It's me, the Silliest

This is my blog of recipes. I like "eating the rainbow" as well as globe-trotting through food. I totally dig heady local produce and local fresh meats.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finger Foods

I had my holiday party last night. It was a ton of fun! I love having parties and picking the menu and prepping :-)

So, I made croquettes (salmon and potato), bruschetta and pea walnut pesto on crostinis, potato latkes, individual beef wellingtons and spinach and artichoke dip.

Salmon Croquettes
1 C flakes cooked salmon
1 12 oz can of cream of asparagus
~ 2 C panko bread crumbs
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C mayo
1 TBSP Old Bay seasoning
1 TBSP dill
Lemon zest

Mix all ingredients, roll into a ball and refrigerate over night. Add as many panko bread crumbs as you need in order to create a dough. Deep fry in 350 degree oil for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Mix the last 5 ingredients together to form the sauce.

Potato Croquettes
5 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 C condensed chicken soup
~ 2 C panko bread crumbs
1/3 C ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Boil and mash the potatoes. Add the can of soup and as many panko bread crumbs as you need in order to create a dough. Roll into balls and refrigerate over night. Deep fry in 350 degree oil for about 4 minutes or until gold brown. Mix the last 3 ingredients together to form the sauce.

4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 bunch basil, roughly chopped
2 TBSP chopped parsley
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil

Mix all ingredients and let sit for a couple hours.

Pea and Walnut pesto
1/2 C peas
1/2 bunch basil
1/4 C roughly chopped walnuts
2 TBSP Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP chicken stock
2 TBSP olive oil
Zest and juice from one lemon

Puree all ingredients in the food processor. Serve this and bruschetta on oven-toasted baguette. The green and red made it perf for the holiday party!!!

Individual Beef Wellingtons were made at my last party and are always a hit!

Potato Latkes
5 Large potatoes, shredded
3 eggs
1/2 white onion, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and pan fry in veggie oil. Serve with apple sauce.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 box frozen spinach, de-frosted
2 can artichoke hearts, chopped in food processor
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C mayo
1 C Pepper jack cheese
1 C parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients except for the parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan on top. Cook at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown (about 40 minutes). I served this with pita triangles, carrots and blue corn tortilla chips.

These are great, crowd pleasing favorites. Most of the prepping can be done the night before. Enjoy!!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lamb Burgers with Cayenne Hummus

I love lamb. They're so cute and delicious - muahahhha. I made my flat breads to put my slider lamb burgers on. I think the cayenne hummus and the fresh herbs really made the dish. I wish I had some black olives and cucumber to make a side salad with... with a fresh herb vinaigrette - yes please!!

1 lb lamb
1 TBSP each finely chopped fresh oregano and parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cumin


1 can chick peas
1/4 C liquid from can of chick peas
3 TBSPish lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced for equal distribution
1 1/2 TBSP tahini
2 TBSP olive oil
1 - 2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika

feta cheese!!

The first thing you should do is make the flat breads. I'm gonna use these over and over again, so get used to it! Meeg makes this delicious brioche burger buns from scratch that would also be phenom, but I tend to stick to these so it's healthier! The flat bread has to sit out for 45 - 60 mins, so do these now.

Next, take the lamb out and combine all top 5 ingredients. Form into patties and let the patties sit out until they come to room temp. You don't want to shock the meat. You can fry up (I like to grill pan it) a red onion to put on top now so it gets charcoaly. Fire up the burgers to your liking. You can grill the flat bread with these.

Next, you can right ahead and make the hummus. Combine all the ingredients from chick peas to paprika in a blender and blend away until nice and smooth. I loooove hummus - it's so creamy without being fattening!! Also, try this cayenne hummus, it has a great kick to an otherwise some-might-perceive-as bland dip. It also goes great with the lamb burgers.

I assemble the burgers with some fresh parsley, grilled red onion, plenty of hummus and feta cheese.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chard n Caper Pasta

I'm weird, but I actually crave heady leafy greens such as chard, cale, spinach, etc. I espeeecially love these paired with whole wheat pasta - I think the earthiness of the leafy green and the whole wheat pasta are a good match. I brighten it up a bit with the bite from the capers and the nutty undertone of anchovy. Yummy! And, I swear, you can throw anything in here.

Also, I serve this more as a salad with some pasta in it than a pasta dish with chard. The recipe below is for one person and I use a whole head!

1/4 lb short whole wheat pasta (anything you like)
1 head chard, stems removed and finely chopped
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp each of dried: parsley, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes
1 TBSP roughly chopped capers
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed by hand)

In a medium saute pan, saute the onion with the anchovy paste and herbs for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chard and tomatoes and continue to cook vigorously. You can add the pasta to the water at this point and cook for 2 mins less than it says to. Drain the pasta right into the saute pan, add capers and cook for another 3 minutes.

I serve this with parmesan!!

Spinach and Proscuitto Stuffed Shells

I saw the babe Giada make these on her show on Food Network. She didn't do exactly these, but that's what's so great about them - you can make them however you want! I am REALLY into these now and think it's an all around great meal and idea. I'd assume this would be "fun to do with the kids" as well. Def try these and do any variation you want - they rule!

1 box jumbo shells
1 TBSP asiago cheese, finely shredded
1 TBSP fontina cheese, finely shredded
1 TBSP parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1 15 oz container ricotta
1/4 C finely chopped fresh spinach
1 egg
1/4 lb. prosciutto, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt/pepp to taste

Cook the shells until they are el dente. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the last 8 ingredients together in a bowl and stuff a little less than a TBSP in each shell.

Line the bottom of a 13X9 baking pan with tomato sauce, place the shells in the sauce, face up and cover top with sauce. Sprinkle a combination of asiago, fontina and parmesan cheese on top. If you don't have these, you can really use any cheese. I would opt for an Italian cheese with a stronger flavor though.

I'd recommend serving this with a side salad (add the ingredients from inside the shell to the side salad. i.e. I would do a spinach salad with prosciutto and veggies with an oregano lemon vinegarette for this one) and a piece of baguette to mop up the left overs.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Prosciutto Goat Cheese Roll-ups

This is a really great appetizer/finger food for an Italian meal. You can really add anything in these you want. I personally adore the combo of goat cheese and prosciutto (I'm literally salivating... tmi?), but if you aren't a fan of goat cheese you could try feta or manchego or any kind of crumbly yet creamy cheese. As far as the filling goes, add anything! Literally. Ok, you get it. Try this combo out though, it's perfecto!

1/4 lb prosciutto
1 "log" goat cheese
Pine nuts
Fresh parsely
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the goat cheese with about a tsp of fresh parsley, a pinch of nutmeg (literally a tiny pinch) and salt/pepp. Take a strip of proscuitto (about 5" long and 3" wide) and put a dollop of the goat cheese mixture in it. Put a few pine nuts on top and roll up.

Once you have all the proscuitto wraps rolled, sprinkle lightly with olive oil and cook for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Meal '09

So my dad never does a traditional Thanksgiving and this year I figured I would try it myself. Not that what my father made wasn't tasty, but I was in the mood for traditional. Therefore, I made a whole turkey breast, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, gravy and maple glazed carrots. For dessert I made a pumpkin pie!!

Sheesh, this is going to be a large post!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the turkey breast, I stuffed an herb glaze consisting of 2 TBSP each of fresh minced sage, thyme, garlic and combined with 1 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I put this under the skin of the turkey (you gotta loosen it up a bit... not a clean job) so it is trapped next to the meat. Rub the outside of the turkey breast with oil salt and pepper. Put this in a pot with a copped onion, 2 chopped carrots and 2 chopped celery and 2 C chicken stock on the bottom. Cook, uncovered for 1.5 hrs. Remove foil, jack heat up to 425 and continue cooking until browned.

Banana Everything Cookies


I just made really easy, simple and healthy vegan cookies. I got the recipe from the times, but modified it slightly.

Banana Everything Cookies

1 ripe banana
1/3 C apple sauce
2/3 C sugar (you can use some form of the natural sweetener such as Truvia)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 C quick-cooking or rolled oats (not instant oats)
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1/4 C vegan dark chocolate
1/4 C black currants
1/4 C coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mash banana. Add apple sauce, sugar substitute and vanilla and mix. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix until just moist.

Add the rest of the ingredients until oats are moist.

Cook on a cookie sheet lined with parchment (don't sweat if you don't have parchment) for 10-12 minutes.

**The last four ingredients are sort of made up. I threw in whatever I had laying around. You can do any kind of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, etc. I believe the recipe calls for 1/2 C chopped walnuts and 1/2 C vegan chocolate chips.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Berbere Collard Greens and Lentils served on Injera

I looooove Ethiopian food so much. It's one of those meals that I justify going out for because I couldn't make it at home. I was wrong! One day I was feelin pretty ballsy and started poking around a bit on the internet. As it turns out, this ish is eeeasyyy. I mean, you can't really do it from scratch, but with the help of an Ethiopian spice mixture called Berebere, it becomes sinche!

1 bunch collard greens
1/2 C lentils
1/2 white onion
2 whole cloves garlic
1 TBSP Berebere
16 oz. teff flour
3 Cups luke warm water

So, the night before you want to mix the water and teff and let it ferment over night (to get that sour taste that Injera has). Also, the night before, clean and finely chop the collard greens and combine this in a pot with about 2 C of water, 1/2 C lentils, the onion, garlic and berebere and simmer on low for as long as you have.

The next day, make the injera as you would a pancake. The thickness should be that between a crepe and a pancake. Reheat the collard greens and lentils. I'm tellin you - the longer the lentil and collard green mixture simmers/sits, the better!

