Archive for May, 2012
I’ll be honest. I’m on a diet. And it’s food like this that keeps me feeling positive. Full of flavor, but lean as all get out, this is the kind of food that keeps me “on track.”
Normally, I’d load up this sauce with butter, and you should feel free to do that, but I’m going for “light” here, so I’ve stuck with chicken stock, white wine and lime juice as the basis for this sauce. I’ve also got a secret ingredient. A new infused oil available at Mollie Stones. It’s Nona Luisa’s Blood Orange infused Olive Oil. I added just a tad of it to the pan at the beginning and it helped get this dish off the ground right from the start.
I’m serving this over a bed of greens, but you could just as easily serve it over a Quinoa and Millet Pilaf or with a Cucumber and Avocado Ceviche piled on top. It would be great with this Fiesta Black Bean Salad too. For today, lettuce with a little blood-orange olive oil vinaigrette did just fine.
- 2 (1/2 lb) Northern Halibut Filets
- 2 tsp Mollie Stone’s Blood Orange Olive Oil (or regular olive oil)
- Dusting of garlic-pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- Juice of one lime
- 2 green onions, chopped from the white part halfway up the green part
- Another slug of Blood Orange Olive Oil
- A bunch of fresh cilantro
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Coat the filets with garlic pepper on the flesh side. When pan is heated, add filet flesh side down to pan to sear that side. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Then flip filets over with tongs.
- Add white wine to pan and cover to steam. After about 2 minutes, much of the wine will have evaporated. Add the chicken stock gradually. Allow the filets to steam for another couple of minutes. Then add the lime juice. When bubbling and both filets are opaque all the way through, add the green onions to the pan and swirl in the sauce for a moment.
- Remove filets to beds of lettuce. Add a tsp of the Blood Orange Olive, swirl the green onions in the sauce one more time and then pour equal parts over the fish.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
May 17 is National Cherry Cobbler Day! I decided to make an easy cherry cobbler with more than a hint of cinnamon. I prefer the real “biscuity” kind of topping on cobbler, rather than a streusel, or sugar crusted type topping. Using the Stonewall Kitchen Cherry Pie Filling saves one from having to pit the cherries and cook them just right. My easy cobbler recipe takes about 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. Done and done!
- 4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 29 oz Jar of Cherry Pie Filling
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- Add pie filling to a 9 x 12 casserole dish. While preparing the batter, put the dish in the oven for about 10 minutes so that the fruit has a chance to warm up.
- Meanwhile, in a standup mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix in the mixer until a crumbly dough starts to form. Don’t over mix.
- Add the milk and stir with a spoon until mixture is a smooth batter. Again be careful not to overmix it.
- Remove casserole dish from the oven and spread batter over the top, trying to reach all of the corners.
- Bake at 425˚F for 15-20 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown. The cinnamon in the mixture will make it appear more brown than a normal biscuit.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or just on its own. Best when served warm.
May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Day. What better way to celebrate than to enjoy classic drop chocolate chip cookies with a peanut butter twist.
Tips and tricks for getting great chocolate chip cookies
1) Make them large. When they are large, the edge can be crispy while the center is still soft. That’s how I like them.
2) Don’t forget the vanilla. It seems like an ingredient of little importance, but vanilla adds depth to chocolate chip cookies (peanut butter otherwise) and without it, they seem flat
3) Don’t open the oven door while they’re cooking, but check on them through the window. You don’t want the temperature in the oven to drop, but near the end, you’ve got to watch so that they don’t over-brown.
4) For these cookies: Creamy peanut butter or chunky peanut butter. It’s up to you!
5) Use big, disc-shaped chocolate chips, like the ones made by Ghiradelli:
Remember that 80′s commercial for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups?
- ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts crushed
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add peanut butter and beat until fully incorporated.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until each is well blended.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing with a spoon until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla.
- Drop in large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. I was able to fit about 8 cookies on each cookie sheet.
- Spoon a little bit of the crushed nuts onto the top of each cookies and press gently with your fingers.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Watch closely near the end. The edges should just be browning and the middle will appear a little soft.
- Remove and let cool for a couple of minutes before transferring to a plate or cooling rack.
When Mooney Farms contacted me asking if I would be interested in trying out some of their Sun Dried Tomato products, I said, “Yes. Yes!” Shortly after, a goodie box arrived chock full of tantalizing jars and packets. I’m inspired. Stay tuned for more recipes, but today I made Meatloaf with their Sun Dried Tomato Pesto.
Family owned in Chico, CA, Mooney Farms produces high quality sun-dried tomatoes and uses premium 100% pure olive oil. I can definitely vouch for the rich flavor.
Today, I made a recipe that was attached to the top of the jar of the Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Man, was it delicious. I don’t normally make meatloaf. My husband doesn’t really eat meat and my kids woud be scared of it in this form. Since they’re not interested, if I’m not careful, I’m going to sit here and eat all 3 lbs of it myself this afternoon. Seriously. It’s that good. If your family likes meatloaf, this is going to be a winner. There is melted Mozzarella on top, no less!
