Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potato-Bacon Torte

Well sometimes the simplest things really are best. I had my doubts at to how yummy this dish might be. It won't rank among my all time faves, but it will be made again and I suspect often since it was raved about by my husband. What I liked about it: easy (using store bought pie dough), easily vegetarian (just use veggie bacon or a veggie you like like onion or tomato), super frugal (even buying the pie crust I think with the salad the dinner was like $8) and it was great for a cold night since it used the oven and was very hearty. The only thing you must have to make this recipe easy is a mandoline or a v slicer so you can easily make paper thin slices of the potato. The cons, the edges burnt even with the application of foil and the yolk got too brown I just realized now as I am getting the link for the recipe, I left out the cheese!  We were even marveling at the fact that it didn't have cheese and we loved it.  How did I miss that.  The other deviations I made were I steeped the cream longer and added a pinch or two of granulated garlic.

See how the top is too brown:(
Potato-Bacon Torte                                  

4    strips bacon
3    sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 c  heavy cream
2    Pie Crusts,recipe follows
3    medium baking potatoes peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c  grated Gruyere cheese
1    egg yolk,whisked with a  splash of water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Drain
on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble the bacon when cool
to the touch.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the thyme and cream over low heat
to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprigs.
Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half
lengthwise and then finely slice the potatoes. Working in circles,
arrange the potato slices in the pie crust, stopping to season each
layer with salt, pepper, and about 1/4 of the crumbled bacon. Continue
layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with an even layer of
the cheese and gently pour cream around and over the entire pie,
allowing it to seep down between the potato slices. (You may not use
all the cream.)
Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with
the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the
crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust,
for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake
the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are
cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust edges get too
brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie
from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into
wedges and serving.
Pie Crust:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse
lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1
tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water.
Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger
clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic
bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at
least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated
surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round.
Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate
while you prepare the torte ingredients.
Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Well I started with Alton Brown's Curry chicken pot pie recipe, but while we didn't dislike it, it is one we either wanted to play with or just forget.  Well my husband is not a fan of pot pie.  (me either for that matter)  However, we had chicken left from Thanksgiving, and we needed something to do with it.  I thought it was alright, my husband went back for thirds. (although he ended up not able to eat the last portion) Maybe we will have to give pot pie another try.
Chicken Pot Pie
4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots, corn, lima beans
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup leftover green beans cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 package puff pastry
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.
In a saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables, green beans and the chicken. Pour into a shallow baking pan and top with puff pastry. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes

Monday, November 28, 2011

Coca Cola Ham with Corn Pudding

See the liberal use of hot sauce? Bland!
I thought this sounded foul.  I thought it funny that the cookbook that I got this from, Nigella Bites from Nigella Lawson, noted that she thought the same thing but tried it on a whim.  She raves about it.  I''m not sure if it was that she used a raw ham or what, but I didn't get a lot of sweet in this ham.  It wasn't bad, but I didn't get a lot of flavor from the coke.  The corn pudding was disappointing. Bland and just odd. (insert your own English cuisine joke here;) I got the Halloumi recipe that I adore from this book, so I will still be trying more from it.

 Ham in Coca Cola
2kg mild-cure gammon
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola
Handful of cloves
1 heaped tablespoon black treacle
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Serves: 8.
  1. I find now that mild-cure gammon doesn't need soaking, but if you know that you're dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over the Coke.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. If your joint is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later. But do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9.
  4. When the ham's had its time (and ham it is, now it's cooked, though it's true Americans call it ham from its uncooked state) take it out of the pan (but do NOT throw away the cooking liquid) and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed, you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want.) Then remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.
  5. Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30-40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180°C/gas mark 4, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.

Sweet Corn Pudding
6 to 8 servings
5 eggs
18 ounces or 2 1/2 cups canned sweet corn, drained
14 ounces, or 1 3/4 cups canned creamed corn
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
Generous 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Butter a glass 12 by 10-inch baking dish and set aside
In a large bowl, whisk eggs together. Using a spoon, stir in sweet corn, creamed corn, milk, cream, flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour mixture into butteed baking dish. Cook for 1 hour until it is golden brown and slightly puffed up on the top. Serve immediately.
Note: Goes well with Ham in Cola

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mashed Potato Cakes

Well in an attempt to not waste any thanksgiving leftovers, I thought I would give this a try.  It was good but didn't hold together well.  The fry daddy delcared they were tasty but too ulgy to allow a picture.  (snicker)  We had them with a salad an thats it.  Simple and satisfying.  We didn't make all of them for dinner;  the rest we will fry up in the morning with our eggs.

Mashed Potato Cakes
3 c  mashed potatoes,chilled or at room temperature
1/2 c  white cheddar cheese (about
2 ounces),shredded on the large holes of box grater
2    medium scallions,thinly sliced (white and light green part
2    medium garlic cloves,minced
1    large egg,lightly beaten
1/3 c  all-purpose flour
2 T  vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Place all of the ingredients except the oil and salt in a medium
bowl and stir to combine; set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper
towels; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering,
about 3 minutes. Drop 3 to 4 (1/3-cup) dollops of the potato-cheese
mixture into the pan and spread each into a 3-inch patty. Cook
undisturbed until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Gently flip the cakes and cook until golden brown on the second side,
about 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and
season with salt. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hot Brown

Well I have wanted to try this sandwich for a while, and I got a recipe for it in an email the other day.  Well I didn't keep the one from the email because I wanted to try what is supposed to be the original.  This is from the Brown Hotel website.  I didn't have all Romano so I used some parm.  I used chicken since that is what we had from thanksgiving.  I also used half cream and half 1/2 & 1/2 because that was what I had on hand. Also I used 4 slices of bread and more chicken making 4 open faced sandwiches.  I still had twice as much sauce as needed.  I will also make sure I have super thick bread next time.  I would have liked more tomatoes because they cut the richness of the sauce.  I also think I would like some heat.

