Monthly Archives: May 2009
|May 29, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Asian, Fish and Seafood, Lent, Light, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals|
My husband loves Chinese food and always wants to order take-out, but I don’t really like it (unless its raining for some reason). It’s always so heavy and sticky and sweet. Not my thing. When it comes to Asian, I definitely prefer Thai or Indian. Once in a while though I’ll make something Chinese at home to make him happy.
He liked this recipe more than I did, but I thought it was pretty good too. It was very light and fresh tasting with the perfect amount of kick from the ginger and just a touch of sweetness. I served it with brown rice to round out the meal and make it a little more filling, but I also think it would be very good served with rice noodles.
This recipe came together very quickly and is perfect for a weeknight.
Spicy Shrimp with Green Beans
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 lb. extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup sake
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 3 ramps, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- Brown rice for serving
Combine the shrimp, mirin, soy sauce, scallion, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a medum skillet. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add beans and stir to coat with spices. Cook about 5 minutes or until beans being to soften. Add shrimp and marinade and cook until liquid thickens andshrimps cooks through, about 6 minutes.
Serves with brown rice.
|May 28, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Fish and Seafood, Italian, One Pan, Sides, Soups and Stews|
Gumbo is one of my favorite soups. There’s just something about it that’s so delicious. I’m not a fan of canned soups at all, but I will on occasion eat canned gumbo because that’s how much I like it. This recipe is way better than canned though. It’s very spicy (you can reduce the cayenne if you don’t like as much spice) and it has a nice, rich texture. The bacon in the soup adds a nice slightly smokey flavor, and the bacon wrapped shrimp on top is a nice crispy treat. Once again, I got to use my favorite local chicken sausages in this. This is the kind of recipe that’s awesome right away, but even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld. Make it at the beginning of the week and have the leftovers for lunch!
The trick to a good gumbo is in the roux. Roux can be intimidating – they call it Cajun napalm!- but it isn’t hard at all if you pay attention to what you’re doing. The key is to cook it slowly, making sure you stir constantly to prevent burning. If you start to see any black specks, you’ve burned it and should toss it and start over. If you stir constantly you shouldn’t have a problem though. At first, it might seem that your roux will ever darken. Once it does though it starts changing colors pretty quickly. Once it gets nice and dark – a milk chocolate color as seen above – remove it from the burner but continue to stir! The heat from the pot will continue to cook it for a few minutes. Once it cools a bit you can set it to the side until you’re ready to add it to the gumbo. If any oil rises to the top, you can pour it off before adding it.
Spicy Andouille Gumbo with Bacon Wrapped Shrimp:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 slices center cut bacon, divided
- 2 chicken andouille sausage links (I like Billinskis)
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups fat free chicken broth
- 1 Tbs Cajun seasoning
- 1 Tbs cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- 1 can okra with tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 lb shrimp- 10 set aside and the rest chopped
- 2 cups cooked white rice, for serving
Begin by making roux: In a deep sided saucepan, combine oil and flout over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reduces and becomes a dark brown (almost a milk chocolate color). This will take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and continue stirring for a few minutes to prevent burning. Set aside.
Set a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cut one slice of bacon into 1/2″ pieces and cook until crisp. Add sausage and brown. Add velery,red pepper, jalapenio, scallions, and garlic. Cook until soft. Add next 8 ingredients (through bay leaves). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add roux. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add tomato, okra, and chopped shrimp and cook another 10 minutes or until okra is sodt and shrimp is cooked through.
Meanwhile, divide remaining bacon into 10 pieces. Wrap around shrimp and place on a skewer. Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked and bacon is crisp.
To serve, mound rice in a bowl. Spoon gumbo around rice. Top with a bacon wrapped shrimp.
I’m also submitting it to the Souper Sunday roundup at Kahakai Kitchen.
|May 27, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Sides, Summer, Weekend Meals|
I love barbequed ribs, but making them always seemed very intimidating – they have to cook for so long on the grill and I’m always convinced that I’ll burn them to a crisp. The barbeque braising recipes in the most recent Fine Cooking magazine caught my eye because they start and finish on the grill, but you braise them for the majority of the cooking time. That, I can do! The suggested putting the braising pot right on the grill but I was afraid of ruining my pot and I didn’t want to waste that much propane so I did it on the stove top. They came out perfectly! If you do the initial sear the night before and transfer them to a crock pot to braise, they would be perfect for a weeknight.
