Archive | Favorites RSS feed for this section

Speedy Ratatouille

3 Apr

I love this recipe because (a) my kids love it and usually ask for second helpings, (b) it is even better the next day, as with most stews, (c) it is very doable for a weeknight meal, and (d) it is a great vegetarian option.  The original recipe is stellar, so I only made a few changes to make it even more weeknight-friendly.  Serve with lots of crusty bread.

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 – 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon dried sweet basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese (or feta if you prefer)

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant along with 1/2 tsp. dried basil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a large bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pot.  Add the zucchini and yellow squash along with 1/2 tsp dried basil and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add another one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion, bell pepper, and 1/2 tsp dried basil. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Advertisements

Speedy Ratatouille

28 Aug

Speedy Ratatouille

This dish is magic.  It’s full of vegetables, but despite that, my kids seem to love it.  I was shocked when they asked for a second helping the first time I made it.  Thinking it was a fluke, I made it again a few weeks later.  Again, they emptied their bowls and asked for more.  It’s become a family staple.  Nowadays they even get excited when I tell them we’re having ratatouille for dinner.

This would be a great dinner for company, because you can make it the day before (see notes below).  Be sure to serve it with crusty bread….mmm.

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (in a pinch, I just use canned tomatoes)
  • 1 cup loosely packed shredded basil leaves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese
  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a plate.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the casserole along with the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add another one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the basil and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Make Ahead: The ratatouille can be refrigerated overnight.  In fact, it’s even better the next day.  Just wait to do the lemon and goat cheese until you’re ready to serve.
*If you don’t have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute dried basil.  I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to each batch of cooking veggies.

Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

28 Aug

Many thanks to my friend Erin for introducing me to this recipe.  I’ve made it at least five times this summer.  Grilled marinated chicken topped with a fresh cucumber “salsa” and peanut sauce — yum!  Don’t be discouraged by the laundry list of ingredients.  It’s easy to prepare, and you could even make the peanut sauce and sambal a few hours ahead if needed.  I double the amount of peanut sauce and cucumber sambal.

Spicy Chicken Peanut Noodles

  • 4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 8 ounces, weight Dry Spaghetti
  • ¼ cups Dry Roasted Peanuts, Chopped (for Garnish)

MARINADE:

  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt

PEANUT SAUCE:

  • ½ cup Chicken Broth
  • ¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Garlic Sauce
  • ½ cups Fresh Cilantro, Minced

CUCUMBER SAMBAL:

  • 1 cup Cucumber, Seeded, Diced
  • ½ cups Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • ¼ cups Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ Tablespoons Kosher Salt

Preheat grill to medium-high. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Toss with chicken and grill for 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from grill (or grill pan), and tent with foil while preparing the other ingredients.

Prepare the cucumber sambal by tossing together the sambal ingredients. Set aside till serving.

Cook the pasta according to the package; drain and return to the pot. Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce. Heat broth, peanut butter, brown sugar, vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in a saucepan over medium heat to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and salt, then pour sauce over pasta and toss to coat.

Top each chicken breast with pasta and cucumber sambal. Garnish with peanuts.

Makes 4 servings
Source: www.thepioneerwoman.com

Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch

28 Apr

This is one of the best punches I’ve had lately.  I made it for a friend’s baby shower, and it was thankfully a bit hit.  The ginger syrup and fresh citrus juices really make it special.

Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch

Ingredients

For ginger syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced unpeeled fresh ginger (1/4 lb; from two 5-inch-long pieces)

For punch

  • 3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3 to 5 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 6 limes)
  • 3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 cups ice cubes

Make ginger syrup:
Bring water, sugar, and ginger to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, then remove from heat and steep, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding ginger. Chill, covered, until cold, about 2 hours.

Make punch:
Stir together ginger syrup and fruit juices in a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in sparkling water and ice.

Cooks’ note: Ginger syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

Serves 10

Source: Gourmet, December 2004

Lemon Curd

12 Dec

Lemon curd (1) edit

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  Not only is it delectable, it’s one of the simplest ways I’ve found to make lemon curd.  I use it to top pound cake, toast, English muffins, pancakes, waffles, yogurt….the possibilities are endless.

Plain yogurt w/ lemon curd and berries

Lemon Curd

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10-15 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Yield: about 3 cups

Source: The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten

Candied Yams

7 Dec

This is a family recipe I grew up having at Thanksgiving or Christmas, and sometimes both.  The medallions of sweet potatoes turn out sweet and a little chewy on the edges, hence the reference to candy.  The recipe name is a misnomer, because sweet potatoes are always used (yes, yams and sweet potatoes are two different things), but who cares what it’s called if it’s good, right?

Candied Yams

6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup orange juice, from concentrate
chopped pecans, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.*  Place whole sweet potatoes directly on oven rack and roast until cooked in the center.  Set them aside to cool.  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them into about 1/2 inch rounds and place on a sheet pan or large baking dish in a single layer.

2. Combine butter, brown sugar, and orange juice and pour over potatoes.  Top with pecans, if desired.

3. Reduce on to 250 degrees F.  Bake potatoes for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until the sauce has caramelized, and the potatoes are beginning to crack around the edges.

——–

After completing step 2, potatoes can be refrigerated for 1 or 2 days before baking.

*If you prefer, sweet potatoes can be boiled with skins on until cooked through instead.

Chicken Tikka Masala

7 Dec

When Sam and I have a chance to eat out, we almost always choose an Indian restaurant.  I hadn’t really attempted cooking Indian fare in my own kitchen until my Sept. 2007 issue of Cooks Illustrated arrived in the mail.  Their recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala is delicious and takes the intimidation out of cooking ethnic food.   The sauce can be made ahead, refrigerated for up to 4 days in an airtight container, and gently reheated before adding the hot chicken. Serve it over basmati rice and accompanied by naan and a mango lassi.  You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced (see note above)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (see note below for substitution)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

*Note: If you don’t have garam masala on hand, you can substitute 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.