Showing posts from August, 2011

Salmon Pie & Plum Spoon Bread

Tonight we made a recipe I have been wanting to try for a long time. We didn't really care for it, so I don't want to name the chef because I like really like her.  I know I didn't make it perfectly because there was some liquid on the parchment and it made the bottoms soggy.  The flavor was pretty good, but it was nowhere as good as the smell promised.  Also, while I didn't find it too labor intensive, it was more work than I wanted to do for the average results.  I also used sockeye salmon and for the money, I have much better recipes.  The best part of the meal is the dessert.  It is from an older issue of Food & Wine. (2008)  It is a spoon bread, and it came from the feature "Test Kitchen".  I love this feature.  This particular one was about a seasonal fruit dessert.  The same basic recipe can be used to create variations on the same dessert. (cobbler, crisp etc...)  I LOVE it made with plums!  It is so freakin' awesome!!  I haven't tried all

Five-Spice Grilled Chicken With Hoisin-Maple Glaze

Tonight’s dinner was VERY much enjoyed by the boys. I liked it too, but chicken is not my favorite thing to eat; it kind of wigs me out. (No, I don’t know why, but poultry of all kinds just gives me the willies.) It was pretty good though. We didn’t cook it on the grill, we gave it grill marks in a cast iron grill pan on the stove over high heat, and finished it in a 350 degree oven for the time recommended over indirect heat. When the chicken came up to temp, we glazed one side and put it under the broiler for about 3 minutes then took it out and flipped it and glazed the other side and broiled again for another 3 minutes. I am also not a fan of savory and sweet mixed, but the dish was not particularly sweet despite the brown sugar, maple syrup, and honey. The glaze was really outstanding. Cleaning up the cast iron pan is a bit of a pain, so a grill, I think, will be preferable. If you are not familiar with 5 spice powder, it is an unusual taste. It is a blend of fennel s

Orecchiette With Greens, Mozzarella And Chickpea

Well tonight my darling was home.  We cooked together:).  I enjoy that because (but not only because) he always does the things I dislike: like frying and  messing with raw meat.  He prepped the chicken for tomorrow and did the cooking, while I mostly got the mise en place ready. I offered to do more but he is like me, in that he likes to cook and that he is AWESOME;).  ( He really is!)  I could tell that he wasn't really jazzed about a meatless Monday, but, as always, he handled it with good grace. He also isn't a fan of tomato chunks, which this recipe has a full cup of.  Well, to make a long story short, he loved it!  I loved it, and the boy only thought it was alright.  What would I do different next time?  Well, for starters, I would chop the chard much smaller.  When we added the cheese, all the chard clumped up.  While tasty, we would have liked to have the chard spread out over the dish rather than in a giant tasty clump.  The other oddity was the chickpeas; they were

Chorizo Tacos

Well tonight was I guess you could call a "pantry raid".  I had chorizo leftover after the clam recipe and tortillas from the fish tacos.  I decided to wing it and try to re-create something we had at Maria Bonita's.  So, as I am preparing to cook this without any plan, my husband calls and asks about dinner.  Regardless of his intention (honey, that means you are not the bad guy, I'm just neurotic ;*), his comments made me feel the need to now look up a recipe.  (Despite the fact I wasn't going to the store before I cooked, and knew full well that I wouldn't have all the ingredients to any recipe I found, I was still going to look a recipe up.) While I knew wouldn't be able to make any recipe I found, I thought I might at least find some "hypotheses" for the experiment I was about to embark on. Well of course, I found an amazing sounding recipe from Rick Bayless for chorizo tacos.  I had most of the things needed, but the main thing I was missin

Scarpetta's Spaghetti With Tomato And Basil

I have wanted to try this ever since I saw it was Ted Allen's "best thing I ever ate."  (I think "sauced" but not sure)  I love pasta and tomato sauce; to me it is the ultimate comfort food.  This is the best recipe for it.  I have made this once before.  I used only canned  San Marzano tomatoes then.  This time I used the 8 fresh and 1/4 can of the San Marzano tomatoes.  I am not going to kid you; the sauce does require a bit of work, but it isn't a daunting as it first appears.  Seeding the tomatoes sucks! The recipe was a little confusing, since it is for one, but sauce for 4? I think.  I tried to rewrite it so it was less confusing, but I made it worse.  All I did was add the per person notes.  It is wort trying I promise you! It is so worth it!  This is coming from someone who refers to Ragu as "my mamma's sauce." (meaning I am ok with the simple jarred sauce)  Growing up, my family LOVED spaghetti.  My dad even had a spaghetti eating shi