Serve the collard greens and lentils on top of the injera and enjoy!

Trio of Baked Ziti

I made a huge pot of ziti and then didn't want it to be a huge snore fest, so I jazzed them up a bit by cooking them in 3 individual loaf pans and making three kinds: meat, veggie and plain. I recommend serving these with a side of sauce for guests to use at their leisure. Therefore, even though the recipe calls for two cans of sauce, I would get three and put one alongside. I would simple get plain sauce, heat it up, don't add anything and serve in a bowl with a spoon.

2 boxes ziti
2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 15 oz can ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 packages 8oz shredded mozzarella
1 TBSP each: red pepper flakes, parsley, basil and oregano
1 box frozen spinach
4 sweet Italian sausages

Cook the pasta to el dente. Mix everything but the spinach, sausage and mozzarella cheese together. Let this mixture sit a few hours before hand.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove sausage from casing and brown. Microwave spinach till thawed. Squeeze out extra juice.

In the first loaf pan, coat the bottom with ziti mixture, add the meat and cover with ziti. Top with cheese. In the second loaf pan, do the same, but add spinach instead of meat. The third loaf pan should be plain.

Cook for about 40 minutes uncovered. Let cool for 15 mins.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Antipasto Salad

I had a themed murder mystery party this Saturday - it was so fun! I made an antipasto salad for starters. I think this is very crowd pleasing.

1 can artichoke hearts
1 can roasted peppers (I had yellow and red)
8 oz. black olives
.5 lb thickly sliced deli pepperoni
.5 lb thickly sliced deli provolone
1 can cannellini beans
1 bunch green leaf lettuce

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, parsley, salt, pepper

Cop the artichoke, peppers and olives however you want (I quartered the artichokes, slivered the peppers and coined the olives). Marinate in the balsamic, oil and spice mixture for however long you have (up to overnight).

Rinse, dry and chop lettuce into bite size pieces. Chop the pepperoni and provolone into bite size piece. Rinse and drain the cannellini beans and top lettuce with beans.

I put the veggies on top of the salad in a pile then arranged the meat and cheese around the outside.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chili Crusted Tofo and Mandarin

Tofu gets instantly more appealing if you fry it! I suppose this holds true for most thing. But unlike everything, tofu still has claim to health post-fry. This is a very balanced appetizer... the mandarin oranges compliments the salty nam plah and the spicy chili crust; the bite from the cashews balances the silky tofu.

Serve this as an appetizer with a piece of sushi ginger to eat at the end to clear the palate for the main course.

1/2 block firm tofu, cut into 4 rectangles
Chili powder
Ginger powder
1 TBSP nam plah
1 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP juice from mandarin oranges
1 garlic clove
1 small jar mandarin oranges
1 TBSP coursely chopped cashew nuts (toasted, if desired)
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
Olive oil

Cover the tofu liberally with a 2 part chili and 1 part ginger mix. Pan fry the crusted tofu in hot olive oil until a golden crust forms (about 4 minutes per side). Halfway through cooking the second side, add garlic, nam plah, lime juice and juice from mandarin oranges. Reduce by half.

Transfer tofu to plate. Top liberally with oranges and nuts. Add cilantro to taste. Pour sauce over top of dish.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arugula, Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad

This salad is very gratifying. It provides you with quite a bit of fat from the cheese and the walnuts, so it won't leave you with cravings afterwards. That being said, it isn't necessarily the healthiest salad in the world. I like to toss it with a very simple lemon/Dijon dressing. Also, I keep everything super chunky. I cut the pear into 8th and just leave it as is. It's a great salad to bring on the go and it's packed with energy. The recipe below is just for one serving. And please note that I like my dressings very pungent. If the below dressing is too strong for you, simply reduce the amounts of lemon juice and Dijon by half.

1 big handful of arugula
1 bosc pear
2 TBSP crumbled blue cheese (select one from mild to sharp depending on what you like)
1/4 C walnuts
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil

Assemble your salad. Mix the Dijon, lemon juice and oil and pour over salad. I pack mine in a Tupperware and shake it all around. I also like to mix the dressing on about 15 minutes before I eat so it gets into all the ingredients a little.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flounder with Papaya Chutney

This reminds me of my mother and makes me excited for our Jamaica trip! I like the smooth and warm texture of the papaya chutney combined with the crunch from the panko bread crumbs (definitely try replacing your regular bread crumbs with panko bread crumbs... they rule).

1 lb flounder (abt 6 fillets, 2 per person and then leftovers for lunch!)
2 C (or more) panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp cumin
1 small papaya, peeled and seeded
1/2 red onion
1 handful fresh cilantro
1 inch ginger finely minced
1-2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP lime juice
Squirt of Siracha (added to your spicy desires)
Olive oil

Make the chutney a day ahead so all the flavors and juices settle. In your food processor add the papaya, red onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, ginger and Siracha. Pulse chop until chunky. Transfer to a pan over medium heat, add 1/2 C of water and simmer on low for about an hour or until everything is soft. Put in container, add some salt/pep and refrigerate over night or up to 3 days.

When the chutney is ready, mix the panko bread crumbs with the cumin, dredge the fish in the breadcrumbs and pan fry. You can season the fish with Old Bay seasoning before you dredge it if you would like.

Serve the salsa on top. You can serve this with anything you have. Rice with soy sauce is very nice or if you're watching your figure serve it over watercress. You could also do both!

Fennel Pasta

I had never cooked with fennel before and had always wanted to. I discovered a super simple recipe and decided to try it. I thoroughly enjoyed the fennel and was surprised by how mellow the flavor was (I had heard it's very strong). Although, I did get some advice that the stems are way stronger than the bulb and I therefore only used the bulb. Next time I'll go further and pair this with some sort of fennel salad - I want to try a grapefruit and fennel salad with a citrus vinaigrette.

1 fennel bulb (bulb only)
1/2 lb Italian turkey sausage, removed from casing
1 15 oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes
Any short cut pasta (try orechetti)
Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the whole tomatoes from the can and get as much sauce off as possible. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, olive oil, basil and a touch of balsamic vinegar. Place in over for about 15 minutes or until just before they burn.

Using your food processor or a mandolin, finely slice the fennel bulb. If you have neither of these tools, chopping them into fine slices w a knife will be fine.

In a medium skillet, brown the turkey sausage with some olive oil. Once browned, add the fennel and some more olive oil and continue cooking just for about 3 minutes (you want the fennel to retain some "bite").

Pour the fennel/sausage mixture over the pasta and add the tomatoes. Toss and serve with romano cheese!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Hi, it's my birthday. November 17th. I have chosen to eat at Chipotle for lunch and I have no clue what I want for dinner (other than a martini). Maybe some oysters - yum! Martini and oysters are probably my fave combo in the world. I'll let you know tomorrow what I have.

Tuna Nicoise Salad

I'm doing salads this week and this is one of my all time favorites! I love the saltiness and the variation of textures this salad provides. The portion here is for 2 people only. If you notice, I didn't use potatoes in my recipe; I used whole wheat couscous instead to round the dish out.

1/2 head romaine lettuce
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, seeded and sliced thin
1/4 red onion sliced paper thin
Handful of kalamata olives, sliced
2 boiled eggs
Handful of green beans
1 C couscous
1 can tuna

1 anchovy
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced

Fill a pot with cold water, place egg inside, cover and bring to just a boil. Kill the heat, keep covered and let sit for 11 minutes. Take the egg out and let cool before peeling and slicing. This makes a perfect boiled egg every time).

While the egg is cooking prepare the vinaigrette. Smash the anchovy in the bottom of a small dish. Add the lemon juice and continue to smash until pretty much dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil and mix. Whisk in the olive oil at the end. Mix half this mixture with one can of tuna and let sit. Dress your lettuce with the other half and arrange on a platter and let this sit as well. I like to let the lettuce and tuna sit in the dressing for a bit to allow the flavors to absorb and the lettuce to just slightly wilt (don't worry, there is plenty of crunch elsewhere in the salad)!

Now is when I take the time to chop and arrange. Since the dressing is all in the tuna and lettuce, I just lightly salt the other veggies. You may chose to dress your lettuce and veggies all at once at the end. Up to you!

You will also have to quickly blanch and shock the string beans to retain crispness and accentuate the color. To do this, bring the egg water back up to a boil, cook the trimmed green beans for about 3 minutes, then immediates dunk them in ice water.

Assemble everything to your likings and serve on a platter and give each person a bowl of couscous to load the salad onto.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Watercress, Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Scallop Salad

I needed something healthy and light last night. I felt like this weekend I had put on a few pounds (and I certainly don't need that). So, last night I made a delicious salad filled with nutrients.

1 bunch watercress
1 C quinoa
1 lb bay scallops
1 sweet potato
Cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
2 pieces of bacon
Juice from one lemon
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove
1/4 C flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and chop the sweet potato into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet and roast until browned.

Cook quinoa according to directions and set aside to cool.

Chop the onion and tomato and toss with the watercress.

Whisk the lemon juice, 1 TBSP olive oil, parsley and paprika to make the dressing. Pour over veggies.

Chop the bacon and fry it in some oil until browned. Remove bacon, but leave just enough fat to cover the bottom (I poured the excess fat over Mike's salad so he would hate eating it less).

Wash, pat dry and toss the scallops in the flour. Cook in the pan (flipping only once!) until the scallops are golden.

Assemble everything together and enjoy! This makes great leftovers too - once the acid from the lemon sits on the watercress for a night it is very tasty!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poached Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Happy Birthday to Chel! For my sisters bday, I got all her favorites (salmon, asparagus and red potatoes) before I figured out how to cook them. I ended up poaching the salmon, roasting the asparagus and mashing the potatoes. This is so simple, so healthy and so elegant.

