Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Trying my Hand at Pickling September 1, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 6:14 pm
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So I could spend some time in this post apologizing for my long absence, or I could just get on with my post.  I don’t want to make excuses so I’ll choose option two!

Along with my theme of being behind, I realized one of my Christmas gifts from Dave has gone unused.  He got me a box of spices from Urban Accents.  I was really excited about it when I got it, but I stowed it away and you know what they say about out of sight out of mind…I opened the box up and one item in there really caught my eye: a Sweet & Tangy Pickling Spice.  I have never made my own pickles before and I thought I’d give it a shot.

box of spices

My town has a Farmer’s Market every Thursday morning.  The problem is I usually remember it as I drive past it on my way to work.  Last week I remembered on Tuesday and I made sure I was up in enough time on Thursday to go on a walk, stop by the Farmer’s Market and pick up some farm fresh cucumbers!  The packet in my spice box only called for 1lb of cucumbers, but the deal was $7.50 for a plastic grocery bag full.  I had $8 cash on me so it seemed perfect.  Fast forward to this past Sunday when I started this recipe and I realized 1lb is only 3 cucumbers!  Needless to say I need to come up with something to do with all the rest of the cucumbers I have now.

The recipe doesn’t require much:

ingredients

1 lb cucumbers, 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 cup water1 packet pickling spice

Instructions:

  1.  In a medium pan, pour the water and vinegar in and bring to a boil.
  2. Open the spice packet and add it to the boiling mixture along with the sugar.

spices

3.  Make sure the sugar is dissolved and then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

4.  While the mixture is simmering, wash and cut the cucumbers into spears.

5.  Place the spears in a heatproof dish and pour the hot mixture over the spears.

6.  Let these sit for 1 hour at room temperature.

transfer

As you can see in this photo, I first poured the mixture into a bowl.  I immediatly realized the mixture wouldn’t cover the cucumbers so I moved the spears and mixture to a shallow dish.  This still didn’t cover them completely so every once and awhile I’d turn the spears making sure they call got a fair time to soak.

Pickling

 After the hour was up, I tried a pickle and it was delightful.  The only thing that was lacking was the temperature. I like pickles cold.  The package told me to serve the pickles immediately or refrigerate.  I decided to refridgerate so I could get the cool crunchy pickle I craved!  I fit all the spears into a tall glass jar (I knew I kept these for a reason!) and proceeded to pour the mixture into the jar.  Well that filled up about ¾ of the way.  I knew they needed to be covered completely so I ended up adding some water.  I screwed on the top and then turned the jar upside down a few times to make sure the mixture was fully combined.  I was pretty pleased with how easy it was to do this and how accomplished I felt.  Do you have a special recipe you use for pickling?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

Blue Apron March 3, 2015

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:28 pm
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For Christmas, I bought my Aunt and Uncle a small subscription for a service that sends ingredients and recipes straight to your door.  I was intrigued by it and when I saw a coupon come up on Gilt City (like Groupon but a different company) I purchased three meals for two people from Blue Apron.

I created a login on their website and then started watching for a week providing meals that piqued my interest.  The way it works is you choose 3 meals for the week and they can send them for two ($60) or four ($140) people.  This feels a bit steep to me, but then again I had a coupon so I only paid $40.  I choose the following three meals for my first delivery: Lamb & Beef Shawarma with Radish Salad, Three-Cheese Cannelloni with Butternut Squash and Kale, and Crispy Chicken Thighs Kimchi and Maitake Mushrooms.  The delivery came on March 4th in a rather large heavy box.  Here you can see the opening process.

unbox

I was super impressed how well packed and organized this thing is.  On top was a letter telling me about the three meals being sent to me.  Then there were three illustrated recipe cards that tell you specifically what measurements you have of each ingredient as well as breaks down the steps to create each meal.  Did you catch the part about illustration? Pictures are the best part in my opinion, because then you can make sure you are on the right track!  Last night I decided to make the Shawarma so I thought I’d share my experience with you.  Here are the ingredients that came in my box:

ingredients

I followed all the directions to a ‘T’. Because everything was pre-measured for me, the hardest part was cutting up all the ingredients.  I was a bit disappointed because the cucumber and mint were not very fresh.  I had to throw out probably half the mint because it was already bad when I received it.  You can see it didn’t effect the final product too much.  My pita wrap was delicious and there was enough leftovers for another one the next day for lunch!  My favorite part about using this service is it won’t take much of my time and I still get to have home cooked meals.  I love to cook, but it usually takes me quite awhile to plan my meals for the week, make a list, and then grocery shop for it.  All the decisions are made for me plus I can cut out the grocery store!  I don’t think I’ll do it every week, but it’s definitely a nice option when I have a busy week or want to treat myself.

complete

 

Mustard Herb Pork Rack December 31, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 7:26 pm
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Before we were married, Matt and I started a tradition of celebrating our Christmas a day or two before Christmas Eve. This way it could be the two of us and not combined with our families regularly scheduled festivities. The tradition grew to include preparing a meal, presents and then a special breakfast for the morning after.

