• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Grilled Polenta with Baby Artichokes, Mushrooms, and Sausage

I found some gorgeous baby artichokes at the market that I needed to use up soon. Initially, I was going to saute them in butter with garlic and white wine and serve it with a steak for Matt, but when it turned out to be just me at home with the roommates, I went for a different approach. Using only things I had on hand, I made a really delicious dish. My favorite part was that it utilized the grill – I’m running out of time to do that! (Though one of my favorite things is to grill out in the first few chilly days of fall – sort of that crisp, wonderful, tailgating feeling). Anyway – this dish was clean and fresh tasting – and the polenta made it wonderfully creamy – delish.

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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Mushrooms and Grilled Corn

Matt loves sweet potatoes. In college when we’d go to the local diner for a greasy meal of burgers and fries, he’d special-order their sweet potato fries that come with a zesty mustard dipping sauce. And if, on the rare occasion, I declare that I’m not cooking dinner and he’s on his own, his solution is always grilled steak with roasted sweet potatoes (I think it says something wonderful about him that as a trained chef he still just loves steak and potatoes).
Probably much to my mother’s dismay, I do not love sweet potatoes. I like them just fine, but never find myself gravitating towards them at the market. Except, perhaps to make pie or quick breads. But for one of Matt’s favorite dinners this week, sweet potatoes were the only option. I livened them up with roasted mushrooms, lots of garlic, and grilled corn. The veggie stuffing made the potatoes seem especially sweet and creamy – it’s a new favorite (even for me)!

Grilled Sausages with Warm Garlic Pasta

Warm. Such a great word to use in a recipe. In the middle of summer, you don’t want your food to be steaming hot – at least not every day. But that doesn’t mean you have to ditch your favorite foods. Matt and I made some delicious chicken sausages and served them over a warm pasta dressed in a garlic sauce with mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. It’s not too hot (won’t overheat your kitchen) and the pasta can be made in advance, so the only cooking come dinner is the sausages on the grill. It was delicious eaten outside with a cool glass of crisp wine.

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Grilled Kibbe Kebabs

Sometimes inspiration for meals comes naturally – strolling through the store or farmer’s market. Sometimes it comes by request – cravings hit or I’m told what to make by hungry diners. But sometimes, and there’s just no way around it, I’m inspired at work – scrolling through pages of future and potential cookbooks, taking photos of finished dishes, or tasting new products from the test kitchen. It’s a good inspiration, especially when it brings me deliciously easy dishes like kibbe (or kibbeh) kebabs. Kibbe is a mixture of bulghur, meat, and fresh herbs. I used barley instead, since I had it on hand. Glazed with a sweet and savory mixture of honey and soy sauce, it made an awesome Sunday supper.

After this, I promise, I’ll get off my ground meat and grain kick – new and exciting dishes coming this week!!

Grilled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Chili Glazed Green Beans

There is not much that a Kansas girl can ask for other than a good steak once in awhile.  It’s so simple – a mouth watering, tender, juicy piece o’ meat and I’m in heaven any day of the week. It’s also an easy meal to prepare in a pinch or when you’re tired after a long day’s work.  Another great thing is you can make just enough for yourself if you’re eating alone.  Not to mention it’s so deliciously satisfying even though it’s fast.  

There are, of course, many classic combinations for steak sides.  I love mushrooms on top of my steak, and I spiced up some green beans for a side dish.  Between the richness of the steak, the soft, earthiness of the mushrooms, and the crisp, spicy green beans – I was one happy Kansan…even though I’m far from home!

Grilled Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms and Chili Glazed Green Beans

Served 2.
Leftover Potential: If you want to make more steaks than you need, or you get a great bargain on multiple or over-sized steaks, cook it all and save the rest.  You can cut it and eat it later in the week in sandwiches or salads!

Sauteed Mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small container mushrooms, sliced ***
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1.  In a medium saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  
2.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
3.  Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-low heat until browned and softened.  Season with salt and pepper. Set aside or keep warm for topping the steak.

*** I used crimini mushrooms, but any kind would be delicious.  Sometimes, I use dried mushrooms.  Simply re-hydrate the mushrooms in warm water.  Then you can reduce the re-hydrating liquid for a delicious sauce.

Chili Glazed Green Beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 cups green beans, chopped in half
salt, to taste
1 tsp chili oil ***
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1.  In a medium pan or wok, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2.  Add the green beans and stir fry until soft, but still crisp.  Season with salt.
3.  Drizzle the beans with the chili oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.  Use more or less to taste, but even people who don’t like spice will enjoy a little of one of these components.  Set aside or keep warm to serve with the steak.

Grilled Steak
2 tbsp olive oil
2 rib eye steaks, or other cuts as desired

sauteed mushrooms
chili glazed green beans

1.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  When the pan and oil are hot, add steaks and cook to desired doneness (4-5 minutes for medium rare).
2.  Serve covered with the mushrooms and with a side of green beans.