Monday, December 31, 2012

Mini Caprese On a Stick

I had a get together, and  most were repeat recipes, but the one new one was a big hit.  I took little pieces of fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes and put them on a skewer to make a caprese of sorts.  I personally don't like all the leafy bits of basil in the traditional caprese, so I made a garlic and basil infused oil to drizzle over the top.  Now WARNING!!!!  Garlic infused oils have an affinity for Botulism!!!  For a bit more on it, click here.  I will still sum up.  Make sure that all water is evaporated from the oil,  refrigerate and use within a week.  (I would half that just because I'm a little crazy about germs:)  I made the oil while I was prepping the rest of the menu and put it in the fridge to chill it a bit before using.  I also made a balsamic reduction.  The original recipe I used it for is my Steak Salad, and it is an all time family favorite! However I use this reduction in any recipe that calls for balsamic.  I think it of faux real balsamic;).  I didn't not feel the need to season it at all.  If you really need to, very lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Mini Caprese On a Stick

8 oz Fresh Mozzarella
1 pint Grape Tomatoes
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 large sprigs of Basil, stems included
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bottle of inexpensive Balsamic Vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 package of 6" wooden skewers
2 squeeze bottles (optional, but they make for a nice presentation and they are cheap to buy)

Put the oil in a small pan over low heat. (if your stove's low setting is really low, maybe crank it up a bit)  Add the garlic and basil.  Stir occasionally and cook until the oil is green and fragrant and the garlic starts to brown.  (for me this took about 20 minutes, mostly unattended)  Meanwhile, empty the balsamic into a medium pan and add the sugar.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until reduced to 1/3 it's original volume.  You can speed it up a bit by raising the heat, but then you must stand with it constantly. When the oil and vinegar are done, put them in to squeeze bottles and put in the refrigerator to cool.
While the oil and vinegar are cooling, cut the cheese in to cubes that approximate the size of the tomatoes.  Place a cube of cheese on the stick, followed by a tomato and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle the oil liberally over the top to the cheese and tomato, then drizzle the vinegar.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cavatappi With Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto

Since Monday was Christmas, we didn't go meatless.  I decided to make up that say today.  We love cilantro, and expected to love this.  It was pretty good, not the wow we thought it would be, but good. They didn't carry Cavatappi at my store, so I went with another tube shape rather than a macaroni.  I have been really lazy lately about the blog.  I blame the hectic schedules of the holidays and utter exhaustion.  I haven't even really wanted to cook much!  So, that means short post.  Hope you all are having a great holiday season!

Cavatappi With Cilantro-Pistachio Pesto

Kosher salt
1/2 large head cauliflower,cut into small (1/2- to 3/4 inch) florets
3  medium carrots,halved lengthwise and then cut on the diagonal
7 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 c  lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c  unsalted shelled pistachios
3   medium cloves garlic,peeled
1   Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 lb Cavatappi
Freshly ground black pepper
2    large scallions,thinly sliced

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475F.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Put the cauliflower and carrots on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with 2? Tbs. of the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt and toss to
coat. Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and continue roasting until tender
and golden in spots, about 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, pulse the cilantro, pistachios, and garlic in a food
processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, add the
remaining 5? Tbs. oil and pure until the sauce is very smooth. Add the
lemon juice and 3/4 tsp. salt and pulse to mix.
Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain
well and return the pasta to the pot. Toss the warm pasta with the
roasted vegetables and pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper and
transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Quinoa Chowder With Spinach, Feta, And Scallions

This recipe was full of snafus.  Lets start with the fact my husband thought it sounded awful and kept suggesting we go out to eat on the evenings I planned to make it.  I of course took him up on those offers;).  Well he is working tonight and I have the stuff to make it, so here it is.  I had some problems when cooking this.  Lets start with the fact that the leftover feta I was planning on using up in this recipe was off.  It smelled pretty bad, so in to the garbage with it.  Now this is me:
Me: "its late, and I'm not going out just for feta."
ME: "it won't be right"
Me: "surely one of the many cheeses in the fridge will work!"
ME:  "Probably only the goat cheese you have for another recipe"
Me: "I can get more tomorrow"
ME: "go to the store, if it's not right (read good) you can't tell your husband I told you so!"
Me: (thinking) That's a good point! (out loud) "let's have a glass of  wine and look in the fridge!"
Now Me has won since we can't go and drive after a glass!
And now you all know the depth of my insanity...oops!

Needless to say, I poked around the fridge and the Internet to see what would be a acceptable alternative.  In the end I saw I had about the amount needed of Pecorino Romano, so I cubed it up and tossed it in and hoped!  Now another problem, I see as I am adding this recipe to the blog, that I forgot the cilantro!  Even with all the changes, I thought it was pretty good!  I felt nourished after eating it and enjoyed it very much.  I would like to try it again correctly to see if could be any better, but I liked it as too.

Quinoa Chowder With Spinach, Feta, And Scallions

3/4 c  quinoa,any color or variety
8 c  (2 quarts) water,plus more as needed
2 T  olive oil
1    medium garlic clove,finely chopped
1    jalapeƱo,seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 large potato),peeled and small dice
1 t  ground cumin
1 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1 bn scallions,thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
3 c  thinly sliced spinach leaves (from about 1 bunch)
4    ounces feta cheese,small dice (about 1 cup)
1/3 c  coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1    hard-boiled egg,peeled and finely chopped
[Note: Avoid using pre-crumbled feta in this recipe; it tends to be
too dry.  ]
Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs
Bring the quinoa and the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan
over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until
the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing
translucent little beads, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Strain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large
heatproof bowl. Measure the quinoa cooking liquid and add water as
needed to make 6 cups; set the quinoa and cooking liquid aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, clean saucepan over medium-high heat
until shimmering. Add the garlic and jalapeo and cook until fragrant,
about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, cumin, and measured salt and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to soften, adjusting
the heat as necessary so that the garlic doesnt brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the reserved cooking liquid and half of the scallions and simmer
until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
Add the cooked quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer
until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan
from the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Taste and season with
salt and pepper as needed. Top with the chopped egg and serve.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Perfect French Fries (Adapted From David Myers's Recipe For "Pommes Frites"

