Monday, August 31, 2009

Cod with Green Bean and Beet Salad with a Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette

I paired this wonderful salad with cod that had been brushed with extra vinaigrette and baked til flaky.
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T whole grain mustard
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t dried tarragon, rubbed
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
1 can sliced beets, rinsed and well drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil. Stir in tarragon and shallots and salt and pepper.

Steam green beans til just tender, about 8 minutes. Plunge into ice water. Drain well: pour out onto a paper towel and ensure they are completely dry.

Pour into a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette. Carefully stir in beets. Chill til ready to serve.
I am not that fond of fresh green beans, but the beets took on such incredible flavor in this salad!
Adapted from LHJ magazine

Chicken Bouillabaisse with Herbed Roasted Potatoes and Spicy Sour Cream

This recipe is adapted from my own recipe box. Rather than cook the potatoes in the dish, I decided to roast them and serve the bouillabaisse and a spicy sour cream atop.

olive oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
handful baby carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t anise
1/4 t thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
pinch saffron threads
salt and ground black pepper
1 small can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 t grated lemon zest

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the chicken, cooking til well browned on all sides. Stir in onion and carrots and cook another 5-10 minutes or til veggies are tender. Stir in garlic and cook another minute. Stir in spices, wine and saffron and cook til wine reduces. Add salt, pepper, tomatoes and zest. Bring to a boil; cover and  reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Herbed Roasted Potatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and quartered
vegetable oil
herb blend: thyme, tarragon, chives, parsley
salt and pepper

Bake potatoes at 375° til golden brown, about 25 minutes. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with herbs and salt and pepper. Toss and bake another 5 minutes.

Spicy Sour Cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
salt to taste

Blend ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate til needed.

I served the bouillabaisse atop the potatoes with a dollop of sour cream.

Slow Cooked Cuban Style Chicken Soup with Yellow Rice

My friend (and fellow foodie) Katie sent me lots of Goya Sazon and seasoning for yellow rice. It was about darned time I used some of it!

Start the rice about 30 minutes before serving and stir it into the slow cooker with the lemon juice.
3 chicken quarters, skinned
1 small onion, sliced
juice from 1/2 fresh lime
juice from 1/2 fresh orange
1 T adobo seasoning (I used homemade)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and black pepper, to taste

vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 T adobo seasoning
1 packet Goya Sazon seasoning with achiote
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 small can diced tomatoes
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon

Yellow Rice
about 1 t vegetable oil
1 cup white rice
1/4 cup sofrito (I used homemade)
3 cups water
1 packet each: Goya Sazon with achiote and yellow rice seasoning
1/2 cup frozen peas
fresh cilantro leaves

Pierce chicken all over with a sharp small knife. Add chicken and remaining marinade ingredients to a large ziploc baggie. Shake til ingredients are well mixed. Refrigerate for several hours.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook onion about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and seasonings, cook another minute or so. Stir in stock and tomatoes. Pour mixture into slow cooker.
Cook on high about 4 hours, or low about 6 hours. Carefully remove chicken pieces from slow cooker, discard gristle, fat and bones. Return chicken to cooker. Stir in lemon juice and yellow rice.

About 30 minutes before serving, start rice. Drizzle a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat with oil. Add rice and saute just til rice begins to brown. Stir in sofrito, water and seasonings. Cover; reduce heat to medium low and cook about 15 minutes. Add peas and cilantro and cook another 5 minutes.

This was excellent!

Spicy Black Bean Empanadas with Chipotle Sour Cream

Rather than make homemade empanada crust, I bought puff pastry sheets. The puff pastry saves a lot of time and work. And these ended up more like "puffs" rather than the typical empanada shape. They were awesome! So awesome in fact, that instead of saving them for game day we ate them tonight.

I cooked the black beans with a couple packets of Goya Sazon with cilantro.

