Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oct. 11-17th

Last week I decided to add a gadget to the blog: Dinner This Week. Sadly, I've already fallen behind on keeping it up. But, I do have some results of last week's dinners, and I will be adding this week's to the gadget.

Monday, Oct. 11 - Panacea cooked us up a delicious, comforting meal of Mac 'n' Cheese, with a salad of iceberg lettuce, frozen peas, bacon, shredded cheddar, water chestnuts, some other stuff, and a super light (as in fluffy, not low fat), and creamy dressing. Oh, and roasted broccoli.

Tuesday, Oct. 12 - I have been forgetting that David and I have dates on Tuesday nights now. I had planned on making flat iron steak sandwiches. I decided to proceed with it, even though we had originally planned on tacos at Licorous. I bought potato rolls at Essential Bakery, and made super simple mini sandwiches of flat iron steak & arugula, with a drizzle of olive oil for me, and some butter for David. I also make a roasted chioggia beet salad. With the remainder of the meat, I had our sitter make the boys steak quesadillas, which they enjoyed. Though this meal was super delicious, we still had to go try out those $1 tacos!

Wednesday, Oct. 13 - For my chicken legs, I braised them with mirepoix (onion, carrots, celery), a couple bay leaves, sprigs of thyme, white wine, and water. After the legs were cooked, I removed them, then added chopped Lucques olives, and allowed the liquid to reduce a little. YUM. I served this over some whole wheat pasta.

Thursday, Oct. 14 - Braised short ribs, sauteed crimini mushrooms, and apple/parsnips puree. What a labor of love. This was a simple meal, but it did take some time, and a full dishwasher of cookware. The night before, Vincent and I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, and added some aromatics. The day of, I pulled the meat out of the fridge and allowed to come to room temperature. When it was time to cook, I patted the pieces of meat with paper towels to dry. Then, in a dutch oven, sear the meat on all sides. Ideally, you would remove the meat, then cook your vegetables in the pan, then add the meat back in. I didn't. I just deglazed my pan with red wine, put the vegetables (leeks, carrots and celery) on top with garlic, thyme and bay, brought to a boil, then reduced the heat and covered. I cooked the meat for about 3.5 hours.

As the meat cooked, prepare the other items.
*mushrooms: sliced. Sauteed in olive oil with garlic and shallots
*parsnips puree: Peel and cut apples to large dice. Cook in a little water, lemon juice and a pinch of salt until the consistency of apple sauce. For the parsnips, peel and cut to uniform pieces. Place in a sauce pan and cover with milk. Pinch of salt. Simmer until tender. Remove the parsnips from the milk and puree in a food processor with the cooked apples until very smooth. Pass the puree through a sieve.

Friday, Oct. 15 - Dinner out.

Saturday, Oct. 16 - With the leftover short ribs, I pulled the meat off the bone, shredded it, and stored it in a container with the mushrooms and cooking liquid. On Saturday, I reduced all of this on the stove by about half. Then, I put it into an oven-safe dish, topped with the leftover apple-parsnips puree, and sprinkled leftover breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, from Panacea's mac 'n' cheese, on top. Broil that up until nice and golden brown...Heavenly.

Sunday, Oct. 17- David took Vincen to his hockey game, so they ate out afterwards. Tyler and I had noodles with broccoli and tofu. Oh, wait, that's what he had. I had a Gardern Burger on a whole wheat english muffin. Simple.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Chicken and Steak

Last week, I roasted a beautiful chicken. I was really proud of how pretty it came out, but still ended up with a meltdown on the kitchen floor. Think Julie Powell in "Julie and Julia". Pathetic.

I really have such a tough time roasting a whole chicken. I don't know why. I've posted about this the past. For some reason, I can't get that thing to the dinner table in time, no matter how well I plan. And, even when I inserted my thermometer, once again, and it read 165 degrees F, I still had some pink when I carved into the wings. The meat was cooked, but the joints were a little, well, not done, I guess. I mean, I've bought a store chicken in the past and gotten something like this. But, why?

