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linguini with white wine clam sauce

Every time I make this dish it reminds me of my grandparents.  I don’t remember my grandfather cooking very often, but this is one dish he always helped my grandmother make. Eating it always brings me back to our kitchen, where as a little girl, I would sit and watch them work as a team to create this simple yet flavorful meal. It was always made with lots of garlic and a ton of love.

White Wine Clam Sauce – serves 4

Ingredients

1 bulb of garlic, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white wine

13 ounces clams – minced (you can use fresh or canned – if using fresh you will need about 1/3 cup clam juice as well – if using canned do not drain)

4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped  – or 2 tablespoons dry

Juice from half a lemon

Directions

Bring large pot of water to a boil.

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine oil, white wine and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add garlic,clams (and clam juice) and parsley. Simmer for 15 minutes.

While sauce is cooking, cook linguini. (about 8-9 minutes for firm pasta). Drain pasta, and top with clam sauce and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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6 Comments

Posted by on pmpMon, 13 Jun 2011 22:09:26 +000009Monday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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Strip Steak with Mushroom Ragout

When I first met the other half of WE, he had a serious dislike for mushrooms. I have since, successfully converted him. I actually caught him, tonight, eating the mushroom ragout with a spoon. (ahh…the small victories)

The ragout works well with a number of meats and cuts. Lamb chops, steaks, tenderloin, as well as chicken.

Mushroom Ragout

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 shallots, diced

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

8 ounces white mushrooms, quartered

8 ounces oyster mushrooms, torn into pieces (note: if you can’t find oyster mushrooms, you can use  12 ounces each of the shiitake and white, the flavor is still amazing)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bottle of dry red wine

8 cups of beef broth

1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

Directions

Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add oil, and the shallots. Saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute about 4 minutes. Add the wine, broth and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has reduced and is sauce-like. About 60 – 90 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.

You can use this immediately or store in fridge until ready to serve – bring to a boil to re-heat. Will keep in fridge for 3 days.

 

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on pmpMon, 06 Jun 2011 20:41:50 +000041Monday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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Grilled Hawaiian Flatbread Pizza

 

Flat bread is such a great platform for pizza. It offers a crispy yet chewy crust, and the toppings are endless. Tonight we decided on Hawaiian pizza.  I used store bought flat bread since I was crunched for time. However, if you have time, this recipe is simple enough, and you can switch out the thyme for an herb (or several) of your choice.

For the sauce, combine 3/4 cup of tomato sauce, and 1 Tablespoon honey barbeque sauce. Stir to combine. (This makes enough for about 6 flat breads – depending on how much sauce you like)

I grilled the pineapple slices, and ham before topping the pizzas. The grill caramelizes the sugar in the pineapple, making it amazingly sweet and juicy. I used maple ham and grilled it for about 2 minutes on each side. The pineapple took about 3 minutes per side at 400 degrees.

Slice the ham and pineapple into bite sized pieces.

Spread desired amount of sauce on each pizza, top with freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Finish with ham and pineapple.

Grill at 400 degrees for about 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on pmpSun, 05 Jun 2011 21:14:18 +000014Sunday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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Grilled Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli

We have been trying to have stay at home “date night” a few times a week. This enables us to have uninterrupted conversation, and some much needed us time,(after certain little people go to bed) without spending ridiculous amounts of money on meals that are just mediocre.

I have been craving grilled corn on the cob since Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide posted this wonderful how – to.

If you have not yet been to this wonderful blog, full of fantastic recipes for both food and drink, I highly recommend that you do. This husband and wife blogging powerhouse offer an array of tantalizing recipes that they capture with amazing photographs.

Tonight’s date night seemed like the perfect time to satisfy the corn craving.

Before grilling, rubbed with butter and re-wrapped

And what better to go with grilled corn than crab cakes, baseball on the radio, cold beer and eating under the stars.

