Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Turkey Burgers With Spicy Pickle Sauce

My daughter requested burgers tonight. I am, shockingly, running low on new burger recipes.  Ok not exactly low, but I only have recipes left to try are low in interest such as this "bikini friendly" burger.  I am innately suspicious of a 'light' burger.  Despite our concerns, we all liked it way more than we thought we would.  My son even rated it a 5!  Burgers are always easy and this one was no exception.  The most taxing thing was chopping the pickles and peppers.  Next time, I would half the peppers.  It might just be the pickled jalapenos we used, but this was really spicy.  It wasn't unbearable on the burgers, but we did want a bit more of the sauce, but didn't think we could take the heat.

Turkey Burgers With Spicy Pickle Sauce
1/2 Cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 Cup chopped dill pickles
2 Tbl chopped pickled hot peppers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Lb lean ground turkey
1 Tsp smoked sweet paprika
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
4 whole wheat English muffins or hamburger buns, split
Lettuce and sliced red onion and tomatoes, for serving

1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a medium bowl, mix the
yogurt with the dill pickles and hot peppers and season with salt and
black pepper.
 2. In a large bowl, gently knead the turkey with the paprika and 1 1/2
teaspoons of salt. Form the meat into 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick.
Brush the patties with olive oil and season lightly with salt and black
pepper. Grill the patties over moderately high heat, turning once or
twice, until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Grill the English muffins
on both sides until toasted, about 2 minutes.
 3. Spread the pickle sauce on the English muffins. Top with the burgers,
  lettuce, onion and tomatoes. Close the sandwiches and serve right away.

Make Ahead The pickle sauce can be refrigerated overnight

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hanger Steak With Spicy Miso Glaze

The flavors of this glaze were great, if not that spicy.  We made a small dipping pool of the sriracha on our plates so we could spice it up a bit.  I think that is only because we were expecting spicy.  My husband, who was home late, reheated some in the toaster oven and thought it was really great.  So tasty, but don't expect a lot of heat.  You can always add more.  The 'glaze' wasn't glaze like as I would have thought.  It was more of a thick sauce.  I finished by broiling it for a couple of minutes to try and make it really stick.  My local store didn't have hanger steak, so I used flank and played with the cooking time a bit.  Also, I wasn't buying an expensive bottle of grapeseed oil for this and used safflower instead.  I didn't try this, but I bet you could even make the glaze ahead of time and just cook the meat at dinner time.  The recipe doesn't say this, but I always let meat warm up at least 20 minutes on the counter before cooking.  We had rice and salad with this which keeps it simple since I have a rice cooker.   All in all, fast and tasty.   :) 

Hanger Steak With Spicy Miso Glaze

1/2 Cup mirin
2 Tbs. minced shallots
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 Tsp minced garlic
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. grapeseed oil
2 Tsp light miso
1/4 Tsp Asian hot sauce such as Sriracha
1  1-3/4- to 2-lb. hanger steak trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Cup thinly sliced scallions
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400F.
Simmer the mirin, shallots, ginger, and garlic in an 8-inch skillet over
medium heat until the mixture is syrupy and large bubbles start to form,
about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 Tbs. of the
grapeseed oil, the miso, and the hot sauce. Set aside.
Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch oven-
safe skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the remaining 2 tsp. oil,
swirling it until the pan is well coated. Cook the steaks, flipping
once, until browned, about 4 minutes total. Using a pastry brush, spread
the glaze evenly over the steaks, transfer to the oven, and roast until
an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak
reads 130F to 135F for medium rare, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the steaks to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, and then
cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pour any juice remaining
in the pan over top and sprinkle with the scallions.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spicy Corn Chowder

Let me start with it was a bit of work.  Mostly the work is getting corn off 10 cobs, and normally I would say if you want a short cut, try frozen, but the original recipe says that fresh is essential.  It was totally worth the work!  (click here for a fast way of getting all the silk off corn on the cob)  We all loved it.  I do have some recommendations if you make this.  First of all, the bacon topping was really enough for about half the soup because this makes quite a bit.  My husband shredded up some deli ham on his second bowl.  The chipotle powder only adds spice at the end of the bite, the soup doesn't taste very spicy, so I suggest you do what we did, and let everyone spice theirs up individually.  (my son turned his pink with sriracha!)  Also, have extra of the broth and half and half on hand.  It might just have been we had a fairly large potato that sucked up a lot of the liquid, or that it wasn't supposed to have much liquid, but I added additional broth and half and half.  I just kind of eyeballed equal amounts of both and it was pretty close to an additional cup of each.  Also, you are going to need a good bit of salt to season it well, and some liberal shakes of granulated garlic really made a difference. Oh and everything seemed to take longer to cook than stated.  I mostly left the following recipe alone, but I strongly suggest you make the changes we did.  It was amazing!  It was very filling but you wanted to eat more!  The boys had two huge bowls each.  The girl and I had a more reasonable sized one, and we still have two large bowlfuls left.