Tonight, for my darling husband, I made the French Fries With Bulgogi And Caramelized Kimchi that he loved so much, but we tried the "restaurant" method of a two temperature fry.  Much like Jack Sprat and his wife, my husband seem to disagree on a lot of food items.  For example, I love the frosting on cake, in fact cake is a vehicle for frosting, he scrapes it off.  (what a weirdo, I know;)  I could go on, but how it applies to this recipe is that I liked these better and he preferred the start in cold oil ones we make last time.  We agreed, however, that this method cooked them much faster.  I can only assume that's because we had less in the pan at a time.  We didn't have peanut oil, we used canola.  It is interesting to note, that I was told by an allergist that peanut oil does not affect people with peanut allergies.  (at least heat pressed oil and any oil heated) I would check with your doctor first of course, but our brush with a peanut allergy in the house was quite an educational experience.  So back to the recipe :)  If you are a french fry aficionado, and haven't been able to reproduce that restaurant quality fry, this recipe is pretty close.  Main points: soak to remove starch & two temperature fry.

Perfect French Fries (Adapted From David Myers's Recipe For "Pommes Frites")

6    Idaho russet potatoes
Peanut oil
Sea salt (Myers prefers Sel Gris,a fine light grey French salt)

Peel and square off potato ends. Cut into 3/8" batons. Soak for two
hours changing water after an hour. Dry thoroughly with paper towels.
Heat about an inch of oil (or enough to cover potatoes) in a large,
heavy bottomed pot to 290 degrees. Blanch potatoes gently for about two
minutes until cooked through but still completely pale. Place on a
paper- towel lined sheet pan and cool in the refrigerator to stop
cooking process.
Re-heat oil to 370 degrees. Cook fries until golden and crispy, about 3
to 4 minutes. If necessary, agitate gently with a spatula to prevent
sticking. Remove from pan and toss with salt to taste (Myers doesn't
blot but you can if you want less fat). Serve immediately. Recipe
serves 4 to 6.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner

We do our big dinner on Christmas eve and graze on leftovers all day on Christmas.  We had my husband's side of the family in town for tonight and my MIL brought a beautiful prime rib for me to cook.  As it is a special occasion, we had a lot of dishes.  The menu tonight:

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip  
Grilled Romaine With Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette
Prime Rib Roast For A Small Crowd       
Horseradish Sauce
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Coconut Cream Pie     

As there are so many dishes, I figured I would write the post around them.  We started with the grilled antipasto.  It was the first time I had made it, and really loved it. It was a bit of work in that there were a bunch of veggies to be sliced, (I did the peppers and zucchini ahead of time as well as the bean dip), and the veggies took up a lot of space on the grill.  I pretty much had to do one type at a time.  Another thing that made it a bit of effort was that the cheese was a hot mess.  I loved it and it tasted good, but ugly and cooled quickly and once it didn't spread, it lost something.  I would love this as a meatless main, but it was awesome appetizers for a crowd.

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip

1    nineteen-ounce can cannellini beans,drained and rinsed
2    small garlic cloves,minced
2 T  fresh lemon juice
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for brushing
1/2 c  chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6    small Italian frying peppers or Cubanelle peppers
4    medium zucchini,sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2    one-pound eggplants,sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
24  anchovy fillets
24  marinated bocconcini (about 3/4 pound)
2    large beefsteak tomatoes (1 pound each),sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Grilled country bread,for serving
1.In a food processor, combine the beans with the garlic, lemon
juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth, then
scrape into a bowl. Fold in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
2.Light a grill. Brush the peppers and the zucchini and eggplant slices
with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap an anchovy fillet
around each of the bocconcini and thread the balls onto six 8-inch
3.Grill the peppers and the sliced zucchini and eggplants over a medium-
hot fire until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side
for the zucchini and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and eggplant.
Transfer to a large platter and spread the bean dip on the zucchini and
eggplant slices.
4.Lightly brush the tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt
and pepper. Grill until tender, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the
tomatoes to the platter. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewered
bocconcini for 1 minute, turning once, or just until beginning to melt;
transfer the skewers to the platter. Serve the antipasto with the
remaining white bean dip and the grilled bread.
Make Ahead
The white bean dip can be covered and refrigerated overnight. .

You need marinaded bocconcini for the antipasto and as the bocconcini at my grocery weren't marinated, I used the following recipe.  It was originally from Martha Stewart and included lemon zest.  I had already tossed the lemon into the compost bin, so I didn't use it.  I can't say it did much for the cheese, so next time I make the lovely grilled veggies, I will skip this step.

Marinated Bocconcini

1/2 pt bocconcini (about 20 balls)
1/4 c  extra-virgin olive oil
4    small sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 t  red-pepper flakes
1/2 t  coarse salt

In a medium bowl, combine bocconcini, oil, rosemary, red-
pepper flakes, and salt. Let stand at room temperature, at least 30
minutes, tossing occasionally.
Cook's Note
Or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, bring to room temperature and
toss before serving.

For the salad, my husband requested the last grilled romaine salad I made:

 Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette

For our entree we had a prime rib roast. I looked through one of my favorite, if not all time favorite cookbook, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and found this recipe.  It  was the perfect recipe for the beautiful piece of meat my MIL brought.  As I was making horseradish sauce, and we wanted to use the drippings for gravy for the potatoes,  I didn't follow the recipe.  What I cooked is written here, but you can follow the link on the title for the original recipe and lots of great information on cooking meat to the doneness you prefer.

Prime Rib Roast for a Small Crowd

1   (3-rib) roast,about 5 pounds, trimmed of excess but not all fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1    or 2 cloves garlic (optional)
1.  Bring the meat to room temperature by removing it from the
refrigerator at least an hour before cooking, preferably two. Preheat
the oven to 450F.
2.  Place the meat, bone side down, in a large roasting pan. Season it
with salt and pepper. If you like garlic, peel the cloves and cut them
into tiny slivers; use a boning or paring knife to poke small holes in
the meat and insert the garlic into them.
3.  Place the roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, undisturbed.
Turn the heat down to 350F and continue to roast for about 1 hour;
check in several places with a meat thermometer. When no spot checks in
at under 125F (120F if you like your meat really rare and your guests
are of the same mentality), the meat is rare; cook another 5 or 10
minutes if you like it better done, then check again, but in no case
let the temperature of the meat go above 155F.
4.  Remove the meat from the oven (cover the meat with foil to keep it

To go with the roast beast:

Horseradish Sauce
1 c  regular or low-fat sour cream
1/4 c  prepared (white) horseradish
1 T  Dijon-style mustard
1 t  white wine vinegar
1/2 t  kosher salt
1/4 t  ground white pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce (optional)
Stir together the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, vinegar, salt,
pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, if using, in a medium-
size airtight container until well incorporated. Cover tightly and
refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight to allow the
flavors to blend.

