The Transition

Hello loyal readers (and random people popping by)!

We are in the middle of a very exciting transition here at law and butter: we are upgrading! 

This site was started almost as an experiment to see if we’d stick with it, if we’d like it and whether or not we wanted to keep doing it. 

After a couple of months of being on this free site we realized we wanted to continue sharing our time in the kitchen, and a bit of our lives, with you.  So we’re upgrading to our own website!!  It’s going to take some time to figure out (we are both computer literate with business programs but that’s about where it ends) and we beg your patience as we get our site up and running.

We will let you know when the transition has been complete, and you will be able to find us at:

www.lawandbutter.com

Thanks for sticking with us and see you over there!

Rigatoni alla Bolognese

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When you look at this post you’re probably going to say, well, what’s so extraordinary about rigatoni with meat sauce? Does your meat sauce normally take you 4 patient hours stirring and waiting, or does it make a “POP” sound as you break the seal of your RAGU lid? Try this homemade Bolognese and you’ll find everything you ever used to top your pasta sub-par.

It’s a great recipe to start before bedtime and leave it low and slow all night. 8 hours or more and this sauce would be like butter. I only had about 4 hours to cook and it was still incredible. This will take about 30 minutes of prep time and about 3-4 hours on the low setting in the crock pot.

If you’re a big Italian fan, you’ll love cooking and eating this dish. Surprisingly, this dish uses very few ingredients. Also, it makes a ton of sauce and has super rich flavor thanks to the mirepoix, Cabernet wine and real Italian tomatoes.

Rigatoni alla Bolognese

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 cup finely minced white onion
  • 1 cup finely minced carrot
  • 1 cup finely minced celery
  • 1 lb. 97/3 lean ground beef, grass fed
  • 1 lb. Italian pork sausage
  • seasonings
  • 1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine NOTE – if you’re not a big wine drinker, buy a half bottle for less money and that way the wine doesn’t go to waste
  • 28 oz. Cento crushed tomatoes (or any good quality brand)
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious Coconut Creamer
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste, dissolved

Instructions:

Add olive to saute pan on medium heat. Dice onions, celery and carrots and add once oil is hot enough. Do not let the oil burn!

Once the onions are translucent, add the beef and pork. Cook until browned.

Before adding the wine, I drained a lot of the fat that has dissolved from the pork. Most of the liquid in the next picture is wine. Now, add the wine and wait until the wine is evaporated or rather soaked into the meat. (After a few minutes I realized the wine wasn’t absorbing very well. Turns out, it doesn’t matter at all. It won’t absorb, so go ahead and move onto the next step.)

Add the tomatoes. Stir well. Let the bolognese come to a boil on the stove top.

Now, scoop it all into your crock pot and set the temperature to low. And as difficult as it may be, never lift the lid of a crock pot in the first 30 minutes. In this recipe, wait an hour, stir and wait another hour, stir. This picture is pre-coconut cream.

In the last 2 hours, add 1/2 cup coconut creamer, and in the last hour add another 1/2 cup. Stirring each time!!! It’ll look too milky, but don’t worry, for some reason the color goes back to being reddish-brown.

(Kinda looks like Chicken Tikka Masala if you ask me)

Luckily- the final product came out so good I was scooping it right out of the crockpot and eating it, then on bread, and then on pasta. Obviously, WILL POWER will go out the door with this sauce. Especially when you get dished up this….

Guacamole Wars Round 2: Rebecca

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While this guacamole may seem substantially similar to Nuria’s, the subtle differences are enough to land the knockout punch.  Or so I think.

Like Nuria, I have never been able to get behind guacamole in containers.  First, how do they keep it that green color?  Probably lots of additives and chemicals and whatnot.  Even if it is “all natural”, avocados are not the cheapest produce in the world.  So if that guacamole is so cheap, you had best be believing avocados aren’t the main ingredient.

Whenever possible, I buy some avocados and make my own guacamole.  Totally worth the little bit of time it takes.

I don’t know if everyone on the planet already knows this trick, but I dice up the avocado still in the skin.  I then use a spoon around the outside and put it, diced, into a bowl.

You’ll want to squeeze some lime juice directly on the fresh avocado to keep that bright green color.

I add cumin (sorry Nuria).  I love the smokiness and depth that cumin gives to recipes and again, it’s about showcasing the avocado.

I also add raw garlic.  Just a single clove, diced as fine as I can make it.  I love garlic, and I love the flavor it brings to this dish.

