Friday, February 4, 2011

One Pot Meals

I'm trying to get healthy. It sucks. I have a friend who loves to work out and she eats really well like 95% of the time and I envy that because given the choice between Pizza and laying around or working out and a salad I will always ALWAYS chose the pizza and laying around. I am surprised I am not 347 pounds because I love food. All food. And I really don't like working out. At all.
In order to kick start my healthy habits we bought an elliptical machine. My husband uses it more than I do, but we've put it to good use and it has yet to become a dirty clothes and towel mecca.
Through all of this I have started to cook and chose healthier options. When I first start to "get healthy" I always make a ton of salads which leave me satisfied for about an hour or two but after that I am sucking down left over slices of pizza and cheesy microwave nachos in the kitchen while wearing sweats and shaking my head in shame because I have failed again. But now, I tend to make one pot meals. These are probably the best way to get a ton of veggies, a little protein, and actually be satisfied when I am done. Also, they are super quick. I could have a whole segment on the Food Network called One Pot Meals with Sterling and I wouldn't be half as annoying as the Neely's or Giada.

Basically while grocery shopping get a few staples
Beans - cannellini, butter, kidney, black etc.
Grains- brown rice, quinoa, barley etc. (Stick with WHOLE grains. Nothing white)
Peppers - bell, jalepenos, chilis, etc.
Leafy Greens - fresh or frozen chard, kale, spinach, etc.
Other greens & veggies - fresh or frozen peas, green beans, broccoli, corn (fresh or canned), squash, beets, asparagus etc
Olive Oil
Protein - chicken, tofu, seafood, ground turkey, lean beef

If you need veggie ideas because you might be stuck in a rut check on this list of vegetables

Now here is what I do for my One Pot Meals
Cook the meat. Add whatever spices you like. Cook it in a little olive oil or broth to add extra flavor
While the meat cooks, chop onion, garlic, and whatever peppers and veggies you are using
Remove meat from pot and let rest elsewhere
Add chopped veggies to pot
Cook until tender
While cooking chop leafy greens
Shred or chop meat if you haven't done so
Add beans or corn to pot. Let it heat up and cook
Add greens to pot of veggies (add more broth if needed or a little extra oil if needed)
Cook until tender
Add meat
Mix and let it heat up

Serve over grains if desired.

My new favorite beans.

Me after I work out. You know how I do

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pizza, The Cooking Channel & a Long Flight

“Pizza is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's still pretty good.”

Photo by Forza-Pizza. The guy who made this one lives in the burbs of Chicago! I might need to steal his pizza oven

My favorite food is pizza. I love it. I love shitty pizza. I love delicious pizza. I love it all. It's so simple and yet so delicious. I could eat pizza three times a week and I really don't eat leftovers. Unless it's pizza.

This past Christmas the husband and I flew to Florida to visit my family. My mom was born there so growing up we traveled down there a couple of times a year, but this has been my first trip in four years. It was amazing! I wish we could have spent more time, but alas, adulthood calls and that means we have to pay the bills, which means we have to work. I enjoyed my cousins, my aunts and uncles and of course, seeing my parents and sister. I also enjoyed a ridiculous amount of food. But with all the delicious southern dishes surrounding me, I couldn't stop thinking about a dish I saw on the plane.
I know you might be thinking, "Plane food? Seriously Haukom? You're crazy" Calm down. On our flight to Florida they had the option of paying to watch TV. It was $4. How could I resist? I mean you are talking to a self diagnosed television addict here. I swiped my card, sat back and enjoyed 2 hours of The Cooking Channel. One of the programs was called David Rocco's Dolce Vita. It wasn't that great. The guy is kind of...I don't know...snobby, and the recipes on that particular episode were all similar and super simple. So simple I thought "Well shit, if I lived in Italy and wore Marc Jacob's every day I could have a cooking show too!" But what was great about his simple recipes was that I memorized them and made one the day I got home from Florida.
After the consumption of fatty and salty food all weekend, I needed something light. I made David's Grilled Foccacia Sandwich but instead made it into an Arugula Pizza with Prosciutto and Parmesan.

