lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Truffled Potatoes

At the late, great Osteria di Aldo, truffled mashed potatoes were the best thing on the menu. I could eat them as a stand alone meal, but at the Osteria that was near impossible with so many wonderful choices. But no matter what, they were my side. Whether it was with escargots or Osso Bucco, the potatoes ruled. I was so lucky to be able to serve Jean-Georges version at my wedding and they were nearly as heavenly, but not as good. The key to the Osteria's version is that they were twice baked. Whatever magic happens in that oven makes the potatoes so light and the truffle essence permeates the entire dish. Perfection in a ramekin.

Truffled Potatoes

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cream
2-3 teaspoons white truffle oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Boil the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Warm the butter and cream. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a bowl. With a hand mixer, whip the cream and butter into the potatoes. Stir in the truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste. Divide the potatoes between two oven safe ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes until the tops begin to get golden brown.
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Roasted Halibut

Roasted Halibut

2 halibut steaks, about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon parsley, minced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine
1/2 tablespoon of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the halibut steaks in a lightly greased baking dish for 8 minutes. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, garlic, white wine and melted butter. Top each piece of halibut with the breadcrumb mixture and return to the oven for another 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately.
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Baked Parmesan Chicken

Since I am having halibut since it was on special at Central Market this week, C is having chicken with sort of the same effect, just with some parmesan (actually Padano Stravecchio) in the mix.

Baked Parmesan Chicken

2 breasts of chicken
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chicken and milk in a shallow pie plate to coat. Add remaining ingredients to a plastic bag, toss chicken with the breadcrumb mixture. In a lightly greased baking dish, lay out the two chicken breasts, pressing any additional breadcrumb mixture on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Steak Fries

These couldn't be any easier if I tried. The only issue with them is cleaning up the pan afterwards. Thankfully, C does all the dirty dishes, so I make out quite well on that arrangement.

You can really do anything you like with them, add any herb or spice to your liking. They are great with Old Bay or fresh chopped herbs, like dill or thyme, depending on what you are serving them with. They can also easily be cheese fries, sprinkling whatever cheese you like on them during the last five minutes of cooking. They are especially tasty with parmesan.

Steak Fries

2 potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Steak Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into eighths. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with the steak seasoning (or whatever spice and herb combo you like). Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer, bake for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
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Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

This have been a go to meal since I was a kid. I love pineapples on the grill, the heat brings out such a nice flavor. If you like some additional heat, add a pinch of crushed red pepper to the marinade. They are perfect on a hot summer night and since all we have is hot summer nights here in Texas...

Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

1 large boneless skinless breast of chicken
1 small can pineapple rings (4 rings)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 hamburger buns or kaiser rolls
2 slices provolone cheese

Pound out the chicken breast and slice into two pieces. Combine the juice from the pineapple can, soy sauce, brown sugar and mustard. Marinate the chicken 4 hours or overnight in the the juice mixture. Prepare your grill. Grill the chicken for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Add the cheese with 3 minutes left. While the chicken is grilling, add the pineapple rings halfway through, turning once. Serve on the buns with two pineapple rings each.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

A year of Pies: Strawberry Pie

Month three of the anniversary pie of the month countdown was strawberry pie. Now, most fresh strawberry pie recipes out there are not baked, instead they involve gelatin and set in the refrigerator. After discussing with C, we both decided that we would prefer a baked strawberry pie, especially since there is vanilla ice cream in the freezer just begging to top a fruit pie of some sort.

So I went ahead and did something that you are never ever supposed to do in baking: I improvised.

Baked Strawberry Pie

2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstartch
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir. Roll out one pie crust for a 9" pie pan. Lay crust into the pan. Pour the strawberry mixture into the pie crust. Create a lattice pie top. Brush the pie crust with an egg wash of the egg and water. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1//2 inch cubes
3 to 4 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 a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or up to 3 days, before using.
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Beef and Chicken Fajitas

One of the greatest things about moving to Texas was discovering I liked more Tex-Mex than I thought. As a kid, the only thing I would eat at a "Mexican" restaurant, and up north the Mexican is not really Mexican, um, cough-Chi-Chis-cough, was cheese nachos. I think the only reason I ordered them was because I liked the dramatic presentation. They were on a big platter that was on top of a warming candle, very fun when you are 8 years old. Now that I have expanded my Tex-Mex eating, I have fallen in love with guacamole. I will eat vats of it and put it on nearly anything.

Fajitas are easy. They are best when made on the grill. There are so many condiments you can serve with them, it really is whatever you want. Some places serve garlic butter, onions, bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, salsa, tomato, green sauce, sour cream, guacamole, I could go on and on. I did simple cheese and guacamole last night since I was trying to get this on the table quick.