I don’t add tomatoes.  I like tomatoes just fine, but I want the avocado to be the star of the guacamole and the other flavors to be subtle enhancements.

All-in-all this guacamole is fresh, healthy and will disappear as soon as you make it.

We are linking up with Dine & Dish and Cookin’ Canuck for the California Avocado 4th of July Blast, sponsored by the California Avocado Commission.  If you want to link up your favorite avocado recipe, go ahead!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 3 Ripe California avocados, diced
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 limes
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin

Directions:

  1. Dice up your red onion and throw it in a bowl
  2. Finely mince your one clove of garlic and add it to the onion
  3. Dice up your avocados and throw them in the bowl as well
  4. Cut a lime in half and using a strainer, or your hand, squeeze fresh lime juice over the onion and avocado mixture until all pieces of avocado are covered in juice when tossed gently with a fork.  This may take up to a lime and a half.
  5. Cut up your cilantro as best you can and throw it in along with your cumin and a healthy dash of salt.  Stir.
  6. Taste.  Add in lime juice, cumin or salt as needed.
  7. You can serve immediately or let chill in the fridge, tightly covered, for a few hours.  Mine lasts up to 2-3 days, tightly covered in the fridge, before getting super brown.

Guacamole Wars Round 1: Nuria

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Nothing in this world trumps homemade guacamole. Especially MY guacamole. Costco’s guacamole has WAY too much garlic (ask my Tia Tere), store-bought guacamole is missing that je ne sais quoi, and well, I’m just a picky guacamole eater. I like my guacamole to have simple ingredients and be seasoned only by a juicy lime and salt of the earth.

In fact, I love my guacamole recipe so much, I’ve been making this exact recipes for at least 6 or 7 years. Whatever you do, don’t put raw garlic, don’t put cumin and don’t make it spicy by adding cayenne pepper (sorry Alton Brown and Rebecca).

Just a note: with these guacamole recipes, we are joining Dine & Dish and Cookin’ Canuck for the California Avocado 4th of July Blast, sponsored by the California Avocado Commission.  You can join too!  Just go to either page and submit your recipes!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Real California avocados, ripe (to test this, push on the “nipple” of the avocado. If there is squishyness, it’s ready.)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/3 large jalapeno, diced small
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup diced cilantro
  • salt and pepper (plenty of salt)
  • tortilla chips (to serve)

Instructions:

1.  First, dice your onions and tomatoes.

2. Cut your avocados in half by running a knife from the top to bottom of the avocado and spinning it to make two equal halves. To separate, DON’T PULL, but rather TWIST the two halves in opposite directions. The pit will stay with one half. Take your knife, and jab it into the pit and twist it out. DO NOT use your hand to remove the put from the knife. Just give it a light tap into the trash can, and it’ll fly right off. Avocado pits are slippery and you can cut your hand by trying to remove the pit from the knife using your hand!!!

3. Now dice and add the jalapeno to the onion/tomato mix.

4.  Without removing the avocado from the shell, cut it into squares, and that way, when you scoop it out with a large spoon, it’ll come out in little squares. (See below)

5.  Use a fork to squish the avocados (a potato masher would work, too). It shouldn’t be creamy, but it also shouldn’t be super chunky. This recipe is not called “chunky guacamole.” Finally, dish up with your favorite tortilla chips…and one word of warning…

TAKE YOUR PICTURE BEFORE YOU SET IT ON THE TABLE, or people will dig in and you’ll be left with THIS (see below) to snap a pic. Sorry! Could have been a better picture but everyone was chip-diving and I couldn’t get a better pic before it was devoured. ENJOY!

Salmon Caesar

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I was craving a Salmon Caesar after having to run dinner to a late night meeting at work. Why? Because most of the people in the meeting ordered the Salmon Caesar from Rock Bottom Brewery. Yum. I’ve had that caesar and that is a delicious salad. Unfortunately, let me tell you some details about the Salmon Caesar from Rock Bottom (taken straight from Rock Bottom’s nutrition guide):

82 grams of fat, 18 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber and 32 grams of protein=

26 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points – DO I NEED SAY MORE? When I tell you I only get 28 points a day, does this put it in perspective? So, a solution was needed. Salmon is healthy but high in WW points (high in fat, but good fats – they still reccomend it). Caesar salad is ok, but the dressing alone can kill your day.