Crab Cakes

( You can use fresh or canned crab – I used canned tonight because the store did not have any fresh crab – sigh)

Ingredients – yield 6

4 (6oz) cans crab meat

1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced

1 eggs slightly beaten

1 Tablespoon parsley

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

juice from half lemon

1 Tablespoon spicy brown mustard

2 Tablespoons mayo (I use olive oil mayonnaise)

1 cup bread crumbs

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well to combine all ingredients. Form into patties, about 3/4 inch thick.  Let rest in refrigerator at least 20 minutes before grilling.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees, and cook cakes 4 minutes per side.

Corn takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, click here for instructions.

Lemon Aioli

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped chives

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

 salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together.

Grilled Garlic Bread

Baguette bread

Olive oil

Clove of garlic, peeled

Directions

Cut bread into 3 inch long sections, slice in half. Brush with olive oil, and place on grill – about 3- 4 minutes. Remove from grill and rub toasted side with garlic clove.

Yes, the quality of this photo is awful, but I did not want to wait to eat, and would have had to go inside to take a better picture. But you get the idea!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on pmpSat, 04 Jun 2011 22:35:30 +000035Saturday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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burgers, cookies, and a sunny day snapshot…

I was talking about hamburgers with a friend recently, and when she said how can anybody mess up making a burger, it got me thinking. There are many ways to ruin a perfectly good burger. When I had my restaurant, our burgers were one of our best sellers. People would ask how I got them so juicy, and big. We used locally grown, organic black Angus beef that was delivered every other day, and I think that while this added to the flavor, one can achieve a fantastic burger with regular store bought ground beef. Here are several “rules”  I follow, and my results are the same every time. Thick and juicy. I thought I would share them, since we are now officially in the grilling season.

Rule #1  – Always use a good lean- to – fat ratio. 80 / 20 is perfect. The fat provides optimal flavor.

Rule #2  – Do not over handle your meat. People tend to try to get the perfectly round patty, and do not realize that all they are creating is a tough, juice-less burger instead. All you need to do is grab a good sized handful, (about the size of a baseball) and press lightly into the palm of your hand, gently shaping into a disc about 3/4 inch thick. That’s it. It does not need to be a perfect circle.

Rule #3 – Salt. And a good amount of it. Salt both sides of the burger, about 1/2 tsp per side, and then more before serving. The salt allows the meat to get a good crust while cooking, either in a pan or on the grill.

Rule #4 – Never, ever press down on the burgers while they are cooking. You may think this will help it cook faster, but it does not and all your really doing is pressing all those beautiful juices and flavors right out of the burger. The only time they need to be touched is when you are flipping them. And this only needs to be done once. I cook my burgers 5 minutes per side. Do not overcook. 4-5 minutes per side at 375 – 400 degrees is plenty of time to insure your burger is cooked to perfection. (medium)

and last but not least….

Rule #5 – Let the burgers rest a few minutes before taking that first bite. This allows all of the juices to remain in the meat, and not all over your bun.

Follow these tips, and you will be the burger king or queen! (pun intended)

Now on to the cookie recipe for today.( I found the recipe here )

I missed last week of the cookie project so this week I am going to try and double up. Here is the second attempt at figuring out the secret cookie. Still not it, but darn good! We made some this afternoon in between our Slip and Slide adventures outside.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips (I used half semisweet and half milk chocolate)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, and vanilla and mix to combine. Add dry ingredients and mix just to blend. Gently fold in chips.
Place dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet using a scooper.
Bake 10-12 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) or until cookies are pale brown.
Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack until cooled completely.

My partner in cookie crime

 
8 Comments

Posted by on pmpWed, 01 Jun 2011 16:07:00 +000007Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Recipes, The Cookie Project

 

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Russian Vegetable Pie

When I was first introduced (about 16 years ago)  to this amazingly flavorful pie, I refused to try it. I thought it sounded awful. Obviously I did not have the same refined culinary tastes I have today. When I finally gave in, and tried a small bite, I ended up eating 2 pieces and had the leftovers the following day. It has since become one of my favorite dishes. The combination of all the herbs, cabbage, onions and mushrooms burst with aromatic goodness. I love the delicate flakiness of the cream cheese crust. I will be making it this weekend, but wanted to post the recipe today since I won’t have time when I make it. (Sadly I have no picture of the pie to accompany the recipe, but will post one as soon as I can).

