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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli Specks

In Food, Italian, Pasta on January 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm


Sit back, relax and prepare to enjoy an 88 cent pouch of generic Alfredo Broccoli Noodles. Yes, Jay was out of town. No, I couldn’t do better for myself. This is my version of a bachelorette dinner. What do you want from me? I added fresh parmesan, it was the least I could do. The absolute. least. I could do. And I almost used a cotton napkin. But then, I remembered Baby Girl drug them all out of the drawer and across the floor today playing ‘Superhero’.

This lovely dish is paired well with a Bud Light Lime from a can. You just can’t go wrong. Mmmm.

P.S. Dearest Jay, please never leave home. It puts my palate into severe distress.

P.P.S. “Mom, your cooking rocks my WORLD!

P.P.P.S. “Why no, Mom. I did not stick a green marker up my nose. It was blue.”

 

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pesto Risotto, Wild Mushroom Bisque and Caesar Salad

In Food, Italian, Pork, Risotto, Soups 'n Stews on January 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This, my friends is a lovely meal to make for friends or to welcome your cousin to the U.S. It just so happens that we accomplished both with this one. My gorgeous BFF Kara shares the result.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

In the summer we grow lots of fresh herbs but they cost a fortune in the Winter. Jay recently found this little gem in the fresh produce section at the market. It is blended fresh, organic herbs in a squeeze tube. The Italian version has basil, marjoram, parsley, sea salt, rosemary and thyme blended with oil.

Smear pork tenderloin generously with Italian Herb blend, Kosher salt, minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Roast uncovered at 350 until you hit an internal temperature of 160 in the thickest part of the loin. Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes then slice to desired thickness.


Pesto Risotto

–       1 yellow onion (finely chopped)

–       1 garlic clove (pressed)

–       1 ½ Cups medium grain white rice

–       4 Cups chicken broth

–       3 Tbsp. butter

–       1 Cup dry white wine

–       1 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

–       Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

–       3 Tbsp. pesto

Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add rice and stir to coat with butter.  Saute an additional 2 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until wine has almost completely evaporated.

Begin stirring in broth ½ – ¾ cup at a time.  Give each addition of broth time to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle.  Continue until rice is tender, yet firm, and mixture is creamy.

Remove from heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and pesto.

Return pan to heat until warm throughout.

Classico is a great prepared pesto to use in the Winter months.

Better Than Bouillon is the best prepared chicken broth on the shelves. It’s delish. Go get some and you’ll never unwrap tiny chicken cubes again. Unless, of course you like that sort of thing.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

–       1 medium size red onion, thinly sliced

–       1 tsp. freshly chopped garlic

–       2 lbs. mixed mushrooms of your choice (i.e. shitaki, baby bella, oyster, white, etc.), cleaned, stemmed, chopped

–       1 stick butter

–       1 ½ Cups chicken broth

–       1 ½ Cups beef broth

–       2/3 Cup Sherry

–       1 ½ Cups heavy whipping cream (sub ½ & ½ for lighter version)

Melt butter in large, thick-bottomed sauté pan.

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent.

Add mushrooms and sauté until softened, and most liquid has evaporated.

Remove pan from heat, add sherry and ignite.  Let flame burn out, then return pan to heat.

Add chicken and beef broth, and bring to a strong simmer.

Simmer until liquid had reduced by 1/3 – 1/2.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.

Transfer mixture from food processor to a medium-sized sauce pan over med-low heat, and bring mixture to a low simmer.

Slowly mix in the heavy cream until thoroughly heated.

*Serve with a Basic Caesar Salad: Romaine, Creamy Caesar Dressing (we like Ken’s Steakhouse), croutons and anchovy filets.


Classic Risotto with Prosciutto and Mushrooms

In Food, Italian on November 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

Risotto is one of our favorites year-round and works into the cooking rotation even more often as an autumn chill hits the air. The basic recipe is delicious and is similar to a fried rice in its adaptability. We usually plan ahead to make a specific riff but this is also a great dish for emptying out the fridge.

Pull out the good stuff for this one… use wine tasty enough to drink and the best aged parmesan that fits your budget. You won’t regret it.

Make it as a one-bowl stand-alone or as a side with a protein. Steak, pork, seafood…you name it. Pretty much anything is great with this chameleon.

We have innumerable riffs on this classic. This is just one. We’ll share more in the weeks to come. Check back this weekend for a special Thanksgiving Encore Risotto to use those yummy leftovers!

Classic Risotto with Prosciutto and Mushrooms

–         1 yellow onion (finely chopped)

–         1 garlic clove (pressed)

–         3 cups chopped mushrooms (Wild, cremini and portobello are flavorful options for this dish. Mix or choose just one.)

–         1 ½ cup medium grain white rice

–         4 cups chicken broth

–         3 Tbsp. butter

–         1 cup dry white wine

–         1/3 pound sliced prosciutto (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)

–         1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

–         Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.

Add onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté until onion is translucent.

Add rice and stir to coat with butter.  Sauté an additional 2 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until wine has almost completely evaporated.

