Well, it is spring time in Chicago and thought it would be a good day for a spring-esque dish. What better than some Fettuccine and some fresh veggies. For this dish you’ll need:
1. 1/2 lb of Fettuccine
2. 3 tbsp of butter
3. 1 cup of chicken stock
4. 1/4 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh oregano, 1/4 cup fresh arugula
5. One diced shallot
6. A pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper
7. 1 lb of cooked shrimp
8. 1 small Zucchini, sliced
9. 1 small Summer Squash, sliced
10. 1 tbsp minced garlic
11. 1 small head of Broccoli, chopped
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, cook pasta.
2. While the pasta is cooking, place the chicken stock, garlic and soft butter into a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Let simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Add basil, oregano, arugula and shallot. Simmer for 3 minutes.
4. Add Broccoli, Zucchini, Summer Squash and shrimp. Simmer for 10 minutes – make sure to stir!
5. By now your pasta should be done. Remove for the flame, drain the pasta, then place it back into the original pot. Pour in your shrimp/veggie sauce and serve!
Now, I understand that I haven’t done much cooking as of late… so my taste buds may be a bit off… but this was, by far, the best dish I have EVER made.
No, I’m not kidding. Hands down, the best dish I’ve ever made.
The sauce was very light. The Zucchini, Broccoli, and Summer Squash were perfectly tender and the shrimp absorbed just enough of the sauce to retain a perfect balance of the sauce and the shrimp itself.
I’d cook this up and serve it to anyone who stops by, and I strongly suggest you give it a try!
Oh… and up tomorrow… the Calamari dish that was an appetizer for this meal.
Sorry for the lack of posts, life has been very busy for the last two weeks. I really miss getting into the kitchen and working some magic, however, I simply haven’t had the time or energy due to a wide range of issues. You know… work… school (I’m getting a masters)… life in general…
That said, I am making a public promise right now. Moving forward, I will make it my duty to post twice a week. I deserve it, the site deserves it, and the constant experimenting will continue my growth in the kitchen.
I hope you have enjoyed everything thus far and, again, sorry for the lack of posts.
My mother makes the type of Macaroni and Cheese that I love… It’s one of those childhood comfort foods (along with Meat Pie and Hashbrown Casserole) that cannot get enough of. With the fear of ruining a bunch of childhood memories in my head, I decided to venture out and try another recipe…
This one from Alton Brown with just slight changes.
Steps to throwing together this masterpiece.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Mix in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes.
Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Mix in egg.
Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven, let sit for ten minutes before serving.
A very enjoyable dish, one that is the perfect comfort food… but it does not replace the childhood memories.
The paprika add a subtle flavor and panko breadcrumbs create a texture that I never would have associated with Mac and Cheese but really enjoy.
One last item with this dish – the longer the dish sits, the better it tastes. After having the Mac and Cheese hibernate in the fridge overnight I found even more pleasure in eating the leftovers the next day. It looks as the flavors permeate the dish and grow in intensity with time.
A very busy week, a very stressful week, has kept me out of the kitchen… and I have missed it so. As I was finishing up hour number 9 of one very tedious task at work I started thinking that I really needed to take care of my cooking fix today. Really, what better way to start the weekend. Well, I can think of a few others….
I decided that I wanted a good fish dish. Yes, the baked Mac n Cheese is still in my the back of my head (and I’ll get there at some point) but I wanted to do something creative and the Apricot Mustard Salmon was the answer.
Apricot Mustard Salmon Recipe
3 tbsp olive oil
2 salmon cuts
8 oz of apricot preserves (roughly 1 cup)
4 tbsp of coarse ground mustard
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 sliced peppers jalapeño
1/2 cup white wine
2 rosemary sprigs
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Turn on the oven, set to 400 and let the oven pre-heat as you prep.
2) Heat olive oil over a medium-low flame in a medium sized pan, add the jalapeño peppers and sautee for roughly 3 minutes (until they begin to soften)
3) Add Garlic, heat for an additional minute
4) De-glaze with white wine
5) Add mustard, stir into the mixture
6) Add Apricot preserves and stir in so all ingredients have blended together.
7) Turn heat to low, simmer for roughly 15 minutes while constantly stirring to avoid burning. The sauce will begin to thicken when ready.
8 ) Place your salmon on a foiled cookie sheet, salt and pepper to taste, add a sprig of rosemary and cover with the Apricot Mustard sauce.
