Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken Tenders Saltimbocca with Parmesan, Garlic and Sage Cream Sauce

Ok, I am going to be merciless on this recipe.  I discovered, after I bought the ingredients for it, that it was from Rachael Ray.  I can't stand her, and if you would like to read why, you can check out the post Tilapia With Balsamic Browned Butter And Creamy Farfalle With Bacon, Tomato to hear me rant about her:).  Well, I decide to make it work.  It looks pretty plain, so I decide to make a Parmesan, garlic and sage cream sauce to go with it.  I had some fresh sage on hand, and I remember loving a pork saltimbocca I had as a seasonal special at Stonewood that  had a similar cream sauce on it.  So while the devil lady's chicken tenders are cooking, I decide to improvise a sauce.  The chicken was ok, we guess, we were too busy slathering it with the uber tasty sauce I made.  (I know it's a bit immodest, but that wasn't my summation, it was my husbands;)  I have an additional dig to make at Ms. Ray, the recipe, which I copied exactly calls for 8 tenders and 8 sage leaves but asks you to but 2 leaves on each tender.  I don't know what kind of quasi math she is invoking, but it makes my brain want to take a little trip to visit her and bitch slap her brain.  Math issues aside, it wasn't a bad recipe, but I wouldn't have liked it nearly as much, or even planned to make it again, if it weren't for the sauce I made up.  This sauce is a keeper and would be great on pork too. When I asked for a rating out of 5 stars, the husband said the sauce was a 5, but he couldn't say about the chicken by it's self since it was covered with sauce.  The boy said he would give it a 4 and I am somewhere in the middle.

Oven Roasted Chicken Tenders Saltimbocca

8    chicken tenders
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8    leaves sage  (I am assuming that she meant 16 and can't add or meant one on each tender which is what I did since I was making a sage sauce)
8 sl Prosciutto di Parma
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil
4    wedges lemon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Season chicken with salt and pepper, top each tender with 2 leaves of
sage. Wrap each tender with a slice of ham. Coat the tenders liberally
in olive oil, a couple of tablespoons.
Arrange meat on baking sheet on parchment paper and bake until crispy
and firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

Alternatively, skewer the tenders and serve with lemon wedges on a
plate as first or second course

Parmesan, Garlic & Sage Cream Sauce

2 T  Unsalted Butter
1/4 lg Onion,Chopped
2 T  Flour
2 ea Garlic,Minced
6 T  Chicken Broth,Low Sodium
2/3 c  Heavy Cream
1/3 c  Milk
1 c  Parmesan,Grated (grate your own, don't use the green tube stuff!)
2 T  Sage,Fresh, Chiffonade
Salt And White Pepper

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat
Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes
Add the broth and cook and stir until incorporated
Realize you forgot to add the garlic right before adding the flour and
add it now
Cook the garlic 1-2 minutes
add the cream and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until well
incorporated (at this point you can reduce the heat if it is spattering
at you)
add the milk and stir to mix
add the parm and stir until well melted
reduce heat to med-low
Add the sage and season with salt and white pepper to taste
If it is too thick , you can thin it with some more milk or I used
about a tablespoon of pasta cooking water.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Israeli Roast Eggplant, Hummus And Pickle Sandwiches

Update:  I had the eggplant, hummus, pickle and tomato/cucumber salad on a pita the next day for lunch and I loved it.  Maybe it was that it was all cold, or the sit over night melded the flavors of the salad,, but I thought it was a million times better the next day.

I had such high hopes for this dish.  So may of my favorite things are in it, and it wasn't bad, but the consensus around the table was that it was a 3.  I even went out and bought these Mediterranean pickles I had at a local Mediterranean restaurant to try and make it how it should be.  My issues, since it is my blog and I was the one poised to love it, were that it was a bit soggy, and therefore sloppy, and I thought the potato was useless.  I wouldn't bother with it next time.  I didn't make my own pita and I got the only "sturdiness" available, so that may be part of the issue.  There was flavor, but it didn't deliver like I had hoped.  That aside, we are spoiled with some really tasty recipes, and I wouldn't deter anyone from trying it.  It was an easy, vegetarian meal.  The most difficult part was the potato, but I say leave it out.  If you don't know how to do a perfect boiled egg, it is simple.  Put the eggs in a pan and cover with water.  Put on the stove on high heat and bring to a boil.  Once at a good boil, remove from heat and set a timer for 15 minutes.  When it goes off, they are done!  They are perfect and don't have that odd green tinge to the edge of the yolks!

Israeli Roast Eggplant, Hummus And Pickle Sandwiches

1    large baking potato
1    medium eggplant,sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for brushing
1    cucumber—peeled,halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1    large tomato,cut into 1/2-inch dice
1    large jalapeño,minced
2    garlic cloves,minced
3 T  chopped cilantro
2 T  chopped parsley
2 T  fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
4    thick,sturdy pita breads, warmed
1 c  hummus
1/4 c  tahini,at room temperature
4    large hard-cooked eggs sliced
4    small dill pickles,thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 425. In a small saucepan, cover the potato
with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat
until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and let cool, then peel the
potato and slice it 1/4 inch thick. Season the potato slices with salt.
2. Meanwhile, arrange the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet and
brush both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and bake for about 10
minutes, until browned and tender.
3. In a large bowl, add the cucumber, tomato, jalapeo, garlic, cilantro
and parsley. Toss with the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of olive oil
and season with salt and pepper.
4. Cut off 2 inches from the side of the warm pitas to make openings in
the pockets. Gently open the pitas. Spread the hummus on the bottoms
and 1 tablespoon of tahini over it. Layer the potato slices, eggplant,
egg and cucumber-tomato salad in the pitas, along with some of the
salad juices. Top with the pickle slices and serve.

The Pickles I Bought

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fettuccine With Goat-Cheese And Salami Sauce

The family consensus is that this is a 4 or a 5 depending on who you ask.  For me personally it is a 4.5 that could be bumped up to a five because of it ease of preparation and economical price tag.  This dish and a salad would cost about $10.  It would depend on where you are and how inexpensively you could get the ingredients.  For  example, I got the Publix goat cheese that was exactly a 1/4 lb and it was $3.99 and the most pricey ingredient in the whole thing.  I got sliced salami because I didn't really read the recipe ahead a time, but it worked fine. I do think cubes would be better texturally.  This recipe was one of those delicious yet easy ones that made my son ask to have a college cookbook file created on the computer.  DONE!  I also think it would be a great thing to give friends that are setting off to college.  The only deviation was that I had an open carton of beef stock and I used that.  I also used half basil and half parsley.  YUM!!!

