Cobb Salad Steak Sandwich

Cobb salads – where would we be without them? Besides Caesar salads, they are probably the salad I order most often if I’m in a green-eating mood at a restaurant.

Cobb salads are an inherently American dish. They are known to have originated in the 1920s when a restaurant owner, Robert Howard Cobb, waited until the end of a shift to pull together whatever leftover toppings he had on hand to make a filling salad. I can only imagine how good this must have tasted in a late night, post-booze binge.

You have your bacon and eggs – almost a nod to breakfast. Blue cheese, avocado and chicken are all protein-heavy and wholesome. And I believe there’s some magical flavor combination that’s achieved when you have the red onion, blue cheese, bacon and egg flavor all in one bite. These flavors go so well together – super harmonious.

I couldn’t remember ever having eaten these Cobb salad elements in anything other than a salad format. I’ve repeatedly fantasized about bringing Cobb salad deviled eggs to life, knowing that post is an imminent Hankerings recipe. And I love a good steak sandwich, so I knew I was headed in the right direction with this one.

I will always order extra dressing with any salad, and Cobb salads are no exception. It’s always blue cheese dressing on my salads. But here I went with a Dijon mayo. It goes great with the rare steak, and you’re getting the blue cheese crumbles on top, so we’re still checking the blue cheese box.

Speaking of salads-turned-sandwiches, if you haven’t tried it already, Ina Garten makes a mind-blowing Caesar Club Sandwich that not only tastes just like a really good Caesar salad enclosed in a giant crouton – it also comes with pancetta – which adds some serious crisp and melty, greasy pork flavor. I cannot emphasize enough how good that sandwich tastes, and I encourage you to try it when the mood hits you.

Here’s to reinventing our favorite salads – the only limit is our imagination! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 filet mignon
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1 / 4 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, cut to a chiffonade
  • 1 / 2 cup blue cheese crumbles, of your choosing
  • 1 small red heirloom tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 / 2 avocado, pit removed, sliced thin lengthwise
  • 2 airy rolls, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 / 4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 / 4 cup Dijon mustard
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to 400*.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Dry the filet with a paper towel, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. Put the filet in the pan, and sear on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides, until the meat is seared and crispy.
  4. Put the filet in the oven, roasting for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on size, until the meat thermometer reads 145* for rare.
  5. Remove the steak, and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Once slightly cooled, slice the filet against the grain.
  6. Combine the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, and set aside.
  7. To prepare the sandwiches, spread 2 tablespoons of the Dijon mayo mixture on both sides of the roll. Layer half the steak, romaine, tomato, red onion, avocado, blue cheese crumbles, and bacon. Layer the second sandwich. Cut sandwiches in half, and serve.

Scotch Egg Ramen Noodle Bowl

Scotch eggs. Oh my word. Where to even start?

They’re a traditional British snack food, often considered a picnic-ready food – and although they’re pretty much born to be a breakfast food item considering it’s an egg enclosed in sausage, we couldn’t help but figure, eh, let’s just eat these all day long.

I can’t think of a more delicious concept – jammy egg, Worcestershire sauce-doused ground pork, and other savory elements, all deep fried until golden and sizzly. Here, I went with an Asian flair and added soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil. I had a hankering for a bowl of piping hot ramen, and wanted the scotch egg to jive with the Asian flavors in the broth.

A local ramen joint – Jinya, is doing ALL the business. Over the past few months, my sister has been ordering from them four to five times a week – no exaggeration. One time, she had Jinya deliver across the city to her office. For lunch. If she’s any indication – those guys are doing ramen right.

I love the new topping options I’m seeing for ramen. An egg is the classic must have protein-booster, but now I’m seeing crunchy fried pork belly, roasted eggplant, slices of American cheese, and other super delicious topping ideas that go beyond just bean sprouts.

Not that there’s anything wrong with bean sprouts.

