Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
crockpot pepperoncini beef sandwiches, Kaiser rolls, fruit
basil panko chicken tenders, corn on the cob, cucumber salad
out to Capital Grille
chipotle chicken pasta, pao de queijo
French bread pizzas, salad
cooking class at Quattro
creamy tortilla soup, tomatoes with cilantro pesto

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Breadsticks


As a compromise to C, I made homemade breadsticks, but with garlic powder. He would prefer regular slice bread with butter and garlic powder. I prefer homemade bread with fresh garlic. This was a fair compromise. They were pretty tasty, but not garlicky enough for me. I had to serve mine with extra garlic salt for dipping.







Garlic Powder Breadsticks

For the Dough:
1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 T. unsalted butter, softened
2 T. sugar
1 T. fine salt

For the Topping:
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt, and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 T. warm water; mix with paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2 foot long log; cut into 16 even pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7 inch long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 T. melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 tsp salt with the garlic powder. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 T. melted butter and sprinkle with flavored salt.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Chicken Tenders with Cream Gravy


After making the kitchen smell "super stinkers" according to C with my boiling lobsters and roasting shrimp, I decided to make something I know he was sure to enjoy: cream gravy. Actually, chicken tenders with cream gravy. The first time I ever visited a Dairy Queen was with C. And I remember being horrified by the steak fingers country basket with cream gravy dipping sauce. I just don't get it.






Chicken Tenders

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/3 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
salt
pepper
oil for frying

Place the flour in one shallow dish, the egg in another and the breadcrumbs in a third. Salt and pepper the flour. Toss the chicken strips first in the flour, then the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Heat approximately 1/2 inch oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Fry the chicken tenders, about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel.

Cream Gravy

2 tablespoons of the oil from frying the chicken tenders
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

Remove all but two tablespoons of the oil from the frying pan used to fry the chicken. Whisk in flour until well blended; cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbly. Gradually add milk and cream; boil until thick and smooth, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lobster Ravioli


I despise ricotta cheese, most lobster ravioli recipes I found had some amount of ricotta cheese mixture in it. I finally found one that didn't and tweaked it to suit my tastes. Anything with sherry in it is fine by me...

They turned out really nicely. I used Joelen's pasta recipe and used the Champagne Cream Sauce to top it. The sauce was not as good as the last time I made it. I think trying to make it for twelve servings was just too much.




Lobster Ravioli

2 lbs. lobster meat
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. minced shallots
1 1/2 cups cream
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. quality light sherry
Salt & ground pepper to taste

Boil lobsters, remove meat. Clean & mince lobster meat. Wash & mince mushrooms. In sauté pan, soften butter, add shallots. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add lobster meat and mushrooms and cook for another minute. Slowly sprinkle flour over mix, stirring constantly. Add sherry, stirring constantly. Add cream and reduce for 2 to 3 minutes on low. The mixture should be on the medium to thick side. Remove from the heat and spread it out on a flat pan to cool. Roll out 4 ravioli pasta sheets. Using a biscuti cutter, cut pasta into circles. Add 1 teaspoon of mixture into the marked square. Lay the second sheet on top and use a ravioli tool to roll and seal. Transfer onto a sheet pan that has been lined with wax paper & sprinkle with corn meal (this helps prevent sticking). Bring water, salt & oil to a boil. Add raviolis quickly, but 1 at a time. Keep separated with a wooden spoon. Boil 3 to 5 minutes (preference). Remove with slotted spoon or skimmer.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roasted Shrimp with Spicy Orange Champagne Sauce

Roasted Shrimp with Spicy Orange Champagne Sauce

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled with tail left on
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup champagne
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 425. Combine all ingredients except shrimp and olive oil in a small bowl and stir to combine. Toss shrimp with the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp, until pink and opague. Serve with the orange sipping sauce.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Tomatoes with Chive Goat Cheese

Tomatoes with Chive Goat Cheese

1 package sweet grape tomatoes
4 ounces of goat cheese
2 tablespoons of chives

Allow goat cheese to soften. Snip the chives with kitchen shears into quarter inch pieces. Stir chives in goat cheese. Slice each tomato in half lengthwise. Add the cheese to a ziploc bag, snipping off the corner. Using the ziploc, pipe a dollop of cheese on each tomato. Garnish with a chive piece.
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Smoked Salmon on Cucumber

This is the easiest appetizer ever. It is an assembly only task.