Spicy Corn Chowder
1/2 Lb thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (6 -slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch -pieces
1 medium yellow onion cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 scallions thinly sliced
2 celery ribs cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch d
1 Tsp fresh thyme
5 Cup fresh corn kernels (from 10 medium cobs)
1/2 Tsp pure chipotle chile powder
2 Cup half-and-half (I used closer to 3 cups)
2 Cup lower-salt chicken broth (I used closer to 3 cups)
1 large russet potato peeled and coarsely grated
Kosher salt
Granulated Garlic
Grated white Cheddar for garnish (it says optional but...)
Hot sauce to add heat to taste

Cook the bacon in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot
over medium-high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. With a
slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Pour off
and discard all but 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat.
Return the Dutch oven to medium-high heat and add the onion, half of the
scallions, the celery, bell pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add
the corn and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chipotle
powder and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the half-and-half and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the
grated potato, lower the heat to medium, and cook, covered, until the
potato is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt (and garlic)
and transfer to 4 large soup bowls. Garnish with the reserved bacon and
scallions, and the cheese, if using, and serve.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Roasted Beet Sandwiches With Herbed Goat Cheese

My family was not happy about this dish! I had some beets to use and have been wanting to try this, so they were out of luck tonight. My son hates beets but deemed this acceptable. My husband, who was cringing at the thought of tonight's dinner was pleasantly surprised! I liked them a lot. 4 stars for me, 3.5 for the boys. They were super quick, as I roasted and made the cheese mixture earlier, so when dinner time came, I needed only to toast the bread. 

Roasted Beet Sandwiches With Herbed Goat Cheese

8 medium beets trimmed
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 small cloves garlic minced
1/4 Cup thinly sliced chives
1 -1/2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 Oz fresh goat cheese softened
3/4 Cup (one 7.5 oz. container) crème fraîche
1 Tsp chopped pink peppercorns
6 Four-inch pieces soft-crusted ciabatta bread
3 Cup baby arugula

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375F.
Arrange the beets in a baking dish thats just large enough to
accommodate them, such as an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Drizzle
the beets with the vegetable oil and turn to coat well. Cover the dish
with foil. Roast the beets until tender when pierced with a paring knife,
  about 1 hour. Let cool.

Peel the beets and slice 1/4 inch thick. Combine the beets, olive oil,
garlic, 1 Tbs. of the chives, and 1/2 Tbs. of the tarragon in a medium
bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese, crme frache, peppercorns, and
the remaining 3 Tbs. chives and 1 Tbs. tarragon. Season to taste with
salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler
on high. Split the ciabatta pieces and lightly toast them cut sides up
directly on the rack under the broiler.

Divide the beet mixture evenly over the bottom halves of the bread. Drop
the cheese mixture by spoonfuls over the beets. Top the cheese with the
arugula, dividing evenly. Place the top halves of the ciabatta over the
arugula and press gently. Cut the sandwiches in half on the diagonal and

Make Ahead Tips
Make ahead: The goat cheese can be prepared up to 1 week ahead. The
beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead, and mixed with the oil and
seasoning up to 1 day ahead. Keep everything refrigerated until ready to

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Collard Greens with Dumplings

I love most greens.  Chard, beet, you name it, I love them with two exceptions: Mustard and Collard.  I am not saying I don't like them, but I have never eaten them and been wowed. (well except for the Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Collard Greens, that was amazing)   I got some collard greens this week in my Front Porch Pickings basket, and decided to try this recipe out.  I had just shy of a pound of the collards, so I cut off the beet greens off my beets I also received in the basket and used them to make up the difference.  The only other change I made was I used dried ancho chiles since I couldn't find any dried chipotle. And guess what?  I loved them!  The boy didn't care much for them; I remember being very sensitive to certain flavors as a kid so I kind of understand, but the adults really dug it!  Since I knew the boys would need something besides this dish, my husband fried up some chicken.  (keeping with the southern theme.  We also drank out of mason jars lol ;)