Salmon fillets
2 garlic cloves
1/2 onion
1 C white wine
1 C milk
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and boil the potatoes.

To poach the salmon, combine 1 C white wine with 1 C water in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add half an onion, sliced and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Salt the salmon and place in the boiling mixture, on top of the onion and garlic. The liquid should just cover the salmon. Cook to your liking (if people like it rare, take theirs off first). Chel likes hers cooked all the way through.

Drizzle the asparagus liberally with good olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lay out on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. The asparagus should still have a bite to it.

Mash the potatoes and add 1 C milk, salt and pepper.

Drink the rest of the wine. Then more. Then more. Then blog about it hungover at work the next day.

Bloody Steaks

I didn't want to do the whole dress up and go out and consume massive amounts of alcohol this Halloween (I was managing a hangover already). I also didn't want to be the boring unfestive person... who wants to be that?? So, Meegy and I stayed in and watched scary movies and handed out candy to the kids in our building (some were so effing adorable). I thought bloody steaks were appropriate. And oh boy, were they ever!

2 filet mignon
.5 lb blue cheese
2 baked potatoes
1/2 head broccoli
1 bottle nice red wine
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp worcestishire
2 TBSP butter
Fresh cracked black pepper

Now, the trick with these is twofold: 1. get the best ingredients (spend the extra bucks) and 2. precise cooking procedures.

Let's talk about the steaks. Oh, the lovely steaks. The outside was nicely seared and the middle was barely warmed. Oh, the lovely steaks. We spent big time bucks on these... we went to the nice butcher AND got a nice cut. We were keepin it simple and didn't want to skimp anywhere.

It is important to let the steaks come to room temperature before you attempt the sear. Once you are positive they are at room temp (you don't want to shock a cold piece of meat), sprinkle with salt and liberally with pepper. Push the salt and pepper into the steak with your hands.

Pre-heat a stainless steel pan to medium high. Add the butter, then the steaks. Do NOT touch while they are cooking! Cook on each side for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the sauce.

The sauce. Add garlic, onion and Worchestishire sauce to pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and let it reduce by half. Serve the sauce over the steaks and crumble blue cheese on top. Serve with a baked potato and steamed broccoli. HOLY CRAP!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Butternut Squash Hummus Sandwich

AUTUMNAUTUMNAUTUMN!!!! So pumped about autumn and food and life when I make something like this. Also, could this BE a healthier dinner!?

I also love using all parts of the food, so roasting seeds in squashes is totally perfect for this girl ^-^

1 acorn squash
1/3 C tahini
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp each paprika and ground cumin
Handful of fresh parsley


Flat bread recipe. Sub the bread flour for whole wheat flour.

1 zucchini, cut into large coins
1 onion, cut into large coins
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp olive oil

Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the flatbread and set aside to sit for 45 mins.

Cut the acorn squash into 8th, stab w fork and season with salt. Cook in oven, uncovered, until fork tender (45 mins).

Remove squash from skin and add 2 packed C to your food processor. Add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, cumin and parsley and blend until smooth.

Marinate the zucchini and onion in the lemon zest and olive oil, season w salt/pep and grill.

Roll out the flatbread and grill until done.

Assemble sandwich by spreading hummus, adding veggies and sprinkling with pomegranate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthy Bolognase

I personally feel that a huge bowl of spaghetti bolognase topped with tons of parmasen cheese is unbeatable on a colder night. However, the red meat, white pasta and parmasen is anything but figure friendly. I decided to try something else. I actually believe I have to get Sue Getz credit for this one as I am pretty sure she introduced me to this. Anyways, I served the bolognese over my favorite greens... arugula. If you pour the hot bolognase over the fresh greens, some of the greens will wilt and absorb all the flavor and some of the greens will remain crunchy and peppery. Also, I don't use beef; I replace it with ground chicken breast. You end up w a totally nutritious (ok, fine, I still go a little nuts with the cheese) and equally delicious meal!

1 lb ground chicken breast
Arugula (maybe 2 packed Cups per serving-ish)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
2 tsp each oregano and basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
Romano cheese

Brown the meat with the dried herbs over medium heat. Once browned, add the tomatoes (crushing them as you go) and bring that up to a boil. Serve over greens and top with cheese!

Fish Stew

This is a great alternative to the strategic Bouillabaisse. This is cheaper and easier than the real deal. It's super healthy, easy and cheap to make! I feel like they would charge you $30 on a LUNCH menu at a swanky ass place for this. Actually, wait, they do! I ate at Ammos recently with my dad and got basically this dish (without couscos ... it was a tomato broth with cheap seafood and it cost $33!!!)

1/2 lb white flaky fish (cod, sole, tilapia, etc)
1/4 lb shrimp
1/4 lb scallop
Handful each of mussels and clams

1 1/2 C whole wheat couscous

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 leeks
1 baking potato
2-4 cloves garlic
1 TBSP oregano
1/2 TBSP basil
1 tsp thyme
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/2 C Vermouth
Can of whole, peeled tomatoes

Wash the leeks then finely chop all the veggies. Add all the veggies to a hot pan coated with olive oil. Add the dried herbs. Cook veggies until tender (about 6-8 mins). Deglaze the pan with Vermouth and continue cooking until the Vermouth is almost gone (5 mins). Add the tomatoes (crushing them with your hand as you add them) and let it come to a boil. Add the seafood (I start by adding the fish, then the scallops, then the bivalves and finally the shrimp last), cover and let simmer just a few minutes until the shrimp are pink.

Serve over the couscous. I just made the couscous with regular water, but I would imagine cooking it in seafood stock would add another layer of tasty goodness!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fish n Chips with Tartar Sauce

I loves me some fish and chips.

1 lb cod (4 pieces... get your fish monger to hook it up. feel free to chose your own pieces)
4 baking potatoes
Veggie oil for deep frying
1 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C beer
1 tsp old bay
1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 C mayo
1 TBSP relish
1 tsp grated horseradish
Splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Ok - so the batter ingredients are just an estimate. You can really create your own batter however you like. I guess the essentials are flour, liquid and baking powder (to make it puff). From there, throw whatever else you like in it and you reeeeally can't go wrong. I like to use a pale ale for this, or seltzer works surprisingly well too.

Basically you cut the potatoes into discs for your chips. Fry these FIRST! Fry them at 350 degrees for about 4 minutes, take them out, let them sit for 5 minutes then refry them at 365 degrees until they are browned. This is sorta fancy and if you just throw potatoes in hot oil, they will cook. Don't get hung up about this - you'll get it over time.

You fry the fish AFTER the fries cause otherwise the fries taste like fish, which is not a good look. Coat the fish in your thick batter and fry at 350 degrees until golden.

Drench in malt vinegar and dip in your tartar sauce (mix above ingredients together).

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Horseradish Crust

Can we all say Fall?! I'm LOVING Fall, as I always do! The apples used in this recipe came from the trusty farmer's market on Roosevelt Island, my home. I think the farmer's market gets a lot of negative feed back, but hey, it's decent prices and it's super fresh. You know how I can tell it's fresh? Cause everything stays so good for so long. The arugula can stay in your fridge for 2 weeks. Arugula from Whole Foods stays good for a couple of days.

So, you get a large pork loin for this recipe. You can either have the butcher cut it up for you, or you can do it yourself! I kinda had a lot of fun doing it myself. Also, the meat stays more fresh if you do it yourself.

1 pork loin, butterflied
1 cooking apple (whatever is green is my rule)
1 stalk celery (with leaves)
Chopped walnuts
Fresh grated horseradish
Olive oil

Butterfly the pork and stuff w thinly sliced apples, celery and walnuts. Roll up and either tie together with dental floss or "sew" with a skewer. Pat on the horseradish on the outside. Season with salt/pep. Place on baking sheet, cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove foil, drizzle w olive oil and crank heat to broil to crust the whole roast.

I served this with mashed parsnips and potatoes and Leek Cheese Sauce.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pear and Roquefort Grilled Cheese with Sweet Potato Chips

Helloooo devoted readers (aka mom and Meegy - hahaha)! I've had a bit of coffee this a.m. if you're wondering... Last night we made a really great and simple dinner with tons of flavor. I think one of our favorite things to do is visit the cheese counters in markets! On Sunday we visited our old stomping grounds - Whole Foods Market in Chelsea. We lucked out and got a super wonderful cheese monger who gave us samples and even gave us free olive juice for our martinis! That alone equates to a good day for Sam and Mike.

Whole Foods have these loafs of bread you find in the freezers. It's basically a loaf that is 95% of the way cooked and then you finish it off in your oven for a totally just-baked sort of feel. (Note to self: must get a bread knife).

Ciabatta bread
1/2 lb Roquefort cheese (we had left overs that we crumbled into our arugula and pear salad)
1 pear (or apple)

1 large sweet potato
Kosher salt

2 C packed arugula
Left over pear from sandwich
Red onion
Blue cheese
Lemon juice
Olive Oil

Cut the bread and lay cheese and pear on it. Coat both sides with butter. If you have a griddle, do it on there, but basically cook your grilled cheese on very low heat for a very long time - this ensures that everything gets gooey on the inside and eventually it will crisp the outside.