And another request by my darling husband was this coconut cream pie.  I think it was well received;)

Coconut Cream Pie

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip

I liked this one so much I gave it it's own post :)

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip

1    nineteen-ounce can cannellini beans,drained and rinsed
2    small garlic cloves,minced
2 T  fresh lemon juice
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for brushing
1/2 c  chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6    small Italian frying peppers or Cubanelle peppers
4    medium zucchini,sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2    one-pound eggplants,sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
24  anchovy fillets
24  marinated bocconcini (about 3/4 pound)
2    large beefsteak tomatoes (1 pound each),sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Grilled country bread,for serving
1.In a food processor, combine the beans with the garlic, lemon
juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth, then
scrape into a bowl. Fold in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
2.Light a grill. Brush the peppers and the zucchini and eggplant slices
with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap an anchovy fillet
around each of the bocconcini and thread the balls onto six 8-inch
3.Grill the peppers and the sliced zucchini and eggplants over a medium-
hot fire until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side
for the zucchini and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and eggplant.
Transfer to a large platter and spread the bean dip on the zucchini and
eggplant slices.
4.Lightly brush the tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt
and pepper. Grill until tender, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the
tomatoes to the platter. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewered
bocconcini for 1 minute, turning once, or just until beginning to melt;
transfer the skewers to the platter. Serve the antipasto with the
remaining white bean dip and the grilled bread.

Make Ahead
The white bean dip can be covered and refrigerated overnight. .

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cheese Soup

I have family coming in town.  I don't like to make guinea pigs of them on special occasions, so I made the ever popular chicken and 40 cloves, but I did make a new recipe, this cheese soup.  It was wonderful!  Everyone really liked it, including the most picky eater I know, my nephew!  Since I have family here, that's it for the post, but I will say it was tasty as it is not photogenic;!

Cheese Soup

2 T  unsalted butter
5    ounces small diced onion (approximately 1 cup)
5    ounces small diced carrot (approximately 1 cup)
5    ounces small diced celery (approximately 1 cup)
1/2 t  salt for sweating vegetables,plus more if needed at end of cooking
3 T  all-purpose flour
1 qt chicken broth,heated to a simmer
1 T  minced garlic
1    bay leaf
1 c  heavy cream
10    ounces Fontina,shredded
1 t  Marsala wine
1 t  Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t  hot sauce
1/2 t  white pepper
Melt butter in large heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add
onion,   carrot, celery, and salt. Sweat for 5 to 10 minutes or until
the vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Sift the flour
over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Gradually add the chicken stock and bring to boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low and add the garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer
for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
Remove bay leaf. Turn off the heat, add the heavy cream, and then puree
with an immersion blender or in a conventional blender*. Gradually add
the cheese, 1 small handful at a time, and stir until melted before
adding next handful. Stir in the Marsala, Worcestershire sauce, hot
sauce, and white pepper. Taste and add additional salt if desired. If
soup is not hot enough, return to a low heat until warmed through.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to
cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food
processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release
one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates
heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few
times then process on high speed until smooth.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cumin-Spiced Burgers With Harissa Mayo

I love Moroccan flavors and harissa has to be one of the yummiest things ever!  I have loved everything I made with it.  (the pizza was my least favorite, but more due to the sausage)  I also love a good burger.  Needless to say, I loved this recipe.  If I were to make any criticism, it is that the caraway seeds were these hard little bits that occasionally made for unpleasant texture in your mouth.  They weren't bad enough to make me dislike this in any way.  I did half the recipe since there are only four of us, and I cooked it on the grill, but other than that, I followed the recipe.

Cumin-Spiced Burgers With Harissa Mayo

3 lb ground chuck
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 c  plus 2 teaspoons harissa
2 1/2 t  ground cumin
2 t  garlic powder
1 t  dried thyme
1    large red onion,sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 T  extra-virgin olive oil
Eight 6-inch oval rolls split
1 c  mayonnaise
1 t  caraway seeds
Tomato and cucumber slices
1. In a large bowl, gently mix the ground chuck with 1 tablespoon of
kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of
the harissa, the cumin, garlic powder and thyme. Form the meat into
eight 3/4-inch-thick oval patties. In a medium bowl, toss the onion
slices with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a grill pan. Cook the onions over moderate heat, turning once,
until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Grill the burgers over moderately high heat, turning once, until medium,
about 8 minutes. Grill the rolls until lightly toasted, about 2
3. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the caraway and the remaining 2
tablespoons of harissa; season with salt and pepper.
4. Spread the mayo on the rolls. Top with the patties, onions, tomato
and cucumber; close the sandwiches and serve.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pork Medallions In Mushroom Marsala Sauce

My darling husband cooked and watched the kids while I went to the wine tasting at Ormond Wine Co.  It is usually once a month, but during November and December, it is weekly, so that means girls night out happens every Thursday right now:).  I only tried this leftover, and I thought it was good.  The sauce was awesome, but reheated tenderloin just isn't the same.  My son loved it even eating around the mushrooms. Since I didn't cook it or get to eat it at its best, I will shut up now and just give you the recipe.