Smoked Salmon on Cucumber

1/4 pound smoked salmon
1 English cucumber
1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
parsley

Peel the cucumber and slice into quarter inch slices. Top each slice with a teaspoon of sour cream or creme fraiche. Slice the salmon into pieces about twice the diameter of the cucumber slice. Top the sour cream with the smoked salmon and garnish with a sprig of parsley. In the words of Ina, how easy is that?
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Artichoke Soup

I hosted a dinner party last night and decided to make a soup because I love soup and as an excuse to use my new china soup bowls. I decided to try artichoke soup. I had never had it before, my friend Lori raves about the artichoke soup from the Junior League. I had picked some up for her awhile back, but it was lost in the freezer due to Hurricane Ike. I haven't seen it back on the menu there, but I check for it every time I am at the League.

This soup was tasty and easy. The original recipe called for a roux, but once I got done straining it, I didn't think it needed thickening, so I went ahead and didn't use it. I made croutons with some 10-grain bread I had. Just cut the crusts off the bread, cube it and toss in a ziploc bag with a tablespoon of olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

Artichoke Soup
makes 8 servings

3 cans, drained artichoke hearts
2 med.-lg. Potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 med. Onion, peeled and sliced
3 Celery stalks, chopped
2 clove Garlic, finely chopped
6 Cups Chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. Fresh minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
1/2 Tsp. Dried oregano
1 Tsp. Dried basil
1 Cup Heavy cream
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Pepper
2 Tsp. Fresh lemon juice

Cook vegetables, in water until soft, approx 10-12 minutes. Drain. In blender, purée cooked vegetables, artichokes and garlic. Return to pot. Add the herbs and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the heavy cream. Bring soup back up to boil and season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste. Strain through a fine strainer or colander. Serve with croutons.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Pink Champagne Cake


I am hosting a champagne dinner for 12 women tomorrow night, I made the cake today. It took nearly a whole bottle of pink champagne, so how can it not be tasty?










Champagne Cake
6 egg whites
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 to 10 drops pink or red food coloring
2 cups pink champagne

Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease pans and line with parchment paper. Grease paper and lightly flour pans.Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, food coloring and beat until well combined. Gradually add egg whites beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and champagne to beaten mixture starting and ending with flour just until combined. (batter will appear curdled after champagne additions, but smooth after all of the flour mixture has been added.Pour in prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


Champagne Frosting
1/2 cup softened butter
5 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup Champagne
few drops of pink food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat butter for 30 seconds gradually add powdered sugar, champagne and vanilla. Beat until of spreading consistency.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken and Shrimp with Asparagus


Once again, Dorothy Huang's cooking class has come through. I adapted her cashew chicken recipe to suit this one and it worked great, except I had to cook my shrimp separately since C won't eat them. He came downstairs, spied the shrimp and said with a sneer, "I knew I smelled something." Miss F loved it as well, she didn't get to have any shrimp (not until she turns one!), but she loved the rice, chicken and asparagus. I would have added other veggies, but asparagus were 99 cents a pound at the Kroger grocery store wars, so they went solo. They worked great with the sweetness of the shrimp.



Chicken and Shrimp with Asparagus

1/2 pound chicken, cut into 3/4" pieces
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4" pieces
1/4 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 tablespoons oil

Seasoning sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon corn startch

Sauce:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn startch

Whisk together the seasoning sauce ingredients until combined. Add the chicken, marinate for 15 minutes, set aside. Whisk the sauce ingredients until combined, set aside.

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger to the wok. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and marinade, stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and shrimp, stir fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Add the sauce and stir fry for about a minute to coat and thicken it. Serve over rice.
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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Long time, no post...


It has been quite a busy time around here lately, with a whole lot of dinners out. This translates to very little cooking, except for Miss F (see bottom post). I have had great food at Bar Annie (tuna tartare, steak and fries), McCormick and Schmicks (happy hour, complete with raw oysters), Niko Nikos (gyros) and Ninfa's (Mixta Acapulco - which is fancy for shrimp, beef and chicken fajitas). I had a good size to go box from Ninfa's, so I whipped up some easy quesadillas.





Easy Quesadillas

remains for a good plate of fajitas (El Tiempo, Pappasitos, etc...)
tortillas (always ask for extra with your to-go)
1 heaping tablespoon for every quesadilla of shredded Mexican cheese, your favorite blend

Heat up a skillet on high. Lay one of your to-go tortillas and pile on the leftover fajita meat, torn into bite size pieces, on one half of the tortilla. Add a tablespoon of cheese and fold over the tortilla, flip the quesadilla over and warm for another minute or so, until the cheese melts and the tortilla gets a nice toast to it. Repeat with as many leftover tortillas as you like.

