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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vietnamese Rolls and Wings

This combo is really excellent. This meal is healthy and could feed a crowd for virtually nothing. The dipping sauces make it customizable, which everyone digs. You could go even further with the customization and let ppl wrap their own rolls. The wrapping of these rolls is unbelievably easy (not like a flour tortilla can be) because they are stretchy and sticky and do not rip easily. The chicken wings come out super crunchy and flavorful but you don't have to shun them because they are baked, not fried and they are not coated in butter.

12 chicken wings

1 TBSP + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 C chopped red onion
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C fish sauce
2 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 TBSP white sugar

3 TBSP ketchup
1 TBSP Siracha
2 tsp honey
1 tsp ginger powder
4 tsp rice vinegar

3/4 C coconut milk
3 TBSP chunky peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste or chili paste
1 tsp fish sauce

Rice paper wrappers
Steamed shrimp
Carrot, julienned
Cucumber, julienned
Avocado, sliced thin (optional)

This looks really confusing, huh? Well, chances are a. you have a majority of the items in your pantry and b. you'll be pleasantly surprised how easy this is once you get going.

Start by mixing all of A and letting the chicken wings marinate in this. Leave them outside the fridge for as long as it takes you to prepare the dipping sauces.

Preheat oven to broil.

Prepare spicy sauce by mixing items B.

Prepare peanut sauce in a sauce pan by combining items C, let cook until peanut butter is dissolved and turn off heat.

You can put the sauces in fancy bowls to make it look nice.

Next, take the chicken wings and put them on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Stick them in the oven. Baste with the remaining sauce every 10 minutes until the wings are nice and charcoaly.

Turn off the oven and let the wings stay in while you assemble the rolls. Dip the rice paper in warm water until malleable (about 40 seconds), layer with the herbs, the veggies and then either 3 - 4 shrimp depending on size. Wrap them up by folding over one end, tucking int he sides, then continuing to wrap all the way. If you're having difficulty, my best bet would be that you're trying to cram too much in them... try using less.

Once the rolls have been made, take the wings out, plate them up and serve everything! It's spectacular!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watercress, Grapefruit and Goat Cheese Salad

I think the combination of these flavors is unbeatable. The grapefruit adds such a tart citrus flavor that brightens up this salad and makes it acceptable for dinner.

1 bunch watercress
1 large grapefruit, segmented
Crumbled goat cheese

1 TBSP champagne vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP minced shallot
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Assemble the watercress, grapefruit and goat cheese in a bowl.

Mix together the dressing and pour on top.

I usually serve this with a chicken breast on the side.

Pizza Dip

Everyone likes pizza. Try serving this as an alternative crowd pleaser. It will keep everyone entertained for a while.

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 TBSP fresh oregano
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves
1 small container ricotta cheese
2 TBSP parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley

Pizza toppings (see below)

Preheat oven to broil.

In a pan, bring the tomatoes, herbs and garlic to a boil. Reduce to simmer and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the sauce.

Transfer sauce to blender and puree until smooth.

Transfer sauce to oven safe serving dish, dollop in ricotta and top with parmesan. Bake until the top is slightly browned (about 3 minutes).

You can serve this with any number of things. Serve with both hard and soft bread sticks. To make the bread sticks you can use my Asiago Cheese Focaccia recipe and roll into sticks instead of rolls. You can pick your favorite pizza toppings and make kebabs with them (i.e. pepperoni, olive and brocolli kababs). You can serve with cheese and veggies.

Chicken Tacos

I love Mexican food, but am haunted by it's nutritional value. This is an easy way to enjoy Mexican food without the fat! Opt for organic hard taco shells as they have about half the fat and calories as their soft taco counterparts. Cottage cheese instead of regular cheese is another way to rid of a lot of fat and the beans fill you up without adding extra carbs from rice.

2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 - 2 habenero peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 handful cilantro
2 TBSP white vinegar

Salsa from my Mexican Lasagna

1 can refried pinto beans
1 container cottage cheese
1 avocado, sliced
Cilantro for garnish
Blue corn tortilla chips

Puree the habenero peppers, garlic, cilantro and white vinegar. Marinate chicken in this mixture for at least 20 minutes. Over night is best.

Make the salsa.

Grill or pan fry chicken.

Assemble tacos as desired.

Extremely Healthy Muffin

So, recently I've read to eat a lot of orange things. Specifically, eat a lot of sweet potatoes. Here, this is part of it: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

I don't eat a lot of sweet potatoes (maybe once or twice around the holidays) and I really want to get more of these in. I came up with this recipe for a sweet potato muffin that is incredibly healthy and provides an unmatchable start to your day.