Collard Greens With Dumplings
For the collard greens:
8 ounces bacon medium dice
1 medium yellow onion medium dice
3 medium garlic cloves coarsely chopped
3 dried chipotle chiles
3/4 Tsp kosher salt plus more as needed
1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
2 Cup water
2 Lb collard greens tough stems removed, washed, and cut into bite sized pieces

For the dumplings:
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tsp baking soda
3/4 Tsp granulated sugar
1/4 Tsp fine salt
1/2 Cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 Tbl unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly

For the collard greens:
Place the bacon in a 10-inch Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot
over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp,
about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-
lined plate and discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the
Add the onion, garlic, chiles, and measured salt and pepper and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and beginning to brown,
about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in
the greens a handful at a time, adding more as they wilt, until they're
all in the pot. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low,
and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the greens are very tender and
almost falling apart, about 30 minutes. Taste and season with additional
salt and pepper as needed.
For the dumplings:
When the greens are ready, place the flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt
in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and melted
butter and stir until the flour mixture is moistened and a soft dough
Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons about 1/2 inch apart into the
simmering greens. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked
through and the tops are no longer sticky, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the chipotle pods from the pot if desired. Sprinkle the greens
with the reserved bacon and serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Roast Salmon With Whole-Grain-Mustard Crust

Well tonight's dinner was a win.  Not only was it easy to prepare, but it was really tasty!  It kind of reminded me of this cold "smoked salmon" appetizer I had recently at a restaurant I like, so next time I want to play around with it and add the ingredients that were in that dish.  (some brown sugar, dill, and maybe liquid smoke??) Everyone loved the meal.  (well not the 3 year old but she had missed a nap and didn't like anything at that point!)  I think it is really important to get a great mustard.  (and one that has visible mustard seeds in it!!)  And, as I have chives growing in my garden, and whole grain mustard and olive oil are pantry staples, all I needed to buy was the salmon.  (which was good because it isn't exactly economical;)  The only deviation I made was I only roasted it for 2 minutes before the 4 minute broil.  These fillets were a bit smaller and fairly thin.  Next time, I think I could skip the roast all together and just broil.

Roast Salmon With Whole-Grain-Mustard Crust
1/4 Cup whole-grain mustard
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbl minced chives
4 Eight -ounce skin-on wild salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum
foil. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, olive oil and chives.~
2. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and place them skin
side down on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the mustard mixture over
the tops of the fillets. Roast the fish for 6 minutes.
3. Preheat the broiler. Broil the salmon 6 inches from the heat for
about 4 minutes, until the mustard crust is browned and the salmon is
almost cooked through. Using a spatula, carefully slide the salmon
fillets off their skins and transfer to plates; leave the skin on, if
desired. Serve immediately.

This was the mustard I used. I think the important thing is to get a mustard
with the the visible mustard seeds!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ginger Miso Marinade

So I am doing the clean out the fridge thing again.  I had some thin pork chops and a boat load of veggies so I sort of just make it up as I go along.  The marinade for the pork was good, the noodles we will never speak of again!  We all ate them, but liberal application of sriacha and soy sauce were needed.  That combo could most likely make anything taste good!  So, I am passing on the marinade recipe!  I let the pork sit in it for a couple of hours. 

Ginger Miso Marinade
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tbsp miso, red
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk.  Pour over the meat in a ziploc bag and seal tight. :-)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Smoked Salmon Pasta

Tonight's dish was stellar!  I found it on another of my favorite sites nillawan.com.  I is loaded with yummy sounding things and just plain cool stuff.  She calls it a guide to whimsical living.  Love that.  I can't say enough great things about this dish!  My son inhaled 2 large portions.  I wanted a second one but....  you know the first one was pretty big! Everyone at the table raved about it.  In short, make this!  And you know the drill, with my fellow bloggers, I give a link to their site.  Oh I did make one small change.  I didn't cook the salmon.  I just threw it in with the hot pasta and sauce and stirred.

