Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baked Pea Dumplings

I will be making this again (partially because of the problems that I had). As I've said, I took lots of snacks on vacation that I had made ahead of time. I had frozen these nicely in one layer on a cookie sheet and put them in a bag but then they started to thaw and stick together. I think they would have turned out very nicely had I been able to keep them in one layer. I also didn't realize we had parchment paper up at the lake and so once cooked they also stuck a little to the pan. The flavor was great and I must agree with Heidi Swanson that the lemon was the key to a nice bright taste.

Baked Pea Dumplings (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

2 cups frozen peas
2/3 cup light ricotta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
zest of one large lemon
1/2 package of wonton wrappers
  1. Cook peas in boiling water for one minute. Drain well.
  2. With a food processor (or hand blender) blend the peas, ricotta cheese, olive oil, and salt into a puree.
  3. Return the mixture to a big bowl and stir in the shallots, Parmesan, and lemon zest.
  4. Fill the dumplings following the instructions on the wrapper packaging. Drop a very scant teaspoon of filling onto each wrapper, rub the perimeter of each wrapper with a wet finger seal, fold and set aside.
  5. At this point you can either freeze or bake off the dumplings. Freeze overnight on a cookie sheet and store in a freezer bag.
  6. Place dumplings on greased or parchment papered cookie sheet. Bake frozen dumplings for 20 min at 425 degrees or until golden. Check after 15 minutes. Makes just under 3 dozen dumplings.

Walnut Pesto

I made several different appetizers for my family before I went on vacation and this particular one my dad especially liked. I would be sure to make sure it comes to room temperature before serving this one. It really works better went you plate the crostini yourself because it really doesn't work as a dip. I used a couple ciabatta rolls sliced and toasted. There is so much flavor in the pesto that it is unnecessary to oil and garlic the rolls. I made the mistake of using too large of a garlic clove so I would recommend maybe even roasting the garlic before using it.

Walnut Pesto (adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gottino)

1 cup shelled walnuts, toasted in a frying pan and cooled
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
2 sprigs of thyme, cleaned
Small splash of sherry
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes

In food processor, coarsely grind walnuts, cheese, garlic, thyme, salt, vinegar, oil and tomatoes. Serve on crostini.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

This year for vacation I decided to make a bunch of healthier dips for snacking on. This was the probably the least well received. I don't know if people didn't like the eggplant or the consistency. Unfortunately, it went mostly uneaten so I had to get rid of it. I thought it was ok but not my favorite eggplant dip. Usually I have better luck with the Martha Stewart recipes, so I'm not sure what happened this time. Maybe I'll stick to some of the meal recipes for a while.

Vacation was really great this year. Never have we had such nice weather (in the 70s everyday!). We went in the water almost everyday (I think the kids went in everyday). We went shopping in town. I got some lovely souvenirs and presents for other people. I even played my first round of golf. I wrote some scavenger hunts for my cousins.

Anyway while the other adults were having their gin and tonics, I put out some of this snacks.

Roasted Eggplant Dip (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 large eggplant
4 garlic cloves (skin on)
4 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
Paprika, for garnish (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place eggplant and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 2 tablespoons oil. Roast until garlic is soft and golden, 20 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside. Continue to roast eggplant until soft and deflated, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool 20 minutes.
  • Slice eggplant open and scrape flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Peel garlic and add to bowl, along with lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil. Process until smooth. (To store, refrigerate, up to 2 days.) Serve drizzled with more oil and a sprinkle of paprika if desired.

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Place eggplant and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with 2 tablespoons oil.
    3. Roast until garlic is soft and golden, 20 minutes. Remove garlic and set aside.
    4. Continue to roast eggplant until soft and deflated, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool 20 minutes.
    5. Slice eggplant open and scrape flesh into the bowl of a food mill and run it through the mill.
    6. Peel garlic and mash and add to bowl, along with lemon juice, tahini, salt, and 2 tablespoons oil. Mix until smooth. (To store, refrigerate, up to 1 week.)
    7. Serve drizzled with more oil and a sprinkle of paprika if desired.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    New Header

    Thanks to my connections with MYAH Films I was able to get this lovely new header. Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Or go check out their website.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Spiced Pork Medallions with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

    I'm back to cooking for at least a few days before I go to Vermont and I plan to bring a bunch of food with me. I have been trying to use up some frozen pork loin and so we will be eating pork for the next 3 days. Tonight I took out 6 oz. of pork from the freezer and cut them into medallions...

