Tuesday, March 15, 2011

quick french dinner

tonight i wanted to whip up something quick and fresh, and i had all of the ingredients on hand to make a quick french meal. i'm not going to say this is authentic, but it will pass. there is a pretty hefty amount of butter, but the dish isn't heavy. don't let the butter sway you against preparing this though, it's worth every calorie.

2 firm white fish fillets (we used red snapper)
flour (for dredging)
4 tablespoons butter
juice of 1.5 big lemons
zest of 1/2 a lemon
about 1 tablespoon of finely minced parsley
one pint baby potatoes (we used white potatoes, but any will do)
8 oz. haricot vert, ends removed
1.5 oz. white truffle butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

cut the potatoes into 1/2" discs and place them in the basket of a steamer. put the pan over medium high heat, cover, and steam until they are almost done (about 10 minutes).

meanwhile, heat the 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pan (large enough for both fish fillets), and cook until it begins to bubble and turn brown around the edges. salt the fish and then sprinkle it with flour all over. pat off all excess flour and then add to the pan, skin side down (if your fillets have skin).

at this point, add the haricot vert to the steamer with the potatoes and put the lid back on, and continue steaming.

cook the fish until you can see white traveling up the sides. our fillets were quite thick, so this took several minutes, if yours are thinner, it won't take as long. once they are at this point, gently turn them and cook on the other side. your timing for this side should be half the time you had them on the first side (ex. if they were on the first side for 4 minutes, cook them on the second for 2). you don't want to overcook them, so be careful. to check for doneness, just use a fork to flake the fish at the thickest part. if it flakes, it's done. remove to the serving plates and set aside. add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley to the butter that remains in the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits...let this cook for a minute, then pour over each fillet of fish.

meanwhile, drain the potatoes and the haricot vert and add the olive oil and truffle butter to the pan. put this over a high flame and add the vegetables back in. crack in some fresh black pepper and add salt to taste, and turn the veggies in the butter and oil. remove from the heat and serve with the fish.

this recipe is a take on sole meuniere. i didnt have sole, and i don't know how authentic it is, but i know my mom makes it really well, and i know she uses these ingredients. i'm fairly certain this sause would taste excellent with shrimp, which would in turn be amazing over pasta. the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

greek pasta

well, i took a picture of this, but it doesn't look very appetizing, so i'm choosing to post this sans photo...

this is a really simple dish featuring some of my favorite things, including my go-to vinaigrette (which is really a vinaigrette by the late, great gourmet magazine). it's fast, easy, and uses a lot of pantry items you may already have on hand. it would be great for dinners or for a picnic as it would do well at room temperature.

1 box orzo, cooked per package instructions to al dente
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 artichoke hearts (packed in water), diced
8 large black olives sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 package feta cheese
1/4 cup banana peppers, diced
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed and finely minced (or pushed through a press)
1 heaping tablespoon of coarse ground dijon mustard
just over 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

i know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but don't be intimidated. put the pasta on to boil.

while the pasta is cooking, dice the artichoke hearts, slice the olives, cut the tomatoes, and dice the banana peppers. heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat and add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and olives. stir occasionally...you want them to warm through and the tomatoes to kind of fall apart, as the tomatoes give out some of their sweet liquid, the artichoke hearts will begin to caramelize, which is perfect. once this happens, turn off the heat.

at this point, your orzo should be cooked and drained. add it to the pan with the vegetables, add in the banana peppers and cheese and set aside.

to make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and sugar in a small bowl then whisk together. slowly drizzle in the olive oil - while whisking - until it's the consistency and flavor you'd like (i prefer more vinegar to oil, but everyone is different). the mustard will emulsify this, so you won't need to whisk again.

drizzle this over the pasta and stir through. serve hot or let it come to room temperature and serve. enjoy!

notes: this dish is easy and delicious. the dressing is so versatile...i'll have to give more options for this in the near future, maybe i can do a whole post on dressing variations ala mark bittman. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

fried rice

well, here i am...back and cooking! bet you thought it would never happen. and frankly, neither did i. i'm in my second trimester, and i have energy again, which is a wonderful feeling after being so tired for so long.

since i've been pregnant i've been more concerned with the food that i've been putting into my body. i want my little bump to have the very best after all! this fried rice is a great light dinner (and would also make a good lunch). it more than served two of us, which is surprising when you see the short list of ingredients below. fried rice is great because you can load it up with your favorite items...these are mine.

1 cup rice (uncooked)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red bell pepper
2 cobs of corn, kernels removed (see below for tips)
4 scallions
3 large eggs
1 boneless and skinless chicken breast
3 tablespoons soy sauce (tamari if you are preparing it gluten free)

using a rice cooker (or your preferred method of cooking rice) combine the rice and water and cook.

while that is cooking chop the red bell pepper and the scallions and mince the garlic and ginger, then set these aside. husk the corn, break (or cut) off the stem, and clean off all of the fine threads. hold the corn in your left hand and, starting at the halfway point in the cob, run your sharpest knife down the side to remove the kernels. then flip the cob over and remove the kernels on the other end. set the corn aside with the other vegetables.

clean and "de-fat" your chicken breast (that's what we call it in our household anyway) and then cut it into small pieces. you want it to distribute through the fried rice, so the pieces should be pretty small. set aside.

