Friday, April 29, 2011

Recipe Swap - Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

Want to see what other recipes were made during the swap? Here is the link to the Asian Recipe Swap Roundup.

Asian was the theme for this week's recipe swap on my cooking board. I was thrilled to get this recipe for Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp from Lisa. We both love Thai food but I rarely make it at home.

We really enjoyed the flavors of this dish, which I served over basmati rice, but we agreed that it needed vegetables to round out the meal. Our favorite Thai restaurant serves their red curry with onion, peppers, asparagus (in season), green beans, and a few others I'm forgetting. I think the addition of those would really make this perfect. You can also serve the curry with any protein - chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu or just a ton of vegetables.

One note: I doubled the sauce recipe for two reasons - one because I didn't want to waste half a can of coconut milk and because we love eating rice with the extra sauce.

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
Modified from Skinny Taste

1 tablespoon oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 scallions, whites and greens separated, chopped
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on high heat. Pat shrimp dry, season with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until they just turn pink, then remove to a plate. Reduce heat to medium-high, add more oil if the pan looks dry, then add scallion whites, red curry paste and garlic. Sauté one minute. Add coconut milk, and fish sauce and mix well. Simmer about 2-3 minutes, then return shrimp to the pan and coat with the sauce. Remove from heat, mix in scallion greens and cilantro. Serve over basmati rice.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Lunch

I love big holiday dinners because I get to do these long posts with lots of photos of the delicious food we ate. This was our Easter spread and it didn't disappoint. The only thing missing is the ham; for some reason I didn't take a photo of it, which is a shame because it was really good.

In addition to the asparagus with tomato and feta, which I did as a separate post, I made deviled eggs:

My mom made her wonderful potato salad:

... and dyed eggs in various colors.

We had olives as a quick nosh while the asparagus was cooking:

Rye bread is a staple at our Easter celebration:

Spicy, smoky kielbasa paired nicely with the ham:

My stepgrandmother made a salad:

And for dessert - cheesecake:

... with raspberry sauce made from fresh raspberries.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Asparagus with Tomato and Feta

We always have asparagus as part of our Easter celebration, but this year I wanted to try something different. I'd seen this recipe for Asparagus with Tomato and Feta on Annie's Eats awhile ago and knew it would be perfect.

I made the tomato and feta mixture the night before and reheated it just to take the chill off before serving. I roasted the asparagus instead of steaming them because we like the flavor of roasted asparagus. Grilled would be even better, I think. I bought 3 bunches of beautiful, thin asparagus spears and we barely had half a bunch left after 6 adults descended on the platter.

Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta
Modified from Annie's Eats

1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
2-3 vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lay the asparagus in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as you can get) on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then bake for 10-15 minutes until the asparagus are as tender as you like.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, just to warm and wilt very slightly. Remove the shallot-tomato mixture from the heat, stir in the feta, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the warm asparagus on a serving platter (or individual plates) and top with the tomato-feta mixture.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Spicy Pork and Asparagus Stir Fry

Brianna over at Oishii recently posted this recipe for Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile. It looked great and was a departure from our usual meals so I put it on this week's menu. The same day I was planning to make it someone posted about it on my cooking board, prompting a discussion about the dish. As it turns out, the recipe (which came from Bon Appetit) lacked a little something according to those who had made it. Suggestions were thrown out about how to make it better so I ended up modifying the recipe.

The result was really good. I don't usually cook with ground pork and I liked the flavor, plus now that asparagus was in season I was happy for an excuse to use it.

UPDATE July 2013 - I recently realized that I no longer use the recipe as it was originally written and it was time to update this post. I've been using my friend Melissa's modified version of this recipe ever since she posted it. It's simply perfect - spicy and flavorful and just the right amount of sauce. I usually serve it over rice but I had some leftover pork and asparagus in the freezer recently and served it over angel hair, which was amazing.


Spicy Pork and Asparagus Stir Fry
As seen on Alosha's Kitchen, modified from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons + 1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
1 pound thin asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Sriracha chile garlic sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon honey
4 scallions, sliced

Whisk 2 tablespoons soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add pork and mix lightly to blend.

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in heavy large wok (or deep skillet) over high heat. Add asparagus, Sriracha, ginger and garlic. Toss until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer asparagus to a bowl and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon sesame oil to wok. Add pork and stir-fry until browned, using spoon to break up pork into small pieces, about 4 minutes. Return asparagus to the pan, along with the remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, oyster sauce, and honey. Stir-fry until pork is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add scallions; toss to incorporate.

