Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where to find me currently...

Hey blogosphere! It has been a couple years. Basically once I took my new job I really started running out of time for my regularly scheduled blogging. I am back blogging part time as a contributing author on the lifestyle blog of a men's fashion company Lazyjack Press. I am writing the series known as Belly Up to the Bar. For new recipes, check me out there. I am hoping to get back into Melbo's Toast and do some more food blogging as well. Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pumpkin Lasagne

I got a new job and will most likely have significantly less time to cook. Much like the rest of 2011 was with grad classes. I actually do get to cook but it's the blogging that is a little more time consuming.

Pumpkin Lasagne

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. hot Italian turkey sausage
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 cups fresh pumpkin or butternut squash puree (mine had been previously frozen,but not canned because it doesn't have enough moisture)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 small can tomato paste
splash of white wine (optional)
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped into ribbons

1 package fresh lasagne pasta sheets
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese

1 quart low fat milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
dash of nutmeg

In the following recipe I salted and peppered most layers of the recipe individually to taste. Add as much or as little as you personally like but taste as you go. Sausage and cheese can be very salty and varies by brand.

  1. In a large skillet heat approximately one to two tsp of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Remove casings and add sausage to skillet. Break down with wooden spoon. Add crushed red pepper and fennel seed. Cook through.
  3. Add pumpkin or squash puree and cinnamon. Heat through and add tomato paste to sauce. Add a splash of white wine and cook approximately 10 minutes until every is combined.
  4. Add swiss chard to the sauce and stir/heat until completely combined and chard is wilted.
  5. Add approximately 1/2 cup of low-fat milk to the sausage sauce. Mix to combine and keep heat low while you make the bechamel sauce.
  6. In a medium saucepan melt butter.
  7. Add flour whisking or stirring to combine to make a roux. Make sure to fully cook the flour.
  8. Add the remaining milk a little at a time to make a white sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.
  9. In 9x13 casserole dish coat the bottom with a few drops of olive oil.
  10. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer in order pasta sheets (cutting to fit) sauce, bechamel, and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired for serving.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fish Sticks with Sauteed Swiss Chard

I never had fish sticks growing up on as a child. The closest thing was fried flounder or catfish filets. I really didn't eat a lot of fish growing up. I was in college when I started eating salmon etc. This is a more high maintenance version of the fish sticks you get in the box, at least I'm assuming. I'm still pretty sure I have had any that I can remember at least. It probably wouldn't have been so time consuming if I didn't cut the tilapia smaller than your average fish stick. These are baked not fried and crisped up nicely in the oven.

Fish Sticks (adapted from eatingwell.com)

canola oil cooking spray
1/2 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup corn flake cereal
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, beaten
1 pound tilapia filets, cut into strips

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet; coat with cooking spray.
  3. Place breadcrumbs, cereal flakes, lemon pepper, garlic powder, paprika and salt in a food processor process until finely ground. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  4. Place flour in a second shallow dish and egg whites in a third shallow dish.
  5. Coat each strip of fish in the flour, then the egg and then coat with the breadcrumb mixture.
  6. Place on wire rack.
  7. Coat both sides of the breaded fish with cooking spray.
  8. Bake until the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Sauteed Swiss Chard

1 tsp olive oil
2 cups torn or sliced swiss chard
3 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp pine nuts
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch dried rosemary
1 clove garlic

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add currants and pine nuts and saute until pine nuts begin to turn golden brown.
  3. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute.
  4. Add swiss chard and rosemary and saute until wilted.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Fettucine Bolognese

I have made this three or four times and it is fantastic! You wouldn't know that this is Cooking Light recipe if I didn't tell you. The only problem you are going to have is stopping at the recommended amount because it is so good.

Fettucine Bolognese (adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 8

1 tbsp
olive oil
1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 lb. meatloaf mix (ground pork, beef, and veal)
1 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato puree
1 cup whole milk
2 (9-ounce) packages fresh fettuccine, cooked and drained according to package
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and vegetables get a little color. Stir to avoid sticking.
  3. Add meat to pan and cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble.
  4. Add wine, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add the broth, and tomato puree; bring to a simmer. Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.
  6. Discard bay leaf.
  7. Add pasta, and toss to coat.
  8. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turkish Tomato Salad

It's a miracle, after several grueling months of translation class, I'm finally making my way back into the blogosphere. It's been quite a whirlwind. I've also been trying my hand at getting my garden together and now J is working at the factory again, so that means that I have more time than I had previously to write about the various foodstuffs being prepared in my kitchen.

