Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Facebook Foodies

I belong to a group on facebook that has some amazing cooks. Many of them are very inventive and creative cooks and I love stealing their ideas. This recipe comes via Ann Sheaffer Gibert. I loved her addition of bulgur.!/home.php?sk=group_145977728780987

I am not an olive fan, I know, I know, so I added tomatoes instead. The tomatoes worked but feel free to stick with the olives.

Chicken Vesuvio my way

4 skinless chicken thighs, bone in (or bone in breasts or combo)
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes like Pomi
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled, cores removed and pressed
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 1/2 cups bulgur

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. In a small amount of olive oil, brown the chicken, about 5 minutes per side. Then add the stock, white wine, garlic and tomatoes, cover and simmer until chicken is done about 40 minutes. Adjust time if you are cooking breasts. Remove the chicken and place in a warm oven. Add the artichoke hearts and bulgur and stir well. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, covered, adding a bit more stock if necessary. Remove from the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from oven. Season and serve.

Thanks Ann. Enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spanish Shrimp and Potato Salad

I tried another recipe from the San Francisco Chronicle. This is a warm potato salad with sauteed shrimp. It has some Spanish flavors and piquillo peppers. The recipe also called for sherry vinegar which I was out of and didn't realize it. I substituted red wine vinegar but you could use your favorite.

It's pretty simple and different and delicious.

I found the smoked paprika and the piquillo peppers at Whole Foods. You can substitute regular paprika and roasted red bell peppers.

Smoky Skillet Shrimp With Spanish Potato Salad my way

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad and shrimp:
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup jarred piquillo red peppers, drained and sliced thin
1 tablespoon drained and chopped capers
3/4 pound cooked small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced into thin rounds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
a pinch sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Whisk constantly, until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes in salted water until easily pierced by a fork. Let cool until you can handle them and slice thinly.

In a bowl, mix the red onion, peppers, capers and potatoes together. Toss with the dressing, season to taste, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Toss the shrimp with paprika, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until slightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Toss with the potato salad. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Peanut Vegetable Stew

I've been thinking about my blog and what I'm doing with it and I've decided it's a good place for cooks to come for ideas. I don't create many recipes, I tweak other people's recipes some and I'm good at finding good ideas. I remember my mother saying I don't mind making dinner but I don't know what to make. So if that is you I might be able to help.

I made a peanut stew I found in the San Francisco Chronicle that was just delicious. I've gotten many great recipes from the Chronicle lately and this was another good one. The recipe was presented as vegetarian but suggested you could add pork or chicken which sounded good to me. I added pork and Mike was happy but chicken would have been just as good. The original recipe included garbanzo beans which I left out since I added pork. The beans would be great if you want to keep it vegetarian. It was suggested to serve it with farro which I did and it was fabulous. The other suggestions were brown rice or couscous. Sounds good to me.

Peanut Vegetable Stew my way

~1 pound boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of any fat and cut into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 green bell pepper, large dice
1 small serrano, ribs and seeds removed and minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock plus more as needed
1/2 cup extra crunchy organic peanut butter plus more as needed
1 teaspoons soy sauce
a pinch or two of instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 medium tomato, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss pork pieces in flour, salt and pepper and coat thoroughly. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Brown pork for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion and carrot to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots soften slightly and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, serrano, paprika and chile flakes; cook a few minutes more until aromatic, another 5 minutes. Stir in the stock, peanut butter, soy sauce, espresso powder, vinegar, potatoes and tomatoes. Add pork and stir to combine. Add additional stock to cover if needed.

Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are just done, about 20 minutes. Add more stock if necessary. Season to taste with salt, pepper and additional peanut butter if a more pronounced flavor is desired. You can garnish with chopped peanuts and parsley, if you like.

Mike had the leftovers a few days later. I think it was even better then. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lamb and Eggplant Moussaka

It is still the rainy season in Northern CA which makes me want to cook soups, stews and braises. At about the same time a recipe arrived in my inbox from for moussaka, the ultimate yummy Greek casserole.

I used 1/2 the amount of meat and used ground lamb rather than ground beef and switched out whole milk for fat free milk to lighten up this dish with no ill effect. Feel free to use ground beef if you don't like lamb.

Moussaka my way

~12 ounces ground lamb
1 eggplant, cut off ends and cubed
1 medium russet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled, cores removed and pressed
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 ounces crushed tomatoes like Pomi
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Bechamel my way

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups skim or fat free milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus 2 tablespoons
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 quart oven proof casserole with butter or spray with cooking spray.

Brown ground lamb in non stick skillet, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the fat from the pan. Add the eggplant, potato, onion, garlic, oregano and cinnamon and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the wine and cook uncovered until wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Let simmer until the juices evaporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan for the bechamel. Whisk in the flour, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Remove pan from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and the nutmeg.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add some of the hot milk mixture. Add the egg mixture to the milk. Whisk until mixed.

Put the meat and vegetable mixture in the prepared dish. Pour the bechamel over the lamb mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and feta. Bake for about 45 minutes until bubbly and browned. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

This hit the spot on a cold (for CA) and rainy night with plenty of leftovers. We enjoyed it with the 2007 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington. It was a great combo. Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baked Risotto With Meyer Lemon, Chicken and Arugula

I found this recipe in the San Francisco Chronicle. It also includes Meyer lemons and arugula, Bay Area winter favorites. This recipe came together quickly and was delicious!

Feel free to substitute chicken breasts or a combo of both breasts and thighs and regular lemons for the Meyer. Mike is not usually an arugula fan but really liked it in this dish. You could switch it for fresh spinach if you prefer.