If your market doesn’t carry their products, you can purchase them directly from the Mooney Farms Wesbite.
- 2½ lbs lean ground beef
- 1 lb pork sausage (I used Sweet Italian Sausage)
- 2½ cloves garlic minced
- 2 large carrots, chopped finely
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- 2½ cups bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup tomato ketchup
- ½ cup red wine
- 4 oz Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- ¾ lb Mozzarella cheese
- Combine all ingredients, except cheese, in a large bowl. Then place meatloaf in a pan. Bake for 70 minutes at 375˚F. Remove from oven and top with Mozzarella cheese. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes or unti cheese is melted. Garnish with additional pesto, if desired.
Whenever I watch Mad Men, I wish I could be transported back in time to the New York City restaurants featured on the show. Of course, many of them are still open and thriving, and NY Eater has indexed them beautifully, here. But alas, I live in San Fracisco, and my time machine is in the shop, so I am reduced to trying to recreate the recipes of the day here at home.
I worked at a restaurant in the early eighties that made Caesar Salad table-side. It’s definitely food as theater when the waiter cracks the egg over the salad and mixes it in or lifts his arm high in the air to drizzle in the olive oil. Entertain your family at home with a similar preparation. It was in Season 1, episode 2 (The Ladies’ Room) that Betty and Don Draper dine with Roger Sterling at the restaurant Toots Shor, where a Caesar Salad is prepared table-side. Also in Season 3, Episode 4 (The Arrangements), Pete Campbell, Don Draper, and a potential client, Horace “Hoho” Cook dine at Keen’s where Caesar Salads are prepared table side even today.
Nowadays, people are a little spooked by the raw egg mixed into the dressing, but I’m someone who has eaten raw cookie dough my whole life and never -knock on wood – suffered from salmonella poisoning. This Caesar Salad recipe also calls for a coddled egg (boiled in rapidly boiling water for 40 seconds) which may comfort those who are nervous. The US Department of Agriculture measures the risk encountering a contaminated at 1 in 30,000. Coddling doesn’t quite bring the temperature of the egg to the 160˚F required to kill the bacteria, but it makes for a creamier dressing.
And what about anchovies? They weren’t a part of the orginial Caesar Cardini salad recipe, so I haven’t included them here, but if you want to add them in, just chop a few of them finely to mix into the dressing and then garnish with a few more on top.
For more about the food of Mad Men, check out The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, available at Amazon.com:
Watch Mad Men on AMC, Sundays at 10/9c.
1 clove garlic crushed
1 egg yolk that has been coddled (boil in rapidly boing water for 40 seconds)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 pinch of salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 heads romaine lettuce
Great croutons (if you have to make them yourself, toast cubed bread in olive oil and minced garlic until golden brown).
1. In a large wooden bowl, spread the crushed garlic around. Crack a coddled egg into the bowl. Add mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire Sauce and salt. Beat with a fork. Pour the oil in a steady slow stream while continuing to beat the mixture. Tear the lettuce into the bowl and toss. Grind fresh pepper on top. Add the croutons and freshly shaved Parmesan. Toss and transfer to plates. Then shave additional Parmesan on top.
It’s National Chocolate Parfait Day, so I was inspired to run to the grocery store and whip up a parfait. My goal was to make some delicious and fast. So I opted for instant pudding today, but when I have more time, I’ll go for the home-made version. I did make my own whipped cream, because although most people don’t realize it, making real whipped cream is just about as fast as pulling the canned stuff out of the fridge.
I do have this great tool that enables me to whip with little effort and no noise. It’s a rotary egg beater and they have them on Amazon:
I used the rotary egg beater to whip up the instant pudding and during the 2 minutes that was chilling in the refrigerator I used it to whip up the whipped cream. Done and done.
Now for the layering. I love the flavors of chocolate and cherry together, so I used this lovely Black Cherry jam as one of the layers. It’s difficult to see in the photograph, but it’s lodged between the chocolate pudding and the whipped cream. It’s also available on Amazon if you can’t find it in your local grocery store:
- 1 package Jell-O instant chocolate pudding
- 2 cups milk (I use 2%)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 Tbsp Black Cherry Jam
- Using a rotary egg beater (or a whisk), beat the instant pudding mix and milk together for 2 minutes. Let chill and set in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
- While the pudding is setting, use a rotary egg beater to beat together the cream, sugar and vanilla. It takes about 3-4 minutes to get nice peaks to form.
- Spoon pudding into the bottom of a champagne flute or other tall, narrow glass. Wipe rim with a paper towel to remove chocolate smudges. Spoon in a tablespoon of the jam into each flute, then top with whipped cream and garnish with a chocolate chip or a cherry or anything you like!
- Either eat immediately or chill for later.
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