So, here's my bird, sitting on top of a sheet of sliced yukon gold potatoes.
I just seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, put some aromatics into the cavity, trussed, and then let it sit in the fridge for about an hour (a tip from my friend, Jen, who said it'll help give it a crisper skin).
And it did..
The drippings from the chicken made the potatoes (which were tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper) oh so yummy.
The next day, I used the leftover meat to make chicken noodle soup, with broth made from the leftover carcass.
Now, the steak part of this posting...
Really simple. Just flat iron steak, seasoned with salt and smoked paprika, pan roasted and sliced. Served with roasted delicata squash, crimini mushrooms, arugula and balsamic vinegar, and plain, short grain brown rice.
One of the things I love about flat iron steak is that it seems to come out perfectly, temperature-wise, everytime. Not the mention its tenderness.

OMG! I Did That??

I posted the same food twice! What's wrong with me. I should check where I left off, huh? Well, moving forward...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh My, It's Been So Long...

Has it been a month? Maybe more? I have been cooking up a storm, actually, just not sharing. Here's a quick recap of some meals in September...

Poached Pork TenderloinChopped herbs and extra virgin olive oil, in a Foodsaver bag, then poached in a shallow pan of water for 8 minutes on each side.

Tender and juicy...
Served with new potatoes and roasted beets.

David made this chicken dinner: Balsamic chicken with mushrooms, sauteed chard, and whole wheat linguini.

Summer squash and chicken with whole grain mustard in packets.
My parchment paper and chicken, ready to be topped with vegetables and made into a packet.
Toppe with veggies...made into a packet...
Voila, another healthy and delicious meal. Baking in the packet helped keep the meat moist, and used so little fat.
I may have served it with this homemade tomato soup. Yes, those are homemade croutons. This is the kids' portion.Salad of tuna and canollini beans. It wasn't bad, but definitely tasted healthy.

Turkey shepards' pie. Check out the golden brown top.
Toddler portion.

We were away for part of the month, so that's all I've got. But, I did make a nice meal on Sunday. It was flat iron steak with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli. Super simple, steak and potatoes kind of meal, but so good.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pork Tenderloin

Poached pork tenderloin with butter & dill baby potatoes and roasted beets. After trimming the fat and silverskin off the tenderloin, I cut off the end pieces and one other chunk on the side, leaving a nice, 6-oz piece for poaching.I had made a basil sauce the night before, consisting of basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Like a pesto, minus the pinenuts and Parmesan cheese. I put about a teaspoon of the sauce into a Foodsaver bag, spread it around, then added the pork and sealed it.

I poached the whole bag in a shallow pan of water, 8 minutes on each side.As for the other pieces, I pan roasted them, and finished off with about a tablespoon of butter, which I basted the meat with. When done, I removed them from the pan onto a paper towel and patted off some of the butter, allowing the meat to rest for a few minutes. This was for the kids, and it turned out beautifully.
The poached meat was gorgeous, too. After cooking, I let it rest in the bag, with the juices for a few minutes as well.
After slicing, I sprinkled herbed sea salt on top. Yum.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Trader Joe's Pizza Dough

Not bad. Whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe's. So easy. I topped ours with and olive oil base, then caramelized onions, sauteed chard, thinly sliced shitake mushrooms (on half only), and feta cheese. Steamy hot & delicious.

Monday, August 30, 2010


It's hard. Especially for someone who loves food. I love food. LOVE it.

I had a conversation with a friend this morning about our love for food and dieting. How do people do it? I ask because I am really trying, but losing weight is a hard thing to do. I have cut out butter whenever possible. I measure how much oil (okay, most of the time) I put into stuff. I have decreased my portion sizes. I buy fresh, local, organic. I cook most of my family's meals from scratch. We eat LOTS of vegetables. I choose lean proteins. Etc., etc. And, still, I exceed my daily allowance of Weight Watcher points. I even exceed my overall weekly points, including the ones I get for activity. Okay, okay, I'm not getting that much activity in. But, it's not like I'm sitting on my ass, either. It sounds like a lame excuse, but I can't get to the gym enough. I am lucky if I get there twice a week. And, even then things don't go my way, like last week when I had to pull the kids out of the gym's daycare early because they were coughing up a storm.

How do people do it?

I read an article on fat free food items recently. Oh man! There is a lot of hard to pronounce ingredients that go into making food fat free. I'd rather take the fat over all that extra stuff.