Baked Risotto With Meyer Lemon, Chicken and Arugula my way

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
3 boneless, skinless thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cups arborio rice
1/8 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and the zest
1 3/4 - 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
~1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
~2 large handfuls of baby arugula leaves, stems removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In an ovenproof pan with cover, heat oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions and chicken all at once, and let cook untouched for 2-3 minutes. Stir and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, then add the rice and stir until completely coated with the oil.

Add lemon juice and let boil until completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth, cover, and stick the whole pan into the oven. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, arugula and 1/2 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Mike wanted more of this but it was very satisfying. It was a treat to not have to stir the risotto and the taste and texture were pretty spot on. It's a keeper. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crab & Pasta!

This recipe also comes from the San Francisco Chronicle and is from chef Matthew Accarrino of SPQR. I apologize to my friends outside of the Bay Area because it contains 2 items indigenous to Northern CA, Dungeness crab and Meyer lemons. These are 2 of my favorite things.

Meyer lemons are kind of sweet and have a hint of orange. They're also very thin skinned. Most are grown in people's yards and are shared among friends. You could try substituting a different kind of crab and maybe a mix of lemon and orange juice.

Matthew Accarrino makes his own pasta but I bought fresh pasta made locally since I get home kind of late on Wednesdays. This is a very quick recipe when you buy the pasta and contains another of my favorite ingredients, poppy seeds. All in all a winner!

Lemony Pasta With Dungeness Crab and Poppy Seeds my way

10 ounces fresh tripoline pasta (medium width, flat with 1 ruffled edge)
Kosher salt as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Meyer lemon, finely zested and juiced
8 ounces Dungeness crab meat
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon chopped thyme, to taste *see note

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to directions on package.

Drain the pasta and reserve about one cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in to help keep the pasta hot.

Over medium heat, add the butter to the pasta and toss until melted. Pour a little of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and cook for a minute or two until a glaze forms on the pasta.

Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to taste, then the crab and poppy seeds. Toss pasta until thoroughly combined and crab is heated through. Finish with the chopped thyme. Season with additional salt and lemon juice if necessary.

This was special and we considered having champagne with it but decided against it since it was a school night. Enjoy!

*Note: The original recipe called for lemon thyme or regular thyme. I do not have a green thumb and so do not have my own herbs. The store did not have lemon thyme but I think the lemon thyme would have been delicious.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adult Chicken Strips

My inspiration for this dish came from the San Francisco Chronicle by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan. She marinated boneless, skinless chicken breast strips in salsa then baked them.

I liked the idea but decided to make my own marinade with chicken wing flavors. I love the vinegar and hot sauce combo. I took the chicken wing theme further and served it with a iceberg lettuce, celery and blue cheese salad. I am going to try the salsa chicken too. It sounds like a good kid dish. You can adjust the heat by using mild salsa.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
~1/2 to 3/4 cup cider vinegar
1 large garlic clove, peeled, cored and pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon worcheshire sauce
several shakes of hot sauce like Franks or Tabasco
freshly ground pepper

2 cups breadcrumbs
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

Cut each breasts into strips about 1 inch wide. Place chicken strips in gallon ziplock bag. Add the next 7 ingredients. Seal the bag and refrigerate. I did this the night before but it can done the morning of, marinate 1-2 hours or longer.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with olive oil.

Combine breadcrumbs and garlic in a large bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, one piece at a time, and dip into the breadcrumb mixture. Coat the chicken strips thoroughly with breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the chicken is coated. Drizzle with olive oil to encourage browning.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve with hot sauce to taste and the iceberg, celery and blue cheese salad. Enjoy!

Read more:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lamb Korma

Parade Magazine has a weekly feature called Sunday Dinner. I made Jamie Oliver's chicken from this series a few weeks ago and last night I made Salman Rushdie's family's Lamb Korma. I made it Sunday night and reheated it tonight for dinner. This dish cooks for 1 - 1 1/2 hours after you get the ingredients together so it's a good dish to cook ahead. The flavors really benefited from melding overnight.

Lamb Korma my way

1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 green cardamom pods
~12 ounces boneless lamb, cubed
4 garlic cloves, peeled, cored and pressed
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
kosher salt
8 ounces plain yogurt, lightly whisked
Pinch of saffron
~1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock

Brown onions in butter until soft and brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and pulse in a food processor to form a paste. Crush cardamom pods and mix seeds into paste.

Add meat to pan; stir over medium-high. After a few minutes, add garlic, ginger, coriander, chili powder, and salt. Stir for a couple of minutes. Mix in yogurt. Cover and cook over very low heat for 1 to 1½ hours. Cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Bring korma to room temperature. Heat in about 1/2 cup chicken stock. Gently warm and allow sauce to thicken. If it becomes too thick add more stock. About 5 minutes before korma is ready, add onion-cardamom paste and saffron.

I served this with brown basmati rice, garlic naan and roasted brussels sprouts. It was very yummy and not that difficult. Definitely a keeper. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

I have been trying to branch out from my chicken rut and came across this recipe from Food & Wine by Grace Parisi. She is one of my favorite recipe authors.

I had made it before and remembered how good it was. I hadn't made any pasta dishes in a while and was in the mood for some comfort food. It's been pretty cold here and stormy. This hit the spot!

Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine my way

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled, core removed and pressed
1/2 pound ground veal
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon small capers, rinsed
1/2 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a large, non stick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Add the white wine to the skillet and boil over high heat until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme and capers and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Using a strainer add the pasta to the skillet along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley and butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.

Mike and I went out last night and overindulged drink wise. This meal was a lovely, filling and satisfying way to recover. It would be good with a nice dry white wine. You could make the sauce a day ahead, reheat, cook the pasta and toss together. However you decide to do it, enjoy (no overindulgence required)!