Here’s my recipe. Sorry about the blurry pictures, my hands shake a lot. :(

Salmon Caesar”

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • .8 lbs or around 12.8 ounces of Sockeye Salmon from Trader Joe’s, cut into 4 pieces
  • Garlic and Cheese seasoned croutons
  • Caesar dressing
  • Lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • Parmesan & Romando shredded, dried cheese
  • seasonings (for your salmon), garlic salt, onion powder, black pepper
  • EVOO

Instructions:

1.  Set your oven temperature to 400 degrees.

2. Remove the salmon from the airtight seal and put it on a plate. Using the auto defrost function on your microwave, push in Auto Defrost and the weight of .8. It’ll give you about 5 minutes and the salmon will come out ready to cook perfectly.

3. After the five minutes are up, soak up some of the water it released using a clean paper towel and then liberally season your fish (flesh side only) with whatever flavors you enjoy.

4. Set your oven safe pan on the stove to medium heat and drizzle about 2 tablespoons of EVOO.

5. When the oil gets hot (hover your hand over the pan to get a sense of the temperature), put the salmon flesh side down first for 5 minutes and do not move it.

6. After the 5 minutes are up, flip the salmon to the skin side. Put the salmon in the oven now and set a timer for 8-10 minutes (I like mine moist (Rebecca ETA: I think there’s a movement now to say hydrated instead of moist)).

7. While it’s in the oven, put your romaine in a large bowl. Add the dressing (1/2 cup) and toss well. I added a little extra garlic salt here because I love garlicky caesar.

8. Finally, throw in the croutons and toss. I liked these croutons because they were big and super crunchy. When you are at this point, dish up 4 plates.

9. Sprinkle on some cheese.

10. Top your caesar with the salmon fillet (This is two portions of salmon here, but 4 ounces each would have been fine. In fact, I only ate half my piece of salmon. It was too big.). Top with two lemon wedges per person and sprinkle with a little additional parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Weight Watchers PointsPlus = 10-11 depending on dressing/crouton amount

Traditional Falafel

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Before you start reading this post, you must know that this recipe is a two day committment. If you’re anything like my exes, you’ll run away now and break up with my blog. “It’s not you, it’s me…We should just be friends…You’re a great person, anyone would be lucky to have you.” Etc etc. If committment doesn’t scare you, then read on.

Oh but wait, I have to admit things didn’t go according to plan on this recipe. I had to tweak my final results so that I’d end up with a round falafel ball. Basically, I’m not sure what happened but the falafel fell apart in the oil. Apparently it’s pretty common, but I’m not sure why because I followed the recipe to a T.

The reason I say it’s a two day committment is because on the night before you make your falafel, you need to soak your DRY CHICKPEAS. Yes, DRY chickpeas. Don’t committ the ultimate falafel sin by using canned garbanzo beans. Apparently the taste is funny and wierd. And when we’re talking food, nobody likes “funny” or “wierd.”

Traditional Falafel”

Inspired by The Shiksa in the Kitchen 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) dry chickpeas
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masla (I used this for the cardamom and corriander)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Olive Oil

Instructions:

First, you’ll need to soak your garbanzo beans overnight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always make them puff up and they don’t absorb the water very well. I had to quickly par-boil mine and then chill them really quick before they became mush. You don’t want mushy falafel.

In the mean time, chop your parsley, onion, garlic, get your spices out and measure your flour. Using a large food processor, combine all of these ingredients until you have a nice consistency (something that resembles cous cous). It should sort of stick together when you squeeze it in your fist.

Up close now…

At this point you need to refrigerate it for at least an hour and half. Apparently this is an essential part of the setting process so the falafel mix can get a nice texture and be perfect when you’re ready to fry it.

At this point, I stuck my falafel balls in the oil and they seemed to be frying up ok until a few minutes in the sides started to fall apart. I didn’t want to waste a second batch, so I changed plans. After all, they say necessity is the mother of invention. I used the technique my family uses for making croquetas. I prepared a plate with two scrambled eggs and a second flat plate with flour. I dip each ball first in the egg, than in the flour. It worked like a charm.

Finally, we fry! This is pretty straight forward. Heat up a fry pan about an inch deep with olive oil. Let is get hot, but not so hot that all you see is burning oil and you fry the outside of your falafel and the inside stays raw and wierd.

I fried them until they were dark brown and were holding a great round shape. I served them hot on a little bed of cool tzatziki. It was freakin’ delicious! Even Rafa liked them and he fears all new foods!

