Sunday, May 31, 2009

Curry Grain Salad

adapted from: Simply Recipes

Ok, so...the recipe below is the original recipe from Simply Recipes. I only used this as a basic template, and ended up winging a lot of it along the way. For starters, I used a mixture of half wehani rice (if you haven't tried it yet, do so. It's aromatic and nutty and delicious) and quinoa. I cooked the grains in chicken broth instead of water. I put a bit of sriracha in the curry/onion mixture instead of chili pepper. I also cooked up a handful of diced celery with the onion mixture. I sauteed up some baby bella mushrooms and added that to the salad, too, because we keep getting mushrooms in the farm share pickup and I don't know what to do with them. So, they went in the salad with a bunch of scallions, too. So far this salad is tasty right out of the bowl. I still need to pick up some apples at the store to add to this. I think that will be just the right crunch and tartness that this needs. I'm also wondering how some crushed peanuts would go with this, as suggested by one of Elise's commenters. At any rate, I'm a sucker for grain salads, and this was another tasty variety that I can add to my lunch repertoire.

Short grain brown rice - 1 to 1 1/2 cup, best is organic
One large yellow onion - chopped.
Curry paste or curry powder - red or yellow Indian (not Thai)
Olive oil
Chili pepper (I used Sriracha instead)
Sesame oil

Cilantro - chopped
Raisins - one cup
One apple - cored and chopped (not peeled)
Celery - chopped, optional
Snow peas - stringy ends chopped off, then chopped, optional
Bell pepper, red, green, or yellow - chopped, optional
Green onions - chopped, optional

I added baby bella mushrooms, sliced and sauteed first


1 Prepare the brown rice.
Put rice in a big pot, add 1 3/4 cups of water for every cup of rice, bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat on very low, let simmer for 45 minutes, take off heat and keep covered for at least another 10 minutes.

2 Prepare onions and curry oil.
In a large saucepan put 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium high heat. Add a couple heaping tablespoons of curry paste (if it is mild) or add a couple of tablespoons of mild curry powder. Add a dash of chili pepper and cumin and a few drops of sesame oil if you have it. Let the curry simmer for a minute. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook until translucent.

3 Mix rice and onions.
In a large mixing bowl, put in the hot rice and then fold in the onions with the curry infused oil in which they were cooked. You'll need to use a strong wooden spoon to mix. Taste test the rice at this point. If it needs more curry flavor, heat some more curry powder, chili, and cumin in olive oil for a few minutes and add to the rice to desired spiciness.

4 Add other ingredients to taste - cilantro, raisins, apple, celery, snow peas, bell pepper, green onions. Add a couple tablespoons of honey. Add a dash of salt to taste.

5 Chill and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

The secret to this recipe is the cilantro, raisins, and chopped apple. Sesame oil is a nice touch.

You can also add shrimp, large or small, to it to make it more of a cold main salad dish.

The salad gets better the longer it sits in the fridge (to a point) because of the absorption of the curry oil. So it is a good idea to make a big batch because the leftovers are even better.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hash brown casserole

This might be the same recipe as the one Angie sent me years ago, but I promptly lost it after she sent it, so I don't know.
Instead, I went looking and found here, which I then altered.

2 packages potatoes and onions (the ones that are in the dairy case near the eggs)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup (but any cream soup would work here)
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
French's fried onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine hash browns, 1/2 cup melted butter, soup, sour cream, Cheddar cheese. Place mixture in a 3 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle onions on top.
Bake covered in preheated oven for 45 minutes, then uncovered for 15 minutes.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dutch oven bread

This bread was fantastic. Easy to put together, easy to bake. I used the dough hook on my mixer to knead it, but I think in the future I'll be ditching the hook and doing it by hand. I never get good results with the dough hook, and it's frustrating.
In any case, the bread was good despite my lack of bread baking skills. And that's saying something.

from Pioneer Woman

20 oz. of bread flour - about 4 cups
8 oz. of water - or 1 cup
4 oz. melted butter with chopped herbs of choice. (I used rosemary)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast. if active, it would be best to sprinkle yeast over the water to let it start to work before mixing it in (this is a really good tip for a novice bread baker)

Combine all the ingredients either with dough hook or by hand.
Mix/knead them together for about 10 minutes or so until you can successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready.
Once this elasticity has been achieved, the dough can sit out with plastic wrap over it for 1-4 hours to double in size. (I left mine for 4 hours) After it’s gotten bigger, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom.
Bake inside a covered cast iron pan after coating the rounded dough with olive oil and sprinkling with kosher salt. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.

