Monday, March 10, 2014

red pepper alfredo sauce

This recipe is good for laziness -- worked well with those jarred bell peppers that I never know quite what to do with. (With what to do?)
  •     12 ounces linguine (or whatever pasta you like, or whatever else needs sauce)
  •     2 tablespoons olive oil
  •     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •     1 onion, diced
  •     1/2 cup milk
  •     1/2 cup heavy cream (I skipped this and just used more milk)
  •     4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  •     1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  •     1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, chopped (I did not bother chopping; the immersion blender took care of it)
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in milk, heavy cream, goat cheese and Parmesan until cheeses has melted, about 1-2 minutes. Add red peppers and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in pasta and gently toss to combine; season with salt and pepper, to taste.





(This makes a lot of sauce; I also threw a can of drained chickpeas into the pasta.)

Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan, if desired.

double chocolate cherry muffins

From All Recipes. I used frozen cherries, unthawed, and it worked just fine.
  •     2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  •     1 1/4 cups white sugar
  •     1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  •     2 teaspoons baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt
  •     1 cup sour cream
  •     1/2 cup milk
  •     1/3 cup vegetable oil
  •     2 eggs, beaten
  •     1 teaspoon almond extract
  •     1 1/2 cups fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped (or frozen, unchopped, or TJ's jarred Morello cherries would probably be fine too)
  •     1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 jumbo (3 1/2-inch) muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center; set aside. Whisk together the sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and almond extract in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the sour cream mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

crockpot chicken & rice soup

This is delicious and creamy -- I made it three times this winter. From Pinch of Yum.
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (I used brown rice)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (I've used both frozen and fresh; both are fine and you can't tell a difference in the final product)
  • 2 cups mirepoix (TJ's containers of mirepoix are magical and the best-spent $3 ever)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ cup butter (Earth Balance is fine)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (I've tried 2%; gotta say, the whole is better)
  • a few tablespoons white wine (optional) (I didn't do)
  • up to 2 cups additional milk or water (definitely necessary upon reheating)
  1. Rinse the wild rice. Place the uncooked wild rice, raw chicken, mirepoix, chicken broth, and poultry seasoning in a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. The chicken should be cooked through and the rice should be soft. There will be extra liquid in the crockpot; do not drain.
  2. Using two forks, shred the chicken while still in the soup.
  3. When rice and chicken are done cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and let the mixture bubble for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the whole milk until a thick, creamy mixture forms. Stir in the wine (or not).
  4. Add this to the rice and chicken in the crockpot and stir to combine. Add extra water or milk to adjust the consistency as you like it. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Monday, December 23, 2013

brown butter salted caramel cookies

Made these for a work party -- they were great, but a little flat. Maybe a little more flour next time? But they looked pretty and tasted excellent.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
1 cup caramel squares, cut into 1/4's

For rolling the cookies:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Sea salt, for sprinkling on top of cookies


1. In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

2. To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown butter and sugars. Mix until blended and smooth. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight.

5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand and place a piece of caramel in the center of the dough. Wrap the cookie dough around the caramel, making sure the caramel is completely covered with dough.

6. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place dough balls on a large baking sheet that has been lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Make sure the cookies are about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt.

7. Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Morning Buns

ha! right?

This recipe (their title, not mine) was in the Sun back in July and it sounded perfect for a special occasion breakfast. K & T made these this weekend, though it wasn't even a special occasion. I just had the puff pastry dough burning a hole in my freezer and I thought about these every Sunday morning that went by for weeks. We marveled at the gooeyness. We exclaimed over the cinnamon nutty-toastiness. We were then an hour late to an actual special occasion (kid birthday party) and felt like we had a secret. I'm not even going to pretend this is a healthy recipe.

Butter or cooking spray for (pans)
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted and cooled [We used 1 C walnuts, toasted in the toaster oven]
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t finely grated orange zest [lemon worked great]
1/4 t salt
1 package all-butter puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prep: Butter or spray a 12 cup muffin tin.

Mix: In a small bowl toss together nuts, sugar, cinnamon, zest and salt.

Fill: On a lightly floured work surface, unfold puff pastry to a rectangle. Scatter on nut mix, pressing gently.

Roll: Starting at one long edge, roll up pastry into a log. Slice crosswise into 12 pucks, each about 1-inch thick. Set pucks into muffin tin, twirl side up.

Bake: Slide into a 375-degree oven and bake until fully puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Turn out. Eat while warm.

Chimichurri

Green condiment of delight. Like hari chutney or Afghani chatney or most any herb pesto, chimichurri makes many foods taste like a very special treat. It's great on a steak (traditional in South American cuisine) and I like it on fish, potatoes, sandwiches, mixed into hummus, etc. I make a batch, use a portion of it right away and freeze the rest into cubes and add it to various soups and stews or even guac. Say it: "chimichurri." Nice. Now go make it.

1 bunch cilantro (about a C) - mostly just the leaves but you'll blend it, so don't be too perfect about it
1 bunch parsley (about a C) - ditto
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1-2 chiles/jalepenos (seeds removed)
1 t salt
2 T lime juice
a little water to get the blender going

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse to blend everything into a smooth, gorgeous, Elphaba-green sauce.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

quinoa breakfast cereal

I've been experimenting with this and have found a few different ways to make it. I find I generally prefer red quinoa to the plain stuff, too, because it seems to hold its texture better when you let it sit a few days.