Fettuccine With Goat-Cheese And Salami Sauce

3/4 lb fettuccine
1 T  butter
3 ea garlic,minced
3/4 c  canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 c  heavy cream
1/4 lb mild goat cheese,such as Montrachet
1/4 lb salami,cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 T  chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/4 t  fresh-ground black pepper
1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine
until just done, about 12 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the
garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Raise the heat
to moderately low. Add the broth; bring to a simmer. Stir in the cream
and bring just back to a simmer. Add the goat cheese and whisk until
smooth. Stir in the salami, basil, and the pepper.
3. Drain the fettuccine and add to the sauce. Heat, stirring, over very
low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, to allow the pasta to absorb some of the

Friday, October 26, 2012

Maple Bacon Jam And Brie Panini

Bear with me, the recipe is worth it!  A while back, I found this great site called Foodbuzz.  It was like facebook for food bloggers.  It helped us connect with each other, trade recipes and help promote others doing what we do.  Then Foodbuzz decided to take a perfectly great thing and ruin it.  It is now kind of a newsletter of what's hot right now. :/  Why am I ranting about this now, many months later?  Well, this recipe was from a fellow blogger and I noted the web address through Foodbuzz.  That page no longer exists and I can't find the recipe with a Google search.  I really tried and went through pages and pages of the search.  So, I can't give credit where credit is due and provide a link for the source of the recipe.  If through some quirk of fate, the person who posted this or someone who knows the person who posted this, reads this, PLEASE let me know so I can use a link to your recipe.  OK!  Blogger stuff aside and the part most of you want, the low down on the recipe.  Things to keep in mind: 1) 2 teaspoons give the jam a good kick, not unpleasant for me, but alone it was too hot for the others in my family.  2) the jam is also very sweet.  I loved it (yes even by itself), so I was very liberal with it on the sandwich and consequently, made it too sweet or spicy for my separate family members.  So basically you need find the right proportion of jam to bread and cheese for you, but it is worth it.  It was a 5 for me, even with the slight proportion issue.  The boys started at a 4 but brought it down to a 3 by the end as they found it either too sweet or too spicy.  Both the boys would be ok with a little less jam and/or a little more brie.  (as there are no measurements for them in the recipe your guess is as good as mine)  There will be lots of jam.  For the three sandwiches we made I used a 5" round of brie. (I threw out the package)  and I have enough jam to make at least 6-8 more sandwiches.  I was pretty liberal with the jam on the first round and won't do that next time.  I am now thinking of what else I can do with the yummy stuff;),

Maple Bacon Jam And Brie Panini

1 lb thick cut bacon diced
2    yellow onions diced
2 ea garlic minced
1/2 c  red wine
1 T  butter
1/2 c  brown sugar
1/2 c  real maple syrup
2 t  cayenne pepper
Italian Bread

Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until
crispy, but not burnt. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.
Drain the bacon grease, leaving about 1 tbsp left in the pan. Add half
the red wine to the pan (this will de-glaze the panmeaning all of those
yummy little bites of bacon stuck to the bottom will come off). Add the
butter,        onions and garlic. Saute on medium heat for about 20
minutes. If you find that the onions are cooking too quickly or burning,
turn the heat down lower! You want the onions to be caramelized in
this recipe low and slow is the only way to go. If you rush it, you
will end up with burnt, crispy onions and that is not the flavor we are
going for. Once the onions are cooked add the brown sugar, syrup,
cayenne pepper and the rest of the wine. Let the mixture cook down
(medium-high heat) until it is a sticky almost syrup like consistency,
about 5 minutes. Mix the bacon back in. Let jam cool.
Cut bread in half. Place sliced Brie and top with Maple Bacon Jam.
Butter the top and bottom outer layer of your sandwich. If you do not
have a Panini press, its ok! Neither do I. I just placed my sandwiches
in a pan on medium-high heat. Flatten sandwiches (using your hand) and
cover. After 2-3 minutes flip your sandwich. The crust should be brown
and crispy and the Brie should be melted!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Swedish Meatballs With Spicy Plum Sauce

Well this one I had to change up a bit.  My husband picked this weeks dinners;  I had been avoiding this one only because I was worried that I couldn't find the pickled plums.  I did find some at a local speciality food store, but they were stuffed with cheese.  Not sure they were very pickled, despite being called that.  They looked like they were in oil.  Searching on the internet only tuned up umeboshi plums.  And a further look at those turned up that they are really apricots and seasoned a bit.  As umeboshi weren't specified, I can only assume that they were not the ones that should have been used, but they were the only I could find to buy and if I made them myself, just how should I season the pickles.  (I eventually found several recipes for pickled plums)  I also don't do veal, so I used 1 cup beef and 1 cup pork.  So, all those changes most likely contributing to this dish being a 3 for all of us.  It was odd at first, but it did grow on us.  It didn't grow on us enough to make it one we will make again.  (I did put it in the fixable file)  I thought some hot sauce helped, my husband preferred some mustard.  Afterwards, I didn't feel great.  Too rich, too sweet but mostly too sour. The meatballs themselves were pretty good, but I would like a different sauce.

Swedish Meatballs With Spicy Plum Sauce

1    /2-cup fine,dry bread crumbs
3/4 c  heavy cream
1 1/2 T  olive oil
1    medium yellow onion,minced
2/3 c  ground beef
2/3 c  ground veal
2/3 c  ground pork
2 T  honey
1    large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 T  butter
1    large shallot,minced
1/2    red bell pepper,minced
6    pickled plums,pitted and minced
2 c  chicken broth
1/4 c  plus 2 tablespoons plum sauce

In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs and 1/2-cup heavy cream. Stir with
fork until smooth. Set aside. In a small saute pan over medium heat,
heat the oil and add the onion. Saute until softened but not browned,
about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine beef, veal, pork, honey,
cooked onions and egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the
bread crumb-cream mixture to the meat, and mix well. With wet hands 9to
keep the meat from sticking), shape a meatball the size of a golf ball.
If the meat is too soft to shape, more bread crumbs may be added to the
mixture. Continue shaping meatballs, placing on a plate brushed with
water. There will be about 24 meatballs. In a large skillet over medium-
high heat, melt the butter and add the meatballs. Saute, browning on
all sides, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove to a plate,
and discard the fat from the skillet. Return skillet to heat, and add
shallots, red pepper and plums. Saute until softened and lightly
browned.   Add chicken broth, then remaining 1/
4 cup of heavy cream. Stir in plum sauce, and season to taste with salt
and pepper. Add meatballs to sauce and simmer over medium heat, until
sauce thickens slightly and meatballs are heated through, about 5
minutes. Serve.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Korean Bibimbap With Sesame Chicken

