap it for about 30 seconds, mix everything around in there, and then zap it for another 30 seconds. Stir until glossy and smooth.

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5. Separate the white from the yolk. Add the vanilla to the white and whisk it until stiff peaks form.

6. With clean mixer beaters, whip the yolk until thick and pale yellow.

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Isn’t using a hand mixer fun???

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7. Add the beaten white and the beaten yolk to the chocolate mixture and gently fold it all together until well incorporated.

8. Whip up your whipping cream until nice and peak-y.

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Top your mousse with the whipped cream and add some shaved chocolate for garnish. This was actually better after being refrigerated for about 30 minutes but I wouldn’t recommend waiting any longer. You may not be able to wait that long anyways so that shouldn’t be a problem!

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Lemon Orzo Soup

People are sick here in the Nourani/Duffy household. Both people who live here to be exact. And what’s better for a sick person than soup??

The answer, is nothing. In case you were really needing to know.

Tonight’s soup comes from the desire for something creamy, the aspiration to use orzo in something, and the need for something quick, comforting, lemony, and soupy. This soup achieved all of the above.

Yes, you dirty many dishes, but trust me, it’s worth it.

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Let’s get going.

Lemon Orzo Soup

6 cups broth of your choosing (I chose this organic mushroom stuff I picked up a while ago)
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites (so hey, it works out. Get out 2 eggs!)
1 lemon (I had tiny ones, so I used 2)
Salt, pepper and dried parsley to taste
1 cup orzo

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1. Set your broth in a pot and bring to a low boil.

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2. Take the peel off one lemon…

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… and drop it right into the broth! While you’re at it, juice that lemon into the broth as well. I added my orzo at this step as well. It only takes about 8 minutes for it to cook to perfection.

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3. Separate the yolks from the whites. And beat each one until thick and frothy.

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My very chipped nail indicates that I poured some lemon juice into the yolks as well.

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Stiff-ish peaks are desirable for the whites.

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4. Now, pour the yolks into the whites and gently fold them together until incorporated.

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5. Now, you want to temper your eggs before you stir it into the hot soup. We’re not making egg drop soup remember. So, one ladle at a time, pour in some hot soup into your egg mixture and mix it well until the egg is pretty warm.

6. Then, turn off the heat, take the whole tempered eggs bowl and stir it right into the soup! Stir until it all looks uniform and lovely.

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Serve with a bit of dried parsley flakes (or the real stuff if you have some on hand) and garlic bread. Everything should be served with garlic bread for that matter.

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Um. I went a bit overboard with the parsley. Pardon my mess.

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Cinnamon Toast

Growing up, my mom taught us about nutritional balance. She gave us great healthy foods for lunch and dinner and, in return, we got to eat great cereals for breakfast. Great cereals as Lucky Charms, Coco Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I rub this in Neil’s face every chance I get, for his dietitian mom was stricter about the healthy diet thing than my mom ever was.

Despite the massive intake of the cinnamon sugary goodness of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (a close contender to the ever popular Coco Puffs), we never really ventured into having the actual thing. Actual cinnamon toast that is.

So here I am, in my early 20s, never having had actual cinnamon toast, and I stumble upon an article coaxing people to mix their cinnamon and sugar before sprinkling it on toast. ACTUAL toast! The clouds parted, the sun appeared and there was a rainbow of kittens and giggles.

Our household has never been the same ever since. I keep a little bowl of pre-mixed cinnamon and sugar for just this purpose. It’s easy and addicting. You’ll never go back to regular ol’ toast again!

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Here’s what you need:

Bread to transform into toast
Cinnamon
Sugar
Butter, baby!

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I love the cinnamony taste, so I mix my cinnamon and sugar in a 1:4 ratio. For example, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon for every 4 tablespoons of sugar. You can tweak that to your own taste though. Go ahead. It’s a delicious experiment.

While you’re measuring and mixing, toast your bread.

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While the bread’s still warm, slather on your butter. You want it to melt, so please do this in a timely fashion. Thank you.

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Next, sprinkle on your cinnamon sugar! Use as much or as little as you please!

Oh, remember how I told you to butter your bread while it’s hot? It’s so you won’t have clumps of dry cinnamon sugar on your toast like mine. Although still delicious, it could be dangerous if inhaled. So just do as I say. Butter while it’s hot… butter while it’s hot. (Oh pop culture, what have you done?!)

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Oh, isn’t it magnificent???

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Serve with some delicious scrambled eggs and devour immediately.

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Scrambled Eggs

This is how you make scrambled eggs that are delicious. Why? Because eggs are good for you. Duh.

But really, what I want to share with you, dear internet, is this: I had no idea that delicious scrambled eggs held a secret, and I will share this secret with you today.

They’re cooked over low heat.

Shocking, I know. But I honestly had no idea. I thought that the high heat would cook ’em just fine, and cook ’em fast. But contrary to the hard and rubbery gobeldy gook that is the result of my laziness, I’ve recently discovered that the low heat creates a much creamier and less rubbery egg.

Here’s what you need:

Scrambled Eggs, Sexy Style

Some butter
Some eggs
Some salt
Some pepper
Optional: Some heavy cream or milk

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Since this is already a very precise recipe, I will not number the steps to create this egg masterpiece. First, get a hold of your favorite butter. I’ve been favoring this Mediterranean Blend these days.  Why wouldn’t I??

In your saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat.

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When the butter’s all melted, crack your eggs. Now, I’m weird and I like to tell the difference between the whites and the yolks, so I let the whites set a bit before I break the yolks and start scramblin’.

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Right before your eggs are cooked to your desired consistency, sprinkle on the salt and pepper. I don’t really like pepper on my eggs, so I only do salt. But again, I’m weird.

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Right after the salt and pepper, bring on the cream! 1-2 tablespoons should be sufficient. If you’re watching your figure these days, milk makes a mighty fine substitute.

Toss everything until everything’s nice and smooth and luscious. About 1 more minute should do.

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Serve with Cinnamon Toast. Enjoy!

PS. Cinnamon Toast recipe coming tomorrow!

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