Pizza Dough
(if you have a recipe you use, use it or prepackaged dough is fine! I like Trader Joes)
Three Handfuls of fresh baby Arugula
Half of a lemon
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Minced garlic (optional)
5 thin slices of Prosciutto
Fresh shaved Parmesan

Preheat the over to whatever temperature the dough needs to bake.
I rolled out my dough. drizzled 1 tbsp of Olive Oil on the dough and rubbed a little minced garlic over it. I put it in the over for about ten minutes, or until the dough was a nice golden brown. While that is cooking, I tossed together the arugula, lemon juice and remaining olive oil in the bowl with a little salt.
When the dough is cooked, take it out of the oven, and lay the prosciutto on top. Place back in the oven for about 1 minute (or not at all, it's up to you). Remove from oven, and top with the arugula mixture. Then add shaved Parmesan. As much or as little as you like.
There. You're done.

After eating a lot of delicious yet heavy food all weekend, this was a perfect post travel meal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Food-Filled Hoilday

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land - Jon Stewart

What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? - Erma Bombeck

Photo by Mark Thomas not me.

I celebrated Thanksgiving this year. It's a tradition. The husband's parents flew in and we spent most of our 4 day vacation at his sister and brother-in-law's house. With all holidays spent with families it was a stressful one but we had a good time and I made an AMAZING pie. Seriously, I rocked the shit out of this pie.

Now I like cooking, but I really love baking. My secret dream is to own my own little bakery where I can whip up delicious treats for my friends but also have a kick-ass food menu that resembles Hot Chocolate, The Bristol, and Longman & Eagle. You know what I mean. Now that you know my little secret, I will tell you one thing that for sure will be included on the menu and that is Apple Cranberry Pie.

I like to brag from time to time, but only when I totally deserve the right to do it. This pie is one of those times. Hot damn was it good!
First the crust, it was flaky and buttery and basically perfection
The layer of tart but sweet cranberry sauce covered the bottom of the pie crust and then it was topped with thinly sliced (I FINALLY used my mandoline) golden delicious and granny smith apples that had been tosses with flour, sugar, cinnamon and a little nutmeg.
I baked that bitch for like an hour and SCAGIMAGOWZA (pronounced sca-ja-ma-gow-za) it was amazing. My family enjoyed the hell out of this pie. As did I.

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup 100% cranberry juice

2 cups cranberries (about 8 ounces)

2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

1 3/4 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

(makes top and bottom crust)
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Make dough:
Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 4 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) until incorporated.

Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork dough or pastry will be tough.)

Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour

Stir 3/4 cup sugar and juice in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cranberries; bring to simmer. Reduce heat; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 25 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Toss all apples, flour, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl to blend.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Spread cranberry mixture over crust bottom. Top with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round; drape over apples. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Press crust edges together to seal; crimp. Cut 1-inch hole in center. Brush crust with milk. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and pinch of cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375°F and bake until crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool at least 2 hours. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I've been incredibly stressed lately. School is kicking my ass and anytime I start to feel a little overwhelmed I get incredibly nostalgic.
For me food is the number 1 nostalgia trigger. Movies and music are a close second, but I always associate everything that is good with the food that was consumed during that time.
Lately it's Ike's BBQ