So, what do I do? Frankly, I don't know.

I have allowed a few low fat items into my diet, like Skinny Cow ice cream products and Laughing Cow cheese. Maybe if I see the cow on the packaging, I'll feel like I'm having something real. I believe we also have fat free pretzels in our pantry. Oh and we have milk & yogurt. All the other stuff we have with no fat is in the form or a fresh fruit or vegetable. I feel good about that. But, it's a lot of work.

I have signed up for a 3 month plan on Weight Watchers. I'm 2 days into my 4th week. I lost 5 pounds, then gained one, so I'm down a total of 4. Ooh, did you get that complicated math I just threw out? I'm determined to make it to my goal of 10 pounds in 3 months. I thought it seemed totally reasonable and attainable, but now I'm not so sure. Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Diet Pasta?

No, but in moderation, I guess it is.
Doesn't that look yummy? Okay, not a very clear shot. But, let me tell you, it was so good. I guess I mostly only post if something is good, huh?
Tri-color noodles from La Pasta, bought at the farmers' market. The greens? Beet greens. Then there's the chicken. Left over roasted chicken thighs and legs from last nights QFC whole roasted chicken. That's it, really. So simple, but it was just so flavorful.
I cooked the noodles separately. I pulled the meat off the bones. I sauteed onions, garlic and beet greens together with a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and water. Then, I added the chicken pieces. Once everything was nice and hot, I added it to the cooked pasta. Voila! Dinner.
Oh, and I also made a creamy corn soup and a salad. The corn was from leftover corn on the cob we had last night. I made the soup with onions, carrots, celery, chicken bones, corn cobs, water and a bay leaf. When all that was done, I took out the bones, cobs and bay leaf and put everything in the blender and pureed it all. I thought it was great, but the kids were so so. Oh well.
And, a nice salad with lemon cucumbers, Walla Walla onions, and the usual stuff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Love Seattle Because...

I can go to Melrose Market to pick up my Oxbow Farm CSA at Marigold and Mint, wave at a familiar face at Sitka and Spruce, and then buy half of a freshly butchered rabbit from Rain Shadow Meats, on a whim, all with two little boys in tow. Yes, I do have to bribe them with a little fruit leather to sit and wait for me to pick out our vegetables, and I have to keep reminding them, that this will only take one more second, but I love Melrose Market.

The second reason I love Seattle is that the next day, the kids and I went to the farmers' market to browse, and I came home with a pound of "just-caught it-yesterday" rockfish. The guys there are always happy to see us, and have made a smoked salmon lover out of Tyler.
So, here's my rabbit. And, in case you were wondering, this was the price; almost 1.5 pounds.I was intimidated by that little creature. The guy at the butcher was very casual about how to prepare it, and my boys wouldn't allow me to ask too many questions. Something about "just like chicken...throw it right on the grill...this part is a little tough..." And, since he said it should hold in the fridge for up to 10 days, I didn't rush home to cook it. In fact, I didn't cook it until Sunday.
I braised it on the stove with carrots, onions, celery, garlic cloves and one bay leaf, in chicken stock, for 30 minutes. I was afraid to dry it out. The broth and vegetables were very yummy. The legs were a bit tough to take off the bone, but once off, they weren't chewy. I probably couldn't taken the loin out after 30 minutes and let the legs cook for another 15. I'm not sure. After I removed the rabbit pieces, I tossed in a few picholine olives and let the broth reduce by about half. It ended up being pretty salty, so I added about 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar. I sauteed zucchini and yellow squash separately, and added those into the vegetables, along with some leftover green beans.

As for my rockfish, David grilled up the fillets last night and we had tacos. YUM!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cutting Back, and Another Rachael Ray Item

I am on a diet. In the last few months my clothes have been getting tighter and tighter. I'm uncomfortable. No, I'm not pregnant, just gaining a little weight. So, I've decided to go on a 3 month diet. I can't tell you the last time I tried to diet. I'm on day 3, and doing okay. Definitely hungrier than usual. But, I think this'll be nice to be more aware of what I'm consuming, and how to eat better.