I can't say enough how good the crust on this bread was. So, so good. The leftovers were good the next day for a ham sandwich, too.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pesto Tortellini Salad

Why don't we just re-name the blog "Recipes Kelly Stole from Isaac's" because I seem to have no other recipes amongst my repertoire. Sheesh. Again, this is not really a recipe, but this salad was, and still is, one of the biggest sellers at the restaurant. As with all of Isaac's recipes, I've drastically reduced the quantity from the original (5 lbs. of tortellini, anyone?)

1.5 lbs tri-colored cheese-filled tortellini (or regular white ones, whatever), cooked according to pkg directions and gently rinsed with cold water
1.5 medium-ish tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium-size red onion, diced
1/3 C black olives (do yourself a favor and get some decent olives)
2/3 C or so pesto (I did a mix of basil pesto and arugula pesto)

Dump all ingredients into a bowl and stir until everything is well-coated by the pesto. This is tasty when served immediately but the flavor will continue to develop the longer it sits. As usual, I added 2 handfuls of chopped asparagus but with this recipe you can pretty much use whichever veg makes you happy. A tablespoon or 2 of toasted pinenuts sprikled on top would be yummy.

Other things I've made recently include: Smitten Kitchen's raspberry buttermilk cake and Everybody Like Sandwiches's chocolate peanut butter oatmeal "no bake" cookies. Both recipes are super tasty but the artful berry design I used on the cake sunk into the batter during baking so mine did not look as pretty as Deb's.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash Brown Crust

Adapted from

For someone who doesn't have a lot of time, I sure am banging out these new recipes for dinner. Anyway, this was a tasty quiche and I will definitely be making it again. What's not to love about quiche that already has hash browns involved?

2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 package (1 pound) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
12 large eggs (I used 9)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream (I used half sour cream and half ff greek yogurt)
1 package (4 to 5 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature (I used herbed goat cheese)
4 scallions, thinly sliced (I used 1 C grilled veg leftover from a previous recipe: onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus and zucchini)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan with butter. Line the sides of the pan with strips of waxed paper (the same height as pan); brush paper with butter.

Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns (I defrosted my hash browns in the microwave until almost thawed and did not bother squeezing). Mix in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined; whisk in 11 remaining eggs. Pour into crust, and sprinkle with scallions. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold quiche, and peel off waxed paper before serving. Serves 6.

I served this with spring greens and dinner rolls. I felt that 9 eggs were plenty but if I were making this for guests I'd probably do all 12.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Isaac's Linguini Salad

a.k.a. the recipe on the back of the Salad Supreme canister. It's easy to make, tasty to eat and everyone likes it. A full batch makes a ton so here is the reduced-quantity version:

1.2 lb. dry linguine, cooked according to pkg directions and rinsed with cold water
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1 med-lg cucumber (I used an English cucumber)
1/2 small canister Salad Supreme (McC0rmick's doesn't have MSG in it)
1/2 C or so italian dressing of your choice (I used Newman's 0wn Oil & Vinegar)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Inevitably the veg will sink to the bottom but with proper stirring and the use of good tongs, you'll get a bit of everything on your plate. Bowtie pasta also works well here and cuts down on the "slurp" factor. I recommend that you make this the night before you need it or, as I did it, the morning I was planning to serve it for dinner. It only gets better the longer the flavors get to meld onto the pasta and veg. Lastly, I also added a handful of asparagus stalks to the pasta water just before the linguini was done and chopped into bite-size pieces. Feel free to substitute any or all of the veggies but the Isaac's way is just cukes and toms.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mock Spanish Rice

I was planning to make veggie quesadillas for dinner this week and I often serve spanish rice as a side dish but we're already eating so much rice this week that I was looking for an alternative side dish and here it is! Adapted from veggieventure, and low-fat to boot, you really should try it. Even if you don't love cauliflower (I usually don't love it myself), it really does a good job of taking on the surrounding flavors and when chopped fine, it looks like rice.

1 head of cauliflower (I used frozen florets)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper (I used a mix of red and green), chopped
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced (or you can use canned)
handful of frozen corn
S & P to taste
salsa of your choice, to taste

Steam or defrost the cauliflower and wait until cooled to chop fine. In a large skillet, heat o.o. until shimmery and add onion and peppers. Cook until soft and add garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant and add tomatoes and cauliflower. Pour in salsa to taste and S&P and cook until some most of the liquid is evaporated. Add in corn and check for taste. I just kept adding salsa until it tasted how I wanted it to. Next time I'll add some cumin. Also, the kind of salsa you use will affect the end product. I used chipotle salsa, which was yummy, but fire roasted tomato salsa would have been good as well. Play around with it and see what you like best.