Since we left off I have decided that I am slowly going to switch over to a more organic diet. I have switched my milk and I am buying some of my produce organic. As you know I am part of the Spiral Path CSA and unfortunately this year we are going to be pushed back a week with harvest because of the inclement weather. I am currently researching a CSA for non-certified organic meats.

Turkish Tomato Salad (adapted fromMyra Kornfled's The Healthy Hedonist)

3 tbsp pomegranate jelly, mixed with 2 tbsp water and melted in the microwave
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Toss all ingredients together and serve.

I marinated the salmon in a garlic marinade and broiled it. The whole meal was delicious.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops and Cheddar Grit Cakes with Roasted Peppers

I am not from the South. I was raised in MD but few people will consider it "the South". Therefore I didn't grow up eating grits. I really never had grits until today in fact. I was able to plan ahead and dinner came together in a snap. I would have made my peppers in advance too and then the the whole thing would have taken 10 minutes or so but we were very busy, so it took us a little longer.

Today I really stuck to the recipe. Measuring, not eyeballing and portion control. I guess being back on Weight Watchers it is important to do this. I still haven't really gotten into most of the WW recipes but Cooking Light rarely lets me down. My question? Is the nutritional infomation accurate in their recipes? If you know the answer feel free to post.

Barbecue-Rubbed Pork Chops (serves 2) (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 (6-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops
Cooking spray
  1. Combine first 9 ingredients; rub over both sides of pork.
  2. Heat a non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add pork; cook for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 8 minutes or until done, turning occasionally.
  4. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes.
The pork was really good, although it was a little burnt (but I like it that way). Luckily it was just the heat being too high, inside it was cooked perfectly. I thought the grit cakes made a lovely side dish. I made the grits on Sunday night and I plan to take the rest of the leftovers for lunch this week.

Cheddar Grit Cakes with Roasted Peppers (4 servings) (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking (instant) grits (although if My Cousin Vinny has taught me anything it's that "No self respecting Southerner uses instant grits")
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Cooking spray
3 medium red bell peppers (can use a variety, yellow/orange but not green), roasted, peeled and cut into strips
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To prepare grits, bring the milk and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in grits and jalapeño. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thick.
  3. Stir in the cheese; cook until cheese melts. Spread grits into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray; cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or until set. I had to wait from Sunday night until Tuesday and they were fine.
  4. Combine roasted red peppers, oil, vinegar, coriander, and salt; toss well.
  5. Cut grits into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add triangles; cook until lightly browned.
  7. Serve pepper mixture over grit cakes.
I thought these were delicious! However J thought they were bland, but he didn't put the peppers on his and I think it really needs them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Miso Glazed Cod with Stir-fried Bok choy and Onions

I have been gone a long time. I don't know what happened but I just didn't feel like blogging. I didn't want to write. I don't necessarily think I'll be doing a lot of blogging in the next few months because I have decided to take one of my grad classes during the Spring semester.

In addition to classes, my family has restarted the Biggest Loser contest and I have recommitted to Weight Watchers. This particular recipe was last night's dinner and as always no matter what I think of her personally Martha Stewart's recipes rarely disappoint. I have never worked with miso before and it was not what I expected when bought it. Although called white miso it is really the color of brown sugar and the consistency was larger grains than I had imagined. On that note it was really easy to work with. Unfortunately J informed me that could I please not put sauces on the fish he eats (this was more of a glaze than a sauce). I had also never made cod before but having eaten it the night before at Bricco, I had a decent idea of what it should be for not overcooked.

Miso Glazed Cod with Stir-fried Bok choy and Onions (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Serves 2

12 oz skinless cod

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

1/4 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar

Cooking spray

1/2 sweet onion, cut into chunks
3 heads baby bok choy, sliced thickly
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp peanut oil (or canola oil)
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil

  1. In a small saucepan, combine mirin, miso, and sugar. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Heat broiler, with rack 6 inches from heat. Spray a baking dish with oil.
  3. Place fish in dish, and brush liberally with miso mixture. Reserve 1/2 the mixture for the bok choy.
  4. Broil until fillets are browned on top and opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile heat peanut oil in a wok on high heat. Add onion and stir fry 2 minutes.
  6. Add bok choy and stir fry another 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and miso and cook until half the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add seeds and oil and serve bok choy with cod.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Volt: Table 21