    Spiced Pork Medallions and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
    (adapted from Cooking Light)

    6 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into medallions
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
    1/4 tsp cumin
    1/2 tsp brown sugar
    1 tsp olive oil
    3 tbsp white wine
    1/2 tsp flour
    2 tbsp skim milk

    1 cup fingerling potatoes, cut into wedges
    1 onion, cut into wedges
    2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
    1 tsp olive oil

    1. Dry the pork with a paper towel and rub in the next 5 ingredients.
    2. Toss the potatoes, onions and garlic with thyme, olive oil and seasonings.
    3. Bake potato mixture at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
    4. Heat the additional olive oil in a pan over medium high heat.
    5. Add the spice rubbed pork to the pan and sear on each side until done.
    6. Remove pork from pan and keep warm. There should be a little bit of dripping in the bottom of the pan.
    7. De-glaze pan with wine.
    8. Add flour and whisk until smooth.
    9. Remove from heat and add milk and whisk gravy to avoid separation.
    10. Serve pork topped with gravy with the potatoes on the side.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad

    I know I have written before about not really liking cantaloupe. This week we got one in the CSA. So I was trying to come up with something I could do with it. This is full of all kinds of fresh food from local gardens. I actually ended up eating this more like salsa instead of salad. I cut everything nice and small so it was really easy. So good! I don't really have anything else to say about it honestly.

    Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad (makes 1-2 cups)
    1 cup diced cantaloupe
    1/4 cup diced red onion
    1/2 cucumber, diced
    1/2 jalapeno, minced
    1 scallion sliced
    salt and pepper
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1-2 inch cube of ricotta salata, crumbled

    1. Mix all ingredients together. Be sure to coat all pieces in oil and vinegar.

    Beet Chips

    Slowly I've been trying to try beets in more and more types of foods. I've mostly been eating beet salad but love root vegetable chips. So when I saw this recipe I had to try it. While these weren't my favorite, they did crisp up nicely.

    I used the recipe from Naturally Ella. I didn't check mine after 25 like she said and it was too long for my chips. I don't own a mandoline so I used the peeler to make my chips. I also learned that they are best eaten the same day. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Chicken Cutlet and Summer Salad

    I know, I know! Where have I been, right? This was my third summer at grad school. I go for 5 weeks and I live there. I have to eat dining hall unhealthy food and I miss my kitchen terribly. This year I had planned to try and cook on the weekend and bring my food for the week. I tried the first two weeks and it went ok, but then the workload started to take it's toll and I ended up not cooking. Last night was my first night back in the kitchen and it really felt great! I especially missed blogging and a whole month off was too much. Last night I just used up some old ground turkey and summer squash in a little pasta dish. Tonight I thought I'd really get back into it!

    This recipe was adapted off the site
    thekitchn.com. I really want to thank all the blogs I read honestly because my Google reader was a familiar friend when I decided I needed a break. Even though I ate a TON of salad in the dining hall (one of the only things that didn't seem frozen, uberpreserved etc.), I felt compelled to make this.
    What is this? A post the other week on CH was a guess the kitchen gadget. I don't normally like a lot of gadgets but I normally really like this one. I have a lot of trouble cutting the kernels off an ear of corn and this really helps. Today I somehow cut myself but honestly this isn't typical. Like Alton Brown and his aversion to unitaskers, I'm a big proponent of multitaskers in the kitchen.

    Chicken Cutlet and Summer Salad (adapted from thekitchn)

    6 oz. chicken breast cutlets (thin)
    2 heaping tbsp all purpose flour
    3 heaping tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs
    salt and pepper
    1 egg beaten with a tad of water
    canola oil, for frying

    1 small head butter lettuce
    2 cups fingerling potatoes
    1 cup cherry tomatoes, slice in half
    1 very small onion (ping pong ball sized), chopped
    2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cob
    2 oz. ricotta
    salata, crumbled

    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    tbsp olive oil
    salt and pepper
    1 tsp
    Dijon mustard
    1 tsp honey
    1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    1. Bring a small pot of water to boil.

    2. Add the fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until one can be sliced in half easily. About a min before potatoes are done, add corn.

    3. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put on ice to cool. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

    4. Toss potatoes, corn, lettuce, onion and tomatoes together and set aside.

    5. Dredge chicken in flour, egg and breadcrumbs in that order. Heat oil in frying pan over medium high heat. Fry chicken on each side and set aside.

    6. Mix vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey and olive oil together using a whisk until emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.

    7. Toss dressing, ricotta salata and lettuce mixture together. Top with chicken cutlet.