This bowl features all my favorite umami flavors – or at least, what I consider umami flavors for my weird palate. Mushrooms, cheese, egg and pork from the scotch egg, toasted sesame seeds, grated onion, spicy chili garlic paste, and corn for a bit of sweetness.

How do you like your ramen to be topped? What’s a cool addition that’s a bit out of left field? I’d love to hear your favorites! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 / 3 lb. pork sausage, out of its casing
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 dash fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, plus 1 dash
  • 1 / 4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 / 4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 3 oz. package ramen noodles
  • 1 quart chicken or beef stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1 yellow Kraft Singles American cheese slice
  • 1 / 4 lb. mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick
  • 1 / 4 cup corn
  • 1 / 4 white onion, grated
  • 2 Thai chilis, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon Dynasty Hot Chili Oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed
  • Enough vegetable oil to reach two inches-high in a fry-safe pan

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Toast the sesame seeds. Add them to a dry, hot pan. Toast them on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing often, until the seeds are golden brown and aromatic. Set aside.
  2. Combine the ground pork, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and 1 dash sesame oil, along with a few grounds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cover an egg with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes, and remove from the heat. Place the egg in an ice bath, and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  4. Coat a saute pan in olive oil, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes until the mushrooms shrink and become tender. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the scotch eggs. Combine the flour and the wasabi powder in a bowl. Set aside. Take the egg out of the ice bath and smash the egg on both sides, slowly rolling the egg until the shell slides off. Take the pork mixture and flatten it, putting the egg inside and carefully enclosing the egg in the ground pork, until it’s covered evenly on all sides. Place the egg in the flour mixture, then the beaten egg, then the panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a fry-safe pan – enough that the oil rises 2 inches high in the pan. To test the oil readiness, put a pinch of flour in the oil. If it begins to sizzle and brown, the oil is ready to use.
  7. Place the scotch egg in the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Turn the egg carefully throughout the cooking process, about 4 minutes total, until all sides are browned. Remove the egg from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a separate pot, and add the garlic. Saute the garlic in the oil for 3 minutes or so. Add the quart of stock, and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the stock has concentrated slightly. Add the ramen noodles, and cook according to package instructions, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Serve the ramen in bowls, topping with the corn, Thai chilis, sauteed mushrooms, grated onion, chili oil, toasted sesame seeds, American cheese and the scotch egg, cut in half lengthwise. Serve hot.

 

Steakhouse Surf & Turf Fried Rice

Seafood. Steak. In my experience, it’s calorically dangerous to put those two together. If I’m really doing surf and turf at a restaurant, you’ll hear all about it. And the waiter will make more than one trip to retrieve the extra clarified butter I asked for.

How did I run out? Because I’m drenching my food with clarified butter as liberally as an eleven year old drenches their crinkle fries with ketchup. I don’t just douse the lobster or King crab legs with butter. There are others – the steak and likely potato side(s), maybe even the table bread – that are getting the clarified butter treatment.

If I were one of those unforgivable sins I’d be the gluttony one.

Throwing this duo together in a fried rice? A mind&%$#. I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner.

Fried rice can be as traditional or as funky as you want it. There are a few must-have Asian condiments that are going to give the rice that “fried rice”-ness, but besides that, the proteins and vegetables are an open casting call.

I gave myself leeway to go non-traditional on the vegetables, almost mimicking the sides you’ll get at any high end seafood & steak restaurant. The result is an extra decadent profile of flavors, and you get the upside of eating something that is unopposed in its ability to make us feel good and full.

I used King crab meat but upgrade to the lobster, if you can. You can always have shrimp in your fried rice. If you’re cooking it for someone else, well, there’s your excuse right there!

