Recipes from Joy of Cooking rewritten so they're possible in a small kitchen on a small budget. Enjoy.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Asparagus with Hazelnuts and Orange & Roast Beef with Mushroom Wine Sauce

So, Valentine’s Day is coming up in a little less than a month. This time of year is romantic for me, because a week after V-Day is my anniversary with my boyfriend.

So for a few weeks now, I’ll be posting the ‘romantic’ recipes—what’s indexed under Valentine’s Day, for example.

The first one on the list, sure I’ll cover that.

Oysters on the Half-Shell

Don’t do it.

I’m serious, don’t even try this one. Yeah, oysters are an aphrodisiac (according to urban legend) but raw oysters are a health risk. It’s possible to chemically cook them with enough acid, but this recipe is literally crack open oysters, serve on half-shell. I won’t help you get poisoned from raw oysters.

So I’ll give you a better recipe instead.

Asparagus with Hazelnut and Orange

Asparagus doesn’t sound too tasty, I’ll admit, but it is surprisingly good. And this recipe will be good to make for your significant other if they’re vegetarian or a health nut.


1 lb frozen asparagus
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup hazelnuts (a little hard to find in some stores, so walnuts or almonds will be an acceptable substitute)
1 orange
Salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°. Cover a rack with tin foil and spread hazelnuts on it. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often so they don’t burn.
At the same time, thaw the asparagus. You can use a microwave, or place the frozen sealed bag in a bowl of room-temperature water.
Put a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the orange in half and squeeze as much juice as you can out of it directly into the skillet. If you suck at squeezing, squeeze both halves. Add the butter and hazelnuts. Cook everything together until the butter is completely melted and slightly brown.
Add the asparagus, and cook it all together until the asparagus is heated through. Stir it or toss it to make sure everything’s warm.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

This can get cold pretty fast, so it’s best served right away.
Some frozen asparagus comes in steamer bags. For these, just follow the directions on the bag and it’ll turn out perfect.

Be warned: asparagus will make your pee so noxious, unless you’re one of those lucky people whose body’s a little different. If you’re part of one of those couples still embarrassed to even fart in front of each other, I’d skip this one.

Or, if asparagus just isn’t your taste, keep reading.

Yeah, this is a long one this week. I managed to get a lot done—don’t expect this every week.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

There is not a cheap and easy way to roast beef. There is a cheap and easy way to have it, though.
Go to your local grocery store’s deli and buy some. There is no way that they don’t have some type of roast beef, trust me.
Get however much you can eat. You don’t have to use it all in one dish.
If you’re going to use the sauce I’m giving in the second recipe, try and buy the beef without any sort of marinade. The flavor may not mix well with the sauce.
If all they have is sliced, it’s fine. It’s not the best, but it’ll do. If you can buy it unsliced, that’ll be better.
When you bring this back to your dorm or apartment and heat it up, use the oven, set at about 200° for five to ten minutes. If you use the microwave to heat this, it will dry out and be tough and chewy. If you like your roast beef to turn into beef jerky, go for it.

Now, a sauce over the beef would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Mushroom Wine Sauce

This won’t be real wine in it. I’m 19. I can’t even buy cooking wine. I’ll note where you can add the wine if you’re legal to buy it.
Also, this is two recipes mixed into one because you’re supposed to add a sauce to this sauce, and this book is kind of confusing okay? Anyways, the other recipe that I’m using is Quick Brown Sauce.

4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 can (10.75 oz) beef consommé (beef stock is an appropriate substitute)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
¾ cup beef stock
¼ cup red wine vinegar (if you can get red wine, do ½ cup stock and ½ cup wine)
Salt and black pepper

Put a saucepan over medium heat. Add half of the butter and let it melt. Stir in the flour until completely blended, and cook for about seven minutes, or until lightly browned.
Stir in the can of consommé and bring to a boil.
Put this aside.
Put a skillet over medium heat and melt the butter in it. Add the mushrooms and stir for two minutes.
Add the stock and the vinegar (or wine) and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the sauce you previously put aside and simmer for another 20 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: The butter and flour will form a kind of paste that you’re basically frying before adding the consommé. It’ll stay lumpy when you add the consommé, so try to stir until all or most of the lumps are out.

Overall cost: about $20. I didn’t buy some of the staples (butter, flour, etc), but even so, I was surprised at how cheap the rest of the ingredients were. If you make this right, it’s easily worth $50 at a nice restaurant, so you’ve saving quite a bit here.

Next week, something special’s coming.

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