My mother is from Florida, so I have a ton of family there. When I was little we would go there once or twice a year, sit around with family, eat way too much food and talk a lot. But every now and then we would get Ikes BBQ.
Now in my mind this is how the day would go.
We would wake up, eat a huge breakfast and start moving. We would start in Orlando where my Aunt Connie lives and we would all hang around, watch court shows and Maury Povich. We would perhaps go shopping at some discount outlet mall and then we would head over to Eustis. My mom would yell at my dad about something, my sister would hang out with my Cousin Stacy and I would sit quietly in the back seat of whoever's car we were in or in someone's living room watching my family maneuver around one another. I would start shooting hoops alone in the driveway of my grandparents house while my grandpa watched and congratulated me with each shot I made. I would avoid the creepy kid from across the street who had a crush on me and convince my grandpa to watch MTV (when they actually played videos) with me after the Young and the Restless. As I got older, my sister, father and I would all do some huge project like paint the outside of my grandparents house or the inside for that matter because the three of us can only relax for about two days before we get restless. We would work hard, and sweat hard all day long and get incredibly hungry. My dad would always ask if we wanted to grab some junk food which for the most part was always a quick and viable option but every now and then my mom would surprise us and always plan on making an Ike's run.
Ike's BBQ is amazing. They use a mustard BBQ as opposed to the hickory red goo we are all accustomed too. And the meat is always incredibly tender. They wrap everything in parchment or wax paper and hold it together with a strip of masking tape. What the best part is, is that they always add a layer to white wonder bread underneath the cooked meat. It doesn't get soggy because the meat retains all it's juices and they only lightly slather the ribs or chicken in the the delicious sauce. It's all perfect.
After we finished our days of painting or watching Soaps with the family patriarch, we would convene outside, sit around a little fold out table that was stacked with ribs, chicken, paper plates and napkins and dive right in. These moments are some of the most incredible moments of my life. No matter how angry or bored or tired we were that day. No matter how much we had already talked to one another that day, we always sat around talking and eating and just enjoying one another.
I honestly feel that food brings people together, and it is one of the best de-stressors known to man. I don't know what it is but there is something amazing about "breaking bread" with one another that makes relationships stronger and, well, better.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Publican

How could anyone be a vegetarian? - Elisabeth Jansen, while partaking in the deliciousness that is the Publican's Pork Belly

Go to the Publican. Trust me. The first time Karl and I went was for our 1 year wedding anniversary and it was very good. We enjoyed our taste of ham and the country ribs but something about this last visit was even more amazing. Maybe it was because we shared the moment with our friends Brian "B-Thomp" Thompson and Elisabeth "Liz" Jansen or maybe it was because something has changed for the better at The Publican.
We started with The Taste of Hams. 3 types of prosciutto spread evenly on a large platter. Shame on you if you think all prosciutto tastes the same because this my good friends was outstanding. One was extra salty, the other a little more mild and the last almost sweet.
We devoured our Spicy Pork Rinds just in time for the amazing Potted Rillettes. A three meat combo, cooked down to meaty tenderness so good we all contemplated licking the tiny mold clean.
Then came the Feijoada, which is a Portuguese dish made up of chorizo, Kale, beans, and pork belly, the lamb sausage with fingerling potatoes and a tzatziki sauce and the Rib Eye which was SO TENDER! I mean, we cut the meat with a spoon and a butter knife, THAT'S how tender it was.
We also shared a delectable piece of the pork belly. This pork belly was insane! It was tender, juicy and covered in a maple glaze. Brian put it best, that pork belly was having sex with his taste buds.
We shared a dessert that consisted of peaches in a light but sweet sauce, sweet corn brulee, and a brown sugar crumble. It was excellent. Just sweet enough, but nothing overpowering.

Honestly, I think this is one of the better restaurants in Chicago. Easily on my top ten and I recommend this is all the omnivores out there. You walk in an you might feel a somewhat pretentious vibe, but it's not like that at all. It has a tavern feel and although you might have to sit at a communal table you don't feel as if your privacy is being invaded.

Right now Pork is rage with restaurants like Mado, The Purple Pig and Longman and Eagle, but I like this fad. I was never a huge pork person and maybe that's because all that was given to us was bacon (which I LOVE! Never doubt that) or an over cooked pork loin or a funky smelling pork chop. But with quality meats and quality cooking I think pork just might be my new favorite meat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lady of the Night Lasagna Rolls

Violet Baudelaire: Dinner is served. Puttanesca.
Count Olaf: What did you call me?
Klaus Baudelaire: It's pasta... Pasta Puttanesca.

Pasta Puttanesca. According to my endless internet searching Spaghetti alla puttanesca literally translates to "whore's spaghetti." Yeah, a little harsh but the theory is that these working girl's rarely have time to shop and the only things they have in the cupboards are basic Italian staples: Spaghetti, olives, tomatoes, anchovies, capers, chili peppers & garlic. Mix those all together and what do you have? Puttanesca

Now I never realized I loved the combination of said ingredients until I went to the new-ish Logan Square spot Revolution Brewing. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this place! I always seem to get the Puttanesca Pizza. A nice crispy crust covered in mozzarella, onions, anchovies, olives, capers and tomato sauce. It is heaven. After a recent trip there, I realized I could make this combo into a nice lasagna. So, I did.