Legendary Hot Brown Recipe
2 Servings

2 oz Whole Butter
2 oz All Purpose Flour
1 qt Heavy Cream
1/2 c  Pecorino Romano Cheese,Plus1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Salt & Pepper to Taste
14 oz Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
2 sl of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 sl of Crispy Bacon
2    Roma Tomatoes,Sliced in Half
In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until
combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two
minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk whipping cream
into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to
simmer,  about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in
Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and
pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and
cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and
set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of
the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional
Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese
begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of
crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve

Thursday, November 24, 2011



Well because my husband has to work every Thanksgiving, I rarely cook.  All of our family is out of town and can't always make it also, so I often go to a friends house or we have something small.  Well my family was able to come this year! I was so happy to be able to do some of the dishes I grew up with as well as some new ones.  My mom hates turkey; we always have chickens instead.  I made two chickens but unlike her I don't stuff them.  I love, love, love stuffing but cook it outside the bird.  It is true that the inside the bird stuffing does get all those lovely drippings, but I think with a little chicken stock or bullion granules (skipping some or all of the salt if you use the granules) you get some chicken flavor and gravy adds the drippings anyways.  This is the first time making this roasted chicken recipe, but I enjoyed it.  I used sage in place of the parsley since I didn't have much parsley in the herb garden and I had some cut sage I needed to use.  Besides, sage is such a thanksgiving herb.  The stuffing is the stuffing I have had all my life.  It is great!  It really is more of a bread pudding so it is quite dense.  I craved it with my first pregnancy. (I was also miserably nauseous)  My darling husband went out while I was napping and bought the ingredients for a huge batch.  I am awakened to the smell of bacon cooking. (normally great right) well I ran from the bedroom saying as I am gaging, "what is that horrible smell?!" opening windows.  Long story short I didn't eat a bite of it.  (sorry honey)  The squash casserole is my mothers too.  The green beans I got in an email right before thanksgiving.  Standard mashed potato recipe, but you must use a ricer, and since I am no baker, a bought coconut cream pie.  Oh and of course gravy made from pan drippings and a slurry on the stove:)  There was little drama over the meal except that when I was pulling the birds out of the beer fridge in the garage, they had frozen in there.  (that fridge is kept really cold, but I didn't think 24 hours in there would freeze them solid, it did)  So I ran them under cold water in a large pan until I could remove the giblet packets, then ran water inside a bit, then back to the pans for some more water running over them.  I think it took about an hour in all.  Thankfully (hehe) we were eating early so an hour delay didn't make too big of difference.

Lemon And Herb Roasted Chicken With Baby Potatoes
1    (4 to 5 pound) free-range chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1    lemon,halved
1    head garlic,halved
1/4 bn each fresh rosemary,thyme, and parsley
1/4 c  olive oil
11/2 lb red new potatoes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out, then pat it dry with
paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper, and then stuff
the lemon, garlic, and herbs inside. Place the chicken, breast-side up,
in a roasting pan. Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen
twine to help hold its shape. Toss the potatoes around the chicken.
Season the whole thing with a fair amount of salt and pepper and
drizzle with olive oil. Roast the chicken and potatoes for 1 to 1 1/2
hours. Don't forget to baste the chicken with the drippings and rotate
the pan every 20 minutes or so to insure a golden crispy skin. The
chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer says 165 degrees F
when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (the legs of the
chicken should wiggle easily from the sockets too.) Remove the chicken
to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back
into the meat before carving. Serve with the roasted potatoes on the

Green Beans With Shallots
8 Servings
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lb green beans,cleaned and trimmed
3 T  unsalted butter
3 T  olive oil
3    medium shallots,minced
Freshly ground black pepper
[Note: Game plan: If you blanch the beans in advance, you just bring them to room temp before sauteing
Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside. Fill a medium saucepan with heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain the beans and place in the ice water bath or in a colander under cold running water. Once the beans are cool, drain again, shaking the colander to remove any excess water.
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add the shallots and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the blanched green beans, toss to coat in the butter and oil, and cook, stirring rarely, until they begin to color on the edges. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Mary's Famous Stuffing
1 bn of celery chopped
1 lb of bacon chopped (raw)
1    large onion chopped
1 1/2 lb of bread cubed
6    eggs
1 1/2 T  sage
2 1/2 t  salt
2 t  pepper
2 1/2 c  of milk (or more if needed)
1.Saute the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered
2.add the onion and celery and cook until soft
3.In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the seasonings and milk.
4.Mix in the bread and then the sauteed veggies

6.Stuff in a bird or bake in a pan @ 350  30 to 40 minutes or until
done (it will swell and get brown on top)

Mary's Yellow Squash Casserole
1/4 c  of melted butter
1 qt of thinly sliced yellow squash
1/2 t  salt
1/4 t  pepper
1    egg beaten
1/4 c  chopped green pepper
1/4    chopped onion
1 t  sugar
1/2 c  mayonnaise
1/2 c  shredded mild cheddar cheese
1.Lightly butter a 1 ½ quart casserole dish and add squash season
with salt and pepper
2.Pour melted butter over squash and coat evenly
3.Mix together the egg, mayonnaise, green pepper, onion and sugar
4.Pour mixture over squash and top with cheese
5.Bake at 350 about 40 minutes or until cheese is nice and brown on top

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner (or Baked Eggs En Cocotte With Basil)

Well in the preparation for tomorrow night's Thanksgiving dinner I found it to be a bit too late to be starting the dinner I had planned, so I went with this 'breakfast' dish.  I had been wanting to try it for many reasons.  I think a baked egg sounds like the perfect poach and they have that cute little shape.  I did not serve them right away because I had some bacon I needed to use and was cooking it.  As a result the yolks were not as runny as I would have liked them but it was still really delicious.  I put the eggs on the buttered toast with the bacon.  I also made a bacon gravy for my mom. (who will be here tomorrow) for one of her breakfasts while she is here.  I drizzled a bit of it over the eggs as well. (so did not need it or the bacon for that matter but the bacon was good)  I also deviated from the recipe in that I added  chives as well as basil at the end.   I think chives and eggs are just a stellar combo.  The boy delcared this a favorite!
Baked Eggs En Cocotte With Basil
 8 t  extra-virgin olive oil
 8    large eggs
 4 T  unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 c  chopped basil
Buttered toasted whole wheat or white bread
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Coat the bottoms and sides of eight 4-
ounce ramekins with 1 teaspoon of olive oil each. Arrange the ramekins
around the sides of a roasting pan and crack 1 egg into each one. Top
each egg with 1/2 teaspoon of butter and season with salt and pepper.
Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the
sides of the ramekins.
2. Bake the eggs in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning the pan
halfway through cooking, until the yolks are runny and the whites are
just firm. Garnish the eggs with the chopped basil and serve right away
with buttered toast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grilled Cheese And Chorizo Sandwiches