Also, this recipe requires very little skill and is very versatile. If you don't like chocolate and/or almonds, substitute some cranberries or ginger or whatever you would like.

1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C ground flax seed
1/3 C quick cooking oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp chili powder (don't be scared... try this... don't skip)
4 C sweet potato
1/3 C agave nectar
2 TBSP Truvia (or raw sugar)
3/4 C dark chocolate chips
1/3 C slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the sweet potatoes by stabbing with fork, microwaving for 5 minutes then wrapping in foil and baking for about 40 minutes or until soft. Peel the potatoes and puree in blender (add water as needed) until smooth.

Lower the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients (top 7 ingredients). Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate and almonds. Scoop into cupcake pans. Bake for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The PERFECT Pancake

Meeg loves pancakes and can't get enough of them. Seriosly, he could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has done so in the past. Frequently. I, myself, am not a huge fan of pancakes. For a start, I prefer savory items in the morning, also, I find them rather uniform and blase to be honest. Finally, I'd rather save the calories for a carnitas taco or something equally delicious.

All that hating on pancakes aside, you MUST try these pancakes. They are light and creamy and have a bit of kick from the sour cream. I serve mine with pineapple and cottage cheese... YUMMMM!

Oh, final note: I make them with non-fat sour cream

Recipe link

Italian Breakfast Sammies

Forget the grotesque sausage patty (ok, fine, they're good when you are in the mood), fried egg and processed american cheese. You really have to try this light Italian breakfast sammie. I made it using the Asiago Focaccia Rolls.

1/4 lb proscuitto di parma (for two ppl)
2 Asiago Focaccia Rolls
2 eggs
1 big tomato
A handful of fresh basil leaves

Slice and warm the rolls in the oven (assuming they will not be fresh out of the oven). Lightly poach your eggs so the gooey inside breaks and gets all into the roll. You can use two eggs per sandwich if you're pretty hungry (which I typically am). Look here to make the peeerfect poached egg that you will do over and over again! While your egg is poaching, lightly fry the proscuitto until just crispy, set aside. Turn up the heat, add olive oil and fry the basil leaves until very crunchy. Slice the tomato. Assemble the sandwich as soon as the eggs are done. I like to break my yolk before I even bite into the sandwich, but some people enjoy ripping it open with their mouths. This is a must try!

Easy Ground Beef Chili

Chili is a great go-to meal in the winter... it is warm, hearty, inexpensive and stores well. Honestly, what more could you really want. I prefer my Vegetarian Chili as I'm only a fan of bloody ass red meat, but this is a great crowd please. Meegy really enjoys this one :-)

Oh, serve this with corn muffins if you got em.

3 bell peppers, diced
3 small onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2.5 lbs ground beef
1 TBSP cumin
2 TBSP cayenne pepper
1 tsp each thyme and oregano
1/2 bottle of Guinness or other stout beer
1 can kidney beans
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
Cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions... whatever topping you desire

Saute the peppers, onions, garlic cloves and dried spices in oil over medium - medium/high heat in a large pot until tender (about 15 mins). Remove veggies and set aside. Turn heat to high, add more oil and brown the beef (about 7 minutes). Add the veggies back in and add all the rest of the ingredients except the toppings. Simmer on high for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spicy Celery Margarita

Serve this with your Butt Quesadillas.

2 stalks celery
1 jalapeno
1 tsp lime zest
2 C lime juice
2 C tequila
1 TBSP triple sec
2 TBSP sugar
5 C ice cubes (or to your liking)
Kosher salt

Pure all ingredients except for the kosher salt in a blender. Line the rim of the glass with kosher salt.

Butt Quesadillas with Slaw Salad

I invested in a meat thermometer over the holidays and this is one of the recipes I was excited to try! Pork butt (yes, that's a technical term) is cheap and super tasty once it reaches it's full "pullableness" at 190 degrees F.

The salad that goes alongside makes it easier to only indulge in two slices of 'dillas, rendering a not-horrendous meal. I used a green and a red cabbage only because it looked pretty and I was serving to a work friend. If you get only one kind it's totally fine.

1 5 lb pork butt
1 TBSP each: paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder

1/2 small green cabbage
1/2 small red cabbage
1 can black beans
1 C corn kernels (frozen, canned or fresh)
1 large red onion
1 C packed cilantro
1/2 C lime juice
3 roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno (leave the seeds in for taste)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 avocados

1 package of flour tortillas
.5 lbs manchego cheese
.5 lbs shredded jack cheese

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

Mix all the dried spices together and rub over the raw pork butt. Put butt in pan that will hold it and insert probe (I just wanted to say that ;-) of thermometer into center of butt... try to get it exactly in the middle for an accurate reading. Set the timer for 190 degrees (about 5 hours), cover your butts with foil and do nothing until the timer goes off!