Enough talk about excuses – go get your wok nice & hot and start frying! 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups 1 to 2 day-old takeout white rice, or 2 cups cooked homemade 1 to 2-day old medium to short grain white rice
  • 6 – 8 oz. filet mignon, cut into medium-sized cubes
  • 1 1 / 2 lb. King crab legs, cooked, shelled, and meat removed
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 6 stalks asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 / 2 lb. white button mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thick
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 / 2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 egg yolks, for topping
  • 1 / 2 stick butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 / 2 large shallot, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish or oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil
  • 3 / 4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons parsley, minced

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cook the white rice according to package instructions if making your own. Drain in a colander and allow to dry out while you cook the rest of the dish.
  2. Heat the butter and neutral cooking oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot, and sauté on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted.
  4. Add the beef, and cook until the beef is browned on all sides.
  5. Add the rice, soy sauce, fish or oyster sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium-high, and stir all the ingredients, allowing the rice to adhere to the bottom of the skillet so you get crispy bits of rice throughout the mixture.
  6. After about 5 minutes of cooking the rice, stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley and gently fold in the bulk of the crab meat, leaving some for garnish.
  7. Serve hot, topping each plate with an egg yolk and the remaining minced parsley for garnish.

Pizza Carbonara

You know food that tastes exactly like some other food?

I think of the chip aisle in the grocery store. The chip flavors I’m seeing are becoming simultaneously more preposterous and totally relevant by the day. My favorites at the moment that I would like to mention by name include Lay’s Dill Pickle Potato Chips and Flamin’ Hot Potato Chips.

But let’s take a look back, with a debt of gratitude to a food reporter over at Springfield, Massachusetts’ The Republican who tasked himself with the enviable job of ranking Lay’s promotional test flavors last year. Some of my favorites I was delighted to see were Bacon Mac & Cheese, Cappuccino, New York Reuben and Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese. Nice.

I would have paid some serious money to sit in those focus groups.

Just like Lay’s claimed to replicate the flavor of these foods, I 100% money back guarantee this pizza will taste exactly like pasta carbonara. Which isn’t too much of a stretch, because you’ll just replacing one starch with another. But the delivery method is undeniably irresistible.

pizza_carbonara_closeup

Plus, this pizza covers all the primary food groups.

Carb vehicle? Check.

Cheese? Check.

More cheese? Check.

Garlic? Of course.

Egg yolks? Check.

Bacon? Check.

Butter? Don’t worry, we’ve sneaked some in there as well. Check.

I heard a comment mid-bite that this would be a great breakfast pizza, and the thought had never occurred to me. I might be giving an eggs benedict pizza a try – too far out of left field? I’ll keep brainstorming. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 large pizza.

  • Pizza dough, recipe below
  • 1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced 1 / 4 inch thick
  • 4 oz. Parmigiana Reggiano, shaved
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 strips cooked bacon, chopped roughly
  • 1 / 4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or truffle butter

F o r  t h e  D o u g h

  • 2 / 3 cups warm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 / 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1 / 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 teaspoons salt

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat oven to 500*.
  2. Combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1 1 / 2 cups flour, then the salt, and mix.
  3. While mixing, add 1/ 2 more cup of flour.
  4. Knead the dough on low speed for 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
  5. Remove the dough and put on a floured board or stone countertop, and knead by hand a dozen times.
  6. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  8. Roll and stretch the ball into a rough 16-inch circle using a rolling pin, and place it on a pizza baking sheet.
  9. Sautee the garlic in the olive oil for 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat, until the oil is infused with the garlic flavor, being careful not to burn the garlic. Off the heat, add the butter or truffle butter.
  10. With a brush, coat the pizza dough with a thin layer of the oil, being sure to cover the edges. Next, add the sliced mozzarella placing pieces evenly across the dough. Then add a layer of chopped bacon.
  11. Put the pizza in the oven, baking for about 15 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling hot.
  12. Remove the pizza from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes. Garnish the entire pie with the shaved parm reg and the black peppercorns. Place the egg yolks evenly across the pizza, and serve immediately.

Chinese Dumpling Ravioli with Soy-Cream Pan Sauce

Whoever first called them dumplings is a visionary – because the name dumpling sounds exactly like what they are. A cute little pasta package with filling. Adorable.