Serve over rice or noodles.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pizza Friday - White Pizza with Spinach and Sausage

I don't usually make white pizza, but after my friend Melissa raved about a white pizza she made with roasted garlic, spinach and sausage I decided to try it.

I had some sausage and caramelized onions in the freezer from the last time I made sausage pizza. Melissa uses fresh spinach on her pizza, but I like the ease of frozen.

Roasted Garlic Paste
Melissa's Recipe

1-2 heads garlic, papery skins removed
Olive oil
Dried oregano, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the tops off the heads of garlic, drizzle with oil and wrap in tinfoil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, then let cool for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze the garlic out and mash it up (you can put it through a ricer into a bowl), add a little oil to get it spreadable, then add pinches of dried oregano, thyme, basil, salt, red pepper flake, pepper. You can use any or all of those as you see fit. Just a big pinch of this, pinch of that, a dash more oil if you need it. For sure, at least put the oregano in there.
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Avocado and Tomato Omelet

During the week when my grandmother was in the hospital and my whole menu plan had gone out the window, I found myself putting Baby Girl to sleep before I had dinner. As she was drifting off to sleep I was doing my own dreaming - of an omelet with gooey American cheese, sliced tomato and avocado seasoned with salt and pepper. As soon as she was asleep I rushed downstairs to make my dream a reality.

I was pretty proud of this omelet, mainly because I managed to fold it over perfectly. And the best part was that it tasted exactly as I imagined it would. If you're anything like me, sometimes the anticipation of the meal is better than the meal itself. That wasn't the case this time. Every bite was deliciously perfect.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Recipe Swap - Arroz con Pollo

This recipe for Arroz con Pollo, submitted by Amanda, was my recipe swap from a few weeks ago. I was very, very late making it because my grandmother was admitted to the hospital while she was in town visiting a few weekends ago. She's perfectly fine and back home resting, but it threw off my entire meal plan for the week. I finally made this for Sunday dinner this week and it was tasty. Definitely something new and different for us.

While I was cooking I had an episode of America's Test Kitchen on in the background. They happened to be making a no-stir risotto so I stopped to listen to the method. They recommended toasting the rice in the pan, then adding the liquid all at once and only stirring a few times. I decided to modify the Arroz con Pollo recipe so I could toast the rice with the vegetables and spices before adding the liquid. My changes are reflected below. I also added peas for color and because other recipes I've seen included them.

Arroz con Pollo
Modified from Epicurious

Note: The original recipe suggested using wine if you used sweet sausage and beer if you used hot.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. chicken parts (I used two bone-in breasts)
1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cups medium-grain rice (I used arborio rice)
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine or beer
1 bay leaf
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

In a deep, heavy-based pot (such as a Dutch oven), heat the oil on medium high. Pat the chicken dry and liberally season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute the chicken, in batches if necessary, until golden on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Saute the sausage until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the sausage to the platter. Pour off and discard the excess oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder, and turmeric, if using, stirring to distribute the spices. Add the rice and toast until the edges become translucent, about 3 minutes.

Return the chicken and sausage to the pot then add the tomatoes, wine (or beer), bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice is done and the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent the rice from sticking. Add peas and allow to warm through. Give a toss and then let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recipe Swap - French Dip Sandwiches

Sandwiches was the theme for this week's recipe swap. I've made these French Dip Sandwiches many times before, so when I got Kelly's recipe in the swap I was happy for an excuse to make them again.

It turns out that Kelly adapted the same Rachael Ray recipe I did in pretty much the same way, even adding provolone cheese to the sandwiches. Great minds! The only difference is her recipe uses the crockpot and mine doesn't.

I don't know how something with so few ingredients can taste this amazing. It's basically a gussied-up roast beef sandwich but the brandy, beef broth and shallot come together to make a delicious sauce and you can't go wrong with good roast beef and a nice bakery roll.

French Dip Sandwiches
Very slightly modified from Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup dry sherry or brandy
2 cans beef broth
1 1/2 pounds deli sliced roast beef
salt and pepper
4 sandwich rolls, split
1/4 pound deli slice provolone cheese

In a large, shallow skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Add shallots to butter and saute 2 minutes. Add flour to butter and shallot and cook a minute longer. Whisk in sherry (or brandy) and cook liquid out. Whisk in broth in a slow stream. Bring sauce to a bubble and allow to simmer over low heat until ready to serve sandwiches.

Pile meat loosely across your cutting board or a large work surface. Season meat with salt and black pepper. Add to sauce to heat through. Set out ramekins or small soup cups for dipping sauce.

Toast the rolls if you desire. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, pile meat onto rolls. Top with slices of provolone cheese and broil to melt the cheese. Set ramekins or cups with extra dipping sauce alongside the sandwiches.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipe Swap Roundup - Side Dish

This week's cooking board recipe swap theme was side dishes. Getting out of a side dish rut seems to be a common problem for a lot of cooks, so hopefully one of the recipes below will inspire you.

Brianna has traveled the world and is comfortable cooking a variety of cuisines, but had never tried kugel. She paired the Browned Onion Kugel recipe she received in the swap with spiced roast chicken thighs and roasted broccoli:

Kate welcomed the warm weather with Baked Pineapple, which she served alongside Bourbon-glazed steaks and steamed green beans:

Katie had another springtime dish, Orzo and Squash Gratin, served with Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken:

The Cookaholic Wife served raspberry chipotle chicken and grilled asparagus with Garlic Roasted Potatoes, a new twist on one of her family-favorites:

Baked chicken and a green salad went nicely with Jey's Garlic Parmesan Orzo:

Lisa made the recipe I submitted for Whiskey-Glazed Carrots, one of my all-time favorite side dishes, which she served with grilled steaks marinated in Italian dressing:

Melissa had a healthy alternative to potato chips, baked kale chips. She served them with blackened salmon and roasted grape tomatoes with garlic for dinner and had the leftovers for lunch the next day with a turkey, brie and honey mustard panini.

Cassie lightened up her recipe for Baked Lemon Pasta and served it with fish cakes made from salmon and tilapia:

Jenna had another springtime dish, Green Bean Salad with Salsa Fresca, that went well with grilled bratwurst:

Melissa had a blast from the past when she received Cauliflower Gratin as her side dish recipe (she had made it years ago for another recipe swap). She served it with grilled chicken and roasted potatoes:

Lisa wasn't sure if Hassleback Potatoes had any relation to TV talk show host Elizabeth Hasselback, but once she realized there wasn't she really enjoyed these elegant potatoes:

My recipe was for stuffed zucchini, which I served with grilled steak and mashed potatoes:

Christine made Roasted Sweet Potato Coins with Pancetta and Chives:

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

It's a good thing, as far as my waistline is concerned, that spring is here. I tend to eat rich, fattening foods in the fall and winter when the weather is cooler. In the spring and summer I find those dishes too heavy. Enchiladas, with all their cheesy goodness, have been one of my obsessions lately. While I love a good red sauce, I wanted to experiment. Enter this recipe for Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas.

Holy moly, were these good. I made the sauce and poached the chicken earlier in the week then diced the onion and grated the cheese in the morning before I left for work so all I had to do that night was assemble and bake. The smell coming from the oven was intoxicating.

My only issue was that the sauce recipe made way too much sauce for one pan of enchiladas. I only had 8 tortillas and had trouble fitting them all into the 9 x 13 dish so if I'd had 12, I would have made two pans and divided the sauce. Oh, and SP bought me a habanero pepper instead of a serrano, so I only used the jalapeno, which was plenty in terms of spice level!

Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas
Slightly Modified from The Novice Chef

4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups sour cream
16 oz jar Medium Salsa Verde
1 & 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
12 tortillas, small fajita size
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack
1/2 medium onion, diced

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute jalapeno until soft and then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Stir in the flour and let cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth until smooth and let cook until bubbly. Stir in the sour cream, salsa, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cilantro until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.

Spray/grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, cheese, and chopped onion to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese, and bake for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Recipe Swap - Stuffed Zucchini

Want to see what other side dishes were made during the swap? Here is the link to the Side Dish Recipe Swap Roundup.

I sound like a broken record, but I'm really enjoying these recipe swaps, both as a participant and as the organizer for the one on the cooking board. It's been so much fun trying new things, like Stuffed Zucchini courtesy of Kate over at Kate's Recipe Box.

SP and I love zucchini. In the summer we usually grill it, so it was nice to do something a little different. I served the zucchini with grilled steak and mashed potatoes and it was absolutely delicious. Kate also recommended serving it with balsamic-glazed chicken or chicken Parmesan.

Stuffed Zucchini
Modified from Kate's Recipe Box

2 zucchini, if large (4 zucchini, if small)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Pinch salt and pepper
Bread crumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each zucchini lengthwise in half. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a shell. Finely chop the pulp and reserve.

In a medium frying pan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic in oil for one minute. Add the zucchini pulp, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the zucchini is tender.

Grease a 9 x 13" dish and place zucchini shells inside. Spoon the filling into the zucchini shells and sprinkle with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the zucchini are tender and the top is brown.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pizza Friday - BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza

After the success of the Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas I knew this BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza would be amazing since it utilizes the same ingredients with a different delivery method.

I thought I put a lot of pineapple on my half of the pizza (SP didn't want any on his half) but I ended up putting even more on the individual slices. I think we need to find a tangier BBQ sauce, or doctor our favorite brand, because there wasn't enough contrast between the sweetness of the pineapple and the tang of the BBQ sauce. Even so, this was a winner in my book and I can't wait to make it again.

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza
Ever So Slightly Modified from Sing For Your Supper

1 ball pizza dough, rolled to preferred thickness
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 chicken breasts, fully cooked and shredded
1/2 cup BBQ sauce, plus more for brushing on the crust
1/4 cup ranch salad dressing
1 small can diced pineapple
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 550 degrees, or as high as your oven will go. Toss the cooked, shredded chicken breasts with the BBQ sauce. Set aside.

Lay dough on parchment paper or a pizza peel. Brush the pizza crust with a thin layer of BBQ sauce, then spread on the ranch dressing. Top with the cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese, then the chicken and pineapple.

Place pizza on pizza stone and bake for about 15 minutes, until all the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. Top with the chopped cilantro.
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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pizza Friday - Sausage and Caramelized Onion

I love Pizza Fridays. SP is a sausage fanatic so this week's pizza had sausage and caramelized onions on it.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

Recipe Swap Roundup - Pasta

I host a weekly recipe swap on my cooking board and thought it might be nice to have all the recipes in one central location. Introducing the latest component of the recipe swap - the blog roundup!

This week's theme was pasta and man, were there some awesome submissions. Just putting this post together is making me drool. This roundup isn't mandatory since some of the ladies participating don't have blogs.

First up, Pasta with Swiss Chard and Italian Sausage from Cassie, which was a spin on the traditional pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe:

Kate got a comfort food classic, Chicken Spaghetti:

Melissa's recipe was for Pasta with Lentils:

Jey tackled Cincinnati Chili, a regional take on a winter staple:

Jillian conquered making her own pasta for Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Ravioli:

Katie made Spicy Artichoke & Sun Dried Tomato Pasta:

Carrie enjoyed Chicken, Pea and Pasta Salad:

Christine had traditional spaghetti and meatballs:

The title of Mary Ellen's recipe, Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola, was quite a mouthful but the result was delicious:

Melissa had another comfort food classic, Four Cheese Stuffed Shells:

Delia made a quick and easy One Pot Pasta:

Heather had my recipe for Creamy Tomato Chicken:

Lisa tried something new with Fusilli with Creamy Leek Sauce:

The Cooking Nurse added her own twist to Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pasta Bake:

Kimmicooks made Baked Campanelle with Spinach and Meatballs:

And here is my recipe, which was for Bacon, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta:

Last, but not least, is Linguine with Clams, as made by Jenna:

Since Jenna doesn't have a blog I'm including her write-up here.

I made Linguine and Clams from Hezzi-D's food blog. I have to admit that I don't cook with seafood that often and so when I saw this recipe in the swap e-mail, I was a little scared. But, I rounded up all of the ingredients and started cooking. Halfway through the cooking process, the kitchen smelled so good. I couldn't wait to eat it, and J made several comments about how good it smelled too. When I served it, J examined it like it was a dish from a foreign country. I just told him to eat it and not worry about the ingredients. I sat down and swirled my first bite up onto my fork and was in pasta heaven when I put it in my mouth. It tasted like something I'd expect to get at Olive Garden and the flavors were complex but not overwhelming. It was such a great dish and so easy to make. I'm excited to put this into my regularly made recipe list.
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