Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Figs in a Blanket (with home-made dough, goat cheese, and a rosemary balsamic reduction)


I was invited to a Mad Science Party where the goal is to make (or bring) something you've never made before (See also: 2015-09-18 and 2016-04-16). I was going back and forth with different ideas but I actually had "Figs in a Blanket" at a tailgate and I decided to do something like this and jazz it up.

Also, Meredith is out of town so I use goat cheese since I could. I vacillated on whether or not to buy dough or make it and if I were to make it, did I want I want to make it with a yeast base or a different leavener.

I went with this one from Maya's Kitchen (Local Copy 1). I kept it pretty much as they say (including the boiling water, but with all white flour) and added a bit of salt. I was a bit worried that it would be kind of boring and not have the butterness, but I guess the (copious) oil helped. Like I said, I added some salt, but it could have used a lot more.

I didn't really follow any recipe for the balsamic reduction, but the general idea was that I took about 3/4 cup of Kirkland balsamic vinegar with a bit of sugar and a bit of rosemary. I let it reduce to just about half.

Anyway, I rolled it out as seen in the photos. It was a super oily dough but I got it to work well enough. I certainly had some variation with the sizes but it worked fine. I put a small dab of goat cheese down, then half of a dried fig and a bit of the balsamic.

Like I said, I was a bit worried about the flavor of the dough but it was pretty good, though needed more salt. The other flavors were good, but you couldn't really taste the goat cheese and/or balsamic vinegar in some. I served it with some extra vinegar as dip and that worked well.

Rolling out the dough before trimming it The vinegar reduction Closeup of assembling them Before they went in with the egg wash Out of the oven My note. Extra emphasis on goat cheese for those whom don't like it

  1. U: guest P: name of my dog, all lower case 

Corned Beef Yuca Hash with Green Chile


This was a really cool meal! I made corned beef hash but I made a few major changes:

Those were really the main changes but I also went heavy on the ketchup and Sriracha (using about 1.5x and using half and half). I followed the recipe's instructions including pressing it down to get the nice crispy pieces (which really worked). I used 2 x 1/4 in. cuts of deli corned beef.

This came out really good. A bit spicy from all of the pepper and the yuca was kind of hidden by the rest of the stuff. But I really liked it!

I should make corned beef hash more often since this was pretty good! And really not too much work

Chopped up yuca The rest of the ingredients Pressing down the bottom. I did this three times Made a divot for the eggs Final product in the pan Served

Broccoli Seitan


I made the standard broccoli beef but with seitan cubes from the grocery store. I also forgot the ginger and garlic, which was noticed, but it was still pretty good. It also made a ton of food but was relatively healthy meal.

I also liked these seitan cubes. I would use them again

Turkey Fajitas with Kabocha Squash


I made turkey fajitas, of sorts. I bought turkey cutlets which I cut up (raw) and tossed it with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, cumin, adobo powder, and a bit of ground up ghost peppers. After it was tossed, I cooked them on their own in the pan and then set them aside.

I then sautéed up an onion and two red peppers. It was a bit boring since I didn't use anything else such as other peppers. I just let those go and used the same seasonings as above and let it go until the kabocha squash was finished. I packed half for lunch tomorrow. I also had it with a bit of goat cheese leftover from the other day.

I did the kabocha the usual way: 30 min at 400°F, flipped half way. It was a big squash so I only ate half and packed the rest for lunch.

Meredith Meal


We had a Meredith-style meal for dinner. This was one of the easier ones since we usually at least make something for it. In this one, we bought all of the stuff.

We had

Pretty simple but very good!

Mini-Hasselback Patatas Bravas


We made Hasselback tater "tots" (they aren't really. I prefer mini-hassleback potatoes) with our regular Patatas Bravas sauce. There really isn't too much special about our meal. It was really good but we didn't have to do much to recipe!

I did like the change with the potatoes. It was fun and they were good.

Oh, and we topped it with a fried egg (which oddly drooped in the above picture).

Chili (Big Batch)


I made a double batch of Kenji's Chili using roughly the same changes as the first time. That is, essentially make his chili paste but but do the rest on my own.

Meredith was working on other things so I struggled a bit with the dried peppers. I ended up doing about 5-6 (for the double batch) of:

That was the major change on the paste. Otherwise, I kept the paste pretty much to his standands.

I did end up making other changes. I do not recall them all, but some are:

I was a bit worried as it wasn't super flavorful at the start of the simmer. I added some soy sauce, salt, and pepper. That seemed to help a little, but after it simmered down for about 2-3 hours, I tasted it again and was very happy with it.

We got two dinners (with one being a larger portion) and 5 lunches, 3 of which are getting frozen for the future.