While I happened to love this dish, there were some issues to note and some of the family weren't as enthusiastic.  This was a quick and tasty meal if you keep one thing in mind, the last ingredient line is the only sauce/ seasoning that this dish really has.  Without it, there is just a little bit of soy sauce and sesame oil.  I had a fermented pepper paste. (see picture below) that I had gotten for my friend's Korean Pork BBQ.  I seem to remember looking up 'spicy Korean red bean paste' when I first got this recipe and my stuff came up as an image, so I used that and it made it wonderful.  My husband thought with out the sauce it was a 2 and with it a 3.  I thought with the sauce a 4.  My blog, so I call it a 4:D.  The most amazing thing about tonight's dinner, MY BOY LIKES SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS!!!  This from the kid who gags at the thought of mushrooms.  He has enjoyed their flavor when they are ground up in something, but has always said the texture put him off.  Now all other mushrooms are taboo, but shiitakes are ok and that is really fine with me, they are one of, if not my all time, favorite mushroom.  I think I want to try growing them.

Korean Bibimbap With Sesame Chicken

1 c  peeled and grated carrots
Kosher salt
1    Tbs. toasted sesame oil
3    Tbs. canola or peanut oil
2    medium zucchini,cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2" slices
1 ea garlic,minced
6 oz shiitake mushrooms,stemmed and caps thinly sliced
3 c  thinly sliced leftover roasted chicken (or store-bought rotisserie chicken)
1    Tbs. soy sauce
6 c  hot steamed medium-grain rice
3    Tbs. sesame seeds,toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat
4    scallions (white and green parts),trimmed and thinly sliced
Spicy Korean red bean paste or Thai chili paste

In a small bowl, toss the carrots with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of the
sesame oil.
Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the zucchini, sprinkle with
about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of the sesame oil and cook, stirring a
few times, until it browns in places and becomes tender, about 4
minutes.   Transfer to a large plate.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. canola
oil and the garlic. Once it begins to sizzle, add the mushrooms and
cook,   stirring, until tender and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 2
minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and the remaining 1 tsp. sesame oil and
cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Fluff the rice with a fork and divide it between 4 large bowls. Top
each serving with the zucchini on one side, the carrots on the other,
and some of the chicken mixture in the middle. Sprinkle with the sesame
seeds, then the scallions. Serve immediately with the spicy bean paste
if you like.
The Pepper paste I got at my local Asian Market.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chicken Marselena With Pepperoni

My MIL is here tonight, so my darling 11 year old son is cooking again tonight.  He did most of this, but he was getting spattered a lot during the sauteing of the chicken, so my very tall husband, with his face much further from the 'spitting cauldron of burning oil', took over for some of that.  But, other than that, my son made this by himself.  I offered him the post, but I figured I would do some, and if he wanted to add to it, he could.  This was a very tasty dish.  If I were to nit pick anything, and it was in no way related to flavor, it was that there is no mention of provolone in the ingredients, but at the end of the recipe it said put the cheese over it and let melt.  The cheese wasn't necessary, as the sauce was so very good, but we put it on anyways.  The chicken was tender and yummy, but the sauce stole the show for me.  The boys couldn't decide which they liked better and my MIL asked for the recipe so she could make it for a friend.  As with all recipes I get from my fellow bloggers, I put a link to the original site and just a list of what's in it so you know what to expect.  I would strongly advocate for searching out real marsala wine and not the cooking variety.  They add so much salt to questionable quality wine to make it legal to sell it as not alcohol, and that will make your end dish too salty.  I would rather add the salt myself and have the better wine in it.  I also couldn't decide which picture looked best so I put three:)

Chicken Marselena With Pepperoni
boneless skinless chicken thighs
baby spinach
grape tomatoes   
sliced pepperoni
sweet marsala
chicken stock
unsalted butter
linguine or spaghetti

For recipe and directions, click here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spaghetti With Creamy Corn And Ham

Well first of all, I know what you are thinking.  It is meatless Monday yet you can see, clear as day, the word 'ham' in the title of the recipe.  It's true, I have relented on keeping this Monday meatless.  I have a good reason.  My husband is on vacation starting today and I asked him to pick out 7 recipes from the to try file since he will be here for dinner all week.  Only after he chose did I realize that there were no meatless recipes.  Rather than have him look again, I figured vacation week we could splurge.  I picked this one for today since it has very little meat.  On to the dinner... Tonight's dinner was truly a family meal.  My son chopped parsley (among other things) under the supervision and tutelage of my husband, while I let the 2 yr old drop ears of corn into the pot of boiling water using some very long tongs and me directing.  She was actually really good at it.  She even did a few by herself. (yes while I hovered too close) We all did part of the meal.  That may have had a little bearing on how much we loved it but it certainly wasn't the only reason.  This tasted very fresh.  It really made corn the star.  I had only one issue and it was with the ham.  I think that (we all did actually) the long, thin slices of ham weren't the right size.  The pieces should have been smaller so we could have gotten ham in every bite.  The smoky and saltiness of the ham were only there (obviously) when the ham was in the bite and the ham was only in a very few bites.  Then, because of the size, when the ham was in the bite, it dominated rather than supported the corn.  Still, we all loved it and thought it just got better with each bite.  The recipe also had an issue.  I used 8 cobs of corn and had barely 3 cups.  So I don't know what planet they get their gargantuan ears of corn, but they aren't anywhere near that size here;).  Keep that in mind when shopping for this recipe.  Not only was this recipe delicious, it was easy and fast and inexpensive.  I want to add an additional quantification to these recipes.  I want to give them a 1-5 rating.  (call them stars, forks, spoons, whatever)  1 being run screaming from this dish, 2 maybe salvageable with a lot of fixing, 3 a good meal but nothing that really wowed us, 4 a great dinner,  and 5 is OMG delicious and would be on the menu of our restaurant. (if we ever had one). 