Dumplings are the broad term used to describe any dough-filled pocket that can be prepared in many ways – fried, steamed, stewed, fire-grilled – you name it.

Ones that come to mind are empanadas, tortellini or ravioli, pierogis and mandu. An understandably universal culinary concept, every culture has their own version of a protein or vegetable filled dough pocket.

I worship the filling inside Chinese takeout meat dumplings – always have. When it came time to put in requests for our family’s go-to takeout order, you could always count on me ordering wonton soup and dumplings.

This graduated to include crab rangoon, an upgrade to hot and sour soup in place of wonton soup, and some extra, extra hot General Tso’s chicken. “And don’t forget one of those mini containers of spicy mustard!”, I’d annoyingly yell to my parents mid-order.

When I imagined this dish, I knew I wanted to try a meat-filled dumpling. But what about the sauce?

I couldn’t recall every having a soy sauce-flavored cream sauce before. I doubted there was any way it wouldn’t go great with the ravioli, and I was right. Soy sauce is inherently buttery flavor-wise, as is the cream and actual butter that serves as the base of the sauce.

It was extremely good. Just like the no dairy with seafood rule, I can’t think of many dairy-heavy dishes in American-style Chinese takeout. But low and behold – it works incredibly well here.

The most daunting task will be rolling out the pasta, without a pasta maker. Which if you are in the same boat as me, is what you’ll have to do here.

It all turned out OK. The world didn’t end. And of course, rolling it out by hand contributed to a rustic appearance and heartier bite of the homemade pasta. I’m cutting myself some slack here as should you – I’ve only ever made homemade pasta in a cooking class, but do make gnocchi relatively frequently at home.

The Asian condiments used in the pan sauce are the same as those used to flavor the ground pork and mushrooms in the filling, so the dish tastes relatively uniform throughout. I toyed with the idea of adding parmesan cheese or ricotta to the filling, but ended up leaving it out. I bet it would have been even more delicious with a little dollop of cheese folded in. If you do, let me know how it tastes!

I know I’ll be making this dish again, because my boyfriend was cooing as he was eating it. However, by the time that rolls around, I hope I will have purchased a pasta maker attachment to make this pasta rolling task a bit easier. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

F o r  t h e  P a s t a  D o u g h

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Flour, as needed
  • Water, as needed

F o r  t h e  F i l l i n g

  • 1 / 4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 scallion stalk, sliced
  • 4 large button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon mirin
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon hot sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

F o r  t h e  S o y – C r e a m  P a n  S a u c e

  • 1 / 2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 scallion stalk, sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Prepare the pasta dough. Sift and combine the flour and salt. Pour onto a hard, cold surface, creating a well in the center. Crack the three eggs in the middle of the flour pile, and fold using your hands until combined. Once in a dough ball, knead 10 times until the consistency is silky. If the dough is too hard and not elastic, add some water. If it is too sticky, add some flour. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rest.
  2. Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet, and add all the filling ingredients. Sautee until the pork is completely cooked through, and the mushrooms are browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Once the dough has had a chance to rest, remove it from the fridge and begin rolling out with a floured rolling pin on a floured surface. Continue to roll out until the dough is less than 1 / 8 inch thick.
  4. Using a ramekin or other small circular dish, create imprints on the dough, and cut out 20 circles, enough for 10 ravioli total.
  5. Place 1 to 1 1 / 2 teaspoon of the filling on one side of each ravioli dough halve, and pinch the sides together moving in a circular fashion until all the raviolis are enclosed with the filling. Set aside.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In a separate large and shallow skillet, melt the butter, then add the rest of the soy-cream pan sauce ingredients. Let the sauce come to a low boil and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
  7. Add the ravioli to the pot, and cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the pasta is tender. Remove the ravioli from the pasta with a slotted spoon and put it directly into the pan sauce.
  8. Plate the ravioli, garnishing with extra scallions and hot sesame oil.
  9. Final step – enjoy this way too much. 😉