Saturday, April 5, 2014

roasted brussels sprouts

If there is one axiom in my life, it is this:  every vegetable is better when oven-roasted. 

These roasted brussels sprouts are fabulous.  Yum.

I eyeball everything, but generally:

a pound or two of brussels sprouts

Mix in a bowl with some olive oil to lightly coat, some sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper.

Roast at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.  You can also do at 350 degrees for longer if you already have something in the oven.  You want to brown the outside and then the inside is tender.

You can get all fancy and use balsamic vinegar, cranberries, and all sorts of other things.  But, these very simple sprouts are all I need to be very, very happy.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

shepherd's pie

This recipe for shepherd's pie is from Alton Brown here

Ingredients

For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Directions

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
****
Modifications:  I omitted the carrot and used a bag and a half of frozen peas and carrots, a half bag of frozen green beans, and half a bag of corn.  
I cooked the potatoes two days before, then I prepared everything the day before and refrigerated it until ready to bake.
I didn't drain the lamb fat after it cooked, but I should do that.  Also, the flour thickened it right up quickly ao no need to simmer long to thicken.  
I used 1.5 pounds of lamb and probably about 4# of potatoes.  It fit into 1 large glass baking pan and another smaller one, because A. likes to cover it with loads of cheese, which kind of turns my stomach.  (She'll get the large one for the cheese, as it's the only way the kids will eat much.  Though, the younger one is quite interested, and the older one will eat most things with cheese - as his destruction of a pan of lasagna in 24 hours exhibits.)  


Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.html?oc=linkback

tuna pasta salad

I'm cooking up a maelstrom.  None of it is great.  But it works. 

this recipe for tuna pasta salad is here.

Ingredients
  • 12 oz. bow tie pasta $0.88
  • 5 oz. can chunk light tuna in water $0.70
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced $0.25
  • ½ cup diced onion (yellow, purple or green) $0.25
  • ½ tsp. salt $0.05
  • to taste fresh ground black pepper $0.05
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise $1.00
  • 2 cups frozen sweet peas $0.64
Instructions
  1. Take two cups of peas out of the freezer and let thaw on the counter. Cook the bow tie pasta according to the package directions (boil 5-7 minutes). Drain in a colander and let cool.
  2. As the pasta is draining and cooling, combine the rest of the ingredients (peas, tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onions, salt and pepper). Adjust the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If your pasta is still hot when you are finished combining the rest of the ingredients, run cold water over it until it has cooled down. Make sure to drain the pasta well before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Stir the pasta into the pea/mayo mixture until it is well coated. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve!


***
I forgot the salt, the pepper, the lemon, and went light on the mayo.  Um ... next time I'll get it right.  But even like this, it satisfies a craving.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

lasagna

About a box of lasagna noodles, uncooked
1-1.5 pounds of Italian sausage
40 or so oz. of pasta sauce
2 c. mozzarella
1 container of ricotta
1 container cottage cheese
a bit of parmesan


****
Saute the sausage until brown.  Add the sauce and let it simmer about 5-10 minutes.

Layer three times - sauce on the bottom and the top with layers of cheese and pasta.  Sprinkle parmesan on top.

Put on the foil tight and bake at 350 degrees about an hour (or less, if it's not been refrigerated overnight) - you can put a little water in if it looks dry (it will steam and cook the noodles).  Take the foil off and bake another 15 minutes or so. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

malbec and moscato

I am obsessed with these two types of wine: malbec & moscato. Everything else is swill to me.  But I go to shop and can never remember which brands were especially good, so I hope to keep a record here.

MALBEC
First, they have to be from Mendoza, Argentina.  Anything else is crap.  Here is a list of wines I should think of trying.

Layer Cake - this is very good.  I like it much.

Alamos - I like this.  Antonio agreed, Sonia didn't.

Trivento - I really don't like the aftertaste to this one.  Like varnish. Sonia's favorite, though, and Antonio also liked it much.

Bodego Elena de Mendoza - tasted cheap.  Which it is.

Mezzacorona

Cupcake

Diseno




MOSCATO - from Italy, please.  Trying to decide on my favorite region.


Luccio

Riondo - this one is too sweet after-work sipping. Cloyingly sweet, really.

Voga (in a non-traditional bottle)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

minestrone with kale

This recipe for minestrone with kale is from the Weight Watchers website (minor modifications made).  It is super yummy!!

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, chopped
2+ cups kale (I used almost a whole bunch from the supermarket)
2 leeks, washed and chopped
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes with basil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt
pepper
4 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
15 oz can white beans (such as Great Northern)
1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta, such as orzo
grated parmesan

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots; sauté over high heat until onion is transparent, about 7 minutes. Add kale and leeks; sauté until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add zucchini, diced tomatoes, broth, herbs and beans. Simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in cooked orzo, salt and pepper.
  • To serve, pour into bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Yields about 1 cup of soup and 1 1/2 tablespoons of cheese per serving.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

chicken spinach enchiladas

Based on this.

Chicken spinach enchiladas
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 8 oz. of cooked chicken meat)
  • 1 small yellow onion (diced)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos (partially drained)
  • 1 can white beans (drained)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • ½ cup light Greek yogurt
  • 1 (6 oz) bag baby spinach
  • 1 jar green salsa
  • 8 corn tortillas
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and sautee the onion until slightly soft (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add the can of tomatoes (with juices), lime juice, yogurt, and taco seasoning. Stir well to combine.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in the chicken, spinach and drained white beans, then reduce heat to low and let simmer (about 20 minutes).
  5. Place the tortillas between two damp paper towels and steam in the microwave until soft (about 15 second).
  6. Fill each tortilla with 1/8 of mixture, wrap and place in a greased casserole dish.
  7. Top enchiladas with verde sauce.
  8. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Then remove cover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes to finish.