The flavor combination on these is incredible. Smokey, spicy, and sweet without being too sweet. It uses a vinegar and mustard based sauce with no tomato so its pretty thin and different from what I normally think of as a barbeque sauce. From the research I did, I guess it’s more of a South Carolina style? Whatever it is, I love it!
The glaze is especially awesome, so I recommend making extra for dipping. The braising liquid is good as a sauce too, but the glaze is where its at! The braising liquid will be very thin - DO NOT be tempted to keep the vegetables in and a take an immersion blender to it. The fats will emulsify and it will be disgusting. Trust me. In concept, its good but in practice… not so much. Luckily I only did this to about half of my liquid so I didn’t ruin it all.
I served the ribs with corn on the cob (grilled in the husks) and hasselback potatoes. The sauce was really good on the potato too. I’d also like to try the rub and the glaze on grilled chicken – I bet that would be delicious!
Country Ribs with Beer and Mustard Glaze
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 1 Tbs smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 lb country style pork ribs
- 4 strips center-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
- 2 yellow onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 cups fat free chicken broth
- 1 12-oz. bottle dark lager (I used Warsteiner Dunkel)
- 1/4 cup c vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 c dry mustard
- 1/4 c dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Combine paprika, sugar, dry mustard, sage, salt, and pepper. Set aside 2 Tbs and rub the remainder all over meat. Cover and refrigerate for a little while (I did about 30 minutes). Heat your grill to medium-high. Grill until nicely browned- about 4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat.
Cook bacon in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Once bacon crisps, add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the garlic, carrot, and the reserved spice rub and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the broth, beer, vinegar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add ribs, cover and let simmer for about 90 minutes (alternately transfer to a crock pot and cook on high for 8 hours).
Prepare the glaze: combine 1/4 c dry mustard, 1/4 c water, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until well blended. Fire up the grill to a medium flame. Baste ribs with glaze and grill until they begin to bubble and darken – about 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove to a platter.
Meanwhile, strain your braising liquid. Allow to sit for a few minutes so oil can rise to top. Skim oil from the top and discard. Serve this sauce and additional glaze alongside ribs.
Serves about 4.
|May 26, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Fruit, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals, Salads, Summer|
Another holiday weekend has come and gone, and here I am posting another salad. I promise I didn’t do it on purpose! Its just that long weekends like this always involve friends and family and lots of food. When they’re over I crave vegetables and look for something light. A few days of unhealthy eating really makes me feel gross, so salad is exactly the kind of thing that I look for.
I had a great holiday – CG, Mo, and Heather came to town and we had a great time hanging out. I ate way too much though. And way way too much sweets! Mo brought me cupcakes from Crumbs, and we went to Cheesecake Factory, and I had bread pudding with my lunch at the Pump Station. I’m definitely looking forward to keeping things very light and healthy this week, and hopefully I’ll have some great new recipes to share.
This salad was excellent. The berries were very juicy and sweet and the herbs on the goat cheese were full of flavor. I warmed the cheese in a pan, which gave it an extra creamy texture. It would also be great to encrust the cheese in nuts before warming it (I think pecans or walnuts would work well). Overall, this had a nice balance of sweet and savory and the whole thing was filling without feeling heavy.
- 8 oz strip steak, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs apricot preserves
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 oz soft goat cheese, like chevre
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, parsley, and chives
- 6 cups spring mix, washed and torn
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
Season steak with salt and pepper and grill to desired doneness. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice thinnly across the grain.
Divide cheese into two rounds. Roll in herbs. Gently warm in a pan set over low heat, about 3 minutes.
To make dressing: combine preserves and vinegar, whisking vigorously to fully dissolve preserves. While whisking or using an immersion blender, slowly add oil. Continue to blend until emulsified.