Pizza & Salad

Well tonight I am thankful that I am doing this blog. (and a little pissed too;)  I am exhausted, and I have been all day.  My husband will be having a late night so I really only needed to feed the kids.  I could have had anything in the house and wouldn't have cared as long as I didn't have to do much work.  That meant that on the way home from gymnastics, I was going to go (hanging my head in shame) through a drive thru for dinner!  (yes temporary insanity, but I am really tired!)  Well I didn't want to lie in the blog but I REALLY didn't want to cook.  Well I came up with the next best thing, I would make pizza.  I could have ordered it, but I am trying to be good.  I did do some short cuts.  I bought the fresh pizza dough from the bakery at Publix.  I bought organic tomato puree for the sauce too.  The boy asked for sausage as the topping. :/  I don't care for it, but it will make him and my husband happy.  The girl and I had oven roasted tomatoes and onions on

Linguine With Clams And Chorizo

Well I over salted the water tonight, and it made the dish a bit too salty.  I knew I had so I didn't add the salt when the recipe called for it, but it was still too salty.  That being said, it wasn't bad.  If the salt had been correct I think it would have been outstanding.  I've been wanting to make this dish for a while.  We love fresh chorizo and I can only ever find the dried.  One of my neighbors told me they had the fresh at Publix; I didn't believe her since I had been looking for it there forever. Turns out I was wrong. (shhhh, don't let my husband hear that I said that;)  Tonight I started soaking the clams when I brought them home from the store at about 12:30.  (I put down a bed of cornmeal and placed the clams on top of it then covered it with water)  I soaked them for an hour on the counter and then put them in the refrigerator.  I had looked up ways of purging the grit from clams for the last clam recipe, but the half hour soaking didn't cut it.

Cheese Tortellini With Walnut Pesto

This is one of those dishes I think everyone should have in their repertoire.  It is fast, easy, yummy, inexpensive and can be made with ingredients that you can always have on  hand.  (the parsley too if you have an herb garden)  The frozen tortellini I use takes about 4 minutes to cook and the sauce is not cooked so it is done before the water even begins to boil. I think it could be a little prettier but of course, my husband disagrees with me.  It is one of his favorites, but we all like it a lot. As always, a salad will complete the meal and prevent you from making it to a high calorie meal. I believe it was another recipe I got from a Food & Wine magazine. Cheese Tortellini With Walnut Pesto      1 c  walnuts     1/3 c  lightly packed flat-leaf            -parsley with            -thick stems removed       2 ea garlic,smashed       3 T  grated Parmesan cheese,plus            -more for serving     1/2 c  olive oil     1/2 t  salt     1/4 t  fresh-ground black peppe

Fish Tacos

Well the fish tacos were originally on the menu for the night of too many dishes, but since one of my "A-list" guests was unable to attend (and they wanted to try them) and we had too many dishes, the tacos were postponed to tonight.  There will be no recipe for the tacos, (sorry) because I don't usually give it out.  It is, in many ways, your typical fish taco with the fried fish and slaw in the flour tortilla, but there are a few extras that make it ours. (Not to mention I think the recipes for the fish and slaw are pretty tasty) I won't put it out there just in the off chance I ever get to open a restaurant because it will most likely be our signature dish. :p  If you have it, feel lucky! It is one of those dishes we feel real ownership over.  Yes, we did research on the recipes for the elements, but each one was tweaked by one of us to fit and it is one of those dishes we love so much we need to parcel out the times we eat it so we don't start to take them for

Bahn Mi (My Way)