You can make your own, sometimes I do, but when I am doing things quick, I use Fabuloso Quick Fajita Marinade. I have always wondered if it is the same company as the Fabuloso floor cleaners...I am guessing yes.

Beef and Chicken Fajitas

3/4 lb beef fajita meat
1 breast of chicken
1 tablespoon fajita marinade, I prefer Fabuloso Quick Fajita Marinade
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 tablespoon oil
8 tortillas

any condiments you like

Slice the chicken, beef and bell peppers into thin slices. Toss the chicken and beef with the marinade. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the chicken, beef and bell peppers. Saute until meat is cooked through and the peppers soften just a little, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel. Warm in the microwave for 45 seconds.

Serve with whatever fixins you enjoy on your fajitas.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I had some left over asparagus from Father's Day and really got a hankering for some cold asparagus. Even better was the look of disappointment on C's face when he took a bite. And then he exclaimed "they're cold!" Um, yeh, that is the point...

Needless to say he didn't have another spear. To his credit, I have made this several times before and he never likes it.

Chilled Asparagus with Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
fresh cracked black pepper

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Boil asparagus for 2 to 3 minutes, remove from the pot and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Drain asparagus.

Combine vinegar, oil, onion and garlic. Whisk. Pour vinaigrette over asparagus and sprinkle with pepper. Chill until ready to serve.
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Penne a la Vodka

One of my most favorite Cook's Illustrated recipes is for Penne a la Vodka. The best part about this recipe is that I usually have everything on hand to make it, which makes it an easy dinner fill in. Of course I had to make garlic bread, mine with real garlic and C's with garlic salt...shudder. I love that this recipe makes so much because I really enjoy it leftover, the penne soaks up the sauce which makes it even more delicious.

I do play on the wild side and don't take the pan off the heat when I add the have to add some excitement to cooking.

Penne a la Vodka

1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 small onion minced (about 1/4 c)
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 C vodka
1/2 C heavy cream
1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbs finely chopped fresh basil
Grated parmesan for serving

Puree half of the tomatoes in food processor until smooth. Dice remaining tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces, discarding cores. Combine pureed tomatoes and diced tomatoes in liquid measuring cup add reserved liquid to equal 2 cups.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add onion and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden around the edges, about three minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 tsp salt. Remove pan from heat and add vodka. Return pan to medium-high heat and simmer briskly until alcohol flavor is cooked off, 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently and lower heat to medium if simmering becomes to vigorous. Stir in cream and cook umtil hot, about 1 minute.

Add pasta sauce to penne pasta that has been cooked to al dente. Stir in basil and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, top with fresh parmesan.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shrimp Creole

I made C's with chicken, since he hates shrimp, by mine was all shrimp, all the way. I go ahead and get the peeled and deveined shrimp from Central Market. I hate peeling shrimp, unless it is the peel and eat boiled shrimp. This recipe is really easy and can be made in 30 minutes or less, pretty good considering.

Shrimp Creole

1 pound fresh medium shrimp
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons corn startch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
2 cups hot cooked rice

Peel and devein shrimp, removing tails. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a large skillet cook onion, celery, sweet pepper, and garlic in butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in undrained tomatoes, paprika, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Stir shrimp and parsley into tomato mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Stir in the slurry of corn startch and water. Season to taste. Serve over rice.
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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

I got a pint of gorgeous Texas blueberries to make some baby food for F and I got another pint for C and I. I am over blueberry pie for the moment (two in one month is a lot of pie!), so I decided to whip up a batch of blueberry muffins to have for breakfast for the week. I think C is going to have one for dessert tonight. Nothing wrong with that...

Blueberry Muffins

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)

Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups; 12 foil or paper muffin liners


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries gently.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
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Bacon Wrapped Filet with Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

C's mom and stepdad were kind enough to watch F this past Friday night and when I went to pick her up, there was a cooler set beside all her stuff. Inside were two filet mingnons wrapped in bacon. Yum~ perfect for grilling for Father's Day. The corn and red pepper salsa is served warm and is really easy to make.

Warm Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons onion, minced
couple shakes of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil. Saute in a small pan with the oil for 3 to 5 minutes, just to warm through. Serve over bacon wrapped filets, or whatever meat of your choosing.
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Grilled Lobster

I got a lobster tail at Central Market yesterday to serve with my bacon wrapped filets. The preparation is simple, just split the underside of the tail shell using kitchen shears making sure to leave the top shell intact to hold the lobster together. Grill over hot coals for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your lobster tails, brushing the tail meat with lemon juice and butter.

