Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake

Chocolate Pear Pudding Cake
Servings: 6 to 8
Adapted from Nigella Larson

1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbsp.) butter, softened
2 (14-ounce) cans pear halves, in juice
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease an 8-inch square ovenproof dish with cooking spray.

Drain the pears and arrange them on the base of the prepared dish. Put all the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a batter with a soft dropping consistency.

Spread the brown batter over the pears, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 or 10 minutes and then cut into slabs.

NOTES: This is such a great dessert. Pantry staples come together really quickly to make something surprising and delicious. We serve this with ice cream. YUM!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bourbon-Molasses Pecan Pie

Bourbon-Molasses Pecan Pie
Servings: 8 to 10 slices

1 unbaked Pillsbury pie crust
4 large eggs, beaten
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
3 Tbsp. bourbon
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 c. pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll pie crust and press into a 9-inch pie dish. Pinch edges so they're all pretty-like.

For the filling, in a large bowl, stir together eggs, molasses, sugar, bourbon, butter, vanilla and salt until combined. Reserve about 15 pecan halves, and spread the rest evenly in the bottom of the pie dish. Pour filling over the pecans. Arrange the reserved pecans in a decorative pattern on the top of the pie.

Using aluminum foil strips, cover the edge of the pie shell so the crust that's exposed won't burn before the pie is done.

Place pie on center rack of oven, with a foil-lined baking sheet on the rack below to catch any filling that bubbles over. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, removing foil strips after about 30 minutes, until firm around the edges and slightly loose in the center. Cool, then serve.

NOTES: An incredibly easy, delicious take on traditional pecan pie without the corn syrup. Molasses gives the pie a smokey sweetness that's more complex and interesting than your average pie. Kicked up for the holidays!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower with Medjool Dates, Olives and Rosemary

Roasted Cauliflower with Medjool Dates, Olives and Rosemary
Servings: 4

1 medium (4-5″ in diameter) head of cauliflower, tough stems/leaves removed & cut into florets
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
4 Tbsp. butter
10 Medjool dates, pits removed & roughly chopped
12-15 Castelvetrano olives – pitted and roughly chopped
3 sprigs fresh Rosemary – leaves removed from the stems then roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large roasting pan or baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and the fresh ground black pepper. Once the oven comes up to temperature, roast the cauliflower for 20-25 minutes (depending on your oven) until tender with some caramelized brown spots. You’re not looking for char – just nice touches of golden brown.

About 2 minutes before you’re going to pull the cauliflower from the oven, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Allow to start to bubble and brown ever so slightly. Throw in the chopped rosemary, dates and olives and saute until heated through – you don’t want the rosemary to get black, though. Pull the cauliflower from the oven. You can either drizzle the butter/date/olive mixture over the cauliflower in the roasting pan and toss….or you can put the cauliflower in the butter mixture if your saute pan is big enough. Either will work. Taste a tiny floret & season with salt and pepper accordingly. Serve immediately.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Breasts with Olives and Lemon

Moroccan Chicken Breasts with Olives and Lemon
Servings: 4
From Cook's Illustrated

1 1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 strips lemon zest(each about 2 inches by 3/4 inch) - use a vegetable peeler
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts(8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. honey
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins, very large pieces cut into half-moons (about 2 cups)
1 c. Greek cracked green olives, pitted and halved
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside.

Season both sides of chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown chicken until lightly golden, about 2 minutes; using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate.

Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned at edges but still retain shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon water if pan gets too dark). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and very fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.

Add carrots to pot and arrange chicken on top of carrots. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.

Transfer chicken to plate or bowl and tent with foil. Add olives to pot; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add garlic-zest mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice; stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

NOTES: My best culinary discovery of Fall 2011 was the use of olives as ingredients. So complex and flavorful, and they add a briny saltiness to food such that they can sometimes be used in place of salt. Pair this dish with Couscous Pilaf with Raisins and Almonds.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies

Pumpkin Whoopee Pies
Servings: 18
From Cook's Illustrated

For the cookies:
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt

For the filling:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened but still cool
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package), at room temperature
3/4 cup Marshmallow Fluff (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar , sifted

For the cookies:
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18 by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in large bowl until well blended. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until well incorporated.

