Memorial Day Maize

May 29, 2011

I love fresh corn in the summertime.   This yummy recipe is a perfect addition to your Memorial Day cookout and  will wow friends with its pretty presentation and delicious combination of flavors.  

Mexican Corn

Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine’s current issue. 
SERVES 4
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 ears corn, in husks
  • 8 sprigs Culantro
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta
  • 4 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add corn and culantro, and cook (adding more water, if necessary) until corn is tender, about 1 hour. Remove from water and let the corn cool briefly.
Peel back husks and spread 1 tbsp. butter evenly over each ear and sprinkle with 1/2 tbs. cheese and 1 tsp. chile powder. Serve with lime wedges.
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A great summer side

Dinner Thaime!

February 21, 2011

We’re friends with another couple that loves to cook as much as we do.  We have each over for themed meals and this time it was our turn.  We opted for Asian night and the full menu is below.  Today I’ll be sharing the recipe for Thai Ribs which I came across in the Feb. 2011 issue of Bon Appetit.  The only thing I changed/added was a serrano chili, because, well…why not?

Chicken Lemon Potstickers with Soy Scallion Dipping Sauce

Coconut Chicken Soup

Shrimp and Tofu Pad Thai ~ Thai Shortribs

Coconut Gelato

Sencha with Meyer Lemon

 

 

thai ribs

Our guests brought Tiger -- a delicious beer from Singapore

Thai Spareribs

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds meaty spareribs (about 2 racks), cut into 2-rib portions
  • Boiling water
  • 2 large lemongrass stalks
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  • 2 tablespoons Thai peanut sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped
  • 3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange ribs in single layer in large roasting pan. Add just enough boiling water to cover ribs. Cover pan with foil. Oven-braise ribs until almost tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, cut bottom 2 inches from each lemongrass stalk (discard upper portions). Slice lemongrass into thin rounds; place in blender. Add 1/2 cup tamari, sugar, Sherry, peanut sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger; blend until almost smooth. Blend in coconut milk and remaining 6 tablespoons tamari for marinade.
  • Cool ribs, still covered, 30 minutes. Transfer ribs to heavy-duty 2-gallon resealable plastic bag; discard braising liquid. Pour marinade into bag. Seal top and turn several times to coat ribs evenly. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Using tongs, arrange ribs in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Spoon marinade from bag over ribs. Roast uncovered until ribs are very tender, basting often with marinade, about 1 1/2 hours. Arrange ribs on platter. Scrape marinade into pitcher for sauce; spoon off fat that rises to surface. Brush sauce generously over ribs and serve remaining sauce alongside.

Springtime Sangria

February 20, 2011

A friend texted me yesterday for a white sangria recipe to take to Piedmont Park.  This recipe was a hit – the perfect accompaniment to a day in the park!

Springtime Sangria

White Sangria

White Sangria

Printable Recipe

  • Assorted fruit (crushed pineapple, strawberries, peaches, slices of lemon, lime, oranges)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle of dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc or pino grigio)
  • 1 bottle of  sparkling wine/champagne

Layer the fruit in a large jug and sprinkle each layer with sugar.  Let the fruit and sugar sit for about 15 minutes and then pour the wines on top.  Refridgerate for a few hours or overnight.  Head to the park and serve!

Fist-Pumping Polenta

February 16, 2011

When I brought a box of polenta home, Jim got so excited he did a fist-pump (which he may, or may not, admit to).  I usually make something fun with polenta and this Sunday night was no different.  I included my two current obsessions: Meyer Lemons (because, who isn’t?) and Serrano Chili Peppers.  The recipe already called for lemon, but I added the serrano to (to quote a wise man), “kick it up a notch.”  That it did.  If you’re not a fan of heat, then you can easily leave it out, but take caution with the Andouille, as it’s often is on the spicy side.  This  delicious one-dish meal is perfect for during the week and pairs nicely with a tossed salad and a crisp white wine (and you can take yummy leftovers for lunch).
Andouille Dijon Polenta (with a kick)
4 servings
  • 1 Cup polenta
  • 3 Cup chicken stock
  • 3/4 Lb Andouille sauage, ground or casings removed
  • 1 White onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 Cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter, broken into quarters (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon tarragon, chopped
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan on medium high heat add andouille sausage and cook all the way through – about five minutes.