This year for Christmas my parents to us to Volt in Frederick, MD to eat at Table 21. Volt has several options for dining at Volt. The Main Dining Room is an a la carte style, while the Chef's Dining Room is a six course tasting menu. Table 21 is a dining experience of a 21 course tasting menu. Chef Bryan Voltaggio was a contestant on Top Chef (although I have never watched the show) and we got to meet him and eat in the kitchen. Here we are with Chef Bryan:
I tried to take photos of each course but I forgot a couple of times and had to get a shot of the chefs working in the kitchen making a larger version for the Chef's dining room instead. I know this was a once in a lifetime experience but since we went in the winter I would be curious to try a summer menu.
The cocktail: spiced cider busnel calvados, pear, coriander
"chips and dip" proscuitto greek yogurt, chive balsamic
celeriac macaroon foie gras
maine lobster "pot on fire"
hamachi tartare cilantro, jasmine rice, soy, yuzu bubbles, avocado
nantucket bay scallop pinenut, chili oil, shiitake mushroom
chestnut ravioli maitake mushroom, butternut squash, sage
sturgeon cauliflower, verjus, chickpea, beluga lentils, cilantro
arctic char flavors of everything bagel, lemon pudding, chive, cedar smoke
rockfish ruby beet risotto, leek fricassee, honey cap mushrooms
sweetbreads confit fennel, hazelnuts, black trumpet mushrooms, sorrel
"winter garden" beets and carrots cooked in dirt, radish, coffee soil, cherry glen farm chevre
foie gras brown turkey figs, purslane, vanilla brioche
clam chowder mock root vegetables, apple wood smoked bacon, yukon gold potatoes
red wattle pork belly cannellini beans, mostarda
(this was not not on the original menu but my dad mentioned something about venison and the chef whipped up some)
venison coffee soil, root vegetables
point reyes blue cheese apple, balsamic
coconut, lavender, vanilla
gala apple walnut cake, dulce de leche, bourbon
textures of chocolate raw organic cocoa
macaroons, cookies, candy
menu from the evening, chocolate chip cookie

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash

Sweet Potato and Apple Hash (adapted from Cooking Light)

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup water
1/2 lb. turkey breakfast sausage links, casings removed
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp real maple syrup
1 tbsp water
pinch of black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 apple, diced

  1. Place sweet potatoes and 1/3 cup water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 15 minutes. Uncover, drain and set aside.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until it starts to become translucent.
  3. Add sausage and salt and stir to crumble until sausage is done.
  4. Add apple and saute until it starts to become soft.
  5. Add sweet potatoes, water, syrup, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  6. Cook until liquid absorbs.
  7. Serve as a side dish or a one dish meal.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Potato and Leek Flatbread

Oh how I love interesting pizza!

Potato and Leek Flatbread (adapted from Real Simple)

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
2 leeks, cut into thin strips
2 waxy potatoes, (red or gold) sliced thinly
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese

  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Stretch the dough into a ¼-inch-thick circle or rectangle.
  2. Layer the potatoes, leeks thyme and cheese onto the dough in that order.
  3. Sprinkle with the Gruyère. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Bake until the crust is golden and potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into pieces.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kaftah Burgers

This recipe uses the roasted pepper relish from the previous post as a topping for the burger along with some feta cheese and red onion. J used a bun but I used a pocketless pita for the bread instead. This burger tasted DELICIOUS. The meat was very flavorful and I would definitely use this recipe for normal kefta kebabs. The only thing I would consider is using less cilantro or chopping it more finely in the future. I used a recipe from Cooking Light as a jumping off point.

Kaftah Burgers (adapted from Cooking Light)

13 oz meatloaf mix (mixture of beef, veal and pork)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 egg
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients and form into patties.
  2. Heat nonstick skillet and cook burgers until they reach the desired level of doneness.
  3. Serve topped with feta cheese, onions and roasted pepper relish.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roasted Pepper Relish

I decided to make this particular recipe as a topping for a burger we ate last week. It was very delicious. I had most of these peppers leftover from the CSA box. Since most of these are actually those little yummy orange peppers, I didn't quite have the 4 bell peppers the recipe called for but it was pretty much the equilvalent. J is still sick of peppers, so he didn't really want any of this.

After I tasted this I thought that red onion and feta cheese would complement this very well. I added a little for the leftovers the next day. This was very easy and tasty and low in points. I recommend chopping the peppers really small and adding these ingredients and topping some crostini with the relish for a nice light appetizer.

