Category Archives: Entree

Quick dinner take 2

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Well, kind of quick. Less than 1 hour anyway, which to me is pretty quick! 55 minutes, to be exact. ūüôā Actually, there were 2 main reasons this took longer than about 20 minutes: 1. I had to defrost the frozen shrimp, and 2. I decided to make Kasmati rice to with this diner, simply because we had it on hand and I love it!

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The original recipe that inspired this dish was from Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2009 issue. I halved the recipe and then added shrimp, rice, scallions, and some soy sauce. Here’s the basic idea:

Steamed Snow Peas and Peppers with Shrimp over Rice
adapted from Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 09; this recipe serves 2

Ingredients

  • handful of snow peas (the amount you’d like for 2 people)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (or whatever color looks good at the store that day)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked white rice (I think this would be good with brown rice too)
  • 1/2 pound shrimp (I used frozen because I had them leftover from another recipe; I’m sure fresh would be great too; for fresh, you’d probably have to adjust the cooking time a bit.)
  • scallions for garnish

Directions

  • Cook rice according to package directions (I used Kasmati, so I started this first because it takes 50 minutes. Yes, 50! 20 min. for the rice to soak in water, bring to boil, 20 minutes to simmer with lid on, and let sit 5-10 min. May seem like a long time, but I really really love it. A quick cooking rice would speed this recipe up drastically of course!)
  • Meanwhile, defrost shrimp in cold water if frozen. Devein if necessary, and remove tails. Sautee shrimp in a non-stick pan with cooking spray for a few minutes (until warmed for frozen, pre-cooked shrimp, or until cooked through, pink and opaque for fresh or uncooked frozen shrimp.)
  • Trim snow peas, and de-seed pepper. Cut pepper into strips. Put snow peas and pepper into a vegetable steamer above simmering water and steam for 4 minutes, or until tender but still crisp.
  • In a bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, vegetable oil, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper.¬†
  • When shrimp and veggies are done, combine in one pan and toss with above vinaigrette. Serve over cooked rice. If desired, sprinkle some scallions on top for garnish, and add a splash of soy sauce (I used low-sodium soy sauce.)

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Had to include this photo because my camera started to steam up while I was trying to get it to focus, haha. ¬†Maybe we can say the haze adds to the ambience of the photo? ūüėČ

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A 51 minute meal.

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Today I decided to try something new: I wanted to see how fast I could make an interesting, somewhat balanced dinner. Tonight my husband had rehearsal until 5:00, I was teaching lessons at home until 5:00, and we were both going to have to leave for a board meeting by 6:45. Although I know that’s plenty of time to whip up something for dinner (and eat it), on days like this I typically resort to a frozen pizza or even just snacking and then stopping for a bite to eat on the way home from the meeting (at about 9:00 pm).

Today’s solution: bite the bullet and just COOK. I figured if I didn’t finish in time it wouldn’t be the end of the world. As you can see, I started at 4:43. When I say I “started,” I mean I hadn’t done anything yet. This time includes preheating the oven, prepping all the veggies, etc., and also plating the food and setting the table! I really loved the combination of flavors. They reminded me of summer! I think it was the mint and lime.

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Spice-Rubbed Turkey Cutlets with Roasted Carrots and Minted Couscous
(adapted from Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2009); I made it to serve 2 *Note: original recipe calls for roasting turkey breasts with the carrots, but I wanted to speed up the process. I used cutlets instead.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced into 2 inch lengths
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound turkey breast cutlets (very thinly sliced)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinammon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots, garlic, and 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 35 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Sprinkle turkey cutlets with cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat to medium. Cook turkey cutlets until cooked through, a few minutes on each side.
  • In a small bowl, mix yogurt, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon cumin; season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side.

Minted Couscous¬†(again, from Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2009. This recipe is listed “as is.” It serves 4. I halved it to make 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, torn (*I did not use the full amount because I was afraid the mint would overpower. It turned out to be much better than I thought it would be! I’m glad I took a chance. I would add the full amount next time.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Directions

  • In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous; season with salt and pepper. Cover and, off heat, let steam in the pan, 5 minutes.
  • Add scallions, mint, oil, and lime juice; fluff couscous with a fork.

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Granted, our board meeting was canceled because of bad weather, but I decided to use the opportunity to see if I really could make an interesting, healthy dinner on a busy weeknight. Added bonus: more time to update the blog. ūüôā

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3…2…1…

Happy New Year! First I would like to thank our family and friends who came over for New Year’s Eve dinner. We’re so glad you were able to join us! We couldn’t have asked for a better evening…hopefully you all had a great time too. ūüôā

I posted my menu a few days ago, but now I’m able to give you some more details and photos! We’ll start with a photo of our table. Linens are from Christmas Tree Hill (LOVE them). Napkin folding is courtesy of my ever-so-talented husband!


