Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE Best Dinner We Ever Made in Our House

Subtitle: This is why I get out of bed at 5:30 am to go to the gym during the week.

I am 100% serious that this was the BEST meal Brad and I have ever made in our house! Surpassing all other meals, this was the meal of all meals. Pre warning, this is definitely a weekend meal, takes time and was oh so worth it. Food is meant to be enjoyed, and not always skimping on the calories. Needless to say, that was that meal. Details are:

1. Filet -Sent to us in this amazing package from Texas
2. Jumbo Shrimp
3. Lime Cilantro Linguine - from Pappardelle's Pasta. If you haven't already heard me talking about this pasta, now is the time for you to listen. GET IT. It will change your life. It puts regual boxed pasta in a corner. Full of flavor, every kind we have had has been amazing! Get on the website, google Pappardelle's Pasta, or visit them at the city market (where we originally found one of their vendors).
4. Portabella Mushrooms
5. Champagne & Wine
6. Low (er) fat Creme Brulee

1. Can't help give you a recipe for the beef... sorry
2. Brad sauteed the shrimp like we had them in Hawaii, TONS of fresh garlic and butter. Topped with chopped fresh parsley.
3. Pasta / sauce - for the sacue for this dish I used the base of one of my favorite Pappardelle's Pasta sauces, and modified. Mix together of low-medium heat: Sautee lots of fresh garlic (I used 5 cloves), and about 1/2 a shallot, add 1 can lite coconut milk, 2 T soy sauce, 2 T brown sugar, chopped fresh basil & cilantro (about 1/2 cup total). Continue simmering very low till ready to server. I turn it up more at the end to make sure it's hot enough.
4. Mushrooms - Mix in bowl add 1t sea salt, drizzle with honey, champagne vinegar. Let sit 5 min. New variation, Brad grilled these in the oven on a cookie sheet. Good consistancy, like them!
5. Duh
6. Finally got to use our souflee dishes and torch. I like the dessert, just wasn't quite like a restaurant. It also was the first time I ever made creme brulle. Replaced regual half and half with fat free half and half. It was pretty good. This recipe is kind of long, I googled it, and actually followed the recipe (minus the fat free thing).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Risotto w/ Mushrooms & Mascarpone

Ok, so the original version of this recipe came from Cooking Light, and it's in their " Recipe Hall of Fame", and let me tell you, it's clearly there for a reason! This stuff rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I adapated the recipe a bit, 1- to be less expensive, and 2- ingredients. Original recipe + modifications below.
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms - about 1 oz
1 14 oz can beef broth
1 cup Arborio rice
3/4 shallots - yes exact! I know!!!
2 garlic gloves minced - used 4 cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine - subbed with 1/2 white half red
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese - subbed with parmesian & romano
1 T chopped fresh thyme - used dried still tasted great
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese - 1 T per serving to keep calories in check
fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Subs- Porcini's are $$$, so i used regual chopped mushrooms. Brad cooked them in a few T of red wine, and a tiny bit of salt.
2 Cups boiling water was original for porcini's, reserving 1 1/2 cups mushroom flavored water. I used 14 oz beef broth (always use granules) + 1 1/2 cups water. Later added "mushroom water" to risotto mixture. Mix broth and water together in small sauce pan, simmer constantly. Do not boil. In large skillet or saucepan heat 1 T EVOO, add rice, shallots, and garlic (doubled of course), sautee 5 min. Add wine, cook 2 min till liquid is absorbed.
Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice, cook over medium heat 5 min till liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until each portion is absorbed before adding the next. After all liquid is incorporated, add small amounts of "mushroom water" till soaked in. Add mushrooms, grated cheese, thyme, salt & pepper. Stir gently till cheese is mixed in. Add 1 T Mascarpone to each plate of rice.

Seriously, this stuff is amazing! MAKE IT!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crock Pot Chicken with Cherries

This is an ultra fast, delicious and cheap meal. When I say ultra, I mean ultra. Total prep time is under 20 min. I found a recipe that lead me to this, I edited as always.

1 whole chicken (Costco $4)
1 pkg. crinkle cut carrots
1 12oz jar cherry preserves
1/2 cup cooking wine (I used white it called for red, but I was misinformed by my hubby that we had red.)
1/8 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

In a small sauce pan bring preserves, wine, sugar and salt to a boil. Boil, stirring often till thickened, about 8 min. Place chicken in Crock Pot breast up, add carrots, salt and pepper bird and carrots. Make a few slits in the breast of the chick. Pour cherry mixture over chicken, use a spoon or knife to hold open slits. Cherries should fall into the slits. Juice will fill up slits and fall around chicken. Cook on low 4-5 hours.