Begin stirring in broth ½ – ¾ Cup at a time.  Give each addition of broth time to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next addition.  Continue until rice is tender, yet firm, and mixture is creamy.

Reduce heat to medium-low setting. Stir in prosciutto. Heat until warm.

Remove from heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

*Serve with a dollop of ricotta blended with pesto and a drizzle of olive oil.

Oatmeal Stout Stew

In Food, Soups 'n Stews on November 18, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Autumn, sweet sweet autumn. There is a chill in the air, it’s football season and the holidays are fast approaching. It’s that time of year when friends drop by just because they were in the neighborhood and thinking of you.

This recipe was created with all the best of autumn in mind. This stew will feed a crowd or keep it just for you and savor every bite. It’s that good. Don’t wanna share good. But your mama taught you to share with friends so at least consider that option.

Let’s get started.

We like to use fingerling potatoes because they offer a little flavor variety that the old-school russet lacks. The colors are great too, but that isn’t a biggie in this stew as the beer and beef stock colors the vegetables regardless.

Cut the potatoes and their vegetable friends (carrots, onion, celery) into large bite-size pieces.

Toss in a bowl with thick-sliced mushrooms. We mixed white and baby bellas in this stew.

Look at that color inside the ‘blue’ fingerling potato. Gorgeous! Food should be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

We have been known to use farm-fresh blue fingerlings as potato stamps for kid crafts as well. We’re all about making food a family affair!

Meanwhile on the stove, heat 2 Tbsp. Cooking oil in the bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat.

Combine flour and salt and pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl.

Working in batches, dredge stew meat in flour mixture then sauté in stock pot until browned on all sides.

Note, the meat will continue to cook in the stew. Browning just the sides with a rare to medium-rare inside at this stage in the game will yield a perfect result.

Set each batch aside to rest as you sauté the next batch. Replenish oil 2 Tbsp. at a time as needed until all the meat has been browned.

Return browned meat to the stock pot and pour in entire bottle of oatmeal stout (no one will notice a sip or two missing if you check for flavor).  Bring the mixture to a boil while scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Combine all remaining ingredients (or as many as will fit) into the stock pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow stew to simmer from 1 ½ – 2 hrs.

Be patient. Give those veggies time to mingle and soak up the flavor goodness.

Take a break to kiss your soux chef. You might need to remind her that waiting is a good thing. Patience is a virtue and all that noise.

Thicken as desired with additional flour or cornstarch.

Serve with warm, crusty, sourdough bread.

No cozy fire necessary. Just cozy on up to a bowl of this stew. And if you have another bottle of that Oatmeal Stout around, now is a good time to give ‘her a little dance!

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Stout Stew

  • 2lbs. Stew meat
  • 1 large bottle (22 -24oz.) Oatmeal Stout beer
  • 1 Cup flour
  • 6 Tbsp. Cooking oil
  • 2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large white onion, chopped in large pieces
  • 8oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 5 – 6 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 5 – 6 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. Freshly chopped garlic
  • 1 large Tbsp. Freshly chopped Rosemary (or dried)
  • 1 large Tbsp. Freshly chopped Sage (or dried)
  • 1 large Tbsp. Freshly chopped Thyme (or dried)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 – 6 Cups beef stock (We love Better than Bouillon Beef Base)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut vegetables into large bite-size pieces.

Heat 2 Tbsp. Cooking oil in the bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat.

Combine flour and salt and pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl.

Working in batches, dredge stew meat in flour mixture then sauté in stock pot until browned on all sides.  Set each batch aside to rest as you sauté the next batch. Replenish oil 2 Tbsp. at a time as needed until all the meat has been browned.

Return browned meat to the stock pot and pour in entire bottle of oatmeal stout.  Bring mixture to a boil while scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Simmer for approx. 10 min.

Combine all remaining ingredients (or as many as will fit) into the stock pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and allow stew to simmer from 1 ½ – 2 hrs.

Thicken as desired with additional flour or cornstarch.

Serve with warm, crusty, sourdough bread!

Minimalist Holiday Tablescape

In Design, Dining Table, Food, Holidays on November 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

The holidays are all about family, tradition and foooood. It’s all about fitting as many friendly bodies as possible around the table with room for Tom and the fixings on the periphery.

We like to keep it simple. Harvest colors. Mix n’ match plates and napkins.

Individual salt and peppers shakers. A bit of nature to add some texture; we like pinecones, branches, maybe a bit of twine tied around the napkins.

Because this is a simple setting remember the obvious. Keep it simple. No nameplates necessary. There is a time and place for them, yes. But this isn’t it. No candles or crystal for us. We have kids after all. And the little one likes to climb to the middle of the dining table to play ‘queen of the mountain’. Nope, we’re saving the nice stuff for another day.

Forgive the blurry pics. Too much caffeine. :)

I am linking this to BNOTP.