We started the evening with a cocktail, served with the cocktail nuts in my last blog post: Apricot Fizz

Ingredients

3 tablespoons chilled apricot nectar or peach papaya mango juice *I used apricot nectar
1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
lime slices for garnish

Directions

Pour the apricot nectar in a champagne flute and top with Prosecco. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

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The first course was Fallen Goat Cheese Souffles on Wilted Spinach (courtesy of Emeril via Food Network website)



Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons plus 5 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups¬†milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 ounces goat¬†cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • Wilted Spinach, recipe follows
  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter 6 (3/4 cup/6-ounce) ramekins with 4 teaspoons of the butter. Combine the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and use to dust the bottoms and sides of each ramekin. Set inside a roasting pan large enough to hold the cups without touching. Lightly grease a baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the butter and set aside.

    In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it thickens slightly and forms a light roux, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the milk, and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking after each addition. Add the cheese, tarragon, salt, and pepper, and stir to incorporate.

    In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks just form. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the yolks in 3 additions. Divide among the prepared custard cups and fill the roasting pan with warm water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake without opening the oven door until slightly puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let rest uncovered for 30 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife around the edges of the ramekins to release the souffles. (Note: souffles can be covered at this point in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.) *I refrigerated for a few hours. It worked very well!

    Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake the souffles until puffed and heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the oven.

    Add the dried cherries and pine nuts to the spinach and stir to combine. Divide the wilted spinach mixture among 6 salad plates. Arrange 1 souffle on each plate and serve.
    Wilted Spinach

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • 18 ounces baby spinach, tough stems removed, well rinsed and spun dry
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Heat butter in a wide 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until foam subsides, add garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for 30 seconds. Then cook spinach, stirring, until just wilted but still and bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

    Some photos for you of removing the souffles from the ramekins:

    Step 1: Pray ūüôā

    Step 2: Place souffle in palm of hand

    Step 3: Carefully place souffle on baking sheet for later

    These were definitely a hit! They weren’t quick and easy by any means, but they were totally worth it.

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    With the first course, we served a French Sauvignon Blanc:

    Next up: main course! We served a Pork Tenderloin En Croute¬†with Pear and Parsnip Puree¬†(again, both Emeril from Food Network’s website.)

    Pork Tenderloin En Croute

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup minced shallots
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and finely chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
    • 2 (1 1/2 pound)¬†pork tenderloins
    • 1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
    • 1 tablespoon¬†vegetable oil
    • 1 sheet prepared puff¬†pastry, thawed if frozen
    • 1/4 cup Creole mustard or any whole-grain mustard *I used Creloe
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash
    • Haricots Verts, recipe follows *We omitted these because, frankly, I forgot to buy them!

    Directions

    To make the mushroom stuffing, in a large, heavy skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are wilted and begin to caramelize, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring to deglaze the pan and until the liquid has almost all evaporated and the mixture is tight, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat. Let cool completely before using.

    Season the pork tenderloins with the Essence. *I actually sliced the tenderloin into 8 smaller pieces and decided to make individual servings.

    Heat the oil in a skillet or Dutch oven large enough to hold the tenderloins over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloins and reduce the heat to medium. Sear evenly on all sides and cook, turning frequently. Remove pork from the pan and cool for 10 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Set aside.

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a 12 by 18-inch rectangle. Place the pork tenderloins on 1/2 of the puff pastry, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Evenly coat the tenderloins on all sides with the mustard.

    Pack the cooled mushroom mixture around the pork tenderloins. Brush a 1/2-inch border of egg wash on the pastry around the meat. Gently pull the remaining pastry over the meat to completely enclose, and press gently to seal. With a small knife cut away the excess pastry to make an even border and crimp the pastry edges with a fork dipped in flour. Make a small slit in the top of the pastry for steam to vent.

    Carefully transfer the tenderloin to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the pastry evenly with egg wash. *At this point, I put them in the fridge for about an hour before baking because we weren’t quite ready for them yet.¬†Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake until golden brown and an instant read thermometer reaches 140 degrees F, an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minute before serving.

    Slice the pork tenderloin and serve with the Haricots Verts.

