Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Scallops with Summer Corn Hash

For Father's Day we were going to make scallops wrapped in bacon as a appetizer. We ended up at the Mexican Cafe and Aldo's and didn't do any cooking at all. So I ended up with lots of ingredients at my house that I hadn't planned on having. After looking at a few thing on the Internet, I came up with this recipe. This was my first time making the large sea scallops and I cut them in half to ensure more even cooking. This was also my first time using beet greens. They are related to swiss chard and cook similarly. My mom had some beets in the fridge and the greens were crisp and beautiful. I absconded with them (just the greens, she kept the beets) and a bunch of other goodies from the weekend.

Scallops with Summer Corn Hash

3 strips of bacon
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
4 ears of white corn, kernels removed
greens from 2 beets, stems chopped and leaves chiffonade
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp butter
scallops (I used 9 cut in half)
salt and pepper to taste (season throughout process)
a couple dashes of Tabasco sauce (I used chipotle flavored)-optional

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet. Set aside bacon and heat 1 tbsp of bacon grease. Add potatoes to bacon grease and cook.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and beet greens stems. Cook until potatoes are almost done.
  3. Add beet leaves and wine and cook down until greens are wilted and wine has evaporated.
  4. Add Tabasco and corn and cook until potatoes and corn are done. Crumble bacon and add back to hash.
  5. Meanwhile heat butter in another skillet.
  6. Season scallops with salt and pepper.
  7. Sear scallops in butter, turning once.
  8. Serve scallops with hash.
I found that the potatoes were a little bland unless I seasoned liberally with salt. FYI whenever I say salt in my blog. I am always referring to kosher salt. I don't use table salt unless I am baking and even then I don't always remember. All in all it was a really fun meal to plan and cook. As you can see the last few recipes haven't been adapted, they have been all my own. I'm sure that if I made this again I would change a few things. I think I would put the onion and garlic in with the potatoes because they didn't have enough flavor. I would also use salt and pepper more liberally and more often. The beet greens were very good. I have another two sets that I plan using on pizza later this week.

Pita Pizzas

This isn't a recipe but a great idea for a small lunch or late night snack. The best part is that it's ready faster than the convenience foods you get in the freezer section of the grocery store. You can use any toppings you want (although for things you don't normally eat raw, you may want to pre-cook them, like meats).

All you need:

whole wheat pita-pockets
sauce or olive olive
cheese of your choice
cookie sheet
parchment paper or aluminum foil
oven with broiler setting

Put you covering on you pan. Heat your broiler to high. Top pitas with sauce toppings and cheese. Thin layers are best. Broil pizza for 3-5 minutes. Watch them so they don't burn. The crust will get nice and crispy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Fritters

This was a spur of the moment type of recipe. I had zucchini and squash leftover from the CSA and I wanted to make myself a snack. It made a lot more than I thought it would and the fritters are rather heavy. I would say two is plenty for a snack. This made approx. 15 or so fritters. The fritters with less flour were a little lighter but they were difficult to roll in the breadcrumbs. Since I ate all these myself it will be awhile before I can try to make them again and perfect the recipe.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Fritters

1/2 zucchini
1/2 yellow summer squash
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2-3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, or enough to coat fritters
salt, pepper, garlic powder and minced onion to taste
oil for frying (I used peanut because it was all I had in the house)

  1. Grate the zucchini and yellow squash.
  2. Add egg and feta to squashes and mix. Add seasonings.
  3. Add flour gradually, stop when mixture begins to hold together more easily.
  4. In a dish, pour breadcrumbs. Scoop out fritter batter and roll in breadcrumbs. Set aside to fry.
  5. Heat oil to 325-250 degrees in a high sided pan. You need approximately 1/2 an inch for frying.
  6. Fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Orange-Flavored Pork and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-fry with Noodles

My freezer still has a lot of meats in it from BOGO grocery store sales. Here is some more of the pork that we bought. The sugar snap peas are from the CSA this week. I don't have much to say about this. It was good. I would make it again. I guess I'm a little sleepy. I did substitute pork for beef. Maybe it would have had more flavor with beef. Who knows!?

Orange-Flavored Pork and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-fry with Noodles
(adapted from Gourmet)

1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp soy sauce
3/4 cup beef broth
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
9 ounces Asian egg noodles
1 1/2 tbsp peanut oil
10 oz. pork loin, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
1 pint sugar snap peas

  1. In a bowl dissolve cornstarch in soy sauce and stir in broth and zest.
  2. In a kettle of boiling water cook noodles until tender and drain well, follow packing directions.
  3. While noodles are cooking, in a wok heat oil over high heat until hot but not smoking
  4. Stir-fry garlic, gingerroot, onion, and peas until onion begins to be translucent.
  5. Stir-fry pork, patted dry and seasoned with salt and white pepper, until browned.
  6. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Simmer mixture until thickened. In a large bowl toss pork mixture with noodles.