  1. Once the andouille is browned, add the diced onion and serrano chili and cook in the fat from the sausage for about three to five minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the chicken stock to the pan, and bring to a boil on high heat. Once the stock is boiling, slowly whisk in the polenta.
  3. Reduce the heat of the pan and periodically stir the polenta to prevent clumping for about ten minutes or until the stock seems to have been absorbed by the polenta.  (I use instant polenta so this just takes about a minute.)
  4. Meanwhile, make the Dijon sauce by adding the white wine and heavy whipping cream to a smaller sauté pan on low heat. Whisk for about a minute, then add the Dijon, garlic paste, tarragon, and lemon zest. Continue to whisk for another few minutes so that all the ingredients are properly incorporated.
  5. Stir the dijon sauce and chopped spinach into the polenta, ensuring that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Top with a few pats of butter and season with some hefty pinches of salt and pepper. Serve as a side or make it your main course with a simple salad.
IMG00165-20110213-1900.jpg

Sausage, Onion and Serranos sauteeing before adding chicken stock*

 

*Sorry for the not so great pic.  Lost my camera charger in NOLA and using phone for now…

Weekly Menu

February 13, 2011

About once a month I get organized enough to plan out our menu for the week.  And write it down.  On the chalkboard I bought for the kitchen for just that purpose {ideally every week, but once a month isn’t too bad of a start}.   Tuesday night I have Junior League and Thursday I’ll be out of town, so Jim will have to fend for himself or eat leftovers.

Anywho, I picked my recipes, hit the grocery and the Farmer’s Market and am prepared for a week of delicious, homemade meals.  Every night has {at least} one dish I’ve never made before. 

I’m looking forward to sharing these recipes and hope you’ll join me in expanding your taste buds and experimenting with some new flavors!

IMG00164-20110212-2250.jpg

A week of dishes in February {made the Hot Tub Chicken with a side of Green Beans w/ shallots, feta and Meyer Lemon tonight. Ah-mazing!}.

If you are brave enough to slice up three pounds of this season’s especially pungent onions, this soup will be well worth your tears.  A great beginning to any dinner, or enjoyed in a mug, curled on the couch watching really bad tv

French Onion Soup

Serves 4-6
  1. Melt together the butter and olive oil in a large stockpot.
  2. Crush and peel the garlic. You don’t have to mince it; it will caramelize and turn soft and sweet as it cooks. Caramelize the garlic in the olive oil and butter.
  3. Pour in the onions, season with salt and pepper, and stir around just until the onions are all coated in the olive oil/butter.
  4. Add in the fresh thyme and the bay leaf and let the onions caramelize, about 20 minutes.
  5. Once the onions are caramelized and have cooked down, pour in the stock, about 4-6 cups depending on whether you prefer your soup more onion-y or more soup-y.
  6. Then, pour in the beer and simmer, uncovered, for at least an hour and as much as three hours, tasting occasionally to adjust the flavors.
  7. Meanwhile, slice down your bread. Stale bread is perfectly okay for this, just heat it up a bit in a warm (250ºF) oven first to soften it. Toast the bread; you can rub both sides with a cut clove of garlic first, if you like. You’ll want 2 pieces of bread per person – one for the bottom of the bowl, and one for on top.
  8. Grate together about 1/2 cup each of parmesan, gouda, and mozzarella and set it aside.
  9. Preheat your broiler. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the soup.
  10. Arrange your oven-safe individual serving bowls or coffee mugs on a baking tray with a thin lip.
  11. TO SERVE: drop a toast slice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle in the soup and cover with a second slice of toast. Then cover the toast with cheese. Be generous! You want the cheese to seal in the soup and drape over the edge of the bowl.
  12. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling on top. Garnish with a little fresh thyme, and serve.

Original recipe can be found here.

Where’s the Salt?

December 28, 2010

Unfortunately, hypertension (high blood pressure) is something many adults suffer from.  Whether it results from way of life, or genes, one way to help control daily intake is by preparing your own broth — beef and chicken, to be used in soups and other dishes that you make at home.  Canned broth and bullion cubes are packed with sodium and, whether you have high blood pressure or not, it’s best to steer clear of them.  (I know I’ve used bullion in previous recipes, but I’ve just recently had this epiphany.)

I used this beef stock in what resulted in the richest French Onion Soup I’ve ever had.  Animal bones and meat  naturally have some sodium, so adding salt isn’t necessary.