    Essence (Emeril’s Creole¬†Seasoning)

    2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    2 tablespoons salt
    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    1 tablespoon black pepper
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
    1 tablespoon dried thyme

    Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
    Yield: about 2/3 cup

    Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

    Haricots Verts

    1 tablespoon butter
    1 teaspoon chopped garlic
    2 small shallots, thinly sliced
    1 pound haricots vertss
    1 lemon, juiced and zested
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram

    In a saute pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until the shallots begin to soften. Add the haricot vert, lemon juice and zest and cook until crisp-tender ‚Äď about 3 minutes. Add the marjoram and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

    Pear and Parsnip Puree

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon¬†light¬†brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 4 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch piece
    • 2 tablespoons nut-flavored liqueur
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    In a baking dish, combine the parsnips, 2 tablespoons of the butter, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until the parsnips are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and uncover.

    In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the pears and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the liqueur and tilt the pan to ignite the contents. (Alternately, remove from the heat, light with a match, and return to the heat.) *Couldn’t get mine to ingite. Sigh.¬†Cook while flaming for 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.

    In a skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Add the browned butter, baked parsnips and their cooking liquid to the food processor. Puree on high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sour cream, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

     

    These turned out very well… rave reviews from our guests. ūüôā I am fully aware that it looks a bit like a mummy head. Stop laughing. Ok, you can laugh, I’m laughing too.

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    With the main course, we served a French red:

    Finally… dessert! Grand Marnier Creme Brulee with Chocolate Ginger Shards¬†(again, you guessed it: Emeril, Food Network website.)

    Gotta make a mini brulee to test it first!

    Super yummy and indulgent

    Ingredients *I quadrupled this recipe because there were 8 of us.

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/4 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped out and reserved
    • Very small pinch¬†salt
    • 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 2 mint sprigs, for garnish
    • Chocolate-Ginger Shards, recipe follows

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

    In a small saucepan, combine the cream, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the vanilla bean pod and reserved seeds, and salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside. Remove and discard the vanilla bean pods. Stir in the Grand Marnier and orange zest.

    In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks and 2 teaspoons of the sugar and whisk until frothy and the sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Divide between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins. Place in a small roasting pan or baking dish and fill with enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custards are just set and still tremble slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

    Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the top of each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Place under the broiler and broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning and turning the custards as they cook. (Alternatively, use a kitchen blow torch to caramelize the sugar.)

    Stick the sharp ends of the shards down into each custard, garnish with mint, and serve immediately.

    Chocolate Ginger Shards: 

    1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

    1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped

    Line a small baking sheet with foil and chill. 

    In the top of a double boiler, or in a small metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the ginger and spoon onto the center of the baking sheet. Spread with a rubber spatula into a rough rectangle and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of ginger, pressing lightly to help adhere.

    Chill until firm, about 30 minutes, then break into triangle-shaped pieces (shards).

    Yield: garnish for 2 brulees

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    With dessert we served a Sauternes:

    At midnight, of course, a champagne toast! We watched the ball drop on TV, raised our glasses, and kissed a little. ūüôā

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    Overall, it was the best New Year’s Eve I can remember in a long time! Happy 2009!!


    And Locatelli comes in at….

    …#2 on my list of favorite cheeses! Brie comes in #1 of course. We can discuss brie (at length) another day.

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    Apparently Locatelli is (I think) a brand of cheese. Growing up, I thought it was a type of cheese, not a particular brand. My uncle always used to make tons of fabulous Italian food at his house, and without fail there would be a little glass bowl of finely grated Locatelli. We’d pass it around and sprinkle a mountain of it on our food with a little metal spoon. Here is a link about the history of Locatelli cheese in case you are interested: History of Locatelli¬†Seriously, the stuff is amazing.

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    I was so excited when I found Locatelli at our grocery store recently. It used to be so special when we traveled to New Jersey to visit my aunt and uncle. Now I can have it at home. Even better: I found a recipe that called for Pecorino Romano. That’s what I made tonight: Farfalle with Cauliflower and Turkey Sausage¬†from December 2008 Cooking Light.

    4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

     

    • 2¬† (4-ounce) links mild Italian turkey sausage
    • 3¬† cups¬† small cauliflower florets
    • 2¬† tablespoons¬† extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† salt, divided
    • 5¬† garlic cloves, sliced
    • 4¬† cups¬† uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta) [I used ziti because that’s what I had!]
    • 1/2¬† teaspoon¬† crushed red pepper
    • 1/2¬† cup¬† (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1/4¬† teaspoon¬† freshly ground black pepper

     

    1. Preheat oven to 450¬į. [Yes, I used the new toaster just because I could! See previous post :)]

    2. Pierce sausage several times with a knife. Combine sausage, cauliflower, and 1 tablespoon oil in a small roasting pan; toss. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450¬į for 15 minutes. Add garlic to pan; toss. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until sausage is done. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

    3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water. Combine pasta, reserved cooking water, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl; toss. Add cauliflower mixture, sausage, and cheese; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with black pepper.