1 pkg puff pastry sheets
vegetable oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 chipotle chile, minced
1 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
small handful fresh cilantro leaves, snipped
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
mayo for brushing tops
garlic powder

Chipotle Sour Cream
1 cup sour cream
1 T canned chipotles in adobo sauce
minced fresh cilantro, to taste
lime juice to taste
salt to taste

Thaw pastry sheets according to package.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat and drizzled with a little oil, saute onions til soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a few seconds. Stir in corn, cooking til corn is heated through. Stir in beans and reduce heat to medium low; stir in cream cheese til cream cheese is melted. Stir in chipotle, spices and cilantro. Remove from heat and cool. Stir in the cheese. Taste and adjust as desired.
Preheat oven to 375°. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Working with 1 pastry sheet at a time, open on a lightly floured surface. Cut each pastry sheet with a pizza cutter along edges. Roll section to a rectangle large enough to cut 4 3" rounds.
Note: you can roll as thin or as thick as you like. Wet edges of one round. Top  with 1 T bean mixture.

Top with second round and press carefully, being careful not to squeeze out bean mixture.  Press edges with a fork to seal.
Place finished empanadas on prepared pan as you go. Brush tops with a little mayo.
Sprinkle with garlic powder.

Bake 20-22 minutes or til golden brown.

I served these with the sour cream and homemade smoky salsa.

Beef Carnitas with Pinto Bean and Citrus Salsa

The salsa is an idea I came up with based on the marinade ingredients for the beef. The flavors went wonderfully together!

juice from 1 fresh orange, 1 fresh lemon and 1 fresh lime
1 t Adobo seasoning (I used homemade)
1 t dried mint
1 t vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb Texas broil, trimmed and cut into chunks

Pinto Bean and Citrus Salsa
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1/2 red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh orange, peeled and sectioned
juice from 1 fresh lime and 1 lemon
small handful fresh cilantro
Adobo seasoning, to taste
dried mint leaves, to taste
drizzle olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
1 large orange, wedged
1/2 t hot pepper flakes
fresh cilantro leaves

Whisk together marinade ingredients; pour into a ziploc bag. Add beef chunks and marinade overnight, turning several times. Remove meat from bag and discard marinade.

Toss together salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust as desired. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add beef and cook til browned on all sides. Stir in onion cooking another 5 minutes or so. Stir in garlic and cook a few more seconds.

Increase heat to high; stir in broth, orange wedges, hot pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 1/2-2 hours or til beef is tender. Discard orange wedges. Remove lid and continue to cook til liquid is almost gone, stirring often. Stir in cilantro.

I served the carnitas with flour tortillas and salsa.

Adapted from my Cooking Light magazine

Chicken Soup with Mom's Egg Noodles

I made a large batch of chicken stock the other day, and what better to make than chicken soup? I called mom to find out how she made her famous egg noodles back in the day. Noodles don't get much simpler than this.

This amount makes a small batch of noodles.

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 t salt
1 cup flour plus extra for kneading, rolling
In a small bowl, beat eggs with salt.

Add flour to a large bowl and make a well. Pour in egg mixture all at once.
With a wooden spoon, stir til dough ball forms. Drop dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and knead til smooth.

With a rolling pin, roll dough out til almost paper thin.

With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into noodles, as small or as large as you like.
Let noodles dry several hours.
Drop into boiling soup, broth or stock. Simmer til noodles are cooked through; mine took about 15 minutes.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is a recipe that came in my Allrecipes newsletter that sounded so good, I decided to make it for us for dinner. I seasoned the chicken liberally with homemade Adobo seasoning; feel free to use your favorite.

This is my adaptation.

1 1/3 cups white rice, parboiled, rinsed and well drained
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 large (26 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups homemade salsa (I used habanero)
1 can chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, mix together soup, salsa and broth. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer. Layer rice in bottom of pan and top with chicken. Pour hot soup mixture over the top and end with 2 cups of cheese.
Cover and bake 45 minutes; uncover and top with remaining cheese and bake til rice is cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

I served this with additional salsa, sour cream and black olives.

Baked Ziti with Olive and Shallot Sauce

This vegetarian dish was FULL of flavor, especially with the addition of three kinds of olives.

1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned tomatoes, pureed
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup vegetable (or your favorite) broth
1/3 cup each: chopped pitted olives (I used green, black and Kalamata)
herb blend, to taste: I used basil, oregano, tarragon and thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 cups ziti, cooked just til al dente
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan

In a large frying pan or skillet over medium low heat, saute shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add tomato puree, wine and broth and simmer til mixture is reduced, about 10 minutes. Stir in olives, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Stir sauce into pasta. Stir in 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and parmesan. Pour mixture into a baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella.

