Monday, October 31, 2011

Mexican chocolate cookies

I am a huge fan of sweet plus heat!  Even though I've already got a recipe for chocolate cookies that use chili powder, I've still been experimenting to find a type I like even better.  What I did was to take a page from some of my friends who love authentic Mexican food and fool around with cinnamon and red pepper instead.  Loved it!  Could even go heavier on the red pepper if you'd like.

Start with my recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies.
Add 1 t cinnamon and 1/4 t ground red pepper.
Reduce vanilla to 1 t
Use raw sugar on tops

Friday, October 28, 2011

Corn chowder with seafood

Even though I'm calling this soup a "chowder", it doesn't have any milk or cream in it.  So if you're a purist, you might want to call it "soup" instead!  I used my immersion blender right in the pot to create a creamy texture.  Here's how:

Corn Chowder with Seafood

Olive oil
Onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 c corn, fresh or frozen

4 c seafood stock
1/2 to 1 lb of white fish, lobster, or crab
Fresh tarragon

Saute the onion, garlic, and corn in a dutch oven until just beginning to brown.  Add the stock and bring to a low boil.  Lower the heat and use a ladle to remove a few scoops of corn from the pot; set aside.  Use an immersion blender to puree the remaining corn in the pot.  Return the reserved corn and add the seafood.  Cook on medium heat until fish is just cooked through.  Add fresh tarragon and serve.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tomatoes with feta and oregano

No recipe needed.  Just substitute thin slices of feta cheese and fresh oregano for the usual mozzarella and basil.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Yum.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chai-pistachio sugar cookies

My friend Beth asked me for a dessert with pistachios recently, and so I came up with this riff on my Vanilla Sugar Cookies for her!  Use the recipe, but add the following spices to the sugar and sour cream mixture: 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 t ginger, 1/2 t cardamom, 1/4 t allspice.  Reduce the vanilla to 1 t.  Stir in 1 c chopped pistachio nuts to batter before forming into balls. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kale with prosciutto and Parmesan

Kale is wonderful!  I don't care what anyone else says, it's just wonderful.  For one thing, it holds up to cooking, and doesn't turn into mush like spinach.  I like spinach too, but kale is wonderful.

Kale with Prosciutto and Parmesan

2 bunches of kale
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 small jalepenos, finely chopped
4 slices of prosciutto, chopped

1 c vegetable broth

1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs

Wash the kale thoroughly and strip the leaves from the stems.  Chop coarsely and set aside.  Saute the garlic, jalepenos, and prosciutto in a dutch oven until beginning to crisp.  Scrape out of pot and set aside.  Add stock and kale to the pot and simmer, mostly covered, until kale is wilted, around 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the garlic mixture and all but 3 T of the cheese, and stir together.  Scrape all the kale into a 9 x 13 pan and top with the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.  Place under the oven broiler for a few minutes to brown the topping. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blueberry scones

Scones!  Most people either love 'em or hate 'em, and I'm convinced that most of the ones who hate 'em have only had the dry crumbly hard version.

Well, these ain't them.

Between the hefty butter content and the full-fat heavy cream, there's almost no way these could possibly dry out!  Martha Stewart had this recipe in one of her recent magazines...I can't remember which one, but you can find it online at the link. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Onion and bacon tart

I realized that it had been a long time since we had indulged in this delicious Onion and Bacon Tart, so we paired it with a terrific salad that contained lots of the herbs from our garden.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Figs wrapped in bacon

Ok, the ultimate in decadence for an appetizer!  Try to get Black Mission figs, fresh.  Even if you think they're kind of boring, once they've cooked down for awhile with the bacon, you get that wonderful sweet and salt thing going on.  I just wrapped each fig in 1/2 slice of bacon and stuck it with a toothpick.  Roast at 450 for 30 to 40 minutes, pouring off the grease as needed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fig barbecue sauce

At our last cookout, I decided to do chicken, some with heat and some with sweet!  For the heat, we used my Chipotle-Orange BBQ Sauce, and for the sweet, we used this fig-based sauce:

Fig Barbecue Sauce

1/2 c dried figs
Boiling water to cover
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 T tomato paste
1/2 t salt
Canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 c water
Bay leaf

Cover the figs with boiling water and set aside to soften.  Drain the figs and add the vinegar, tomato paste, and salt.  Puree.  In a small skillet, saute garlic in a bit of oil until softened.  Add the fig puree and add enough water to make a thick but workable sauce.  Add a bay leaf and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add more water if needed.  Store in the fridge.     

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lemon-curry chicken

We love all different curry mixes.  This particular one, with only a small amount of cumin, may be a good way to introduce a reluctant curry-eater to the beast :-)  You can easily double or triple this recipe to do more chicken; as printed below, it's enough for 4 decent sized chicken thighs.

Lemon-Curry Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 T tomato paste
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin seeds

1/2 t cinnamon
2 t coriander
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt

Put the chicken into a zip-loc bag along with the sauce ingredients and mix it around until the thighs are fully coated.  Heat a cast-iron skillet on the stove and sear each side of the chicken in a little oil.  Place the skillet into an oven heated to 350 and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes.    

Friday, October 7, 2011

Simple skillet whitefish

Here's a great way to add excellent flavor to tilapia!  This recipe works well with any whitefish fillets, though.

Simple Skillet Whitefish

Olive oil
2 lb whitefish fillets
Large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 to 4 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
Water as needed
2 - 3 T fresh oregano
Salt and pepper

In a cast iron skillet, heat some oil and fry the fish on both sides until cooked almost completely through.  Remove to a plate.

Add more oil to the skillet and cook the onions and garlic until soft.  Add the tomatoes and cook down into a chunky sauce, adding water as needed.  Keep at a simmer and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Return the fish to the skillet and heat through, adding the oregano, salt, and pepper.  I like to stir and break up the fish, but you can also leave it in larger pieces.  Serve with bread.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Marinated lamb for subs

I can never get over how many people tell me they don't like lamb.  What's not to like?

One pound of lamb (more or less) makes four decent sized sub sandwiches.  Marinate the lamb ahead of time so the flavor has a chance to really sink in, preferably all day.

Marinated Lamb Sub Sandwiches

1 lb lamb, cubed
3 T olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 t oregano
1 t basil
1 T mint leaves, fresh

Olive oil
Vidalia onion, sliced thin
Green pepper, sliced thin

4 sub rolls

Put the lamb and the marinade ingredients into a zip-loc bag and place in the refrigerator, turning several times during the day.  In a saute pan, cook the onions and peppers until soft, and set aside, covered with foil.  Dump the lamb cubes into the pan and cook until browned on all sides.  Serve with onions and peppers on sub rolls.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Candied jalapeños

Sweet with heat...can't be beat!  Scarf them up plain, serve them on a cream cheese schmeared bagel, cook with them if you'd like.  Check out Serious Eats for the recipe!