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    Indian night!

    I love Indian food. I hardly ever get the chance to eat it because I really don’t like any of the Indian restaurants around here… but I really do love it. I was a bit intimidated to try any recipes at home, but then some recipes appeared in the May 08 issue of Cooking Light. Yippee!

    The menu was:
    Appetizer – Indian-Spiced Roasted Nuts
    Entree – Grilled Tandoori Chicken
    Side – Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce

    Indian-Spiced Roasted Nuts
    1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons honey
    1 teaspoon canola oil
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
     Dash of freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup blanched almonds (I just used raw almonds because I could only find slivered blanched.)
    1/4 cup cashews
    1/4 cup hazelnuts
    (Note: I used all unsalted nuts)

    1. Preheat oven to 350¬į.
    2. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds; stir until blended. Add nuts to sugar mixture; toss to coat. (I actually had to throw the nuts plus mixture back into the microwave to get the coating melted enough to…well, coat! I guess I didn’t work fast enough.) ūüôā
    3. Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350¬į for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

     
    [Have I mentioned that I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA!??! I’m still figuring out how to use it, and I need better lighting, but holy cow it’s a lot better than my old one!]
     
     
    Grilled Tandoori Chicken
    (Serves 8 as listed here…I actually cut down by 4 to serve 2. It worked just fine!)
     
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    4 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
    2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
    2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
    2 teaspoons garam masala
    1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    1 teaspoon ground red pepper
    2 cups coarsely chopped onion
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped peeled fresh ginger
    2¬†teaspoons¬†finely chopped seeded serrano pepper (Note: these things are HOT! Don’t get it under your nail. Ow.)
    8 garlic cloves, crushed
    2 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt, divided
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
    2 teaspoons salt, divided
    16 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
     Cooking spray

    1. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and red pepper to pan; cook 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Remove from pan; cool.
    2. Place onion, ginger, serrano pepper, and garlic in a food processor; process until smooth. Add spice mixture, 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons juice, and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt to onion mixture; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Cut 3 shallow slits in each chicken thigh. Add chicken to bag, and seal. Toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. (OOPS, I forgot I need 8 hours; therefore, mine marinated for 1-2 hours. It just wasn’t quite as flavorful, but it was still ok!)
    3. Prepare grill.
    4. Combine remaining 2 cups yogurt, 2 tablespoons juice, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl, stirring well. Cover mixture, and chill.
    5. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill 7 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with yogurt mixture.


    Green Beans and Potatoes in Chunky Tomato Sauce
    (Again, serves 8 as listed here, but I pared it down to 2 servings with no problem.)

    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 1/2 cups diced red potato
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
    1/4 cup water
    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    3/4 pound plum tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped (I forgot to peel them, and they were fine.)
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add potato, celery, salt, and beans; sauté 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water; cover and cook 5 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Add cilantro and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 4 minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Stir in peppers.

    Macro setting rocks. I can’t decide between the close-up of my potato or my green bean. Thus, you get both. ūüôā

    Hamburger Grape-Tomato Pizza

    I had to put a hyphen in Grape-Tomato because the first time I said this out loud it really sounded like Grapes and Tomatoes, not Grape Tomatoes. ūüôā

    It’s a recipe from Everyday Food May 2008, and also marks my first experimentation with a pizza dough ball. I bought it at Wegman’s from their pizza shop, and they sold me a frozen one so I could keep it longer. I was a bit afraid, having heard lots of horror stories… but I have to say, the dough rose just enough, cooked the whole way through, and tasted like pizza dough should taste. Yay!

    Hamburger Grape-Tomato Pizza
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
    All-purpose flour, for work surface
    1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
    3/4 cup store-bought marinara sauce (I used store bought pizza sauce)
    1 cup grated provolone cheese (4 ounces) (4 oz. seemed like A LOT, so I didn’t use that much)
    1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (I used grape tomatoes)
    1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
    1/4 pound ground beef chuck
    Coarse salt and ground pepper

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub a large rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed on, upside down) with oil. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch dough into a 15×11 inch rectangle (if dough becomes to elastic to work with, let it rest a few minutes). Transfer to prepared sheet.

    Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with provolone, tomatoes, and if desired, onion; scatter beef over top. Season with salt and pepper.