Cut cross sectionals of sweet potatoes paper thin. Deep fry until browned in 350 degree veggie oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

We also did an arugula salad to sort of tie in with the sandwiches. This gave us a bit more girth since our sandwiches were pretty small and we were pretty hungry. We just took whatever we had (veggie wise) and threw it together. We carried the flavors of the pear and the blue cheese over into the salad. The dressing was simple: lemon juice, oil (equal parts) and parsley, finely chopped.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Yorkshire Puddings

If my dad's signature recipe in my memory is Chicken Croquettes, my mom's is definitely Yorkshire Puddings!! I honestly have no clue why I waited so long to try cooking these - they are so sinche and delicious. You must try these. Although, be weary that my mom claims the oil can and will spontaneously combust at a certain temperature - yikes! :0)

I did a huge meal for Meegy with a large roast, brussel sprouts, carrots, apple and turnip mash, gravy and the Yorkshire puds!

1 C flour
1 1/4 C milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
(yeah, that's it - I swear!)

Whisk together ingredients and let sit for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put 1 tsp of fat (veggie oil, lard, Crisco, etc) into each of 12 cup cake holders in a cup cake tin. Place cupcake tin with oil in oven until it smokes (shouldn't take too long... remember, spontaneous combustion people!)

Remove tin, whisk batter one last time and fill each holder 2/3 of the way fill. Place back in oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Smother with gravy - yummyyyy

Steak and Cactus Burritos

I had my first cactus burrito the other week at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot in the East Vill. It is a tiny place right across from the lovely and acclaimed Cheap Shots. I had been wanting to try cactus for a while. I think my friend Lindsey had it once and she told me about it. Anyways, the texture is great - it is crunchy but still soft. Almost like a pepper meets a mushroom; the initial crunch is that of a pepper, but the mushy inside is that of a mushroom. The taste tho is very bland - it picks up the intense Mexican flavors well. I found canned cactus at Whole Foods yesterday and it is a def must-try!

So I had one cactus burrito and one steak burrito (I know, I know - a lot of food). Meegy made the BEST marinated skirt steak. We were coughing so much when we cooked it because of all the spices... it was really funny. Anyways, this is a great crowd pleaser and your vegetarian friends will love that you introduced them to cactus.

Refried pinto beans
Canned cactus
Ricota solata
Flour tortillas

1 lb skirt steak
3 cloves minced garlic
1 lime (zest + juice)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayene
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sugar (preferably brown sugar)

5 medium tomatillos
1 tomato
1 handful cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion
1 jalapeno
1/2 tsp cumin
1 lime (for juice)

1 ear corn
1 avocado
1/2 red onion
1 lime (for juice)

Get your meat marinating first. Mix A (minus steak) together and pat over the skirt steak... get sloppy here. Let this marinate at room temp.

Cook rice according to package directions.

Puree B in food processor for a spicy salsa verde.

Boil corn for 5 minutes and let rest and then take off of ear. Combine C and add 2 TBSP of B to this. This is a chunky corn and avocado salsa.

Cooking the skirt steak is crucial. We did ours in the cast iron. Make sure whatever you're cooking the skirt steak in is smoking hot! Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes WITHOUT touching it once it's down. Remove from heat, let cool for 15-25 minutes then slice thinly.

Fry the cactus until warm and slightly browned.

Heat up cactus.

To warm the tortillas, run them under water and microwave for 30 seconds. It helps if you wrap these in foil, Chipotle style, so they do not fall apart.

Assemble everything and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Red Beans and Rice

This is a great meal to do on a budget. This is filling and very crowd pleasing. It is important to turn off the heat after boiling and right when you start the rice so the flavors can stew and thicken. The mixture will be perfectly warm by the time you serve!

2 chorizo sausages
2 stalks celery
1/2 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
1 can red kidney beans (pinto beans are tasty too)
1 C chicken stock
1 C tomato sauce
Rice of your choice

In a pot, cover chorizo, onions, garlic and celery half way with water and cook until water is evaporated (about 12 minutes). Remove chorizo and cut into medallions. Add the chorizo back in the pot. Add the dried spices and saute for about 4 minutes or until everything is just starting to brown. Add the chicken stock, beans and tomato sauce and let boil, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave uncovered. Cook the rice and serve over rice.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple Current Strudel

I used some of the apples I picked at the farm for this recipe. This will make your entire kitchen (and entire apt in my case - hah!) smell so delicious! If you're going to have people over for dinner, stick this in 40 minutes before they come so they are greeted by the apple cinnamony scent!

2 apples sliced super thin
3 TBSP dried black currants (or raisins)
1/4 C sugar
1 TBSP corn starch (flour is fine too)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients.

roll out thawed puff pastry sheet until thin. Poke holes with a fork on 2/3 of the sheet. Fill with apple filling in the middle and bring other poked side over top. Fold ends in and finally fold top sheet over. Use water to help the pastry stick. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for about 40 minutes or until golden.

Bangers and Mash

A salute to my Britishness! There really is something unbeatable about eating a heaping gooey plate of this on a chilly, rainy autumn night. Whole foods has the best Irish Bangers out there... and I've been through a lot of Irish Bangers.

You can serve this meal really any way, but I really do find that leaving out milk and butter from he spuds and just smashing them totally plain is the best! Just serve with extra gravy to get the mushiness you desire.

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 package Simply Organic brown gravy mix (or any brand works... it's the powdered stuff)
6 Bangers
1/2 bag frozen peas

Peel, quarter and boil potatoes with whole garlic gloves until fork tender.

Boil the sausages in water over high heat. Make sure there is at least 1 1/2 C of water.

Once cooked, drain and return the potatoes to their pot on the stove (with heat off). Returning the potatoes to the pot you cooked them in over the stove will ensure that any water will evaporate. Mash the spuds and garlic with a fork, cover to keep warm.

Once cooked through (about 15 minutes), remove the sausages and put them on a plate temporarily. Measure out 1 1/2 C cooking water (discard the rest) and mix with gravy. Stir to combine and add the sausages back in.

Microwave peas in water for 2 minutes, stir, then return to microwave for another two minutes.

Assemble and serve. Go heavy on the gravy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Arugula Pear Salad

The sweet, soft, grainy pear dulls the spicy peppery arugula perfectly! The nuts give it some necessary heartiness and the lemon brightens and combines everything.

3 C packed arugula
1 bosc pear, sliced
Handful of walnuts
1 TBSP capers

2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp oregano
1 garlic glove (grated on a micro plane)
1/4 onion (grated on micro plane)
Healthy amount of fresh parsley
1/4 C freshly grated Romano cheese

Clean the arugula and combine the top 4 ingredients.

Whisk the vinegar and the oil together and then stir in the last 6 ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad and toss and serve!

Lemon Pepper Risotto

Risotto is great! With a creamy texture and blank palate, I consider it one of the greatest "bases" out there. Couscous will absorb flavors the way risotto does, but because of the slow cooking method, risotto is always creamy (without actually having cream), which most people find extremely palatable. We literally throw anything into our risottos we have in the fridge.

Try carrying flavors from your main ingredient into the risotto to make it the perfect side dish. This is basically what we did for this one, but it was so phenom it could def stand up on it's own main course. We served this with our Arugula Swordfish.

Another great thing (this is my last rand about risotto, I swear!) is that after about 3 times cooking it, you don't even need measurements. You basically saute onions, then add the risotto and saute that as well until brown, then slowly add liquid (juuuust enough to cover risotto) until it becomes creamy. You can't really over cook risotto, so start it at the beginning of every meal.

1 C risotto
~3 C stock + water (1 1/2 C each)
** Parmesan rind
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 TBSP lemon zest
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
Red pepper flakes
Fresh parsley

Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until just tender. Add in the dry risotto and garlic and saute these until golden brown. Add just enough stock to cover the risotto. Add all the other ingredients except the parsley. Once the liquid has almost 100% evaporated, add just enough more to cover the risotto. Continue this process (using as much or as little liquid as needed) until your risotto is creamy.

** Adding a parmesan rind to soups, stocks, rices, etc is a fantastic way to get great salty creamy flavor to a dish! Also, I despise wasting shtuff, so this is perfect. The rind of parmesan is totally natural and not plastic... Do not EVER throw these away again! Promise? Good!

Arugula Swordfish

This is the kind of meal I would go to a restaurant for and pay $32 without any complaints. As you know (if you read my blogs), it is difficult for me to justify a meal out as I think restaurants for the most part are pretty gnarly. Also, I know I can spend half as much, get twice as nice ingredients and have it taste better if I do it myself. All that being said, going out for a great meal every once in a while is totally unbeatable.

Since we're on a budget, Meegy and I like to scope out the hole-in-the-wall restaurants (like our burrito place by our first apt on 45th St!!). That's where you get the best ish ever. Right now I'd say my favorite hole-in-the-wall is Nha Toi in South Williamsburg (I really hate that I have to go to Williamsburg for this... the people in Williamsburg are so unbearable). Nha Toi is a Vietnamese sandwich place... you can get out of there with a spicy catfish sandwich (pickled diakon, cucumber, garlicy bread, yummmy!) and a passionfruit drink for under $10. Then you just sit outside, eat your sandwich and make fun of all the fucking hipsters... it's great.

Anyways, back to the meal:

2 swordfish steaks
2 C packed arugula
1 Lemon (zest, juice and two cross sectional slices)
1 clove garlic (grated on a micro plane preferably... finely chopped if you have to)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
A few capers
Fresh parsley
Olive oil
*Parchment paper

Serve the Pear and Arugula salad to start.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and marinate steaks for just about 5 minutes per side. While the steaks are marinating, cut pieces of parchement that will fit the steaks with at least 4" left over on each side. Place 1 C arugula on each piece of parchment. Place the swordfish directly on top and sprinkle with the dried spices, garlic and lemon zest (each measurement up top should be divided into two in order to season both steaks). Place 3 sprigs of parsley on top of the fish then place lemon cross section on top and finish with capers and a drizzle of olive oil. Wrap the fish up in the parchment (see Italian Fish Pack for instructions), place the packets on a cookie sheet and cook for about 15 minutes.