This dish gets a solid 4 stars

Spaghetti With Creamy Corn And Ham

4    large ears corn,husks and silk removed
3/4 c  heavy cream
3 T  chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t  salt
1/4 t  fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 lb spaghetti
1/4 lb Ham (smoked),Sliced, cut into thin strips
2 T  butter,cut into pieces

1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the ears of corn until
just done, about 3 minutes. Remove the corn from the pot and save the
hot water to cook the spaghetti. When the ears of corn are cool enough
to handle, cut the kernels off the cob. You should have about 3 cups of
2. Put the corn in a food processor with the cream, parsley, salt, and
pepper. Pulse three or four times to chop the corn to a coarse puree.
3. Return the water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until just
done, about 12 minutes. Reserve about 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain
the spaghetti and toss with 1/3 cup of the reserved pasta water, the
corn mixture, the ham, and the butter. If the sauce seems too thick,
add more of the reserved pasta water.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fish En Papillote

This was another meal from Ten Dollar Dinners.  I don't know if my veggies were particularly large, but we had lots of veggies, and that made me very happy.  I really liked the dish and it was easy to make as long as you have a mandoline or a v slicer to make short work of the julienne.  It was ready in a little over a half an hour start to eating.  I didn't think it needed anything to go with it, but I put my son's portion over some rice.  There was a lot of liquid in the parchment and it is a shame to waste so some sort of starch would be a good thing.  I would have liked more of a sauce, but I am not complaining.  My husband, who insisted he wasn't hungry, ate the whole thing;).  I thought this dish a winner for so many reasons.  It is inexpensive, healthy,easy, fast and most important, tasty.  If you don't have a mandoline or a v slicer, it is a great addition to your kitchen.  It makes paper thin cuts that are necessary for some dishes and it makes julienne a breeze.  Just always use the hand guard.  V slicers can be found at places like Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond for a very reasonable amount.  I have a nice mandoline we got at a restaurant supply store.  It was a bit more but I like that there are more options for me as far as thickness.

Fish En Papillote

1/2    red onion,julienned
1    zucchini,julienned
1    large carrot,julienned
1 ea garlic,minced
1 T  extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4    (4-ounce) sole fillets,hake flounder or other white fish
1    lemon,thinly sliced, seeds removed
8    sprigs fresh thyme
4    pats butter
1/4 c  white wine
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix together the onion, zucchini, carrot and garlic. Adds
the oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine.
Put each fish fillet in a large square of parchment paper and season
with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the vegetables on top, dividing
evenly. Top the vegetables with 2 lemon slices, 2 sprigs thyme, a pat
of butter and 1 tablespoon white wine, layering in order. Fold the
parchment paper around the edges tightly in 1/4-inch folds to create a
half moon shape. Make sure you press as you crimp and fold to seal the
packets well, otherwise the steam will escape. Arrange the packets on a
baking sheet. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes,
depending on the thickness of the fish. To serve, cut open the packets
and serve directly in the parchment on a plate or remove the fish to
the plate using a spatula, being sure you don't leave the juices behind.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Creamy Pasta With Tomato Confit And Fresh Goat Cheese

Yum, yum and more yum!  As I was making this,, I was thinking that it was more work than the average family would want to put into dinner.  I am thinking specifically of the time to quickly boil the tomatoes to peel them easily,the confit of tomatoes and the fairly long time of stirring the pasta to make it like risotto.  I was also convinced that the effort would not pay off in enough tasty dividends to be worth making it if you weren't obsessed with cooking like me.  WRONG!  I loved it.  It is going into the "mom's favorites' file.  The boy enjoyed it but is isn't going in his all time favorites file.  The baby girl like it too.  My husband is working, so he will have to try it reheated.  If you prep the tomatoes ahead of time, it would help at dinner time rush.  I also started the confit the tomatoes first, but they cooked as I was making the pasta and had the boy chop them right before I was ready for them.  It was a super dish.  While I consider it meatless, it is made with chicken stock.  Switch that out for a vegetarian friendly flavor (veggie, mushroom, tomato etc...) and it is a vegetarian friendly recipe.  Just make sure what ever broth you pick, it is low sodium.  I used low sodium and felt no need to salt the end dish.

Creamy Pasta With Tomato Confit And Fresh Goat Cheese

1 c  extra-virgin olive oil,for poaching
3    plum tomatoes—peeled* quartered and seeded
2    thyme sprigs
1    bay leaf
2    garlic cloves,minced
2 T  unsalted butter
1    small onion,coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 lb ditalini or other small-cut pasta (1 1/2 cups)
3 1/2 c  chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 c  soft fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 c  tightly packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 1/2 ounces) plus more for serving
Freshly ground pepper
2 T  snipped chives
2 T  finely shredded basil leaves
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the olive oil with the tomatoes,
thyme, bay leaf and half of the garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook over
low heat until the tomatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard
the thyme and bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to
a work surface and coarsely chop them; reserve the olive oil for
another use.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of
salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes.
Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until golden in spots, about 2
minutes.  Add the remaining garlic; cook for 1 minute.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the pasta and cook over
moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed.
Continue adding the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and
cooking until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The pasta is
done when it is al dente and suspended in a lightly thickened sauce,
about 17 minutes total.
4. Stir the tomatoes into the pasta. Off the heat, add the goat cheese
and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted. Season with salt and
pepper, stir in the chives and basil and serve right away, passing
additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

*The easiest way to peel tomatoes:

Get a pot of water on a low boil.  Cut an 'x' in the bottom of the tomato
Let the tomatoes boil about 45 seconds
Then place in a bowl of ice water. Peel from the 'x' at the bottom

Friday, October 19, 2012

Grilled Chicken And Potatoes With Tomato And Cucumber Salad

I had bought some baby potatoes that were bogo, and I had some cucumbers from my Front Porch Pickings basket.  This seemed like a tasty recipe that would fit the bill nicely.  It also is a perfect summer recipe in that so much of it is on the grill.  The only aspect of the recipe that was any real work was making a paste of the garlic and mincing the anchovy fine enough to dissolve into the vinaigrette.  I loved this dish; a recipe of the week for sure.  The boys loved it too.  The daughter decided to eat early and did not partake in the dinner but I think she would have loved it too.  I sit here too full of fabulous food to want to rave about it:).  I followed the recipe exactly; for the herbs for the salad I used 3/4 chives and 1/4 parsley. YUM!   Oh and I did double the time I boiled the potatoes because they were really raw after 5 minutes.  I loved that this dish was full of color.  (always good for you as long is it isn't artificial color;)  There was even more color brought by the tri-colored potatoes I got.