Smoked Salmon Pasta

penne pasta
smoked salmon
pine nuts
spring onions
Splash white wine
Knob butter
Salt and cracked black pepper

Recipe and directions here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Best of the Burgers

Well it has just come to my attention that we have made 42 different burgers.  42, the meaning of life the universe and everything!  That can't be a coincidence since a burger has to be one of the most perfect and yummy meals ever!  (perhaps the meaning of life and our existence it to appreciate the awesomeness of the burger! lol) I decided to compile a top ten list of the burgers we have made.  This isn't easy.  I am tempted to put as number one on the list the most recent of the outstanding burgers, but that could just be a temporal anomaly;).  I am polling the family too because I am finding this to be quite a daunting task!  Also, do I make sure to include one of each kind of burger??  (veggie, turkey, beef etc...)  That might make it easier.  Best of each type and fill in the rest of the ten of the second place ones.  After much discussion we compiled a list of the top 10 (ok 11 but more on that later)  Now for the biggest problem, can I order these from 1-10 in descending awesomeness?  No, so these are all great and in alphabetical order.  If someone put a gun to me and required me to pick my personal favorite of all these I don't know if I could pick just one, however the contenders would be the Bahn Mi (#1), the Miami (#8) and the Italian Sausage (#6) and of course a really good regular burger with everything but mustard.  Ladies and gentlemen, may I present you, The Best of the Burgers!

1) Bahn Mi Burger

This is an Asian seasoned pork patty with pickled vegges, cilantro, mayo, ham and jalapenos. (insert the sound of Homer Simpson drooling here!)

2) BLT Burger with Garlicky Mayonnaise

This take on the flavors of a BLT has a beef patty with a sundried tomato & garlic mayo, bacon and arugula.

3) Cheddar and Onion Smashed Burgers

What makes this burger special is the way it is cooked.  The beef patties are smashed on the skillet, topped with an onion slice and flipped.  The onion is mostly inside the meat and cooked in the beef drippings.  They are partly caramelized and their moisture keeps the burger juicy.

4) Chicken Burgers with Spicy Peanut Sauce

This chicken patty is seasoned with onion & chile powder and topped with a sauce of coconut milk, peanut butter, onions. peanuts and garam masala.

5) Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers

This is a pork and kimchi patty that is coated with panko, served with wilted spinach and mayo seasoned with sesame oil and soy.  This one almost made it in to the top favorites!

6) Italian Sausage Burgers with Garckly Spinach

This patty is made of Italian sausage and it is topped with the tastiest spinach, sun dried tomato pesto and provolone cheese!  So good!

7) Lola Burger

The Lola burger is like a breakfast sandwich and a burger had a baby!  A beef patty with a fried egg, bacon, smoky cheese and pickled onions.

8) Miami Burger

This is a half pork, half beef patty with Dijon, mayo, ham, Swiss and pickles and pressed.  It's like a Cuban sandwich and a burger had a baby!  Oh my!

9) Middle Eastern Lamb Burger

Sorry I don't seem to have a picture of this!  We will make it again soon and take one;).  The patty is lamb seasoned with onion, garlic, parsley, mint and Cayenne pepper, and it is topped with a cucumber and cumin yogurt relish.

10) Thai Curry Turkey Burgers

This turkey patty is seasoned with Thai red curry paste and served with a lime seasoned mayo, cilantro, shallots, cucumbers and tomatoes.  This one almost made it in to my personal favorites, but I made it so long ago, I didn't trust my recollection;).

And for all of these recipes you can click on the Best of the Burgers label, and if you are interested in all 42 burgers you can check out the burger label.

Oh yes and I almost forgot the 11th one.  I don't really consider this a burger but I guess it is since it is a hamburger steak, and my husband thought it should be included.

Bitokes A La Russe

This is a hamburger steak in an amazing cream sauce!

Well crap!  I just realized that there is a burger that wasn't in the running since I had a typo in the label!  It is one amazing burger and I guess I would replace the cheddar smashed ones (#3) with this one but then I would have to rearrange everything so I will just add it!  This one is really amazing!

Asian Style Pork Burgers
This is a pork patty seasoned with ginger, garlic, scallions and sesame oil topped with slaw with a rice wine vinegar dressing and sriacha mayo!  Add this to the list of bests if gun was pulled on me;).

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beef-And-Lamb Burgers With Cheddar And Caper Remoulade

These were good burgers.  I am starting with that because now I am going to nit pick the issues I had and want to get it upfront that they were good;).  The English muffins were great for bread, but they got soggy fast with the drippings from the burgers. (I even used 85% lean)  I also would have liked a bit less meat per burger.  The lamb/beef combination, however, was really nice, and the caper remoulade was really tasty. The boy loved the burgers; we all did.  It is just that we have had some outstanding burgers and this one was just really good.

