Monthly Archives: October 2009
|October 30, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Italian, Lent, Quick Weeknight Meals, Special Occasions|
My inspiration for this recipe came while I was flipping though this months issue of Food and Wine magazine. Two dishes caught my eye: one was a pasta tossed with zucchini and the other was a baked shrimp scampi. I love the idea of tossing zucchini with pasta – its a great way to add some bulk and stretch one serving of pasta into a filling meal. The zucchini soaked up the flavors of the scampi beautifully, and it was easy to forget that there were vegetables hidden in your pasta as you were eating it. This scampi recipe is adapted from the one in the magazine, but by butterflying the shrimp and stuffing it with the butter mixture I was able to reduce the amount of butter significantly. I really liked the addition of the lemon zest in this recipe – it cuts through the richness of the butter really nicely and lifts the flavor of the dish.
I can’t stress enough how easy this dish is to make! It involves little more than boiling a pot of water and cutting a zucchini into matchsticks (a good chance to practice your knife skills!). Since I used fresh pasta which cooks in just a few minutes, the majority of the time spend preparing this was simply waiting for the water to boil.
Shrimp Scampi over Linguini with Zucchini
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
- 2 Tbs butter, divided
- 1 zucchini, cut into matchsticks
- 2 servings fresh linguini, such as Buitoni
- 1 Tbs Italian Seasoning (I recommend Gourmet Garden)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Preheat oven to 450. Bring a large pot of salted water for the pasta to a boil.
Melt 1 Tbs butter in a large oven-proof sautee pan set ove high heat. Add zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Remove zucchini from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving as much better a you can in the pan. Cover zucchini and keep warm.
In a small bowl, combine remaining butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting a slit down their backs, taking care not to cut all the way through. Divide the butter mixture between the shrimp, stuffing it into the slit that you just cut. Add the shrimp to the pan that you used to cook the zucchini. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and the butter is melted.
Shortly before the shrimp is done, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package directions.
Remove shrimp from the pan. Add the pasta and zucchini to the pan, swirling it around to mix it together and coat it with any melted butter. Serve the shrimp over the pasta.
Approx. 412 calories, 15 grams fat, 3.3 grams fiber, 22.5 grams protein
|October 28, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, Soups and Stews, Weekend Meals|
As the weather continues to cool down I find myself wanting soup more and more often. I think soup is just about as close as you can get to the perfect meal: warm, comforting, balanced and great for wither lunch or dinner (and in some cultures even for breakfast!). I usually make my soup with boxed stock, but nothing beats homemade soup made with homemade stock. This browned chicken stock is a great base for almost any soup – it’s richer than regular chicken stock, but the chicken flavor isn’t so overpowering that you can’t use it in a vegetable based soup too. I most recently used it in my Pho Ba, and it was wonderful. If you have a few hours one afternoon to let the ingredients simmer, you can easily make enough of this delicious stock to last you through a few pots of soup. Just divide it into smaller containers and freeze it – since you can cook it right from froze, you’ll be able to make a great homemade soup whenever you want.
I don’t think making stock is as popular as it used to be. I know that until very recently most chicken I bought was of the boneless-skinless variety and since I rarely roast a whole chicken, I never had the bones that making stock requires. Plus, it’s just not something that I ever thought of. Why make your own stock when you can get perfectly good stuff from Swanson? Then over the summer I saw Food, Inc and it really made me commit to buying better food: local, free-range, organic. I had already been trying to eat that way to some extent, but lately I’ve been making a commitment to eat this way as much as possible. Something also clicked and I am no longer grossed out by skin an bones. I want to be honest with myself about what I eat. When I’m eating chicken, I’m eating a chicken. Why hide that fact from myself?
That revelation was very important, because eating local, free-range, and organic meat is expensive!! The produce is ok, but the meat is another story. Especially if you’re looking at boneless, skinless chicken pieces. For the price of two packages on breasts, I can get a whole chicken. When you divide it into breasts, thighs, wings, legs AND use the rest to make stock it bring the cost of each meal down significantly. $15 can now make a week’s worth of dinners plus some soup to spare instead of just two meals. Plus well, this stock just tastes better!
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 3 stems parsley
- 1 spring thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 whole peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 450.
Rinse the bones well until the water runs clear- it’s ok if there is some meat on them still. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the bones on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, or until browned.
Place the bones in a very large stockpot and cover with water. Simmer for about an hour, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam.
Meanwhile, add the onion, celery, carrot, and tomato paste to a skillet. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Tie the spices up in a piece of cheesecloth.
