Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baked Shrimp Scampi

If you like shrimp, you will love this shrimp scampi. Usually shrimp scampi is prepared in a large skillet, sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion, and white wine. This one, however, is baked in a casserole. The flavors of the lemon and garlic come through, and the butter and panko mixture adds a light, crispy topping. It's a perfect marriage of buttery, lemony, and garlicky flavors. Easy to prepare and so tasty, this dish has become one of my favorite Barefoot recipes!

When prepping this recipe, be sure to finely mince the garlic and rosemary, which are mixed in with the butter and panko mixture. You'll want to taste these bold flavors in the mixture without getting a big bite of either. Also, after you've separated your egg, save the white in a properly labeled freezer bag. It lasts up to a year in your freezer, and you can use it later in a pavlova or meringues.

Source: Baked Shrimp Scampi, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
¼ cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
⅔ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer
cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Red-Skinned Mashed Potatoes

I love these mashed potatoes! Leaving the skins on gives it a rustic presentation and texture. You can substitute whole milk or even heavy cream for the half-and-half if you prefer more or less rich and creamy mashed potatoes. It’s also important to use unsalted butter so that you can control how much salt goes into this dish. Also, throw in any fresh herbs you may have on hand to add complementary flavors.

1 ½ pounds red potatoes
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot with the bay leaf and garlic. Cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and remove bay leaf. Return the potatoes and garlic to the pot and mash with a potato masher. Add butter and ¼ cup of half-and-half. Continue mashing. In ¼ cup increments, slowly add half-and-half while continue mashing, allowing the potatoes to soak in the liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Smothered Pork Chops

After finding this recipe a while back, I had to try them myself. First, let me say that I’ve never really liked pork chops very much—they always seemed too dry for my taste. But smothered pork chops couldn’t possibly be so dry, right? And Tyler Florence hasn’t disappointed me yet. I served these with Red-Skinned Mashed Potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Smothered Pork Chops, Tyler Florence

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, ¾-inch thick, bone-in
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side

until golden brown. Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sautéed Broccolini

Since I didn’t plan well enough to make the broccolini with the chicken piccata like so many other Barefoot Bloggers did, I made it tonight as a side dish to serve with roast chicken. The broccolini was wonderful! Because it was blanched for only a few minutes and then immersed into an ice water bath, the broccolini was cooked but still crunchy, and the color was a beautiful vibrant green. The flavors of the butter, garlic, and lemon were pronounced but not overwhelming. What a great side dish! Thanks to Mary of Meet Me in the Kitchen for selecting this bonus Barefoot Blogger recipe.

Source: Sautéed Broccolini, Barefoot Contessa

1 bunch broccolini
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ lemon, zested
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the lemon zest and garlic and stir. Drain the broccolini and add it to the garlic mixture and heat for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper, and toss well before serving.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

What a treat this Barefoot Bloggers dish was! The puff pastry was so flaky and lightly crispy. I loved the individual tart portions, and the flavors of the caramelized onions, goat cheese, Parmesan, and tomatoes were absolutely perfect together. Thanks to Anne Strawberry for selecting this recipe. Delicious!

These can also be made in smaller sized tartlet portions to serve as an appetizer.

Source: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (¼-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a ¼-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place ¼ of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soba Stir-Fry

When preparing lunch dishes to take to work, they must be easy to make and not require too much time. This is such a dish that also delivers great flavors and textures. Once the prep work is done, it really just takes minutes to pull together. Whenever you cook with soy sauce, be careful not to over salt. Remember, the soy sauce already has a salty flavor.

6 ounces soba noodles
1 red bell pepper, large diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, julienned finely
1 clove garlic, minced
4 baby bok choy, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and ginger to hot pan, cook for 2 minutes. Add green onions and garlic, cook for a minute. Add bok choy and cook until just wilted. Add soy sauce and mirin. Salt and pepper to taste, but be careful not to add too much salt. Stir in crushed red pepper. Remove from heat.