Serve this with Lemon Pepper Risotto.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick Apple Cobbler

If you have butter, flour, sugar and apples you're set for a delicious autumn dessert. However, add some cinnamon, nutmet, vanilla and lemons and you're fantastic! I totally made this up last night and as Mike and I were saying, "you really can't mess this up".

6 apples
1 stick of butter
2 C flour
1 C sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from one lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel and slice apples however you want (I did half then half then half then half). Place apples in a round casserole dish and toss with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, combine flour with butter and crumble with your hands. Sprinkle the flour/butter combo over the top of the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden.

Chicken and Rigatoni with Lemon Caper Sauce

There is something about the brineyness of capers that gives me wicked cravings every once in a while. I made this because I got one of those wonderful cravings. You can replace the chicken stock with a dry white wine if you have that on hand instead. Also, you can use any kind of pasta you have on hand for this dish. I like the rigatoni because the capers are small enough where the can fall into the tubes, which I totally dig!!!

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 C chicken stock
Zest and juice from one lemon
2 TBSP capers
2 TBSP butter
1/2 lb rigatoni pasta
Fresh parsley
Romano cheese

The first thing you want to do is pound out your chicken breasts so they are even and fairly thin (if they aren't already). Talk about therapy in the kitchen! Muahaha. Then get your water boiling for the pasta.

Dip your chicken breasts in some flour, dust off the excess four and place the breasts in the fridge while you dice your onion and garlic, zest and juice your lemon and roughly chop your capers (only 3 runs over with the knife shall do). Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook accordingly.

Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add some oil and fry your chicken breasts on each side for about 3 minutes. Remove breasts and set them aside on a plate, add a bit more oil to the skillet and saute the onions and garlic until they are tender. Once tender, add about a TBSP of flour and stir to combine with the onion and garlic mixture. Next, add your chicken stock, red pepper flakes, capers and lemon zest to the pan and simmer until the pasta is almost done.

For the last step you want to remove the skillet from the heat and add the butter after 10 seconds. Stir the butter to incorporate (this will act as a thickener to the sauce as well). Drain the pasta and add the pasta into the sauce. Toss and add fresh lemon juice and parsley. Put the pasta in bowls and top w your chicken breast.

Serve with Romano cheese.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

The smokiness of the chipotle peppers combined with the sweetness of the beans paired with the pure heat from the Siracha made these quesadillas worth repeating. Buy everything I suggest and don't make substitutions. I know, I know, I would rarely say this, but in this instance it is really worth it. I think dried chipotles are good to have on hand for all your Mexican desires.

2 whole wheat 12" tortillas
1 C shredded cheddar/jack cheese
1/2 C pinto beans
1 C shredded chicken **
1 dried chipotle pepper, finely chopped
Siracha sauce
Sour cream

Put half of all the ingredients (except salsa and sour cream) on half of one of the tortillas. We cooked these on our griddle on medium heat for about 4 mins per side. You def want to get some of the tortilla burnt in places... the smokiness of some char ties all the ingredients nicely. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

** This was part of my meals I was going to do with a whole chicken. Buying the whole chicken is great. I used half of the shredded chicken for this recipe, I'm going to use the breasts (which I removed in tact) tonight and then I made another recipe with the rest of the shredded chicken. Not to mention, I have a ton of chicken stock for the week... I will freeze the stock in individual portions and use for a long time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chili Corn

I guess I had heard of this as appetizers at Mexican restaurants (and suggest eating this with my Fish Tacos). However, I fell in love after going to a Vietnamese sandwich restaurant, which are all the rage in NYC right now. Check out the Times article to get a list of where to go. I really suggest the one on Havermeyer Street. Although, I don't think they have chili corn. Anyyyyhoodle, recipe:

Corn on cob
Chili powder
Ground (not shredded) coconut OR manchego cheese

It's v important to grill the corn (or I suppose you could broil it... broiling is like a reverse grill... heat comes directly from top) so you get the charred pieces. Slather with butter all around, set down and sprinkle with chili powder and your coconut or cheese. Add salt and pepper at the end. YUM!!!

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese

This is a really jazzed up, adult friendly version of what you remember having as a kid. This is healthy and hearty and worth putting in the extra effort for the home made soup!

1 28 oz. chopped tomatoes
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 C chicken stock
1 C milk
2 tsp dried basil (fresh basil might be even better... I was on a tight budget and wanted to splurge on the cheese)
2 bay leaves
4 TBSP butter

1 big crusty rustic loaf of bread (a ciabatta is nice)
1/2 lb young asiago cheese
1/2 lb fontina

Preheat oven to broil. Drain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid, and spread on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil until tomatoes are caramelized (6 minutes). Meanwhile, saute all your chopped veggies in some olive oil in a medium sized pot until tender (about 10 minutes). Add in the caramelized tomatoes, tomato liquid, butter, chicken stock and dried herbs. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add milk and blend until smooth.

Preheat grill pan over medium-low heat. Grate cheese. Spread one side of one piece of bread with butter and put butter-side down on grill pan. Add grated cheeses. Cover with another slice of bread and butter the top. Cook on each side for about 4 mins. You can rotate bread 90 degrees to get grill marks if desired.

We made enough soup to be able to freeze a serving each so we can do this again. It's a good use of left over cheeses, but the asiago and fontina work so so nicely!!!

Fresh Linguini with Spinach and Cannellini Beans

I brought this over to Chel's after a night of drinking for our friend's birthday. I hadn't eaten all day so I needed some nutrients. I needed the iron, Lycopene and fiber. My total (including the fresh pasta) was just over $11.

Fresh linguini (or whatever you're in the mood for)
1 super large bunch of spinach, washed
1 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 14 oz. can of cannellini beans
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese

Finely mince the shallot and garlic and cook in an oiled skillet over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and turn for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes one by one, crushing them with your hands before putting them in. Add the rest of the tomato liquid, the spices and the beans. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. While simmering, crush the beans as much as you can with the back of your spatula.

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes then transfer to skillet and toss w other ingredients. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Berry Preserve Ice Cream

We just bought an ice cream maker. I only think of kids when I play with this. All kids love ice cream and promoting creativity is very important in my mind. You can make sorbets, slushies, ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt. You can put ANYTHING in ice cream. I am giving you a base for vanilla ice cream here. We add the preserves but you don't get a berry taste... it helps accentuate the vanilla.

1 C whipping cream
2 C half and half
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 C - 2 TBS sugar
1 TBSP fruit preserve

Put everything in a pot and boil until it reaches 170 degrees, remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate over night. The next day you can put it into your ice cream maker and then hard freeze over night. So tasty! Feel free to double up on this recipe.

Fried Bananas with Berry Preserve Ice Cream

I rarely make desserts, but I swear to myself I will make more after this one! Fried bananas with ice cream... dead.

1 C tempura mix (add 3/4 C water for the batter)
4 bananas cut in half lengthwise
1 tsp cinnamon
Berry Preserve Ice Cream

Mix the tempura batter and add cinnamon to the batter. Coat bananas and fry at 350 degrees for about 4 minutes. Serve with ice cream!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meatloaf With All The Fixings

Mike asked for meatloaf for dinner so I gave him meatloaf! I sorta wish I could do this everyday, but there isn't time. If I was a house wife I could do this all day. Sometimes I wish I could be a stay-at-home house wife and then other times I feel I'd go mental if I was a stay-at-home house wife/mother. Maybe without the mother part? I do know I feel women totally fucked themselves with the whole burning of the bra thing.

2 lbs total of veal, pork, beef
1 C bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/2 finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 C ketchup
2 glove garlic v finely minced

Pour pan drippings from meat loaf into cup and let sit for 15 mins. Scrape away the fat that comes to the top, add juices (minus fat) into pan and put over medium heat. Add 1/4 C water + 1 TBSP corn starch to mixture (it is crucial that you mix the water and the cornstarch BEFORE adding it to heat). Add 2 tsp Gravy Maker :0)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients (use your hands here... no tool will do as well) and put in loaf pan. Cook, covered with foil, for 45 minutes. Remove foil, turn oven to broil and broil top until golden.

8 medium Yukon gold potatoes
2 TBSP butter/marge
1 C skim milk

Peel, quarter and boil potatoes until fork tender. Meanwhile, microwave the milk and butter until butter has melted. Combine cooked potatoes and milk and butter in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer. You can also use potato ricer (my favorite actually) or a fork works just fine.

Peel 3 carrots and chop. Add to a pot w water and boil. When the carrots are almost done cooking add frozen peas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Individual Beef Wellingtons

You MUST try these! Serve these at your next party and no one will be upset with them... they are perfect, no diggity.

1 package puff pastry
1 1lb skirt steak
1 portabella mushroom
1/2 medium onion
1 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

Preheat a pan or griddle so it is scorching hot. Sprinkle beef liberally with salt and pepper. Cook on the scorching pan for about 4 minutes per side. Let rest while you super finely chop the mushroom and onion and saute on medium with butter until mushrooms are tender (about 10 minutes). Chop the meat (after letting it rest) into bite sized cubes. Roll out puff pastry slightly and cut into 16 pieces. Put a dab of the mushroom mix as well as a cube of beef and wrap up. Lay on parchment lined sheet pan and cook until just golden brown (10 minutes-ish, but keep an sharp eye on them as this time varies and you do not want them to burn.