Using small ice cream scoop (#30 is the perfect size) or tablespoon measure, drop 2 tablespoons of dough on prepared baking sheet. (You should fit nine scoops of dough on each sheet.) Spread dough into 2-inch rounds about 1/2 inch thick and spaced 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are just set and bottoms are lightly browned, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Slide cookies, still on parchment, to cooling racks. Cool baking sheets, line with fresh parchment paper, and repeat with remaining dough.

For the filling:
With electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Add Marshmallow Fluff and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 60 seconds. Beat in salt and vanilla until well blended, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Reduce speed to low and gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth, about 1 minute.

Spread 2 tablespoons filling on center of flat side of one cookie. Place flat side of second cookie on filling and press cookies together to bring filling to edges. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. (Cookies can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 4 days).

NOTES: Hot damn, these are delicious. Like pumpkin Suzie Q's. Perfect for parties!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares
Servings: 18 squares

For the crust:
1 cake mix yellow, spice or white flavored
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon omit if using spice cake
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream cheese frosting to drizzle over the top
18 pecan halves

For the icing:
4 oz. (1/4 c.) cream cheese
3/4 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9-inch pan with parchment paper or use a non-stick spray.

In a large mixing bowl, on low speed, combine cake mix, 1 egg, butter, and cinnamon until it forms a dough. Press onto bottom of prepared pan.

Clean the bowl for your electric mixer, then beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add in the sweetened condensed milk, remaining eggs, pumpkin, spices and salt, mixing till evenly blended. Pour over crust. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the middle is set.

Let cool completely, the drizzle with frosting (recipe below). Cut into squares, and put one pecan half on each square.

For the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over bars before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Cranberry Coconut Squares

Cranberry Coconut Squares
Servings: 18 squares

For the crust:
1/4 c. butter — softened (or use coconut butter)
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 pinch salt

For the topping:
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 egg white
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) cranberries
1/2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
powdered sugar for sprinkling — optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:
In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. On low, beat in flour and salt and mix until well combined and crumbly.

Press into bottom of an 8 inch square pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake for 12 minutes, until just barely golden around the edges. (It doesn’t really get brown)

For the topping:
In the same bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg, egg white, and lemon juice and stir until well blended and smooth.

Sprinkle cranberries and coconut evenly over the crust. Pour lemon filling over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and set. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Store in fridge.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if using, before cutting into squares.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lynn's Best Blueberry Muffins

Lynn's Best Blueberry Muffins
Servings: 12 muffins
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

For the Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/3 c. sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated zest from 1 lemon

For the Muffins:
1 c. fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), plus 1 Tbsp.
1 c. Trader Joe's Blueberry Preserves
1 1/8 c. sugar (8 ounces)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. table salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1/4 c. Canola oil
1 c. buttermilk (see note)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

For the muffins:
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberry preserves and 1 Tbsp. blueberries to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened slightly, about 5 mi. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

Use a large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

NOTES: These are the most delicious blueberry muffins. Hands down. For reals.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Red Wine and Onion Reduction

Red Wine and Onion Reduction
Servings: 4

1 bottle red Zinfandel wine
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and continuing boiling until little liquid remains and mixture is thick and syrupy, about 30 minutes.

Serve on steak or chicken.

NOTES: Oh my... this is just wonderful. Best steak "sauce" ever.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lynn's Glazed Carrots

Lynn's Glazed Carrots
Servings: 4

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias into 1/4-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. light butter
1 c. Sprite
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

In a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, combine the carrots, butter, salt to taste, Sprite and ginger. Cover and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove the lid, stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, add the chili powder and increase heat to high. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the Sprite is reduced to a glaze, about 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

NOTES: This is officially our go-to carrot recipe. Easy and delicious!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lynn's Bell Pepper Relish

Lynn's Bell Pepper Relish
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 c. chopped tomato
3/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

NOTES: This is a fantastic condiment, and it pairs perfectly with goat cheese. We like to put it on burgers, or on crackers. I'm sure there are many other applications - this is very versatile.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Frank's Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Frank's Watermelon and Tomato Salad
Servings: 4

A third of a seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 c. mixed small tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. red onion, diced
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTES: Frank created this one, and it's a huge hit. We use fleur de sel instead of regular salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. Let everything sort of mingle for a few minutes to meld the flavors. Great with a heavier main dish like burgers, or spicy stuff.