This year we decided to change up our Christmas meal. For the last three years we have dished up an herb roasted lamb rack with mustard roasted potatoes and asparagus with a hollandaise sauce. Inspiration fell into my mailbox in early December from my butcher. In their weekly newsletter they listed a bunch of holiday dish ideas and one was a pork rack. I told Matt about the idea and he was on board. Since we like having leftovers, I ordered a rack for six people.

I had Matt pick up the rack after work the Monday before Christmas. When I got home, he asked me if I wanted to see the piece of meat. I was a little curious and said sure. He came out with a huge rack featuring 13 ribs! Definitely more than enough for six people.

Now I just needed to find a recipe…good thing we have the Internet. In one of the top five results for roasted pork rack, I found it. A rack of pork with an herb-mustard crust. The recipe called for only a six rib roast, so I cut the rack in half and freezed what was leftover.

We decided to keep our roasted mustard potatoes because they are delicious and rounded out the meal with honey-glazed baby carrots and broccoli. The recipe called for a gravy, but I opted not to make it and Matt and I both thought the roast was just right without it. We liked the meal so much we agreed to make it again today for New Year’s Eve.

Our NYE dinner

Our NYE dinner

 

Here’s my recipe adapted from Fine Cooking:

  • One 6-rib bone-in pork loin (about 4 lb.)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (about 2 oz.)
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 425°F. Season pork with salt and pepper to your tasting. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If you have a flameproof roasting pan or a large ovenproof skillet, use that. Unfortunately, I don’t have one yet, so I just got my 12-inch All-Clad saucepan dirty.

With your skillet of choosing, brown the fat-covered surface of the pork until it turns a deep golden brown. This took me only five minutes. Then I moved the rack to my roasting pan and turned it so the roast rib side  was facing down in the oven. I basted with the remaining olive oil every ten minutes, for 30 minutes.

While the meat roasted I started on the bread crumb mixture. In a skillet I melted the butter and add the garlic and shallots until they were soft. Then I add the the cumin and smoked paprika and stirred until they were well mixed. Once ready, I removed the mixture from heat and stirred in the parsley and breadcrumbs. My bread crumb coating was ready!

After the pork had roasted for 30 minutes, I brushed the surface with the mustard and coated the roast with breadcrumb topping, pressing down so it adhered. Then I turned the oven down to 375°F and cooked the roast for another 30 minutes. Once my time was up, I took out our meat thermometer to make sure it registered at 145°F and it did!  We let the meat rest for 5 minutes by covering it with foil before we carved it, mostly so I have time to get the side dishes ready!

It’s a great holiday dish and I think this might be a new holiday tradition for us. Now we just have to pick the holiday!

 

Thought Free Fried Rice October 21, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 11:43 pm
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I figured out why I love to cook so much…it’s prescribed.  There are steps to follow, and I don’t have to think.  After having to think all day long, I really appreciate accomplishing something where it’s not necessary.  The only thinking required is figuring out what I have a taste for.  And with that I will share this recipe so I can be done for the day!

Shrimp Fried Rice by Chungah at Damndelicious.com (this alliteration is perfect)

fried 2Ingredients {with my notes}:

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder {I used ground ginger…not sure if there is a difference}
1/2 teaspoon white pepper {I didn’t have this so I used black pepper}
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and grated {I didn’t have carrots on hand so my dish didn’t have carrots}
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cups cooked rice
2 green onions, sliced

Directions:

1.  Whisk together the first four ingredients and set aside for now.

2. Heat olive oil at medium heat in a large pan. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook them until they are pink which should take about 4 minutes.  Once cooked, scoop these out of the pan and into another bowl.

3.  Now add the garlic and onion to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.  Stir in carrots {if you have them}, corn, and peas and stir for another 4 minutes until vegetables are tender.

4.  You’ll need to make sure your rice is already cooked {I am in love with Trader Joe’s frozen rice.  It tastes amazing while only taking 3 minutes to make in the micro}, because now you will add it to the pan along with the green onions and soy sauce mixture you whipped up before.  Stir the mixture until it’s heated through.  Finally you can add the already cooked shrimp and you are done!