Chipotle Style Burritos

I have an obsession with Chipotle. The closest ones are over 30 minutes away however. Honestly, it's probably a good thing, because it means that I can't eat there easily and it isn't the healthiest. I decided to try and recreate them at home. I wasn't able to attempt the beans and I didn't want to do fajita burrito, because we never order that. These burritos contain the following: cilantro lime rice, chipotle adobo chicken, medium corn salsa, mild tomato salsa. I set out some cheese and substituted fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream. Be sure to microwave the tortillas for a few moments before you try to fill and wrap or they will split. Was it exactly like what you get at Chipotle? Not quite. Was it a good substitute? Oh hell yeah!

Cilantro Lime Rice (2-3 burritos)

2/3 cup basmati (texmati) rice
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp vegetable oil
Juice of half a lime
  1. Heat oil. Add rice and salt and stir to coat with oil.
  2. Add lime juice and water and bring to boil.
  3. Turn down heat and simmer on low until water is evaporated.
  4. Add cilantro and fluff to serve.
Chipotle Adobo Chicken

1 oz. dried chipotle peppers, rehydrated
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt
1/4 red onion, sliced
Boneless skinless chicken breast

  1. Place first eight ingredients in a mini-prep food processor and pulse until a paste forms.
  2. Marinate chicken in pepper paste and onions for at least one hour (up to overnight).
  3. Broil or grill chicken.
  4. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
Medium Corn Salsa

1 10 oz. bag frozen corn (steamed)
1/2 jalapeno, grilled or roasted
1 poblano pepper, grilled or roasted (skin removed)
1/3 red onion, grilled or roasted
Juice of half a lime
salt and pepper
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

  1. Chop peppers and onion.
  2. Mix corn, peppers, onion, lime juice, and cilantro together.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mild Tomato Salsa

2 tomatoes, diced
1/3 red onion, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely diced

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Season to taste

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Chard Risotto

This year I am sharing a share in a CSA with my friend, the German teacher. She and I split each of the the medium share boxes we get each Tuesday. Last Tuesday we got our first batch of red chard. I have never eaten (that I can remember) chard and I know I have never cooked with it. It's really a gorgeous color combination. I decided that i wanted to try to make a risotto, that way if I didn't like it, it would be well hidden. I think I like the chard but the recipe for risotto I chose was a little bland. TGT (the German teacher) told me that she and her husband decided to make a recipe with proscuitto, garlic, and cream. MMMMM it sounds good doesn't it? I have some bacon in the fridge, so maybe if we get more tomorrow, I'll have to include some bacon in next week's chard recipe. J doesn't like risotto but I grilled some sirloin to go with it in case he hated it. He agreed it was bland but ate what I put on his plate.

Red Chard Risotto (adapted from Bon Appétit)

4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 bunch coarsely chopped red Swiss chard leaves
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add rice and chard and stir until chard begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add 1/2 cups broth at a time. Stirring until each 1/2 cup is absorbed.
  6. Simmer until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring frequently.
  7. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Serve with additional cheese.

Mexican Cheese Dip

Please excuse the grease in this picture, after I first baked this it was quite attractive. Then at the party I tried to microwave it to warm it back up and it separated a little so I had to mix it up and take the picture quick.

This is another recipe I copied down from when I moved out of my parents house. This particular recipe we had never actually tried but had always intrigued me. It came from a notebook of recipes my aunt had given my mother. It was filled with her favorite recipes. This was one of the recipes. Again, I wasn't going for health. This was a "soak up the booze" recipe so the party wouldn't get out of hand with a bunch of people drinking on empty stomachs. I was under the impression that there wouldn't be a lot of food there if I didn't bring some. There did happen to be cake, cupcakes, and a taco layer dip, so it wasn't as if they would have starved. It was another big hit. There was a little leftover because as it cools it doesn't do so well. I should have reheated it again. Don't worry about the separating; it's fine once you stir it up.

Mexican Cheese Dip (adapted from my aunt's recipe)
1/2 lb. pepper jack cheese
1/2 lb. swiss cheese
8 oz. Hellman's or Best Foods mayo
1 small can chopped green chilis
  1. Grate cheese.
  2. Mix mayo with cheese and chilis.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pizza Dip

I know this is very out of character as a recipe for me. Something totally indulgent, unhealthy, with little to no nutritional value, but I was going to a party. This party was going to be full of non-adventurous eaters and perhaps vegetable haters (GASP!). So I went into the archives of recipes I had gotten from my parents when I moved out and found this gem.

