Archive for July, 2011

July 14, 2011

Fancy pants salmon

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound button mushrooms
  • 1 or 2 small leeks, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced into half-moons on an angle, cleaned and dried
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry doug, 11″ x 17″, or 2 smaller sheets, defrosted
  • all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water

Preheat the oven to 400. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sear for a minute on each side. Remove the fish and reserve.

Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet. Add the mushrooms and brown for 5 to 6 minutes, then add the leeks and cook until they are softened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper, then add the mustard, cream and tarragon to the skillet. Bring to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until thickened, 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Roll out the puff pastry with a little flour on a large work area. Quarter a large sheet or halve two smaller sheets. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arranage the rectangles of dough on it. Divide the mushroom cream sauce among the rectangles of dough, making a small pile in the middle of each. Place a piece of seared fish on top of the sauce and fold the edges of the dough up around the fillet. Trim the excess dough. Use the egg wash to secure the seam, then place the fish seam-side down on the lined baking sheet. Cut a few slits in the top of each pastry parcel. Brush them with the egg wash and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Chef’s note: I think I have determined that I am not a fan of tarragon. It’s licorice taste made me not love this recipe, but it still was good. Definitely felt fancy. I also had a few difficulties with the pastry (removed it from the fridge too early, didn’t roll it out quite evenly and didn’t trim enough excess from what becomes the bottom) and wish I had added a bit more dijon, but overall it was fun to make, fun to serve and fun to eat. Oh, and I recommend having the person at the fish counter cut the skin off for you….

July 14, 2011

Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped

Halve the potatoes and place in pot. Cover the potatoes with water, bring to a boil, then salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Mash with the sour cream, chicken stock, chives, and salt and pepper to taste.

*Chef’s note: These were simple and simply good. We had them with my mama’s meatloaf, and it went very nicely. Don’t skimp on the chives!

July 9, 2011

No-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies

Betty Bernard, via Food Writers’ Favorites: Cookies

Makes: 3 dozen

  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring to a boil; boil for one minute (use a time, and don’t overcook!). Stir in vanilla, peanut butter and oats; mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool.

*Chef’s note: These have a sugary consistency almost like fudge. I like the flavor, but I’m not sure about the texure just yet. I do prefer them cold, though; it helps them set if you put them in the fridge once they cool.

July 9, 2011

Orange balsamic glazed chicken

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts or any combination of light and dark meat
  • Salt and coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
  • 4 cups baby arugula

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high to high heat.

Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. When the EVOO ripples, add the chicken and brown for 5 minutes, then turn and sprinkle with rosemary. Cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

In a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, vinegar and stock and pour over the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and becomes a thin glaze. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve topped with the glaze, scallions and arugula greens.

*Chef’s note: Mmmm! Really really easy. Few ingredients because each is full of flavor. I served this with long grain and wild rice, which took about 25 minutes to make, about as long as the chicken. The scallions and peppery arugala were perfect pairings to cut through the sweetness.

July 6, 2011

Whole-wheat penne with cauliflower

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, onion, garlic and rosemary; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and cheese and toss. Serve in shallow bowls.

*Chef’s note: Pretty good. Definitely had a lot of flavor, and I felt good eating it. I used a combination of Parmesean and Romano cheeses because that’s what I had on hand. My mom thought it would be great with some mushrooms added, and I agree! And I might add a little more nutmeg and a little less salt next time.

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July 4, 2011

Cold crab dip

Paula Deen

Serves: 12-15

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh lump crab meat, picked free of shell

In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, chives, parslet, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, stirring until smooth. Gently fold in crab meat. Cover and chill up to 3 days. Serve with pita chips.

*Chef’s note: I halved the recipe, and it still probably could have fed a dozen people as an appetizer. I also used 12 ounces crab (instead of the 8 it should have been halved), and it still was way too creamy for me. My family enjoyed it, but it kind of weirded me out to the point I didn’t want to eat any more. The flavor was all right, but too much cream cheese for me.

July 4, 2011

Pesto macaroni salad

Better Homes and Gardens

Serves: 14 (as a side)

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 5 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1  cup)
  • 1 pound small mozzarella balls, drained and sliced
  • 1   7-ounce container purchased refrigerated basil pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. In a saucepan cook beans, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp tender; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

In a large bowl combine macaroni, green beans, mozzarella and pesto. Stir in basil and salt. Chill up to 2 hours before serving.

*Chef’s note: I like to use corkscrew pasta with this recipe instead. When I made it for the Fourth of July alongside some hot dogs, my grandpa couldn’t eat enough of it! It’s simple and yummy. The basil is the best part, for me. I also think you can use whatever type of fresh mozzarella you can find and simply cut it down.

July 4, 2011

Double-chocolate cookies

Family Circle

Makes: 3 dozen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat oven to 375.  Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-size bowl.

Coarsely chop 6 ounces of the chocolate, and finely chop the remaining 6 ounces.  Microwave coarsely chopped chocolate with butter for 1 minute, stirring halfway through.  Microwave an additional 15 seconds if necessary; stir until smooth.

Transfer chocolate mixture to a bowl of an electric mixture and add sugars, eggs and vanilla; beat until well combined.  Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in remaining finely chopped chocolate pieces.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes or until set.  Let the cookies cool on the bakign sheet on a wire rack for 2 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to rack; let cool completely.

*Chef’s note: Yeah, you probably should make this cookie. It tastes like a brownie. And it actually makes as many as the recipe says it will. REALLY good. Great with ice cream, too.

July 2, 2011

Turkey meatloaf burgers with cranberry sauce and white cheddar

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small McIntosh apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small rib celery, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs (a rounded handful)
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey (no white meat)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (about 2/3 palmful)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
  • Sliced sharp white cheddar, for topping
  • 1/3 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 large sandwich-size sourdough English muffins, split and toasted
  • 4 thin slices red onion
  • 4 leaves red leaf or red romaine lettuce

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to melt, then add the apple, onion and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook under a loose foil tent until softened, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, then transfer to a bowl to cool; reserve the skillet.

Mix in the turkey, egg, parsley, mustard and poultry seasoning into the breadcrumb mixture; season with salt and pepper. Form into four 4-inch patties.

Wipe out the reserved skillet and add a liberal drizzle of EVOO. Warm over medium-high heat, add the patties and cook, turning once, until cooked through, 11-12 minutes. Melt the cheddar cheese over the top during the last minute.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the cranberry sauce, sour cream and chives.

Serve the patties on the English muffins with the red onion, lettuce and cranberry-sour cream sauce.

*Chef’s note: Definitely not your average turkey burger. Tastes like Thanksgiving stuffing at my house :) It made 6 large burgers for me, not 4. I recommend cooking them more “low and slow,” on medium, possibly for a bit longer. They will be all white inside when cooked through. For me, cooking them on a higher heat caused burning really fast, possibly from the sugars in the contents. But very tasty and makes the kitchen smell divine!

July 1, 2011

Apple Annie bars

Steamboat Entertains

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup strained applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • powdered sugar to top

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream shortening. Add sugar and egg; mix well. Add baking soda and applesauce. Sift remaining ingredients together; add to applesauce mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

*Chef’s note: Awesome! Really easy to make, and not too many ingredients. F.y.i., it’s basically a cake, not bars…. It was light and fluffy and tasted like fall :) I had only cinnamon applesauce on hand, so I used that and halved the amount of ground cinnamon added. I’m sure you could play around with the type of applesauce you put in, and next time I might try adding diced apples. And it would have been even better with a scoop of vanilla icecream on top!