06 February 2016

Weekend Cooking: A Trio of New Recipes

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

The Kitchen Journal @ www.BethFishReads.comAs most of you know, I'm a freelance book editor in my real life, but what you may not know is that editing work runs in cycles. February and March are traditionally very, very busy months for me, as I'm involved with helping prepare the books you'll enjoy next fall.

My cooking during this time relies heavily on the pressure cooker and slow cooker: two appliances that earn their weight in gold. I've been a fan of the pressure cooker for many years but only recently obtained an electric model. I feel comfortable with it already, mostly because I've used it a couple times a week since I've gotten it. I'm planning a post comparing my electric and stovetop pressure cookers, but for now I'll say that, despite a few limitations, I really love the ease of the electric.

Anyway, knowing that for the next eight weeks or so, dinners will be mainly tried-and-true easy dishes, this week I made three new recipes. I consider each one a success. I made some changes, as I'll point out, but I think you could make them just as written. These recipes are pinned to my Recipes: Tried and Liked board, so you can find them easily. (Note: all photos come from the pins.)

First up was Fennel Gratin with Walnut-Thyme Breadcrumbs from Bon Appetit magazine, which I served along with grilled salmon. We really loved the flavor of this, especially with the fish. Although I rarely cook with heavy cream, I indulged for a change and was happy with the results. The only problem was that it made too much for the two of us to eat in one sitting, and neither of us loved the way it reheated. Next time, I'll cut the recipe in half or make sure we have company.

The Black Bean & Kale Tortilla Soup is a Rachel Ray recipe. The accompanying photograph makes this look like a salad, but really, it's soup; apparently the photographer went wild when styling this pic. I used chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, and of the suggested soup toppings, we used scallions, radishes, limes, and Cheddar cheese. Oh, and I simplified the tortilla part. Rachel Ray has you slice corn tortillas, salt them, and then bake until crisp. I simply crushed some premade white corn tortilla chips; I didn't feel the need to make my own.

Finally, I made Hungarian Beef Stew, which is an Ellie Krieger recipe and appeared in Cooking Light magazine. I didn't change anything about this recipe, except I cooked it in my new electric pressure cooker. But I'm sure that it would taste just as awesome if it were made in the oven as the recipe suggests. Next time, if I make it in the pressure cooker, I'll use about a cup less liquid because nothing is boiled off during the cooking process. This was also great reheated the next day. For those who want to know how I made this under pressure: I followed steps 1 and 2 using the Instant Pot's saute setting, then I put everything else in (including veggies) and cooked at high pressure for 14 minutes. Then I turned the cooker off and let it release pressure naturally for 15 minutes, after which I turned the valve to release all the remaining pressure instantly.

What new dishes did you make this week?


Mae Travels 2/6/16, 6:35 AM  

Your recipe choices sound very interesting, especially the Hungarian one. I stopped using a pressure cooker long ago, but maybe they've improved since then. I'm going on vacation, will be posting about newish things. But I also tried something outside my usual, as I linked: http://maefood.blogspot.com/2016/02/spicy-dinner.html

best mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Karen 2/6/16, 7:48 AM  

I recently edited an entire book based on the Instant Pot, which is a combined pressure cooker and slow cooker. I was starting to feel tempted to buy one, but I have a feeling the novelty would wear off! I still have my old stovetop pressure cooker, but I admit I rarely use it. (Same for my slow cooker, sigh....)

Anyhow, I posted two links today—hope that's OK!

Tina 2/6/16, 8:30 AM  

I have always been afraid of a pressure cooker so maybe I can read your advice and try one. There must be a great advantage if you give it high marks along with the slow cooker.

bermudaonion 2/6/16, 8:50 AM  

My mother used a pressure cooker when I was growing up but I've never owned one. That stew sure looks good.

rhapsodyinbooks 2/6/16, 9:20 AM  

The picture of "soup" is a riot!

Jackie McGuinness 2/6/16, 9:27 AM  

Travelling as we are I miss having my own kitchen to cook in.
The beef stew looks great. I've been afraid to use a pressure cooker so I will enjoy your experiments!!

Claudia 2/6/16, 10:29 AM  

After not using it at all for years, I recently used my pressure cooker to make marmalade and was so happy with the results, had determined to make more use of it. Finding good recipes is the next challenge, and yours look doable.

Katherine P 2/6/16, 10:57 AM  

The Hungarian Beef Stew looks amazing and I've always had good luck with Ellie Krieger's recipes. I'm terrified of pressure cookers for some reason! I think because my grandmother was and that fear just stayed with me. It sounds like it may be time to get past that fear!

Vicki 2/6/16, 10:57 AM  

I've never used a pressure cooker, but I've thought about it. My mom used one all the time when I was growing up. You're right, the soup looks like a salad!
The beef stew looks really good. My recipe this week is from Ellie Krieger.

jama 2/6/16, 10:59 AM  

The Hungarian Beef Stew sounds delicious. I've always been afraid of pressure cookers so I'm looking forward to your comparison post!

Esme 2/6/16, 11:03 AM  

It must be a fennel week-I have a recipe I am going to try this weekend.

Deb in Hawaii 2/6/16, 12:52 PM  

I need to use my pressure cooker more. ;-) I pinned that Fennel Gratin recipe thinking it looked delicious so I am glad to read your positive review.

Deb in Hawaii 2/6/16, 12:59 PM  

Sorry--mistake on the first link of my post that I can't remove. The second one works if you can take down the first one. ;-(

Gilion at Rose City Reader 2/6/16, 4:43 PM  

It's been forever since I've had a Weekend Cooking post! I'm glad to be back.

Your recipes all look great. Good luck with your busy editing season!

Laurie C 2/6/16, 5:26 PM  

So glamorous to be a freelance editor! I'm not a fennel fan and hubby's not a kale fan, but I think the Hungarian Beef Stew would be a winner for us! I've been hearing a lot about the Instant Pot, but will wait to make sure they don't explode or catch fire like the hoverboards! ;)

TP 2/6/16, 9:41 PM  

I have a pressure cooker too (stovetop) which I don't use nearly enough! Awesome looking recipes.

Tanya Patrice

Sheila (Bookjourney) 2/7/16, 11:49 AM  

I have used a pressure cooker very little and in fact as I type I am wondering if I still have it or if I have long since abandoned it. This post is making me go look for it ;)

Sue Jackson 2/7/16, 11:53 AM  

I definitely go in streaks with my cooking - after getting 2 new cookbooks for Christmas, I was trying 2 new recipes every week but the last few weeks, I've been sticking more to the tried and true (i.e. don't have to think!).

These look delicious - especially the Hungarian beef stew (you know how much I love Cooking Light!)

Thanks - hope you are enjoying the weekend!


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