As some of you might remember I have a CSA that I share with my friend Maureen. We got a nice bushel of basil, kale, garlic, cucumbers and some other things. But to our surprise and, perhaps, dismay, we received an eggplant. We both aren't huge fans of eggplant, but we decided to cut it in half and see what would come out of it. So, when I decided to create these Puttanesca Lasagna Rolls I decided to add some Eggplant and Spinach. Just to thicken it up.

First, I boiled some lasagna noodles.
Second I started chopping. I had some help from my lovely assistant and partner in crime, Karl. He chopped the basil and mozzarella. I chopped the onion, garlic, Olives, spinach and Eggplant.

I sauteed the onions, garlic and eggplant first then added all the other veggies.
Then, I added the can of diced tomatoes, capers and anchovy paste (you need more than you think in order to get a good flavor). While all that is cooking, Karl whipped up the ricotta mixture. Just a little fresh basil, some oregano, red pepper and nutmeg.
Then it came time to roll.
We laid the cooked noodle out, spread some ricotta on it, added a little sauce and started rolling.

We then place each roll in a baking dish, covered it in the remaining sauce, topped it with fresh mozarella and baked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
And it was AMAZING!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm a cheesecake connoisseur, and it was awfully good. - Jim Les

Chandler: The other cheesecake came. They delivered it to the wrong address again.
Rachel: So, just bring it back downstairs. What's the problem?
Chandler: I can't seem to say good-bye

I love cheesecake. I love it a lot. My husband, on the other hand, dislikes it. He HATES cream cheese, which unfortunately keeps me from making any desserts that include it. That is unless I have a group of people I can make it for and July 4th was just that day!
I was feeling pretty patriotic when it came to food choices. We went with the All-American Hot Dogs and Burgers (please refrain from lecturing me on the true origins of said meats), cold beers, and random samplings of potato chips. But for dessert I wanted to go all out. I wanted to show the world (aka my friends at the BBQ) that I loved America and I loved Freedom (really I wanted to make a cheesecake and nothing more) and therefore I decided to go with a Patriotic Berry Cake of Cheese Dessert (again just a cheesecake with blueberries and raspberries on the top).

The recipe was simple and was taken from with a few variations.

Make a graham cracker crust - use 1 1/2 packages (3 come in a regular box) of graham crackers,
5 tbsp. of butter melted, 1/3 C. of sugar and a little salt. Add all to a large ziploc and pound the
hell out of it. Press into your springfoam pan. Secure springfoam with tinfoil so that it doesn't open accidentally. Also, if you are setting the pan into a hot water bath, this will protect from leakage.

Preheat the oven to about 500 degrees
Five (5) 8oz packages of Cream Cheese
(Full fat! Nothing's cheesecake!)
1 3/4 C. of sugar
3 tbsp. Flour
Zest of one lemon
Cream all of these ingredients together add
5 large eggs, one at a time
2 egg yolks, one at a time
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Pour into your crust. Place on rack (or in water bath) and bake for about 12 minutes or until it's puffed up. I just did 12 minutes without the puffing. This may have caused some issues later on.
When it's puffed reduce heat to about 200 degrees and cook for 1 hour more. Then remove from oven and chill for at least 6 hours.

Now I have a very fussy oven. It's old and crappy. It doesn't even have a window on it, so whenever I bake I have to constantly open the oven door. So after the first 12 minutes, I decreased the temp and baked it for 60 minutes. It was NOT done, by any means. So I cooked it for another 15 minutes. STILL nothing changed. So I cranked up the heat to 350 degrees, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. It finally puffed. The top, a nice golden brown. I removed it from the oven, left it on the counter and let it set.
Once it was cooled, I made slices and added the berries.

The next day at our BBQ, I brought it out. I was a little worried because I hadn't tasted it yet and I wasn't sure if it was overcooked or what! But according to the people who ate ALL of it (yeah I kinda wanted one slice later for a midnight snack) it was great!
Patriotic Berry Cake of Cheese Dessert Success!!!