 

 

Too Many Tomatoes September 10, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 7:57 pm
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Lately there has been a growing problem in the Hein household. Too many tomatoes! Our garden is delivering a new tomato every day. In addition to our spectacular crop, my parents’ tomato garden  is producing at least 3 tomatoes every day. Combined, that’s a lot of tomatoes. So many that I’ve started pawning them out to friends, neighbors and co-workers!

Fresh Tomatoes

This weekend I carved out two hours dedicated to using up at least two pounds of tomatoes. How? Homemade marinara sauce. I found a recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook that I was able to modify to use up the majority of my tomatoes.

Here is my modified recipe:

  • 2- 2 ½ lbs of whole fresh tomatoes (instead of 2 14.5 herbed diced tomatoes) 
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoon pre-chopped garlic (instead of 8 gloves chopped garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (instead of 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (new addition since I like parsley)
  • 2 teaspoon pepper (one more teaspoon that the original recipe because we like pepper)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

First dice up your onion, then your tomatoes. This way your chopping board doesn’t get full of tomato juice. I unfortunately, did tomatoes first and had to do a little cleaning before I was able to cut the onion.

Dicing Up Tomatoes

 

You want the whole tomato so don’t get rid of the seeds or the “guts”. Place diced tomatoes in a large pot. Add in the diced onion and remaining ingredients. Heat to a boiling and then reduce to low. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool before placing in storage containers to refrigerate or freeze.

The Final Product!

The Final Product!

The result? I’m well stocked for pasta sauce. Now I just have to figure what else to make in bulk with the remaining tomatoes! Any recommendations?

 

Fast Chicken Fajitas August 12, 2014

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 10:32 pm
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Tonight I had to make a super fast dinner.  As you may have noticed from my last post, I’ve been a bit stressed lately.  This week I have to travel for work, I still haven’t packed and Dave’s coming over for dinner.  I didn’t plan on going grocery shopping this week since I would only be home 2 days, but I did a quick stop by Trader Joes last night so we’d wouldn’t have to go out tonight.  I decided on chicken fajitas.  All I had to pick up was some chicken and some frozen peppers and onions.  I already had tortillas, cheese,  salsa, jalapenos, and greek yogurt (my new replacement for sour cream) at home.
photo 2Today while at work I remembered that I don’t have any seasoning packets at home.  I didn’t have time to grab anything on the way home so I Googled ‘homemade fajita seasoning’ once I got home and found a couple recipes.  I honestly wasn’t even paying attention to where it was from.  I just got excited because I found one that included a pretty unique ingredient….soy sauce!  It was too intriguing not to try so below is the recipe from About.com by Laura Dolson.  I didn’t exactly have time to marinade the chicken so I wisked it together and placed a pound and a half of cut up chicken in the mixture for 10 minutes.

Marinade Ingredients:

¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup soy sauce {yes really!}
2 tbs olive oil
1tsp chili powder

I cooked the chicken in two batches in a bit of heated olive oil and then set the chicken aside.  I opened my bag of frozen fire roasted bell peppers and onions from Trader Joes and cooked those for about 5 minutes and then returned the chicken to the pan to heat everything together.  It was that simple!

 

photo 1

 

Crabmeat Quiche August 4, 2014

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 1:14 pm
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So I don’t have a ton of time to write a long post today, but I did want to share one of my most favorite recipes from one of my favorite people. My Aunt Alie made this crabmeat quiche for a large group of my extended family years ago. Alie is quite the chef and I always love when she cooks because I know it will be delicious (and there will be plenty!) So when I tasted this absolutely unique but absolutely delicious quiche, I begged her to share the recipe. She has graciously shared it with me and I have since made it for as many people that will let me. So I’ve been asked to pass this recipe on… so now I am sharing it with you. It’s certainly become a staple in our household and I hope you enjoy it! (PS – don’t be weirded out that it’s crab meat in a quiche… it’s absolutely delish!)

It doesn’t get much easier than this!!!

1/3 cup chopped scallions (green onions), use white part only.

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup milk

4-5 medium egges

10 oz or 1 package of shredded swiss cheese

1 can crabmeat

1 can sliced mushrooms

1 frozen deep dish pie crust (Pet Ritz or a store brand, but deep dish)

Mix everything altogether and put in pie crust. Bake on 350 for 45 minutes to one hour. It is done when you put a butter knife in the center and it comes out clean.

 

 
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