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.

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!!