Add the softened vegetables and the spices to the stockpot. Simmer for another hour or two, or until stock is rich and flavorful.
Strain and discard solids. Cool the stock quickly in a water bath, then move to the refrigerator. Once the stock has completely cooled, most of the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed of and discarded if desired. The stock can then be divided into smaller containers and frozen for later use.
Yields approx 1 gallon of stock
Approx. 50 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, 4 grams protein per 3-ounce serving
|October 27, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Desserts, French, Special Occasions, Weekend Meals|
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s TheLast Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
Macarons. A word that will simultaneously put joy and fear into the heart of any home baker. I was excited to hear that this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge – I’ve made them before, but lost the pictures before I had a chance to post them. I’ve been looking for another excuse to make them. I chose to make chocolate cookie with a salted caramel filling.
In the US, people often confuse French Macarons with macaroons – a cookie made primarily of coconut. Although macaroons are also delicious, they don’t even begin to compare to the beauty that is a macaron. Macarons are a sandwich cookie made of almond flour that is combines with sugar and egg white. The texture is a combination of crispy and chewy, with a crispy outer shells that gives way to a soft meringue center. The cookies are sandwich together, often with ganache, caramel, or fruit preserves.
Macarons are notoriously difficult to make, and I know a lot of people that consider them to be the “Holy Grail” of homemade treats. The cookies are pretty finicky, but with a few tips and tricks and a little practice they really aren’t that difficult to make. I’m going to be honest though – I really didn’t like how this recipe came out. The final product tasted wonderful, but they were a little soft and didn’t get the proper “feet” on the bottom that they are supposed to get. I’ve made another recipe that I find much easier. I promise that I will make another batch with that recipe and post it soon.
Chocolate Macaron with Salted Caramel
- 2.5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 5 eggs white at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 recipe salted caramel
Preheat the oven to 200.
Combine the powdered sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl.
Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Sift one third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Add the cocoa powder. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients. The ingredients won’t seem like they are coming together at first, but they will. The final batter should “flow like magma.”
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners or parchment paper.
Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
Cool on a rack before filling with the salted caramel.
|October 25, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Beef, Lamb, and Pork, Fall, Mexican and Southwestern, Reviews, Winter|
I love acorn squash, but I usually only ever have it one way – baked with butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. I’ve been eating it that was ever since I was a kid and its delicious. Like candy. But I don’t really think my dinner should taste like candy, which is why I decided to switch it up this time and take a more savory approach to the squash. Erika from Itzy’s Kitchen inspired me to try stuffing the squash – she’s been making some beautiful stuffed squashed lately that are packed with vegetables and look wonderful. Like the pumpkin gnocchi with mushrooms and chestnuts that I posted the other day, this dish went through a few incarnations before I settled on the final version: a southwestern styles acorn squash stuffed with black beans and chorizo and toped with melted cheese.
I was really happy with the way this dish turned out! Sweet-spicy combinations are come of my favorites, and I loved the way that the spicy chorizo tasted against the slightly sweet squash. I did end up having to add a little bit of sugar to the squash – I was trying to avoid adding any, but I felt that it really needed a little bit. I didn’t add very much at all, but even just that little bit transformed the whole dish. I also really liked that there really wasn’t anything fancy in this dish – it was made with ingredients that I had on hand, and it just came together as I cooked. It was also really cheap to make!
The chorizo that I used in this is hands down the best chorizo that I’ve ever had. It’s Imperial Chorizo from Fultonville, NY. The co-op had three different flavors, and of course I went with the “picante.” It was awesome – really flavorful, with just the right amount of spice to be hot without being overpowering. It was a little pricy at $6.50 for a package, but I only used about a third of it and I thought it was definitely worth it. Love this stuff! This was the dry, cured chorizo too – I know some of you mentioned that you were having trouble finding fresh, so this should be a little easier. If you see the Imperial brand, I highly recommend it!
Southwest Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 small acorn squash
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1.5 cups black beans
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 pinch smoked paprika
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 oz. Spanish (dry cured) chorizo, diced
- 1 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 oz. queso oaxaca, shredded
- cracked black pepper
Heat oven to 350.
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place squash cut-side down in a baking dish. Pour 1 cup water into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until soft.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, or until onion softens and begins to brown. Add pepper, and cook another 3-4 minutes to allow it to soften slightly. Add beans, spices, and stock. Cook for about 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chorizo.
Divide brown sugar between the squash halves, sprinkling it into the cavity where the seeds used to be. Divide bean and chorizo mixture between squash. Top with cheese and black pepper. Return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.
