Monday, August 28, 2006

Spinach-artichoke tortellini

from Rachel Ray

1 10-oz box frozen spinach
2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), twice around the pan
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I omitted this)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (I found 2% milk worked just fine)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped (I used the frozen ones from Trader Joes)
A couple handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and black pepper
1 pound cheese tortellini or flavored tortellini, such as wild mushroom

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Microwave the
spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic. Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet. Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a boil.
Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low.
Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry. Separate it as you add it to the sauce. Stir in the chopped artichokes and a couple handfuls of cheese, then season the spinach-artichoke sauce with salt and pepper.
Salt the boiling water and cook the tortellini according to the package directions, about 3-5 minutes. Drain it well and toss with the spinach artichoke sauce. Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baked Zucchini Pie

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

This was so good that Geoff had two slices.

1 T butter
2 large zucchinis, thinly sliced (about 4-5 cups)
1/2 large onion, chopped (I used a vidalia)
1 t minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 T Dijon mustard
1 prepared 9-inch pie crust, thawed if frozen
2 eggs
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, onion, and garlic, and saute them until they are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spread the mustard over the bottom of the pie crust.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheese, and zucchini mixture. Pour this mixture into the pie crust and spread it evenly.

Bake the pie for 30 minutes until it is lightly browned. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes, cut it into wedges, and serve it hot.

Serves 8 (though I goofed and cut it into 6, oh well)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Farfalle with feta, pine nuts, and tomatoes

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

This is the last of 3 recipes from this cookbook that Geoff and I have tried this week. Again, very good, very easy. We tried a pasta with ricotta, basil, and peas that we found in Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats, but we were disappointed in it. This one had a much better flavor, and we didn't need to modify it or anything, like we did with the Ray recipe.

1 package (16 oz) farfalle or other short pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 T pine nuts
1 T minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
4 large plum tomatoes or 2 large regular tomatoes, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

When the pasta goes into the water to cook, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pint nuts and garlic and cook them, stirring, until the pine nuts are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper and stir it well. Add the tomatoes and cook the sauce for about 3 minutes until it is heated through and the tomatoes are slightly softened.

Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large metal bowl (we used plastic). Toss it with the sauce combination. Top it with the feta cheese. Cover it with plastic wrap (we used the bowl's lid) and let it stand for about 5 minutes so the flavors meld. Serve the pasta warm.

Asparagus with Scallops & Proscuitto

I googled scallops and proscuitto and this one popped. Sadly, I've forgotten where it came from. I can tell you this was so good, we ate it all. (including Gaby)

1 lb. asparagus
1 tbsp. Butter
1-oz prosciutto cut into wide strips
1 lb. sea scallops
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tbsp. Dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper, taste

Cook asparagus in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove asparagus from water and set aside, leaving water simmering on the stove.
In skillet add prosciutto and cook on low heat until crisp. Remove from skillet and set in paper towel to drain. Melt butter to skillet, add scallops to skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add lemon zest to skillet and sauté for 10
seconds. Add white wine and chicken broth, simmer, scraping bottom of skillet, for 3 minutes. Return scallops to skillet, to heat through.
Return asparagus to water to heat through. Drain asparagus, place on large platter. Spoon scallops and sauce over asparagus. Top with fried prosciutto.
Serves 4. (or a very hungry family of three)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Peanut Beef/Chicken/Tofu

from The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

Geoff and I made this tonight, and it was delicious. Geoff's comment was "it's like a chicken satay that you'd get in a Thai restaurant." Very easy, plus you get to use a blender!

2 lbs boneless beef steak, such as top round (or use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tofu)
1/2 cup peanut butter, preferably natural
2 T lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 T honey
4 T soy sauce
1 T peeled and chopped fresh ginger
2 t chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)

Cut the beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

In a blender or food processor, combine all the remaining ingredients. In a plastic bag or a flat dish, combine the beef with the sauce from the blender and mix them to coat the meat thoroughly. Marinate the meat, covered and refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes or overnight, if possible. (Geoff and I marinated overnight. I recommend this.)

Preheat the broiler and put the rack about 3 inches from the heat source. On a foil-lined baking sheet, broil the meat for about 4 minutes per side until it is browned and cooked through. (Alternatively, you can grill the meat.)