Beef-And-Lamb Burgers With Cheddar And Caper Remoulade
4 cornichons coarsely chopped
3 Tbl parsley leaves coarsely chopped
2 Tsp drained capers
1 garlic clove
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1 Tbl whole-grain mustard
3/4 Lb ground beef preferably 80 percent lean
1/2 Lb ground lamb
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 English muffins split
4 thin slices of aged cheddar
Tomato slices and thinly sliced English cucumber, for garnish (optional)
1. Light a grill. In a mini food processor, pulse the cornichons with
the parsley leaves, capers and garlic clove until finely chopped. Add
the mayonnaise and mustard and pulse until blended.
2. In a large bowl, gently mix the ground beef with the ground lamb and
season generously with salt and pepper. Form the meat mixture into four
1-inch-thick patties and make a slight indentation in the center of each
one with your thumb. Season the burgers with salt and pepper.
3. Grill the English muffin halves cut side down until toasted, about 1
minute. Flip the muffins and grill for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a
work surface cut side up and spread the bottom halves of the muffins
with the caper remoulade.
4. Grill the burgers over high heat until they are nicely charred on
the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the burgers, top them with the cheddar
cheese and grill until cooked to medium and the cheese melts, about 4
minutes longer. Transfer the burgers to the toasted English muffins and
let rest for 5 minutes. Top the burgers with the tomatoes and cucumbers
if desired, close the burgers and serve.
Make Ahead The caper remoulade can be refrigerated in an airtight
container for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eggs Benedict Day

So, I saw somewhere that it was Eggs Benedict Day (or maybe week). Being one of my favorite dishes, I had to celebrate by making some!  I mean hello?  It is loaded with egg yolk!   Problem.  I have made them for the blog before and I have been slacking about posting every day, so it really should be different some how.  What I decided to to was clean up a bit.  (some of it is actually pre clean up!  Yea impressive I know:)  I had some spinach laying around so I wilted it with some garlic and anchovy paste.  (like in the Italian Sausage Burgers with garlicky mayo)  That cleaned up some produce, and I had a bit more smoked salmon than I need for the up coming smoked salmon pasta, so we each had one smoked salmon Benedict and one spinach.  Both were really tasty but ham or the veggie one from Peach Valley Cafe still reign supreme in my mind!
I am including the recipe for the spinach, eggs and the hollandaise.  If you need a recipe for toasting the english muffins, you are on your own;)!

Garlic Spinach

10 ounces baby spinach
2 T extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for brushing
2 garlic cloves,minced
1 t anchovy paste

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the
spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain
and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.
In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until
shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat,
stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt
and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

 Blender Hollandaise Sauce

In the container of a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and hot pepper sauce. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds. Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.
Poached Eggs
White Vinegar
Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.  Add a good splash of vinegar. (I think I used about 1/4 cup)  Crack the eggs, individually,  in to a shallow cup and gently slide them in to the water.  I like to give the water a gentle swirl after each egg is added to kind of shape the whites.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to dry.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spaghetti With Wilted Greens And Walnut-Parsley Pesto

For meatless Monday, I am making something I saw on Pinterest, and since my Husband won't be home for dinner, something extra 'healthy' that he most likely wouldn't like.  He doesn't need to eat light; he is one of those annoying people who can eat anything, never exercise and stay thin.  (Ugh I know!)  Now I put healthy in quotes because while the original recipe was from health.com and fairly light, I did add some fat and salt. (blush)  I did this partly because I didn't thoroughly read the recipe and partly because I knew it would need it.  How did I diverge from the recipe? I did the following:

3 tbsp oil in pesto
1/3 cup pasta water saved and used
More salt
Cooked eggs like I normally do in butter

Now while that does add some fat and calories, it is just a bit and the end dish was actually really good!  It was super easy to make and even the kids liked it.  My son added sriacha to his so I did too and it just got tastier.  By the time I finished my bowl, I was really digging it!

Spaghetti With Wilted Greens And Walnut-Parsley Pesto

1 (1-pound) box whole-wheat spaghetti
1 Bunch Swiss chard chopped
1 Cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 Cup packed fresh baby spinach
1/4 Cup walnuts toasted
1 small clove garlic peeled and chopped
2 Tbl plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 Tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 Tsp Kosher salt divided
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper divided
6 large eggs
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta
according to package directions; reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water.
Add chard after 5 minutes of cooking and drain; return pasta and greens
to pot.
2. While pasta is cooking, combine parsley, spinach, walnuts, garlic, 2
tablespoons oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon each
salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until chunky.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil
over medium-high heat. Working in batches, crack eggs into skillet. Cook
until the whites are completely firm but the yolks are still soft (about
two minutes). Season eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
4. Toss reserved pasta mixture with pesto and enough reserved cooking
water to make a thin sauce. Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls and top
each with a fried egg.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Famous Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing

I thought I would try again to make the ginger dressing I love from Benihanas.  I liked the Asian Ginger-Carrot dressing I made last month, but it needed a day to mellow and it was not just like my favorite ginger dressing.  I found this on Pinterest too.  (yes I spent way too much time finding even more recipes for my to try file:)  We all liked this one too, but it was not Benihanas.  I think that I prefer this one to the other. 