Compressed Watermelon Tequila Bites

Compressed Watermelon Tequila Bites

1/2 of a small seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. tequila
1/4 c. lime juice

Divide watermelon cubes among two food-grade plastic bags and set aside.

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and set saucepan in an ice bath to rapidly chill. Once the syrup is cool, stir in tequila and lime juice.

Divide the tequila syrup between the two watermelon bags. Using a chamber vacuum, compress each bag on HIGH. Refrigerate at least an hour, but 2 days seems to be the magic number.

NOTES: I totally winged this recipe, and it turned out really well.  The watermelon takes on a sort of meaty quality when compressed, and the tequila infusion packed quite a punch. These would make excellent party snacks, but be careful – it’s easy to get boozy without realizing what’s going on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuna and Ginger Burgers with Soy-Sesame Mayo

Tuna and Ginger Burgers with Soy-Sesame Mayo
Servings: 4 burgers
WW Points+: 9 per burger

For the burgers:
1 tsp. wasabi powder
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 lb. high-quality tuna, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooking spray
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

For the mayo:
1/2 c. reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

To serve:
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
Fresh arugula

For the burgers:
Combine the wasabi, mustard and water in a small bowl, then scrape into a food processor. Add the salt, pepper, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. Pulse together to make a paste. Add the tuna and pules just to combine - don't overprocess the tuna or you will lose texture. Form the mixture into 4 burgers and set in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight to let the flavors develop.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 10 minutes, until they are soft and a little brown. Reserve.

When you are ready to cook the burgers, preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Spray the burgers with cooking spray and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, to desired doneness.

For the mayo:
Whisk everything together and set aside until ready to use.

To assemble:
Serve the burgers on the buns with some of the mayo and arugula.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scallops with Succotash and Parsley Drizzle

Scallops with Succotash and Parsley Drizzle
Servings: 4

4 ears of corn or 2 1/2 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10-ounce package frozen lima beans, thawed
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced across
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
Cooking spray
1 1/4 lbs. large sea scallops (about 4 per serving)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped

For the parsley drizzle:
1 c. lightly packed fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water

For the succotash and scallops:
If using ears of corn, cut the kernels off and set aside. Discard the cobs.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the corn, lima beans, zucchini and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the scallops in the hot pan and cook until the insides are opaque, about 5 to 6 minutes, turning once.

Stir the vinegar and basil into the succotash and season with salt and pepper.

For the parsley drizzle:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.

To serve:
Serve the seared scallops on top of the succotash, and top the scallops with parsley drizzle.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grilled Tzatziki Chicken Burgers

Grilled Tzatziki Chicken Burgers
Servings: 4 burgers

For the burgers:
1 1/4 lb. ground chicken breast
4 green onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

For the sauce:
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 c. plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

4 hamburger buns
Sliced red onion
Sliced tomatoes

For the burgers:
Preheat grill to medium-high heat and spray the rack with cooking spray. Mix together burger ingredients and form four patties. Grill patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until done.

For the sauce:
To make the sauce, blend all ingredients in a food processor.

Serve burgers with buns, sauce and garnishes.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna

Zucchini and Basil Lasagna
Servings: 6

2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1 c. fresh basil, chopped
1 egg
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce (like Muir Glen)
9 oven-ready (no boil) lasagna noodles
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine cottage cheese, basil and egg in a food processor and process until smooth.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the pasta sauce and remove from heat.

Spread 1/4 c. of zucchini mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange a layer of 3 noodles over zucchini mixture. Top with 1/3 of cottage mixture, 1/3 zucchini mixture, and 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers twice with the remaining noodles, cottage cheese mixture, zucchini and mozzarella.

Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes or until lasagna is thoroughly heated.

NOTES: Fantastic. Very flavorful and delicious. It's vegetarian, but you wouldn't notice, as the zucchini is very chunky and almost meaty. Reheats extremely well.

Garlic Squash Ribbons

Garlic Squash Ribbons
Servings: 4

2 large zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shaved Parmesan cheese, to finish

Slice zucchini and squash lengthwise into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add squash ribbons and oregano and toss to coat with oil. Saute, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until just tender. Do not overcook. Add basil and season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese just before serving.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Corn and Avocado Salad

Corn and Avocado Salad
Servings: 4

2 large ears of corn
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. lime zest
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook corn in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool the corn, then cut from the cob to yield about 1 1/2 cups. Combine corn in a bowl with avocados, onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Add the olive oil, lime juice and zest and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pan-fried Trout with Warm Corn Bread Salad

Pan-fried Trout with Warm Corn Bread Salad
Servings: 4

5 cups corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb ripe heirloom tomatoes
1/2 c. red onion, finely chopped
4 trout fillets
6 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread corn bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Bake until dry and lightly toasted, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grindings of pepper to make a dressing. Slice tomatoes in half crosswise and gently remove seeds with your fingers. Chop into 1-inch pieces and add to dressing along with onion. Let tomatoes marinate while the trout cooks.

Sprinkle trout lightly with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place trout in pan and cook until fish is browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

In a large bowl, combine tomato mixture and parsley with corn bread and mix gently. Divide corn bread salad among individual plates and top each with a trout fillet. Serve immediately.

NOTES: Different and delicious. Great way to use up leftover cornbread, or a good reason to make some :)

Thai Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Servings: 4

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. shallots, sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 garlic clove, minced
3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 c. chicken or vegetable broth
Salt
2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
3/4 c. light coconut milk
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Fresh Thai basil leaves, for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add squash, broth and 1/2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

Put curry paste in a small bowl and stir in coconut milk until well blended.

Puree soup in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return to pot and stir in coconut milk mixture. Heat soup until just hot, stir in lime juice, and season to taste with salt.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smoky Kale Chips

Smoky Kale Chips
Servings: 2
WW Points+: 2 per serving

1 lb kale
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat sheets.

Remove the stems and large center rib from the kale leaves, and tear the leaves in to 3- to 4-inch pieces. Put the pieces in a large bowl. Drizzle leaves with olive oil, smoked paprika and salt, and toss well to coat the leaves.

Divide the leaves between the two sheets and spread the leaves into a single layer. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the chips are crispy and the edges are browned.

NOTES: This is a great way to get your greens. Crunchy and salty and delicious!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Red Curry Salmon with Peppers and Bok Choy

Salmon with Peppers and Bok Choy
Servings: 4
WW Points+: 12 per serving

3/4 c. coconut milk (using light coconut reduces the points per serving to 7)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 c. cooked rice
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
8 basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, curry paste, soy sauce and fish sauce. Add salmon, turn to coat, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Remove the salmon from the marinade to a plate, reserving the marinade.

Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add the peppers, garlic and bok choy and cook for about 3 minutes, until just starting to get tender. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently while you cook the salmon.

Heat a non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the salmon fillets and cook until browned on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Stir 1 Tbsp. lime juice and the basil into the prepared rice. Serve the salmon on the rice, topped with vegetables and sauce.

NOTES: Fantastic flavors, and super-easy. Bok choy is so healthy, and is just wonderful here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Easy Breakfast Potatoes

Easy Breakfast Potatoes
Servings: 2

2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork in several places
1–2 Tbsp. olive oil for frying
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the whole, scrubbed, pricked potatoes into the microwave for about three minutes (time may vary depending on microwave). The idea is to get the cooking process started, but not to actually cook them in the microwave. Potatoes should still be hot but very hard, even crisp, and definitely not mealy when you remove them.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan.

Carefully remove hot potatoes from microwave and slice into cubes, leaving the peel on. Potatoes should not be cooked enough for the skin to slide around or slip off the potato.

