Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spaghetti al Vino Bianco

Oh my gosh.  This stuff is absolutely delicious.  I know it looks like normal old pasta without very many interesting things even added to it, but trust's not!  This is Spaghetti al Vino Bianco, where the pasta is actually cooked in the white wine.  It doesn't turn out that disgusting purple color that you get when you cook it in red wine.  It is just amazing. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Brussels sprouts with pecans and bacon

Is it possible to have too many Brussels sprouts recipes?  Not if you live in our house, especially not if there's bacon involved  ;-)

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Bacon

4 slices of bacon
1 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
1/2 c chopped pecans

Cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet until crisp.  Remove from the pan to a paper towel-covered plate to drain.  Pour off most of the grease and add the sprouts to the skillet with just a few T of grease.  Stir and cook, adding a few tablespoons of water from time to time to create steam, stirring until sprouts are tender, about 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Crumble in the bacon and add the pecans, tossing together just to heat through before serving.

Friday, May 25, 2012


It's always great to have mussels in the spring, and even though they are perfectly fine simply steamed open and served with butter, lemon, or some sort of seafood sauce, with just a bit extra effort they can end up being the centerpiece of an absolutely magnificent meal.  And they don't even take very long!

Beverly Dowdy won a prize from Hannaford markets for her recipe for Marvelous Mussels.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pork loin with apple-cranberry filling

We've come to really enjoy a rolled pork loin or pork roast once in awhile.  Although it takes a bit of prep work (which I never seem to mind!), the results are good looking and majorly delicious.  It's also an easy way to keep the meat moist.  Use a meat thermometer to make sure you don't overcook the pork.

I found a new recipe at Cook's Illustrated for a very tasty filling.  The full recipe called for grilling, but I ended up roasting it just like the other rolled pork loin that I make.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nutella-chocolate fudge

We're all about easy fudge recipes at our house, and this one for Nutella-Chocolate Fudge that I found at Tasty Kitchen couldn't be much easier...or better tasting!  I found it took a bit longer than the two hour minimum called for to become really firm.  No problem though, as it melts easily in your mouth after giving you just the perfect amount of resistance when you bite into it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Roasted fennel and artichokes

We love all different types of roasted vegetables, and so I was very tempted by this mixture of Fennel and Artichoke Hearts that was featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine.  But of course I also had to mess with it.  I added Brussels sprouts, halved, and left off the parsley, just using fennel fronds for the garnish.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Corned beef

I just realized that I forgot to post my favorite broth mixture for boiling corned beef when it was St Patrick's Day.  Since New Englanders are likely to eat corned beef any time of year in the form of a "boiled dinner", I guess there's really no problem with posting it now!

Corned Beef Cooking Broth

Garlic cloves
Pepper corns
Bay leaves

12 oz Guinness beer
1 c beef broth

Make a cheesecloth bundle from the garlic and herbs and tie to the handle of the stock pot.  Add the beer and broth to the pot and add enough water to cover the meat.  Boil forever.  The broth becomes very concentrated as you continue to add more water and boil it away.  At the end, you can reduce some of the broth for a wonderful sauce.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Broccoli rabe and sausage pasta

There are lots of different versions of this easy (and relatively fast) dish, and they are all delicious.  My own preference is a combination of several recipes that I've played with, but my introduction to it sits squarely at the feet of a friend's mother.  Mama V is a wicked good cook, and definitely knows how to feed an army.  I had to cut back on the quantities for us, but I sure wouldn't mind going to her house and eating from the huge communal bowl!

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta

1 lb pasta (penne, orechette, or fusilli)
1 lb broccoli rabe, chopped
8 oz Italian sausage, hot and sweet (or sweet plus red pepper flakes to taste)
Onion, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t anchovy paste, or mashed fillets
Olive oil
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c chicken broth
2 T butter
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta, and cook al dente.  In the meantime, prepare the broccoli rabe and sausage.

In a large Dutch oven, steam the broccoli rabe until just tender.  Drain and set aside.

Remove the sausage from their casings and brown them in the Dutch oven.  Add the onion towards the end and cook till tender.  Remove sausage to a plate, retaining most of the rendered oil in the pot. 

Add the garlic, anchovy paste, a bit of olive oil if needed, and the lemon juice to the Dutch oven and stir together.  Add the steamed broccoli rabe and saute lightly.  Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Add the butter.  Stir in the sausage mixture and heat through.  Add the drained pasta and heat through.  Serve with cheese.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Braised lamb with potatoes

Usually I prefer to roast a large boneless leg of lamb, but there's also a time and a place for smaller pieces or even individual chops.  If you know that timing is going to be really really tricky, this might be your best won't hurt the dish at all to stay in the oven longer.  The meat and potatoes will just keep getting more tender.

Braised Lamb with Potatoes (Greek style)

1 c fresh lemon juice (from 4 or 5 lemons)
1/2 c olive oil
3 T fresh oregano or 1 T dried
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 lbs of lamb, chops, chunks, or leg slices
2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into quarters

Combine lemon juice, oil, oregano, salt and pepper in a zip loc bag. Add lamb to marinade, turning to coat well. Refrigerate 24 hours, turning a few times.

Place lamb and marinade in a roasting pan, adding water if needed to come up about half way on meat.  Cover pan tightly with foil and roast at 300 for an hour or more. Flip lamb and add potatoes.  Roast for another hour or more.  Uncover and roast at 400 to brown the potatoes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pasta with walnuts, ricotta, and lemon

I went looking for campanelle pasta recently, because I wanted to try a new Martha recipe, but I drew a blank at my local market.  Instead of subbing in another twisty pasta shape, I decided to go with orechette, one of my new'll be seeing more of it here!  Here's the original recipe for Campanelle with Walnuts, Ricotta, and Lemon.  I made a half-recipe, and it was more than enough for two of us.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chocolate matzo treats

During the Passover holiday this year, I made four varieties of Chocolate Wafers, substituting matzo for the wafers and only coating one side with chocolate.  I've listed the toppings below, and the only one that I would leave out next time is the mango and paprika.  But who knows?  You might really like it!

Dark chocolate with orange extract, topped with orange zest and roasted hazelnuts

White "chocolate" with chai spices, topped with pistachios

Dark chocolate topped with dried mango and paprika

Dark chocolate topped with crystallized ginger and candied fennel seeds - still our favorite!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Stuffed grape leaves

I had a ball the other weekend, preparing (and eating) stuffed grape leaves.  DH was returning from a business trip, and I wanted something that would constitute a full meal, but would also be easy to eat in installments since he never knows what time zone he's in when he gets home.

Having done a fair amount of Greek cooking, I had several different recipes to choose from for the filling, but as I looked around for some tips on the actual stuffing and cooking, I really liked the recipe that was on the Greek Food site.  So that's what I'm recommending.  I substituted ground lamb for the beef, but use whichever you want.  You can also easily make this into a vegetarian meal by subbing in tempeh or another grain for the meat.

Now I can't wait for our grape vines to start leafing! 

Roasted vegetables, salad, and stuffed grape leaves

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Thai fried chicken

I found a recipe for Thai Fried Chicken that looked soooo good, but I balked at doing the deep frying.  Therefore, mine didn't turn out anywhere near as deliciously decadent as the original (at least I'm betting that's the case), and wasn't crispy at all, but it was still pretty good.  I did mine in a cast iron skillet, first browning and then roasting in the oven.