We wanted quick and easy, so we did some instant potatoes and gravy on the side. Not everything needs to be complicated! Use chicken broth instead of water for the potatoes.

The carrots were amazing!! I looked at Brad's plate, carrots were gone before his meat & potatoes. Yeah, that good.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Shrimp & Risotto

So, I guess you could call this recipe a win lose. I thought it was pretty darn good, Brad & Matt thought way too much lemon. I actually followed a recipe, well, as close as I can. So, here's what I made, and how I'll revise it. I know some of you, Tracy, especiall you, love lemon, you would LOVE this recipe. Maybe serve lemons on the side if others don't care for lemon as much.

1 1/2 lbs shrimp
6 garlic cloves - I used 8 barely could taste it
2 Lemons Zested + Juice of 1 lemon
salt & pepper to taste.
Edited & tried - I will keep garlic amount, take it down to 1 lemon zest and a tiny bit of juice. I marinted about 6 hours, definitely could reduce time to 20-30 min.

1 1/2 cups Aborio Rice
3 cups chicken broth + 1 1/2 cups water
1 Large shallott, diced finely
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp salt & pepper
1 lemon zested + 3 T lemon juice
1 Cup Fontina Cheese
1/2 Cup fresh chopped basil

Serves 4

In one med. size sauce pan, simmer chicken broth and water. In large pan, add 2 T EVOO, add diced shallot, cook 3 min. Add rice, cook 2 min till covered in oil. Add wine, cook 3 min till absorbed. Add broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time till absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time. This process takes about 25 min. Add cheese, salt & pepper. I used about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cheese & used parmesan & pecornio romano.

Grill or stove top cook shrimp. Serve shrimp & risotto, topping with chopped basil. Served this with steamed carrots & asparagus.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's 1 degee outside - soup anyone?

Soup anyone? No soup Nazi here! Trying a new concotion tonight, Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup. It's simmering right now. I think I've had my first recipe viewer!!! Thanks Megan! YEAH! I'll let you all know how the soup turns out. More than likely going to top it with goat cheese, so I can't imagine it being bad. Needless to say, most things warm right now are delightful!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

So you want my recipes, eh?

Hello again....
So, it seems in the last month or so, I have been telling everyone all kinds of different recipes, how to cook this, that, etc. I just absolutely love cooking, and the more I do it, the more I like it. And, like anything else, apparently you get better the more you practice. Love it. I watched the Julie & Julie movie and it all made great sense, how fun to share so much over food. Food makes life so fun. Ok, I forgot to mention this, I am Italian. That should explain a lot! I love to eat, and I love to cook. But, I'm not like Paula Deen or Rachel Ray, obviously your food is going to taste good with heavy cream, butter, sugar, candied walnuts, and 3 cups of cheese! Get real!!! It's much harder to cook with healthy ingredients.
And, here we are.... recipe #1 that sparked me to create this lovely little blog.
Oh my gosh, I need to forewarn everyone: I measure about 2% of the time. For the purpose of this, I am going to guesstimate as best I can, I'm probably 95 % accurate.

Taliapa in White Wine Garlic Sauce
- 5 Taliapa filets
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup super finely diced yellow onion
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Sea Salt / Pepper
- 2 T butter

Drizzle pan with ~ 1 -2 T EVOO, add garlic and onion, simmer 3 min. Add filets, salt, pepper and wine. Sautee 3 min or so on medium high heat, add butter, and continue cooking 3 more min or so. Flip filets and continue cooking till fish is done. Cook until fish is cooked through, wine liquid should be reduced to about half original volume. ENJOY!!!!!!

Wow, I had a glass of vino (ok 2) and I created a blog!

Wow, welcome to me and you to this place called a blog. I didn't know I could create such a thing so easily. Of course, leave it to google to make things super easy!

I am going to start of with a disclaimer that will stand for as long as I blog: 1) Sometimes I don't write in full complete sentences. 2) I like to use dashes --- a lot! 3) I like to type like I talk and think... I think it makes more sense, and is more fun that way. 4) I am not the worlds best speller, but luckily this thing has spell check. Get over it if something is spelled wrong. I'm not Dougie Hauser. 5) I like to say what I'm thinking, get over it if I offend you. I don't accept cry babies. The End. Happy entertainment!!!!