Monday, December 30, 2013

Recipe #268: Thon À La Provenҫale (Child)

My favorite French recipes so far involve chicken and my French pot, but if I'm going to keep learning, I need to branch out past chicken and beef.  Here's a seafood one that doesn't involve the pot at all.  There are still several steps that involve the mixing of flavors and re-use of cookware... my favorite!  Behold, tuna steaks with an amazing tomato topping.  I changed the recipe some (amounts, not ingredients) since I was only feeding two of us, so there was a little more sauce per tuna steak, I'm guessing, plus some leftovers (which I will be delighted to mix into rice for lunch!)

From page 219 of volume one, here's my not-very-photogenic result.  If you do a Google image search, though, those pics aren't much better- you just have to trust me that this was delicious.  The asparagus was a little overcooked because I was too busy paying attention to the sauce, but that was still yummy too.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Recipe #267: Herby Kale Soup with Chickpeas and Sausage

Oh man.  This one is EXCELLENT, and that's saying something because I'm not the biggest fan of sausage.  I found this on http://justthetipfood.wordpress.com.  The only change I made was that I used one can of chickpeas and one can of great northern beans because I bought one can of chickpeas instead of two.  DELICIOUS!!  Super hearty and makes a lot.  I bet the leftovers will be great!


INGREDIENTS: 
  • 3 links raw sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 head of kale, stripped from the stems and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 1/2 – 2 quarts of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp of fennel seed, pulsed to fine powder in spice/coffee grinder (I used my mortar and pestle) 
  • 2 15-oz cans of reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • parmigiano reggiano for garnish
  • olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Brown the sausage on all sides, about 5 minutes (sausage will finish cooking through later in the broth). Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add onions, carrots, rosemary, thyme, fennel & red pepper flakes. Season with S&P and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Return sausage to the pan, and add the chickpeas, chicken broth, and parmesan rind
  4. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove parmesan rind.  Add kale and cook for another 5 minutes until wilted.
  6. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle with parmigiano and serve.

Recipe #266: Mushroom-Spinach Baked Eggs

Heres one from foodnetwork.com, another breakfast.  Very savory and filling.  I liked how the bread was crusty to complement the soft mushrooms and eggs.  The cooking time here will give you eggs that are fully cooked, including hard yokes (which I didn't expect).  If you'd prefer over-easy with runny yolks, cook for about 15 minutes instead of 25-30.  Also, I cut them apart through the overlap instead of trying to separate the 6 slices of bread.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups baby spinach (about 6 ounces)
6 slices potato bread, lightly toasted (no need for toasting)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese


Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Arrange the bread in the dish in a single layer with the edges slightly overlapping, then spoon the mushroom-spinach mixture on top. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crack an egg onto each piece of bread; season with salt and pepper. Pour the milk evenly over the top and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the egg whites are set, 25 to 30 minutes



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Recipe #265: French Toast Casserole

It's Christmas morning!  Had to step up the breakfast options today!  This is a Paula Deen recipe, and I forgot the pecans.... so here's what it looks like without pecans.  Still tasted delicious!



Ingredients

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup


Directions


Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Recipe #264: Boeuf À La Mode (with Carottes Étuvées Au Beurre and Oignons Glacés À Brun) (Child)

A new Julia recipe!  Basically it's like pot roast, but more fun to make!  Here's where I found the recipes in the book:

Boeuf À La Mode- page 309 of Volume I
Carottes Étuvées Au Beurre- page 477 of Volume I
Oignons Glacés À Brun- page 483 of Volume I

What does this translate to?

Beef braised in red wine
Carrots braised in butter
Brown braised onions

I served this with rice so something could catch the extra gravy.  Delish!  I was getting nervous about the roast finally breaking down and becoming tender, but it did happen.  I roasted it for a little over 3 hours.

In the marinade

After marinating, ready for browning

Browned, ready for braising liquid

All ready for roasting

Carrots after braising

Roast, completed

Serving dish

Plated

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Recipe #263: Bananas Foster

I bought a very-green bunch of bananas that basically skipped the yellow phase and started going brown, and none had been eaten yet.  Not wanting them to go to waste, but also knowing that I'm a horrible baker, I looked online for something I could make that would be hard to screw up.  Here we are, bananas foster!