Ja-ja-ja Jackpot! and Jay’s World Class Fajitas

In Chicken, Food, Mexican on November 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

We hit the jackpot this time. We have neighbors who sell pumpkins at their home every fall. They grow them at their family farm outside town and haul them here to sell to adoring fans. This year during our visit I got a peek into their garage… uh it was chock-full of produce. I mean gorgeous, fresh, locally grown produce. No sign, just an “ask to see it” policy. We brought home pumpkins for carving, pumpkins for roasting, butternut squash, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes-as-big-as-your-head or as big as my forearm. No kidding. They are up next…

But the peace de resistance was the bell peppers. Baskets upon baskets of the beauties. And to top it all off? They were 10/$1. Um, excuse me? What? No, seriously. Ten measly cents each. Green bell peppers go for about $1 each on a good day around here and the red, orange, yellow are more like $2+ bucks a piece. Bargain of the century!

So we made fajitas. When life gives you lemons… well you know the rest.

But what do we have here? Can you tell me? It looks like a baby pepper growing inside. These peppers were perfectly ripe so that might have something to do with it?

This little guy was inside one of the peppers. So pretty! We didn’t eat it but I suppose it is edible. (Yeah, yeah. A manicure would be nice but I have more pressing projects like eating.)

And what about this little beauty? A black pepper. Love it!

And a surprise inside! This guy tastes just like a green pepper but a bit sweeter. 

First, wash the peppers. Then remove the seeds and slice those bad boys. Lovin’ the color.

The peppers need friends. Let’s add some yellow onion. We almost always use yellow or red in cooking. White has its place but is kinda boring. Peel ’em and slice ’em.

Meanwhile in the wings Renaissance Dude flattened a few chicken breasts between Glad Press ‘n Seal so no icky raw chicken would go flying. It is nice to thin the chicken out so it cooks more evenly and the edges won’t dry out on the grill.

Then on a separate cutting board from the peppers and onions he brushed ’em with veggie oil. (We love using this cutting board and silicone brush for meat and then throw them in the dishwasher for a little sanitizing.

Jay usually wears food prep gloves when working with chicken to keep things cleaner but I guess he was feeling like a rebel.

He sprinkled the chicken with our scratch fajita rub (recipe will follow).

This blend has a million great uses but this is the original.

It is much-loved in this kitchen.

Add some sliced mushrooms to get the party started.

I guess the sun was going down when this pic was taken. We eat late around here. Late, I tell you. But that is a story for another time.

Add some veggie oil and season ’em up. Then toss them to balance the oil and seasoning. Don’t want anyone getting jealous now.

Cook those guys in a grill basket on the grill for awhile, until they are soft but not mushy. Blackened edges are a-okay.

This is not a pic of the grill basket. It was dark outside, remember? This is the bowl they rode in back to the kitchen. Use foil on the bowl to glam it up keep ’em hot.

A blurry peek inside. Oh my head! Just try not to sneak a bite or eight before it hits the table. I double-dog-dare ya.

Meanwhile, back on the grill the chicken is gettin’ hot hot hot.

Slice your limes. Not only are they a tasty addition but the first person to successfully accidentally flip a wedge onto someone else’s plate wins. :)

Slice the chicken and plate it all up with the fixins. Lime wedges, sour cream, avocados.

Warm a stack of corn tortillas in a damp towel in the microwave for about a minute on high or until steamy. Remember to wear an oven mitt when you get them out of the microwave. They will be…steamy.

Yum! Because the fajita rub is made ahead in mass reasonable quantities this recipe can serve as many as you like. Just add more chicken and veggies and make it a fiesta.

Live it up.

 

Fajita Rub/Seasoning

–         1 large Tbsp. dried granulated garlic (if using rub immediately, substitute four fresh garlic cloves – crushed)

–         1/3 cup ground chili powder (Ancho if available)

–         4 tsp. brown sugar (preferably dark)

–         1 tsp dried oregano

–         ½ tsp. ground cumin

–         4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

–         1 tsp. kosher salt

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

In Food on November 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm

A quick fly-by autumn recipe for you.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

–         Seeds from 2 medium/large pumpkins (cleaned and rinsed)

–         3Tbsp melted butter

–         1tsp  Worcestershire Sauce

–         2tsp seasoning (we like Emeril’s Original Essence)

Soak in salt water for one hour. Drain and toss with butter, Worcestershire and seasoning. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown stirring occasionally.

Try not to eat them all in one sitting. But it’ll be tough!

Emeril doesn’t know us. But if he did he’d love us and our pumpkin seeds.

Renaissance Dude’s Birthday Dinner

In Food on October 29, 2010 at 12:02 am

Why is he cooking his birthday dinner himself you ask? So much to learn…that’s the gift, you see. Jay is the Grand Poobah of our kitchen. Actually, of any kitchen he is offered. But since we eat pretty amazing food on an almost-nightly basis and because perfection takes time (and in large part our friends like to eat before midnight) it is usually just us chickens. You’ll hear no complaints from me. I am one spoiled lady and sometimes I even get to hold the camera.

Recipes to follow…check back soon.

Click the title of this post to see the video in full screen.



Music: Viva la Vita by Cold Play