Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Romesco Sauce

This sauce originated in northeastern Spain, made to eat with fish. And while it is great to eat with seafood, it also goes well with meat and vegetables. This is a good spread for a sandwich and would go well over pasta. The ingredients can be changed up, roasted garlic instead of fresh, hazelnuts are another nut addition, different chilies, vinegars, cheese added if desired.
Stale bread can be added as a thickener and the sauce keeps about a week in the fridge.

Romesco Sauce on Grilled Vegetables
4 ripe tomatoes, cored
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
1jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 dried Ancho chile, cored, seeded and slit in half (1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika could be substituted) toasted, soaked in a cup of hot water 15 minutes and drained.
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons dry red wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1 slice stale bread, torn, if needed

Preheat oven to 375F.
On a foil lined baking sheet, place tomatoes sprinkled with olive oil and roast about 1 hour. Pinch off the tomato skins and put in food processor.
Add the almonds, red peppers, chili, salt, garlic, vinegar and wine to the food processor. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil. Process until it comes together as a sauce, it should be thick and creamy. If it is too thick add more wine, if too thin add bread. Check seasonings, add more if needed and pulse.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Smoky Corn Chowder

I did not know that I had been spelling smoky wrong all these years, as apparently most Americans do!
Whatever, this is a hearty chowder and the smoked paprika gives this chowder, well a smoky flavor.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Real Simple magazine.

Smoky Corn Chowder
8 ounces apple wood bacon cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small yukon gold potatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2- 10 ounce packages of frozen corn
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
Kosher salt and pepper, 1/2 teaspoon each
4 green onions, chopped

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon abut 5-6 minutes. Remove bacon from pan and put on a plate lined with paper towel. Remove all fat from saucepan and return 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat.
Add onion to saucepan and cook until softened (about 5 minutes) add garlic, potatoes, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes, stirring constantly.
Add corn, chicken stock, and half and half. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
Place half of soup in a blender to puree,  add salt and pepper.
Put the pureed soup back into saucepan and mix together, check seasonings.
Ladle into 6 individual bowls and garnish with reserved bacon and green onions.
Note: This soup freezes well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Avocado Butter Lettuce Salad

Avocado Butter Lettuce Salad
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 head butter lettuce, cleaned

In a large salad bowl, whisk the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together.
Add the avocado and onion, and toss briefly. Add the butter lettuce and toss well.
Check for seasoning.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meyer Lemon Slush

After several hours of walking around the golf course, I purchased a frozen Lemon Ice. On arrival back at home we were given a bounty of Meyer Lemons and so a blender drink was made. I am not sure how this would fare in a regular blender but quickly put together in the Vita mix.
Meyer Lemon Slush

3/4 cup water
1 large Meyer lemon, peeled and seeded
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fine sugar
2 cups of crushed ice
mint and lemon peel to garnish

Blend the first 5 ingredients together in the blender. Pour into glass or serving dish and garnish with mint and lemon peel.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sauce

I noticed there is a little bit of a mushroom theme this week, so I promise this is the last one for a while. After looking at the finished dish, a little parsley or a sprinkle of green onion over top would be a good finish.

Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Sauce
2 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
2 Tablespoons butter
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
Alfie's seasoning, to taste
1 small shallot, chopped
2 Tablespoon sherry
1 1/2 cups of mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2/3 cup of chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoon cream

Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Mix butter and 2 sprigs of thyme together and stuff a tablespoon of mixture under the skin of each chicken breast and season with Alfie's seasoning.
Over medium-high heat, place chicken skin side down in a large skillet and brown for about 3 minutes. Season other side, turn over and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Place chicken breasts on baking pan and cook in the oven until chicken reaches 160F temperature, set aside.
Meanwhile, add shallot to the brown bits in the skillet and deglaze the pan with sherry.
Add mushrooms, remaining sprigs of thyme and stir for a minute, then add chicken stock to pan and reduce by half.
Place cooked chicken breasts on serving platter. Add any juice on baking sheet to skillet.
Stir in mustard into sauce and cook, add cream and heat. Check for seasoning.
Pour mushroom sauce over chicken and serve.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

If you love mushrooms, you are going to enjoy this dish.