I changed this only slightly.  I used the light wheat bread I had on hand and I don't care much for pickled jalapenos so I took a few slices of the jalapeno from the salmon night and put it in some pickle brine for a few days.  The pepper jack was not hot at all so I added the pickled chilies after cooking.  I don't know if they are particularly hot this year or if I though jalapenos were milder but they did add a lot of kick.  All in all tasty, easy and will be made again.  Oh and for the salad dressing I used the leftover dipping sauce from last night.  It was good, but I think next time will thin it a bit with olive oil and add some salt.
Grilled Cheese And Chorizo Sandwiches 4 Servings

3    chorizo sausages (6 ounces) thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 T  unsalted butter,softened
8 sl of sourdough bread,cut from a pullman loaf
6    ounces Pepper Jack cheese thinly sliced
2 T  drained and sliced pickled jalapeños
6    ounces Havarti cheese
           -thinly sliced
1.In a large skillet, cook the sliced chorizo over moderately high
heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Drain the chorizo on paper towels and wipe out the skillet.
2.Butter the bread on 1 side and turn 4 slices buttered side down on a
work surface. Top with Pepper Jack, chorizo, pickled jalapeos and
Havarti. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, turning
the buttered side up.
3.Preheat 2 large skillets. Add the sandwiches and cook over moderate
heat, turning once, until the bread is golden and crisp, about 8
minutes.  Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mitzi's Chicken Fingers

So I saw this thing on yahoo about grown up chicken fingers.  I thought, the kids love chicken fingers and I love the idea of a grown up version of it. This was a very good grown up version of them.  It took a few bites before we all became accustom to them, but it is worth it to overcome your chicken strip preconceptions to enjoy it.  We had a bulgar pilaf with them and a salad.

Mitzi's Chicken Fingers
6 Servings
1 1/2 c  mayonnaise
1/4 c  honey
2 T  roughly chopped dill
2 T  fresh lemon juice
1 T  dry mustard powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste
2 lb boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3"-lo
1 T  sugar
1 T  kosher salt
1 T  freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 t  garlic powder
1 t  paprika
1 t  dry mustard powder
1 c  flour
4    eggs,lightly beaten
3 c  finely ground fresh breadcrumbs or panko
Canola oil,for frying
[Note:  Fresh breasts are sliced into strips, then marinated
overnight in salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, paprika, and other seasonings.
Flour-dusted and  dredged in an egg wash, the chicken is  coated in
breadcrumbs (ground loaves of supermarket white), and fried in canola
oil  ]
1. Make the dipping sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the
mayonnaise with the honey, dill, mustard powder, and lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper, and stir together until smooth; set honey-
dill dipping sauce aside.
2. Make the chicken fingers: In a medium bowl, toss together chicken,
sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and mustard; set aside.
Place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes; set
aside. Pour oil to a depth of 2? into a 6-qt. Dutch oven; heat over
medium-high heat until deep-fry thermometer reads 325. Working in
batches, coat chicken in flour, shake off excess, and dip in eggs; coat
in breadcrumbs. Fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 3
minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining
chicken. Serve with dipping sauce

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grilled Salmon With Melted Tomatoes

I did not make this exactly like the recipe says.  I made it for 2 so there was only one small piece of fish, one pound of tomatoes and only 2 peppers. Also I broiled the salmon instead of grilling it. I would have been happy to delete it, but the boy loved it.  My husband was at work so I didn't get second opinion of it.  I thought it was too spicy (and I am the one in the house who usually likes the most heat). Well I would have deleted it but the boy loved it so we are keeping it.

Grilled Salmon With Melted Tomatoes
10 Servings

6 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for rubbing
10    jalapeños,thinly sliced crosswise and seeded
4 lb ripe beefsteak tomatoes cored and coarsely chopped
One 4 1/2-pound salmon fillet in one piece,with skin
Freshly ground pepper
[Note: Our Pairing Suggestion   Full-bodied rosé ]
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the 6 tablespoons of olive oil. Add
the jalapeos in an even layer and cook over moderately low heat,
without stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted
spoon, transfer the jalapeos to a plate.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes to the skillet and cook over high heat
until they release their juices, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon,
transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl. Boil the tomato juices over
high heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, adding any accumulated
juices from the bowl. Return the tomatoes to the skillet and season
with salt.
3. Meanwhile, light a grill. Spread out a double layer of heavy-duty
aluminum foil that's 12 inches longer than the salmon fillet. Set the
salmon in the center of the foil, skin side up, and rub it with olive
oil. Using the short ends of the foil as handles, carefully set the
salmon on the grill. Cook over moderate heat for 6 minutes.
4. Transfer the salmon to a work surface. Carefully flip the salmon
fillet onto a fresh double layer of foil so it is skin side down.
Season with salt and pepper. Return the salmon to the grill and cook
over low heat until the salmon is just opaque throughout, about 10
minutes longer.
5. Spoon the tomatoes and their juices onto a long serving platter.
Using 2 long spatulas, carefully slide the salmon fillet onto the
tomatoes, leaving the skin behind, if desired. Top the salmon with the
jalapeos and serve.
Notes Fast Tip To cook the salmon even faster than grilling, Marcia
broils the fillet six inches from the heat for about 10 minutes.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spaghetti With Escarole And Bacon

This was my second time making this.  The first time we cooked it the boy loved it, but the hubby and I weren't wowed.  I couldn't find the escarole the first time round and substituted kale as recommended by gourmet sleuth. I saw some escarole in the store the other day, so I thought I would try this one again.  Now I love kale, but this one was so much better with the escarole.  I thought there were so much escarole, I skipped the salad.