Pork Medallions In Mushroom Marsala Sauce

2 lb pork tenderloin (about 2 tenderloins)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3    Tbs. unsalted butter
2    medium shallots,finely diced
12 oz cremini mushrooms,thinly sliced
1    Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 c  dry Marsala
1 c  homemade or low-salt chicken broth
3    Tbs. heavy cream
1/4 c  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Trim the tenderloins of silverskin and any excess fat. Cut the
tenderloins into 2-inch-thick medallions. Flip each medallion onto a
cut side and press down with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly.
Season the meat with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.
Heat the olive oil and 1 Tbs. of the butter in a large saute pan over
high heat. When the butter is melted and foaming, add half of the meat
and sear until nicely browned, 2 to 3 min. Flip and cook the other side
until the meat is well browned and slightly firm to the touch, about
another 2 min. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.
Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in the pan. Add the shallots and a
pinch of salt and saute for about 30 seconds, using a wooden spoon to
scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the
mushrooms and saute until all of the mushroom liquid has evaporated and
the mushrooms are golden, about 3 min. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt,
sprinkle with the flour, and add the Marsala. Once the Marsala has
almost completely evaporated, add the chicken broth and reduce by half,
about 3 min. Stir in the cream and parsley, return the pork and any
accumulated juices to the pan, and cook, flipping the pork once, until
its firm to the touch and still a little pink in the middle (cut into a
piece to check), 2 to 4 min. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lemony Chicken Caesar Salad With Garlic-Parmesan Toasts

After the wretched excess of fat, calories and salt last night, I decided to make a salad.  It's a Ceaser salad, so it really doesn't count as 'light', but it is a heck of a lot lighter than last nights;), and my husband loves Ceaser salad.  Now my husband is constantly offering to go to the store for ribeyes and potatoes to make the kimchi fries again, but we are going to need to hold off on that recipe for a bit.  I thought it interesting that this recipe uses mascarpone in place of egg yolks in the dressing.  (plus I can mix the rest with some honey for one of my all time favorite sweet spreads)  I liked the dressing too, but next time I would put in some anchovies or anchovy paste.  I felt it's absence.  I cooked chicken for the salad, but it is perfect for leftovers, or store bought rotisserie, and makes it fast and easy.  Only thing to keep in mind, the croutons are best fresh out of the oven.  If you make them ahead, they get kinda stale pretty quick.

Lemony Chicken Caesar Salad With Garlic-Parmesan Toasts

For the vinaigrette
1    lemon
1/4 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2    Tbs. mascarpone (or cream cheese)
2 t  Dijon mustard
1    small clove garlic,chopped, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt
1/4 t  Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1 t  chopped fresh thyme
Couple dashes of Tabasco
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
2    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1    small clove garlic,chopped, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt
1/8 t  crushed red pepper flakes
1/2    baguette,cut into eight 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 c  freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 c  thinly sliced leftover roast chicken
1 lb romaine hearts (about 2 medium),cored, washed, spun dry, and cut

Make the vinaigrette:
Finely grate about 1 Tbs. zest from the lemon. Squeeze the lemon to get
2 Tbs. juice. In a blender or mini chopper, pure (as much as possible)
the lemon juice, Parmigiano, mascarpone, mustard, garlic, and
Worcestershire sauce, scraping the sides as needed. While pureing,
drizzle in the oil, slowly at first and then in a more steady stream as
the mixture thickens and emulsifies. Thin the vinaigrette with water if
needed. Add the lemon zest, thyme, and Tabasco and pure. Taste and
season generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each) and more
lemon juice if you like.
Prepare the salad:
Heat the oven to 425F. In a small bowl, mix the oil, garlic, and red
pepper flakes. Set the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush them
with the oil mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano. Bake
until browned, 10 to 12 min.
In a small bowl, toss the chicken with about 1/4 cup of the dressing.
In a large bowl, toss the romaine and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano with
enough dressing to coat lightly (you might not need it all). Add salt
and pepper to taste.
Put the dressed greens on plates and top with the chicken and a drizzle
of dressing, if any remains. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup
Parmigiano and some black pepper and serve immediately with the toasts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

French Fries With Bulgogi And Caramelized Kimchi

I have no idea where to start on this one!  I guess I should start with I couldn't wait to try it, but was worried that the kimchi would be a problem for my less than cabbage loving boys.  I was a little worried that I would hate the meat, as I do not like how fatty a ribeye is.  Then there were the protestations of my husband that thinly slicing the ribeye (his favorite steak) was sacrilege!  Then there was my trepidation over making fries. (which my husband did brilliantly!)  So as you can see, while excited, I was also very nervous about this dish.  I knew it was going to have a lot going on flavor-wise; it is from a Korean/Tex-Mex food truck.  The result?  MY HUSBAND GAVE IT A 5!  We  never give out a 5 star rating.  My son and I were thinking a 4.75 since we are usually so reluctant to give out a five, but my husband gave it a 5 without hesitation.  You might be thinking why did my son and I hesitate on that last .25 of a star?  For me, I loved and and hated the fact it was an extravaganza of fat and salt!  Whatever the opposite is for the word "diet," this is!  I think for my son it was the cabbage.  My husband did have one complaint, the one he often has, that things aren't all similar size.  (didn't stop him from giving it a five;)  I do agree.  The meat and fries were about the same shape and size, but the kimchi was in large chunks.  Next time I make this, I will chop up the kimchi a bit before cooking.  Normally, I would not deviate from a recipe at all, but when cooking the kimchi, I thought it looked like a lot of sauce to cabbage, so (just to clean up:) I put the rest of the jar in the sauce.   (an additional 6 oz)  Perhaps, if I had chopped it up, the 14oz jar would have been a cup like the recipe called for. I also used scallions because I had some I needed to use.  I also needed to cook the kimchi about 3 minutes longer than the recipe called for in order to get liquid "thick and glossy". These are not finger french fries.  You will need a fork. (or at least a roll of napkins each)  Even if you are thinking that this is a little to out there for me and my family, at least try the meat, please.  The meat was amazing.  We had to restrain ourselves while the fries were cooking. (they took a lot longer than we expected)  As for cooking the fries,  my husband heard on an NPR show that a way around the double fry method restaurants use that would be more do-able for in the home.  That method  is to start the raw potatoes in cold oil and fry until golden brown.  That is what we did.  I can't urge you enough to try this recipe. I think I could eat more now that I am thinking about them;).