Probably when I was in middle school this was one of the standard party fare recipes. My parents would make it for their Christmas party; we would bring it to our annual crab feast etc. I think it has to have been ten years since I last tasted this dip though. I have been craving it and I thought, what better way to get chance to taste it again than bring it to someone else's party. So I did.

One girl told me that she liked it especially because "You could put olive on a shoe and I'd eat it", or something similar (it was was late and I can't remember exactly). Another told me it tasted just like her mom's lasagna. Several people asked who made it. It was actually really nice to have people say nice things about my food. Maybe I'll bring it to next year's luncheon at school. Normally I run out of time and throw something together with the healthy food that's in my house and nobody eats is. (I made lovely white bean dip and people wouldn't even try it) I personally like my cooking for the most part so it's always a real blow to my ego. Don't worry though, I won't let last night's comments go to my head.

Normally we used to eat this on garlic melba rounds, but since I didn't think people would know what they were I went with Garlic Parmesan Triscuit Thin Crisps (honestly I forget the exact product). I usually don't like triscuits but these were pretty good. You definitely need a sturdy cracker or a spoon to put the dip onto the cracker (or bread slice, veggie dipper etc.).

Pizza Dip
1 block cream cheese
2 cups tomato sauce
(Italian Seasoning) - add a few tsp to sauce if bland, optional
1 bunch scallions chopped
1 small can sliced olives
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled

  1. Spread cream cheese on bottom of 9x13 casserole dish.
  2. Layer each subsequent ingredient in order.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

White Bolognese Rigatoni

This was delicious. That's really all I have to say about this meal. It was delicious. I halved the meat but kept the same number of veggies plus extra mushrooms to make it healthier. I also used light cream instead of heavy cream. I think it would be interesting to add a little tomato paste to this for more of a normal bolognese.

White Bolognese Rigatoni (Adapted from Heidi da Empoli)

Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1stalk celery, finely chopped

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 links hot Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings

1/2 lb. ground beef (90%)

3/4 cup Italian white wine

1 cube beef bouillon dissolved in 1 cup simmering water

8 oz. white mushrooms, finely chopped

1/3 cup light cream

1/2 lb.rigatoni

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

1. Add a few tbsp oil to a large, deep sauté pan to lightly coat the base and place over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrots, mushroom, and celery and sauté until glassy and just tender, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the sausage and beef to the pan, breaking it into walnut-size pieces, and brown well.

2. Pour in the wine and keep at a rapid simmer until the pan is almost dry. Then pour in beef bouillon and lower the heat to medium. Simmer gently, uncovered, until the bouillon is nearly gone, stirring now and then.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper. When the consistency is right, fold the cream in. Remove from the heat and cover.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the pasta water is at a full boil, add the rigatoni and cook until still firm, but not hard, in the center. Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot. Pour the pasta sauce on top; pasta should not be dry. Add a little pasta water to loosen it if needed. Top with cheese.

(Lighter) General's Tso's Chicken

I have found that I have lost all craving to eat in the Chinese restaurants in our town. I haven't decided if this is a reflection on the restaurants themselves or on my particular taste in Chinese food. For the most part the restaurants in our town have a buffet for one. And while I love variety as much as the next person, I always feel like a hog at a Chinese buffet, even if I only eat one small plate. It may have to do with the many years the boys I worked with would get Chinese buffet at lunch and prepare all morning by making sure there was enough room in their bowels for as many plates as they could eat (I believe the going number was four plates). J has also introduced me to the fact that you need to go to a buffet at a certain time of day to get the freshest food. Since it's the peak hours that have the freshest food, you end up watching all these sad people gorging themselves, which is less than appetizing. One place once had a trail of ants climbing up the wall. Another place (supposedly) once had maggots in the fried rice after it had been delivered. Actually, thinking about it now, I can't think of a single place in town that has sit down Chinese (as opposed to buffet).

Anyway, what all this means is that I have been making more of our Chinese inspired dishes at home. This particular recipe is actually supposed to be a lighter version of the original. There is no deep frying and I have added a bigger veggie to meat ratio than originally called for. I must say as much as I'm not a huge fan of her personality, Martha Stewart's recipes seem to be pretty awesome in execution.

Lighter General Tso's Chicken (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice (prepared according to packaging)
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb. sugar snap peas
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated and peeled
2 1/2 tbsp light-brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
1 large egg white
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons peanut oil

  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add peas, carrots, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg white, remaining cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
  3. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high. Lift the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to wok. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add carrot-pea mixture to wok. Stir-fry until peas and carrots are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.