Sunday, March 27, 2011

Italian Grilled Cheese

Cook Time: 5 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup giardiniera (Italian hot vegetable salad), drained
1/4 cup salad olives (green olives with pimiento)
8 slices good quality crusty white bread, 1/2-inch thick slices
8 slices deli cut provolone cheese
4 tablespoons softened butter
Heat griddle to medium.
In a food processor pulse chop the salad and olives into a fine relish. Spread 4 slices of bread with relish and top each with 2 slices cheese and 4 more slices of bread. Butter the outside of the sammies with softened butter and grill until golden on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes total. Cut and serve

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pumpkin-Peanut Curry Noodles with Five-Spice Seared Scallops and Shrimp

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound spaghetti
5 tablespoons vegetable oil or peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inches ginger root, minced or grated
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup tamari dark soy sauce, eyeball it
1 (15-ounce) can cooked pumpkin
2 rounded tablespoonfuls mild or hot curry paste (recommended: Patak's) found on international foods aisle
3 tablespoons five-spice powder
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 diver scallops, trimmed and patted dry
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces, then thinly sliced lengthwise into matchsticks
Heat a large pot of water for noodles. When water boils, salt it and add pasta to cook to al dente or with a bite to it.
While pasta cooks, heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil. Add garlic, ginger, red bell pepper, and pepper flakes to the pan and cook together a couple of minutes, then add peanut butter and melt it. Whisk soy into peanut butter, then stir in pumpkin and curry paste. The sauce will be very thick. Turn down the heat to low. Add a ladle or 2 of pasta cooking water to thin sauce a bit and simmer over low heat. Adjust salt, to taste.
Heat a small to medium skillet over high heat. Pour the five-spice powder onto a plate with some salt. Press both sides of the shrimp and scallops into the powder. Add 3 tablespoons of remaining oil to hot skillet. Place the shrimp in the pan and cook 1 minute, flip and sear the other side until just opaque. Remove shrimp to a plate and set aside. Add another 3 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat back up to smoking. Add the scallops and sear on both sides until opaque. Remove scallops and add to the plate of shrimp.
Drain pasta and return pasta to the pot. Add the curry-pumpkin sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve noodles on 4 plated and top with scallions and seafood.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mac and Cheddar Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

Mac and Cheese got healthier with chicken and broccoli!

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 pound chicken breast tenders, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound macaroni elbows or cavatapi corkscrew shaped pasta twists
2 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, available packaged in produce department
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard


Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni.

Heat a medium pan over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute a couple of minutes then add onion and cook another 5 to 7 minutes until onions are tender and chicken is cooked through. Turn off heat and reserve.

To boiling pasta water, add pasta and salt to season the cooking water. Cook 5 minutes, then add broccoli and cook 3 minutes more or until pasta is cooked to al dente and florets are just tender.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter and melt, then add flour, cayenne and paprika and whisk together over heat until roux bubbles then cook a minute more. Whisk in milk and stock and raise heat a little to bring sauce to a quick boil. Simmer sauce to thicken about 5 minutes.

Drain macaroni or pasta and broccoli florets. Add back to pot and add chicken to the pasta and broccoli.

Add cheese to milk sauce and stir to melt it in, about a minute or so. Stir in mustard and season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli and cooked pasta and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings, transfer to a large serving platter and serve.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gingerbread Waffles

Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 (4 section) waffles, 16 pieces, up to 8 servings


3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, plus some to butter the iron
Syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at table

Preheat waffle iron.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses and melted butter. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each. Serve with toppings of choice.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harvest Moon Macaroni

Cook Time: 16 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings
1 pound macaroni such as cassarecci, strozzopretti or ziti with lines
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose four
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg, grated to taste
1 (10-ounce) box frozen butternut squash, defrosted
A few dashes hot sauce
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup extra-sharp yellow Cheddar
A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Bring water to a boil, season with salt and cook macaroni to al dente.
Preheat broiler and place rack in middle of the oven.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic until soft, 6 to 7 minutes and stir in the thyme.
Scoot onions off to side of pan and melt butter, whisk flour into butter and combine whisk 1 minute then whisk in stock and milk, season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in butternut squash and a few dashes hot sauce. Reduce heat. When sauce comes to a bubble, stir in Parmigiano. Combine the sauce and macaroni, transfer to a casserole dish and top with shredded yellow Cheddar, chopped parsley and paprika. Brown the macaroni under broiler, 4 to 5 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 box prepared gingerbread mix, prepared to package directions for cake
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 orange, zested
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered confectioners' sugar
Shaved crystalized ginger, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide prepared cake mix into nonstick muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes. The batter will make 8 to 10 muffins, depending on the size of your tin. Turn muffins out of tins to quick cool.
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, nutmeg, orange zest and vanilla with hand mixer at medium speed. Beat in sugar until frosting is fluffy. Frost cupcakes and top with crystalized ginger.