If you wanted to get ill-gourmet on these (not that you need to... on their own is just fine) you can also spread a dab of pate on the puff pastry before the mushrooms and meat. This makes it more authentic and adds another bite of taste. Soooo good! I could eat the whole load.

Peach and Nectarine Shell Tarts

I made these for my mom cause she looooves desserts... especially pastries. This is super duper simple! I love puff pastry so much (oh! just thought of another one I have to blog)!

1 package puff pastry shells
3 pears
3 nectarines
4 TBSP butter
4 TBSP sugar (it's dessert people!!)
2 tsp cinnamon

Cook the puff pastry shells 2 minutes less than what the package suggests. Meanwhile, finely chop the pears and nectarines into little bite size pieces. Add the fruit into a saute pan and saute with the butter, sugar and cinnamon until super tender and starting to caramelize. Remove from heat and fill shells with mixture. Return to oven for another 3 minutes and serve either alone or with ice cream.

You can do this really with any kind of fruit you want. I would say stone fruits and berries are the best. I'm not sure citrus or melons, for example, would turn out too well.

Celery Potato Soup

I can't really dig on celery's stringyness all the time. However, if you puree it in a soup you only get the flavor and I think most people who "don't like celery" will disagree after having this. Also, the pureed potatoes really give this a nice rich creamy texture without being loaded with cream (this is actually suuuper nutrish). Meegy said this was like a clam chowder without the clams. I agreed.

3 stalks of celery
4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 a yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 C chicken stock (please make your own... so damn good!)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
Hot pepper flakes (pinch - 1 tsp)
Pinch of rosemary (per Meegy)
1/4 skim milk
Olive Oil
Blue cheese (optional)

The gist is as follows: roughly chop the onions and celery and saute in oil for a few minutes until tender (do not let this brown). Add the potatoes, garlic and dried herbs and continue to saute for just a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and let everything get warmed through for about 5 minutes. Next, add enough water so just the top of the veggies are covered. Cover with a tight fitting lid and boil, on medium, for 45 minutes.

After 45 mins, remove the lid, kill the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes before transferring to the blender. Once in the blender, add milk and puree until soup is very smooth. We served this with crumbled blue cheese (since we had it anyways and we thought celery... blue cheese... like hot wings always come w celery...) I don't know - it's cheese so it worked. Doesn't cheese work with everything?? If you wanted to jazz this up a bit you could garnish with some fresh parsley and olive oil. The olive oil makes cool patterns.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Jalapeno Poppers!

Poppers are my fave greasy grimy bar food... I love them so much. I don't love them when they are filled w cream cheese though... I def prefer the mix up. Meegy and I were gonna buy the pre-made frozen ones, cause like, they're tasty as hell but instead we made our own! I do NOT regret this. We ate these with Crush soda and just accepted that that was not a healthy decision :0)

10 jalapenos
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 tub cream cheese
Bread crumbs

Preheat oven to broil and broil jalapenos, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until the outside is just slightly burnt. Immediately remove from cooking tray to plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them cool for 10 minutes or until you can handle them. Remove the skin and cut in half and then remove the insides.

Mix the cheeses and stuff it into the jalapenos. Dip the jalapeno in a milk and egg wash, then in flour. Let sit for 10 minutes. Dip the jalapeno in egg wash then in bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Repeat the last step giving you another bread crumb coating and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Deep fry for about 4 minutes with oil that's at 375 degrees.


Moroccan Kebabs wih Sides

Meegy and I used a lot of help from the store on this one. It was Mike's idea to do something middle-eastern and we went to Citarella (best sea food counter I've seen thus far in the city) and just sorta worked from there. Mike isn't a huge [cooked] seafood fan, so we went with meat. Red manly meat. We ended up with a luxurious spread since we used so much help from the store.

1 lb lamb cut into cutes
1 medium egg plant cut into cubes
8 crimini mushrooms
1 red onion cut into pieces
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch of cumin and cinnamon
Olive oil

This should make about 6 kabobs. You basically cut the veggies and lamb into chunks and arrange on skewers. You mix the last 6 ingredients together and coat one side with the mixture and grill on high (so lamb is red on inside and you get good grill marks) for 3 minutes. Brush the other side with mixture and flip and cook for 2 minutes, take off grill and cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.

While the kabobs are cooling you can arrange your store bought items on a large cutting board (or on anything). I bought pitas, red pepper hummus, mixed olives, feta cheese and red wine.

I also served this with couscous as follows:
1 C couscous
1 C milk
Chopped fresh parsley

You bring a hefty 1 C of milk to a boil, add couscous, kill heat and cover for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with fork. Add in parsley and salt/pep. Milk and couscous are used in almost all Morocan dishes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Potato Omelette with Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese Straws

If you're on a budget (like I usually am), this is a great and tasty meal. I sorta don't recommend doing this without a food processor (w a slicing feature) or a mandolin. Serve this with Cholula hot sauce.

This is for one serving:
1 Yukon gold spud (sliced thin)
3 eggs
1 tsp finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
Shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBSP milk
1/2 TBSP butter
1/2 TBSP oil

So, slice your potatoes suuuper super thin. As I said above, I don't think this can be achieved without the aid of your food processor or your mandolin. Heat the pan to medium high for a good few minutes, reduce to medium, add butter and oil and then arrange your potatoes in the pan in a flower type way (just arrange the slices in a circle around the pan). Let this cook for about 8 minutes.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and pour over top. Let this cook for about another 5 minutes. Ok, this is the hard part and, not gonna lie, I was super impressed that I was able to do this! So, the idea here is that you wanna get the other side (normally I would say broiler is fine, but my Cheese Straws were in there and I wanted to learn this pro-style way anyways). Get a plate and spray w non-stick spray. Cover the pan with the plate and flip fast and with confidence. Immediately slide the omelet back into the pan and turn heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.

Make the Whole Wheat Cheddar Cheese straws first. These are great snack foods!

1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients except for the milk in a bowl and mix until you get big crumbs. Add the milk and kneed to form your dough. Roll out your dough into a thin sheet and cut long thin strips out and transfer to a cookie sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Ok - this shoots to the top of my list of favorites, no doubt! One of my friends from work (Clare, a super smart attorney who's leaving to go live in the Caribbean and who I WILL be visiting :-) is going to make this and she is going to do an easier version, which I have posted below.

You will note that nothing is seasoned as it's unnecessary since the salsa is packed w flavor and it seeps into everything else.

3 large beefsteak tomatoes
5 tomatillos
1/2 large white onion
1 C packed fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
Corn from 2 ears
Whole chicken
3 C jack cheese
6 flour tortillas

Boil the whole chicken the night before in a large pot filled with water for abt 1.5 hours over medium heat. Put in fridge over night.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Pull the chicken in the pot from the fridge and put it on the stove to warm up. Remove from pot after just warmed and take all meat off carcass (I um, like to do this...) You should end up w about 4 C of shredded chicken.

Food process the first 7 ingredients (this makes your salsa). Boil the corn in the chicken water for 5 minutes then take corn off cobs (reserve chicken water for stock!). Dice the zucchini and squash and saute in pan with Pam until browned (good smoky flavor). Kill the heat on the veggies and add in corn.

Now all that's left is the layering: Add salsa to the bottom of the pan, then two tortillas, then veggies, then chicken, then cheese, then more salsa and repeat as you would a lasagna. Finish with cheese.

Cook, covered w tin foil, for 50 minutes. Remove foil and jack oven up to a broil and broil until golden. Make sure you check CONSTANTLY when you are broiling. It will golden within a matter of minutes and you do NOT wanna ruin this by over broiling. Also, the hardest part of this meal is letting it sit for at least 20 minutes. 30 minutes is perfect.

** Clare substituted one can salsa and one can salsa verde and mixed these for the salsa. She bought a rotisserie chicken and removed meat. She used store bought frozen corn instead. Doing it this way is muuuch easier and makes it a really great go to quick meal. However, if you have the time, do the home made. You will certainly not regret it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

German Potato Salad

This is a really healthy meal (ok, fine, you can leave the bacon out Jenny) and great for picnics since there is no mayo.

Make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight so everything gets incorporated.

12 red potatoes
2 scallions chopped on a bias
1/2 red bell pepper chopped into little bits
1 TBS finely chopped parsley
5 bacon slices, crisped and crumbled
1/2 red onion chopped into little bits

1/2 C red wine vinegar
2 tsp Grey Poupon
1/2 C olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Ite - here it is: wash and cut the potatoes into thin discs (leave the skin on). Boil until just a taaad firmer than fork tender. You can go ahead and chop all your veggies while they are boiling. Drain and return to pot (just to get extra water evaporated... water and oil are like Montague and Capulet). Whisk the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and salt/pep together (you may need to add more oil depending on your taste... I personally <3 vinegar... maybe it's the British in me). Anyhoodle, add the "dressing" to the warm spuds but do NOT, I repeat, do not add the veggies. Adding the veggies to the hot potatoes will slightly cook them which will do two things: 1. tenderize and 2. discolour. You want the crisp texture and the brigthness of the color. However, it is important to add the dressing to the hot potatoes in order to aid absorption. When the spuds have cooled, add the veggies and toss and refrigerate.

I like to make a ton of this stuff cause it can really stay in your fridge throughout the week and it's great for picking. Potatoes are the best! They really are healthy despite their Atkin's rep.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

French Bread Pizza

My friend from work and I wanted to hang out and drink and eat but we were super poor, so we did this. I love cooking for my friend Claire cause she's always super kind and complimentative (ummm, not a word, but you get it).