Right after you get the butt in, make the slaw salad so all the flavors get to know one another. To do so, shred the cabbage and add the beans and corn to the shredded cabbage. Dice the avocado and add to the slaw as well. Food process the red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, tomatoes, cumin, salt, lime juice and olive oil until chunky. Pour over the slaw salad and set in fridge until pork is done.

Once the pork is done, shred with two fork, put on one half of a tortilla, cover with cheese, fold tortilla over and grill until golden. Serve with slaw salad. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Veggie Chips

I love sandwiches: I'm the annoying person asking for her cracked pepper smoked turkey sliced and vinegar on both sides. When I eat a sandwich, I need the "crunch factor": I need my chips. Chips are bad for you. I am not the epitome of a physical specimen. Conclusion: Veggie Chips.

1 bunch kale, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots, sliced using your food processor or mandoline
1 sweet potato, sliced using your food processor or mandoline
1 extra large beet, sliced using your food processor or mandoline

Preheat oven to 350.

Coat chips in olive oil and salt. You will most likely have to cook in batches as you want each chip to be cooked without touching another. It's a bit tedious, but shouldn't require too much thought after the first batch or two. Cook them until they are crispy and slightly browned (about 12 mins). Store in a large ziplock and enjoy!

Asiago Focaccia Rolls

Making focaccia is great! You can carry over any ingredients from the Italian dish you're making. For this one, I just did asiago cheese as I knew I wanted to use it for a veggie sandwich. But you can do olives, onions, rosemary...

2 tsp dry yeast
1 C warm water
2 TBSP sugar
1/2 C flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 C + 1 TBSP olive oil
1 C crumbled asiago cheese

Gently stir yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer with the dough hook attached. Let this sit for 5 minutes. Turn mixer on, add half the flour and combine for 3 minutes. Dissolve the salt in 1 TBSP water, add to bowl and mix for 1 minutes. Add the olive oil and combine. Add rest of flour. Turn mixer up to medium and kneed for 8 minutes. Roll dough out onto floured surface, make it into a ball and coat with olive oil. Put in a bowl in warm place (on top of oven) for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.

Cut the raised dough into 8 equal pieces, shape into little balls and flatten half way with the palm of your hand. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and top liberally with asiago cheese. Cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.


Sun-dried Tomato, Basil and Mushroom Ravioli, Fried

This is one of the wonderful things I wanted to do with my new Kitchenaid and pasta machine. These were so wonderful. They would be very nice in the summer since they were so light. I used cottage cheese and rolled the dough out very thin to achieve such thinness. You really should fry these, but if you must, you can gently pan boil.

Fresh Pasta recipe

1 container cottage cheese
1 TBSP finely grated Pecorino cheese
1 egg
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 TBSP finely chopped sun-dried tomato
2 TBSP finely chopped crimini mushroom
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh basil
Pinch kosher salt

2 TBSP butter
1 large shallot, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 C beef broth
1 C dry white wine
1 TBSP arrowroot
Handful of mini crimini mushrooms, whole

Prepare the pasta and set aside. While the pasta is resting, prepare the filling by combining part A into a bowl.

Roll out pasta and cut into large circles (radius about 2.5") to form the ravioli.

Before stuffing the raviolis, prepare the sauce. Saute the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes in the butter until soft but not browned at all. Add the whole mushrooms and immediately deglaze with the wine. Combine the arrowroot (or cornstarch or flour... some form of thickening agent) with 1/4 C cold water and add to mixture. Add in the stock and let entire mixture reduce by half.

Stuff the raviolis by putting ~1 TBSP filling on one circle, cover with another circle and press ends together with your hands.

To cook the ravioli, empty the sauce into a dish and set aside. In the skillet you used to prepare your sauce, add 1 TBSP butter + 1 TBSP olive oil and let melt over medium/medium-high heat. Add raviolis, bottom-side down, cover and let fry for about 3 minutes.

Serve with the sauce on the side to dip in and with a salad (Tri-Color Herb-Dijon).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Herb Butter Steaks

Hopefully you know how to cook a steak. Even if you do, try following these procedures and I PROMISE you will be thoroughly pleased if you like your steak w a charred crust and a peppery bite!

