Wednesday, July 2, 2008
1 lb. raw jumbo (21-26) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. sliced green onion/scallion, light green parts only
Sprinkle the shrimp with cayenne, salt, and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat the oil on high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add shrimp and cook about 1 minute on each side, until shrimp are opaque. Drizzle the agave nectar over the shrimp and toss the shrimp until it is evenly coated. Remove from heat and sprinkle with scallion. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
1 lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained.
1 10 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained (such as Muir Glen) or 1 can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chiles (if you want it spicy)
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 10 oz can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese condensed soup
1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning (such as Old El Paso)
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 8-ounce bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese
12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
shredded lettuce, black olives, sliced spring (green) onion, ranch salad dressing
Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix the ground beef, tomatoes, sauce, soup, sour cream and seasoning together until well-blended. Simmer for 5 minutes. Spray a 11 x 7 casserole dish with cooking spray (or a 2-qt oval casserole dish) and place about 1/3 of the tortillas in a single layer. Top with 1/2 of the meat mixture, and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat tortilla layer, top with 1/2 meat, 1/3 cheese, top with tortillas and remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until heated through and bubbling, and top layer of cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Top with lettuce, olives, onion, and dressing.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. canola oil
6 Tbsp. water
6 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes, boiled in their skins and cooled.
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 bag of frozen peas (about 2 cups)
1 minced hot chili pepper (I use a red jalapeno), ribs and seeds removed, optional
1/2 tsp ground ginger, or 1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp garam masala
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
1-2 cups of chutney, preferably tamarind (Naturally India makes a great jarred chutney) or McQuade's Fig & Ginger Chutney
Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch dice. Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof saute pan over med-high heat (or a large saute pan, but plan on transferring the mixture to a 13x9 inch pan to bake in the oven.) When hot, but not smoking, add the onion and saute until onion is translucent and browning at edges. Add the peas, ginger, cilantro, and water. Cover, lower heat, and simmer until peas are cooked. Stir every minute or so and add more water if it seems to dry out. Add the potatoes, salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, and lemon/lime juice. Stir to mix. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring gently. Taste, and adjust salt and lemon/lime juice. Remove from heat and let cool before putting it in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
For the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the oil, and rub the flour mixture between your fingers (like you're rubbing cold hands together) until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix with your hands until you can form a very stiff ball. It doesn't hold toether at first, so do not add more water to it, just keep at it. Empty the ball onto a clean work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it is nearly smooth (well, smooth for a very stiff ball. It is still not going to hold together very well.) Form a ball and place it in a zip-top bag with a few drops of oil (about 1/2 tsp) making sure to coat the ball with the oil. Let stand for 30 minutes or longer at room temperature. The dough will soften as it rests. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness to cover whichever sized pan you're using.
Preheat oven to 400*F. Cover filling mixture with dough, cutting a vent in the middle. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pastry is dark golden brown and filling is hot. Serve hot, or at room temperature with chutney.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I'm going to make Samosa Pot Pie tomorrow, as I received a jar of Fig & Ginger Chutney from McQuade's Celtic Chutneys. It is chock full of good stuff, with nice juicy chunks of fruit and it smells heavenly. I made Turkish Lamb Burgers last night (from the latest issue of Eating Well Magazine) and I put a dollop of chutney on one of my burgers, as I was out of the yogurt topping. Well, it was better than any commerical chutney I've had. It really was a homemade experience with crisp chunks of apple, chewy raisins, spicy ginger, and lovely chunks and strips of fig. Half of the jar is now gone, but I did make sure to reserve enough for Samosa Pot Pie. If it's too hot for SPP, I'm going to wrap the potatoes and peas in tortillas instead of baking it in the oven. Either way, recipe tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Now, it is a great production to venture to a pick-your-own or to get to the farmer's market (to think, there's lately been a "status" about going to the farmer's market which I will blame solely on Martha Stewart and those photographers of hers.) That said, my yard this year and next will be in complete upheaval as we prepare to remove the old garage base and put in a fence. This year, most of the gardening will be done in containers, and at my mother's house (who very generously asked if we would like one of her three garden plots which we jumped at the chance to get.) We will drive 30 minutes to plant, sow, weed, and eventually reap the harvest.