Famous Japanese Restaurant-Style Salad Dressing

 In a blender, combine the minced onion, peanut oil, rice vinegar, water, ginger, celery, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper . Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are well-pureed.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

White Spinach Pizza

The war on food clutter was forgotten about until the fridge fired the first shot in our renewed conflict.  I am refusing to cook anything that isn't mostly using up stuff I have!  Not all have been great, but this one was!  I think you could use creamed spinach too, but the spinach from the eggs was amazing and as we only had 3 eating the recipe, we had some left.  I was worried when I took the pizza out that I had ruined it as the cream had returned to liquid, but it was great!

White Spinach Pizza

1 lb pizza dough
1/2 cup of spinach and sauce from mollet eggs florentine
1/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 shallot thinly sliced
Salt, pepper & garlic
3 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
4 oz Mozzarella, shredded 

Put the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
When the stone has been in the 500 degree oven about 15 minutes, start rolling out you dough to roughly a 18" circle (or to the size of your stone)
Put the ricotta and cream and a bit of salt, pepper and granulated garlic in a mini food processor or blender and mix and whip until thick.
Pull the stone from the oven. (careful it's hot;)
Put the dough on the stone, spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture.
Spoon small dollops of the spinach as evenly as possible over the pizza.
Evenly put the fresh mozzarella over the pizza.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella and finally the shallot
Return to the oven and bake for about 7 minutes of until the crust is nice and golden and the cheese is bubbling.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicken Tetrazzini

My husband picked out this recipe from my chicken board on pinterest.  Why?  Well when he first went off to college, he took his mom's Betty Crocker cookbook and this was the first meal he meal he made out of it.  He thought it was wonderful then and wanted to try it now.  The original pin went to a Martha Stewart recipe.  And while I have had a few of hers I liked, there have been some stinkers too.  You can imagine my concern when I saw some reviews that likened her recipe to hospital food!  One reviewer said Giada's was better.  A quick look at her recipe showed me that I had all I needed and it did indeed look like a superior recipe.  Now the Martha recipe called for rotisserie chicken, which I bought, so I shredded that instead of cooking the chicken like recommended in this recipe. I also halved the recipe and cooked it in an 8"x8" pan.  It was way more than the four of us could eat and we ate heartily.  Everyone liked it, even the 3 yr old.  The one thing I liked about the Martha Stewart recipe, was it said to make and put it in two pans and freeze one.  I like the convenience of having two meals prepared at once.  While this recipe doesn't state that it is possible, I think that if I made the entire recipe and put it in to two pans, one would freeze nicely.  Haven't tried it so I could be mistaken.

Chicken Tetrazzini
9 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 Tsp salt
1 1/4 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Lb white mushrooms sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
 Clove garlic minced
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 Cup dry white wine
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
4 Cup whole milk room temperature
1 Cup heavy whipping cream room temperature
1 Cup chicken broth
1/8 Tsp ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine
3/4 Cup frozen peas
1/4 Cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 Cup grated Parmesan
1/4 Cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2)  Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.
Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying
pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each
of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale
golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the
chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into
bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.
 3) Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan.
Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from
the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 1-2
minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is
translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it
evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl
with the chicken.
 4) Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat.
Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth,
nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon
pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer,
uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10
5) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and
cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring
occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and
parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and
the mixture is well blended.
 6) Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the
cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese
mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.
Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about
25 minutes

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mollet Eggs Florentine

Anytime I think I think I'm pretty good in the kitchen, I try to peel a boiled egg!  I have no idea how anyone can get those perfect, smooth eggs.  Mine look like surface of the moon or somewhere they test bombs!  It was meatless Monday, so in order to keep the boys from rebelling completely, I decide to make an egg dish. (they get some protein that way)  They looked beautiful, and except for the complete pain in the butt part (peeling the eggs) it wasn't too hard to make.  It was well received by my husband(he really liked it actually) , but the boy didn't care for it much.  (too much green IMO)  I thought it was good too despite the fact that I was ready to kill someone after "peeling" the eggs)  It is Jacques Pepin recipe I found on pinterest.   Only thing I might suggest is when he says to shake the pan to crack the eggs, I think he means gently move the eggs until they crack.  I had two casualties after the "shake"  That was ok, the girl wasn't wanting to eat when we did;).