Approx. 350 calories, 13 grams fat, 9 grams fiber, 16 grams protein
I am submitting this post to this week’s BSI: Acorn Squash roundup, being hosted by Mega Nerd Runs.
If you have not done so already, I would really appreciate it if you buzz my cioppino in the Bertolli Sauces contest. The top three entries, as determined by the number of votes, will be demonstrated and served at the Foodbuzz Festival next month. Thanks to you all for helping me to get this far!
|October 23, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breads, Fall, Italian, Lent, Mexican and Southwestern, Sides, Vegetarian or Vegan, Weekend Meals, Winter|
I promised that Meat-Free Fridays would be back this week with a great new vegetarian dish, and I’m here to deliver! But first, did you see my super exciting news from yesterday? I won one of eight scholarships to the Foodbuzz Festival from Bertolli Sauces – my cioppino is officially on the menu! But in order to have the opportunity to demonstrate and serve it at the Festival, I need your vote! To vote, go HERE and click the little green “buzz it” checkmark.
Ok, so back to the mac and cheese. Last Sunday was one of those cold, lazy days where I didn’t want to do much more than lay on the couch, watch football, and eat comfort food. So that’s what I did. This isn’t your 5 year-old’s mac and cheese: This mac is the ultimate adult comfort food. A rich and creamy cheese sauce blankets elbow noodles and chipotles peppers add smoke and spicy. Then, the whole thing is topped with a crispy layer of bread crumbs. What is like your kid’s mac and cheese though is that the chipotles tint the sauce orang and make it look almost like that old standard that comes in the blue box. This is great served on its own, but a half portion would also make a great side dish.
- 2 Tbs butter, divided
- 1/4 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 Tbs mustard
- 6 ounces oaxaca cheese, shredded (can sub mozzarella and jack blend)
- 1/4 cup shredded Mexican 4 Cheese Blend
- 4 ounces white wine
- 3 Tbs chipotles in adobo, chopped
- 16 ounces elbow pasta, cooked
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 slices wheat bread, torn into small pieces
Heat oven to 350.
Melt 1 Tbs butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions and cook until soft and golden. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add milk, cream, and mustard whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken into a sauce. Stir in cheeses, wine, and chiptole. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine with pasta.
Melt remaining butter in small pan. Add garlic and cook until golden. Pour mixture over bread, and stir to coat the bread evenly.
Pour pasta into a casserole dish. Spread breadcrumbs over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, ot until the cheese is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have toasted and formed a nice crust.
Approx. 250 calories, 10.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams fiber, 10 grams protein
I am submitting this recipe to Natasha’s 5 Star Makeover: Mac and Cheese.
|October 22, 2009||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Lent, Light, One Pan, Soups and Stews|
When Foodbuzz announced last month that there would be a few sponsorship opportunities to cover the cost of travel and accommodations for the Festival and that the first would be offered by Bertolli Sauces, I knew that I had to submit an entry. I was excited but I never thought that I would actually be chosen! Entrants were asked to develop to 2-course menu using two different Bertolli Sauces products – I wanted to do something different since I figured they would be flooded with Italian recipes, but it didn’t take me long to come up with my menu.
Since the Festival is being held in San Francisco, I thought it would be fun to start my menu with something representative of the city. I don’t know what says San Francisco more than sourdough and cioppino! But I didn’t want to make just any old cioppino – it needed to be different! So I used Bertolli Sauce’s Fire Roasted Tomato and fish stock as my base, and added lots of garlic, celery, onion, and other traditional cioppino flavors. The to kick it up a notcht, I gave it a Spanish spin by adding saffron, shrimp, and mussels. The final dish has a markedly Spanish flavor that’s slightly spicy and a wonderful aroma that ignites your senses the moment you bring the fork to your mouth. Sourdough was the perfect tool for sopping up all of the extra broth. We ate every last bit and I’ve been itching to make more ever since.
From the minute I tasted the final Menu Item, I knew that it was a winner. This was SO GOOD and it’s killing me that I’m not allowed to share the actual recipe with you all (yet). But here’s the deal: Foodbuzz and Bertolli Sauces tested my recipe and I made it into the Top Eight. That means I won the sponsorship and get to go to the Festival for free (whoo!) and that this dish is On The Menu. BUT only THREE of us get to actually demo and serve our Menu Items at the Festival. This menu item is fabulous, and I really want to share it with my fellow bloggers. This is where I need your help: The top three recipes will be chosen by a vote from the Foodbuzz Community. So, can I count on your vote? Pretty please?
Voting starts tomorrow, Friday, October 23rd and runs through November 2nd. I’ll post the final details when I receive them.
Don’t you want some of this??