Bake about 20 minutes, or til hot and bubbling.

I served the pasta with additional mozzarella and alongside a buttered slice of homemade rustic Italian wheat bread.

Chicken Scaloppini

I have always wanted to try this, and when I came across an unusual version in Giada's cookbook, I thought it sounded like a perfect meal for tonight.

Just enough for two.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 T flour
1/2 t paprika
salt and couple grinds black pepper
1/2 cup beef broth
pinch saffron threads
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
2 T minced shallot
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 fresh lemon, juiced

Trim any fat from chicken and pound thin. In a small flat container or bowl, mix flour, paprika, and salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in mixture; coat well. Set aside.

Mix beef broth and saffron; set aside.

Heat oil and butter over medium high heat. Fry chicken til golden brown on both sides;
remove and set aside to keep warm. Stir in shallots and saute for a couple minutes. Stir in wine and broth mixture and simmer til the liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes.

Stir in cream and simmer til the sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in peas and cook til peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon and return chicken to pan to heat through. Adjust as desired with salt and pepper.

I served the chicken and sauce over herbed polenta.
The recipe for the polenta can be found here:

Easy Chicken Florentine

Original from Katie "Fiddle Dee Dee" Scarlett:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
basil, oregano, parsley to taste
1 pkg (6 oz) fresh spinach
hot cooked pasta
freshly grated Parmesan

Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium high heat. Sear chicken til nice and brown on both sides. Remove and set aside to keep warm.

Drizzle in a little more oil and quickly saute garlic for a few seconds. Stir in wine and cook til reduced. Add tomatoes and herbs. Simmer til thickened slightly. Stir in spinach and cook about 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust as desired. Add chicken back to pan and coat in the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package.

I served the chicken and sauce over the pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Fried Pickle Chips

As I have said before, sometimes Matt makes the oddest meal requests.

Use your favorite seasoning here. My recommendation would be to use either a no salt or low salt variety, as some pickles are salty enough on their own.

1 quart sliced dill pickles (I used Vlasic hamburger dills, my fave)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t hot sauce
2 t Adobo seasoning, divided
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
oil for frying
In a colander, drain pickles well. (Feel free to reserve the pickle juice for another use. My dad likes it in a bloody mary).

In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk, hot sauce and 1 t seasoning. Toss in pickles and stir to coat.
Drain and discard buttermilk mixture.

In a large container with a tight fitting lid, mix together cornmeal, flour and seasoning. Add pickle slices carefully. Shake lightly to distribute mixture. Cover container tightly and toss mixture til pickles are well coated.
Ensure none of the pickles are stuck together. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Add about 2" of oil to a cast iron skillet or a large frying pan. Heat over medium high heat. Carefully add coated slices into the oil and cook til golden brown, and slices float. Note: Do not crowd pan.
Drain slices on a paper bag or paper towel.
I served the pickles with spicy horseradish mayo, a mixture of mayo, horseradish and cayenne pepper.

Chicken Tetrazzini

True Italian is one cuisine I rarely make. I picked up Giada's cookbook the other day at the library in hopes of finding dishes that Matt and I both could enjoy.

This is my adaptation of her recipe, which was far more complicated. Unexpectedly, I found this dish absolutely delicious. We both had seconds!

2 T butter, divided
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small pkg sliced fresh mushrooms
about 2 cups shredded chicken
salt and ground black pepper
2 T flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup half and half, at room temperature
1 cup chicken stock or broth
2 t dried parsley leaves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
12 oz hot cooked spaghetti
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used homemade)
1 T melted butter

Melt 1 T butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook til softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a few seconds, til fragrant. Stir in mushrooms and cook til mushroom liquid is almost absorbed.
Stir in chicken and salt and pepper; heat chicken through. Taste and adjust as desired. With a slotted spoon, remove mixture from pan.
Add remaining 1 T butter to the same pan and melt. Whisk in flour. Whisk in wine. Whisk in half and half, broth, parsley and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer til sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

To spaghetti cook pot, toss spaghetti, sauce, peas and chicken mixture.
When well mixed, transfer mixture to prepared pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13x9" baking pan generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix cheese, breadcrumbs and melted butter.
Sprinkle over pasta.
Bake til tetrazzini is hot and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Let rest a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from Giada's cookbook

Andouille Smothered Grits

We love this recipe because we both go crazy for Andouille anything!