French Fries With Bulgogi And Caramelized Kimchi

1    small onion,minced
3    garlic cloves,minced
1 T  minced fresh ginger
1/2 c  soy sauce
2 T  sugar
1 T  distilled white vinegar
1 t  toasted sesame oil
1 lb boneless rib eye steak,cut into very thin, 3-inch slices
2 T  vegetable oil
1/2 c  sugar
1/4 c  distilled white vinegar
2 T  Korean chile paste (gochujang)
2 T  soy sauce
1 c  kimchi
1/2 c  mayonnaise
3 T  Sriracha,plus more for serving
1 lb hot french fries
Shredded cheddar
chopped white onion
toasted sesame seeds
1. MAKE THE BULGOGI In a resealable plastic bag, combine the onion,
garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil. Add the rib
eye and toss to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
2. Drain the meat, pick off the solids and pat dry. In a large skillet,
heat the vegetable oil until smoking. Add the meat and cook over high
heat, turning once, until lightly browned, 4 minutes. Transfer the meat
to a plate and keep warm. Rinse out the skillet and wipe dry.
3. PREPARE THE TOPPINGS In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar,
chile paste and soy sauce. Add the kimchi and toss to coat. Heat the
skillet until very hot. Add the kimchi and cook over high heat until
the liquid is thickened and glossy and the kimchi is browned in spots,
about 5 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the 3 tablespoons of
5. Scatter the french fries on a platter and top with the bulgogi and
kimchi. Drizzle with some of the Sriracha mayonnaise and sprinkle with
cheddar, onion, sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve with additional
The Kimchi when cooked.

The meat when cooked

before the spicy mayo
One more pictue because they were that good!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage Brown Butter

It is meatless Monday again, and I roasted a butternut squash, made a sage brown butter, and sauteed some bok choy.  Sage brown butter is a yummy condiment that is perfect for winter squashes.  All I did is split and de seed the squash, rub it with a bit of oil, and roast it for about an hour at 350.  Half way through the baking, I made the bok choy and right before the squash was done, I made the butter.  I also made some rice for the boys that they put the sage butter on too:). One note on the recipe, I only have unsalted butter on hand, so I added salt to the recipe, but if you use salted butter, you most likely won't need to.  Having been on vacation for the last several days, I am feeling kinda lazy, so that's it for the post.  Happy Monday everyone!

Sage Brown Butter Sauce Recipe

8 T  butter (1 stick)
1 ea garlic,crushed and chopped
1/4 c  coarsely chopped sage leaves
1/8 t  ground black pepper
How to make sage brown butter sauce:
Melt the butter in medium sauce pan set over low-medium heat. When the
butter begins to get just slightly bubbly, add the chopped garlic clove.

Stir the garlic in the butter for 1 minute. Add the chopped sage to the
garlic butter and continue stirring and cooking the mixture for 1 to 2
additional minutes, until the butter has turned very light brown and
has a rich, nutty aroma.
Season the sage brown butter sauce with ground black pepper and serve
it hot.
This sage browned butter sauce recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Poached Eggs With Creamy Brussels Sprouts And Bacon

I thought it looked best without the parm, but
it tasted better with ;)
Tonight's dinner was wonderful.  If you think that you are not a fan of Brussels Sprouts, you haven't tried them shredded and or with bacon!  They were wonderful.  I had made something similar a long time ago with bacon and tomatoes.  Loved it then too.  If I were going to make any changes to this, I think some pureed tomatoes would be really good, but hardly necessary.  Eggs are always a quick fix for dinner, but what I like about this dish is that it is an all in one deal.  You have your protein, carbs and veg all in one tasty dish.  Poaching eggs takes a bit of practice to keep them from being a bit scary. (well for me at least)  I have had a lot of practice poaching eggs recently, as my three year old daughter prefers her eggs poached.  (ok there is a small down side to having kids that like a variety of good foods.  I remember my son in second grade wanted herb omelets for breakfast all year!)  The only person who wasn't the biggest fan of the dish was the boy, but he isn't a fan of most cabbages.  He ate it all; he didn't hate it.  He called it a 3, we called it a 4.5!

Poached Eggs With Creamy Brussels Sprouts And Bacon

1 t  plus 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
8 sl bacon,cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 sl country-style white sandwich bread,halved diagonally
2    Tbs. unsalted butter softened
1    large shallot,minced
10 oz (4 cups) medium Brussels sprouts,trimmed and shredded
2/3 c  heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8    large eggs
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350F.
Fill a 12-inch-wide, 2- to 3-inch-deep pan with 1-1/2 inches of water
and 1 tsp. cider vinegar. Bring the water to a simmer over high heat;
reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat,
stirring often, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes.
While the bacon is cooking, spread one side of the bread triangles
with 1 Tbs. of the butter and arrange butter side up on a small baking
sheet. Toast in the oven until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate
to drain. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. bacon fat from the skillet. Add the
remaining 1 Tbs. butter and the shallot to the skillet and cook over
medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and the
Brussels sprouts, cream, the remaining 2 Tbs. cider vinegar, and 1/4
tsp.  each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Cover the pan
and cook, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are just
tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the Brussels sprouts cook, crack the eggs one at a time into a
small bowl or teacup and then gently slide each egg into the simmering
vinegar water. Poach until the whites are completely opaque but the
yolks are still soft, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the
eggs from the water (in the same order they were added) and gently blot
dry with a paper towel.
Put 2 toast triangles on each of 4 plates and top each toast with an
egg. Season the eggs lightly with salt and pepper and spoon the
Brussels sprout mixture on top. Sprinkle with the bacon and a few
shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.

With the Parm

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Curried Carrot Soup

My darling husband had a wisdom tooth extracted this morning, so I planned on making soup for him for dinner.  Turns out, he can't have any hot foods today, so he had to eat it room temp.   Luckily, the instructions said that it could be served cold.  Now, I hated this soup.  I am not a fan of carrot and it was very carrot-y.  I ate it, but I deleted the recipe.  My husband thought it ok, but the boy liked it and told me to keep the recipe.  (shhh don't tell him that I didn't;)  It was easy to make, I will give it that.  If you adore carrots, then you will like this.

Curried Carrot Soup

1 T  canola oil
2 t  curry powder
1    medium garlic clove,smashed
1    (1/2-inch) piece ginger peeled and smashed
1/2    medium onion,coarsely chopped
1 lb carrots,peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1    medium bay leaf
2 1/2 c  low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 c  canned coconut milk
Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes,for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When it shimmers,
add the curry powder and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30
Add the ginger, onion, carrots, bay leaf, and broth, increase the heat
to medium high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to
medium low and simmer until the carrots are soft when pierced with a
fork, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
Working in batches, process the soup in a blender until smooth. (Be
very careful when blending the hot soup, as steam could blow off the
blender lid.)
Pour the soup into a clean pot and return it to the stove over medium
heat. Stir in the coconut milk and adjust the seasoning as needed. To
make appetizer portions, serve small amounts of soup in shot glasses or
demitasses. Garnish with a few flakes of toasted coconut, if using.
Note: This soup can be served hot or cold. If youre serving it cold,
you may need to thin it with a little water.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Falafel Sandwich With Tomato-Cucumber Salad

For meatless Monday, I made a falafel.  While it wasn't the best falafel I ever had, it was the easiest by far to make.  We all enjoyed it; even the three year old ate some.  I only changed the type of tomatoes I used since I had some tomatoes on the vine (and some cukes) in my Front Porch Pickings basket.  I did also think it needed some sort of sauce.  As I had some tahini in the pantry, I used it mixed with some minced garlic and a little lemon juice.  My husband said he would also like plain yogurt.  (which was also mentioned in the original recipe as a possible sauce.)  As long as you have a food processor, this recipe is a snap, and while it won't be going on our restaurant menu, it was still a darn good meal.

Falafel Sandwich With Tomato-Cucumber Salad

1    15-oz. can chickpeas,rinsed and drained
7    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t  ground cumin
1/2 t  ground coriander
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1    medium yellow onion,diced
1/2 c  plain fine dry breadcrumbs more as needed
1    -1/2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered
1    medium pickling cucumber or 1/3 English cucumber,halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1    Tbs. fresh lemon juice
4    pitas,warmed
Heat the oven to 425F.
In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, 2 Tbs. of the oil, the cumin,
coriander, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper into a chunky paste.
Add the onion and breadcrumbs and pulse until the mixture tightens up.
You should be able to easily form it into a pattyadd more breadcrumbs
as needed. Gently form the chickpea mixture into twelve 1/2-inch-thick
Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat
until shimmering hot. Add 6 of the patties and cook until nicely
browned,  about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until browned,
1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet. Repeat
with 2 Tbs. more oil and the remaining six patties. Bake the patties
until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes and cucumber with the lemon juice, the
remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and salt to taste.
Split the pitas and stuff them with the falafel and tomato-cucumber

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Linguine With Avocado And Arugula Pesto

I had this one in the to try file because I adore arugula, pasta and avocado.  The men in the family are not the avocado lovers, and I was worried that they wouldn't like this dish.  Also, upon initial perusal, it seems like a lot of different flavors to handle.  However, just like when I make something just for them, they need to occasionally eat a recipe that was just for me.  And since I had some perfectly ripe avocados from my Front Porch Pickings basket, tonight was my night.  The recipe was a snap to make.  The only shortcut I took was that I used the green tube pre grated Parmesan that I keep on hand for the girl, rather than grate my own.  Even with squeezing the lime juice my self, making the sauce took less time than it took to heat the water and boil the pasta.  If you don't know how easy it is to get out some avocado slices, just click here for a helpful video.  It was an amazing pesto; even more amazing since it uses avocado in place of the olive oil.  (olive oil is healthy, but avocado seem much healthier)  We played the ingredient guessing game, but no one could tell there was avocado in it until they knew it was in there.  The consensus around the table was it was a solid 4.5.  (we are notoriously snobby when it comes to giving out a 5) I guess the only difficulty could be if one doesn't have a food processor, but a good blender should work too.  You would just need to occasionally stop and tamp down the sauce.  In short, this is an easy, tasty recipe, that is health conscious even if the pasta keeps it from being calorie conscious.

Linguine With Avocado And Arugula Pesto

1 lb linguine pasta
2    medium avocados,halved, peeled, and seeded (about 12 oz)
3 c  baby arugula leaves (3 ounces)
1    packed cup fresh basil leaves
3 T  fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
2 ea garlic,peeled and smashed
1 t  kosher salt
1/2 t  freshly ground black pepper
1 c  grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
1/2 c  sliced almonds,toasted (see  Note)
Note: To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a
baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 6 to 8 minutes
until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the
pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring
occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the
pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.
Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a
food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and
pepper. Blend until smooth.
Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese and
almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as
needed, to loosen the sauce

Friday, December 7, 2012

Indian-Spiced Shrimp & Indian-Style Mustard Greens

Tonight, my wonderful husband did the cooking.  I had mustard greens from my Front Porch Pickings basket and I had shrimp I needed to use and I had a recipe for Indian spiced both!  We had never had mustard greens before although we have cooked other greens.  I loved that the greens were pureed.  It made them a lovely texture.  I won't lie, the boys weren't the biggest fan of the greens, but I count this recipe as a win.  Why?  Well the first time your eat something, especially something bitter, you are going to have to get used to it before you are going to enjoy it.  An unfamiliar taste, will be perceived as bad most of the time, and almost every time if it's bitter since bitter is nature's way of warning of toxins.  Ironic that these greens are more like medicine for our bodies.  And while it wasn't a huge hit, every one ate all their greens without any complaint.  All I heard were comments as to the unusual flavors.  (They were sweeter than we expected.)  To me, that is a win.  Any of you with kids out there, know that they can be very stubborn about green veggies and the strong flavors of mustard greens make them even harder for kids. And not one complaint was issued!  So that makes this recipe a win.  The shrimp were great too.

Update:  The chef that makes the greens recipe noted that his kids spread the greens over an Indian Cornbread and top with cheese and broil for a kind of pizza.  I did that with a pita today with some leftovers and really liked it

Indian-Spiced Shrimp

      2    Tbs. coriander seeds
      2 t  cumin seeds
    1/4    to 1/2 tsp. dried red chile flakes
    1/2 c  unsweetened coconut milk
      3    Tbs. minced garlic
      3    Tbs. minced fresh ginger
      1    -1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp (21-25 count),peeled and deveined
      2    Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
    1/4 c  chopped fresh cilantro
      2    Tbs. fresh lime juice,plus 4 lime wedges for serving
           Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a small, heavy saut pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the
coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and chile flakes and cook, shaking the
pan constantly, until the spices are very fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.
Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, garlic, ginger, shrimp, and
spice powder and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 10 and up to
30 minutes.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add
the shrimp and the marinade and cook, stirring and shaking the pan,
until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, adding 1
Tbs. water at a time if necessary to keep the marinade from scorching.
Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and lime juice. Season with
salt and pepper and serve garnished with the lime wedges.