Mollet Eggs Florentine

8 large eggs preferably organic

2 Lb spinach
3 Tbl unsalted butter
2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 Tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tbl grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese

1 Tbl unsalted butter
1 Tbl all-purpose flour
1 Cup half-and-half
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbl freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 4 to 6 cups water to a boil in a shallow saucepan (about 8 inches
wide and 3 inches deep). With a pushpin or thumbtack, prick a small hole
in the rounder end of each egg (this will help prevent the shells from
cracking during cooking). Using a small sieve, lower the eggs into the
boiling water, and let it come back to a simmer. Cook for about 6
minutes. Pour the water out and shake the pan to crack the eggshells.
Cool thoroughly.

Gently shell the eggs (to prevent breaking them) under cold running

FOR THE SPINACH: Bring about 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil in a
stainless steel pot. Meanwhile, remove and discard the spinach stems.
Drop the leaves into the boiling water and boil, covered, for about 1
minute, until wilted. Drain the spinach in a colander and immediately
refresh under cold running water to stop the cooking and keep the color.
Drain again, pressing on the spinach to extract as much water as
Put the spinach on a chopping block and coarsely chop.
Melt the butter in a skillet over high heat and cook until it turns
brown. Add the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, mix well with a fork,
and cook for 2 minutes.
Arrange the spinach in the bottom of an ovenproof dish large enough to
accommodate the eggs. Arrange the cold eggs on the spinach, with a
little space between them, and sprinkle the cheese on top.

FOR THE SAUCE: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour
until smooth and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until
the mixture froths, without browning. Add the half-and-half, whipping
constantly with a whisk, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Stir
in the seasonings and continue cooking over low heat for 1 minute,
stirring constantly with the whisk. Cool for 6 to 8 minutes.~
Preheat the broiler. Add the egg yolk to the sauce, whisking very fast
and hard.
Coat the eggs with the sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Place under the hot broiler (not too close, so the eggs have a chance to
get hot inside) for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is nicely browned.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Honey Lime Shrimp

Another Pinterest recipe tonight. My husband choose it. The kids adored it! I thought the flavors were there but the sauce didn't become the glaze I expected. There was a lot of liquid in the pan, so much so I dumped it in to a pan before it had a chance to boil the shrimp, and boiled the heck out of it to try and make it more of the glaze I expected. It was still pretty liquid but was yummy.

Honey Lime Shrimp

large shrimp
olive oil
lime, juice and zest
garlic, smashed
black pepper
red pepper flakes

Recipe and Instructions here

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cauliflower Puree

The boy still has cauliflower as one of his veto ingredients, even after the cauliflower soup he loved.  I decide we should make a cauliflower puree to go with steak and see if he likes it.  He ate FOUR helpings!!!  He loved it.  And, despite being almost half potatoes, it really tasted mostly of cauliflower. We all loved it.  The incredible thing to me, was no butter and very little cream, yet it tasted like the most creamy mashed potatoes.  A wonderful side dish.  I was thinking if there was any left over, which of course there was very little, I would like to try making knishes out of the puree.   I couldn't find the source of the recipe, sorry.

Cauliflower Puree
1 small cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1-inch florets
1 Lb large Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch dice
3 Tbl heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Cloves of Garlic, Roasted*

1. In a large saucepan, cover the cauliflower and potatoes with water
and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover partially
and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain very well and return the
vegetables to the saucepan. Add the cream and mash by hand until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

*my husband added this to the original recipe by wrapping the cloves in aluminum foil and putting them through 2 toast cycles in the toaster on the dark setting.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spicy Pork Po Boys

I made this because I thought my husband would really dig it, but I gotta say I really liked it too!   If I were going to criticize anything, I would be that the bread I got was a bit too bulky.  I love a baguette but maybe if I had scooped it I would have liked it a bit better. (Or at least it wouldn't be so filling and we could have eaten more;)  Not really complaining.  It was wonderful but planning ahead for the next time I make it.   My husband pointed out that when we make something with ground pork, we seem to really like it. (However if you don't eat pork, some ground turkey could work. Make sure it isn't only turkey breast).  It was spicy, but not too spicy.  We splashed some hot sauce on them and they were just the right amount if heat.