Toasting the seasonings Simmering the chiles Lunch portions

Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach


Meredith and I made something like chicken marsala but with sherry and we didn't really follow a recipe.

The veggies were based on 2016-06-14. Basically just sautéed onions with some salt and butter, then add mushrooms and let it cook down. Finally add a some garlic powder, a pinch of dried thyme and sherry. Spinach added at the end.

For the chicken, I pounded down some chicken. Not too flat but thinner. I let it sit with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I then sautéed it in the cast iron for about 5-8 minutes on each side. Towards the end, both to add flavor and cook it more, I deglazed with sherry and put a lid on it.

It came out really great! Lots of flavor and easy to make. This recipe is a really great weekday meal.

Christmas Style Chicken Enchilada Lasagna


(2018-09-05: My Recipe Book Version)

I made Christmas (New Mexican for green and red chiles) enchilada casserole. I didn't really follow a recipe or anything since none of them sounded like what I wanted. Furthermore, my original plan was just green chile but the green chile sauce we had went bad so I had to improvise (and we did have some red).

So, I made the chicken part with frozen green chile and I used the remaining red sauce. I made the filling with an onion, a red pepper, a jalapeño, and some diced onions. In the mean time, I poached chicken breasts with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I then shredded them in the mixer. I combined it all, added some salt and pepper (plus what I used as I went along).

I decided to go lasagna style. I put some corn tortillas on the bottom and then layered the chicken mixture, red sauce, and (low-fat) cheese. I baked it at 350 for 15 minutes. I would have like to go longer but the low-fat cheese can dry out easily.

It was much less cheesy than, say, a restaurant style (good) but also less saucy (bad). And it did have a kick; probably from the frozen chiles. But I did still like it a lot! It also made pretty big portions! (I could have cut them down...).

I still want to do fully-green chile enchiladas sometime, but these were good too!

Chicken mixture Assembling it Assembled Out of the oven

Grilled Sausage, Yuca, and Eggplant


I grilled a bunch of food for Meredith's parents who were visiting. There were two types of sausage, both chicken based and from Sprouts. I think they were green-chile and something else salsa related. I just grilled them, probably for too long. I think you're supposed to par cook sausage so that it doesn't spend so much time on the grill. I should look into that since these were a bit dry.

The eggplant was pretty typical.

The real "new" thing was grilled yuca. I had been using yuca a few times, but I decided to grill it. I read a few things and the general consensus was to simmer it for about 30 minutes and then finish it on the grill. I cut up two yucas, but one was really on its way out. I ended up cutting out a lot of chunks that were soft.

While, I do not know for sure, there seemed to be a mix in the resulting yuca of pieces that I thought were good and pieces that I though smelled like feet. YUCK! I really do not know why, but some of it just wasn't very good or enjoyable.

I do not think I would rush to gril it again, though it did seem to work fine in cooking it.

Green Chile Breakfast Casserole and Cauliflower


Meredith and I made Breakfast for Dinner for us and her parents. The main event was the Green Chile Breakfast Casserole using the same recipe from last time. I think we followed it pretty closely except Meredith also added some mushrooms since we still had some left. It actually made a ton, filling both the casserole dish (pictured below) and also another small dish. It was also pretty good. A bit spicy from the chiles and needed a little bit of salt, but I enjoyed it!

I also made cauliflower fritters. It was a bit different since I used some already-cut up cauliflower. I forgot that you do not "rice" it for this, so I really didn't need to use them, but it still made it a bit easier. I roughly doubled the recipe with a bit of extra egg on top of that to bring it all together. I used just about all of the seasonings I note on the page. Plus is sprinkled it with some smoked paprika. I made two trays. The bottom one cooked a lot more so next time, I need to be better about rotating sooner.

Turkey Taco Skillets


Meredith and I made Turkey Taco Skillets as we did on 2016-08-30. As we stated then, we just cut the pepper very thinly.

We also again did something like double the recipe. I think the only other real change we made was the use frozen corn and a lot less of it. For the tomatoes, we squeezed them out to reduce the liquid and seeds. I am not sure if that really counts as deseeding them, but we didn't want to lose too much.

Also, I think we ended up with a bit more cheese than we would have otherwise since I added cheese, realized I forgot the tomato, decided to add that, stirred it, and then added some more. But I also liked how it gave it a good consistency.

The flavors were really good too. I bet we could just se this as a fajita seasoning in the future too. We also topped it with pre-made guac!

Ours made about 3-4 large servings which was perfect.

Meredith Meal with Spicy Lentil Dip


We had a lite Meredith meal. The main focus was the spicy lentil dip, and other than that, everything was pretty standard (except they no longer have bresaola at Whole Foods).

The cheese was Cinnamon Toscano and a Parmasean-Gouda. We had a mix of a fresh green chile bread and some leftover little rolls from a restaurant, cut up. Finally, there was green apples and sopressata.