9) Bake for 16 minutes
Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette Recipe
1 bag of mixed baby greens
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp honey
5 chopped green onions
10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
A “Handful” of chopped walnuts
A “Handful” of Feta Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Yea, this one is quite simply… mix your red wine vinegar, oils, ginger, and honey. Pour over the baby greens, add walnuts and cheese, green onions and mint. Toss vigorously and serve.
I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out… but hot damn I was happy. The sauce is on the sweeter side of the spectrum but the peppers and mustard add a nice after bite that one wouldn’t expect. In order to cut the sweetness simply add a bit more mustard. As sad as this sounds, as the salmon was baking away I was eating the extra sauce straight from the pan. Why let a good thing go to waste, I love it!
The salmon and sauce blended so well. The sweetness of the sauce was countered by the natural flavors in the fish leading to a near perfect balance.
I like throwing together random vinaigrette dressings. The thought of honey, nuts and feta cheese seemed to compliment the fish (well, in my mind) and in reality it did. The nuts really brought out the taste of the honey, and the honey added to the sauce that was over the fish.
Work and life has kept me from cooking the last week or so. I’ve been flat out drained, so I took a day off today to recharge. One activity to help my reach my goal was trying a new dish… just throwing something together… the result is the Wasabi-Butter Seared Tuna below.
2 tbsp freshly milled peppercorn
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 stick of butter
1 cup of white wine
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp, 1 tsp wasabi paste
2 6 oz tuna steaks
Recipe for the sauce
1. Over medium-high heat reduce the white wine and white wine vinegar to roughly 20% of the original volume. This should not take long, between 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to low and stir in your soy sauce and wasabi paste. Continue to stir until the wasabi is fully mixed into the liquid.
3. Add butter in 1/8th sections until the entire stick is used. Make sure to do this slowly as too much butter too fast will make the sauce thin/break apart
Quick note: As you are making the sauce make sure to continuously stir to avoid burning. Once all the butter is into the sauce remove from the heat and set aside.
For the fish
1) Mix the peppercorn and sesame seeds in a bowl. Toss your tuna to cover.
2) Sear the tuna over a medium heat, roughly 2 minutes on each side. If needed splash with a little water (about a tsp) if needed to help along the searing.
3) Plate, cover with sauce and enjoy!
I decided to plate over asparagus and top off with edible flowers. A wonderful dish for seafood lovers. The sauce had enough kick but not overwhelming. Obviously you can make it to your desired taste… Good stuff!
Needed for the sauce:
1 cups grated carrots
1/2 large red onion, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon dried basil flakes
1/2 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 tbsp, 1 tsp Worcestershire
salt, pepper to taste
1 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1/2 cup half-n-half
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Let us get right to it!
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Add grated carrots, onions and shallot and cook for three minutes.
- Add ground beef and cook for a few minutes until brown.
- Mix in oregano and basil.
- When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients add tomato paste and heat.
- Add garlic and stir to combine.
- Add red wine and stir together.
- Add Worcestershire and stir.
- Add canned tomatoes.
- Finally add in half-n-half, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
And there you have it, you are done! Bolognese sauce over Egg Pasta
Enjoyable dish, one that seems to get better after the sauce has sat for a few days. Make some of the kick-ass garlic bread and you are ready to go.
The Butter Chicken from the other day needed a final touch – Naan. Since I do not have a tandoori oven I thought “Well, damn, I’m out of luck when it comes to making home made Naan.” Not so!
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
I’ve made some small changes to the recipe. You’ll, I think, be position for better results.
1. For the dough, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.
2. Mix the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together, incorporating the flour from the edges of the bowl, making a smooth and soft dough.
3. Knead well for 8-10 minutes.
4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for at least an hour
5. Cut ball into the number of pieces you desire. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll the dough balls out quite thinly. Sprinkle over your chosen topping and press into the surface of the dough.
7. Place the naans onto the a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, then broil for 2. Turn if one naan is more brown than another.
8. Brush with butter and serve!
Quick, easy and ready for any dish.
Ok, time for yet another new dish – Indian Butter Chicken. Having never even eaten the dish before, I wasn’t sure who it was supposed to turn out… talk about a shot in the dark!
Here we go – Ingredients
Let’s start making the sauce:
1) Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until translucent.
2) Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger and garlic pastes, garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
3) Add tomato sauce, cook for 5 minutes, make sure to stir.
4) Add in half-and-half and yogurt, stir.
5) Reduce heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
6) Remove from heat and set aside.
For the chicken:
1) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
2) Cook chicken for about 10 minutes.
3) Reduce heat, and season with 2 teaspoons garam masala and cayenne.
4) Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink.
5) Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
6) Next you’ll mix together the cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes.