Cook noodles in boiling water, according to package directions. Drain. Add to sauté pan and stir with vegetables. Drizzle sesame oil over the mixture. Squeeze a lime over the mixture and stir in cilantro. Serve warm or cold.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

I make a roast chicken every couple of weeks or so. I love that it takes so little prep time to make and looks so impressive! It’s a classic and healthy “one pot” meal. When you’re finished eating the bird, save the carcass for making chicken stock later.

This is the basic recipe I use for a roast chicken, but there is some flexibility with the ingredients. I usually use up whatever fresh herbs I have on hand. Also, I usually just use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter to lighten the calories, but coating the bird with butter adds flavor and really helps it brown beautifully.

For tonight's dinner, I used 5 leeks instead of the onion, giving a more earthy flavor. I also used a handfull of thyme and dill instead of rosemary.

When using leeks, it's very important to clean them well. They tend
to hold in sand and grit within the leaves. Trim off the roots and the tough, dark green ends of the leaves. Quarter the leek lengthwise part of the way down. Rinse well under cold running water, slightly pulling the leaves apart to wash the dirt away.

Source: Roast Chicken and Vegetables, Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook

3 carrots, cut into thirds
6 small red new potatoes, quartered if large
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
1 lemon, quartered
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the carrots, potatoes, and onion in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Toss the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Spread the vegetables to the edges of the baking dish, making room for the chicken.

Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken and discard. Rinse the bird under cold running water and pat dry. Put the chicken, breast-side up, in the center of the baking dish. Brush the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season the cavity and skin generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Put the lemon quarters and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Put the garlic cloves under the chicken to prevent them from burning.

Roast for 45 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven. Using tongs, tilt the chicken, pouring the juices from the cavity onto the vegetables, and shake to coat. Baste the chicken with the pan juices. If the bird is browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Continue roasting until the chicken is a deep golden brown and the juices run clear when the tip of a knife is inserted into the thigh joint, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh, away from the bone, registers 170 to 175 degrees F, 25 to 30 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand for 10 to 15 before carving. Using the back of a spoon, mash the garlic and squeeze some lemon into the pan juices. Toss the juices with the vegetables. Carve the chicken and serve the vegetables alongside. Drizzle any remaining juices over the chicken.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

BLT Frittata

In the spirit of “eating down the fridge,” I made a BLT frittata for dinner. Okay, so I didn’t exactly use lettuce, but a cook is allowed to take liberties, right? Frittatas are a creative way to use up ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry. I used baby spinach and a mix of fresh herbs—basil, dill, and flat-leaf parsley—because that’s what I had in my fridge. This BLT frittata was simply delicious and flavorful.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 extra-large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅓ cup baby spinach and/or arugula
½ cup herbs, roughly chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked and broken into bits
8 grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise in half
2 cups grated Gruyère
¼ cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to broil.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and milk. Stir in ½ cup of Gruyère, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Pour egg mixture into the skillet and distribute evenly. Shake the pan gently, tilting it slightly with one hand while lifting up the edges of the frittata with the spatula in your other hand, to let the eggs run underneath during the first few minutes of cooking. Continue until it is no longer or only slightly moist on the top. Reduce heat to low.

Top with spinach or arugula, herbs, bacon pieces, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with with Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses.

When the eggs are set, place the pan under the broiler for 6 to 8 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns slightly. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges with a spatula. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pasta with Spring Herbs

This was a simple side dish and so easy to pull together. You can taste all the flavors of the lemon, Parmesan, and fresh herbs with the pasta. I prepared this dish with the Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Arugula for a perfect pairing.

Pasta with Spring Herbs, Martha Stewart Living (March 2009)

½ pound dried pasta, such as strozzapreti or fusilli
½ cup roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, chervil, terragon, dill, and basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta, then toss with mixed herbs, oil, lemon zest and juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, the pepper, and ¼ cup Parmesan in a large serving bowl. Serve with remaining ¼ cup cheese on the side.

Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Arugula

I don't cook scallops very often, but McHubby and I both enjoyed this dish. It was a delicious and easy to prepare dinner. It's a dish that you can easily throw together after work. The scallops cook quickly, and the spinach and arugula only need a few minutes to wilt. Fast and delicious dishes like this are a must in a busy person's repertoire. I paired this recipe with Pasta with Spring Herbs.

Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Arugula, Martha Stewart Living (March 2009)

16 large sea scallops (about 1 ¼ pounds), rinsed and dried, tough muscles removed
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons safflower oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise
7 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
7 ounces baby arugula (about 10 cups)
¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with 1 teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet. Arrange scallops in skillet, and cook on 1 side until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Flip, and cook until scallops are opaque, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.

Reduce heat to medium, and add
remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add garlic, and cook for 15 seconds. Add spinach, arugula, red-pepper flakes, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing greens often, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter, top with scallops, and serve immediately.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Martha's Layered Crêpe Lasagna

I saw this recipe in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living and was inspired to try it. Gâteau de crêpes is like a savory crêpe lasagna with layers of crêpes and béchamel sauce with sautéed spinach and Gruyère cheese. I decided to make this dish for lunch this week, and although it is pretty involved and takes time to prepare and assemble, much of the steps can be done ahead of time and spaced out for convenience.

Spinach-Gruyère Gâteau de Crêpes, Martha Stewart Living (February 2009)

½ medium onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for sheet
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 ¼ cups grated Gruyère cheese (4 ounces)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepperFor the assembly:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
Pinch of crushed red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, for squeezing
12 small Basic Crêpes

Make the béchamel: Place onion and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook

until onion is translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk in a slow, steady stream. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup Gruyère, and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat, add nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring
occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes, and season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. Let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid, and coarsely chop.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Reserve 2 tablespoons of béchamel. Mix remaining béchamel and spinach in a medium bowl. Butter a rimmed baking sheet. Place 1 crêpe on center of sheet, and top with 3 tablespoons spinach mixture, spreading evenly. Top with another crêpe, then 3 tablespoons spinach mixture. Repeat with remaining crêpes and spinach mixture, ending with a crêpe. Spread reserved béchamel on top, and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese. Bake until cheese melts and turns golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer gâteau de crêpes to a platter. Cut into wedges, and serve warm.

Basic Crêpes

Crêpes are such a versatile dish that requires only creativity. They can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert! Make them ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. They can be sweet or savory, depending upon what you choose to stuff them with. For a sweet breakfast crepe, stuff them with fresh cut berries and whipped cream, or try Nutella, sliced bananas, and confectioner's sugar. For a savory lunch or dinner crêpe, stuff with smoked ham and cheese, or try the Spinach-Gruyère Gâteau de Crêpes.

Be sure to strain the mixed batter to ensure that it is smooth and without any lumps. For a buckwheat variation on the basic crêpes, simply substitute ¾ cup buckwheat flour for ¾ cup all-purpose flour, and add an additional ¾ cup whole milk.

Source: Basic Crêpes, Martha Stewart Living (February 2009)

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups whole milk, room temperature, plus more if needed
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 ½ ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking to combine. Whisk in butter. Strain mixture into a medium bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to a day). Batter should be the consistency of heavy cream; add more milk if needed.

Heat an 8- or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, and brush with butter. Ladle or pour 3 tablespoons batter (for small crêpes) or ⅓ cup batter (for large crêpes) into pan, turning and tilting skillet to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook until top of crêpe appears set, bottom is firm and golden
brown in spots, and center is lifted by pockets of air, about 1 minute. Run a spatula around edge of crêpe to loosen. Slip spatula under crêpe, and gently flip in one swift gesture. (If it doesn’t land quite right, that’s okay; use the spatula to unfold or rearrange it.) Cook until bottom is firm and golden brown in spots, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate, and cover. (The first one will not be your finest.) Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan lightly with butter as needed (every 2 or 3 crêpes). Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicken Piccata

I was excited to see this dish as the next Barefoot Bloggers selection, (thanks to Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings). I’ve made this recipe before, and not only is it a pretty easy dish to prepare but it’s also delicious. I included capers since many piccata dishes have them, and I like the flavor they add. I paired this dish with a salad of mixed greens and lemon vinaigrette.