Spaghetti With Escarole And Bacon
4 Servings
1/4 lb Bacon,Cut Crosswise Into Thin Strips
2 T  olive oil
3 ea garlic,minced
1/4 t  red-pepper flakes
1 1/2 t  anchovy paste
1    head escarole (about 1 1/2pounds),leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips
2/3 c  canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 t  salt
3/4 lb spaghetti
1/3 c  grated Parmesan,plus more for serving
1 T  butter
[Note: Crisp bacon complements escarole so well that you may be
tempted to sauté the greens in the bacon fat, but don't do it; the
bacon will then   overwhelm the greens completely. Use  olive oil
instead, which will bring all the flavors together.    ]
1.In a large deep frying pan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until
crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Pour off all the fat from
the pan.
2.In the same pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the
garlic,    red-pepper flakes, and anchovy paste and cook, stirring,
until fragrant,  about 30 seconds. Stir in the escarole, a little at a
time, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and 1/4 teaspoon of
the salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for
5 minutes.
3.Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the
spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta; add it to
the pan with the escarole. Stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the
Parmesan,    bacon, and butter.
Notes Variations
Stir in a cup of drained canned cannellini beans when you add the broth
in Step 2.
Add two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil just before serving

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wine Tasting Again;)

Well it is the Holiday Season, and that means weekly wine tastings at the OWC!  I was lucky enough to get to go to another one and left the husband and kiddies to enjoy leftovers.  I however got to eat one of the many delicious things on the menu.  I find I am often wanting to have so many items on the menu, I can't decide and then end up ordering my favorite: the Duck and Blue flat bread.  It has the most amazing spicy plum sauce.  I really don't care for much of the duck I have had. (I'm not a fan of birds in general) I do like it here.  So yay to tastings and no cooking for me tonight;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Enchilada Chicken

 This is one of the all time favorites in this house.  We first learned to love machaca from a recipe from Marcela Valladolid.  She made these beef burritos that were amazing!  I poked around the Internet looking for other "machaca" style recipes.  This is the one we have been using for chicken.  I don't remember where I found it. I made it recently at a family gathering in Orlando.  It was well received by all. (like 12??) people)  We like the chicken as tacos with lettuce, hot sauce, scallions and chimichurri. The addition of chimichurri is a must for us on all our tacos. I have my own secret family recipe, so you are going to need to find your own;p.

We serve all our tacos on the lazy susan so we can each build our tacos to our taste, and everything is easily accessible.  I got the lazy susan as a gift from a dear friend.  She really has a great knack for getting great presents.  I would never thought of it as an essential. (even though I have wanted one for some time)  It is used quite often in our house. We each have our own hot sauce we like.  Mine is the siricha, the boy the chipotle Tabasco and the hubby has his crystal.

Enchilada Chicken

2 lb boneless,skinless chicken (breast, leg, or thigh)
1/2 c  diced yellow onion
1/2 c  medium-dice green bell peppers
1/4 c  roughly chopped cilantro leaves
2 t  oregano leaves
3 T  finely chopped garlic
2 t  salt
2 t  white pepper
4 c  Chicken Stock
1 cn Diced Tomatoes With Juice
(original instructions) This "machaca" style cooked meat is very
versatile: use in tacos, enchiladas, soup, nachos, burritos, etc.
Basically a process of braising,   the meat and all ingredients are put
together in a large pot and brought slowly to a boil. Reduce the heat
and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If you desire, you can bake all of
this in a covered dish in a 350 degree F. oven for about 3 hours for
the same results. The meat should be tender to the point where it
begins to shred...some of it may require quick chopping. You may want
to reserve the liquid for use in soups, etc. Use the cooked meat in
your dish right away or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
(My way) Brown Chicken in a little olive oil first, follow cooking
instructions until the last step.  Take chicken out of the liquid, puree until smooth with an immersion blender and reduce the liquid until there is very little left.  Shred the chicken and return to the reduced cooking liquid.  Stir to mix and serve as soft tacos with chimichurri, and any other taco toppings.
(To make enchiladas) Make sure liquid is almost gone after it has been pureed.  Add cream cheese (and some chimichurri).  Coat tortillas in green enchilada sauce, fill with meat mixture, roll, and place in a baking dish that
has a layer of sauce on bottom.  When full, top with remaining sauce
and cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Panini Night

Panini night tonight for a couple of reasons, first of all my MIL gave us this nice panini pan and I wanted to try it out.  Second reason, it is is quick and easy.  I was thinking about Cuban Sandwiches. (insert drooling sound) I also saw a recipe for a goat cheese, date and bacon one that sounded really good too.  As always I said lets do both.  But wait, I have blue cheese I need to use, OK a third one with blue and tomato. So the Cuban was the standard: ham, pork, Swiss, mustard and pickle.  The bacon one was softened goat cheese spread on both slices of bread, sprinkled with chopped dates and then filled with crispy bacon.  The tomato one was alright.  (Just tomato and blue)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Garlic Spaghetti

This dish is not for the faint of heart. The name doesn't lie.  Holy cow there is a lot of garlic in this.  We all love garlic and enjoyed it thoroughly, however it was close to too much.  So if you aren't positively in LOVE with garlic (or are a vampire;) you might just want to go to another recipe.  That out of the way, it was super easy and super inexpensive.  I got it off the food network sight from  Melissa d'Arabian's Ten Dollar Dinners.  I still like the Scarpetta's Spaghetti better, however this one was a lot faster. I will make it again, but I think I might play with it a bit.