Last summer, I had the good fortune to come upon a glut of gorgeous, perfect peaches; some of which I made into Vanilla Peach Preserves, and the small remainder, into frozen peach pie filling. I like to thicken my pies with tapioca starch, as it allows the clear, bright flavor of the peaches to really come through. I pour it into cling-film-lined pans until frozen solid, then take them out and vacuum seal the frozen brick. Every now and again, I pull one out and cover it with either a crumble topping, biscuit topping, or a roughly-made pie crust, usually torn into pieces for peach pandowdy.
Tonight was a pandowdy night. I like to drizzle it with a tiny bit of cream when it is still warm from the oven. The taste alone screams summer. Loudly. In your ear via your tastebuds.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Alas, it is not to happen, as the forcast for tonight is snow. I saw a robin and a mourning dove today, so spring cannot be to terribly far away. I'm tired of being chilled to the bone.
Marie, a glorious woman in England, created a dish that looks to be quite delicious, with a lovely salmon cream sauce and cheesy biscuits baked on top. Find it Here.
(after dinner) Well, I can certainly tell you that while this was cooking, we couldn't wait to sit down to eat. I used buttermilk in the biscuits rather than regular milk, because I like the tender crumb that the resulting biscuit has. The olives had me a bit skeptical, but I'm so glad I put them in there. I chopped them extremely fine and it provided a lovely salty depth of flavor that didn't scream "OLIVE!". The salmon cream mixture reduced a bit too much, mostly because I had children climbing up my leg while I was cooking. I think the next go-round I'll increase the amount of milk by a cup and use a third cup of flour. This was lovely and delicious, and my husband, who doesn't really care for fish or peppers ate it all. Thanks Marie!
Friday, March 14, 2008
In these parts, one can usually find a ham & leek dinner, where the leeks are usually steamed whole and eaten as "greens", sometimes with butter and a splash of malt vinegar. I much prefer to clean them, separate the greens from the whites, and use the greens in cream sauces or as one would use chives. The sharp bulbs, in my opinion, are best when roasted, which allows their sweetness to shine through the strong flavor. The caramelization also gives them great depth of flavor, and are wonderful pureed and added to a simple carbonara sauce, or anywhere you'd use roasted garlic.
I suppose leeks wouldn't be as prized as they are if they were easy to gather. The next few weeks, we'll drive into the woods and look for signs of leek growth. We'll wait until the signs start going up at local churches, advertising leek dinners, and we'll hike onto our "secret" hillside, enjoy the sounds of the creek as the water meanders through the rocks, and we'll forage for our green gold.
That's our sign that winter is officially over.
Hot & Wild Leek Dip
1/2 cup wild leeks (ramps) cleaned and chopped roughly (if you cannot get wild leeks, use scallions/green onions, but use 3/4 cup)
16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into cubes
3 tsp cayenne pepper sauce, we like Frank's Red Hot
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp crumbled bacon, cooked crisp
Preheat oven to 375*F. In a food processor, process the ramps until they are well-chopped. Add the cream cheese, cheddar, and cayenne until well-blended. Transfer mixture to an 8" baking pan sprayed with cooking spray and sprinkle with bacon pieces. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and heated through. Serve with crackers.
Monday, February 25, 2008
A blog-favorite of mine posted her recipe for Sweet Potato and Molasses Beef Stew on her website, but, of course, I changed it to suit my fancy. The recipe directions she includes are excellent. I leave out the celery, the carrots, and the white potato and double (or triple) the amount of sweet potatoes. I also doubled the amount of molasses, because although I did not want a pronounced molasses flavor, I did want to be able to taste a hint of it. The last thing I did was make a small amount of butter and flour roux, which I cooked to a deep brown (about 10-12 min; 3 Tbsp butter, 1/4 cup flour.) It added another depth of flavor and thickened this up in a most fantastic way. Due to the wee littles, I like stews to be rather thick; less dribbling down shirts is a good thing.
This is hearty and delicious and something that makes the bleak and icy landscape a bit more tolerable. I highly recommend that you make it.
Oh, as an aside, do be sure to try her Salmon Noodle Casserole. It has become a family favorite 'round these parts.