Combine lettuce and berries. Toss with dressing. Arrange steak and cheese over the top.
|May 22, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Italian, Lent, Quick Weeknight Meals, Reviews, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Those may look like normal meatballs, but I promise the closest thing in there to meat is eggplant. I really like to make these as a meatless alternative. The texture is very similar to a regular meatball (not at all like the frozen vegetarian meatballs you can buy) and they stay nice and moist. They taste a little like eggplant parmesan – which makes sense considering the ingredients – but that shape makes them easy to toss into pasta or on a sub or however you feel like eating them. They’re also good dipped in a yogurt and cucumber sauce! I’ve gotten quite a few people hooked on these….
Since I was using my food processor to shred the eggplant, I decided it was easier to use a jarred sauce for this. I went with a jar of Napa Valley Bistro Creamy Marinara. I like that the ingredient lists is short and full of recognizable foods like tomatoes, olive oil, wine and heavy cream. It isn’t too bad in terms of calories either! Its not as good as homemade, but its decent in a pinch. Its a little sweeter than I generally like my sauce to be, but some crushed red pepper helps with that.
I threw in some baby spinach right at the end of heating the sauce and allowed it to wilt, then served it with rigatoni and the eggplant balls. I topped it with some grated parmasean and some fresh basil. Not bad!
- 1 large Italian eggplant, peeled
- 1/4 cup romano cheese, shredded
- 2 eggs, lightly scrambled
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- crushed red peppers, salt, and Italian seasonings to taste
- 3 Tbs olive oil
Shred the eggplant using a food processor with a shredding attachment or a box grater. Using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can and discard. Combine with cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, and seasoning and mix well. The mixture should be about the same consistency as meatballs – if its too wet add some more breadcrumbs – if its too dry add an egg white. Form into balls – I like mine to be about the size of golf balls. A melon baller works well if you want an appetizer sized ball.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the balls to the hot oil. Cook about 15 minutes,rolling them around in the pan occasionally to prevent them from burning, but allowing a nice crust to form on the outside.
Serves about 4.
|May 21, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Fruit, Mexican and Southwestern, One Pan, Quick Weeknight Meals, Summer|
I’m not sure what it is about pollo fundido that so fun. I think it’s the name! Or these cheese. Either way, this is a great dish. This time we went with a Tex-Mex approach, which was a nice change from the more traditional approach to Mexican that we normally take. The beans and corn made this very filling.
I’ve been using a lot more dried beans recently. I find that in addition to having less sodium than canned, the texture is also nicer. Less mealy. I recently discovered that once you cook them, they keep nicely in the freezer… so you can cook up a big batch and then have them ready to go for whenever you need them. Now that you know that, there’s really no excuse to buy canned, is there? The dried beans are even cheaper!
I think this would be a great party dish because the presentation in the pot is awesome – the cheese gets nice and browned and bubbly and it smells awesome. We served this with corn tortillas, but after one we decided it was actually better eaten plain. The tortillas were a little too overpowering. This is also a great dish to play with – it was great as it, but next time I think we might use onions and peppers instead of corn and substitute queso quesadilla for the cheddar. Because that would be traditional and we’re boring like that.
Tex-Mex Pollo Fundido
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 c flour
- 2.5 Tbs butter
- 1.5 cups corn
- 1.5 cups black beans
- 2 jalapenos, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 Tbs oregano
- 1.5 cups extra sharp cheddar, shredded
Preheat broiler. Toss the chicken with the chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess.
Melt the butter in a medium oven-proof skillet. Add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes. Add the lime juice, corn, beans, jalapeno, oregano and 1/2 cup water. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Top with cheese. Broil for about 3 minutes, or until cheese starts to bubble and brown.
Coconuts were on sale for 99-cents this week and I couldn’t resist. I whipped up some smoothies to go along with our chicken, and they were fabulous! The fresh coconut added a really nice coconut-y flavor with out being too strong or tasting like sunscreen. I put some rum in mine to go with dinner, but if you leave that out these would be a great option for a refreshing breakfast! I hope coconuts are on sale again next week…
- Water from 1 coconut
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
- 1/2 mango
- 6 ice cubes
- 1/4 cup rum or tequila (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serves 4.