in a small bowl, whisk the three eggs together. set aside.

ok, now that all of your prep work is done you are ready to fry the rice! in a large pan heat the canola and sesame oil over medium high heat. add the vegetables and stir through until the bell pepper begins to soften. add the chicken and stir until it is cooked through. make a "well" in the middle of your pan by pushing all of the ingredients to the sides, and then pour the eggs into the center. cook these as you would scrambled eggs (e.g., keep moving them around with a spoon or spatula) and once they are completely cooked, mix everything together.

your rice should be done at this point, so add it to the pan and increase the heat in the pan to high. mix the rice through with the vegetable, chicken, and egg mixture and then add the soy (or tamari) sauce. the heat from the pan will remove any extra liquid and make the rice nice and fluffy. once everything is incorporated, it's ready to serve. enjoy!

notes: this is so easy, and like i said, can use any ingredients. this is just what we had on hand. make good use of your local farmers market to get the freshest ingredients you can, and this will be a delicious meal in your house too. oh, i don't know this for sure, but i'm 99% certain that if you have little ones, they will love this too.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

still here!

hello everyone (if anyone is still reading this)! i'm still here, and the nausea and queasiness associated with the first three months of pregnancy have finally passed me by. i also have some more energy here and there, and have begun to cook proper meals again.

i haven't written a new recipe since i've been pregnant, and i've done very little knitting as well. to be honest, my creative juices seem to have been zapped...but i'm trying to get back into it. once i have something new i will share with all of you.

thanks for sticking around!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

lack of appetite

you may have noticed a shortage of new recipes on the blog lately. and that's because the cooking i have been doing is rare, and very simple. i've had a severe lack of appetite lately, and also i'm really tired all of the time.

it's probably due to the little bun i'm busily cooking in my oven...that's right, i'm due november 9th! the baby is only set to take it all out of me for the next few weeks, and once that's passed, i promise some new recipes for my faithful readers.

in the meantime, feel free to peruse my sidebar for older recipes...and enjoy a glass of wine for me! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

greek frittata

i don't have a photo for this recipe, but don't let that prevent you from giving it a try. this is a fast, easy mid-week dinner, and the fact that it falls into our "weekly vegetarian meal" makes it even better.

don't think for a moment though that the vegetarian label means it's not full of flavor. the banana peppers and feta cheese keep it tangy. serve this alongside a simple salad of mixed greens with your favorite low fat dressing for a healthy weeknight meal.

3 - 4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 4 oz package of baby spinach leaves
1 8.5 oz can artichoke hearts (packed in water), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons banana peppers, roughly chopped
1 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
12 eggs
red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

preheat the oven to 350.

heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large oven-proof non-stick pan, add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about a minute). add in the spinach a handful at a time until it is all incorporated. stir with a spoon until all is wilted. add in the roughly chopped artichoke hearts and banana peppers and heat through.

meanwhile whisk all twelve eggs together in a large bowl. redistribute all of the items in the pan so that they are evenly distributed. pour the eggs over the top of the filling items and then top with the crumbled feta cheese. sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top (if you'd like a bit more spice).

cook on the stove until the bottom is set. you may need to pull up the edges of the frittata and tilt the pan so that the eggs can run under to the bottom. once the bottom is set, pop into the oven and cook until the top is set (about 10 minutes). enjoy!

easy, vegetarian, and gluten free! what more could a girl ask for? this is great for dinner, a lunch, or even breakfast. change the items you serve on the side to suit the meal you choose to serve.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

harvest salad

wow, it's been a while since i've posted. sorry for the radio silence. there really isn't an excuse, but the holidays and work were busy, and the blog just got away from me. i'll be better...promise.

that said, i'd like to present you with a recipe for a wonderful little salad. easy to make, and very hearty. it's full of all of the delicious flavors of fall and winter and will leave you and your loved ones feeling satisfied despite the fact that it is vegetarian and, well, a salad.

one large package of baby spinach leaves, washed (yes, again)
1 large butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cut into 1" cubes
4 ounces of pine nuts
3 ounces of goat cheese
1 chipotle in adobe (see notes for storing the rest of the can), chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced fine
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for butternut
salt and pepper to taste

line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment and preheat the oven to 350.

peel, core, and cut up the butternut into 1" cubes. toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and transfer to the baking sheet. bake for 20 minutes (or until the butternut is soft, but not yet browned). remove from the oven and set aside.

toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium high heat until they begin to brown and they smell deeply nutty. set aside.

wash the spinach and add to a large bowl.

i use the mini food processor attachment for my immersion blender to make the dressing, and it works like a charm. if you don't have one of these, you can do it the old fashioned way by mincing the chipolte very fine, mincing the garlic very fine and adding these, along with the vinegar to a small bowl. very slowly stream in the olive oil and whisk while you do. eventually everything will all come together, and this is called an emulsion. in a food processor, just add all of the ingredients and whizz. either way, add salt and pepper to taste.

toss the spinach leaves in the dressing and then plate. top each plate with crumbled goat cheese, the toasted pine nuts, and a generous amount of the roasted butternut squash. enjoy!

to store the remaining chipotles, put them into a ziploc baggie and press all of the air out. then pop this into the freezer...when you need more, they will be there.

this salad is spicy and sweet, and very good for you. it serves two as a main course and four as a starter or side dish.