I took advantage of the grocery store olive bar to get my kalamata olives. I don't usually like olive but along with more other things I am warming up to them lately. As a child I love those black olives out of a can. How many little kids stuck those on their fingers and ate them off one by one? Other strange foods I ate as a child include grapefruit (no sugar) and cottage cheese (no fruit).

Roasted Pepper Relish (adapted from Cooking Light)

4 bell peppers (assorted colors) or equivalent (I used some bell and some mini sweet)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Roast peppers in the oven: cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes.
  2. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a bowl and cover. Let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Peel peppers; remove and discard seeds. Cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Combine bell peppers and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto

I am trying to count my points better in this last week in addition to using up produce we receive in the weekly CSA box. I think this was the last of the zucchini (just in time for my favorite season, Autumn). I knew J wouldn't be entirely impressed with this meal so I made him some baked bluefish for his dinner. This was my first attempt at making barley. I thought it had a lot of nice flavor and an interesting texture. For once I didn't even change the recipe. Low in points as well. :)

Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto (adapted from Health magazine)

3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup lightly pearled barley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon butter
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add zucchini and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Add barley; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes).
  5. Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese, butter, and pepper.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yummy Orange Peppers (with Chorizo)

For many weeks now, in our CSA box, we have been getting something called "Yummy Orange Peppers". J is extremely sick of peppers, especially considering that he doesn't like peppers. I have used the mostly in stir-frys but this time I was able to use the size to my advantage. I found a recipe for mini peppers on Martha Stewart's website. I modified it a little based on availability of ingredients. Basically you hollow out as many peppers as you are making. Stuff each one with a slice of dried Spanish chorizo. I used the large slices from the deli because the grocery store did not have the stick chorizo. Broil the peppers for 4-6 minutes until the skin is slightly charred.

I used these as a garnish for a salad which I dressed with a little white wine vinegar and olive oil. So easy and tasty, you can even make them as an appetizer.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bourbon Slush

This recipe comes from one of the ladies in my parents' neighborhood. We had a very tight knit neighborhood growing up. Everyone watched out for everyone else. The kids all played together in the cul-de-sacs. The neighborhood kids were like my cousins. Anyway the recipe for bourbon slush really has nothing to do with how great where I grew up was. I made this for the Labor Day Party. It was delicious (but for adults only).

Bourbon Slush

2 cups boiling water
5 tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
1 12 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups bourbon (I use Makers Mark)
6 cups water

  1. Steep tea bags in boiling water. Remove after 5 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add lemonade and orange juice and stir until melted.
  4. Add bourbon and water and stir.
  5. Freeze at least 2 days. I use shallow Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers.
  6. To serve, scoop 1-1 1/2 scoops into small glasses. Poor ginger ale (or Sprite) over the slush, can be eaten with a spoon if necessary.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken Fried Rice: Biggest Loser Recipe Makeover #4

Somehow I lucked into making this because I had forgotten to thaw the pork for this dinner. I also happened to get the white rice from the Chinese restaurant because we had gotten some chicken with broccoli for dinner the other night. This is my first attempt at making fried rice and of course, we all know how much I love to use my wok. I was surprised at how close this was to the original, even though J though it was a little bland.

Chicken Fried Rice (adapted from Weight Watchers)
3 oz. chicken breast diced
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce, divided
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 small onion, diced (I used red because it was on hand)
4 scallions, sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked white rice, cold

  1. Combine the chicken, half of the oyster sauce, the ginger, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil in a small bowl; set aside.

  2. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

  3. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the chopped scallions for garnish. Add the remaining scallions, onion and the carrot to the chicken in the wok. Cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the egg, stirring quickly and constantly with a wooden spoon until the egg begins to set, about 2 minutes.

  4. Stir the rice, soy sauce, the remaining oyster sauce, and the remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil into the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the reserved 2 tablespoons scallions. Serves 3-4.
Feel free to add a little additional soy sauce while it is cooking if you prefer it a little darker.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quinoa Pilaf

I have definitely been MIA the past few weeks. I haven't felt like posting the first few weeks of school. We are doing another Biggest Loser competition and I have been trying to exercise more often. J has been hounding me to eat less chicken breast and pork tenderloin (even though these are the items that have been on sale). This week I left him at the seafood counter while I searched for something in another aisle so that he would make a decision and pick out some fish. He decided on haddock, which I had never cooked before. I put it in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper. It honestly wasn't too bad. As a side I had found this recipe for quinoa on the Weight Watchers website. This particular recipe I cut in half, more or less. This was my second foray into the world of cooking quinoa. The first time I was making it for my grad school dinners. Sadly, I burned it up. I was a little gun shy remembering the awful taste of the quinoa salad I had made in July, that it took me until the now to try it again.