Anyway, here's what we had for dinner: Thundering Hooves smoked pork chops, with whole wheat pasta, and Rachel Ray's agrodolce relish and arugula. This was David's plate.This was mine. I cut a 4 oz portion and replaced the pasta with a 1/2 cup of brown rice. I also measured out the amount of arugula and relish, at one cup each. I was happily satisfied with the amount I ate, but the pork chops were so delicious, I wanted to eat more and feel stuffed. Alas, I had will power.
By the way, why all the Rachael Ray these days? Somehow, two weeks in a row, I've ended up at the gym right when her show comes on. I'm whimpy and only do a 30 minute workout, which is how long the show runs, and it's perfect for me. What I really want is to watch Ina Garten's show that comes on right after. But, I have to admit that Rachael does have some quick, simple, tasty ideas. Maybe I'm becoming a fan...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thank You (GASP!) Rachel Ray!

I'm not a big fan of Rachel Ray. Yeah, I can see why she's so popular, but whatever. This week, while on the treadmill at the gym, I watched her 30 minute meals show. She made a beef wellington with blue cheese and watercress. On the side, she had this stuffed tomato, broccolini, and herbed potatoes. Three sides! It was a huge meal.

Anyway, she helped inspire tonight's dinner. Even though it wasn't the same thing, her meal got me thinking of what I can do with stuff I already had (and a few extras I grabbed at the store). So, this is what I made:

-Mini chicken sandwiches with Dinah's Cheese and sliced apples from my parents backyard, on Essential Bakery's potato rolls
-Mini flat iron steak sandwiches with the above ingredients, on Essential's rosemary rolls, with the addition of Oxbow Farm's lettuce (gosh, I can't remember the name of it, but it's deep red in color with long, curly leaves), and sundried tomatoes.
-Oxbow Farm green beans, blanched in salted water until pretty tender (little mouths to feed), and nothing else. So good.
-Mini yellow potatoes from Alvarez Farm with herbs (chives, dill, cilantro and basil) and butter

I know, not much like Rachel Ray. The potatoes was the closest. She made red potatoes with parsely and dill. My 4 herbs were what I had on hand. Thank goodness I had the dill. That was the flavor that stood out, for me, the most. These potatoes were so buttery on their own, they really didn't need the butter, but I added just a tablespoon, cuz, well, it's butter!

Rachel's beef wellington had the strong cheese and peppery greens thing going for it. I didn't feel like using blue cheese, so when I found Dinah's Cheese at Madison Market, I knew that would work perfectly. It's slightly pungent, but not over-powering. I looked for arugula, in place of the cress, but didn't find it.

The steak sandwiches were good, but I think the chicken was better. I marinated the chicken breasts in store-bought balsamic vinaigrette overnight. Before cooking, I butterflied the breasts and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.

My kids, including one who has had a fever all day, ate their meal happily. Well, most of their meal. Nonetheless, I would consider this a winning Hunt Family meal.

A note on Alvarez Farm: I wish I could give you a link to them, but I couldn't find one. If anyone out there has a good link to share, let me know.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Salade Nicoise with White Bean Crostini

This is what Lightning McQueen had for dinner. This is what his best buds, Tow Mater & Sally had. Thank you, Panacea!

Clockwise from the top: red potatoes, capers & tomatoes, red butter head lettuce, steamed green beans, white bean puree, more white bean puree, crostinis, salad dressing, hard boiled eggs, poached tuna.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roasted Chicken Success!!!!

And, no picture to prove it! It was so bee-oo-tiful, too! Well, maybe now I'll have learned something from myself and actually know how to roast a chicken proficiently to repeat it and take pictures.

Yeah, you heard me correctly. I mess up roasted chicken. Often.

Okay, okay, that's not entiredly the truth. I don't actually mess it up. Typically, it's edible, even tasty. But, it always takes me way longer than planned, and then somehow is a little underdone in the thighs. Again, edible, but we have to zap the thighs in the microwave a little.

Not this time, my friends! No, it was done, golden, and tasty.

What did I do?

First of all, I brined it that morning. I kind of made it up. Maybe a liter of water, half a liter of white wine, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of kosher salt, 5-6 black peppercorns...Tasted it. Seemed fine. In goes the chicken.

When it came time to cook, I stuffed it with fresh sprigs of parsley and thyme, a small rib or celery, and a carrot (cut up), then trussed it. I roasted the bird at 452 degrees F for 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. I let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving into it.