Grilled Chicken And Potatoes With Tomato And Cucumber Salad

1    -1/2 lb. baby potatoes scrubbed, halved or quartered if larger
Kosher salt
2/3 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1    -1/4 tsp. finely grated zest
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2    anchovy fillets,rinsed and minced
1    large clove garlic,mashed to a paste with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4    small boneless,skinless chicken breast halves
1/2    large seedless cucumber peeled in stripes, seed core removed, cu
1 pt cherry tomatoes,halved
1/4 c  coarsely chopped fresh mixed herbs,such as basil, cilantro, chives, tarragon

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.
Put the potatoes in a 3-quart saucepan of well-salted water. Boil over
high heat until nearly cooked through but still a little firm, about 5
Shake the oil, lemon zest and juice, anchovies, garlic paste, 1/2 tsp.
salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a jar with a lid.
Drain the potatoes, transfer to a large bowl, and toss with 3 Tbs. of
the vinaigrette. Toss the chicken in a medium bowl with 3 Tbs. of the
vinaigrette, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Arrange the chicken on
one side of the grill grate. Put a large piece of foil on the other
side of the grill and transfer the potatoes to the foil with a slotted
spoon. Cover the grill and cook, turning the chicken and potatoes after
about 5 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through and the
potatoes are browned, 10 to 12 minutes total. Let the chicken rest 5
minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, 2
Tbs. of the vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste. Slice the
chicken,  arrange on dinner plates, and drizzle with the remaining
vinaigrette. Serve with the potatoes and the cucumber salad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spaghetti With Grilled Ratatouille

I made this dish for me.  It if full of things that one or more of my family members don't care for.  However, I had the eggplant and the zucchini from my Front Porch Pickings basket and I had this in the to try file, and I really wanted to try it.  It was pretty easy to make.  The only things that may be difficult for one when making it really depends on the individual.  Are you uncomfortable with a knife?  Well there is a good bit of easy chopping.  The grill can also be a pain if you have charcoal, since that adds to the time involved.  (or if like us, the gas ran out half way through the cooking time:)  The good news, was it was wonderful!  Everyone liked it.  My son, who usually gags when eating eggplant loved it.  (he didn't realize that there was eggplant in it until near the end of the meal;)  It is a really nice, loaded with veggies, dish that pleased everyone.  I did alter the recipe only a tiny bit.  I stirred about 1/3 of the goat cheese in to the pasta and sauce at the end when
cooking it for 2 minutes to let the sauce soak in to the pasta, and I stirred about 1/3 of the veggies into the pasta rather than piling them all on top.  Oh and I roughly chopped the olives too.  (Like quarters) That is a personal preference and there is no need to do it.  I think next time I will do half of the goat cheese; I like that it helps get it in every bite.  The veggies seemed to need salt, but don't adjust the seasoning until the olives are mixed in. 

Spaghetti With Grilled Ratatouille

1 lb ripe plum tomatoes,halved
2    medium zucchini (about 12 oz.),trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch round
2    baby eggplants (about 12 oz.),trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch round
1    large red bell pepper (about 8 oz.),stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1    large red onion (about 16 oz) cut into 1/2-inch slices
1    small head garlic
1/4 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1 t  herbes de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c  pitted Kalamata olives
12 oz dried thin spaghetti
2    Tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 t  chopped fresh marjoram
1/2 c  crumbled feta or goat cheese
Prepare a high gas or charcoal grill fire. Meanwhile, in a large
bowl, toss the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, onion, and
garlic with 3 Tbs. of the oil, the herbes de Provence, and a generous
sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Put the vegetables (tomatoes cut side up) and garlic on the grill in a
single layer and cover. Grill the tomatoes without turning until their
skins have darkened and their flesh is soft; grill the remaining
vegetables, turning once, until grill-marked and tender, about 8
minutes.  Transfer the tomatoes and garlic to a medium bowl. Transfer
the remaining vegetables to another medium bowl and let cool briefly.
When cool enough to handle, very coarsely chop the zucchini, eggplant,
bell pepper, and onion; return to the bowl and add 1/2 cup of the
olives to the bowl.
Slip the garlic cloves out of their skins into a food processor. Add
the remaining 1/4 cup of olives, the tomatoes, and the remaining 1 Tbs.
of oil; process until smooth.
Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts of well-salted water to a boil in a large
pot.  Cook the spaghetti in the water about 1 minute less than the
package timing for al dente texture. Reserve 1/2 cup of the water,
drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
Toss 1/2 cup of the tomato-olive sauce and the basil and marjoram with
the warm vegetables in the bowl. Toss the remaining sauce and the
reserved cooking liquid with the pasta; stir over low heat for about 2
minutes so the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. Divide the pasta among
4 plates, top with the vegetables, sprinkle with the cheese, and serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Five Spice and Hoisin Glazed Chicken with Stir-Fry Bok Choy In ThaiGarlic Sauce

I decided to make something up for the chicken legs I got for my boy.  (he loves drumsticks)  Since I was planning to make the Thai Bok Choy recipe tonight, I opted to make it similar to the chicken and 40 cloves but seasoned with five spice and end it with a quick broil with hoisin sauce to make a glaze.  I am not a fan of meat on a bone and I thought it was pretty good.  The boys loved it!  It was very easy but it does take some time.  It is inactive time and you could leave it unattended for a bit. (like to pick up a child;)  If you aren't familiar with five spice powder, it does take some getting used to.  The cinnamon particularly makes me think of desserts and it can be odd the first time you try it. (or first few times)  Once you are prepared for it, it makes for an amazing dish. The hoisin, one of my favorite Asian sauces, is perfect for glazes.  It is thick and a little sweet.
If you are making the bok choy only, it can be make vegetarian or even vegan with some small adjustments.  You can find vegan alternatives to all the sauces in health food stores.  I love bok choy; if you haven't had it, it is a bit bitter, but a really under used veggie that is packed with nutrition and delicious.  I got some lovely baby bok choy in my Front Porch Pickings basket.  This was a very tasty sauce for the greens.  My only complaint was that the sauce was a little watery.  However, that made it perfect for over the rice.

Hoisin And Five Spice Glazed Chicken

1 lb Chicken,Skin On
5 ea Garlic,Peeled
1/2 t  Five Spice Powder,More Or Less To Taste
2 T  Vegetable Oil
2 T  Olive Oil
1/4 c  Hoisin Sauce,Or More To Taste
Preheat oven to 350
Pat the chicken dry and season with salt
In an oven proof skillet, brown the chicken (start skin side down)
until golden
turn the chicken over and brown the other side
Baste the chicken occasionally with the fat.  At least right before
applying the five spice
sprinkle the five spice liberally and evenly over the chicken
Cover and put in oven and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Remove from oven.
Heat the broiler to high
Brush the chicken with the hoisin sauce
Broil 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is a glaze