Blueberry quinoa: Heat 1c frozen blueberries with a little bit of maple syrup, agave, or water until it's boiling. Remove from heat and stir in 2c cooked quinoa, plus a generous splash of something creamy -- milk or half and half. Serve with plain yogurt and chopped nuts on top, plus a drizzle of something sweet if desired.

Coconut quinoa: Cook quinoa with coconut milk instead of water (using the same proportions). Sprinkle with that really good flaked coconut, nuts, chopped fruit, etc.

Quinoa with nut butter: Pretty much what it sounds like. You can use the coconut-milk-cooked stuff for some creaminess, or stir in a little milk too. Sliced banana on top.

I also want to try this breakfast grain salad but haven't yet. Mm, grains.

Friday, August 16, 2013

salmon cakes with lemon yogurt sauce

I was looking for a way to use up some leftover salmon, and this fit the bill. I also did it with some of the precooked packaged salmon from Trader Joe's, and it worked well that time too.

Cakes:
  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or one package of TJ's cooked salmon
  • 1/4 c panko [recipe calls for 2 (6-inch) pita rounds or 3 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into small pieces]
  • 1/4 cup + a little more greek yogurt [recipe calls for mayo]
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • good shake of Old Bay
  • 1 t grated lemon zest
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce:
  • 1 t grated lemon zest
  • chopped dill [optional, but a good idea]
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt [recipe called for whole-milk; I used 2% Greek]
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Mix cake ingredients together & form small-ish patties (mine made 8).

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. 

Cook salmon cakes, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes total. 

Stir together the sauce & serve. Makes good leftovers, too.

crustless broccoli quiche

Based on this recipe.
  • 2 heads or 1 package (10 oz.) frozen broccoli florets
  • several scallions, white and green parts chopped 
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (can use fat-free)
  • salt & pepper
  • dash of red pepper & nutmeg 
  • 3/4 c (3 oz.) shredded cheese (I used a mixture of cheddar & gruyere) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the pie dish.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain well; transfer to a cutting board, and blot dry with paper towels. Chop coarsely.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and spices. Stir in broccoli, scallions and cheese.

Bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Monday, August 05, 2013

quinoa salad with orange, fennel, and chicken

YUM. I never would have put this combination together if I hadn't been perusing this cookbook, trying to figure out more things to do with quinoa.

The original recipe calls for pancetta, which I left out but which would probably be delicious. It also wanted you to cook the fennel and I have no idea why, because it adds nice crunchiness when it's raw. And there was also some nonsense about putting a lemon in the fennel water that seemed entirely unnecessary.

(All that said, I really like this cookbook and am using it more than any other these days, and you can get it on Amazon right now for one (1) cent. Just one penny! Plus shipping, but still! You should buy it.)

Also, I just bought some red quinoa at TJ's, and I think it tasted the same but looked prettier than regular quinoa.

Vinaigrette:

3 T frozen orange juice concentrate
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 T olive oil
1+ T spicy mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

3+ c cooked quinoa
1 bulb fennel, chopped into bits
2 oranges or tangerines, 1 zested, both peeled and chopped into bits
3 scallions, diced
about 2 chicken breasts, diced (would be a great use for leftovers, or you can be lazy like me and buy the TJ's delicious balsamic-marinated chicken, or you can be virtuous and cook it yourself)

Mix up the vinaigrette and set aside. Combine everything and mix well, then pour the vinaigrette over it. Taste to make sure you have enough salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese if you'd like (we liked) and eat.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Tart

Adapted from: PBS Parents

With a store-bought crust (I like TJ's), this comes together really quickly.  The original recipe called for salt in the fruit mixture (with the sugar and flour).  I tried that the first time I made this (last week) and I really didn't like it.  I still had some rhubarb from the farm share and the second pie crust from the package, so I decided to try again without the salt, and I like it so much better without the salt.  I used the graham crackers with the sugar on top (maybe they're cinnamon-sugar?) from Trader Joe's, and it was really good.  The graham crackers on the bottom help absorb any liquid that comes out of the fruit, keeping the crust crisp and adding an interesting flavor you wouldn't necessarily expect.  Obviously we liked this recipe, as this is the second batch in 2 weeks. 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 cups strawberries, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • One 9-inch unbaked refrigerated pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers

Instructions
  • In a medium bowl mix the sugar, flour, salt, and allspice. 
  • Add the strawberries and rhubarb to the bowl and gently mix the fruit with the dry ingredients. 
  • Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix the fruit mixture until all the dry ingredients have been absorbed by the liquid and fruit. 
  • Set the bowl aside so the strawberries can macerate while the oven preheats. 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Lay the pie crust flat on top of the parchment paper.  Spread the graham cracker crumbs over the center of the crust leaving a 2-inch border around the edges. 
  • Mound the fruit mixture over the graham cracker crumbs. 
  • Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit, pleating the dough as you go and leaving the center exposed. 
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until the strawberries and rhubarb are fork tender and the crust is golden brown.