7) Serve over basmati rice and enjoy
From what I was told by my resident Indian food expert, my wife, the dish was quite good. I would agree. I really enjoy the garam masala in the dish and the sauce is so… rich… fantastic.
Around the holiday time period the office I work at had a pot luck lunch. A a co-worker brought in a dish for this event that was simply magical, and it was a dish that I had never heard of before – Chicken 65.
Where does this Indian dish get it’s name? Well, there isn’t one exact answer for that one. Some say it is due to year a hotel in India started serving it, others because of a chef that may have created it… regardless of where the name came from it is a dish full of taste and eating pleasure.
The dish doesn’t call for much yet such an impressive end result is achieved. Just goes to show more isn’t always better.
1. Combine the chicken, cornstarch, chili powder, paste, turmeric, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add a few drops of food coloring to make the chicken slightly red (not dark, bloody red!) Let this marinate in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight.
2. Put the oil in the pot and wait until it is heated. Slowly add the chicken and fry until it is evenly – but not fully – cooked.
3. Once all the chicken is fried, place in in a separate container.
1. In the same pot, using the same oil, add the green chilies, curry leaves, and tomato paste.
2. Sautee and constantly stir to prevent sticking to the pot. Continue stirring/mixing until the color of the paste darkens to a deep maroon color.
3. Add the chicken back into the pot and GENTLY mix into the paste mixture.
4. You can taste test at this point and add salt if needed. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes.
6. if desired, garnish with coriander leaves and serve over rice.
I cannot sing the praises of this dish enough. It is full of taste with just enough kick to make on wanting more. While I made 2 pounds of this yesterday (well, less that 24 hours ago) it is all gone. If you enjoy Indian food you have to give this a try.
About two weeks ago Peter, over at Greek Food and Beyond, posted a recipe for Creamy Asparagus Soup. I love Creamy soups, my favorite is the Chicken Pasta soup that J.Alexander’s serves, so when I found a recipe that looked appetizing I needed to go for it. Sure, I have no experience with making any creamy-based soup but I wasn’t going to let that stop me!
I made three small changes to this recipe, but we’ll get to that in a second.
1/4 cup olive oil
3 leeks (white parts)
2 bay leaves (crushed, spines removed)
1 tsp dried thyme
3 Russet potatoes
8-9 cups of chicken stock
2 bunches of asparagus
1/2 cup of cream
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 lb cooked dark chicken chunks (I used the leftovers from the Lemon Chicken)
And the process…
In a nice sized soup pot add your olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped leeks, crushed bay leaves thyme and chicken, stir for about 10
Now grate your potatoes through the large holes of your box grater and stir in with the leeks. Simmer for about five minutes.
While the leek/potato/chicken mix is cooking, cut your asparagus separating the tips and the stem.
Add your stock, salt, pepper and the chopped asparagus stems, bring to a boil. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
In a second pot bring water to a boil, add your asparagus tips and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove and blanche the tips in ice-cold water.
Once the soup is ready puree with a hand blender while adding the cream (I went with one cup).
Place in a bowl, add your asparagus tips – top with freshly ground black pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Peter has a great soup recipe here. I couldn’t stop eating this, and I even put some in the freezer for later. On my next go around I plan on making the soup a wee bit thicker, creamier… but one who enjoys a good creamy soup cannot go wrong here.
My changes – I added one tsp of salt as I used stock which, usually, is lower salt. I ground up the bay leaves to a nice flake consistency, and I added the chicken for a little extra something. Have fun!
Sticking to my idea of trying new dishes, I saw this Lemon Garlic Chicken with Olives recipe and thought “Hey, why not”.
Let’s get to it.
- 1 4 pound chicken cut up, or chicken pieces
- 25 garlic cloves peeled
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup pitted green olives, rinsed
- 1 Tbsp chopped lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano, basil, sage, etc.)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted melted butter
1) Preheat oven to 425.
2) Combine the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, butter, herbs, and salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir.
3) Arrange chicken pieces in a roasting pan, place the garlic cloves all around the chicken, and pour lemon-herb mixture over them.
4) Roast for about 50 minutes or until nicely browned.
4) Remove chicken.
5) In a large pan, over a medium heat, add the roasted chicken, garlic, juice, and chicken stock. Stir.
6) Add the olives and stir, cooking a few more minutes. Serve immediately.
The small change I made to the recipe was the addition of the butter… next time I will do a number of things different.