Spicy Pork Po'boys

1 1/2 Lb ground pork
1 1/2 Tsp paprika
1 1/4 Tsp dried thyme
3/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 Tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbl Dijon mustard
2 medium kosher dill pickles very finely chopped
1/2 small shallot minced
Four 8-inch soft baguettes split
2 Cup shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes thinly sliced
Hot sauce for serving
1. Preheat a grill pan. In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the
ground pork with the paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, 1
1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Form the
pork into twelve 1/2-inch-thick patties. Grill the pork patties over
moderate heat, turning once, until they are cooked through, about 8
minutes total.
2. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise with the Dijon mustard, pickles and
shallot and season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise on both
sides of the baguettes.
3. Place 3 pork patties on the bottom of each baguette and top with the
lettuce, tomato and a few splashes of hot sauce. Close the sandwiches
and serve.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Making Dinner Family Fun Time

I thought I would take another post to talk about the importance of sharing dinner time with your family.  It has always been important, but in our electronic age even more so. It is so easy to immerse yourself in the fast paced constant data stream that is conveniently located in our palm.  I am as guilty of this as the most technology savvy teen.  I love the wealth of information we have at our fingertips, the games from crosswords to inane fruit slashing, and the fact that I have reconnected (albeit superficially) with old friends from high school.  I am not advocating becoming a Luddite, but I am advocating setting some time each day to turn it off, ignore your texts and updates and talk to your family.  I know it can be hard to do but it needs to be done.  I think this picture is a perfect example of why!

So let's work on preventing generations of idiots!  I know it won't be easy at first.  The art of conversation is like a muscle; if you don't use it you will loose it.  When we made the switch to an electronics free dinner hour, it was full of awkward pauses and silences.  That just proved to me that we needed to do this.  We are family!  If you can't chat with family...  So, how do you get past this?  Well, play to your family's interests.  If you aren't as interested in games (or puzzles) and food as we are, these particular ideas might not be a perfect fit for you but you can easily tailor it to your family.  Here is what we did:

1) Play the Ingredient Guessing Game:  I cook, so I judge.  The rest of the family take turns guessing what was put in to the dish.  Every correct answer gets a point; the person with the most points when all ingredients have been guessed wins.  It is an easy, simple game that requires no special equipment and has the added benefit of having everyone slow down their eating and start thinking about what they are putting in their mouths.  It also helps them develop their palates. (something that is sadly lacking in our children these days as their diet seems to be limited to chicken nuggets, pizza and hamburgers)

2) Read Encyclopedia Brown Books:  Any book can work and we eventually started including much longer ones, but why this particular series is great is they are short and the mystery's solution is not in the story.  Each night a different person would take a turn reading a story.  After the story was read, we would discuss the case and each say what we thought the solution was.  It works for a wide range of ages.  Even the adults enjoyed solving the cases.  Eventually, when we had finished the series, we started reading some of our most loved books and some we hadn't read at all.  I loved sharing The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy with the kids.  We looked forward to each "episode" we read each night.  Some nights my husband wouldn't be home for dinner and we didn't want him to miss any of the story so we didn't read the book, and guess what?  We chatted more easily with each other. 

However, we like variety, so we are always looking for new and different ways to enjoy family time during dinner.  I hosted a Hasbro Game Night through HouseParty and we got Scrabble Catch Phrase. We loved it and changed the way it was played it so it could work around dinner.

The original way to play (and a bit more fun) has it played kind like hot potato. You have to get your team to guess the word or phrase on the screen.  (Baseball for example)  However you can't say it starts with 'B', you can't say any part of the word (it uses a ball for example) and no it rhymes with ______.  When you get a correct answer, you pass the device.  When the timer goes off, the team that doesn't have it in their hand gets a point.  Instead we just have one person give clues to the phrase the entire time and the others guess.  No teams, just fun.  We became quite obsessed with the game.  Which brings me to another point.

If you can't beat the electronics, join them!

Out one night for dinner, we were lamenting that we weren't getting our Catch Phrase fix, and a quick search of iTunes found several games that are pretty similar to the game we love.  Below is a screen shot of my "family games" folder.  We tell riddles, play Catch Phrase type games and our new favorite, Mad Libs!  It had been fun reliving a childhood game of mine.  All these apps are free, but some have additional content you can purchase.  I really like the 'Unspeakable' one.  Instead of the general restrictions on what you can say, it gives a list of 5 words you can not say.

So while we are technically using our electronics, we aren't using them to ignore each other, we are using them to play games with each other.  Another up side to these game, I think they help improve flexibility of mind and vocabulary. 
So, get out there and spend some time with the important people in your lives that doesn't have your nose buried in your phone!