Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Artichokes, wine, and garlic! What's not to love?

I love this recipe for Artichokes in Wine and Garlic Sauce, which I've shared previously!  It's so easy to make, lends itself to doubling or tripling for a party, and is sooooo delicious.   Serve them plain or on a salad.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easy dinner recipes with a kick

A guest post by Melissa C, a writer for the BlogContentGuild

Some people think “easy” and “flavorful” are mutually exclusive, but that certainly isn’t the case. There are plenty of places to find easy dinner recipes, but what about those times when you’re feeling adventurous and — dare we say — a little bit spicy? Read on for two delicious (and easy!) recipes with a kick.

Crock pot curry

This recipe, inspired by Taste of Home, takes less than half an hour to prepare. Like most crock pot meals, it cooks long and slow with minimal supervision.

- 6 chicken breast halves
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 14-oz can coconut milk
- 3 sliced green onions (divided)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Cooked rice to serve over

Salt the chicken breasts and lightly brown it in a skillet. When browned, transfer the meat to the crock pot. Add the curry, cayenne, turmeric and coconut milk to the pot and stir. Add about half the onion, and then cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until the chicken is tender.

After the chicken is cooked, mix together the cornstarch and water and add it to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and allow the sauce to thicken for about half an hour. Once the sauce is thick enough, spoon the mixture over rice and season with lime juice. Garnish the dish with the remaining onions and enjoy!

Mexican the mas rapido way

If Indian isn’t your thing, try out this taco recipe from Cooking Light to add some spice to your weekly dinner schedule.

- 1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
-  1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (or more if you want it spicier)
- 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped tomato
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 8 tortillas (flour or corn, whatever you prefer)

Season pork with salt and pepper and sauté it with olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When browned (about four minutes), remove the pork from the pan and set it aside. Sauté onion and jalapeno in the pan until tender, about five minutes. Add the broth and simmer for five minutes, then stir in the tomato and simmer for an additional two minutes. Add the pork back to the pan, along with the cilantro and lime juice. Cook for about a minute or until the pork is done.

Add the mixture to heated tortillas and enjoy! This dish is great with chips and salsa or a bean side dish.

Add these recipes to your repertoire for those days when the normal fare just won’t cut it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Almond-crusted salmon

I found (and made!) this amazing recipe on How Sweet It Is for Almond-Crusted Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze.  While I did change the recipe slightly, including using trout instead of salmon, the basics were exactly as you'll find at the original link.  We had it with steamed broccolini and lemon zest, and a side of sticky rice.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Malaysian chicken pizza

Cooking Light had an interesting twist on classic pizza with their Malaysian Chicken Pizza recipe.  We liked it well enough, but it won't go into our personal list of favorites.  However, I still thought it was worth passing on if you like the idea of a spicy hot peanut sauce pizza :-)  I used our favorite Thin Pizza Crust recipe.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amish Raisin Cookies

Here's one of my favorite local treats from where I grew up.  Amish Raisin Cookies are easier to make than they look; the crust and topping are just variations on a theme.  This recipe will fill a 9 x 13 pan, but you can cut it in half if you'd like.

Amish Raisin Cookies

2 1/2 c raisins
1 c orange juice
4 t cornstarch
2 T sugar
2 t lemon juice

Crust and Topping:
2 c flour
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c plus 3 T butter, softened
2 t vanilla
1/4 c brown sugar

Soak the raisins in the orange juice for about 30 minutes.

While they soak, combine the flour through the salt in a large bowl.  With a mixer on low, cut in 1 c of the butter, one small piece at a time.  Stir in the vanilla.  Mix well.  Spoon about 2/3 of the mixture into a prepared 9 x 13 baking dish and press it into a firm crust.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Add the rest of the butter and the brown sugar to the remaining 1/3 flour mixture and mix until larger pieces form.

Drain the orange juice into a medium saucepan.  Whisk in the cornstarch and sugar, and cook until thickened.  Add the raisins and lemon juice.  Pour the raisin filling over the hot crust and spread it evenly.  Sprinkle on the topping mixture.  Return to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the topping is deep golden brown.  Cool well before cutting. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Zucchini cake

When my mother told me that she wanted me to make a Zucchini Cake that she had found in the August 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine for her birthday, I wasn't overly excited.  I've never been too excited by zucchini cake or bread.  But when I looked over the ingredient list, I changed my mind quickly.  I did make some changes, which I've outlined below, but it was really the flavor profile that the spices added that got me excited...and let me tell you, this cake lives up to its promise!

I failed to take a picture of the cake at her house, where I did make it in bundt pan.  Back at home, I made another batch and baked them as muffins, as shown above.  Here is the recipe with the changes I made.  Or visit the link above and bake Martha's version.