The tiny tails are on sale and go perfectly with a filet for surf and turf. I love lobster, it is so rich and decadent.
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Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

I love asparagus! I cannot get enough of it. My favorite way to serve it is cold in a balsamic vinaigrette. I first had it chilled at a tapas place in town, Mi Luna. They serve it with a raspberry vinaigrette, which is fantastic. C doesn't enjoy the cold asparagus like I do and since it is Father's Day, it would be nice of me to make something that he might like. So I basically adapted the recipe to work for grilled asparagus since everything else being made today goes on the Weber.

Grilled Balsamic Asparagus

1/2 lb fresh asparagus
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Snap off tough ends of asparagus and wash. Combine all ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, seal and marinate for 30-60 minutes. Remove asparagus from bag (discard marinade) and place on preheated oiled grill rack. Grill 5 minutes on each side or until asparagus is done.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beef Stifado

Another recipe adapted from a cookbook from my Uncle and Aunt. This time it is from Recipes from a Very Small Island. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes, but it would also be good with polenta or rice.

Martha's (now K's) Beef Stifado

3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces of frozen peas

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Toss the stew beef with the flour. When hot, start browning the meat in 2 or 3 bathces. As each batch browns, remove and transfer to the slow cooker.

Put the onions in the skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until onions are softened. Transfer to the slow cooker.

Add the wine, 1/2 cup water, tomato paste and vinegar to the skillet, raise the heat to medium high and cook , stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits into the sauce. Pour over the meat and onion. Sprinkle the pickling spice into the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Thirty minutes before the stew is done, add the peas.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

I love butternut squash, mainly because it is a great vehicle to eat lots of melted butter. Think about it, anything with melted butter is delicious: crab legs, lobster, artichokes, etc.. There is something about drawn butter that makes me drool.

I was looking to do something different with butternut squash and decided to try and twice bake it, like a potato. I thought it was quite successful and easy to make. C's review was not as glowing. He took one baby bite, proclaimed he didn't like it and off it went into a container for me to enjoy it for lunch tomorrow.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice squash lengthways and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dot with half of the butter. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes until squash is fork tender. Let squash cool for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Scoop out squash into a small bowl, reserving the skins. Mash with a fork and stir in sour cream and remaining butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the squash mixture back into the skins and sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. Warm in the oven for 20 minutes. Serves 2.
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Beer Batter Chicken

A long time ago, a friend's boyfriend left her one of the most hysterical messages I have ever heard. He was trying to entice her to come over and in order to do so, he listed off a ton of food choices that he pretended to have had at his place. One of the things listed was "beer batter onion rings". Seriously, would that really cause you to rush over to a guy's house? Well, maybe, okay, probably would...

C's review was that the chicken frying should be left to the pros at KFC and Church's. Ah well, it would entice me over to anyone's house anytime!

Beer Batter Fried Chicken

1 3/4 c. sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can (12 oz.) beer
8 chicken thighs
Vegetable oil

Combine flour, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Beat in beer with a wire whisk or rotary beater until smooth. Let stand 30 minutes.

Pour enough vegetable oil in a large skillet or saucepan to make a 1 inch depth. Heat to 375 degrees on a deep fat frying thermometer or until a cube of bread turns golden within about 60 seconds. Dip chicken pieces into beer batter a few at a time, allowing excess to drain back into bowl.

Fry chicken pieces, turning once, for 30 minutes, or until chicken tests done. Place on paper towels to drain.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles

I know these should be served in the fall, but Miss F was starting pumpkin and a whole can would be a lot for one baby. This recipe is fantastic, the waffles turned out great. It made 9 (could have made 10 if I hadn't overflowed the waffle iron). C ate four! I think they would be great with some whipped cream cheese icing or something like that, but they were good enough on their own with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Pumpkin Waffles

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Cook according to your waffle iron directions.

Pumpkin on Foodista
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Pink Frosting

My birthday is next week, so I was craving some cake. I know the only way I will be getting a birthday cake is for me to make it myself. The frosting recipe is from a box of Domino's sugar. I make my cupcakes big, like fill up the cupcake liner big. So this recipe actually made 18 cupcakes instead of the 24 it calls for. This also means that the frosting recipe could have probably been cut in half, especially when your husband starts eating the cupcakes before they are frosted.

Happy birthday to me!

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake
makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Measure out everything but the eggs directly into your mixer bowl.
2. Mix on low speed just until incorporated.
3. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs, beat on high speed again for 2 minutes.