But the main hit was the Spicy Lentil Dip. We used the same recipe as when we made it a while ago on 2013-03-18. We followed the recipe pretty closely using the lite-vodka sauce for the tomato sauce. And I suspect Meredith went heavy on the cumin. I went a bit heavy on the Sriracha, but 3 Tbps is a lot already. And I think Meredith used either grits of polenta instead of cornmeal. Oh, and we used fresh-from-the-garden basil instead of parsley.

I liked it a lot! Spicy, but interesting and flavorful. It was still a bit gritty (from using grits instead of cornmeal?) but not too bad and well worth it. Intricate flavors of the lentils worked well with the spice. We will add this to our dips rotation! (and maybe [??] put it in our recipe book?)

Hemingway's Black Cat Cocktail


Meredith made a Hemingway's Black Cat Cocktail (aka Hemingway Daiquiris) from WSJ (local 1). She used that recipe but added 2-3 charcoal tablets (food-grade tablets, split and poured into the drink). And she added some [regular] simple syrup to temper the sourness.

She made a whole pitcher for a party.

It came out a bit sour and strong, but kind of a fun drink for an early halloween party.

  1. U: guest P: name of my dog, all lower case 

Kale Salad with Wild Rice


We were invited to a Halloween party (Meredith's cool Halloween drink in a separate post) and we wanted a good but healthy option to eat while there. So we decided to go with the Pomegranate, Kale, and Wild-Rice salad we've done a few times before.

I followed the recipe pretty closely with only a few minor changes. I did the trick with the rice where you toast it a bit first. I sautéed it with some butter before adding the water. I also used a bit of butter while doing the shallots. I went heavy on the walnuts and (lite) feta and used a ton of salad.

I followed some guide on the rice that said to do about 4:1 (water:rice) + salt and we did about a cup of dry rice. I simmered it for an hour and then it tasted find but I had to drain out the water. Too much. I did really like the flavor though.

As you can see in the photo below (all but the walnuts visible), it filled the bowl. Mixing it was really hard but I got it by moving it between two bowls. I also then took out an Alaskan Ulu and used that to chop the salad. That helped a lot! It was much easier to mix and I liked the consistency (Not really sure if the ulu was intended for use, but it did the job!).

The salad was very good. And we had tons of leftovers making for a nice lunch the next day (with a salmon or chicken burger for more protein).

Simmering the shallots and garlic Before mixing everything

Modified Hiroshima Okonomiyaki


Meredith and I made a modified Hiroshima Okonomiyaki. We used the same basic recipe as the first time but with rutabaga noodles like the last. We had to make some changes again such as:

I think it worked pretty well for the most part. I had trouble flipping mine. And everything else but the bacon worked well. The bacon in the past was a great substitute, but this one (green chile flavor from Whole Foods) was really thick and fatty. That made it really hard to cook it down well on the pan and was fatty. So other than that, we liked it. It was a good bit of work but kind of fun.

Meredith also made delicata squash with the same method she used on 2015-01-01 but with less sugar and oil. That cooked nicely though it didn't really go with the Okonomiyaki. Finally, we made roasted cauliflower with smoked paprika, salt, and garlic powder but we're saving that for lunch.

Phew! Intense cooking for a Monday!

Rutabaga noodles being stir-fried Afterwards with the sauce. Looks like lo-mein The Japanese mayo and Okonomiyaki sauce All ingredients, ready to go The squash The Cauliflower

Lasagna Soup


I made our pretty typical lasagna soup. We made a few small changes but overall, it was the regular. We didn't have bell peppers so we used some roasted New Mexico Green Chile and I also added some carrots and zucchini to bulk it up. We also used extra mushrooms.

The other twist was that we used four cheese tortellini and skipped the mozzarella cheese. I think this worked pretty well, though it does add some calories.

It made a enough for dinner and lunch so that was nice.

Green Chile Chicken


This was a super fast meal since we didn't really feel like cooking. I made green chile chicken by flattening and cutting two chicken breasts into pieces. I topped them with some salt and cumin. I then sautéed them and then added some white wine and a bit more cumin. After that cooked down, I added a ton of chopped of roasted green chile and (too much) lite cheese. That was really about all.

Super easy and really good. Maybe a bit too much cheese (and probably too much chicken). But other than that, and easy!

Chicken Pot Pie


I made the pretty standard chicken pot pie with only a few modifications. We had a few extra leaks leftover so I used them along with a packet of green chile. Since there was already the green chile, I skipped the Franks and added some apple-cider vinegar (we were out of lemons). Finally, I added a bit of worcestershire sauce for more savory flavors.

I think that is about it. It was really good as usual. Served it some sliced bread to make it a really nice meal.