Stir-Fry Bok Choy In Thai Garlic Sauce

4    -5 "heads" of baby bok choy (OR 2 heads of large bok choy)
1 T  vegetable oil
2 T  oyster sauce       
2 T  soy sauce
2 T  fish sauce         
2 T  sweet Thai chili sauce
2 T  brown sugar
2 t  fresh lime juice
7    -8 cloves garlic,minced
1.Rinse the bok choy and cut off the bottom stem part at the base of
each head. Separate into individual leaves. If the white sections of
these leaves are very wide or large, you can slice them in half
lengthwise, or into thirds. Tip: If stir-frying larger bok choy, slice
off the green leaf tips. Add the thicker white sections to the wok
first, then throw in the leaves at the end (these will cook very fast).
2.Mix all the stir-fry sauce ingredients together in a bowl or cup.
Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
3.Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high to high heat for 30
seconds to 1 minute. Add oil and swirl around.
4.Now add the bok choy plus 2-3 Tbsp. stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry 1-2
minutes, or until pan/wok starts to become dry.
5.Now add another 2-3 Tbsp. sauce and continue stir-frying another 2-3
minutes, or until the bok choy is bright green and the white stems are
softened but still crunchy.
6.Taste-test the bok choy with the sauce. Add more sugar if too sour
for your taste, or more lime juice if too salty. Also, fresh minced
chili or dried chili can be added if you prefer it spicier. If you
prefer more sauce, add a little more, as desired.
7.To serve, lift out the bok choy and place on a serving platter or in
a serving bowl, then pour the sauce (from the bottom of the wok or pan)
over. Serve immediately with plenty of Thai jasmine-scented rice.
Stir-Fry Sauce Tip: Keep extra stir-fry sauce (in a covered jar or
container) in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. This sauce is
excellent with many different kinds of stir-fries

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Matzo Balls

My son got to pick a recipe from the 'to try' file, and I was very excited to try this one.  It is from Top Chef winner Ilan Hall and I saw it on 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate'.  I had a hard time finding the recipe online.  I think I finally got it off a youtube video. (that's why no link)  I, personally think that bacon wrapped things (I'm thinking scallops in particular) never have the bacon done enough to my liking.  So I changed the recipe a bit, but wish I hadn't.  We decided to lightly cook the bacon first.  My husband thought we should leave them in longer than I did, and as I hate floppy bacon I thought he was right.  We should have wrapped them raw.  I think the cooking time would have made them crispy enough.  As for the schmaltz, I didn't have any so I used 1 tbsp bacon fat and 1 tbsp olive oil.  They were yummy.  I think all bacon fat would have been too much.  Next time, I would like to make them bite sized and wrap them with a half a slice of bacon.  I don't want them to be knife and fork:)

Bacon-Wrapped Matzo Balls
 2 Tbsp. schmaltz/fat if you can’t find schmaltz you can use oil
 2    lightly beaten eggs. Add
1/2 c  matzo meal and
1 t  salt. When well blended,add
2 T  soup stock or water.
Mix 2 Tbsp. schmaltz/fat (ask the butcher, or use vegetable oil if
you cant find schmaltz, though your matzo balls will not be as fluffy
inside with oil) with
2 lightly beaten eggs. Add
½ cup matzo meal and
1 tsp. salt. When well blended, add
2 Tbsp. soup stock or water.
Cover and refrigerate at least half an hour. In a 3 qt. pot, bring
salted water to a boil. Reduce heat so that water is bubbling. Wet
hands and form golf ball-sized matzo balls and gently drop into water.
Yields about six balls of this size. Cover and boil 30 to 40 minutes
until fluffy and matzo balls rise to top of water. You can either add
them to warm soup or After boiling the matzo balls, wrap each in a strip of bacon (we prefer
the flavor of uncured bacon) and place it seam-side down on a foil-
covered baking sheet.   Roast in a 400-degree oven for about 15-
20 minutes, until the bacon is to desired crispiness.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

My daughter requested Mac and Cheese today.  Now, while I love how cheap and easy a box of mac is, it is a salty chemical cocktail I would rather avoid.  Problem two is I don't like baked mac and cheese.  (maybe with Velveeta but again chemicals)  I turn to Alton Brown.  I remembered seeing him make a mac and cheese version for those kids who like the boxed stuff.  This is that recipe.  Now it is better than baked as far as I am concerned, and very tasty.  It isn't harder than making the box stuff.  (really, maybe only a bit more because you beat eggs, and maybe a couple minutes more)  It cost more than  the box, but then again you get what you pay for.  My only complaint was that it was a bit too runny at first, and reheated it was too thick.  The runny may have been caused by not draining the pasta well enough.  I thought I did, but I was also rushing.  My kids loved it and so did my husband.

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
6 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy

Their wine pairing suggestion:
Rich, buttery white wine

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wellzones With Cheesy Side Sauce & Glazed Chinese Long Beans

Tonight my husband picked a recipe I have been wanting to try but was concerned that, not only will the mushrooms be a huge issue for my son, but that I would ruin a perfectly delicious fillet by dicing it up.  While we all liked it a lot, both of my predictions were somewhat true.  My son did realize there were mushrooms and was annoyed but thank goodness for surly (pre)teen syndrome because he ate them without a fuss just to prove me wrong.  The welzones were tasty, but I had a second small fillet that I didn't need for the welzones and I decided to broil that to a lovely rare-medium rare and once we tasted that, it made the medium well to well meat in the welzone pale in comparison.  Before we had the beef at the rarer temp, we all loved the welzones.  The recipe is from the Food Network show. What Would Brian Boitano Make.  We had made one one other of his recipes, Missed Putt Pizza, and it was very good. And I have to love him for playing off the South Park song.  To accompany them, I made Chinese long beans for the first time.  While they are similar, they are definitely superior in flavor.  I changed the recipe a bit.  I thought the beans were done cooking after the blanching, so I cooked the 'glaze' without them an then tossed them in the sauce.  I loved it.  Thanks again to my local, seasonal, produce delivery from Front Porch Pickings!

Oh and the cheese sauce was awesome!

Wellzones With Cheesy Side Sauce

Mushroom filling
3 T  olive oil
8    ounces cremini or baby portobello mushrooms,sliced
1    garlic clove,chopped
1/2 t  paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T  Dijon mustard
1    egg
2 T  water
1    (1-pound) box frozen puff pastry,thawed
Flour,for dusting
1/2 lb filet mignon,cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese Sauce
2 T  butter
2 T  all-purpose flour
1/2 c  milk
1/2 c  dark beer
2 t  Worcestershire sauce
1 t  paprika
1/4 t  white pepper
1 c  shredded white Cheddar
Mushroom Filling:
To a large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil, mushrooms, garlic
and paprika. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute the
mushrooms until brown and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the
mushrooms to a food processor and add the mustard. Pulse until coarsely
ground. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.

In a small bowl whisk the egg together with 2 tablespoons of water, to
make an egg wash, and set aside.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured flat surface. Lightly
dust the top of the pastry with flour and roll out, using a rolling pin,
until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 6 large rounds about 5 inches in
diameter. You can use the lid of a small pot to cut out the rounds.