Well tonight's dinner is a repeat of one of the dishes we had last night, the Bahn Mi. (see yesterday's entry for the recipe)  We needed to repeat; there was so much left from last night and I hate to waste. If you don't know,  Bahn Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, and  it is one of the tastiest things on the planet!  It is super easy to make too if you don't roast the pork specifically for the sandwich or buy deli meat like I do.  I know it isn't the real way but still very tasty.  Not to put you off the sandwich, but I have kind of a funny story I will relate in lieu of the recipe.  Well if you have read the recipe from yesterday, you will note that the sandwich has a a quick pickle of daikon radish and carrots.  Well that step had been completed earlier I had just uncovered it to use it. It was then that the  friend we had over for dinner walked into the kitchen and informed me that he believed that our daughter had pooped in her diaper, to which I responded without

The party with too many dishes (oops:)

Ok well tonight we had our friends over.  You know those great friends that are more family than friends, these were those people.  It is the last night of summer.  Tomorrow starts school (ominous music plays) so, we planned on an early night  Everyone was responsible and left by seven (much to my sadness but thankful for the the good night's sleep I hope I will still get;).  We wanted to do appetizers mostly with some drinks, but the angel (or demon) of overkill swept in and led us down the path of madness that began with too many things we wanted to serve, peaked with the grocery full of people shopping for tomorrow's first day of school lunches, and waned with us cooking while chatting with our friends when we should have been done.  The menu: Israeli Hummus With Paprika And Whole Chickpeas Recipe, Bahn Mi (My way, so called because I combined a couple of recipes I found when looking for one and because I use the Publix Spanish roasted pork rather than making my own roast),

Summer Squash Pizza With Goat Cheese And Walnuts

Tonight's dinner is another first time we made it.  I did a lot of eyeballing the amounts of toppings rather than measure what I did.  I also doubled everything because the fresh dough I got from the grocery came in a 16 ounce portion. (Yes I know that 16 is not 6 doubled but there are three kinds of people in the world, those who are good a math and those who aren't, and in the immortal words of Gerald Ford as portrayed by Chevy Chase, "It was my understanding that there would be no math.")  As it wasn't the dough I was messing with, I figured all would be well, and all was delicious.   My only complaint was that I didn't roll the dough out thin enough.  I think a really thin crust pizza would be preferable. I can't remember where the recipe came from.  I have all my recipes on the computer with a program called accuchef.  It is great.  I have a cookbook i use for all the recipes I want to try as I see them.  There they wait until it comes time to plan th

Grilled Steak Salad

Ok, I'm apologizing now for the at best vague recipe for this dinner.  It is based on something I ordered at a local restaurant called The Dish.  I liked the salad, and tried to recreate it at home, so my measurements aren't what one could call "precise".  It is important to note that it is NOT a steak with a salad; it is a salad with steak being a small component of it, much like a tomato or an onion would be in a salad.  If you will allow me to get on my soapbox for a moment, I would like to say a brief word about the place meat has in our average American diet.  I do eat meat, but do so in moderation.  It is not sustainable for our planet, our health, or our waist lines to have meat be the main component in every meal.  This meal is made with 1/2- to 1 lb steak for four.  I usually make it with about a 3/4 lb for four and it still seems like a lot. My salad you see in the picture has 3 thin slices of steak on it. It is even better that way than piled high with beef

Penne With Tuna And Capers

So this was the first time I made this recipe.  The boy loved it right away.  Even the baby girl liked it.  I wasn't blown away at first, (which surprised me because I love capers and tuna) but the flavor grew on me as I ate it. I believe I got the recipe from one of the several emailed recipes of the day.  (Chow, Fine Cooking, allrecpies etc...)  I made it tonight because the Husband was working and not a fan of canned tuna.  I didn't take a picture because I was told my last pictures weren't good enough to show how it really looked (ahem I'm talking to you my most excellent husband:P), and it wasn't the prettiest dish.  I used whole wheat penne too which didn't add to the eye appeal.  All in all, I liked it because it felt light, it was something I can make out of ingredients I always have on hand, and it was fast.  All making it for a good weeknight meal.    Penne With Tuna And Capers     3/4 lb penne rigate     1/4 c  extra-virgin olive oil       3    g