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Roasted bones and vegetables

Beef Stock

Serves 6 cups
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 pounds beef marrow bones
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the bones with cold water and pat dry. Place the vegetables in a single layer in a large roasting pan and add the bones on top. Roast, turning the bones a few times, until well browned; about 1 hour.
  2. Transfer the bones and vegetables to a large soup pot, discarding fat from the roasting pan. Deglaze the pan with a couple of cups of water over high heat, scraping up all the brown bits. Add this to the bones, along with the cubed meat, tomato paste, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Pour in cold water to cover the bones and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Do not stir. Add peppercorns, and continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 4 hours, skimming from time to time.  (Rumor has it, the best way to really cook this down is by simmering on low overnight.  Proceed at your own risk if you choose to do so.)
  3. Strain stock and discard solids. Cool and then refrigerate overnight. The following day, remove and discard fat that has risen to the top, and discard any debris that has sunk to the bottom. Salt before using or, if planning to reduce, wait to add salt until later. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days, or divided into smaller quantities and frozen for future use, up to 6 months.
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A rich broth cooking down

Find the original recipe here.

Trees Please

December 25, 2010

I had some left over broccoli after making Knishes and thought Broccoli Cheese Soup would be delicious in the cold weather — it was perfect.  The hot, creamy soup will definitely be making it to my winter rotation — especially with the spicy croutons!  Your family will thank you for the hearty wholesome meal.

broccoli soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup with Southwest Croutons

Directions

In a medium pot, melt the 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 20 seconds. Add the flour and cook, stirring until the mixture is well blended and smells fragrant, 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until tender, for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and puree with a hand-held immersion blender. (Alternatively, in batches, puree in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.)

Add the cream and bring to barely a simmer to heat through. Add the cheese and cook over low heat, stirring, until melted. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, stirring to blend.

Remove from the heat and ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle croutons over the top of the soup and serve immediately.

Croutons:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the bread in a medium bowl and toss with oil and Essence. Spread evenly on a small baking sheet and bake, stirring twice, until light golden brown on top, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

Nosh on a Knish

December 15, 2010

Knish from Schimmel, lower east side, Manhatta...

Image via Wikipedia

My fiance is from Long Island and my mother is from New York, so we both grew up with a love for Knishes. I was thinking of comfort food to make around the holidays and Knishes popped into my head. Neither one of us had had one in years and we both thought they sounded like just the thing in this kind of weather {15 degrees in Atlanta, that is}.

I found this simple recipe on this site and knew I’d be making these again when Jim scarfed down three in 10 minutes. I’m delivering a couple to my parent’s fridge tomorrow afternoon so they can enjoy for dinner tomorrow night — the Knishes along with the Broccoli and Cheese Soup I made (using broccoli leftover from the Knishes).

I’m excited to experiment with some different fillings later this week. Next up — I’m thinking: Corned Beef Knishes!

Broccoli Knish
Serves 6
Recipe Ingredients:

 
Preheat the oven to 375 degreesIn a bowl combine the potatoes, matzah meal, potato starch, onion, egg whites, pepper and salt and knead together. Divide the dough into 6 balls and flatten each. Divide the broccoli evenly onto each circle, fold over, and press edges to seal.
Generously coat a baking sheet with the cooking spray. Arrange the knishes in a single layer and place the baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes on each side. Serve hot and with mustards.

Brie Me

December 14, 2010

Ocean Spray Craisins brand dried cranberries

Image via Wikipedia

Nothing says “holiday” and “party” like a warm, baked Brie

I love incorporating fruit and nuts with this cheese.  They pair so lovingly together.  This recipe isn’t just easy and fast, but it uses things you should already have in your fridge and cabinets.  There are so many variations of this combo, that you can bring the same basic dish to every party — but it will be a bit different, each time.

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A quick, easy and tasty appetizer

Baked Brie with Fruit & Nuts

  • 1 medium round of Brie, slice the rind off the top
  • 2 tablespoons jam, I used apricot for this one (fig, raspberry or pear would be delicious, as well)
  • 1 tablespoon dried fruit, here I used pomegranate craisins, but golden raisins, apricots, figs, etc. would also work great
  • 1 tablespoon nuts, in the pic I used almonds, but walnuts or pecans would also be good

Place the Brie in a round, oven-safe dish.  Top with jam and craisins and put in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes — or until it begins to soften and melt.  Meanwhile toast the nuts.  Remove the Brie from the oven, top with toasted nuts and serve immediately with crackers, fresh fruit slices and/or torn pieces of a baguette.

I promise this dish will be the first one empty at the party!

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