Measure out into cupcake pan lined with cupcake papers. A 2" ice cream scoop works great for this. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly in the pan then transfer to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1 - (1 lb.) pkg. Domino® Confectioners Sugar (approx. 3 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup - butter or margarine, softened
3 to 4 tablespoons - milk
1 teaspoon - vanilla

Combine in large bowl, with mixer at low speed, confectioners' sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.

Beat at medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency.

Makes enough to fill and frost 2-layer cake, 13x9x2-inch sheet cake, or 24 cupcakes
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spinach Pasta with Salmon Cream Sauce

My aunt and uncle always give me interesting cookbooks for Christmas. One of my favorites is The Silver Palate Cookbook. I tried this recipe for the first time tonight, leaving out the salmon in the dill for C's, but adding a sprinkling of cheese on top (he basically had alfredo). I roasted the salmon at 400 for about 8 minutes instead of poaching it, I much prefer the flavor. Just lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. It would be nice to add some fresh spinach as well.

This meal was so easy, quick and yummy. I went back for seconds!

Spinach Pasta with Salmon Cream Sauce
adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
7 teaspoons salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 pound spinach pasta
3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 to 2 cups flaked poached salmon, all skin and bones removed (I roasted mine)
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, plus additional for garnish

1. Bring the cream and the butter to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the nutmeg, continue to simmer until cream is reduced by one third.

2. Cook spinach pasta per package directions, adding remaining two tablespoons of salt.

3. Stir grated parmesan, then the flaked salmon and the dill into the cream and remove from heat.

4. Drain pasta, return it to the hot pan and toss with the salmon cream sauce. Serve and garnish with a dill sprig.
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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chicken Kebabs

Chicken Kebabs

2/3 cup pineapple juice (from one can of pineapple chunks)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion

2 breasts chicken
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash

Combine all marinade ingredients. Marinate chicken and whatever veggetables you like overnight. Skewer and grill until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Potato Gratin with White Cheddar

When I was a kid, I hated everything creamy and cheesy. I was not a fan of any sort of au gratin. Blech. How did I feel this way? I still don't understand it. Gratin potatoes are heavenly, rich and oh so decadent. This recipe is really easy and always comes out great. The main issue with it is that the cook time is so long, but this can be easily shortened by making your potato slices thinner. I use a mandoline for the slicing, but a food processor should work just as well.

Potato Gratin with White Cheddar Cheese

1 ¾ cups whipping cream
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1.5 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 ½ cups (packed) grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 9x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk cream, shallots, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend. Place half of potatoes in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Top with second layer of potatoes and sprinkle with another 1/2 cup of cheese. Top with third layer of potatoes. Pour cream mixture over potatoes in dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover gratin with foil and bake 1 hour. Uncover and bake until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes longer. Let gratin cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Lemon Mousse

Last summer I had a citrus themed dinner party. Everything was well received, except for the lemon mousse, you either love it or hate it. People cried foul because of its tartness (even though I topped it with sweetened whipped cream) or had texture issues with it. It is still one of my favorite desserts and the naysayers don't know what they are missing. I just made it plain topped with fresh raspberries. I have a feeling I will be enjoying all four servings myself, which is fine by me.

Lemon Mousse

3/4 cup Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Lightly whisk lemon curd, and fold in whipped cream using a rubber spatula. Serve with fresh berries of your choosing.

Lemon Curd

3 large egg yolks + 1 egg
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, (2 lemons)
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

Combine eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of wooden spoon, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon until consistency is smooth.

Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Let cool; refrigerate until firm and chilled, at least 1 hour. Store, refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
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Steak Tacos

This month’s MS Living had a great article on San Antonio as well as some fantastic recipes. I had leftover steak to use and I am always having trouble thinking of something to do with it. She had all sorts of great TexMex recipes, but I was most inspired to make my own hard shell tortillas. I bought a massive package of corn tortillas in order to make enchiladas with and I had frozen the leftovers. The best part is that I already had everything on hand for this meal. Even the avocado, since F has gone on an avocado strike as of late.

Steak Tacos

8 corn tortillas
Oil for frying

½ pound grilled steak, thinly sliced (I used leftover ribeye)
¼ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons fajita marinade
1 teaspoon oil

½ tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded Colby Jack cheese
Lettuce, shredded
Guacamole (click for recipe)

Bring 1” of oil to 325 in a large saucepan. Microwave the corn tortillas in damp paper towels for 30 seconds. Using tongs, fold the tortilla into a half moon shape and fry one half for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn over and fry the other side for the same amount of time. Drain shells on a wire rack over a baking sheet.

Place the onion, garlic, steak and marinade in a small bowl. Toss to coat. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Add steak mixture to the skillet and sauté to warm. Serve steak in taco shells with tomato, cheese, lettuce and guacamole.
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