Well Dined

2Feb/170

Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

I get a lot of emails with recipes from blog subscriptions, magazines, etc...  Some I delete, knowing they aren't my style.  Most I archive to make later.  Very few inspire me to make them ASAP; this recipe was one of those few.  Shakshuka is a dish of Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, and Moroccan origin that consists of eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

This recipe, from Bessou restaurant in NYC (via Tasting Table), puts a Japanese spin on the dish.  It was that fusion element that caught my eye.  The tomato sauce is spiced with Japanese curry powder and cumin.  Roasted kabocha squash is added, along with poached eggs.  The original is topped with miso marinated tofu - I went for miso flavored labneh, instead.  Lastly, it is sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and served with toasted Japanese milk bread.

Well Dined | Japanese Shakshuka with Kabocha Squash

The tomato sauce is so fragrant and spicy (the original recipe uses harissa, too, but the curry powder was enough heat for me).  It is counterbalanced by the sweet squash, tart pomegranate seeds, cool labneh, and creamy egg yolk.  The squash and the pomegranate add varying texture, too, along with the crispy toast.  And the miso adds this funky umami note that adds to the complexity.  Dipping that perfectly crispy toast into the runny yolk and velvety tomato sauce is just so insanely satisfying.

16Nov/165

FFF – Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Well Dined | Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

The Secret Recipe Club may be over, but the Fantastical Food Fight is just beginning!  Instead of being assigned a blog, secret Santa style, we are given a theme (similar to the Improv Cooking Challenge that I also participate in).  For our first month, the theme was deviled eggs - yum!

Well Dined | Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

I knew that I wanted to do a fun take, and while I looked at Caesar Salad, Curry, Mexican Street Corn, and Crab Rangoon variations, I was really drawn to a Smoked Salmon idea.  Filled with the flavors of a traditional Lox bagel, this twist is as delicious as it is pretty.

31Oct/167

SRC – Pumpkin Maple Custards from Things I Make (For Dinner)

Well Dined | Pumpkin Maple Custards

It's time for a seasonal post from the Secret Recipe Club!  Our theme was Fall Dishes and I was assigned Things I Make (For Dinner).  This blog is written by Sarah who, in addition to my name, shares my love of cooking, travel, and sleeping.

Fall means pumpkin for a lot of people, myself included, and I found a Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting that looked yummy.  For me, it also means apple; like this Apple Crisp or Apple Fritter Cake.  But what about something a little different, like Nutella Ice Cream? Or something savory like Tex-Mex Stuffed Butternut Squash?

In the end, there was one dish that caught my eye the most: Pumpkin Maple Custards.

Well Dined | Pumpkin Maple Custards

These custards are made with pumpkin, cream, milk, maple syrup, egg yolks, and spices.  Simple and delicious.  After the base is made, it is poured into ramekins and baked in a water bath, much like creme brulee.

31Mar/160

Try The World – Japan; Okonomiyaki

Well Dined | Okonomiyaki

It's time for another Try The World Post!  Finishing up my Japan box, I used the okonomiyaki mix to make... okonomiyaki, of course!  It's a savory pancake made with flour, yam, eggs, scallions, and cabbage; and topped with all kinds of things, but most commonly pork belly, bonito flakes, seaweed, okonomi sauce, and mayonnaise.

Well Dined | Okonomiyaki

The kit came with batter mix, powdered yam, shrimp tempura crisps, and dried seaweed.  Plus instructions in Japanese and English (thank goodness).

Well Dined | Okonomiyaki

First step, chop cabbage.  It really should have been finer than this, like shredded, but I was lazy.  Add scallions.  In a separate bowl, make the batter according to package directions.  Then combine it with the veggies, tempura, and eggs.

14Mar/163

SRC – Bulgogi from Searching for Spice

Well Dined | Bulgogi Rice Bowl

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  I was assigned Searching for Spice, written by Corina - a mother of  two (I love the nicknames she gives her kids: Little Miss Spice and Master Spice).  She loves international cuisine, making food from India, Mexico, North Africa, Thailand, and China.  She prefers to stick to recipes that aren't terribly time consuming - like this Italian Chicken and Lemon dish, this Lamb Meatball dish, and this Chicken Pie.  But sometimes, she will go for a more complicated recipe, too - like this Chicken Biryani and this Cassoulet with Confit Duck.

I ended up choosing this Korean Bulgogi recipe, because I just recently discovered Korean BBQ, and it is awesome!  Bulgogi is definitely my favorite thing to order, so I loved that Corina had a recipe I could try.  She served it with rice and lettuce to make wraps, I decided (inspired by my Spam dish) to make it a rice bowl, topped with a fried egg.  It turned out great!

7Mar/160

Spam and Rice Bowl

Well Dined | Spam and Rice Bowl

I had always thought that spam was super gross and never had any interest.  But as I became more aware of the different cuisines of the world, I noticed that there were a few that really (REALLY) love spam.  So when I saw spam musubi on the menu at my favorite local cafe, Megabytes, I decided to try it.  You guys - spam is delicious!  It's like ham plus bacon plus sausage all in one.  I'm kind of obsessed now, like bought-a-case-at-Costco obsessed.  No, processed meat is not good for you; but as a special treat in the place of bacon or sausage, it's not going to kill you (probably).  Especially if you buy the low sodium kind, which I prefer.

