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.

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.