For the grits, I simply cooked them according to the package, substituting chicken broth for the water and stirring in a little butter and shredded sharp white cheddar at the end. And I probably should have let them sit longer, but I was hun-gree!

3 T butter, divided
8 oz andouille sausage, sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 t Cajun seasoning (I used homemade)
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
hot cooked grits

Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add 1 T butter and melt. Add sausage, cooking til just browned. Stir in onion and pepper and cook til softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and cook another minute or so. With a slotted spoon remove mixture from the pan; set aside to keep warm. Increase heat to medium high and add remaining butter. In a small bowl, mix flour and seasoning. Whisk into pan and cook for a minute or so.
Whisk in broth and cook til gravy thickens, about 5 minutes. (Add more broth as needed).

Return sausage mixture to pan and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust as desired.

I served the andouille and gravy over the grits alongside a slice of buttered buttermilk cornbread.

Inspired by a recipe in my Bon Appetit cookbook

Cooking Light's Brick Chicken

This job is made easier (even for those of us with arthritis) by the use of bone shears. They came in my new knife set and are priceless for cutting through bone.

I added a large packet of apple wood chips to the grill as well, but this is optional. This chicken was AMAZING.

1/4 cup chopped shallots
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T olive oil
2 t light soy sauce
1 t fresh rosemary, minced
1 t grated lemon rind
1 t dried thyme, rubbed
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t ground sage
6 garlic cloves, smashed
pinch salt

1 whole chicken

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust as desired. Add to a large (gallon size) ziploc bag. Set aside.

With sharp bone or kitchen shears, trim chicken of excess fat; remove giblets and neck and remove the wings at the first joint.
Split chicken in half lengthwise. Remove and discard skin (if desired. I only removed the excess);
pierce chicken pieces with a fork. Add chicken to bag with marinade; turn several times. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat grill over medium high indirect heat.

While grill heats, wrap 2 bricks with foil.
Place chicken, breast side down, on grill rack over unheated side. Top each chicken half with prepared brick. Cover and grill 1-1 1/2 hours.

Remove bricks and set aside. Remove chicken and let chicken rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
I served the chicken with Potato Balls with Red Pepper Ranch Dipping Sauce. The recipe for those can be found here:

Adapted from my Cooking Light magazine

Beef Gyros

I have had this recipe bookmarked for quite a while, and decided today was the day to give it a try! Other than using all beef in place half lamb, I followed this recipe quite closely. I didn't have enough rosemary, so I used savory instead. I also saw a trick that Alton Brown does of weighing down the loaf after baking and during the rest period.

The flavor was absolutely incredible! The texture wasn't quite "there"; I think I needed to do a second grind of the beef.

I made two small loaves so that one could be frozen.
1/2 onion, chopped
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 T minced garlic
1 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried marjoram leaves
1 t dried rosemary leaves
1 t dried thyme leaves
1 t ground black pepper
1/4 t sea salt (or to your taste)

Mince the onion in a blender or food processor.
Drain onions in a double layer of paper towel for a couple hours. Squeeze out any liquid and discard paper towel.
Using a hand grinder, blender or food processor, mince beef.
In a large bowl mix onion, minced beef, garlic and spices, til well combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 325°.

Pack the meat mixture tightly into a small loaf pan, pressing out any air pockets.
Place loaf pan on a baking pan with sides, and place into the preheated oven. Fill the baking pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.

Bake til meat is no longer pink 1-1 1/4 hours. Pour off any fat. Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing very thinly.

I served the slices with sliced beets, homemade pita bread, feta cheese and plain yogurt.
I used my recipe here for the bread, however I used ghee in place of the oil called for, and baked them til golden brown:

The original gyro meat recipe can be found here: