Wednesday, December 19, 2007

East Hampton Clam Chowder

Barefoot Contessa Family Style

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups medium-diced celery (4 stalks)
2 cups medium-diced carrots (6 carrots)
4 cups peeled medium-diced boiling potatoes (8 potatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 quart (4 cups) clam juice
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 cups chopped fresh chowder clams (1 1/2 pounds shucked clams)
Melt 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute for 10 more minutes. Add the clam juice, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
In a small pot, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Cook over very low heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in a cup of the hot broth and then pour this mixture back into the cooked vegetables. Simmer for a few minutes until the broth is thickened.

Add the milk and clams and heat gently for a few minutes to cook the clams. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pork Fried Rice


2 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
1 cup roast pork, diced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 green onions, finely chopped
5 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil for stir-frying, or as needed
4 cups cold cooked rice

Lightly beat the eggs with a small amount of salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat a wok or heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil, swirling it around the pan or wok so that the entire surface is covered. Add the egg, rotating the pan so that the beaten egg covers all of the pan. Cook until firm, remove from the pan and cut into thin strips.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pan on medium-high to high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shredded cabbage and the diced pork. Stir-fry briefly, seasoning with salt if desired. Remove from the pan.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the rice. Fry the rice, stirring continually to separate the grains. Add the pork and the cabbage back into the pan with the fried rice. Stir in the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir in the green onion.

Remove the pork fried rice from the pan. Lay the cooked strips of egg on top and serve.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Celery and Sage Dressing

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Drying the bread before making the stuffing is crucial for texture and flavor. If you plan ahead, you can simply leave the bread cubes out on the counter for a few days to become stale. Otherwise, spread them out on baking sheets and dry in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 60 minutes.

Serves 8

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), plus extra for baking dish
2 medium ribs celery , chopped fine
1 medium onions , minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 2 teapoons dried
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 1/2 pounds high-quality sandwich bread (white), cut into 1/2-inch cubes and dried (see note)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs , beaten lightly
1 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoons ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, sage, thyme, and marjoram and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl.

2. Add the dried, cooled bread, stock or broth, eggs, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and toss gently to distribute dry and wet ingredients evenly. Turn mixture into 9 " round buttered baking dish or a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish.

3. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead:
The stuffing can be assembled in the baking dish, then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. To bake, let the stuffing stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and proceed to bake as directed in step 3.

Barbara Gerhardt's Sugar Pumpkin Purée

Cut sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, place on a rack over water in a roasting pan, cover with foil, and roast at 350º until soft, about 90 minutes. Scoop out flesh and purée in a food-processor until smooth. Use in place of canned pumpkin purée. One 2-1/2 pound sugar pumpkin will yield about 16 ounces of purée. Can be frozen for future use.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

From Cooks Illustrated

I made this for Thanksgiving as an alternative to making a pumpkin pie. It was fabulous and everyone asked for the recipe. I think I am going to make this every year instead of a pie.

Depending on the oven and the temperature of the ingredients, the cheesecake may bake about 15 minutes faster or slower than the instructions indicate; it is therefore best to check the cake 1 1/4 hours into baking. Although the cheesecake can be made up to three days in advance, the crust will begin to lose its crispness after only one day. To make slicing the cheesecake easy and neat, use a knife with a narrow blade, such as a carving knife; between cuts, dip the blade into a pitcher of hot water and wipe it clean with paper towels. The cheesecake is good on its own, but the Brown Sugar and Bourbon Cream (recipe follows) is a grand addition.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 12 to 16

5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (10 1/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese , cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs , left at room temperature, about 30 minutes
1 cup heavy cream

1. FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.

2. FOR THE FILLING: Bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside. To dry pumpkin (see illustrations below): Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.

3. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.

4. Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

5. TO SERVE: Slide thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto serving platter. Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Southern Oven "Fried Chicken"

1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
Franks Red Hot Sauce to Taste
1/2 cup cornflakes, crushed
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds chicken parts, skinned
4 teaspoons canola oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Pour the buttermilk into a large shallow bowl and add hot sauce to taste. On a sheet of wax paper, combine the cornflake crumbs, flour, salt, pepper. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the cornflake mixture, coating completely. Place the chicken on the baking sheet; drizzle with the oil. Bake 30 minutes, then turn the chicken over. Bake until cooked through, 15-20 minutes longer.

Per serving (about 2 pieces): 229 Cal, 10g fat, 2g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 64mg chol, 295 mg sod, 11g carb, 0g Fib, 23g prot, 49mg Cal.

Point Value: 5

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Aurora Maison de Cuisine - a Grand Tasting

Roroc took me out to one of the top restaurants in Dallas, Aurora Maison de Cuisine; super chef Avner Samuel (former Mansion Executive Chef) personally prepared our dinner. The restaurant was intimate, only 12 tables or so...the lighting was dramatic, setting off the suede walls and gorgeous wood bar - it had a very art deco feeling. The front of the restaurant was curtained off, so it was a surprise when they lifted the veil and seated us - a classic Escoffier style kitchen was brightly lit with a huge vent-a-hood in black and stainless steal over the island where the chefs worked harmoniously - it was theater-style cooking! We could see the chef and he could see us. Another detail was the large round "champagne cart" on wheels - it was a Christofle cart. The waiter immediately glided the cart over to our table when we arrived, so we could pick a glass from the five open bottles. We chose a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc champagne - it was very fine, and later we ordered a bottle. The cart was tall and round and had a glass top with a thin brass rail around the edge. In the middle was a large champagne bucket that held 5-6 bottles of champagne and ice simultaneously, and lined up in a circle around the bucket were simple champagne flutes. I dreamt about that champagne cart later that night - I've never seen anything quite like it. With each course, a gorgeous wooden box was brought to our table after our plates and utensils were removed, and fresh utensils appropriate for the next course were laid out. My favorite utensil was the petite caviar spoon that came with the caviar course.

We indulged and ordered the Aurora Grand Tasting, which is a fixed price menu. The courses were as follows:

Amuse Bouche - a velvety, savory custard served warm in an eggshell topped with whipped cream, smoked salmon, and caviar.
Prime Osetra Caviar - the caviar was served on top of a pillow of potato with a side of apple sorbet. You used the caviar spoon to build the potato and caviar onto a regular spoon, and then reached over to a pearl plate of sorbet with the caviar spoon and finished the build with a dash of sorbet. The texture and flavor were surprising - cold, not cold, salty, and sweet!
Risotto - creamy risotto served with thinly sliced white truffles from Italy - it was Roroc's first ever taste of truffle!
Langoustine de Breton - it was perfectly tender and sweet - I've never had better.
Porcini Mushroom - it was roasted and served with a veal demi-glace. Yum!
Cappuccino - lobster foam over pieces of lobster and foie gras - it was interesting.
Foie Gras - seared and served with a button of apple that had been roasted with port, and served with a port reduction. We had a bit of Sauterne dessert wine with this course - it was wonderful!
Sorbet - red grapefruit - not to sweet and oh so interesting, layered over mint and frozen pomegranate seeds - what do you do with the pomegranate seeds at a nice restaurant after you've enjoyed the juice?
Sea - seared sea bass served with rose radishes and fava beans.
Land - a veal filet served over truffle-mashed potatoes with drops of basil oil and fine vegetables
Sweet - a trio of a chocolate tart with caramelized banana, pumpkin ice cream with something sweet similar to a brownie, and my favorite, Meyer lemon pana cotta served with a single shaving of citrus infused dark chocolate. We had a bit of cognac with this course.
Petit Fours - we could hardly eat them, but they included a checkered cookie and something that reminded me of tiramisu.

Each plate was dramatically presented at the table with a lid. Two waiters would each lift them from our plates in unison to reveal the course - much to our delight!

It was a dining experience I will always remember, and a wonderful 1st anniversary!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fresh Tomato Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
18 ripe Roma tomatoes, quartered
Heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil leaves, if desired

Using a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, sauté onions in olive oil, stirring occasionally until tender and translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in orange zest and tomatoes and continue to cook over medium heat stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have broken down and rendered much of their liquid.
Strain the mixture through a food mill or medium mesh sieve placed over a clean saucepan, discard remaining peel and seeds. Reheat soup mixture gently over medium-low heat, season with salt and pepper. Add heavy or light cream to taste (anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups or until you achieve the consistency and flavor you desire.) Season to taste.
Just before serving (about 1-2 minutes before) add fresh basil, torn into small pieces to the soup.

Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Parmesan Chicken

From Inna Garten (Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry (mix of butter, red-leaf, & Frisee)
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Yield: 6 servings

Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken

From Cook's Illustrated

If you plan to serve the chicken later on the same day that you cook it, refrigerate it immediately after it has cooled, then let it come back to room temperature before serving. On the breast pieces, we use toothpicks to secure the skin, which otherwise shrinks considerably in the oven, leaving the meat exposed and prone to drying out. We think the extra effort is justified, but you can omit this step. This recipe halves easily.

Serves 8
5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, or a mix with breasts cut into 3 pieces or halved if small), trimmed of excess fat and skin
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Following illustrations below, use sharp knife to make 2 or 3 short slashes in skin of each piece of chicken, taking care not to cut into meat. Combine salt, sugar, and spices in small bowl and mix thoroughly. Coat chicken pieces with spices, gently lifting skin to distribute spice rub underneath but leaving it attached to chicken. Transfer chicken skin side up to wire rack set over rimmed foil-lined baking sheet, lightly tent with foil, and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.

2. Secure skin of each breast piece with 2 or 3 toothpicks placed near edges of skin.

3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Roast chicken until thickest part of smallest piece registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees and continue roasting until chicken is browned and crisp and thickest parts of breast pieces register 160 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes longer, removing pieces from oven and transferring to clean wire rack as they finish cooking. Continue to roast thighs and/or drumsticks, if using, until thickest part of meat registers 170 to 175 degrees, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven; transfer chicken to rack and let cool completely before refrigerating or serving.

Rich and Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

From Cook's Illustrated

Excellent recipe. I served with crisp Romaine lettuce and seedless red grapes from our vine. The combination of the grapes & blue cheese was really delicious--made a great pairing! --Pamela

2 1/2 ounces blue cheese , crumbled (about 1/2 cup) (I like Stella brand crumbled blue cheese)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used Best Food's Light Mayonnaise)
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (try to find one with just 5% acidity)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
ground black pepper

Mash blue cheese and buttermilk in small bowl with fork until mixture resembles cottage cheese with small curds. Stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Can be covered and refrigerated up to 14 days.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Teriyaki Chicken with Pickled Cucumbers

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay
Show: Boy Meets Grill
Episode: Classic Japanese Grill

2 cups mirin
1 cup sake
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup pineapple juice
6 tablespoons sugar or honey, plus 1 tablespoon
1 (3 to 4-inch) piece fresh ginger, cut into coins
3/4 cup rice vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt plus extra salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
2 English cucumbers, sliced 1/4-inch thick
4 bone-in chicken breasts
4 drumsticks
4 chicken thighs
Heat grill to medium. Whisk together the mirin, sake, soy sauce, pineapple juice, 6 tablespoons sugar or honey, and ginger in a medium saucepan and cook on the grates of the grill until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool completely.
Whisk together the rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add the cucumbers and stir to combine. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Heat grill to medium. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes. Brush with some of the teriyaki sauce, turn over, and continue grilling and brushing with the sauce every few minutes until cooked through, about 25 more minutes. Transfer to a platter with the marinated cucumbers and serve.

Ice Cold Saketini

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay
Show: Boy Meets Grill
Episode: Classic Japanese Grill

2.5 ounces dry sake
1-ounce vodka
Chipped ice
1 Japanese cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch rounds, for garnish
Combine sake and vodka in a cocktail shaker with the chipped ice and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of Japanese cucumber.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Barbecue Pork with Mop Sauce

North Carolinians marinate their barbecued meats with a dry spice rub, then serve them baths in a vinegary, spicy sauce that gets "mopped up" with a piece of bread. Though pork is the meat of choice in this recipe, the tasty spice rub also works well on chicken, beef, or even catfish.

2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoons cayenne
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin*
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare grill for indirect heating. (Grill should be pretty hot, about 500º.)

Mix together brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne, and pepper in bowl. Rub half of mixture all over pork and let stand 15 mins.

Combine ketchup, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and heat in microwave until warm.

Rub pork with remaining spice rub.

Place over indirect heat section of grill; Grill 15 mins. Turn pork and grill until meat registers 150º, about 12 mins. longer.** Remove from grill and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 mins. before slicing.

After pork has rested, pour juices into Mop sauce and slice pork thinly.

Serves 4

*1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin equals 2 small tenderloins or 1 large
**Cooking time will vary depending on whether you have 1 or 2 tenderloins

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola, Cherries, & Almonds

Raspberry Vinaigrette

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 clove garlic , minced
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 7 days; bring to room temperature, then shake vigorously to recombine before using.


In a large bowl, combine:
1 bag baby spinach, washed (if necessary)
Handful or two of crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Handful or two of dried cherries
Handful or two of sliced almonds, toasted

Just before serving, toss with an appropriate amount of dressing.

While this is a simple salad I've made time and again using pears, I had never thought of using dried cherries until a business trip brought me to Traverse City, MI - Cherry Capital of the World! Enjoy!

Grand High Tea Menu @ The Grand Lux Cafe

Tea (your choice), served with lemon and honey

Brioche Finger Sandwiches including:
cream cheese, parsley, and cucumber
cream cheese, tomato, mozarella, and pesto
mayonaise, hard boiled egg, roasted pepper, and thousand island dressing
marmalade, chicken salad, candied walnuts

Currant Scones, served with whipped cream, lemon curd, and rasberry jam

Assorted Bite Sized Desserts including:
fresh fruit tart
chocolate chip cookie
peanut brittle
cream puff
chocolate tart with fresh rasberry

Finish the tea service with your choice of champagne, Harvey's Bristol Cream, or Port

Spicy Picanha Style BBQ'd Ribeye

2 ribeye steaks, seasoned with pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper. Grill steaks on high heat until desired doneness. One minute before you're ready to pull the steaks off the grill, slather on a spoonful of prepared butter and let melt for a few seconds with the grill cover closed. Remove steaks to a platter and cover with foil for 5 minutes, until the juices are absorbed back into the meat. Serve immediately!

Roroc and I got the idea for the spicy "picanha" butter from a Brazilian steak house in Dallas called Rafain. They serve a spicy picanha Tri-Tip on long skewers; Roroc absolutely loves it and said "we hit the nail on the head" with our made-up version!

It's quick and easy! You'll love it!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

From Cook's Illustrated

Really an excellent recipe; we loved it. --Pamela

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli With Oyster Sauce

To make slicing the steak easier, freeze it for 20 minutes. Serve this dish with white rice.

Serves 4
1 pound flank steak , cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 inch piece fresh ginger , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds broccoli , florets cut into bite-size pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut on diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1/3 cup water
1 small red bell pepper , cored, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 medium scallions , sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal

1. Combine beef and soy sauce in medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring once. Meanwhile, whisk sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in measuring cup. Combine garlic, ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.

2. Drain beef and discard liquid. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges, about 30 seconds. Transfer beef to medium bowl. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in skillet, and repeat with remaining beef.

3. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes; transfer to paper towel–lined plate. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil to skillet; increase heat to high and heat until just smoking. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic and ginger to clearing and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers. Return beef and broccoli to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

STEP BY STEP: How to Stir Fry

1. Prep Ingredients: Marinate protein (meat, seafood, or chicken). Whisk sauce ingredients in measuring cup. Add small amount of oil to garlic and ginger.
2. Batch-cook Protein: Heat oil until smoking. Drain protein and add half to pan.Cook until well browned. Remove to clean bowl. Repeat with remaining protein.

3. Steam tough vegetables: Stir-fry broccoli, asparagus, or green beans in oil in empty pan, add small amount of water, cover, and steam until crisp-tender.
4. Cook delicate vegetables: Transfer steamed vegetables to bowl; then stir-fry peppers or onions for 1 to 2 minutes in oil in empty pan.

5. Sauté aromatics: When vegetables are browned, add garlic and ginger to center of pan. Cook until fragrant (15 to 20 seconds), then stir into vegetables.
6. Recombine and sauce: Add protein and steamed vegetables back to skillet. Whisk sauce to recombine, then pour into skillet and toss until hot.

Lighter Chicken Parmesan with Simple Tomato Sauce

From Cook's Illustrated

Very crunchy and delicious but not heavy or oily; the simple tomato sauce was excellent and could be used on other recipes as well. High recommendation for these recipes. --Pamela

Lighter Chicken Parmesan with Simple Tomato Sauce

If you are tight on time, you can substitute 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce for the Simple Tomato Sauce. Two cups of fresh bread crumbs can be substituted for the panko (they will shrink as they toast). Because these cutlets are breaded, we found that one cutlet per person was plenty—but try to buy the largest chicken breasts you can to ensure good-sized portions.

Serves 6
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Table salt and ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
Vegetable cooking spray
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
2 cups tomato sauce , warmed (see below)
3 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Simple Tomato Sauce
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

2. In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

4. Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

For Simple Tomato Sauce:
Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Per Serving:
Cal 310; Fat 8 g; Sat fat 2.5 g; Chol 75 mg; Carb 20 g; Protein 38 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 790 mg

STEP BY STEP: Preparing the Chicken Cutlets

1. Tenderloins tend to fall off or disintegrate during pounding, so they are best removed and reserved for another use.
2. Halve breasts horizontally to form two cutlets. Cut this way, they need little or no pounding. If pounding, follow steps for small breasts.

FOR SMALL BREASTS: 1. Pour 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil in the center of a sheet of plastic wrap. Turn one cutlet in the oil to coat. Top with a second sheet of plastic wrap and pound gently to an even 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining cutlets, adding additional oil as needed.
2. Breasts pounded to 1/4-inch thickness (right) have considerably more surface area than unpounded breasts (left).
STEP BY STEP: Breading the Cutlets

1. Coat the dry chicken breast - liberally and evenly with flour before spanking the excess off, leaving only the barest film.
2. Using tongs, dip the floured breast in the egg wash, taking care to coat the entire surface before letting the excess drip back into the pan.

3. Good crumb depth is essential for an even, dry coating. Toss the chicken in the crumbs to coat and then press with fingers for even distribution.

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

From Cook's Illustrated

Excellent enchiladas; can be made-ahead

Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

If you prefer, Monterey Jack cheese can be used instead of cheddar, or, for a mellower flavor and creamier texture, try substituting an equal amount of farmers' cheese.

10 enchiladas, serving 4 or 5 as a main dish

2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
3/4 pound small tomatillos , husks and stems removed, each tomatillo quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 large jalapeño chiles , seeded and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 medium onion , chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese , grated (2 cups)

Tortillas and Toppings
10 corn tortillas (six-inch)
Vegetable cooking spray
3 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
5 leaves romaine lettuce , washed, dried, and shredded
2 limes , quartered

1. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatillos, jalapeños, sugar and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/3 cup of water and bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until tomatillos are softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender and puree until smooth, about 30 seconds; set aside. Rinse out saucepan.

2. FOR THE FILLING: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring ocassionally, until beginning to soften and brown, about 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken mixture to large plate; freeze for 10 minutes to cool, then combine with cilantro and cheese in medium bowl and set aside.

3. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees.

4. TO ASSEMBLE: Follow illustrations to heat tortillas and fill, roll, and sauce enchiladas. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake enchiladas on lower-middle rack until heated through and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and serve immediately, passing sour cream, avocado, lettuce, and lime wedges separately.

Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice

From Cook's Illustrated

This was amazingly easy and delicious. --Pamela

Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice

To minimize any loss of water through evaporation, cover the saucepan and use the water as soon as it reaches a boil. An 8-inch ceramic baking dish with a lid may be used instead of the baking dish and foil. To double the recipe, use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish; the baking time need not be increased.

Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice , medium-grain brown rice, or short-grain brown rice
2 1/3 cups water
2 teaspoons unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon table salt

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread rice in 8-inch-square glass baking dish.

2. Bring water and butter or oil to boil, covered, in medium saucepan over high heat; once boiling, immediately stir in salt and pour water over rice. Cover baking dish tightly with doubled layer of foil. Bake rice 1 hour, until tender.

3. Remove baking dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with dinner fork, then cover dish with clean kitchen towel; let rice stand 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer; serve immediately.

Per Serving:
Cal 180; Fat 3 g; Sat fat 0 g; Chol 0 mg; Carb 36 g; Protein 4 g; Fiber 2 g; Sodium 200 mg

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Spike’s Baja Burritos

From “Weber’s Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking with Live Fire”

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Grilling Time: 10 to14 minutes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 6-8 ounces each
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium poblano chile peppers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, cut into ½ inch dice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 ¾ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
8 flour tortillas (8 to 10 inches)
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, drained
2 cups good-quality tomato salsa

1. Prepare a two-zone fire for medium heat.

2. Lightly coat the chicken on both sides with oil. Season evenly with cumin, salt, and pepper. Brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once or twice. Swap their positions as needed for even cooking. At the same time, grill the chile peppers until evenly charred on all sides, 7 to 9 minutes, turning as needed.

3. Place the chile peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to trap the steam. Set aside for 10 minutes, then peel away and discard the charred skin, stems, and seeds. Cut the peppers into ¼ inch dice. Cut the chicken into ¼ inch strips.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese. Stir constantly until the cheese has a smooth consistency. Add the diced peppers, tomatoes, and chicken. Mix well and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and remove from heat.

5. Spread a layer of grated cheese over each tortilla, keeping a 1-inch border around the edges. Then add some of the chicken mixture and black beans. Fold the sides over the filling then roll up the tortilla to enclose the filling. Grill the burritos, seam sides down first, over direct medium heat, with the lid open, until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are well marked, about 2 minutes, turning carefully as needed. Serve warm with salsa.

Makes 8 burritos.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mojo-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

From "Weber's Charcoal Grilling - The Art of Cooking with Live Fire"

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Grilling Time: 16 to 20 minutes

¼ cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno chile pepper, including seeds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (without tenders), about 8 ounces each

1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½ inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
10 medium tomatillos, about ½ pound total, husked and rinsed
1 small jalapeno chile pepper, stem removed
¼ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 medium clove garlic
½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt

12 flour tortillas (8 inches)
3/4 cup sour cream

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag, and pour in the marinade. Press out the air and seal the bag tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat.

3. Lightly brush the onion slices on both sides with oil. Brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the onion slices, tomatillos, and jalapeno over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly charred, 6-8 minutes, turning once or twice and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. Be sure the tomatillos are completely soft as you remove them from the grill. Combine the onion slices, tomatillos, and jalapeno in a food processor along with the remaining salsa ingredients. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the salsa into a serving bowl.

4. Check the heat of the grill. You may need to add more charcoal to the fire for medium heat. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Separate the tortillas into 2 piles of 6 tortillas each. Wrap each pile in a sheet of aluminum foil. When the fire is ready, brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat with the lid closed as much as possible until the meat is firm to the touch and completely opaque in the center, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once or twice and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. At the same time, grill each packet of tortillas over indirect medium heat until warm and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and tortillas from the grill. Keep the tortillas in the foil while you slice the chicken as thinly as possible.

5. Put some sliced chicken in each warm tortilla. Pass the salsa and sour cream for toppings. Serve right away.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The "Real" Tom Collins

1 1/2 oz gin
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 to 1/2 oz simple syrup, or 1/2 tsp sugar
2-3 oz soda water

Build on the rocks in a short highball glass (what was once called, appropriately enough, a "Collins" glass). Garnish, if you like, with a cherry and orange or lemon slice.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Dinette Cake with Penuche Icing

Betty Crockers Dinner for Two Cookbook

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soft shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp. flavoring
1 egg

Heat oven to 350º. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add shortening, milk, and flavoring. Beat 2 min. medium speed on mixer or 300 strokes by hand. Add egg. Beat 2 more min. Pour into greased and floured square pan, 9 x 9 x 1 3/4". Bake 30 to 35 min., until toothpick stuck into center comes out clean.

Easy Penuche Icing

1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
3 tbsp. milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Boil and stir over lower heat 2 min. Stir in milk. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm (120º). Gradually stir in confectioners' sugar. Place pan in ice water and stir until thick enough to spread. Makes enough icing for 9" square cake.

Pork Tenderloin with Tropical Couscous

From Dining for Two

1/2 lbs. pork tenderloins
1 large garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp. ginger, fresh peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. salt plus 1/8 tsp.
3/4 cups orange juice
1 scallions thinly sliced
1/2 cup couscous minced
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

Cut the pork crosswise into 8 slices. Mash the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a small dish until a paste forms. Rub the mixture into both sides of the pork slices; set aside for 5 mintes.

Meanwhile, to make the couscous bring 3/4 cup of the juice, the ginger and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the couscous and cover; remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons juice and the scallion.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nontick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pork in the skillet in one layer. Cook until browned on the outside and the pork has lost its pink color throughout, about 2 mintues on each side. Transfer the pork to a platter and serve with the coucous.

Serves 2 people

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baked Fried Chicken

From Amy Weitzman

I adapted this from a couple of recipes on It was easy and tasty. Served with a salad. --Amy

2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tsp herbs de provence (or whatever herbs/spices you like)
6-8 chicken thighs, skin removed*
cooking spray - olive or canola oil

heat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in upper middle position.

Soak the chicken in buttermilk for 10 minutes to an hour (however much time you have). Put dry ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place a wire rack over a jelly roll pan lined with foil. Take chicken from buttermilk and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place chicken, meaty side up, on the wire rack. Spray generously with cooking spray. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until done.

*i used bone-in chicken thighs, but maybe it would work just as well with boneless?

Baked Manicotti

From Cooks Illustrated, January 2007

We prefer Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles for their delicate texture resembling fresh pasta. Note that Pasta Defino and Ronzoni brands contain only 12 no-boil noodles per package; the recipe requires 16 noodles. The manicotti can be prepared through step 5, covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

I couldn't find fresh, part-skim ricotta, so I used fresh, whole-milk ricotta; other people on the bulletin board used ricotta purchased from Costco and thought it worked just fine. By the way, two 15 ounce containers yields just about 3 cups. If desired you can add 1 pound of cooked Italian sausage to tomato sauce. Instead of using a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, I use two, 8 inch square pans and freeze one uncooked. NB: half the parmesan cheese goes in the filling, the other half gets used near the end of the cooking period. --Pamela

Serves 6 to 8

Tomato Sauce
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (in juice)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes , optional
Table salt 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil  

Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese 
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves  
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil  
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (see note above)

1. For the Sauce: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse 1 can tomatoes with their juice in food processor until coarsely chopped, 3 or 4 pulses. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining can tomatoes.
2. Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasoning with salt.
3. For the cheese filling: Combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs in medium bowl; set aside.
4. To assemble: Pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch broilersafe baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.
5. Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.
6. Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Remove baking dish, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element), and heat broiler. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve.

Pomegranate Glazed Chicken

from Everyday Food, December 2006

2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 branch fresh rosemary
3 cloves crushed garlic
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (12-14 ounces each)
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425º with rack at top-third position. Line a rimmed
baking sheet with foil.

Make glaze: in a skillet combine juices, rosemary, and garlic with a
pinch of salt and pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced to 1/2
cup, about 15 minutes. Strain to remove solids, and stir in vinegar.
Reserve 1/4 cup for serving and use remaining for basting chicken.

While glaze is reducing, loosen skin from each breast and slide 1/2
tablespoon of butter under skin. Season chicken with salt and pepper,
and place skin side up on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then
brush with glaze every 5 minutes, or so, until chicken registers
about 165º.

Drizzle with reserved glaze before serving.

Serves 4.

Curried Chicken Salad

from Five Ingredient, 15 Minute Cookbook, Weight Watchers

12 ounces cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into
strips or chunks
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. If possible make
2 hours ahead and chill in the refrigerator.

Serve on a bed of mixed salad greens.

Makes 5 servings, 1/2 cup each (3 points)

I like to serve it with some diced apple and orange slices. A little
avocado is also a nice accompaniment. I drizzle it with Balsamic
Honey Dressing (separate post).

Balsamic Honey Salad Dressing

from Five Ingredient, 15 Minute Cookbook, Weight Watchers

1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

Combine vinegar and honey in a small bowl; shake well.

Delicious on any salad, especially one made with mixed salad greens,
orange slices, goat cheese, and red onion.

Chicken and Mushroom Casserole

From Everyone Loves Chicken, a Weight Watchers book

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 pounds white button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white vermouth or white wine
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons dried cranberries* (or tart dried cherries)
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth or home-made stock

Preheat oven to 350º.

Spray a Dutch oven with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add
chicken in one layer, working in batches if necessary, and cook until
browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Do not cook on other side, just
transfer to a plate.

Add mushrooms and scallions to Dutch oven; cook, stirring frequently,
until mushrooms give off their liquid and it reduces to a glaze,
about 4 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer for 10 seconds, scrapping up
browned bits from bottom of pot.

Add thyme, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly, until fragrant,
about 10 seconds. Add rice and cranberries, stir once, then stir in
broth. Add chicken breasts, browned sided up, and bring to a simmer.

Remove Dutch oven from heat, cover, and bake until chicken is cooked
through and rice is tender but still toothsome, about 55 minutes.

Serves 6 (6 points per serving)

*Try to find unsweetened dried cranberries if you can.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

baked fried chicken

i adapted this from a couple of recipes on was easy and tasty. served with a salad.

2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp kosher salt
1-2 tsp herbs de provence (or whatever herbs/spices you like)
6-8 chicken thighs, skin removed*
cooking spray - olive or canola oil

heat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in upper middle position.

soak the chicken in buttermilk for 10 minutes to an hour (however much time you have). put dry ingredients in a shallow bowl. place a wire rack over a jelly roll pan lined with foil. take chicken from buttermilk and dredge in breadcrumb mixture. place chicken, meaty side up, on the wire rack. spray generously with cooking spray. bake 35-40 minutes, or until done.

*i used bone-in chicken thighs, but maybe it would work just as well with boneless?


Thursday, January 11, 2007

orange-yogurt cake

orange-yogurt cake

from the dec 2006 issue of martha stewart living. 

i was in the mood for a treat last night and made this cake. it only used 1 bowl! i had greek-yogurt, so i added a 4-5 extra tablespoons of orange juice until the consistency of the batter seemed right (like a thick pancake batter). i only had 1 orange, so i didn't segment the 2 oranges at the bottom of the list for garnish, i just used the orange for the juice and zest. 

unsalted butter, softened, for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp grated orange zest, plus 1 tbsp orange juice
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large oranges (1 zested into thin strips, both segmented)
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1. preheat oven to 350. butter an 8-inch round cake pan. stir flour, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, the baking powder, baking sode, salt, yogurt, oi, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl. pour into pan. bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. let cool on a wire rack.

2. place zest strips in a bowl. stir in segments and remaining tbsp sugar. garnish cake with some segments; serve with the rest. dust with confectioners' sugar.

Blog Archive