INGREDIENTS:

1 stick of butter
1/2c brown sugar
4 bananas, halved lengthwise and then halved through the middle
1/4c dark rum
Ice cream or pound cake (I had cookies and cream ice cream on hand, which went well with it)

DIRECTIONS:

Melt butter in a large sauce pan.  Add sugar and combine.  Add the bananas and carmelize both sides.  Remove from heat, add the rum.  Light the rum and let it burn itself out.  Serve with ice cream or pound cake.

Recipe #262: Spaghetti Squash with Feta, Olives, Tomatoes, and Basil

I made this for lunch today.  Quick and easy and even more delicious than I expected!  Lots of flavor and the ingredients complemented each other perfectly.  From allrecipes.com...


INGREDIENTS:
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil  (I used olive oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
2.Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.  (It took another 10 minutes for mine to be done enough)
3.Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
4.Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Recipe #261: Poulet Poêlé à L'Estragon (Chicken with Tarragon) with Farce Duxelles (Mushroom Stuffing) (Child)

I think I'm going to have to establish a new standard with this blog.

I have to say, first of all, that I am hoping to not scare anyone away with these latest recipes.  They're more advanced, if you want to talk about advanced as meaning using TONS of dishes and also spending 3-4 hours making one recipe.  Advanced does not mean difficult.  It might mean a special pot or a random ingredient you might not be used to, but it does not mean hard, by any means.

To me, "hard" in terms of cooking is ALWAYS baking.  Anything involving flour, expecting things to rise and be baked consistently throughout and get people with a sweet tooth all excited just by the sight of them.... yeah that's not me.  Also, I refuse to make pancakes.  I've cried one too many times over pancakes.

But my blog is meant to be "easy"..... so I will make sure I keep posting relatively simple recipes made with basic ingredients.  However, I can't ignore the good results from my forays into the art of French cooking...... I will still post those.

I think, though, that pages of instructions (which are delightfully easy to follow, if you see her cook books) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking are not really what I feel like re-typing.  I thought about copy/paste from internet sites using the recipes, but they are just adaptations of other people's attempts at Julia's instructions.  Not good enough for me.

I follow them as closely as possible.  My other recipes are all about adaptation and tweaking.  These, not so much, to the point where I won't even make something if I have to change more than one or two things.

So here's my new standard.  Julia recipes will not have instructions posted.  Instead, I will reference where I found them from her book and post pictures of my results.

Poulet Poêlé à L'Estragon (Chicken with Tarragon) - page 249 of volume I.... with Farce Duxelles (Mushroom Stuffing) - page 251.

Mushroom stuffing, pre-stuff.

Chicken, post-roast.  I didn't truss the wings.

Post-roast, removal of the stuffing.

Straining of the sauces from the casserole for gravy.

First time using a gravy boat in.....forever....

So moist, tender, rich, and worth a 9:15pm plating time!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recipe #260: Poulet au Porto (Child)

I need to give my kitchen a break after tonight.  I used four pots, two cutting boards, one 9x13 roasting dish, tons of utensils...  SO WORTH IT.  Here's another of Julia's recipes.  I had to roast the chicken first, which I will post as a separate blog at another time, but once the chicken is roasted, you get THIS deliciousness.  It is like chicken marsala, but LEAGUES better.  Nick and I ate the ENTIRE almost-four-pound chicken with the one pound of mushrooms and the sauce.... by ourselves.  Yes, it was that good.

So here's my kitchen, mid-ordeal.  Trying to keep it neat.



This is a little involved as far as steps and dishes go, and I promise the recipes I post from here on out won't all be like this, but I have to share.


INGREDIENTS:

1 3-4 lb roasting or frying chicken
1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
Water
Butter
Lemon juice
Salt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream (this turned out to be exactly one of those tiny cartons...)
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
Pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced shallots or green onions (I used more like a half of a cup of minced shallots!)
1/3 cup medium-dry port
1/4 cup cognac

DIRECTIONS:

Roast the chicken.  Be sure to not overcook it.  (I WILL POST THESE DIRECTIONS LATER!  But otherwise, just do a basic roast.  I stuffed mine with apple and onion slices and basted with a mixture of rosemary-infused olive oil and butter).

Meanwhile, trim and wash the mushrooms.  Quarter them if large, leave them whole if small.

Bring the water to boil in a saucepan with the butter, lemon, and salt.  Toss in the mushrooms,cover, and boil slowly for 8 minutes.  Pour out the cooking liquid and reserve.

Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of whipping cream.  Add the rest of the cream.  Pour the mixture into the mushrooms.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Correct seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.

When the chicken is done, remove it to a carving board and let it rest at room temperature while completing the sauce.


Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the roasting pan.  Put the 2 tablespoons into a small sauce pan.  Stir in the shallots or onions and cook slowly for 1 minute.  Add the port and mushroom juice, and boil down rapidly, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Add the mushrooms and cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly.  Correct seasoning and add lemon juice to taste.

Smear the inside of a fireproof casserole or chafing dish with butter.  Rapidly carve the chicken into serving pieces.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, and arrange in the dish.

Set over moderate heat until you hear the chicken begin to sizzle.  Pour the cognac over it.  Ignite the cognac with a match or lighter.  Shake the casserole slowly until the flames have subsided.  Pour the mushroom mixture over the chicken, coating it.  Cover and steep for 5 minutes without allowing the sauce to boil.  Serve.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Recipe #259: Garlic Roast Beef Sub

Here's a really quick lunch I made today, adapted from one of my cookbooks that features only sandwiches.


INGREDIENTS:

Cream cheese
Garlic powder
Several slices of thick-cut roast beef from the deli
Small onion, sliced
Butter
Sub/sandwich buns

DIRECTIONS:

Put buns on a baking sheet and spread cream cheese generously on both sides.  Sprinkle with garlic powder to taste.  Broil in the oven until browned.

Melt butter in a skillet.  Brown the onion slices, and then add the roast beef and heat through.

Put the onions and beef on the buns and enjoy!

Recipe #258: Boeuf A La Catalane (Child)

I have a new label/tag in my blogs now- Julia Child.  I'm now the happy owner of her two-book set Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and this is the inaugural recipe I chose.

I love the layout of the cookbooks.  Instead of the typical ingredients list, and then directions, it lists the ingredients needed for each step alongside that step.  Unfortunately, that's hard to duplicate nicely here, but I enjoyed following the cookbook as I made this.  Also, while I was trying to decide which recipe to choose, I noticed many of them called for a fireproof casserole/french oven.  I suddenly knew what I wanted for Christmas (as these are definitely not cheap!) and went to Bed Bath and Beyond to get my new pot.  It weighs a ton, especially with the food in it, but I was so happy using it!

Unfortunately, I was so excited about serving this up after the long cook time, I forgot to put the cheese in at the end.  It was delicious!  The meat was really tender and the flavors were perfect.



INGREDIENTS:

1/4       pound  chunk of bacon
2         tablespoons  olive oil
3         pounds  lean stewing beef, cut into squares 2 1/2″ across and 1″ thick
1 1/2    cups  onions, sliced
1         cup  raw white rice, unwashed
1         cup  dry white wine or dry vermouth  (I used Chardonnay)
2         cups  beef stock or canned beef bouillon
salt to taste
1/4       teaspoon  pepper
2         cloves  garlic, mashed
1/2        teaspoon  thyme
Pinch   saffron
1          bay leaf, crumbled
1          pound  tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced, and chopped
1          cup  Swiss cheese or Parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325°
Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (1 1/2-inch strips, 3/8 of an inch thick.) Simmer in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes. Drain, dry, and brown lightly in oil in the skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon to the casserole.
Dry the meat on paper towels. Heat fat in skillet until almost smoking then brown the meat a few pieces at a time.  Place it when browned in the casserole.
Lower heat to moderate, and brown the onions.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and add to the casserole.
Still in the same fat, stir the rice over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes until it turns a milky color.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside until later.
Pour any remaining fat out of the skillet, add the wine and stir for a moment over heat to dissolve coagulated cooking juices.  Pour into the casserole.
Add stock or bouillon almost to the height of the meat.  Salt lightly.  Stir in the pepper, garlic, and herbs.  Bring to a simmer on top of the stove, cover tightly, and set in lower position of preheated oven to simmer slowly for 1 hour.
Remove casserole from oven.  Stir in the tomatoes, bring to simmer on top of the stove, cover, and return to the oven for an additional hour or so of very slow simmering.  When the meat is almost fork-tender, remove the casserole from the oven.  Raise oven heat to 375 degrees.
Tile casserole and skim off fat.  You should have 2-2.5 cups of liquid; add more stock or bouillon, or water, if necessary.  Stir in the rice.  Bring to simmer on top of stove, cover, and set again in lower third of oven.  Regulate heat to keep liquid at full simmer for 20 minutes so the rice will cook.  Do not stir the rice.  At the end of this time it should be tender and have absorbed almost all of the liquid.  Remove from the oven and correct seasoning.
Just before serving, delicately fold the cheese with a fork into the hot beef and rice.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe #257: Minestrone Soup