I served this with roasted veggie quesadillas, refried beans and diced avocado.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alfredo sauce

This sauce is really easy to make, and has reaffirmed my belief that anything made from scratch is better than stuff that comes in a jar. And almost as quick, too.
You can't make this often, to be sure, because you'd have a heart attack. But for the once every three months occasion when we eat alfredo pasta, I'll be making my own sauce.

from "Best of the Bridge"

1/3 c. butter
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
3-4 c. cooked pasta (I just used a whole box of cooked pasta, and didn't bother measuring)
1 c. freshly grated Parmesan (mmmm)
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
dash of nutmeg

In a large frying pan, melt butter over high heat until it turns light brown. Ass 1/2 c. of the cream and boil, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes shiny and large bubbles form. Set aside if making ahead.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Over medium heat, add pasta to the sauce, mixing with 2 forks to coat well. Add Parmesan cheese, remaining cream and milk, a little of each at a time, until all are combined. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

**I sauteed some shrimp in garlic and butter, and some mushrooms, and we had that on top of the pasta. You could also grill some chicken, or eat plain. Gaby vouches for the tastiness of plain, she ate the leftovers plain for dinner last night.**

Friday, May 15, 2009

Olive oil and Parmesan biscuits

I had intended to bake bread today, but of course the bread recipe I had picked for today should have been started yesterday.
So I went searching for something else to do, and found this biscuit recipe instead. Very easy, very tasty.

Adapted from a new-to-me blog, Lisa's Kitchen

1 3/4 cups of unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of milk
1 cup of parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the olive oil, milk and cheese to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Drop the dough on a greased baking sheet in roughly 1/4 cup portions. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes approximately 12 biscuits.

Rhubarb-Strawberry Crisp

I bought some rhubarb this week on a whim, not really knowing what to do with it. I'd never even actually eaten rhubarb.
I scoped out some recipes (some courtesy of Alissa), and settled on this one for today. I'm sure I'll be trying more soon (including the rhubarb crisp one Kate posted a while ago), because rhubarb is tasty. Then again, anything is tasty with a bunch of sugar poured on it, I think.

adapted from an Emeril recipe

4 cups diced rhubarb
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, and halved, if large
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange liqueur (I think you can probably substitute orange juice)
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Pinch salt

In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar, orange zest, cornstarch and orange liqueur, and toss to thoroughly combine. Grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the fruit mixture to the prepared casserole.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine 9 tablespoons of butter, flour, remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar and salt and cut together until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit and bake until the topping is golden brown and crispy and fruit is bubbly in places, about 45 minutes.
Cool briefly and serve warm, with a dollop of whipped cream, ice cream, or creme fraiche, if desired.

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Adapted from and maybe 101 Cookbooks...I can't remember.

I halved this recipe because I think that cooked shrimp eaten as a leftover is NOT good eats. It's rubbery and chewy and just, well, ick. So when I make a shrimp dish I make just enough to eat for dinner.

* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
* 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I omitted b/c my plant isn't big enough yet)
* 1 Tbsp minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
* 1 to 1 1/4 pounds medium sized raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, thawed if frozen (I used frozen from TJs)
* Pinch of salt, more to taste
* Pinch black pepper, more to taste
* 3 ounces feta cheese (about 2/3 cup, crumbled)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet (a dutch oven works nicely here) on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the juices thicken a bit.

Remove from heat. Stir in the herbs, shrimp, feta cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Place pan in oven and bake, uncovered, until shrimp are cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Remember that shrimp will continue to cook a bit once taken off the heat so keep this in mind as to avoid over-cooked shrimp. I served with whole wheat fettucini and a warm chunk of ciabatta.

***Edited to add that when I made this yesterday my oven was already in use so I did the whole thing on the stove top.  I put the lid on to help cook the shrimp but since it's on the stove top and not in the oven it will cook faster so keep an eye on the shrimp.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Matzo Crackle

Adapted from

A few weeks ago I saw this recipe and promptly called Gwen from my local megamart to ask if I should buy salted or unsalted matzo for this recipe. The matter was settled once I realized I could buy a single box of matzo (unsalted) or a 5-pack of (salted) matzo. You can add salt yourself or use saltines in the absence of matzo. I think this will be my next potluck dish at school because it was so easy.

2 sticks butter
1 C brown sugar, packed (I used dark brown because that's what I have on hand)
4-6 pieces matzo, broken into large chunks
1 C toasted nuts (I used pecans but hazelnuts would have been good, too)
large pinch of sea salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 C or so chocolate chips of your choice (I did a mix of semi-sweet and white)
dried fruit would also be yummy--maybe some cherries?