Put a heaping tablespoon of the mushroom filling in the center of 1 of
the puff pastry rounds. Add a heaping tablespoon of the cubed
tenderloin on top of the mushroom mixture. Season with a salt and
pepper, to taste. Brush the edge of the lower half of the puff pastry
round with egg wash. Fold the upper half of the puff pastry round over
the filling to make a half moon. Press the edges together and crimp
with the tines of a fork to seal. Put on a sheet tray lined with
parchment paper. Repeat with remaining rounds and filling. Put the
Wellzones in the refrigerator until the dough is cold and firm, about
30 minutes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Brush the tops of the Wellzones with the egg wash and bake until golden
brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven to a serving platter and
serve hot with the cheese sauce.

Cheese Sauce:
While the Wellzones are baking, melt the butter in a saucepan over
medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the
milk,  beer, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and white pepper and bring
to a simmer. Stir in the cheese and cook until completely melted and
combined.  Remove from heat and serve with the Wellzones.

Glazed Chinese Long Beans

1/2 lb Chinese long beans
2 T  butter
2 T  sliced scallion
1 T  freshly minced ginger
1 T  minced garlic
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 c  chicken stock
1 T  honey
1 T  sesame oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 T  sesame seeds,optional
In a large pot of boiling water, blanch long beans for 2 minutes
until slightly tender. Allow to cool.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add butter. Add scallions,
ginger and garlic. Mix together. Add red pepper flakes and long beans.
Allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir in chicken stock, honey and
sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add sesame seeds,
if desired. Mix together.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spinach Pesto Salmon

It isn't a 'pretty' sauce;)
This recipe we first made years ago.  Like ten years ago!  It was originally from Eating Well or Cooking Light or one of the healthy food magazines.  We liked it quite a lot back then and it was one of the only ways we enjoyed salmon.  Needless to say, it was when we weren't as interested in food and didn't have a diverse range of foods we enjoyed.  I think the last time we made this was almost 7 years ago.  Why it seemed to fall out of vogue with us then is a mystery.  I decided to drag it out and try it again. (Now that we have learned more about food)  Sadly, it is not a wow recipe.  It was good, but not great.  That being said, if you want an easy, and fairly fast recipe for salmon this one will fit that bill nicely. Also, since we weren't fans of salmon then, if you aren't a fan now, it may work for you.  Kids do look askance at its vivid green color.   I knew 20 minutes were going to be too much for the thin(ish) wild salmon fillets we had, but I stubbornly clung to the recipe thinking it might be necessary for the sauce.  If you decide to try this, (with the thinner wild salmon fillet)  reduce the cooking time.  I will also concede that my son's dinner last night, a veritable French orgy of pork fat, would have made this light dish seem a little meager on taste.  So, while I can't recommend this wholeheartedly, I also can't put it in the deleted pile or discourage you to make it.  At the very least it is good for you.  I usually serve it with couscous (tonight's seasoned with the spicy garlic butter) and a veggie, but if you eat a lot of the sauce (as I do) you are getting a veggie)

Spinach Pesto Salmon
10 oz bag of spinach
1    -2 bunches of FRESH basil (about ½ a cup)
1 T  olive oil
Garlic cloves to taste
1/4 c  chicken,fish or other stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb of salmon

1.Preheat oven to 350
2.In a blender puree all ingredients but the salmon until in a pesto
sauce.  Season
3.Pour a little in a baking dish to prevent sticking put salmon in the
dish and top with the rest of the sauce\
4.Bake until fish is done (about 20 minutes)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ode to Sally Ride

Tonight we have a guest blogger, my son.(he is 11)  He had a reading project that included a creative aspect.  I'm happy and proud that he chose the culinary one.  He made the entire diner himself.  I assisted only with advice and the occasional sous chef duty.  He chose the meal, chopped, put things in and out of the oven and got the occasional grease spatter that happens when you prepare a meal.  I loved watching him work and am so amazed (but not surprised) at how well he did.  I am giving him the post tonight; I am only writing this intro and typing in the ingredients for the  recipe.

Casserole Sauteed Pork Chops with Mustard, Cream and Tomato Sauce
[Cotes de porc Sauce Nenette]

6 Pork Chops 1" thick (we made only 4)
3-4 Tbsp Rendered Pork Fat, Lard or Cooking Oil (we used bacon fat)
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Cloves Garlic, halved
Salt, Pepper and Thyme
1 1/2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 salt
pinch pepper
1 Tbsp Dry English Mustard Powder
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Chopped Basil or Parsley (we used Basil)

And without further ado, my boy:

Ode to Sally Ride

As my project/ memorial to Sally Ride, I decided to cook her favorite foods. According to the Internet, her favorite foods are: pork chops, green beans, and bacon. I chose her biography because my family is a science family. We went through many cook books, and I picked a Julia Child recipe. Although, it did not have green beans or bacon. So we made some green beans with bacon sprinkled in it to go along side it.
You start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Put paper towels on a plate, then the pork chops, on top, put more paper towels. After drying the pork chops, heat the casserole until moderately hot, then add the fat or oil. After melting, add them in 2 or 3 at a time to brown, about 4minutes a side. Afterwards, season with salt, pepper, and ¼ tsp of sage or thyme( I chose thyme). Remove the fat (I removed a little) and add the butter and optional garlic. Add the chops back. Cover and heat until meat is sizzling. Place casserole in lower third of oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes and baste once or twice.
While that’s cooking, simmer the cream, salt, and pepper in a small sauce pan for 8 to 10 minutes. Then beat the mustard and tomato paste together, then add the hot cream. After removing the casserole, take out the chops. Add the cream to the casserole and simmer for 4minutes. Stir in the herbs and pour the sauce over the pork chops. Finally, we cut raw bacon, sauteed it until crisp, then we added the green beans and sauteed them until tender, but still crisp. If you make this, you’ll be glad you did. 

In memory of Sally Kristen Ride, the first woman in space.