Garlic Spaghetti

9 ea garlic,minced
1/2 c  olive oil
6 T  butter
1    (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb spaghetti,cooked al dente
2 T  chopped fresh basil
Grated Parmesan,for garnish
In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the olive oil for 30 minutes
on low heat. Stir occasionally to keep the garlic from drying out. In a
medium saucepan, add the butter and tomatoes, and stir until well
blended and the butter is melted. Stir in the garlic oil and season
with salt and pepper. Allow the flavors to meld for 10 minutes. Toss
with the spaghetti and serve garnished with basil and Parmesan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Orecchiette With Chicken, Caramelized Onions, And Blue Cheese

I happen to love Blue cheese, the boy likes it a little and my husband will tolerate it, so I was worried about the reception of this dish. I only used two chicken breasts, but they were on the large side and there was plenty of chicken.  I also went a tad light on the blue cheese. It was really good.  The only thing that kept this from being a fast dish was the long cooking time on the onions, but don't skimp on this step.  You want to make sure that you get that nice sweetness in them. I even liked the rosemary and I am not a fan.

Orecchiette With Chicken, Caramelized Onions, And Blue Cheese
Yield: 4 Servings

1 T  butter
3 T  olive oil
2    onions,quartered and cu into thin slices
1 t  salt
1 1/3 lb boneless,skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
1/4 t  fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 t  dried rosemary,crumbled, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh
1 ea garlic,minced
1/2 lb orecchiette
 2    ounces blue cheese,crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
[Note:  .  The onions and cheese drive the wine choice for this dish.
A lighter red wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, such as one
based on the  Barbera or Dolcetto grapes, has the  weight and acidity
to stand up to the sweet and salty flavors. Our Pairing Suggestion    ]
1. In a large nonstick frying pan, melt the butter with 2 tablespoons
of oil over moderately high heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of
the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 25
minutes.   Remove.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and reduce the heat
to moderate. Season the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8
teaspoon of the pepper and add to the pan along with the rosemary. Cook
the chicken until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until almost
done, about 3 minutes longer. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30
seconds. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steam for 5
minutes. Cut the chicken into 1/4-inch slices.
3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the
orecchiette until just done, about 15 minutes. Reserve about 1/4 cup of
the pasta water. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 tablespoons of the
pasta water, the onions, the chicken with pan juices, the blue cheese,
and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. If the
pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Food and Wine Festival

We had a date night and went to one of the two Halafax Food and Wine festivals.  I have no idea what is up with that.  It sounds like there is drama there.  I found out about the second one after the fact.  It seems stupid to do them on the same night because I would have liked to have gone to both. (had I known there were 2) Maybe I did but never realized it was two different ones because they have the same name.  We ended up at the one at the News Journal.  It was fun and there was lots to eat and drink.  It is hard to serve food there away from a proper kitchen but I think there were some poor choices of dishes that don't travel well. (crab cakes? not really a good lukewarm thing)  I will say that more than the positives the the big negatives stand out more and will be businesses I don't plan on ever using.  First Crush wine shop.  You send some arrogant guy who was not exactly a joy.  He did a few things I found really annoying, starting with asking what I liked, and then proceeded to pour a glass of the ONLY thing I said I didn't care for.  In the future, say something like "I know you said that you didn't like this but this one is a bit different", not try this then, you like it?, ha it is what you said you didn't like.  I didn't think it was great, but unlike you, I had some manners and said it was OK.  Also, when discussing wines I have recently enjoyed DO NOT ask what I paid for it and where I got it and then say I would have gotten a better deal from you.  I have done a lot of comparison shopping on wine and I can tell you that you are not the best deal in town.  I might have gone to you in a pinch before, now I will do without.  Next, Naked Grape.  I know that you had your rep there and were trying to advertise your wine without giving away the store, but there was barely enough to taste in the glass, and when I said a little more you must have thought I said a drop.  As my friend put it best, "better not smell it, its only vapors in there."  I have no idea what your wine truly tasted like because you didn't give enough to take even a sip.  I don't plan on giving you any of my dollars to try it in the future now. Most of the other businesses that were there were better at selling their product without giving away an enormous portion.  So while I had a great time with great friends, and will happily go again, more than finding businesses I like (even though I did) I walk away with a stronger impression of two businesses I don't care for.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Double-Baked Cheese Soufflé With Parmesan Cream

It's a big day for me, I have officially made my first souffle!!  My darling husband has made one before and it was very good, but daunting to me because I am totally not the precise, science project cook that makes good bakers.  I like to have a little wiggle room.  However, I poured myself a glass of wine and decided to have a stab at it.  While everyone loved it, I was worried in the process because there were a few deviations I made.  Some intentional, some just because it seemed to be prudent. First of all, I couldn't find Comté cheese.  I quick online search suggested Gruyere.  ( Well for a block of Gruyere the size of two decks of cards was $17! Well I didn't want to ruin pricey cheese with my first souffle attempt, and I just don't want dinner to cost that much. I would have needed all of it. I opted for the fancy publix Swiss cheese over the regular Publix Swiss ($4.99)  I also cooked it a little less because it seemed done.  I didn't need to broil it either because the bottom was brown already.  Really a great meal and I can't wait until I make another souffle.  Thing I liked best about this souffle recipe is that it didn't require an extra egg white. (or is it a extra yolk?) Had a salad with it with the dressing recipe below.  This is going to be one of the favorite as far as salad dresssings go.