Weight Watchers Points = approx. 2 per falafel (every 3 are 7 points)

Tzatziki

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There are so many great options for middle eastern and mediterranean food in Portland. In general, Portland is a foodie’s dream come true. I have found this true for me, being a foodie. My favorite places to hit in Portland when I am craving these types of food include: Nicholas’s on Grand, Habibi on 10th and Yamhill, Al-Amir, and that delicious food cart I ate at the other day. I can’t remember its name but I ate there twice that week and ordered the Veggie Mezza platter. It included Tzatziki, Falafel, Dolmades and a small Greek salad. I was in LOOOVEE!!

Tzatziki is a traditional Greek or Turkish meze or appetizer. It is a simple dipping sauce that is always served cold. It’s normally made with strained yogurt (usually of sheep or goat’s milk), garlic, lemon, cucumber, dill, salt and pepper. Following this traditional method, I present to you…tzatziki.

Tzatziki

Inspired by Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, diced (1 cup total)
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 – 5.3 oz. cups of Oikos plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of finely minced dill

Instructions:

First, peel your cucumber, remove the seeds and dice into little squares or little strips, whichever texture you like. You’ll need 1 cup.

Next, pour the 3 yogurt cups into a medium size bowl. Cut up your lemon and squeeze it into the yogurt.

Once you’ve stirred the lemon in, throw on your minced garlic, minced dill and cucumber.

Finally, salt and pepper to your liking. It should taste great at this point, but you should refrigerate it and stir it well before serving. It will last in the fridge for 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Moussaka Lasagna with Bechamel

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I have been thinking about making this dish for months now. I was originally inspired by an idea where I was like, “Man, Canelones are SO good. I wish it wasn’t just a Christmas dish. I wish I could make a lasagna version.” Canelones, however, have pate. Pate wouldn’t work in a lasagna, so my next thought was Moussaka. Now that I look back, I think my obsession is bechamel sauce. That’s what I truly wanted to eat.

Moussaka traditionally has the eggplant on the first layer, than the ground beef or lamb mix next, than it’s topped by this layer of bechamel made with eggs (so it’s firmer than a sauce). I like this idea, but I also love layers and CHEESE. So, my Moussaka-inspired Lasagna has the same ingredients but is 4 stories tall. I made it with whole wheat pasta to get an element to healthiness.

Moussaka Lasagna with Bechamel

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack whole wheat lasagna sheets
  • 1 lb. 93/7 ground beef lean
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, sauted until soft-ish
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt (I felt like it was missing something)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Boil your whole wheat lasagna sheets. Set aside. Make sure they don’t stick together.

Preheat a saute pan to medium-high, add olive oil and throw in beef. Season with salt and pepper.

In the mean time, dice you onions and garlic. Throw it in. Let the meat, onions and garlic get soft. Break apart large chunks of meat. You want it to have that ground appearance.

Now, cut up a medium eggplant into small cubes and sautee with a little bit of water, salt and EVOO. Saute it on medium or until it’s softer, but not mush.

Begin your bechamel in the mean time.

Place 1/2 cup unsalted butter in the sauce pan and let it melt.

After it is all melted, but before it turns brown, add the flour. The flour might sizzle for a second. Cook for about 1 minute.

Add 3 cups of milk. Stir well and bring to a boil. Add in 2 teaspoons of nutmeg and 1/2 cup of finely shredded parmesan.

Remove from heat and continue stirring.

Now, we build. First, pour a little bit of sauce on the bottom of your 9 x 13 (about 1/2 cup).

Add 3 lasagna sheets. Pour on some eggplant, some beef, a couple of scoops of bechamel and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Continue, IN THAT ORDER, until you run out of ingredients.

On the last layer, do the beef, eggplant, mozz and sauce and ADDITIONALLY add the remaining parmesan cheese (almost the whole pack) on top and cover the whole lasagna.

Stick 3 toothpicks standing up in the middle of the lasagna and cover it in foil. The toothpicks are there so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese. Bake covered in this way for about 30-40 minutes. When you’re ready to get the cheese on top toasty, uncover the lasagna by removing the foil and broil (WATCHING VERY CLOSELY).

Serving suggestion is to get 18 pieces of lasagna out of a 13×9 pan.  From left to right, cut 6 columns and from top to bottom, cut 3 rows. If you do this, each piece is only 6 WW points. The picture of the serving above (at the top) is actually 2 pieces.

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