I’d love to be sitting here telling you this dish was fantastic, or that the flavors magically danced on my tongue, but that is not the case. When the recipe says it’s Lemom Garlic Chicken they really mean it’s Lemon Chicken. The Lemon was too overwhelming. Now, that is not to say it was bad, but it wasn’t a home run.
Interestingly enough, if one eats a piece of garlic, chicken and an olive at the same time the flavors seem to balance out. Eat them alone and it really doesn’t work… alone the chicken has too much lemon, the garlic has lost the kick, or the olives were too salty.
Next time I get around to this I play on significantly cutting the lemon juice, maybe just making the lemon zest the core lemon flavor, and made the base of the dish butter.
Wanting to use my left over goods from the Horseradish-Garlic topped Filet I decided on a quick and easy Stir Fry dish.
You’ll be wanting to have:
1) 1 8oz filet, sliced
2) 1 1/2 tbsp ginger
3) 1 tsp mustard powder
4) 5 stalks of cooked Asparagus, chopped (steamed)
5) Hand full of sliced mushrooms, Sautéed
6) 2 1/2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
7) 1 cup cooked rice
8 ) Olive oil (for cooking) and pepper for taste
9) 1 tsp of minced garlic
Let’s get started
1) Whip on out your wok, place olive oil in, and place over a medium-low heat.
2) When wok begins to heat up, add filet and garlic. Make sure to stir as soon as you place the meat in as you run into the ability to burn the meat rather quickly. Cook for roughly 2 minutes
3) Add a bit more olive oil, pepper to your desired standard, ginger, mustard powder and mix. Cook for another minute. Turn the heat up to medium but watch for burning of the dish.
4) Time to throw in your asparagus and mushrooms, continue to stir for 1 minute.
5) Add the Hoisin sauce, stir and cook for roughly 2 minutes.
6) Serve over rice and you are done!
The serving make enough for one and hits the spot.
This dish started off as a quest to do horseradish encrusted filet but grew into something a wee bit different – I give you Horseradish-Garlic topped Filet with and Braised Mushrooms. It sounds ostentatious but it isn’t.
List-o-ingredients (Steak/Steak Topping)
2 Filets – 6 to 8 oz
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced horseradish (fresh or bottled – more on that at the end of the post)
1 cup of breadcrumbs
A few Parsley Leafs, chopped
1/2 stick of butter, soft
1/4 cup parmesan-reggiano
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Mix all of your topping ingredients together. Your butter should be soft but not melted which will result in a clumping consistency of all ingredients.
2) Cook your filet to the desired temperature
3) Remove filet from heat, place enough horseradish-garlic topping to cover surface area of the filet
4) Broil on a high flame until the topping begins to bubble/turn brown
1) Package of Cremini mushrooms, whole
2) 1 tbsp of butter
3) 1/4 cup red wine (I used Merlot as it tends to go well with grilled meat)
The ‘braising’ is rather simple, just toss your mushrooms in a frying pan with the butter and quickly brown, then add the red wine. Stir and cook until the wine begins to thicken. Remember to do this over a medium to medium/low heat to keep the mushrooms firm. No one likes over cooked mushrooms!
OH SO VERY GOOD.
My concern was the fresh horseradish as going to overwhelm the dish, however, I found that adding an equal part of garlic balanced it out, allowing for the taste to come through without making the entire experience a wasabi-esque nightmare.
This topping could also become the base for so many other variations – crab, blue cheese first come to mind… this topping is easily a steak house favorite and I cannot wait to make it again.
Now, I noted that one could used fresh or horseradish. I decide to use fresh as I had the ability to control the overall flavor. A pre-bottled option would have added other flavors I may not have been shooting for (too salty, too strong for example). However, in chopping up my own horseradish I came to the conclusion that mother nature has a sense of humor.
Yep. Just look at this…
As always, enjoy!
I was asked to make Spaghetti and Meatballs so I thought, hey, why not. Never did that before now seems like a good time to expand the old recipe book. To start, I used the sauce recipe that I used in the Kitchen Scrap Lasagna (I mean, why re-intent the wheel on that one) and focused on the meatballs.
Here is what I used:
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
1 Green Onion, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground oregano, basil and dill (respectively)
1 tbsp minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 325
2) Take your ingredients and mix until all items are throughly blended
3) Shape meatballs and place on cookie sheet (like so)
4) Bake for 25 minutes
5) Serve over Spaghetti and top with your sauce of choice
Meatballs are not all that hard to make – it all comes down to having the base recipe and tweaking as you see fit. That said, what are your favorite metaball recipes?
What suggestions do you have that can really make an impressive dish out of something so simple?