Double-Baked Cheese Soufflé With Parmesan Cream

6 T  unsalted butter,plus more for greasing
1/2 c  freshly grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (2 ounces),plus more for dusting
6 T  all-purpose flour
1    garlic clove,peeled
1 c  milk
1/2 c  shredded Comté cheese
Salt and freshly ground
white pepper
4    large eggs,separated
Parmesan cream
1/2 c  heavy cream
1/4 c  milk
1/3 c  shredded Comté cheese
1/3 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground
white pepper
[Note: Fresh, green apple–inflected sparkling wine ]
1. MAKE THE SOUFFLE Preheat the oven to 375. Butter an 8-inch square
glass baking dish and dust with Parmigiano-Reggiano. In a saucepan,
melt the 6 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and garlic and
cook over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until
thickened, 2 minutes. Discard the garlic. Add the Comt and the 1/2 cup
of Parmigiano- Reggiano. Season with salt and white pepper. Transfer to
a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the yolks and pulse again;
transfer the cheese mixture to a large bowl. Rinse out the food
processor bowl.
2. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites at
high speed until soft peaks form. Thoroughly fold the egg whites into
the cheese mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared dish and smooth
the surface. Bake for about 30 minutes, until risen and golden. Let the
souffl cool for 10 minutes.
3. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE PARMESAN CREAM In a saucepan, bring the cream
and milk to a boil; transfer to the food processor. Add the Comt and
Parmigiano-Reggiano and let stand for 5 minutes. Process until smooth.
Season with salt and white pepper.
4. Turn on the broiler. Invert the souffle onto a baking sheet and
broil 8 inches from the heat for 30 seconds, until golden. Slice the
souffle and serve with the parmesan cream.

Creamy Garlic Dressing
2 T  prepared mayonnaise
3 T  red wine vinegar
1 T  fresh lemon juice
1 T  Dijon mustard
2 ea garlic,smashed
1 c  olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and garlic in a
blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until
emulsified and season with salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, November 10, 2011

dad's new stuffed chicken

Well, my wife is out with the girls for the evening, so that left me (the wonderful husband) in charge of dinner, and, therefore, the blog.  I don't measure, and rarely remember the ingredients I used, so there will be no recipe at the end of this entry, but here's what I made:
We had four chicken breasts left from the other night, and four slices of prosciutto (coincidence, or fate?)  for the stuffing, I sauteed chopped onions and  minced garlic with some chopped pepperoni, and minced herbs from the window box (oregano, basil, and chives).  Then I laid out the flattened chicken breasts, put a spoonful of the stuffing, on them and wrapped the chicken around the stuffing.  Then I wrapped the prosciutto around them perpendicularly to help contain the stuffing.  The breading was seasoned flour (salt, paprika, garlic powder, pepper) and egg (dry, wet, then dry again).  I browned them in a skillet in 1/2 inch of oil, then baked at 300 until done (165F).  The sauce was: butter, the rest of the stuffing that did not fit in the chicken, roasted red pepper, capers, cream, port wine (the only bottle open at the time), stock, flour, salt and pepper.  It turned out great.   The carrots, on the other hand, will receive no further mention on this blog, or in our home...disaster.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ravioli (The Cheating Kind)

I had a piece of panchetta  i needed to use and a case of the lazys.  So I totally cheated and sauteed the diced panchetta and added some Gia Russa tomato sauce, mixed in some cooked (frozen) beef ravioli and added ricotta.  Then I topped the whole thing with mozzarella and parm.  Baked it at 350 for about a forty five minutes.  Add a salad with just extra virgin olive oil, balsamic reduction, salt and pepper and viola, dinner she is done.  It was good but not as good as if I hadn't cheated. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Supremes De Volaille A Blanc (Chicken With Cream)

It always surprises me that French food can be so easy.  I know there are plenty of complex dishes out there but they all have a fairly simple start.  This is one of those base dishes (think of them like mother sauces) that can be elaborated on but there really is no need!  It was quick, easy and delicious.

Supremes De Volaille A Blanc (Chicken With Cream)

4  Supremes Of Chicken,Thinly Sliced, Boneless Breast
1/2 t  Lemon Juice (more At End As Needed)
1/4 t  Salt (more At End As Needed)
Large pinch White Pepper (more At End As Needed)
4 T  Butter,Unsalted
1/4 c  Beef Stock
1/4 c  Port,Madeira Or Dry White Vermouth
1 c  Heavy Cream
2 T  Fresh Parsley,Minced
[Note: From Julia Child (she recommends buttered asparagus tips,
green peas, artichoke hearts or creamed spinach, a good risotto cooked
in chicken stock and a good white Burgundy or Traminer.]
Preheat oven to 400.  Rub the chicken with the lemon juice and season
with salt and pepper. Heat the butter until it foams (in an oven proof
casserole or pan) and roll the chicken in the hot fat.  Cover the
chicken with wax paper that has been cut to fit just inside the
casserole and buttered on one side (butter side to chicken)  Cook in
oven about six minutes or until done.  Take the chicken out of the pan
and put the pan with the cooking juices and butter over high heat.  Add
the stock and wine and reduce until syrupy.  Add the cream and cook
until the cream has thickened.  Take the sauce off the heat and adjust
the seasoning by adding drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour
the sauce over the chicken and top with the parsley.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wine and Apps

Top to bottom: Bean, Formage, Blue
Well tonight was a movie night at the boy's karate school. A group of my friends who have their children in the school decided to take this opportunity to go out. However, as movie night started at 4 (and it's closest to my house) we decided to have some wine here before we went to dinner. I think it irresponsible (much less bad manners as a host) to serve alcohol with out some sort of food to go with it. I made a white bean dip, formage fort, blue cheese and chive spread for the savory options. To accompany them, I had some crackers, herbed flatbread crisps, pita triangles and marinated olives. I also made a marscipone and honey spread to put on some thin crisp coconut cookies. I choose what I did because I had almost everything on hand. I knew I needed to restrain myself because I tend to make too much and I didn't want to spoil our dinner. I started with the formage fort. I hadn't made it before but have always wanted to. On the show I saw it made, it was said to be a way to use all those little remnants of cheese in your fridge. I liked it, but I would have liked it to be a bit more spreadable. I made it early and then did the "refrigerate for 2 hours" option in the recipe. I liked the consistency better when it was first made. There were two cheeses I had leftovers of (blue and marscipone) that I thought would overpower or get lost in the formage fort. One of the most delicious things on the planet is marscipone and honey so all I needed to get for that was some thin crispy cracker like cookie. I saw some that fit the bill in coconut. (another of the most delicious things on the planet:). For the blue cheese, I was thinking I needed something creamy to dilute its powerful flavor. I was thinking sour cream but that would be a salad dressing. I looked at the cream cheeses and decided on a chive flavored one. As for the white bean dip, it's a favorite, simple and we always have the ingredients on hand. I decided to make the bean dip spicy hence the addition of roasted red pepper. It's not usually in there.