Anyway, pressing musubi seems like a lot of work, and I am more of a freeform girl; so I decided to make a rice bowl for my first spam experiment.  I cooked short grain rice and topped it with furikake seasoning, then seared spam, fried eggs, seaweed, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds.  It. Was. Awesome.  I wasn't sure that Jasper would be into it, but he loved it, too, and wants me to make it all the time!

Spam and Rice Bowl
serves 2-4

1 1/2 cups dry short grain rice (I use Botan)
2 cups water
1/4 cup furikake seasoning (check your labels, not all furikake is gluten free)
1 can low sodium spam, sliced into 8 slices
4 eggs
salt and pepper
toasted nori
scallion greens, sliced
toasted sesame seeds

Combine the rice and water and cook according to directions, usually simmer covered for 20 minutes, then let stand for 10 (I use a rice cooker).  Fluff with a fork and add the furikake seasoning, you can start with less and more to taste, if you wish.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, sear the sliced spam on each side in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  You won't need any extra fat, and you may have to work in batches.  Set aside.

Pour out most of the fat from the pan, then return to medium heat and fry the eggs you your liking.  I prefer sunny side up.  Season the eggs with salt and pepper.

To assemble divide the rice among the desired number of bowls, top with the spam, then the eggs.  Sprinkle nori, scallions, and sesame over the top.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago - Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs
Two Years Ago - S'mores Treats
Three Years Ago - Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Four Years Ago - Beef, Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Cheddar Turnovers
Five Years Ago - Couscous Dinners

11Feb/161

Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

In my last post, I talked about my February assignment for Secret Recipe Club - Jessie Weaver, The Vanderbilt Wife.  I decided to make the Honey Parmesan Pork from her blog, but also really wanted to make the Boozy Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies... so I did!

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

The cookies were actually really easy to make - just melt chocolate chips and butter together (it will be a thicker mixture); then add to a beaten mixture of brown sugar, eggs, butterscotch schnapps, and vanilla; then add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Let the mixture sit to firm up, then scoop onto baking sheets.

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Bake for 10-15 minutes, and you're done!  I thought these tasted fudgey like brownies, and they were a big hit at my game night.

4Jan/162

Classic French Toast

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

I love to make French Toast this time of year.  My husband loves it, too, he says that my French Toast is the best (so sweet <3).  I think the secret is to definitely use brioche or challah, that plus a million ingredients in the batter - read on!

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

In addition to eggs and cream, I use vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice, lemon zest, and sherry.  So many flavors!  It is so worth it.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, either slice the bread (thickly, 1 inch) the night before and leave it out to get stale, or toast it slightly in the morning.  Then make the batter and soak each side of the bread for 10 minutes.  Just before you cook the toast (in butter, of course), sprinkle one side with granulated sugar - this will created a yummy bit of caramelization.  Do the same to the other side before you flip it over to cook.

Well Dined | Classic French Toast

Top with lots of butter and some maple syrup.  Yum.  This is definitely the perfect French Toast - custardy in the middle, little bit of caramelization, lots of flavor.

16Nov/150

Corn Pudding

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

Corn pudding (or spoonbread) is one of my favorite Thanksgiving sides, and I love this recipe in particular because of how easy it is.  There is a little bit of sauteing involved, but then everything goes into a blender, and then directly into the baking dish - easy.

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

Cream, butter, eggs, corn, sauteed onions, and a bit of flour and sugar - what's not to love?

Well Dined | Corn Pudding

It is kind of like a corn souffle that's a little bit sweet, and really buttery.  It's hot and soft and creamy and kind of melt in your mouth.  I made it for a friend that had never had it before and totally made a believer out of her.  So let's make this beauty!

17Aug/158

Food ‘n Flix – August: Osage County (Biscuits and Gravy Casserole)

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

It's Food 'n Flix time again!  Where we watch a movie and then make something inspired by that movie.  This month's flick is August: Osage County, hosted by Elliot's Eats, and boy is it a doozy.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

I could tell immediately  from the dialogue that this was a play adaptation, and I was right.  The movie portrays the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family, set in the desolate plains of Oklahoma.  The cast (including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Juliette Lewis) acted the crap out of some very dark and intense material - addiction, depression, suicide, abuse, and incest.  This is not a feel good movie (you know it's bad when incest is the best scenario), but it is very good and it will make you think.

Well Dined | Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

As for the food inspiration - there was a ton!  Many of the most tortured scenes revolved around food, including the horrible funeral dinner and the infamous "eat the fish!" scene.  The moment that I was drawn to was Meryl Streep's character talking about her last interaction with her husband over biscuits and gravy.  She must have said the phrase "biscuits and gravy" ten times.  I'm not even that big a fan of biscuits and gravy, but that was what I wanted to make.

I wanted to make something special, not basic, so I went to Pinterest thinking I would find an herbed biscuit recipe or something.  But what came up were a ton of recipes for biscuits and gravy casseroles.  I had never heard of that before and it sounded awesome!  Some were just biscuits, gravy, and cheese; but I liked the look of one that included eggs (kind of like a strata).