Oddly enough, when I was cutting the leftovers up to put away, the joint between the breast and the little drummette part of the wing was ever-so-slightly underdone. Hmmmm. Everywhere else was perfect.

Taco Photos and Penne with Snap Peas

We had a repeat of the beef tacos, so I was able to get a picture of mine (half-eaten). So simple, yet so delicious. Thank you, m'am, may I have another?!
Here's a happy kid gettin' ready to dig into a kid version of deliciousness. And, what's that in his bowl?This is what's in the bowl! Whole wheat penne pasta with sugar snap peas. What's all that other stuff in it, you ask? I cooked up some mushrooms and spinach for lunch one day, and had leftovers, so I threw them in the food processor and tossed them into the noodles. I also bought some dill & garlic cheese curds from Golden Glen Creamery at the farmers market so I tossed those in as well. And, since I was using dilly cheese, and happened to have some fresh dill on hand, I chopped that up and tossed them in, too. I was a little skeptical, but I did a taster before putting all the dilly stuff in and it seemed alright. (BTW, if your kids try a lot of one sample at the farmers' market, are you then obligated to make a purchase? Probably not, but I did anyway...the cheese curds. But, it made for a good snack to keep them from asking for other samples the remainder of our visit to the market.)Verdict?
*Husband - quite enjoyed it. Ate it all.
*3 year old - questioned what all the chopped up stuff was, then decided to only eat the snap peas and cheese curds...too much chopped stuff stuck to the noodles, I suppose.
*1 year old - can't talk, so no questions asked. Devoured the noodles and cheese curds, tried tasting the snap peas but did not eat them.
All-in-all, everyone got something healthy out of it. Mission accomplished.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I have no picture! It was one of those Friday evening mad-rush to get dinner on the table nights (again). Isn't it every night? More so on some than others.

We stayed way too long at the farmers' market, of course. But, the boys didn't have their post-nap/pre-dinner snack, and they let me know it. Each time I stopped, they wanted to taste something, and when they got a taste, they wanted more. Sheesh!

Enough about the market.

We got home at a quarter to 6pm, and I still needed to fire up the grill, season the fish, ready the meat, and cut the cabbage, onions and limes. It was actually a pretty simple meal, but both kids screamed at me as I lugged the mini grill from the garage to the porch. I left them inside, looking out through the glass door, as I ran back and forth in and out of the house. Each time I opened the door, one of them would try to sneak out. I wasn't ready for them to go outside just yet. When I finally felt like I was at a holding pattern until David got home, I unleashed them.

Once David was home things went pretty quickly.

Dinner consisted of carne asada (from Thundering Hooves) cut into bite size pieces, grilled halibut bought at the farmers' market, shredded cabbage, chopped red onions, white corn tortillas, and a cut up lime. Simple. So good.

For the carne asada, I seasoned the slices with salt, pepper and smoked paprika this morning. I also put garlic cloves, sliced in half, thyme sprigs and parsley stems in the container. For the fish, I left the skin on, and seasoned with just salt and pepper.

I love when a meal is so simple and so delicious. There really wasn't much to it.

Tyler at his meal "decomposed" while Vincent made his own tacos (the boys had shredded cheddar with theirs), and even ate it like a grown up. He looked so darn cute trying to keep it from falling apart in his hands, and said to me, "It doesn't stay together so well, Mommy."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken Piccata with Lemon & Capers

Rarely do I follow an exact recipe. When I do, I tend to mess it up. I think it's because I read it, then think I remembered the steps, and then I'll forget something, misread it. Even the simplest of recipes. David sort of makes fun of me about it.