Fromage Fort
1 lb left-over cheese*,at room temperature
1/4 c  dry white wine
3 T  unsalted butter,softened
2 T  fresh parsley leaves
1    small clove garlic
[Note: Prep Time:10 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:--Level: You
may use any left-over cheese you wish, such as Cheddar, Parmesan,
Provolone, Fontina, Mozzarella, Camembert, or St. Andre. Make sure that
you use a combination that is not too salty. ]
Remove any rinds from hard cheeses. Grate hard cheeses and cut others
into 1/2-inch cubes. Place cheese, wine, butter, herbs, and garlic in a
food processor and blend until smooth, approximately 2 minutes. Serve
immediately or refrigerate for at least 1 hour for a firmer consistency.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

White Bean Dip
 2 cn of cannellini beans [white kidney beans] drained and rinsed
2 ea of garlic,put through a press or minced fine
Olive oil
A Splash of Lemon Juice
[Note: variation: add a teaspoon of anchovy paste]
1.In a food processor add the beans and garlic and process
2.While it is still running drizzle the oil until it reaches a dip like
3.Season it with salt and taste.  Adjust salt as needed.  Add hot sauce
instead of pepper if desired
4.Serve with crackers and baguettes

You can add on to this depending on the flavors you want.  Tonight I added a 1/4 of a roasted red pepper and a large dollop of sriracha

Marscipone and Honey

Mix marscipone cheese and honey in a 3:1 ratio.  Blend well

Blue Cheese and Chive Spread

4 oz Chive Cream Cheese (homemade is preferred)
2 Tbsp Blue Cheese
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (softened)

Mix ingredients well.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Croquetas & Mojitos

Tonight we went to have dinner with dear friends we don't get to see enough.  We brought a take out pizza but it was not my meal.  I ate there AMAZING croquettas.  Growing up in Miami, I have had my fare share of them, but these were by far the best.  I gorged myself on these tasty tubes until I felt "Thanksgiving" full.  Along with the croquettas, we had their signature mojitos! (in an earlier post)  I am looking forward to trying to make them.  (I'm also nervous I won't be able to get them as good as they did!)  YUM!

Croquetas – Ham Croquettes24 Servings

 4 T  butter
1/2 c  onion,minced fine
1/3 c  flour
1    and 1/2 cups whole milk,at room temperature (more or less)
1/4 t  nutmeg
1 T  dry sherry
1 T  parsley,finely chopped
4 c  (about 1 pound) smoked ham ground
1 c  dry bread crumbs (more or less)
1/2 t  salt (more or less to taste)
1/4 t  black pepper (more or less to taste)
2    eggs,beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 c  dry bread crumbs (mixed with 1/4 cup flour)
1 t  salt
1/2 t  black pepper
1 c  vegetable oil (for frying
Croquetas are very popular at restaurants, walk-up counters and
bakeries all over Miami.
In a large pan, melt the butter, add the onions, and sauté until
Stir in 1/3 cup flour to make a roux - add more butter if necessary to
make a smooth roux. Gradually whisk in the milk to form a smooth sauce.
Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Your sauce needs to be very
thick - like wallpaper paste! Whisk in nutmeg, sherry, and parsley.
Fold in the ground ham and one cup bread crumbs.
Let simmer for five minutes on low heat. Taste and season with salt and
pepper if necessary - the ham probably has enough salt already. Spoon
the mixture into a baking pan and refrigerate until well chilled - at
least one hour. NOTE: The mixture needs to be firm enough to form into
rolls. If your mixture is too soft or sticky, add some additional bread
Shape the ham mixture into logs about 3/4-inch thick and three inches
Make an egg wash by beating the eggs with water until frothy in a small
Combine the bread crumbs and flour in a second bowl; add salt and
Dip the logs in the egg wash and roll the logs in the seasoned bread
crumbs. Dip a second time and re-roll in bread crumbs.
IMPORTANT: Cover logs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two to
three hours. (You may also freeze for later use, or use the freezer to
quickly chill them.)
Sauté the croquetas in hot oil - about 350º F, a few at a time, three
to four minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from
oil and drain on paper towels. You may also cook them in a deep fat

Variation: Chicken
You can easily substitute an equal amount of COOKED chicken for the ham
- white or dark meat, or a combination. Grind the cooked chicken in a
food processor. Add a dash of fresh lime juice to the ground chicken.
We also grind in a handful of chopped cilantro for a nice flavor twist.
(Omit the parsley if you do so.) However, this is an option.
Serving suggestion
A popular way to serve croquetas is with a thin slice of cheese, a thin
slice of ham, and crackers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

This is one of the family's favorites.  I love the spiciness of it but it can be easily adjusted to suit any taste.  It is quick and simple.  It is often served on pasta, but what I love about this recipe (that I can't for the life of me figure out were I got it) is that it is served with just crusty bread.  No additional cooking.  I usually pick up some at the bakery, but I did find frozen baguette dough from France in the freezer case of the grocery that are pretty good and not too many chemicals in them.  It is a nice back up to have on hand.  (for any meal not just this one)  I even skipped the salad.  There is so much tomato in this, I called it the veggie and then called it a night. Oh I almost forgot, turn on your fan in the kitchen, when you are cooking the shrimp, the pepper makes the air spicy and it will tickle the back of your throat!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

1 1/4 lb Shrimp,Shelled And Deveined
1/4 c  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper
1 oz Panchetta,Finely Diced
1 sm Onion,Finely  Chopped
2    Garlic Clove,Minced
2 c  Marinara Sauce
2 T  Flat Leaf Parsley,Finely Chopped
Crusty Bread
1. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 tbsp of the oil and the
crushed red pepper flakes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Let sit for
20 minutes.
2. Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot.  Add the shrimp
and cook for 2 minutes. (they won't be completely cooked but browned).
Put shrimp on a plate.
3. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and cook panchetta, onion for about
4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to one minute.
Return the shrimp and any juices on the plate to the skillet and add
the marinara sauce.  Simmer over moderate heat 2 minutes, or until
shrimp are cooked.
4. Put shrimp in a bowl and serve with crusty bread.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Missed Putt Pizza