Line an 11 x 17 baking sheet with foil and lay a piece of parchment in the bottom. Heat butter and sugar in a medium saucepan over med-high heat until boiling. Stir for 3 minutes and turn off heat. Add in salt and vanilla and stir to combine.

For application, I decided to break my matzo up in advance. Deb says to lay them in sheets and break them up when they are cool but I saw another recipe online that pre-smashed the matzos and I thought that might be easier so I did it that way. Either way you do it, work fast to spread the caramel over the crackers (cracker bits) and put the baking sheet in the oven for 15 min. Watch to make sure it doesn't start to burn. If this should happen, turn down the temp. Remove baking sheet and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit 5 minutes and spread with a knife (offset if you have one). Sprinkle with a smidge more salt and the nuts and/or fruit and leave to cool. I put mine in the fridge (bad, I know) to speed it up a bit. Once cool, break into bits and store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. I am taking these to Michael's office today and expect they will be gone by 5pm.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

From: Simply Recipes

This was my first attempt at using rhubarb. The flavor of this pie was really good. The filling was a bit liquidy, though. This might be because I used flour to thicken the filling rather than tapioca, which I did not have on hand. However, someone told me that Strawberry rhubarb pie is almost always (in his experience) a bit runny. So, who knows. If you don't mind a bit of a mess, this pie was really good.

3 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces (Trim outside stringy layer of large rhubarb stalks; make sure to trim away any and discard of the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends.)
1 cup strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca (I used regular flour)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
Unbaked pastry for two-crust 9 inch pie

(If making a 10 inch pie, or just want more filling, use 4.5 cups of rhubarb, 1.5 cups strawberries, and 1 1/4 cup of sugar)

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, salt, and orange rind. Let sit for 10 minutes.

2 Turn into a pastry lined pan. Top with the pastry, trim the edge, and crimp the top and bottom edges together. Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape.

3 Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F, and bake an additional 30-40 minutes longer (40 to 50 minutes longer if doing a 10-inch pie). Cool on a rack.

Serve warm or cold. If you do cool to room temperature, the juices will have more time to thicken.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

thin pancakes with strawberry-orange sauces

I made this for my mom and assorted others for Mothers' Day this morning. They were really delicious, but I learned that the pan has to be *exactly* the right temperature or else they burn in two seconds flat. Also, if you like fully cooked food, don't get bored at the end and just throw the rest of the batter in the pan because you want to eat already.

From Everybody Likes Sandwiches with very few modifications. I doubled the recipe for 5 people and there were no leftovers.

4 eggs
1 c flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 c milk
1 T vegetable oil + extra for frying [I started using the spray stuff for the pan after the first one came out kind of oily]

250 g strawberries, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 orange + zest
2 T sugar
1/2 T cornstarch whisked with a bit of cold water

1. Whisk together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt together. Pour in milk and the oil and blend well until batter is smooth and runny. Set aside.

2. Start your sauce by adding chopped strawberries, orange juice and zest and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let the sauce reduce slightly. Turn down the heat and add in the cornstarch slurry and stir until combined. Let it cook further for another few minutes and then remove from heat.

3. Put oil in a large frying pan and slowly add in batter. When the top becomes dry, flip. Repeat with remaining batter until you have a lovely stack of thin pancakes. Divvy up the haul and generously pour strawberry sauce over top.

Parmesan potato pancake

Oh my goodness, this is good. We ate it for breakfast, and there's some left over to have with dinner tonight, too. Yum.

from Giada

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch diameter) nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about another 2 minutes. Season the onion mixture with salt and pepper. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Reserve the pan.
Meanwhile, grate the potatoes in a food processor using the grating attachment blade. Use a kitchen towel to help squeeze out the water from the grated potatoes. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the onion mixture. Add the Parmesan and the basil. Stir to combine and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Warm the remaining olive oil over high heat in the same pan that was used to cook the onions. When the pan is hot, but not smoking add the potato mixture. Use a spatula to press the mixture down into the pan firmly and evenly. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the potato mixture until the bottom is golden brown and the pancake can move in the pan, about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low if the pancake is browning too fast in places. Place a large plate on top of the pancake and flip the pancake out of the pan. Turn the heat on the pan back up to high. When the pan is hot slide the pancake back into the pan and cook until the bottom is golden and is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a serving platter, slice, and serve.

Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

One of two recipes Ernie made for me this morning for Mother's Day. Yum.

from Rachel Ray

1/4 pound sliced smoked salmon
12 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
12 to 15 blades of fresh chives, finely chopped

Reserve 2 slices of salmon for garnish. Chop the remaining salmon into very small pieces.
Whisk your eggs and cream together. Add 1/2 of your chopped chives and season eggs with salt and pepper. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in the pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs with a wooden spoon. Do not cook eggs until dry. When eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon. Remove pan from the stove and place on a trivet. Garnish the eggs with remaining salmon and chives and serve right out of the warm pan.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Arugula Pesto

From: Simply Recipes

This is the first of what I assume will be many new recipes that I try as I figure out how to prepare all of our CSA produce this summer. I've never used arugula before, and Todd wanted to try out the new panini maker that I gave him for Christmas and has been sitting in the box ever since. So, we made panini sandwiches with grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella and arugula pesto. Yum. :) I sort of eyeballed all the ingredients here, but this is the basic recipe I based it on.

2 cups of packed arugula leaves, tough stems removed
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced

Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels on in a skillet over medium high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in places, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins.

Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown, or heat in a microwave on high heat for a minute or two until you get that roasted flavor. In our microwave it takes 2 minutes.

Combine the arugula, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Because the pesto is so dependent on the individual ingredients, and the strength of the ingredients depends on the season or variety, test it and add more of the ingredients to taste.

Mix with freshly prepared pasta of your choice (or whatever you're making). You may need to add a little bit of water or more olive oil to mix the pesto more evenly with the pasta.

Makes enough pesto sauce for an ample serving of pasta for four people.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Balsamic pork with shallots

The original recipe calls for pork, but I think this would work well for chicken, as well.

Adapated from a recipe found on Serious Eats

olive oil
4 boneless pork chops (1-inch thick)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shallots (or more, if you like)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
splash of half and half

Take out pork chops 30 minutes in advance and bring to room temperature. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (enough to coat the pan) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook until no longer pink. Cook in batches if pan isn't big enough. Remove from pan, and let rest.
Add more oil to pan if needed; reduce heat to medium. Add shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in water and vinegar; simmer 6 minutes. Add half and half, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon shallot mixture over pork. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Crunchy garlic chicken

This is loosely adapted from a recipe in "Best of the Bridge Series," primarily based on what was available in my house today.
It met all the criteria for a good recipe -- easy, relatively healthy, and Gaby devoured it.

4-6 boneless chicken thighs (or breasts, if you prefer)
2 c. panko flakes
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. paprika

Mix garlic, salt, butter and milk together in a bowl. Mix panko flakes and paprika on a plate.
Dip chicken in butter mixture, then cover with panko flakes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees.

Swiss buttercream

I found a chocolate fudge cake mix in the pantry today, and decided I really needed to bake it, like now.
Of course, I didn't want the can of frosting that was in the pantry, so I started scouring the web looking for a good buttercream recipe.
This one on Smitten Kitchen fit the bill. One word of caution -- she makes a note to not get discouraged and keep at it, because it will come together. It takes a long time, much longer than typical frostings. But it is so, so worth it.
I'll be eating a big helping of chocolate cake with this frosting tonight, in honor of Deb of Smitten Kitchen, who has a bun in her oven, and a certain other food blogger I know currently housing a kumquat.

Monday, May 04, 2009

chicken and apples in honey mustard sauce

From Simply Recipes' archive. As I was copying this recipe, I realized it's similar to the chicken and apple curry I posted here almost three years ago. Apparently I still like the combination. This was really good -- the sauce thickened up nicely and had a really strong sweet taste. Plus, there was enough left over to put on Shannon's smashed potatotes.

* 1/2 cup apple cider [I used natural apple juice]
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
* Salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 Tbsp honey
* 1 Tbsp mustard
* 2 Tbsp seasoned dry breadcrumbs [I used plain]
* 4 4oz chicken breasts
* 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 small unpeeled apples, cored and cut into eighths (use Golden delicious, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Pippin, or McIntosh apples) [I have no idea what kind I used, and I sliced them thin... I seriously doubt either one matters much]
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* Fresh parsley

1 Whisk cider, cornstarch, mustard, honey, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl. Set aside.

2 Spread bread crumbs on a piece of wax paper, lightly coat chicken with crumbs.

3 In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil and add the chicken breasts. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken, add apples, and cook until browned on the other side.

4 Add chicken broth, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.

5 With slotted spoon, remove chicken and apples to serving plates. Whisk cider mixture again and add to skillet. Cook and stir over high heat until lightly thickened and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon over chicken and apples, sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with rice smashed potatoes. Serves 4.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

ginger ale

I haven't actually tried this recipe yet, but this homemade ginger ale sounds like the perfect way to use up a lot of extra ginger, which all of us may have from time to time. (And does it go bad incredibly fast for anyone else?)