Add potatoes, rosemary, parsley, salt, and pepper to the oil, toss, and fry on medium-high heat, covered, about ten to fifteen minutes, tossing occasionally.

When potatoes begin to look cooked through, remove lid and allow them to brown, tossing occasionally, for about five to ten more minutes. Serve hot.

NOTES: These were super delicious and really easy. YUM!

Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

Slow-Cooker Baked Beans
Servings: 8 or so?

1 lb navy beans, sorted and soaked according to package directions
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, sliced and cooked, fat reserved for slow-cooker
1 32-oz bottle of ketchup
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1 c. water
1/4 c. mustard
2 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Cook beans in water according to package directions. You want them to be al dente before putting them in the slow-cooker. Once they’re cooked, drain the beans and add all other ingredients to the slow-cooker. Stir to combine and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

NOTES: We haven't tried this recipe yet.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pan-Seared Salmon with Blueberry Mango Salsa

Pan-Seared Salmon with Blueberry Mango Salsa
Servings: 4
WW Points+: 5 per serving

For the salsa:
1/3 c. blueberries
1/3 c. ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp. red onion, minced
2 Tbsp. red bell pepper, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. jalapeƱo pepper, minced
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

For the salmon:
4 salmon fillets
2 tsp. Canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the salsa:
Combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Lightly crush with a fork to release the juices. Set aside.

For the salmon:
Heat the oil until shimmering in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, pressing down on the fish once or twice with a spatula to make sure you get a good sear.

Serve each salmon fillet with some of the blueberry mango salsa.

NOTES: Perfect summer recipe - I just love the combination of savory, spicy and sweet!

Coconut Black Rice

Coconut Black Rice
Servings: 4
WW Points+: 3 per serving

1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. onion, diced
1.4 c. yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. Chinese black rice
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. light coconut milk
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper

Melt the butter over the medium heat in a large saucepan. Sauce the onions and peppers until the onions are translucent.

Add the rice, chicken stock, water, sugar and coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low for 30 minutes, or until almost the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Stir a few times before seasoning with the salt and pepper.

NOTES: After initially adding too much liquid, I thought I was in for disaster. But instead, I made a creamy, delicious side dish, almost like a risotto. The measurements above reflect this creamy result. Perfect alongside fish.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lynn's Melted Leeks

Lynn's Melted Leeks
Servings: 4
WW Points+: 1 per serving

8 to 10 leeks (2 to 3 per person, depending on leek size), white and light green parts only, trimmed and sliced into half-moon slivers
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. When butter is just melted, add leeks and cook over medium or medium-low heat until leeks are very soft and "melted" - about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper just before serving.

NOTES: This is a super easy and delicious side dish to serve with any protein. The leeks are almost creamy. So good!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Braised Scallions with Tarragon

Braised Scallions with Tarragon
Servings: 4
WW Points+: 1 per serving

2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 lb. scallions (about 50)
2/3 c. water or vegetable broth
2 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh tarragon (do not substitute dried)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use about 1 1/2 tsp. butter to generously butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Trim the root ends and about 1 1/2 inches from the scallions. Arrange half the scallions in the baking dish so that the bulb ends are lined up at one end and the greens are towards the middle. Place the other half of the scallions in the opposite direction so you end up with a double-layer of scallion greens across the center of the dish and a single layer of bulbs at the end of the dish.

Pour the water into the dish over the scallions. Cut the remaining butter into slivers and dot it over the top pf the scallions. Season with the tarragon, salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and braise undisturbed, in the center of the oven, for 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove the foil from the dish and increase the oven heat to 450 degrees. Roast the scallions for 10 minutes, then shake the pan back and forth to coat the scallions with the glaze that will have formed. Continue roasting until the liquid evaporates and the edges of the scallions are beginning to brown, another 5 minutes or so. Squeeze over a few drops of lemon juice to taste and serve.

NOTES: This is a wonderful way to serve scallions and is a terrific side dish with sandwiches, fish, or even steak. Different and very simple - it's one of those dishes that impresses without much effort.