Quinoa Pilaf (adapted from Weight Watchers)
1 tsp canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tbsp raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 canned chicken broth
2 tbsp salted dry roasted pistachios, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is transparent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add quinoa; toast for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in raisins, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
  5. Pour in broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until quinoa bursts its skin, is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove cover and fluff quinoa mixture with a fork.
  7. Just before serving, sprinkle with pistachios and cilantro.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Return to American Flatbread

One of my favorite places to eat is American Flatbread. I've said before that my family makes a point to go there once during the week of our vacation. I personally love trying the specials each year. The mystery of what is it going to be this year makes the anticipation of going so great. If I had any experience

This is a picture from their website.

This year my uncle, who had never been before came with us, which meant that we got to try some new things on the menu that we normally pass up. Here is a photo of the Specials menu:
We got to try the special salad and this year we also had the Evolution salad:
This is the salad. Take a close look at the bowl and tongs. We went to the wood market and got these for early Christmas presents. The bowl I got is the perfect size for 2 to 3 people for salad.
We also had some of the pizzas. The Med Bread and the Cheese and Herb, as well as the sausage with mushrooms, pepperoni and one of each of the specials.I thought this would have been the best of the pizzas. This is the special with beets and potatoes. I thought the best part was the rosemary honey but the pizza wasn't quite as wonderful as I had hoped. I think the beets would have been preferable in slices rather than chunks.
This is a picture of the other special, the bolognese. I thought it was very tasty but it needed a tiny bit of salt or parm. cheese.
This is the sausage and mushroom, which is probably my favorite regular menu pizza.
This is the pepperoni and peppers from the regular menu. My uncle who made the new banner picked this and we were glad he did because it really was quite delicious. If you can get the chance to eat at American Flatbread I highly recommend it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trattoria Delia (Burlington, VT)

The annual Vermont trip this year was quite a good time. I got back about a month ago but with school starting I've been super busy. This year we decided to eat out more than usual. One night we drive up to Burlington. I really like the city, you can see Lake Champlain and it just has a really nice atmosphere. Sometimes when I'm in Vermont in the summer, I wish that I had gone to college in Vermont. Then I remember that most of the school year is winter weather and I realize that I made the right choice.

But I digress...

This year we went to one of the most well known restaurants in Burlington, Trattoria Delia, on St. Paul St. just around the corner from Church St. which is closed to traffic (pedestrians ONLY). We were a little early for our reservation, so we took a look around. A former military fellow was walking by and advised on several menu items, touting the Veal Saltimbocca. The strange thing was that he was loitering around the door when we finished several hours later as well.

As usual, I don't have the best pictures of the meal and sadly, I probably don't remember everything that we had. Pretty much everything that we had was delicious. I was extremely please with my meal.

To start we had Calamari Fritti, Lumache alla Sambuca (Sauteed snails with herbs, butter and olive oil, flamed with Sambuca, then served over wood-grilled country bread. ), Batu D'anatra (House made duck confit with agrodolce yellow and red peppers sauteed with Vermont honey, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic), and something with proscuitto, but I don't remember what. I haven't had snails in a long time and they were great! I think my least favorite was the duck confit.

For dinner I don't quite remember everyone's meal but: my grandmother had the pasta parm (Rigatoni baked in a clay pot with our tomato basil sauce, a veal meatball and sweet sausage, topped with fried eggplant and our homemade mozzarella), we also got to try Gnocchi al Tartufato (handmade potato gnocchi in a truffled sauce with sausage, sweet Vermont cream and Grana Padano cheese) which was probably my favorite out of everything. I had the Taglioloni al Mare e Monte (wide ribbons of fresh egg pasta with pan-seared Atlantic sea scallops, imported porcini mushrooms, white wine and Vermont cream), which was delicious and I would get again. Somebody got the Veal Saltimbocca, very nice as well. I think my uncle got the rabbit special. All I have left for pics is a super blurry photo of the veal (worse than the scallop photo), so I'm not going to bother posting it. At the end of the meal we tasted a few desserts. The only thing that I would say was lacking in the evening was the service. Our server had a little bit of an attitude.

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.