3 sirloin steak
1 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP Worcestershire
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
salt and HEAVY amounts of fresh cracked pepper

1 stick butter
2 tsp each of the following fresh herbs, finely chopped: oregano, parsley, chives, marjoram, basil
Pinch of lavender (optional as it's hard to find)

Take the steak out of the fridge at least an hour before hand (2 hours is better). It's most important to get rid of the chill on your meats before searing so you don't "shock" your meat. Marinate with the top 6 ingredients while the steak is coming to room temp.

As soon as you take the steak out, make your herb butter. In your Kitchenaid, combine the butter with all the ingredients and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk this together until smooth and incorporated. Remake the butter into a "log" using saran wrap and twisting the ends. Put this in the fridge to harden back up.

Once the steaks are ready to sear, coat the bottom of a skillet heavily with olive oil. Sear on each side for about 4 minutes for a medium rare. Do NOT move the steak around while they are cooking. Once you have flipped the steak, add a pat of herb butter on top so it melts down the sides. Serve with a spinach salad and baked potato.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dark Blood Cake

Sounds spooky, huh? More like freakin delicious! This was my first real attempt at baking and, not trying to toot my own horn, DAMN! The dark chocolate, blood orange and almonds really gave way to a decodent finish to this "new appliance meal"!

Paula Deen's 1-2-3-4 Cake Recipe
1 3"X3" organic dark chocolate
2 TBSP+ milk according to consistency
1 large blood orange, rind zested and inside juiced
1 handfull sliced almonds

Cook cake accordingly. Once all three cakes have cooled, poke holes with a skewer all over the top of the cakes. Lightly juice the blood orange over all the cakes and let rest for 20 more minutes.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate and add the zest from the orange and enough milk to get a smooth consistency.

Assemble cakes one on top of another using the chocolate icing as glue. Poour the remaining icing on top and push over the sides and smooth out. Sprinkle top and sides with the sliced almonds. Let this sit for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Tri-Color Herb-Dijon Salad

This is a great started salad to a pasta meal. I served this for the first time with my Fresh Pasta. The dressing packs a TON of flavor! You basically want to combine the radicchio, arugula and endive to provide a nice color (and ultimately taste) contrast. If you have a small radicchio, then use the whole thing. If 1 endive isn't enough, get two. The taste of these three items is perfectly balanced.

1/2 head radicchio
1 big handfull of arugula
1 endive
1 package baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half

1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp each fresh chopped: thyme, parsley, chives and oregano
1/2 shallot, finely minced

Whisk the dressing together and put into a squirt bottle. I actually just picked some of these up at Broadway Panhandler (MAN I love that store) and highly recommend them for multiple usages.

Chop, wash and assemble your greens. Place the tomatoes on top in a little pile. Let people dress their own salad.

Fresh Pasta with Escorole, Trumpet Mushrooms and Fennel Sausage

I just came back from Jamaica mon and was craving to use my new Kitchenaid and pasta maker! This meal was perfect. I also missed my markets so I went to Chelsea Market and got the ill heady dank dank ingredients.

Fresh Pasta
3 1/2 C Semolina
4 extra large eggs
2 tsp olive oil
Water if needed

Kneed everything with the dough hook of your Kitchenaid (yay, I finally have one!!!), add water until you get the consistency you desire, wrap in plastic and let rest for 20 minutes. Roll through pasta machine and cut to your liking. You only need to boil the pasta for 4 minutes or so when you're ready.

Pasta Dish
Fresh Pasta (see above)
1 head escorole, cleaned and sauteed in olive oil until slightly wilted
3 trumpet mushrooms, sliced vertically, salted and fried in olive oil
4 fennel sausages char grilled and sliced into disks
1 large shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, roasted
3 twigs each fresh thyme and oregano
2 C white wine
1 C veggie stock
4 TBSP butter
Pecorino cheese
Fresh parsley

Prepare the escorole, shrooms and sausages as I've indicated and set them all aside. I let the shrooms sit in the kosher salt for a while then patted them dry before frying in oil. The result is an earthy, salty, crispy, irresistable little sucker. I will ceeertainly be frying up some trumpet mushroom chips again :-)

In the pan that had the escorole sauteed, add some more olive oil and sautee the shallots. Add the veggie stock, wine, roasted garlic and fresh herbs and simmer until reduced by half. Cook the pasta to el dente and add into the sauce for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Add the escorole, sausages and butter to the pan and toss to coat. Serve in large bowl and add the shrooms on top. Sprinkle with the cheese and parsley.

I served this with my tri-color dijon-herb dressing salad and my Dark Blood cake.