1 pound of pasta (I used GF rigatoni)
Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
2 hot Italian sausages, casing removed and crumbled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound of mushrooms (I used baby portabella)
Alfies seasoning, to taste
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temp
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, add pasta and cook required time on package. Drain.
While pasta starts to cook, heat a large pan and cook sausage until no longer pink. Add olive oil, shallots and garlic to pan, cooking until softened.
Add mushrooms to pan and season, cook until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.
With heat on high, add red wine and cook until liquid evaporates. Add the stock and continue to cook until mixture comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and add cream cheese and sour cream, stirring well. Check for seasonings and add 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl and top with mushroom sauce and top with remaining Parmesan cheese and fresh chives.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roasted Cauliflower-Potato Soup

Recently, it has been so cold outside and so for lunch made a hot cauliflower soup.
Roasted Cauliflower-Potato Soup

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 sweet onion, quartered
1-2 potatoes, washed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tablespoon olive oil
Alfie's seasoning
3 cups chicken stock
green onions, chopped (optional)
cooked bacon slices, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.
On a baking sheet lined with foil, toss the cauliflower, onion, potatoes and garlic with the olive oil.
Sprinkle vegetables with Alfie's seasoning and bake about 45 minutes until vegetables are soft and lightly browned.
Turn cooked vegetables into a large saucepan and add stock. Cook until heated throughout.
Blend with immersion blender or run through blender.
Serve and garnish with green onions and bacon, if desired

Friday, January 11, 2013

Smoked Paprika Fries

It is football play off time, (go Seahawks!) and here is a game time snack.
3 Russet potatoes, washed and cut lengthwise
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Smoked Paprika Fries
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
sprinkle of sea salt
1 green onion, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 450F.
Put baking sheet in oven to heat.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, paprika, and garlic. Toss in potatoes, salt and pepper and Rosemary to coat evenly.
Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are softened. Turn potatoes and cook about another 10 minutes until potatoes crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt and green onion, if desired.
These potatoes are fine by themselves or served along side Ranch dressing. This dip reminded me of one we had as kids,
1 Tablespoon sour cream
2 Tablespoons mayo
2 Tablespoons ketchup
combine and chill

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baked Garlic

There are so many uses for baked garlic, smeared over french bread or as a spread for sandwiches. Baked garlic is great in mashed potatoes, risottos, and pastas or can be mixed into salad dressings or dips. You will find so many uses, it is best to bake several heads to keep on hand. Baked garlic has a milder taste than fresh garlic.
Baked Garlic
1 head of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
dash of sea salt
sprig of fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut 1/4-1/2 inch tops off of garlic head.
Place garlic on a sheet of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and thyme and loosely roll up foil around garlic.
Cook in oven 35-40 minutes until garlic is softened.
Cool slightly and squeeze out garlic cloves.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Salsa

It is the middle of winter and the beautiful summer tomatoes are long gone, so this salsa is made using canned tomatoes. The ingredients can be changed for your desired taste, a little hotter add another jalapeno or include the seeds and more or less garlic, Cilantro or lime juice. Roasted corn would also be a great addition to the salsa.
1- 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glenn)
1- 14 ounce can diced and fire roasted tomatoes with chiles (I used Trader Joe's)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup Cilantro, washed
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon honey
juice of one lime
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until desired texture is reached.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Strawberry Fields Smoothie

I found this smoothie in Kris Carr's new book, Crazy Sexy Kitchen. It has lots of plant based recipes, and this is a fast, nourishing way to start the morning.
Strawberry Fields Smoothie

3 cups almond milk, cashew or other nondairy milk
2 cups of fresh strawberries
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 small orange, peeled
1 banana
1 1/2 cup spinach, loosely packed

Combine and blend all ingredients until smooth.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apple Brie Soup

Apples and Brie pair so well together, here it is in a soup.

2 Tablespoons butter
Apple Brie Soup
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 Tablespoons flour (I used gluten free all-purpose flour)
3 cups chicken broth
10 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into cubes
1/4 cup of cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, chopped to garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add onion, celery, carrot, and apples. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stir and cook another 3 minutes.
Add one cup of chicken broth and stir until the mixture thickens and begins to boil.
Stir in remaining broth and when it reaches a boil, cover pan and reduce heat, simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove soup from heat and puree in a blender.
Soup may be left to this point and chilled.
To finish soup, reheat over low heat and stir in the Brie cheese, until cheese is fully melted. Whisk in cream and thyme. Check seasonings. Serve and garnish with parsley, if using.