It's soup season!  Here's a classic.  I'm really disappointed in the pictures I took, especially since I got distracted right after I put the cheese on top and it ended up just looking like a white glob for the pictures, but trust me, it was hearty and delicious.  Taken completely unchanged (except for using a can of corn instead of fresh, which wasn't available) from myrecipes.com/Cooking Light....


2 teaspoons olive oil 

  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 3 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped carrot 
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 4 cups chopped tomato, divided 
  • (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided 
  • 1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (very short tube-shaped macaroni)
  • (15.5-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (optional) 
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
  2. Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Recipe #256: Italian Wedding Soup

I spent a long time looking for just the right recipe for this, but I couldn't find just one that I was happy with between the ingredients, ratings, comments, and so on.... so I came closest to one I liked on food.com and then edited it a bunch!  This turned out better than any of the ones I've tried in a restaurant, I think.  It was fun to make and there were plenty of leftovers that I'm going to enjoy and share with friends.


Ingredients:

Meatballs

1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley or flat leaf parsley
1 egg
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
8 ounces lean ground beef
8 ounces ground pork

Soup

10 cups chicken broth
1 lb escarole or endive, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

1/2 c orzo, cooked


Directions:


In a large bowl stir together first 6 ingredients. Stir in cheese and bread crumbs. Mix in meats with your hands. Roll into 1 inch meatballs (about 75).  Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.  This will help prevent the soup from being greasy.   (Technique note:  I was lucky enough to come across a little trick to making these little meatballs much easier to form.  Working in batches, roll the meat out into a tube shape about 1" thick, then cut apart into 1" pieces.  It's then easy to quickly form them into a ball shape while placing them on the sheet.)





Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add meatballs and escarole and simmer about 10 minutes.  Add the cooked orzo.  Whisk eggs and cheese in a bowl; then add to soup slowly stirring with a fork to form thin strands of egg about 1 minute.  (Mine ended up more like "crumbs")  Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Recipe #255: Stuffed Shells

I heavily modified a recipe I found on allrecipes.com (where else?!?) based on recommendations from others, and it turned out great- fresh ingredients make a big difference.  Maybe some day I'll make my own ricotta cheese.  The original recipe called for cottage cheese, but that just didn't seem authentic.  I didn't quite use all the shells I cooked, and the fresh ingredients are rough estimates to replace the dry ones from the original recipe.  I also added the spinach and black pepper.  This made a lot of food, and even after some second helpings, the dish was still about 2/3 full!  I edited the recipe to reflect how I customized it.


INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells
4 cups ricotta cheese
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh spinach
DIRECTIONS:
1.Cook shells according to package directions. Place in cold water to stop cooking. Drain.
2.Mix together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, and garlic powder. Add basil, parsley, and spinach, and stir into the cheese mixture. Stuff mixture into the shells by piping with a plastic sandwich (or bigger) bag with the corner cut off.
3.Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Layer some of the extra shells on top where there's more space.  Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  
4.Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recipe #254: Dilled Salmon En Papillote

I found this one in one of my neglected cookbooks.  It's similar to other recipes I've posted for salmon using dill, and packet baking..... but still different enough to be its own unique post.  Very flavorful.  I served it with basmati rice.

The recipe is as printed in the cookbook, with my changes in red.


INGREDIENTS:

1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out.  (EW!  I used half a bag of fresh, coarsely chopped)
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 salmon fillets (4oz each), skin removed (I used 2 6-oz fillets and left the skin on)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons drained capers (I used less since I only had 2 fillets)
4 teaspoons light butter (I used regular butter, for the skillet and then 1 tsp for each fillet)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees 4.  Coat 4 sheets aluminum foil 12"x20" with cooking spray ((I used 2 sheets of non-stick foil and didn't have to coat them.)

Coat a medium skilled with cooking spray (I melted butter instead) and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and cook for 30 seconds, stirring.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the dill.