Loaf of french bread
Can of tomato sauce
Dried italian herbs (garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, parsley, basil)
Mozz cheese
Ricotta cheese
Toppings (I think we got a can of mushrooms and some pepperoni)

Cut the french bread in half and scoop out a bit of he insides. Slather the inside with sauce and sprinkle w dried herbs. Dollop some ricotta and spread. Sprinkle w mozz. The trick: use ricotta cause it is cheaper and goes further than mozz. Add any toppings you like and bake for about 15 mins. I'm tellin you man, this is way cheaper than ordering a pizza a way better. I'm sure you can figure out how to make it fancier n shtuff like that. You could transfer my Grilled Pizzas ideas to french bread pizzas in the winter. However, nothing beats a pizza stone and a wicked good dough.

Lobster Dip

This is a great way to stretch a lobster to look oober bouji.

Meat from 2 good sized lobsters
4 pieces of crisp bacon, chopped
1 TBS chopped chives
1/2 C mayo
1/2 C cream cheese

You can add in anything else you see fit (corn kernels ... mmmm, actually def do this). The only thing is that you gotta keep it suuuper chunky or else you look corny.

Vegetarian Chili

My dad took us all up to his ski house he got every year around either Thanksgiving or Christmas. This is THE perfect dish to serve at a ski house. We had such a variety of people in and out that we were bound to come across a vegetarian at some point. Also, you really won't miss the meat at all (we've all heard how portabellas are probably the best meat sub in the veggie family). This is a little involved for one of my recipes, but it's well worth it and it's mostly just choppin a ton of veggies, which, I personally find thoroughly therapeutic.

So, you will have a huge unattractive pot of chili (just serve it right in the pot) and to jazz it up, do little side dishes of the garnishes below. Also, this allows people to customize their bowl to their likings, which instantly means everyone will love it. I know I personally love having options.

3 TBSP olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
About 5 cloves medium sized garlic
2 jalapeno peppers (take seeds out for milder chili)
1 - 2 zucchini, chopped
4 ears of corn (or 2 C frozen)
6 medium portabello mushrooms, chopped
1 large can of whole romano tomatoes
2 C canned black beans
1 C canned pinto beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 C water
2 1/2 TBSP chili powder
1 TBSP cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP onion powder
1 tsp both salt and pepper

Diced avocado
Minced cilantro
Sour cream
Red onions
Shredded cheese

Over medium heat, heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, peppers and garlic and cook until tender for about 6 minutes. Crank the heat to medium-high and add the rest of the veggies other than tomatoes (ok, are they a bloody veggie?... or fruit? Can someone pleeeease give me an educated answer). Cook for about 7 mins. Add the dried herbs and mix. Then add the tomatoes, beans, sauce and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for at least 15 mins. I personally like to have it going for 30 mins (and not longer) to keep the veggies in tact and add depth of flavour and textures.

In laments terms: brown the veggies, add the beans and tomatoes and cook covered.

Serve right in the pot w a ladle and put the garnishes out so people can help themselves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Greek Nachos

Pair this w a Mythos beer and you're set for the night! I always wonder if Mythos is like the Greek version of Miller Light. Here I am trying to be all authentic and shit. Authenticity fail. Whatever, I like Mythos and I've heard they drink this in Greece, so give it a whirl.

3 pitas cut into 6 triangles each
1 lb ground lamb
2 cloves garlic
2 roma tomatoes chopped
1 package feta cheese
1/4 C chopped kalamata olives
1/4 C red onion slivers
Fresh mint
Olive oil
Hummus and Greek yogurt on the side

Preheat oven to 350.

Sprinkle pita triangles w olive oil, salt/pep and cumin and toast in oven for about 5 mins per side. Meanwhile, brown the lamb with minced garlic and salt/pepp.

Lay out the pita and cover with lamb, cheese, veggies and sprinkle mint on top. Serve w hummus and Greek yogurt on the side.

Italian Fish Pack

Cooking in parchment paper might be one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. I like the neat little bundles, I love how the flavors stay in, I dig the healthiness (as it is essentially steamed), the presentation is amazing and the clean up is a sinch! (Are you sold yet!?? You best be yo!) Ok, so you can cook in parchment with aaaaaaanything. I guess this is my first post about it so try this out first.

4 fillets white flaky fish (tilapia, sole, code, haddock... you get it)
Juice from 1 lemon
4 lemon slices
4 handfuls of arugula
4 slices of roasted red peppers
3 TBSP black olives
2 TBSP capers
2 tsp dried parsely
2 tsp red pepper flakes
4 tsp garlic powder
Oregano (fresh is soooo great in this recipe)
Olive oil

This is how we do: cut a piece of parchment about a foot long. Lay a handful (1/4 of the amount you have) of arugula on parchment. Place fish on top of arugula and sprinkle with lemon, salt and pepper. Next lay a strip of roasted red pepper down and cover that with a lemon slice (presentation freakin counts here people!!). Next, chop the capers and the olives and toss with the dried parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and about 1 TBSP of olive oil. Divide this into half and then divide one half of it into 4 and sprinkle one fourth of the one half (do you get it!?!?) on top of package thus far. Lay a sprig of fresh oregano and wrap up your bundle... here, I will try to explain, but you basically do it like a deli sandwich. Ok, take two opposing edges, meet them up top and fold over each other once or twice or three times till they hit the bundle. Then fold the other two pieces (the edges) into a triangle (think wrapping a pressie) and then fold those under. I use staples to secure everything.

Serve this with angle hair pasta tossed simply with olive oil, lemon and the remaining capers and olive mixture.

Leek Cheese Sauce

You can pretty much add this over anything. Do it several times and become familiar with it and use it. I am just going to use skim milk and Kraft singles as that's what most people have. I would stick to the skim milk just to keep it healthy, but def get as fancy as you want with the cheeses. Anything works.

2 C skim milk
2 leeks (whites only), cut up finely
3 TBSP butter or marge
3 TBSP flour
3 slices Kraft singles
1 tsp dried mustard (only if you have... def not necessary)
Dash of nutmeg (again, only if you have... def not necessary)

Set sauce pan to medium heat and add butter and leeks. Stir until leeks become tender (about 12-16 minutes). Add the flour (making a rouix... see Macaroni and Cheese recipe for rouix discription) and stir for another 5-8 minutes until the mixture is slightly brown. Whisk in the milk very slowly and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 5 more minutes then add the cheese slices slowly until the dissolve (this should take about another 8 minutes). Add the dried spices and let simmer until the rest of your meal is cooked. Smother everything with this ish - it's like crack!

Salmon with Mustard Potatoes

Ok, so this is my most favoritest salmon marinade ever - something about salmon and mustard really gets me goin. This is a great dish to freeze: I have done 4 extra portions at a time, thrown everything in a Ziploc and frozen for a month. It's a frozen meal that is good for you and not LOADED with bloody salt like all other "healthy" frozen meals. Have you noticed the salt content of other frozen meals? Go check it out... holy hell...

Salmon filets (do 6 and freeze some)
3 lbs baby red potatoes potatoes
1 lb brussel sprouts
2/3 C very nice English mustard
1/2 C very nice honey
3 TBSP lemon + 1 whole lemon extra

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the honey, mustard and 3 TBSP lemon together.

Rinse and quarter the potatoes. Use the Ziploc Zip n Steam bags (greeeat for doing roast potatoes... do it all the time in the winter) and cook potatoes in microwave accordingly.

Wash the salmon and the brussels and cut the brussels in half. Lay the cooked potatoes, brussels and salmon on a large baking sheet and brush everything with honey mustard. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove fish and set the oven to broil and then broil potatoes and brussels until golden brown. Serve this with Leek Cheese Sauce.

Freeze the rest by simply throwing everything (salmon, potatoes, brussels and sauce) in either a Ziploc with the air sucked out or a Tupperware container.

Rhubarb Chutney

I made this for my mom cause she's British and they love rhubarb over there. We paired this w a Honey Baked Ham (holy moly - so damn good). However, you can serve this with simple pan seared pork chops too. Or chicken.

3/4 C sugar
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP minced ginger
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cloves (remove at end)
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 C finely chopped rhubarb
3/4 C red onion
1/3 C dried fruit (I like currants or apricots)

Put everything other than the rhubarb, onions and fruit in a heavy sauce pan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until rhubarb is soft. I find this only gets better w time, so make it a day ahead.

Pork and Chive Dumplings

These are super fun to make! I buy the pre-made wontons and leave out the dried shrimp. The dipping sauce is the best part. Try this when you have a good hour.

Frying them is a little tricky, but you'll get it. Add some oil to a NON-STICK (so crucial) pan and add the dumplings, cover half way w water (yes, this will steam and go nuts) and then cover until water is gonzo!

Baked Clams with Linguini

This was my first attempt at clams and, might I add, they fucking rocked! I did this like I do most of my recipes: I searched Epicurious, Wikipedia and Food Network for some basic ideas and then I just went for it in my own kitchen. This is what I came up with and I cannot wait to try more versions. Also, I asked the friendly people at Pescatore in Grand Central Market to shuck the clams for me but I know some people can do this on their own... I will get there.

20 clams, on the half shell
1 C plain bread crumbs
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
2 pieces pancetta
2 TBSP finely chopped onion
1 TBSP finely chopped bell pepper (I used red)
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon zest
2 TBSP butter
olive oil

1/2 lb linguini
1/4 C olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
pinch dried basil
Parmesan cheese

Boil salted water for the pasta.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pancetta over medium heat until just browning and remove from pan. Empty the pancetta juices from the pan, turn pan to medium-low and add 2 TBSP butter, onions and bell peppers. Cook until tender (about 7 minutes) and then add the garlic. As a side note, I like to add in my garlic using a microplane as it distributes the garlic nicely. Let that cook for 1-2 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, onion mixture, dried herbs, pancetta and lemon zest. Add enough oil until this mixture is wet but not oily.