Roasted Chicken with Crispy Skin and Pepperoni Sauce

Tonight's dinner is a tasty one.  The pepperoni sauce I got off the web.  It is from Top Chef Contestant Mike Isabella. I was intrigued by it when I saw it on the show and it was no disappointment.  I am not a really big fan of pepperoni but OH MY is it tasty.  It is a powerful sauce so expect a little to go a long way.  We like it on chicken and using it as a pizza sauce the best.  The roasted chicken was adapted from a F&W recipe that was for boneless skin-on chicken breasts with an anchovy and basil pan sauce, but there were no boneless skin-on chicken breasts to be had at my local Publix, so we made it with the whole cut up chicken.  We LOVED the chicken, the first time we tried it but the anchovy pan sauce I think I messed up.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a remake unless I figure out what I did wrong, SO instead we made the chicken this way but used the pepperoni sauce. (tonight it was pepperoni sauce, but I will enjoy experimenting with the pan sauce in the futur

Dinner Ice Breakers

One of the obstacles to a great family dinner these days, is breaking the ice.  We all have such independent lives, it seems that when we sit down together, there is precious  little to say to each other and it can be awkward.  This goes away eventually, but can be a stumbling block to future dinners together.  We made the decision to sit down together for the family time and because I had seen a study showing how much more is ingested when eating and watching TV.  At first it was a lot of small talk about the day and questions  with our much enthusiasm predominated the conversation.  I decided to find ways to break the ice and get us talking.  One of our favorites was to read an Encyclopedia Brown mystery.  My husband or I will read a case (they are short and quick) while my son is setting the table or just after we sit down to eat.  After the case is read, we ask questions of each other and discuss the possible solutions.  When the meal is almost over we read the solution and see who

Spicy Tonnarelli with Clams

I got this recipe from Food and Wine Magazine.  I love Food & Wine.  While not every recipe is a family favorite, none have really disappointed.  This is a almost there recipe for us.  We all liked it but to tailor it to our tastes we have some suggestions and some tips if you are thinking of changing it yourself.  First of all it is spicy.  Ok for our tastes, but be forewarned that the heat does build as you are eating it.  The herbs are critical!  I am not a big fan of mint (in sweet but especially in savory), but it is very refreshing in this and a needed cooling element.  The black pepper, didn't taste it at all so next time I would leave it out.  The coppa, it wasn't well represented in every bite and sank to the bottom of the cooking pan; this made it difficult to portion it in to the dishes easily.  Everyone (but myself) added a pat of butter to their portion with great results.  (I abstained solely for the calories.)  It isn't in the recipe but you MUST soak you

Spanish Tortilla

I got this recipe from The Food Network Magazine.   While it wasn't bad, it was very plain and the addition of some parm and hot sauce make it better but I don't see us making it again.  We deleted the recipe from our database. Spanish Tortilla Prep Time: 16 min, Cook Time: 24 min Serves: 4 Ingredients 1 cup pure olive oil 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced inch thick 1 large onion, thinly sliced Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 4 large eggs 1 cup fresh parsley 1/4 cup diced jarred piquillo or roasted red peppers Juice of 1/2 lemon Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the potatoes, onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Cook, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Set a colander in another large bowl and transfer the cooked potatoes, onion and cooking oil to the


I figured I would make my first entry a list of any tips or hints to make cooking easier and just add to it as I think of them or as I use them in a recipe. They may be common sense but they were things that made cooking easier that I had to learn and/or they were thought to be by my friends and family 1)   General Keeping Fresh Herbs :  Keep your freshly cut herbs longer in the fridge by treating them like cut flowers.  Place them in a tall glass with water.  (I have my old POM  tea containers that are the perfect tall cylinder for it.  The ones in the produce section.) They will last at least twice as long (if not more) than just keeping them in the hydrator.   Tomato Paste :  I almost never had a recipe that called for the entire can of paste.  It is usually just a tablespoon or two.  I portion out tablespoons worth on to a plate and freeze them, then, once they are hard, pop them into a ziploc bag.  Now whenever you need some, they are already portioned and ready to go.