In a small bowl, combine the mustard and remaining 1 tablespoon dill and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Divide of the spinach mixture on half of each sheet.  Top each mound of spinach with 1 salmon fillet.  Spread the mustard mixture over the tops and sides of each fillet.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the capers over each fillet.  Top each fillet with 1 teaspoon of the butter.  Fold the foil over the salmon and crimp the edges of the foil together to make a tight seal.

Transfer the foil packets to a large baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the packets are puffed, although they may not puff.  Cut open at the table.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recipe #253: Croque Monsieur

All I could think while I ate this is that it's the exotic love child of grilled cheese and biscuits and gravy.  ...except ham instead of sausage.   Oh man...  I linked to this through foodgawker.com, which led me to a great blog called travelcooktell.com.  I only made two sandwiches instead of three, but kept the same measurements for the sauce and cheese. I used a good loaf of Italian bread, sliced thick.



Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp butter, plus softened butter for bread
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups gruyère or emmental cheese, grated
  • ½ cup mozzarella
  • 6 slices bread  (I used 4)
  • 6 slices ham  (I used 4)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C)
  2. For the sauce:
  3. In a saucepan melt butter. Add flour, stirring constantly until smooth, about 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring continuously, and cook until the mixture thickens a little and is lightly golden.
  4. Remove from heat and add mozzarella, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  5. Lightly and evenly butter bread slices, place them in a baking pan and put it in the oven for 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and place the ham slices and about ⅓ cup Gruyère cheese on 3 of the bread slices. Top each with one of remaining bread slices.
  7. Spread sauce to cover the top of each sandwich (crusts, too). Sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake the sandwiches for about 5 minutes then place under lit broiler until cheese mixture on top is bubbling and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Recipe #252: Chicken Parmesan

I'm not sure what took me so long to make this meal, but here it is.  It turned out very fresh tasting and juicy.  It's a great recipe from allrecipes.com (of course...) if you like the traditional flavors of chicken parmesan.  I halved the recipe and pounded the chicken breasts thinner and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.  I used pasta sauce made in Cleveland's Little Italy, and served it with a side of capellini.



INGREDIENTS:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
7 ounces seasoned bread crumbs
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces pasta sauce
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Pour beaten eggs into a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow dish or bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into beaten egg, then into bread crumb mixture to coat.
3.In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add coated chicken and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
4.Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken, then place a slice of Monterey Jack cheese over each breast, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recipe #251: Lobster Bisque

The other day, I saw some frozen lobster tails for a good price at the store, so I grabbed them without knowing what recipe I might use them for.  With the weather getting colder, though, I was inspired to make a lobster bisque.  This is a very easy recipe that could be the base for some changes, or fine on its own.  Except for the onion, I halved the recipe and used two lobster tails, and it worked out to be two big bowls of soup.  Here's another one from allrecipes.com....

INGREDIENTS:
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 cups cooked lobster meat, shredded
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup light cream
DIRECTIONS:
1.Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and celery salt until well blended. Gradually stir in the milk so that no lumps form, and then stir in the chicken stock. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the soup begins to thicken. Add the onion and lobster; season with paprika. Cook and stir for 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, heat through and serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe #250: Oyako Donburi

I've been fretting for awhile about recipe 250.  I wanted something unique, but nothing was catching my attention.  I also couldn't decide what to make for dinner today, so I sat in the parking lot at my little grocery store and used my Allrecipes Dinner Spinner app to help me decide.  I picked "main dish" "chicken" "ready in 45 minutes or less"..... and scrolled through the results.

This one caught my eye immediately for the unrecognizable name, and then I knew when I saw the ingredients that this would be the meal.  According to the poster of this recipe, it is a Japanese dish very popular in Hawaii.  It's simple to make and very hearty.  I used a full pound of chicken and skipped the salt.  I also used fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried.



INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves - cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until
soft, then sliced into strips

1 carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped green onions
5 eggs, beaten
DIRECTIONS:
1.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken strips and onion until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off as much liquid as possible.
2.Stir in the chicken broth, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrot, and let simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the sugar, soy sauce and salt. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Sprinkle in half of the green onions, stirring gently. Pour beaten eggs over the chicken mixture, and simmer until the eggs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve over Japanese sticky rice.