Cooking for Miss F has been such a joy for me so far. I am happy to say, Miss F has never had an ounce of jarred baby food. No real recipes needed, just steam, bake, boil whatever you like and mush into baby food, consulting Wholesome Baby Food whenever I was unsure about anything. Now that she is getting into more and more table foods, I have been on the lookout for ideas to leave for her lunch. Something that is good for her and easy for our nanny to heat up for her. I have done a couple pasta dishes and she loves getting Tomato Basil Soup. I never had any desire to do any type of meat baby food, but now that she can enjoy pieces of meat, I figured that would be a good fix for her lunch time. I boiled one chicken breast and shredded the meat. I divided it into three containers and I flavored each one differently so she wouldn't get bored with plain old boiled chicken. I added a couple teaspoons of tomato paste (Italian) to one, Hoisin sauce (Asian) to another and ranch dressing (Texas) to the last batch. I hope she likes her chicken around the world this week. Next weekend I am going to make the mini turkey meatballs that my friend Sarah makes, what a fantastic idea!
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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Potato Gratin Cups


Melissa d'Arabian, the winner of The Next Food Network Star, was the inspiration behind this dish. On her pilot presentation on this past Sunday's show, she made a simple chicken dish, but it was the brief mention of this gratin that piqued my interest. Her explanation was simple, potato slices+cream+cheese in a muffin tin. How brilliant is that and why have I not thought of it before. I normally make gratin the old school style which requires a lot of time (but so worth it), this dish is easy for a weeknight meal. Next time I will use another kind of cheese and possibly add some minced garlic.



Potato Gratin Cups

2 to 3 large russet potatoes
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with no stick cooking spray. Slice the potatoes 1/8" thick using a mandoline. Layer potato slices in each muffin cup. Top each with a teaspoon of cheese. Layer the remaining potato slices. Pour one tablespoon of cream over each cup and top each with another teaspoon of cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 25 minutes.
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


I adapted this from an Emeril recipe. Both pork sausage and portobello mushrooms were on special, with Foodie Points, at Central Market this week. I love stuffed mushrooms, so I figured to give giant stuffed mushrooms a try, entree sizing the wonderfully poppable stuffed mushrooms. Next time I will just use one giant mushroom and cut it in half, neither of us was able to nearly finish the whole giant portobello. I served it with a spring green mix tossed with buttermilk ranch.

C's first comment, "I like mushrooms in small doses". Uh oh!

After he tried it, he admitted to liking it. Phew! Though he did think that it would be better topped on a pizza instead of a mushroom. His grand plan is to combine the sausage mix with the pizza crust from the Thai Chicken Pizzas. That idea may not be half bad.

Sausage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed (reserve minced stems)
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 ounces hot Italian sausage
5 ounces sweet Italian sausage
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/8 cup finely chopped celery
2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using your hands, lightly rub each portobello mushroom with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

Cook the sausage in a medium skillet until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and mushroom stems and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Transfer sausage-vegetable mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped and comes together slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the egg, and stir until well combined.

Divide the filling among the mushroom caps, about 1 cup for each mushroom. Place the filled mushrooms on a baking sheet. Combine remaining 1/4 cup of bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small mixing bowl. Divide the bread crumb mixture evenly among the tops of the mushrooms. Bake until golden brown on top and the mushrooms are tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of parsley.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

A year of pies: Peach

Since peaches were on super sale, this month's pie got made the very first day of the month. The filling was very runny, but wonderfully tasty. Even Miss F enjoyed it~ her first dessert ever. C ranked this better than the cherry, but not as good as the blueberry (top rated pie!) I only increase Martha Stewarts crust recipt by 50%, since it makes so much and I still had crust leftover after making the double crust. I made a nifty peach topper for the pie and saved the rest in the freezer.

The easiest way to peel a peach is to submerge it in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then dip it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. The skin comes right off!

Peach Pie

Pie crust (recipe follows)
4 to 5 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 7 large peaches)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg

Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine peaches, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon filling into 9" pie crust and top with the second rolled out crust. Crimp the edges and brush the top of the pie with an egg wash. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes on a baking sheet to catch any possible overages. Let cool for 3 hours before serving.

Pie Crust
(two crusts)
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1//2 inch cubes
5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together.

Shape dough into two disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using.
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