Well we loves us some pizza.  It is so easy and everyone loves it; the only issue is to try and find new ways of making it.  I got this recipe from : What Would Brian Boitano Make? on the food network.  I know he is a skater, but I had to see this show at least once.  I cant help but think he's super cool.  The theme song (and title of his show) is a play on a South Park song about him.  Gotta love people who aren't too uptight:)  I thought the flavors delicious, but I think need to go back and watch the video of it because the cheese seemed to all come off in one bite.  The sauce, SUPER, the onions, AMAZING.  Perhaps I sliced the cheese a bit too thick.  It didn't matter, I loved it.  I made a second pizza that had the charred cherry tomato topping I made before.

Missed Putt Pizza
1 1/4 c  warm water
1/2 t  sugar
1 t  active dry yeast
3 3/4 c  all-purpose flour,plus 1/4 cup for rolling out dough
1 t  salt
1 T  olive oil,plus 4 tablespoons, divided
1/4 c  cornmeal
Pizza Sauce
3 T  olive oil
1    small onion,diced
4    small cloves garlic,chopped
1/2 t  red pepper flakes
1 t  dried oregano
1    (28-ounce) can crushed tomato
4    basil leaves,sliced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 lb pancetta,diced
3    medium onions,thinly sliced
8    ounces whole mozzarella cheese,sliced into thin rounds
1    roasted red pepper,cut into strips
In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the 1 1/4 cups warm water,
sugar and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast begins to bloom.
The water will get foamy and bubbly when ready. Add the 3 3/4 cups of
flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix in a standing mixer
fitted with a dough hook on medium speed until the dough is smooth,
soft and stretchy, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a damp towel or
plastic wrap. Put in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in volume,
about 1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and remove it from the bowl.
Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and roll into balls. Put on a
floured cutting board, dust the dough with flour and cover with a
kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit in warm spot for another 1 1/2

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion
and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic,
red pepper flakes and oregano and saute for another 2 minutes. Stir in
the crushed tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste,
and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat and
let cool to room temperature before spreading on the pizza dough.

In a large skillet over medium heat cook pancetta until brown and
crispy.   Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

In the same pan the pancetta was cooked in add the onions and turn heat
to medium-low. Cook the onions until golden brown and caramelized
making sure to stir ever few minutes for about 25 minutes. Remove the
onions to a plate and set aside.

*See instructions below of setting up grill or oven to cook pizza.

On a floured work surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a 12-inch
round. Cover a pizza paddle or the backside of a sheet pan with 2
tablespoons of the cornmeal. Put the dough on the paddle. The cornmeal
will act as little ball bearings and help the dough slide off the
paddle.   Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Spread
half of the sauce evenly over the dough leaving 1-inch space between
the end of the sauce and edge of the pizza dough. Top with half of the
cheese and with half of all of the toppings.

Carefully slide the pizza off of the paddle or sheet pan onto the hot
pizza stone. Cover and let cook until the crust is brown and cheese is
melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and
toppings. Remove the pizzas from the oven, slice and serve hot.

*Cooking Instructions for Grill:
Line the grill grate with bricks. Put a pizza stone on top of the
bricks.   Cover, turn the grill on high and heat to 500 degrees F.
Allow the grill to heat for 30 minutes so the bricks and pizza stone
can come to temperature.

*Cooking Instruction for Oven:
Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Easy of preparation: intermediate

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tomato Sauce With Shrimp And Feta

Well I had some feta left from the grilled Greek chicken salad, and I remembered this recipe that my MIL had made for us years ago, so I figured I would try to replicate it. I remember it well even though it was at least 11 years ago.  This was before I was interested in cooking and was pretty limited in what I was willing to eat.  I didn't like shrimp or feta. (or so I thought) and was thinking how am I going to handle this meal with good grace.  Then she says, its a pasta sauce but I'm serving it over rice.  (not a fan of rice either but I loved pasta.  oh no!)  Turned out that I loved it.  However I had never made it.   I'm pretty sure she got it out of this cool little book of pasta sauces she got for us called Sauces for Pasta.  I haven't found a bad one in there yet.  So I looked through it and found what I believe was it. I did put it over rice again, and I used canned chopped tomatoes instead of fresh for two reasons.  The tomatoes weren't looking very good and I didn't want to take the extra time to blanch and peel and seed tomatoes.  It turned out pretty good! Oh and of course there was a salad:)
(click the title to see the book if you are interested)
Tomato Sauce With Shrimp And Feta
4 Servings
 4 T  Olive Oil
1 T  Garlic,Minced
2 c  Tomatoes,Peeled,seeded And Chopped
1/3 c  White Wine
1/4 c  Basil,Fresh And Chopped
1 t  Oregano,Dried
Salt And Pepper,To Taste
30    Shrimp,Medium
1/8 t  Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 lb Feta Cheese,Crumbled
[Note: This is a pasta sauce, but is can be served over rice or with
baguette for sopping up the sauce.]
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Sauté
the garlic for about a minute.  Add the tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine, basil, oregano salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes breaking up the chunks
of tomato. (I used a potato masher to get them really good)  In a
medium sized sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over high heat.
Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes a side or until done.  Add the feta to
the sauce.  (at this point I added the rice and then topped with the
cheese and broiled it a minute or two)  mix in the shrimp and top with
minced chives.

 2 T  Dijon mustard
 2 T  champagne vinegar
 Kosher salt
1/2 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1    small bunch fresh tarragon washed, dried, leaves chopped
In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, and
pinch of salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and then add the tarragon.
Taste for seasoning and set aside.
Allow the lettuce to remain in the freezer until just before serving.
They can remain in there for 4 to 6 hours, if necessary. When ready to
serve, transfer to a platter and drizzle each half with the dressing.
Serve immediately.