Chicken Piccata, Barefoot Contessa at Home

4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 ½ cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
½ cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to ¼-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, wipe out the sauté pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Mixed Baby Greens Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This unassuming, simple salad is full of flavor with the lemony vinaigrette. The shaved Manchego, which is one of my very favorite cheeses, adds a creamy, slightly nutty flavor that plays off the pine nuts while the grape tomatoes add sweetness. It’s a great accompaniment to a main dish that you don’t want to upstage.

6 cups mixed baby greens (or baby spinach or arugula)
⅓ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 shallot, thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
⅓ cup Manchego cheese, shaved thinly (or Parmesan or Asiago)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Arrange baby greens in a salad bowl or serving platter. Top with grape tomatoes, shallot slices, and pinenuts.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, garlic, olive oil. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with salad greens. Top with shaved Manchego just before serving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Slow-Cooker Three Bean and Meaty Chili

Everyone seems to have their “go-to” chili, and this one is mine. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you—the slow cooker does all the work! I love a really thick, chunky chili with depth of flavor. I use ground bison, which is leaner and sweeter than beef. The chipotle chile imparts a smoky spicy flavor that is offset by the subtle sweetness of the brown sugar. (If you like a less spicy chili, remove the seeds from the chipotle chili before mincing.) Masa harina, a Mexican corn flour, should be stirred in at the end of cooking to help thicken the liquid slightly and give off a hint of corn flavor. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, and pair with a salad or cornbread.

1 (15 ½ ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ½ ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ½ ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound ground bison (or ground beef), browned and drained
1 pound diced beef sirloin, browned and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons masa harina

Cheddar cheese, shredded
Sour cream
Scallions, chopped
Jalapeno peppers, chopped


Put ingredients in slow cooker in the order listed, through salt and pepper. Carefully stir. Cover and cook on low 10 to 12 hours or high 5 to 6 hours. Add masa harina and stir. Cover for another 10 minutes.

Garnish with favorite toppings and serve hot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Garlic and Herb Cauliflower Mash

This is a great “light” side dish alternative to mashed potatoes and another way to incorporate vegetables into meals. I love incorporating fresh herbs, whatever I have on hand. Have your mash without the guilt!

1 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
½ cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
⅓ cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

Cut florets from the head of cauliflower and place into a large saucepan with the garlic and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and use a slotted spoon to put cauliflower and garlic into the bowl of a food processor. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Pulse to break down the cauliflower. Add half-and-half, and continue to process until smooth. Stir in herbs and season to taste. Serve warm.

Snow Day Vanilla Scones

We had a snow day today—winter is reminding us that it’s still here and not quite spring yet. So what is one to do when snow blankets the ground and keeps everyone inside? Why bake scones, of course! I made vanilla scones—(we’ve already established my love of vanilla). These scones are dense yet crumbly and just perfect served warm with the sweet drizzled glaze.

Adapted from:
Mini Vanilla Scones, May M.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup
vanilla sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup regular full-fat sour cream1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Water, as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the flour mixture resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add this to the flour-butter mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms a cohesive ball. Use a spatula to get the dry bits fully
incorporated. (It may not seem to have enough liquid at first, but the dough will eventually come together.)

Place the sticky dough onto a well-floured board and knead it into a ball. Flour
your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough just under 1-inch thick. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a cutter and cut the dough into the scone shapes. Place the scones on a parchment-lined (or ungreased) baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the scones are golden brown on top.

Prepare the glaze while the scones are baking. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl and add water one teaspoon at a time, mixing vigorously until smooth and runny. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of glaze over the hot scones. Serve immediately. Store cooled scones in an airtight container.