 Indian-Style Mustard Greens

1 1/4 lb mustard greens,stemmed
1/2 lb cleaned spinach
2 T  cornmeal
6    garlic cloves,chopped
4    jalapeƱos,seeded and finely chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger,peeled and chopped
2    red onions,finely chopped
1/4 c  vegetable oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mustard greens
and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds. Drain
the greens, transfer to a food processor and puree. Sprinkle the
cornmeal over the greens and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer the
pureed greens to a bowl.
2. Add the garlic, jalapeos and ginger to the food processor and finely
chop. Add the onions and finely chop.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic-onion
mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until
lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the pureed greens and cook for 4
minutes, stirring occasionally; add about 1/4 cup of water if the
greens look dry. Season with salt and serve.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Seared Scallops With Creamy Spinach And Leeks

I am kind of cheating with the declutter war today.  I had frozen scallops, not really an item I needed to get rid of, but it will still count.  I had the smaller bay or Patagonian scallops (as they seem to be called now) so I used those instead of the sea scallops.  Other than that, my only deviation from the following recipe was that I chopped the spinach before cooking and I used 2 large leeks and had way more than one cup.  The creamy spinach and leeks were awesome!  My husband called it the star of the dish.  It was easy and pretty quick.  The boys ate the kasha from the night before as a starch; I just had this.  The only issue with the dish is the price tag is not an everyday kind of price.  Scallops and leeks aren't cheap, but for an every once in a while dish, it is workable;).  A solid 4 (to 4.5)

Seared Scallops With Creamy Spinach And Leeks

2    -1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
12 oz baby spinach (about 12 loosely packed cups)
2    medium leeks (white and light-green parts only),halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise,and rinsed (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt
2    large cloves garlic,minced
1/3 c  dry white wine
1/3 c  heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2    Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
16    large dry-packed sea scallops
4 t  vegetable oil

Melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high
heat. Add half of the spinach and cook, tossing with tongs, until just
wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a colander set over a
bowl; let drain and cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining spinach
(you dont need to add more butter). Squeeze handfuls of the spinach to
release as much liquid as possible.
Discard any liquid in the skillet. Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter
over medium heat and then add the leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook until
softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook,
stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the wine, raise the heat to medium
high,  and cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the cream
and simmer until its thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 2
minutes. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt, a generous grind of pepper, and the
nutmeg. Stir in the cheese and gently fold in the spinach. Keep warm.
Pat the scallops dry and remove the side muscle if still attached. In a
12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp. of the oil over medium heat until
shimmering hot. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Add half of
the scallops to the pan and cook, undisturbed, until browned on the
bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until just opaque in
the center, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate and tent with
foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tsp. of oil and the
scallops. Serve the scallops over the spinach.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chimichurri Meatballs

The war with my kitchen continues apace.  Tonight, I kill off one of the worst offences I have committed by getting rid of the frozen meatballs I bought.  To do so, I pick this recipe.  I wanted to try this recipe, but I knew we were going to be unhappy.  We adore our chimichuri sauce and have never tasted it's equal.  But, I want to try every recipe, and in all fairness, we haven't looked too far beyond our chimichuri recipe.  Were we disappointed?  Yes, but not horribly so.  It wasn't the magical sauce we know and love, but it wasn't bad.  I personally found it too much oil and vinegar to herbs, and I pureed it rather than just mix the ingredients as originally called for.  I think I would like try this with my personal recipe, perhaps making it with all parsley versus the half parsley, half cilantro I normally do.  The boys liked them well enough too.  They liked them better than I did.  They would be happy to have them again as is.  Me, not so much.  Another "war" ingredient was the kasha we had it with.  My husband make a great side with dried porcini and a mushroom broth!

Chimichurri Meatballs

1 bn minced curly leaf parsley leaves and stems
1 c  extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c  red wine vinegar
2 T  minced fresh oregano leaves (or 1teaspoon dried)
2 t  sugar
1 t  crushed red pepper flakes
1 Clove garlic, minced
Minced zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste

25 oz cocktail meatballs
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Put (frozen) meatballs in a wide pan with 2 oz water and cover.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low while making chimichuri. Put the chimichuri  ingredients in to a blender and puree.  Taste for salt and heat.  Adjust with salt and hot sauce. (keep in mind the feta you add at the end will add salt)
Make sure the meatballs are heated through. Transfer meatballs to a platter that has some of the chimichurri spooned onto the bottom; top the meatballs with some of the sauce and
tent with foil to keep warm. Garnish with crumbled feta, which is not an Argentinean, but adds this

amazing salty bite to this dish.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Corn with Umeboshi Paste and Mashed Potatoes with Nutritional Yeast Gravy

Tonight, for meatless Monday, we had a bunch of sides, but really made some progress on getting rid of odds and ends that were cluttering up my pantry and fridge.  For starters, I have several salad dressings I had made, so one of them got used up on our salad.  I had a few sweet potatoes left, so I made a mashed potatoes with them and an russet I had.  The biggest victory was using up some of the Umeboshi paste.  I got some for the Swedish Meatballs in Spicy Plum Sauce.  I am still not sure that these were the pickled plums called for, but they have an unusual and interesting flavor.  And at $15 for 7oz, an ingredient I don't want to waste.  When I had looked for uses for the left overs, many sources said the 'tradtional' way to eat it was a bit in the center of a ball of rice.  I would like to try that too, but the corn recipe was raved about so that one came first.  (I also want to try the salad dressing and cocktail recipe I came across)  The coolest thing about tonight was the easy to clean the corn of its silks.  I saw it on pinterest, so I knew it was either awesome of a colossal failure.  Hooray, it was awesome.  You put the unshucked corn in the microwave for 5 minutes to cook, then you cut the bottom 1/2-1" off.  Cut enough that you are getting in to the kernels.  Then hold the top of the silks and the corn slips right out!  You can see the instructions and the pictures of it here.  The diner was pretty good.  My kids and I love nutritional yeast and eat a lot of it on popcorn.  We all fight over the yeast left in the bottom of the bowl.  My husband won't touch it.  I was very excited for the gravy.  We all liked it, husband included. If I ever remove all meat from my diet, gravy would be the thing I really miss (well in the top 5;), and this gravy is close enough that I would be ok with it!  The corn was really good too.  I was surprised I didn't miss the butter.

Nutritional Yeast Gravy

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes (see note)
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In the bottom of a medium or large skillet, toast nutritional yeast and flour over medium heat until you can start to smell them, stirring constantly.
2. Add oil and stir with a whisk while it bubbles and turns golden brown. Add water, still stirring with a whisk, until mixture changes to gravy consistency. Stir in soy sauce to taste, salt and pepper.

Corn with Umeboshi Paste

Corn (in husks)
Umeboshi Paste

Put the unshuchked corn in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Remove with a pot holder and cut off the bottom 1", put the cut end on a cutting board and grab the silks on top.  Pull upwards and viola!  Then for the umeboshi, I can't be more precise since you need to go pretty sparingly on the paste.  It is super salty and sour.  How much you need depends on the size of the corn and your own personal preference.  I just put about a 1/2 tsp on my fingertips and spread evenly over the entire cob

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Harissa, Chilli, Sausage And Rocket Topping Pizza

Day 7 of the war on food clutter, and today's recipe doesn't even count as hit.  I decide to tackle the newly promoted fridge combatant, harissa, again.  Why isn't this really an effective attack?  Well, the harissa is like a hot sauce, and will keep in there a while, and we eat hot sauce on a lot of things and this is a tasty one.  So, I am not really getting rid of anything I am letting clutter up my kitchen as a useless ingredient.  I refuse to say it wasn't a clean up recipe, just not an effective one.  I like the pizza tonight, but I wasn't really wowed.  It might be that I am not the biggest fan of sausage.  The boys seemed to like it.  The BLT last night was so much better.  I like the topping of the pizza with the arugula.  It was nice.  I don't think this really qualifies as pizza.  There is no, cheese.  It looked like a pizza but it is really more of an open face sandwich.  I feel a little cruel.  I told the kids we were having pizza for dinner and this is what they got.  Thankfully they really liked it.  Otherwise, I think I would have felt a little bad;).

Harissa, Chilli, Sausage And Rocket Topping Pizza

2    spring onions
1    red chilli (optional)
2    fat sausages
2 tsp  fennel seed
2 Tbsp  harissa sauce
a handful of wild rocket (arugula)
salt and pepper
1 lb pizza dough

Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Trim and finely
slice the spring onions (green and white bit) and halve, deseed and
finely slice the red chilli (if using) and set aside.
Snip the skin of the sausages and then peel it off or squeeze the
sausage meat out. Break the sausage meat into small pieces. (I also like to flatten these small pieces so they are sure to cook all the way through.)  Roll out the dough on a flat, floured surface.  Carefully remove the pizza stone from the oven to a heat proof surface.  Put the rolled out dough on the stone and spread the harissa paste all over the pizza base. I like to leave a
1cm/½in border for aesthetic purposes only! Scatter the onions, chilli, sausage meat and fennel seeds over and season with a little salt and pepper.  Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked.  Remove pizza to a cutting board and scatter with the arugula.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes and then slice and eat:)

Before the Arugula
With Arugula

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blt And E With Harissa Mayo

The war on clutter continues.  Victory is in sight but still about a week away.  Tonight, I deliver a blow that I consider more of a stalemate.  I used a jar of harissa from the pantry I bought a while ago, but since I didn't finish it, it moved from a pantry combatant to a refrigerator combatant.  But I do not despair, one day soon, I will finish him off!  I did deviate a bit on this one.  I don't care much for the frisee or radicchio called for, and I had arugula so I used it.  I think I will use arugula for all future BLTs.  It was yummy!  I also used an extra tsp of the harissa.  My jar was not very hot, and I thought it could use some extra.  In fact we spooned some of the straight harissa on to the sandwich,  but I was under the impression it was pretty fiery usually.  I haven't cooked with it before, but I have had it in restaurants; sometimes the dish was hot, sometimes not.   I also forgot the shallot.  I didn't miss it, but I don't think it would have been bad.  I did screw one thing up, I forgot to set the timer on the eggs and the yellows were not very runny.  While I was disappointed, (because a runny yellow is one of the most delicious things ever) it was still a really tasty dish!  If you want, you could make this pork free, or vegetarian  by using turkey or veggie bacon.  It was really easy and fast too.  If your dinner hour is particularly rushed, you could make the mayo and cut the veggies ahead of time.

Blt And E With Harissa Mayo
makes 2 sandwiches

2    Tbs. mayonnaise
1 t  harissa
4 sl bacon
1    Tbs. plus 1 tsp. cider vinegar
2    eggs
2/3 c  lightly packed shredded lettuce
1 t  minced shallot
1/2 t  extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Four 1/2-inch slices good-quality sandwich bread
1    small ripe tomato,thinly sliced
[Note: Tip: Harissa is a chile-and-spice paste that hails from North
Africa. For a slightly different effect, you could substitute a mild
Thai curry paste or other Asian chile.  ]
Combine the mayonnaise and harissa in a small bowl and stir until
blended. Set aside.
Cut the bacon in half crosswise, arrange in a medium skillet, and put
the skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning the bacon frequently, until
cooked through and crispy but still a little chewy, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Lower the
heat to a bare simmer and add ?1 tablespoon of the vinegar. Crack an
egg into a small cup or ramekin and, holding the cup just above the
surface of the water, carefully pour the egg into the water. Repeat
with the second egg. Cook the eggs until the whites have cooked through
but the yolk is still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. (To check, carefully lift
an egg out of the water with a slotted spoon. Prod the white it should
feel firm and bouncy all the way through.) With a slotted spoon,
transfer the eggs to another paper towel lined plate.

In a small bowl, combine the frisee or radicchio, ( or the arugula in my case) the remaining 1
teaspoon vinegar, the shallot, and the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch
of salt and pepper and toss to blend.
Toast or grill the bread to your liking, then spread the mayo evenly
over two pieces. Top with the bacon, tomato, frisee, and egg. Sprinkle
the egg with a little salt and pepper, then top with the other two
pieces of bread.

Serve right away