Making the Sauce

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sauteed Shrimp with Clam Sauce on Pasta

In round two of my clean out the pantry ala "Chopped" I decided to hit a freezer and 3 pantry items.  I know I have said this before but I really need to stop shopping like I am stocking for Armageddon.  I like fresh food.  I have had 2 of the pantry items since before I started this blog, and they weren't going to get used unless I made a concerted effort to use up all that garbage that I, in a fit of insanity, bought.  Well I was prepared to skip posting a recipe tonight, as I was totally throwing things together like some mad potion maker and praying for the best.  I was sure I was skipping the post when I forgot the order of operations I had planned out.  Well, what's that saying from Star Trek TNG?  "Luck... protects fools, small children and ships named Enterprise"  As I am not a small child, I am hoping that the universe mistook me for a ship because I think the end dish was wonderful and I feel really lucky considering.  I had planned to saute the onions, add the shrimp, then garlic.  Remove shrimp and deglaze and make the sauce.  Now I know the order is only slightly different, but I was worried I would burn the 'fond' and make a burnt tasting sauce. How and why it worked out for me on a night that it appeared luck had forsaken me, I will never know.  All I know is I want this again:)

Sauteed Shrimp with Clam Sauce on Pasta

1 Tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
20 large shrimp
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoon vermouth
3 cloves garlic, minced
6.5 oz can clams in clam juice
1/4 c flour for dusting the shrimp
1/2 bag of egg noodles
1/2 stick butter, unsalted

Put a pot of water on to boil and salt well.  Pat dry the shrimp on paper towels. Dust the shrimp with a light coating of flour and shake off any excess. (if your family is eating on time, start pasta here) Heat a pan over (avoid nonstick if you can) medium heat. Add the tablespoon of butter and oil. Saute the shrimp for 2 minutes on one side.  They should be a golden color.  Turn the shrimp over and cook another minute or until they are almost done.  Add 1 TBSP of the vermouth and shake to loosen the shrimp from the pan.  Cook for 30 seconds. Remove them from the pan.  Add the onion to the pan and use them and the steam they release to scrape up the bits sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Saute until they are soft.  (at this point I was going to add the garlic but forgot.  The end result was tasty so I am writing the recipe with mistakes and all)  Add the other tablespoon of vermouth and the clam juice from the canned clams. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to get up all the bits stuck to the bottom.  Realize you forgot the garlic and add it to the pan.  Cook a minute or two or until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  (at this point I set it aside on warm to wait for the boys to get home from soccer.  I started the pasta when they were on their way and finished the sauce)  Add 1/4 cup (up to1/2 if necessary) of the pasta water to the sauce.  Cook until some of the liquid has evaporated and you have a thin sauce.  Add the shrimp and the clams to the sauce and just warm them through.  Take off heat and add the 1/2 stick of butter.  Stir until it is melted and taste.  Adjust for salt and pepper.  Toss in the shrimp and sauce with the pasta.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cornbread Dressing With Sausage and Collard Greens

The whole is greater that the sum of it's parts.  That is so true of this dish that was miles better than the original dishes.  So I had all these leftover cornbread muffins that were quickly going stale.  I love dressing/stuffing (or savoury bread puddings) but not cornbread dressing,  but it is the only thing I can think of to do with them and I don't want them to go to waste.  So I look around my fridge trying to use up things that are just taking up space.  I was keeping the clutter under control there for a while but they are winning this round. (for now!)  In addition to the muffins, I have collard greens that need to be used, the pot liquor from cooking the greens and like two bags of celery.  I have my husband pick up some raw sausage patties since I know the little bit of bacon in the muffins won't be enough meat for the boys.  This is one of those dishes that you just can't get enough of.  My husband said, and I quote, "that was a stellar meal  all round!"  He also thought it was a shame they were both so good since they kept trying to out shine each other;).  I am so happy that I am doing this blog at this point.  In the past, we have done our culinary version of improv jazz and loved the results.  Now we have the chance to replicate it.  Pre blog we never would have written down what we made.  This will be my breakfast and lunch until it is gone!

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Collard Greens

½ large onion, chopped
5 stocks celery, chopped
8 ounces of sausage, smoked whole hog patty
4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup of milk (about)
½ cup Pot liquor from cooking the greens (about)

1 cup collard greens, cooked and chopped
7 cups of cornbread muffins, crumbled (spicy double corn, bacon cheddar muffins)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Sauté celery and onion in olive oil until about 2-5 minutes add the sausage crumble up as it cooks. When the sausage is broken into small bits and mostly cooked through, add pot liquor and keep sautéing until the veggies are fairly soft and the liquid is gone.  Add garlic powder and mix.
Beat eggs and milk in a bowl add them to the crumbled up corn muffins and mix through.  Then add, heaping spoonfuls at a time, of the hot sautéed vegetables and mix. (You do this so that the heat from the veggies doesn’t curdle the eggs) Keep adding until they're incorporated all of them and they are mixed well. If the mixture is not very wet, add a little more milk.  Put them in a baking dish. (I used the pan I sautéed in. As it was oven proof). and bake at 350 covered 25-30 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 20-30 minutes or until set and done.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grilled Romaine Salad With Blue Cheese

I am being overwhelmed, again, with a bulging pantry and refrigerator.  I have decided to have my own personal version of Chopped and just dive in with a hodgepodge of ingredients and pray for the best.  I figured I would make this salad (as I am really into grilled romaine right now) and throw together something from stuff lying around for an entree.  The salad was amazing.  I think the best grilled romaine salad so far.  My husband and son agree.  What made this one better?  Well the dressing was awesome.  A great dressing to have around period.  I also liked that the salad included a 'garnish' of cool uncooked romaine chopped finely over the top.  Really the whole thing was perfection.  Just a note on the side, my chopped dish, Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Collard Greens was a super smash too!  I am so happy and proud, but since I know tomorrow's dish may be a dismal failure, I am separating the posts into two.  I will do the dressing post tomorrow and hope tomorrow's dinner doesn't get me "chopped". ;) Oh and by the way, I consider this a meatless dish even though the dressing includes anchovies, so it is not vegetarian.

Grilled Romaine Salad With Blue Cheese

 6 ea garlic,peeled
1 t  kosher salt
1 T  fresh lemon juice
1 t  capers
1 T  sherry vinegar
1 T  Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t  hot sauce (recommended Tabasco)
6    anchovy fillets and 1/2 teaspoon of their oil
1/2    to 3/4 cup olive oil,plus more for grilling the romaine
20    basil leaves,washed and dried
1 c  crumbled blue cheese,for garnish
3    romaine hearts,halved lengthwise, washed and  dried
Kosher salt
1    lemon,juiced
Preheat the grill to medium.
In the blender, combine the garlic, salt, lemon juice, capers and
vinegar. Blend until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce,
anchovies and 1/2 cup of olive oil and blend until smooth. Taste for
seasoning. Add the remaining olive oil, if needed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss 4 of the romaine halves in a little olive oil and
season them with salt. Put them in a single layer on the grill and cook
for 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 3 additional minutes.
The romaine should feel slightly warm and tender. Transfer the halves
to a large platter. Spoon a little dressing on each. On a flat surface,
finely chop the rest of the romaine and add it to a medium bowl. Add
the remaining vinaigrette, a touch of lemon juice and the basil leaves.
Toss to coat the romaine.
Top the grilled romaine with some of the chopped, dressed romaine.
Garnish with crumbled blue cheese and serve immediately.