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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Pea Risotto

I adapted this recipe from Mario Batali's Risotto Milanese. C is a big risotto fan, but I think that is mainly because it tastes to him like Rice-a-roni (blech!)  Like most risottos, this needs constant attention.  I paired it with Garlic Mustard Pork Tenderloin, which needs hardly any attention at all.  Miss F always needs attention and making this recipe caused me to discover that she loves to eat frozen peas.  She snacked while I stirred and everyone was happy. 
Spring Pea Risotto
printable recipe

1/8 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
½ medium Onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cups Arborio Rice
2 cups Chicken Stock, hot
1 cup peas
2 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted Butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a 12 inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add a 4- to 6-ounce ladle of the stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shoestring Fries with Truffle Oil

One of my most favorite french fries is the shoestring fry. Houston's has a great shoestring fry and now I can replicate it at home. I made half the batch with truffle oil and the other half without. Of course, C preferred the plain version better. These fries are easy to make and the truffle flavor really makes them decadent. This recipe polished off my bottle of white truffle oil, so I am in the market for another. I got this one at Williams-Sonoma and it was so-so. Amazon seems to have a large selection, anyone have any recommendations?
Truffle Oil Shoestring Fries
printable recipe

2 russet potatoes
vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon truffle oil

Peel potatoes and cut into a 1/8” julienne slice using a mandoline. Soak in cold water for 1 hour. Drain. Pat dry.

Heat oil to 350F. Fry the fries in batches, for 3 to 5 minutes until browned. Remove and drain. Let cool.

Sprinkle with salt while the fries are hot. Just before serving, drizzle with the truffle oil.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Banana Applesauce Oat Muffins

I made these for Miss F to have a borderline healthy breakfast muffin on hand. And I added the chocolate chips to ensure she would eat all the healthiness of them. Having eaten one about halfway through the cooling process, I am sure if she is not a fan, I will be more than happy to eat them for her. These were amazing. They are very moist and full of flavor. I might try them next time with all whole wheat flour since there is such a minor amount. My best advice: make these now!
Banana Applesauce Oat Muffins
printable recipe

1 egg
3 mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup quick cooking oats
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine egg, bananas, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir the oatmeal into the flour mixture. Gently stir flour mixture into the banana mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and place on a wire rack to let cool before serving.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Garlic Mustard Pork Tenderloin

It is really hard to mess up pork tenderloin. My favorite go to recipe for pork tenderloin involves limes and soy sauce.  This could be very easily adapted for a dinner party by doubling the recipe and roasting two pork tenderloins.  The best part is how handsoff it is. Good thing since the side dish was a spring pea risotto that needed constant attention.  This is definitely going into our regular dinner rotation, but lately, our dinners home hasn't been very regularly occurring.
Garlic Mustard Pork Tenderloin
printable recipe

1 pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Place the pork tenderloins in the prepared pan. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Rub the pork tenderloins with the mustard mixture.

Roast for 45 minutes, or until pork registers about 155° on a meat thermometer. Remove pork from the oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls

I am getting together with four girlfriends and their kids tomorrow for what was supposed to be a picnic at Miller Outdoor Theatre. It has rained constantly the past two days, so it looks like we are going to have to move the fun indoors as to not have to worry about mud+toddlers. These rolls are super simple to make, I doubt I will ever buy hamburger buns again. I got honey ham and turkey for our lunch tomorrow, should be a fun day!
Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls
printable recipe

1 1/4 cups warm milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press start.

When dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out 3/4 inch thick. Cut out rolls with a 4 inch diameter biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets; cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese

I first made this Macaroni and Cheese for a Super Bowl party. It is almost as easy as the blue box variety, even though C would question why one would go to the effort of homemade when there are blue boxes in the pantry. This opinion comes from a man who enjoys Hamburger Helper, so I take what he says with a grain of salt. C did enjoy it, proclaimed it no better or worse than the blue box, just "different". I'll take it!
Macaroni and Cheese
printable recipe

For topping:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar

For macaroni and sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 2/3 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar
3/4 pound macaroni

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, then stir together with bread crumbs and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Melt remaining butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat.

Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Stir together macaroni and sauce in a large bowl, adding the pasta cooking water as necessary to thin the cheese sauce to desired consistency. Transfer to a buttered 1 ½ -quart baking dish.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry Waffles

Continuing with the strawberry theme, I finally needed to use up the last of our fresh strawberries this morning. I decided to try something new, since C requested waffles, I figured I could make the strawberries work in them rather than a regular old topping with whipped cream...not that there isn't anything wrong with that. These were good and I will be able to make them easily with my frozen strawberry stash, next time I will kick up the strawberry flavor with homemade strawberry syrup.
Strawberry Waffles
printable recipe

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt

2 teaspoons sugar
1 ¼ cups milk
1 cup strawberries
2 eggs (separated)
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat waffle iron.

In a mini prep food processor, puree the hulled strawberries.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Mix milk, butter, egg yolks and sugar so that the sugar dissolves. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until only some lumps remain in the batter. Do not overmix. Fold in the egg whites.

Pour in preheated waffle iron and cook for 4 minutes.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Lemon Artichoke Chicken Orzo Pasta

I heavily adapted this recipe from a Martha Stewart one. And I mean heavily. The original called for feta and dill. I cannot stand feta cheese, so that was a no go, but I was attracted to the ease of baking the pasta in the oven. I heated the broth mixture in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, so this was truly a one pot meal. It is a really easy week night meal that can come together with a huge assortment of ingredients.
Lemon Artichoke Chicken Orzo Pasta
printable recipe

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup white wine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¾ teaspoons coarse salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ pound chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pound orzo
1 tomato, chopped
1 can artichokes, drained
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, bring broth, ¼ cup water, wine, butter, salt, and pepper to a boil. In a 2-quart baking dish, combine chicken, orzo, tomato, artichokes, parsley, and lemon juice. Pour broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate. Bake until orzo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, 40 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Strawberry Tart

I was lucky enough on Monday to pick nearly ten pounds of strawberries at Froberg Farms down in Alvin. I froze the majority of them for syrups, sauces and smoothies and Miss F has been feasting on them nearly every meal. I still had a bunch leftover, so a strawberry tart has been something I have always wanted to make. I used Ina Garten's recipe for pastry cream and Martha Stewart's recipe for the crust. Pastry cream was a lot simpler to make than I thought it would be.
Strawberry Tart

1 recipe of Martha Stewart's Pate Brise
1 recipe of Ina Garten's Pastry Cream
1 pound of fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 375.  Prepare pie crust per recipe.  Roll into the tart pan, trimming the excess edges.  Lay a piece of parchment paper over the prepared crust and fill with dry beans.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove the parchment paper and beans, return to the oven for another 20 to 25 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Allow crust to cool.

Fill the crust with one recipe worth of Pastry Cream.  Hull the strawberries and slice each in half.  Arrange and the tart, serve.

Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee

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.
Ina Garten's Pastry Cream
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.

With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lemon Squares

One of the things that got me through the six hour shifts at the front office of the Junior League was the promise of a lemon square at the end. If there were any leftover in the Pantry and the girls working there were willing to share, I would get a big, tart and tasty lemon square. Unwrapping it was full of anticipation of the lemony goodness I was about to experience. This recipe is super tart, so feel free to lessen the amount of lemon juice, but I love things tart, so this recipe suits me perfectly.
Lemon Squares
printable recipe

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar -- plus extra to decorate finished bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into1-inch pieces

4 large eggs -- beaten lightly
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Grease the parchment paper, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.

Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

For the filling: Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon juice, milk, and salt to blend well.

To finish the bars: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Dust tops with confectioner’s sugar and cut into 2” squares.
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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

These were so easy and so delicious. They almost rival the tastiness of the crockpot chicken tacos. The beer really adds a great flavor to the dish and gives the added bonus of causing one's husband to give them the side eye when you ask them to bring you a beer at 8 in the morning. I will be adding this dish into our regular dinner rotaion and will be making the crockpot chicken tacos less often with this "other white meat" replacement. The filling would be great in burritos, enchiladas, taquitos or whatever else you like with it.
Crockpot Pork Carnitas
printable recipe

1.5 to 2 pounds pork (I used pork chops, but a roast would work as well)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 can of light beer
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ onion, minced

Combine all items in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Shred the pork and cook in the crockpot for another 20 minutes. Serve on corn tortillas with avocado, onion and tomatoes.
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