This savory pie will not disappoint.

Ingredients

4 eggs

CRUST

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

FILLING

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, chopped

1 small head cabbage, shredded

1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and slice.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream cheese until mixture forms a ball. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line a 9 inch pie dish. Roll out the remaining pastry and make a circle large enough to cover the dish. (I roll this out on plastic wrap, to make storing in fridge easier). Put it away to chill.

In a large skillet, melt about 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cabbage and saute for several minutes, stirring constantly. Season with marjoram, tarragon, and basil, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and the onions are soft. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and saute the mushrooms lightly for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly.

Spread the softened cream cheese in the bottom of the pie shell. Arrange the egg slices in a layer over the cheese. Sprinkle them with chopped dill, then cover them with the cabbage mixture. Make a final layer of the sauteed mushrooms and cover with the circle of pastry. Seal and flute the edges of the crust. With a sharp knife, cut a few short slashes through the top crust.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 27 May 2011 14:32:55 +000032Friday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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Dim Sum and then some…

Asia or Bust part 2

On the menu today: Pork Dumplings and Ginger – Curry Sweet Potato Fries.

My new  bamboo steamer cooked the dumplings perfectly. I researched how to get the best results when making dumplings, and the one consistent piece of advice I found, was that I should line the steamer with something. This “something” could be any number of things from damp tea towels to banana leaves. I decided to use parchment.

I found a website that sells steamer liners, and basically all they are is parchment circles with a lot of little holes to allow steam through.  Using a wooden skewer, I was able to achieve proper “air flow”. The liners worked really well, and made cleaning the steamer so simple. I highly recommend using them.

What a great way to end our “tour” of Asia!

 Pork Dumplings

Ingredients

14 ounces ground pork
2 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or orange juice – a great sherry substitute
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 egg white, lightly beaten
4  teaspoons cornstarch
24 wonton skins

Directions

     Place the ground pork, scallions, soy sauce, sherry or juice, sesame oil, sugar and beaten egg white in a large mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Stir in the cornstarch, mixing until thoroughly incorporated with the other ingredients.

Spread out the wonton skins on work surface. Place a spoonful of pork mixture in the center of each wonton skin and lightly brush edges with water.

Bring sides of skins together in the center of the filling, pinching firmly together (it’ll look like a little purse).

Line  steamer with parchment and arrange wontons inside.

Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes, until dim sum are cooked through.
Serve immediately.

Dipping Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoons Spicy Sambal 

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a small bowl combine the sambal, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined.

Ginger – Curry Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and unpeeled

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garam masala

2 teaspoons ginger powder

2 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Trim 1/4 inch from the ends of each potato, then shave the sides to make rough rectangular shapes. Cut the potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 – inch-wide slices. Stack the slices and cut into 1/2 -inch – wide fries.

In a large bowl, combine the oils, masala, ginger and scallions. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss well.

Place heavy sheet pan in the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Remove pan, dump fries onto it, and using a spatula, seperate the potatoes. (The potatoes should sizzle when they touch the pan, if they don’t, remove them from the pan, return it to the oven, and continue to heat it for a few minutes. Then return potatoes to pan)

Bake the potatoes until golden brown, 10 -15 mins. Checking periodically to make sure the potatoes are not browning to quickly.

Turn the potatoes and cook an additional 10-15 mins. until crisp outside, soft inside.

And here you have the 4 – year – olds version of an Asian dinner :

 
6 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 20 May 2011 21:21:40 +000021Friday 4 , 2011 in Culinary trek around the globe, Recipes

 

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