This is what Vincent's plate looked like. Yummy, if you ask me. This is what my plate looked like. Even yummier.
The recipe, taken from the June 2010 issue of Parenting Magazine.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4
4 small (4-5 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in cubes
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)
1) slice the chicken horizontally to make 8 thin cutlets. Season the chicken lightly with salt & pepper. Pound very gently between waxed paper to even thickness to about 1/4 inch. Dredge in the flour, shake off excess, and transfer to a large plate.
2) Heat 1.5 T of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn and saute about 1 minute more, until browned. Transfer to a clean plate and cover with foil. Repeat with the remaining chicken, using the other 1.5 T oil.
3) After removing the chicken from the pan, add the garlic, stir about 10 seconds, then add the wine. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and cook until wine is reduced slightly and almost syrupy. Add the broth and 1 T of the lemon juice, and cook a few minutes more, until slightly reduced. Return the chicken to the pan, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 minutes.
4) Plate the chicken. Turn off the heat, swirl in the butter, the capers, and the remaining T of lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over chicken, and garnish, if you like, with the lemon slices. Serve with orzo and steamed broccolini.
*I served with capellini and steamed broccolette. I don't know the difference, but that's what it was called when I got my CSA box yesterday. This was really tasty. In the photos, I didn't show the stems of the broccolette, but we did eat those as well. They're sweet, but the ends get really tough. I tossed the florettes in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and sprinkled paremesan cheese on top.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken & Mushrooms Cooked in Marsala, And, White Asparagus

A few weeks ago, I made this chicken dish. Then, I ran out the door to go to my sewing class. When I returned a few hours later & reheated my portion, it was still super yummy.

What I did was slice up two chicken breast on a bias, so that the pieces were sort of small and flat. Then, I dredged them in a little bit of seasoned flour and seared them in a little oil in a frying pan. Once all the pieces were seared on both sides, I placed them on a baking sheet & finished cooking them in the oven.

While the chicken cooked, I prepared my sauce. I sauteed sliced crimini mushrooms (I know, so uninteresting, but in these economic times, they're more affordable than wild mushrooms) on medium-high heat, added chopped garlic and deglazed the pan with marsala wine. I allowed that to reduce by about half, then added mushroom broth (I took the stems off the mushrooms and just put them in a small pan with water and made a light broth). When the chicken was done cooking, I added them into the sauce and finished with some butter. Chopped parsley makes a nice garnish. White asparagus...mmmmmm.
Aren't these beautiful? This is what Jamie Oliver says you should do with WHITE asparagus...
"Using a peeler, peel off the outer layer of the asparagus spears, from 2 inches below the tip down to the bottom, then tie them in a bundle with a piece of string. Get your deepest saucepan with a lid - the asparagus spears should be able to stand up inside the pan. If they can't, slice the ends off to make them fit. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and stand the asparagus upright in it. Throw in any sliced-off ends, boil for 5 minutes with the lid on, then turn off the heat. Let the asparagus sit in the pan for another 10 minutes."
-Jamie Oliver, Jamie At Home
I did not stand my asparagus in the pot, and I cooked the spears for about 8 minutes, maybe 10 without the lid on. They turned out lovely. I just served these with sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. They were delicate and sweet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Orecchietti with Shrimp & Chorizo

Oh my goodness, just thinking about this dish makes me mouth water. My photo doesn't do this dish justice. And, since I couldn't wait to dig in, I couldn't stop and take another photo with it in my bowl. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I got the idea for this the night before I made it, when I made chorizo sandwiches (not as good as I pictured in my head). I had purchased wild caught prawns on a whim that day & the wheels began to turn. I wrote down on a piece of paper my preparation idea, held on to it after the dish was made, and apparently lost it since then. So I'll do my best to remember.

Here's what I did (I think):

-1/2 pound orecchietti pasta, cooked as per packaging, drizzled with olive oil and set aside.

-1 pound size 10/15 (I think mine were more like 15) wild caught prawns, peeled, deveined &
set aside until time to cook.

Put the prawn shells into a small pan, cover with water and simmer for approximately 45 minutes. You may add aromatics, such as the green part of a leek, garlic, onion, fennel, but I didn't. Strain and set aside in a warm place until ready to use.

-1 chorizo sausage link, squeezed out of its casing; approx. 1/4 pound
Pour about 1T of cooking oil to a medium/large hot skillet. Add the chorizo and break up into
bits. Allow to cook on med/high heat until the meat starts to brown, then add...

-1/2 sweet onion, brunoise (I actually diced mine slightly thicker than in this video, but either
should work). Cook onions about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine, enough to almost cover the chorizo & onions. Let the wine reduce by about half.

Add the prawns to the pan (I didn't season them ahead of time, but you may choose to do so).

