Friday, February 26, 2010

Baked Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta

I’ve made the Contessa’s Baked Shrimp Scampi many times (and blogged about it). This dish has such a great flavor—garlicky, lemony, and buttery plump, pink shrimp arranged in a beautiful crown. So when Jill of Insanely Good Food selected this recipe for Barefoot Bloggers, I was happy to make it again but thought I’d try a few changes. I love delicate angel hair pasta with shrimp scampi, so I baked this dish with a bed of al dente pasta to cradle the shrimp. I also substituted fresh dill for the rosemary for a subtle flavor variation.

The result was delicious! The angel hair soaked up all the wonderful juices from the shrimp, marinade, and butter mixture. I’ll be making this variation again!

Adapted from:
Baked Shrimp Scampi, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Salmon with Lentils

What a healthy and tasty dinner! I’m always on the lookout for recipes that are easy and fast enough to prepare on weeknights after work, and this one delivers. The lentils start by soaking in boiling water for 15 minutes, and then they are simmered for 20 minutes with sautéed vegetables until tender. Meanwhile, you have time to prepare the salmon, which only really takes minutes. Delicious!

Source: Salmon with Lentils, Barefoot in Paris

½ pound French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
¼ cup good olive oil, plus extra for salmon
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 ½ cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
1 ½ cups chopped carrots (3 carrots)
1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock or good canned broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
4 (8-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets, skin removed

Place the lentils in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the drained lentils, celery, carrots, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add the vinegar and season, to taste.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

For the salmon, heat a dry oven-proof sauté pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning-sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned. Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare. Spoon a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Barefoot Coconut Cupcakes

We’ve been trapped in Snowmageddon over the past week, with record-setting snowstorms pounding the DC area. McHubby and I have been digging ourselves out of the snow for days. With our current weather conditions and a few days away from Valentine’s Day, it seems to me like a great time to bake! Cupcakes are so trendy these days. They are the perfect individual sized desserts. Obviously, I was happy to see these cupcakes chosen as the next Barefoot Bloggers recipe selection, (thanks to Jamie of Jamie’s Green Kitchen), especially since McHubby and I both love coconut.

This recipe was pretty easy to make. Just be sure to use room temperature ingredients. And the frosting is definitely worth the effort! These cupcakes are as tasty as they are beautiful. They certainly make being trapped in a snowstorm more fun!

Coconut Cupcakes, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:
nocoupons1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 ½ pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chocolate Waffles

I wanted to try chocolate waffles, thinking they would be decadent for breakfast served with fresh fruit and whipped cream, or divine for dessert served with ice cream and chocolate sauce. These waffles have a great flavor without being overly chocolatey.

Chocolate Waffles, DIANA38

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups milk
6 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high power for 1 minute, then stir. Continue to cook for 15 seconds at a time, stirring each time until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

When the chocolate mixture is fairly cool, stir in the milk, egg whites, and vanilla. Pour this into the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended.

Preheat the waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Spoon waffle batter onto the hot iron in desired amounts. Close, and cook until the iron stops steaming, and waffles are easy to remove. Repeat with remaining batter.