Add pasta to water. While the pasta is cooking, add the oil, garlic and dried herbs to the frying pan and let simmer slowly. Once pasta is cooked, toss in the oil and add cheese.

Meanwhile, take a spoon and loosen (don't remove) the clams from the shell. Take the bread crumb mixture and put it on top of the clams. Pack it all down a bit. They should be heaping.

Cook clams for 5 minutes at 350 degrees then broil for 2 minutes to brown. Arrange the clams around a portion of linguine and freakin enjoooooy!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Scallion Pancakes with Curry

So, Mike and I had major munchies last night and we officially have NOTHING in our kitchen (note to self: stop at WF on way home from Lee's wedding).

1 C flour
1 Egg
3/4 C water
1/2 C chopped scallions
1 TBS curry powder
2 tsp chili powder

You mix all of the ingredients together and then pan fry in a bit of oil. You treat this as you would a breakfast pancake (just don't serve w syrup!!... omg, I'm so lame).

I did a sauce with them too:

1 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
Red pepper flakes to taste

This was very satisfying and cured the munchies without a doubt.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chicken Corquettes

This is probably the recipe from my childhood I remember best. My dad used to make these and he would put a green olive in the middle of all but one of the croquettes. I forget if you won or lost if you didn't get the olive (I frankly think it changed) and I also don't remember what you won if you did, but I remember loooving these! I asked my dad for the recipe and have duplicated them since.

1-2 rotisserie chickens
1 can condensed chicken soup
Egg wash (2 eggs + 1-2 TBSP milk)
Panko bread crumbs (this is my twist... I think my dad used regular plain bread crumbs)
Green olives
Veggie oil for frying

Peel all the meat from the rotisserie chickens. Food process the meat until you get a grainy/sandy kind of paste. You MUST food process - do not try and do this manually. Add enough condensed chicken soup to the chicken until you get a sticky paste. Roll into 3X2 cylindars and shove olives into all but one of the centers. Dip quickly in egg wash, roll in panko crumbs and let rest in the fridge for 10 minutes. Dip and roll again and let set for 20 minutes. Then fry in 350 oil until dark golden brown.

You can sub the chicken w potatoes if you want. You could really do anything now that I think of it. You could do potatoes and salmon or you could do egg and potato or ham and potato for a Spanish style croquette. Play around w this... I now intend to.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Basil Mayo

This is a great sandwich spread. Look at my Italian Style Sandwiches.

1 large egg yolk that's been set to room temp (leave out for about 45 mins)
1/2 tsp super great dijon mustard
3/4 olive oil
1 tsp vinegar (white, red or cidar)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup packed fresh basil

Put all in a blender and blend that ish!!!

Italian Style Sandwich

I brought these to the beach and it gave me super great energy for crushin some waves (ok, fine, for being crushed by some waves - he he he). Gosh I love the waves.

Ciabatta bread
Basil Mayo
Genoa Salami
Aged Provolone (so important)
Tons of arugula

Warm the whole ciabatta loaf in tin foil in a 400 degree oven for about 15 mins. Remove and slice into 4 pieces and cut lengthwise. Slather with the Basil Mayo and add meats and cheeses as you like. Personally, I like both slices of bread slathered w the Basil Mayo, I do equal parts cheese and prosciutto (fucking LOVE prosciutto), only one piece of salami (but salami is the cheapest) and then STUFF it like a turkey with arugula. I use so much arugula people call it my salad sandwich. I would be happy eating arugula all day!

Garlic Bread

Super easy and you really gotta serve this w any kind of pasta or soup. You can use any sorta bread (I used freaking hot dog buns yesterday son). So, slice the bread (if needed) into thick hunks... whatever you want. Slather bread with butter or marge. Then put the bread (face up) in a pre-heated oven set to broil. Broil till top turns niiice n brown. Take out of oven and rub down with a whole garlic glove (or 3). Sprinkle with salt and pep and you got yourself a delicious mop. Mop it up.

Pasta w Veggies

So, you can really do any veggies you have on hand. Some good ones are squash/zucchini, onion, carrots, peas, string beans, peppers, etc etc. For once I actually had left over fresh pasta instead of left over veggies that had to be used. Strange, huh? Ite, so, there version below is what I did yesterday. The dried spice combo really makes the perfect sauce and therefore shouldn't be tampered with like you can tamper with the veggies. And to ensure that the sauce isn't too tangy, I always add a little of the starchy pasta water.

1 15 oz can tomato sauce (I get a big ass box of these at Costco)
1/2 lbs pasta (I used fresh angle hair... this was for two ppl only)
1 zucchini
1 red onion
1/2 C peas
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thym
1/44 tsp rosemary
1 TBSP olive oil
Parmasan cheese
Fresh parsley

Saute the veggies and the dried spices in olive oil until nice and brown (I even like it when they get sorta black... kinda adds a fire roasted sorta flare). Then you reduce to low and cook for another 2 minutes to cool off the pan before you add tomato sauce so it doesn't splatter.

Add the tomato sauce and cook on low for however long you want. Meanwhile, dunk the pasta and cook accordingly (omg, please use fresh pasta... it's so effing amazing it's out of control). Cook it so it's like suuuper al dente (aka hard in the middle), drain all the water but abt 2 TBSP then add the pasta to the sauce mixture and stir to combine for about 3 minutes over low heat (the pasta will finish cooking here). Sprinkle liberally w cheese and parsley and serve with Garlic Bread. YUMMY!!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thai Beef Salad

I just made this last night and it is reeeeeeeeeally tasty. Mike even ate it and he is NOT a salad kinda dude. It was prob all the beef in it - hahaha. I made the dressing then dressed the lettuce immediately so it sorta had a chance to soak in. I also threw in whatever veggies I had on hand or whatever I was in the mood for. So, the veggies below are more suggestions than recipe requirements.

1 lb steak (flank, skirt, flatiron)
Steak marinade: 2 TBS lime juice, 2 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBS black pepper
Dressing: 2 TBSP fish sauce, 2 TBSP lime juice, 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tsp sugar
Lettuce (any kind you want, but mixed greens are nice)
Mung beans
Snap peas
Baby corn
Red onion
Red pepper

So, I made the dressing first and put it over the lettuce. Then marinate the steak (leave the steak marinating outside of the fridge to bring it to room temp. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. 45 is best) and preheat the cast iron skillet.

Next, I started peeling and chopping my veggies and dumping them into the soaking lettuce, turning it every once in a while. Then I seared my steak for 4 minutes on each side (ngl, I sorta like my steak still moo-ing). Let the steak sit for 20 minutes before thinly slicing. Letting the steak rest is the most crucial part of this recipe as it will allow it to redistribute the juices and finish cooking off.

After it's done resting, you slice and lay on top of veggies. Soooooo super duper good!!!! I wished I had cashews to sprinkle on top...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

It's sorta like, really fun to do a grown-up Mac n Cheese cause you can throw all sorts of fancy stinky cheeses in there. I love love LOVE cheese so much and I like to go to Murray's here in NYC cause they let you sample everything and they're super knowledgeable. I really enjoy spending some time at Murray's and picking out different cheeses and asking what wines go with what, etc etc. I think the IPhone should have a wine app (side note). I think my fave so far has been adding an ultra stinker (say 4 ounces of aged blue cheese) with an Irish cheddar. Serve this w a side salad and everyone will be happy.

1/2 lb macaroni (anything that strikes your fancy will work. elbows are like soooo 1980's tho)
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour (that's right... it's a roux!)
1 1/2 TBSP powdered mustard
3 C milk
2 TBSP super fine yellow onion
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1 egg
12 ounces of cheese, shredded
1 C breadcrumbs (fresh or panko)
3 TBSP butter

Make a roux by combining the flour and the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once just combined, add the mustard and stir until it turns slightly brown (4 mins). Add the milk, onion, bay leaf and paprika and cook for 10 mins (should be continually slightly bubbling). Temper the egg and add them in. Next, add 3/4 of the cheese and stir to combine. Add macaroni, and transfer to a casserole dish. Melt butter in a pan, add breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Sprinkle top of casserole with buttery breadcrumbs (I like to make fresh breadcrumbs or use panko) and the rest of the cheese.

I think I might need to make me some mac n cheese tonight to go with this dreadful hangover (happy birthday Tully!!!) and this wretched rain. Rain rain go away!!!!!!!

Mussels and Angle Hair

So, I was at the beach all weekend which was the best time ever. My friend Sasha just moved back from Colorado and I love her so much and she is so hysterical. Her new BF is the best thing ever! I got annihilated by waves and my sister is my fave ocean partner (Amy is a close second). I ate seafood and wanted more. So, I made this. It's simple and cheap.

I went to Grand Central Market to get all the ingredients. GCM is super great but expensive. That's why I got mussels ($4/lb) and pasta (fresh angel hair was like $2.50 and DELICIOUS).

1 lb mussels (umm, I did one lb just for myself)
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
Fresh angel hair pasta (since it's such a simple dish, use really great fresh pasta)
1/2 medium white onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp pepper
1 TBSP oil
Handful of fresh parsley (optional)
Parmigiana cheese

pre heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil, all the spices and the onion and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and cook until all the mussels have opened. After you add the mussels add the fresh pasta to the water and cook just a minute or two (since it's fresh) to make it al dente. Add the pasta and about 1 TBSP of the pasta water to mussel pan. mix all together and dump into bowl. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and parmagiano cheese.