    Bake until crust is golden, beef is cooked, and cheese is melted, about 20 min. Serve immediately. (We actually saved 1/2 of it for the next tday and reheated it in the oven. It was a bit dry the 2nd day, but just as yummy!)

    Only problem: it WOULD NOT become a rectangle. HAHA! Anyone want to vote for what my pizza looks like? Maybe a state, or a country….? ūüėČ

    And one last picture, that I think looks kind of like a planet, or craters on the moon. (Yes, I know the thing that looks like the moon is my flash reflecting in the stove.) Perhaps I need a new hobby.

    Everything but the…

    Kitchen Sink Cookies! Yes, that’s what they’re called. ūüôā But that’s dessert.¬† Let’s start with a menu for tonight’s dinner.¬† (I planned tonight’s menu around the fact that I had today off.¬† Sadly, I filled my day with other random stuff, and dinner was late anyway. Oops!)

    **All recipes are from the March 08 issue of Everyday Food (www.everydayfoodmag.com)**

    Apps: Citrus Bloody Marys with Smoked Salmon Canapes
    Dinner: Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce and Cucumber Salad
    Dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies

    Citrus Bloody Marys
    6 cups tomato juice, chilled
    1 to 1 1/2 cups vodka, chilled
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes), plus 8 lime wedges, for garnish
    2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
    1/4 teaspoon celery salt (ack! just realized I accidentally omitted. I guess we didn’t miss it much!)
    coarse salt and ground pepper
    8 celery stalks, for garnisih

    1. In a large pitcher, stir together tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, hot-pepper sauce, and celery salt; season with salt and pepper.

    2. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day. Serve over ice, garnished with a celery stalk and lime wedge.
    Serves 8. (I drastically scaled down, since it was just the 2 of us!!)

    Smoked-Salmon Canapes with Tarragon
    4 oz. red-fat bar cream cheese (I used regular bar cream cheese, because that’s what I had!)
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarrago, plus whole leaves for garnish
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    coarse salt and ground pepper
    6 thin slices pumpernickel bread (crusts removed), cut into quarters
    4 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon, torn to fit bread

    1. In a med. bowl, combine cream cheese, tarragon, and lemon zest and juice; season mixture with salt and pepper.

    2. Dividing evenly, spread bread with cream cheese mixture (about 1 teaspoon per slice). Top with smoked salmon, and garnish with tarragon leaves.
    Makes 24. (Again, I scaled down greatly!)

    ¬†We decided the particular brand of smoked salmon wasn’t smokey enough for us, but¬†other than that we were happy with the results!

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    Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce
    Serves 4; Prep Time: 15 min; Total Time: 20 min

    2 garlic cloves
    2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
    coarse salt and ground pepper
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    3 flat iron (shoulder top blade) steaks (1 1/2 pounds total), gristle removed if any (I used skirt steak)
    1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish, drained

    1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (I also sprayed the foil with some cooking spray); set aside. Soak eight 6-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 10 min.

    2. Meanwhile, on a work surface, chop garlic and rosemary, and sprinkle with a little salt. Press blade of knife back and forth across mixture to make a paste. Place in a med. bowl, and stir in oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

    3. Cut steaks into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch chunks. Add to bowl; toss to coat. Thread 3 chunks of beef onto each skewer; (I must have cut mine smaller, because I fit 4-5 pieces on each skewer); place skewers onto prepared baking sheet.

    4. Broil (without turning) (I did turn mine, because we like our meat really done, at least on the outside!) 4-6 minutes for medium-rare (we probably did ours closer to 10 minutes!). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. Serve skewers with horseradish sauce.

    I put mine over green leaf lettuce and served with some sliced cucumber.

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    And for dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies! “…everything but the kitchen sink…” Again, from EF, March 08 issue.

    John’s Kitchen Sink Cookies
    2 1/2 cups AP flour (spooned and leveled)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    2 large eggs
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (I used chips)
    1/2 cup raisins
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

    1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

    3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.

    4. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.
    NOTE: This is why I freaking work out. No, I don’t mean so I can eat more cookies guilt-free.¬† I mean so I can handle mixing these things by hand. Phew! That was a hard one. ūüôā

    5. Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly. Bake 12-16 minutes (mine took 18, and yes, I do have an oven thermometer!), or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.

    6. Cool 5 min on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)

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    I didn’t think of it until I ate one, but I totally think the chocolate and raisins make it taste like there are Raisinettes in there. Mmm. ūüôā The recipe suggests putting in dried apricots or dates instead of raisins, and we think dried cherries would be an awesome combo with the chocolate. It also suggests skipping the oats and subbing sweetened shredded coconut for a tropical cookie. Can’t wait to try those variations too!