Add enough of the shell stock to just cover the prawns. Allow the broth to simmer until the
prawns are almost cooked, approximately 3 minutes on each side, then drizzle with a good
amount of extra virgin olive oil & bring to a quick boil (it helps emulsify the oil & broth a bit).

Add the orecchietti, and allow to cook just until the noodles are warmed through, stirring
gently. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley. EAT!

Have your favorite crusty, dipping bread on the side for'll want to sop up this broth, for sure. That's the one thing I forgot, but I was sure to finish up all my broth with a spoon.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vegetable Risotto

Oh, this was good. Really good. I got the idea for this dish from America's Test Kitchen, for a spring vegetable risotto. I used the recipe as a guideline, as I've made risotto many times, but it have me some new ideas, which was nice. I liked how it suggests putting the vegetables trimmings into water to make a broth. I also liked the addition of garlic with the onions (I used shallots). It called for asparagus and peas. Tyler is possibly allergic to peas, so I didn't use them, but I had asparagus in house. It was a really great last minute meal, if I do say so myself. In addition to the asparagus, there's zucchini and crimini mushrooms as well. Rather than mix the parmesan cheese into the dish, I served it on the side with extra-virgin olive oil. Vincent likes to sprinkle his cheese himself, and though he could use the extra fat, I can't. One the side made the dish only a tiny bit healthier.

The salad is baby arugula with proscuitto and pinenuts with a pear balsamic vinegar & extra-virgin olive oil. Minced shallots. Use minced shallots in your salads. So good.

For Tyler, I put some of the vegetables in a food processor and chopped it up finely, then added it to the risotto.

Shrimp with Quinoa

I made this dish a couple of days ago. You can get these wild caught frozen jumbo shrimps at Trader Joe's. The shrimp were seasoned with salt & smoked paprika, sauteed in a pan with olive oil and the juice of half a lemon at the end. The quinoa has bacon, mushrooms, shallots, and marsala wine, cooked separately, then mixed in when the quinoa was done. Sorry there aren't more details...I'm a little bit in a rush. Kind of a monochromatic dish, huh? But, it was super yummy. Smokey, sweet goodness.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Balsamic-baked onions and potatoes with skewered flank steak

Fried shallots have been on my mind. Today, I made them happen. This is one way to get my kids to eat onions. Aren't they cute? Fired up the old 'Q for the first time this year. Yeeha! Here's David manning the grill...after much needed cleaning and a new set of tools. A little rusty from not grilling since last summer (hence the little flames flaring up). Nonetheless, those were some mighty tasty skewers. Vincent ate more steak than I've seen him eat in the last year.
This is what my plate looked like (sorry for the partially eaten piece of bread). Since the grill was still hot, I grilled up some ciabatta bread - YUM. I also sliced up a tomato that came in our CSA box this week & drizzled extra-virgin olive oil & pear balsamic vinegar on top. It wasn't too bad, considering it's not tomato season.

Here's the recipe for the onions and potatoes (a la Jamie Oliver):

3 1/2 lbs medium-sized waxy potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
7 ounces butter, cubed
a bunch of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 whole bulb of garlic, quartered or smashed
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups cheap balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for around 8 minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan.**Jamie, what does "chuff" mean???

Get a roasting pan, into which you can fit the potatoes in one layer, and heat it on the stove. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf and cook for around 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy - removing the pan to toss the onions and potatoes halfway through.

**Mmm, mmmm, good.

I'm obsessed with Jamie Oliver, by the way.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Roasted Chicken

Oh, lovely purple top turnips (and all turnips for that matter), I'm so glad that I have finally learned to appreciate and enjoy eating them. I like them simply peeled, quartered (depends on the size), tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper, and roasted until tender.

My whole roasted chicken. I got the recipe from Art Smith's, "Return To The Table," and made a few changes. Basically, tons of herbs, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper, all mixed together and rubbed under the skin & inside the cavity of the bird. I put one half of a lemon in the cavity and trussed the whole thing. More seasoning all over & into a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes...

...Unfortunately, even for as small of a chicken as we had, it still took FOREVER to cook. I lost track of how long, but more than 45 minutes for sure. We did have the turnips on there, too, so I'm sure that made a difference. Nonetheless, beautiful, juicy, and delicious was the result.