Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I love this idea for serving ravioli.  Why cut them up separate, when you can serve a nice little slab o'rav?  They look like legos.  :)

Photo from a Daily Candy email I got, but I cannot find a source for it. . . .
graffeats at boogaloos san francisco!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta in a Lemon Cream Sauce

Chef Chris DiMinno at Clyde Common in Portland is my new hero.  He made a dish of roasted cauliflower with a lemon cream pasta that blew my mind.  Of course I had to try to make something similar, and this looked like just the recipe to start me off, even though the reviews are pretty hit or miss with some people loving it and others thinking it was too bland.
To start things off, I oven roasted my cauliflower with olive oil and garlic powder - 400 for about 30 minutes, with a quick stir in the middle until it's soft and a bit golden brown.
I put on some whole wheat rotelli pasta once the cauliflower was done and while that was cooking, I started on the sauce.
The juice of one lemon to start, with a packet of concentrated chicken stock from Trader Joe's (I love that stuff), then a little bit of pasta water once the pasta was done to make a sauce.  I cooked the pasta til it was still a bit underdone so it could continue to cook with the sauce.  I used some fat free half and half, and a scoop of fat free sour cream to thicken the sauce and make it creamy - though it really just went kind of gritty - I guess I DO need some fat in there somewhere.  I seasoned it up with a bit more garlic powder and the juice of another lemon, some salt & a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
I had some (boiled - I know, shush) chicken that I used to give the dish a bit of protein power.
The texture was all wrong, but the taste was really good.  I'll keep working on it.

The recipe I mentioned above seems like it might offer up better results - I should've taken my own advice.

3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 lemon, quartered
2 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (8 ounce) package rotelle pasta
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place chicken in a lightly greased baking dish. Squeeze lemon over both sides of the chicken breasts and season both sides using 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside. 

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. 

Cut cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir into cooked pasta, along with the cream and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brussels Sprout Salad

Twice upon a time, I had the most delicious Brussels Sprout Salad ever at Pizza Antica in San Jose.  I had no idea.  I only pan or oven roast the little buggers with various delicious combinations of flavor.  It had never occurred to me to slice them thin and make a warm slaw type salad out of them, but they are AMAZING this way.  I'm so excited to have found this recipe - I cannot wait to make it!!!  Is it way more steps than I thought possible?  Yes.  Will it be worth it?  YES.
Thank you

Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad
1/2 slab bacon (approximately 9 slices of pre-cut bacon)
2 Tbsp canola oil, plus 3 Tbsp for salad
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
6 slices country-style bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2" squares
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
2-3 brussels sprouts (should have about 40 sprouts)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 large shallot, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, soak the garlic, shallots, and thyme in vinegar for roughly 45 minutes. After soaking, slowly whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and reserve covered.
Cut bacon into 1/2" squares and cook over low heat until almost crisp; drain off the fat and set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil until just smoking and cook sliced onions over medium-high heat until golden brown; drain and set aside.
Toss cubed bread with extra-virgin olive oil and toast in a 300-degree oven until golden brown and crispy (approximately 20-25 minutes); allow to cool to room temperature and set aside.
Cover the eggs with cold water, bring to scald, and let sit in scalding water for 8-9 minutes (be sure the yolk is firm); run cold water over eggs to stop cooking.
Peel eggs and cut into 1/8ths; when cut, reserve covered in the refrigerator.
Clean the sprouts by removing the first few dark leaves and discarding. Cut off the stem, and separate the leaves one by one. When you get to the light green center and can't pull off the leaves, either slice the heart very thin or reserve for other uses.
In a large sauté pan, heat remaining canola oil until almost smoking and add sprouts leaves; toss until wilted (about 3 minutes), season with salt and pepper.
Add reserved onions and bacon and warm until hot; when hot, add vinaigrette and toss to distribute.
Add croutons and chopped eggs, toss to incorporate, and serve!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers

I might get smacked for this, but I always feel like Jalapeno Poppers are a little too greasy, and. . . I don't know.  Just somehow wrong.  I've never been a huge fan.
But this last Super Bowl Sunday (no, we didn't watch any of the Super Bowl), seemed like a fantastic time to try this recipe out.  I had seen it the weekend before and thought, "OMFGthoselookgood."  And you know what?  OMFGtheyAREgood.
I really like that Aarti writes her recipes with a similar voice to me - with lots of editorial.  :)

1 8 oz container of lowfat/light cream cheese, at room temp
1 large Granny Smith apple, diced (cored too, duh)
3 green peppers, roots and tips sliced off and sliced thinly
10 jalapenos
10 slices of bacon, sliced in half
20 toothpicks
** this makes 20 jalapenos with a little bit of the cream cheese mixture left over - oddly enough it is delicious on banana chips (I know, but my boyfriend used to be a stoner and he gets these weird ideas about things I'm cooking and other items in the kitchen for snacking and from time to time I humor him and he frequently finds some new delicious combination that makes me scrunch up my face and say no way), but I imagine on a bagel or toast or crackers or whatever, it's also delightful.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.

In a large bowl, stir the cream cheese until smooth. Add the apples and scallions, plus as much salt as you like.

Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the membranes and seeds.

Using that same spoon, fill each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture; fill until just over the rim of the jalapeno. Wrap each pepper with a bacon half and secure with a toothpick.
Line then up on the baking sheet and pop into the oven until bacon has browned on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes so you don't burn off the inside of your mouth.  Trust me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mushroom smothered pork

No photo because quite honestly, this meal is kind of ugly looking.  It's DELICIOUS though, and pretty easy.  I was inspired by this recipe over at All Recipes.
1/2 - 1 lb mushrooms - cleaned and sliced (I had one of those bags of ready to go sliced mushrooms, so however much that is)
1 can (or box) of condensed cream of mushroom soup
garlic - a couple of cloves, minced
1 small onion or a couple of shallots, minced
4 pork chops
salt & pepper
white wine

Season the chops with salt and pepper.  Saute the onions and garlic in a pan over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and allow to get a little bit browned.  Season with salt and pepper.
While the mushies are doing their thing, sear the chops over medium-high on both sides in a nice big skillet.  Once they're browned, add the mushie mixture, the soup, and a glug or two of white wine to the skillet with them.  Cover, and allow to cook away over lowish for about half an hour or so until the pork hits 160.
Serve with mashed spicy sweet potatoes and Aylene's green beans.  I swear nearly everything we make is served with these two sides.  It's warm, and comforting, and perfect for an early spring evening when you're ready for things to start heating up but the rain hasn't quite given up on you for the season yet.

** Updated to mention that it MUST be good if I'm posting it twice - with the same freaking sides.  I am so predictable.  **