Zucchini Cake

For the cake:
2 ½ c zucchini, unpeeled but trimmed
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 ½ t baking powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t anise seeds
1/4 t ground cardamom
1 dash of allspice
1 t salt

3 large eggs
1 ½ c sugar
6 oz butter (1/4 c + 2 T), melted
1/4 c + 2 T applesauce
½ t grated orange zest
1 T orange juice

For the glaze:
1 ¼  cups powdered sugar
2 dashes of ground cardamom and allspice
1 t finely grated orange zest
3 T fresh orange juice
Milk to thin (if needed)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan. Grate zucchini and squeeze dry in a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, then mix in melted butter, applesauce, zucchini, orange zest, and orange juice. Stir in dry ingredients until fully integrated. Pour evenly into bundt pan. Bake in 325 oven for about 60 minutes. When done, a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out completely clean.  For muffins, fill cups 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake for 25 to 28 minutes. 

Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack. Cool another 30 minutes before adding glaze.

For the glaze:
Mix all ingredients until smooth and the consistency of thick honey.  Use a large glass measuring cup and pour over the cooled cake. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Simple shrimp salad

I didn't much like the dressing suggestion that came with this was too bitter, and since endive is already bitter, it was just too much.  I might try it again, but I'd probably use a slightly sweet vinaigrette of some sort (pear? apple?).

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp, cooked tail-on
Avocado, sliced
Orange, supremed
Sweet vinaigrette dressing

For each salad, slice up an endive crosswise.  Add shrimp, sliced avocado, and supremed orange sections.  Add dressing and serve.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cream cheese-apricot brownies

I shared one of my favorite "grown-up" brownie recipes with you awhile back, and even though I love Cream Cheese-Raspberry Brownies to death, it's just possible that I love this variation even more.  Follow the directions for the originals, but substitute (what else?) apricot preserves.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cucumbers in sesame oil

So simple, so good.  Enough said.

Cucumbers in Sesame Oil

English cucumber
1 shallot, minced
1 T canola oil
2 T rice vinegar
1 t sugar
1 t sesame oil
Salt to taste
Sesame seeds

Peel strips down the length of the cuke if you want to make it look pretty, and slice it thinly.  Whisk together the rest of the ingredients except for the seeds and pour over the cucumber slices.  Allow to sit at room temperature and marinate for awhile if possible.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.      

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free e-cookbook for you to download!

I took a look through the table of contents and through some of the recipes, and it looks like a book that readers here would enjoy.  Real ingredients and quick preparation...hard to beat that!  The author, Chef Jeff, says, "Let's get the family back to the dinner table and out of the fast food joints!"  Sounds good to me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Red peppers and zucchini curry

Here's a really simple idea that I saw in one of the issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Slice up red pepper and zucchini, and saute them in olive oil with red curry paste.  Very nice!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Split pea soup

You can never have too many recipes for good split pea soup, so despite the fact that I've got at least three other versions on this blog, I've made another that I want to share.

Other pea soup recipes:
Pea soup with smoked turkey
Spicy pea soup
Pea and bean soup

Split Pea Soup

2 thick slices of bacon (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped

1 lb split peas, washed
2 quarts of water
1 t salt
3/4 t marjoram
1 t basil
1/2 t cumin
1/2 c dry white wine
Black pepper to taste

In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove it, along with most of the grease, and crumble the bacon.  Saute the vegetables in the remaining grease until softened.  Add the water, peas, and herb, bring to a boil, and simmer for a couple of hours, adding more water as needed.  Add the wine and adjust the seasonings.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup as much as you'd like.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tomato-corn soup

Hannaford's Fresh magazine had a good-looking recipe for Harvest Tomato-Corn Soup last month, and I ended up modifying it just a bit.  See what you'll probably want to do yet a third version of this delicious soup!  Here's my version:

Tomato-Corn Soup

3 large tomatoes
Olive oil
Vidalia onion, diced
2 small jalepenos, diced
1/2 c celery, chopped
Clove of garlic, minced
2 c vegetable broth
2 c tomato juice
2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
Tabasco sauce to taste
Greek yogurt

Remove the core and slice an X in the bottoms of the tomatoes.  In a large saucepan, drop tomatoes into boiling water and then douse in cold water.  Slip off skins and set aside.

In a dutch oven, saute the onion through the garlic until softened.  Add the broth and juice and bring just to a low boil.  Chop the tomatoes and add, along with the corn.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Heat through and add the herbs just before serving.  Add Tabasco and Greek yogurt to each bowl as desired.