Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Potato-Rosemary Pizetta

I have to start out by saying that this dough is the best pizza dough I have ever worked with. It's good and all, but it's really just SO EASY to work with and I love that. It rolled out so easily without getting stuck to the rolling pin, it transferred to the pan without any holes, it cooked perfectly through and didn't stick to the pan at all - it was awesome.

The pizza itself was also very good. It's a lighter pizza... we ate the entire thing for dinner! It might be better suited as an appetizer or light lunch. It just isn't quite substantial enough for dinner. But we both really liked it a lot and would make it again.

pizetta

Potato-Rosemary Pizetta
Martha Stewart, c/o Joe's Blog

For the dough

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the pizetta

1 large russet potato, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 ounce fresh grated Asiago cheese

Combine flours, rosemary, pepper yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine warm water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.

Lightly coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size. Punch down and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes before rolling.

Roll out dough to a rough 18" x 13" rectangle on a lightly floured surface - transfer to an 18" x 13" baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Push the dough to the sides and corners, then fold up the edges slightly to form a small lip. Prick dough all over with a fork. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add potatoes and drizzle with oil - season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Evenly distribute potato slices over the dough. Scatter with rosemary and cheese.

Place in the oven and bake until the crust is golden, rotating sheet halfway through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer the pizetta to a cutting board to slice into pieces.

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes

I'm still trying to cook more side dishes, so today I made a quick, simple broccoli. It was good, but I felt like the broccoli was a little bit watered down and soggy, even though we only cooked it for like 2 minutes. We'll keep trying new side-dish recipes.

brocc

Broccoli with Red Pepper Flakes
Cooking Light, March 2007

2 teaspoons olive oil
6 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and sliced garlic. Sauté 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blech

You can all thank my Advanced Techniques in Counseling professor for ruining my entire night. After I finally stopped crying, I really wasn't in the mood to cook, so we ordered Italian food.

New recipe tomorrow. <3

Monday, April 28, 2008

Baked Ziti Goes Southwest

I meant to make this last Friday, but after a tedious day at work, all I wanted was some Chinese food. So it got bumped to today. It is super easy and comes together very quickly. We really liked it a lot - how could we not, considering it combines Italian AND Mexican food?? We would definitely make this again.

penne

Baked Ziti Goes Southwest
Originally from The Meatless Gourmet: Easy Lowfat Favorites
As posted on the CLBB

8 ounces ziti pasta -- uncooked
8 ounces tomato sauce
8 ounces salsa
3/4 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded lowfat mozzarella cheese
11 ounces canned corn -- drained
4 ounces chopped green chiles -- drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon grated lowfat Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, using the shorter amount of
cooking time given. Drain.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine tomato sauce and salsa in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with half of the mozzarella
cheese. Stir in half the sauce, along with the corn, chiles, oregano, and
pepper. Add the cooked ziti and mix well. Spoon into prepared casserole.

Spread remaining sauce over top of casserole, then sprinkle with remaining
mozzarella cheese and then Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake 15 more minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mike's Deli Famous Eggplant Parmigiana

Every once in awhile, we deviate from our healthy eating habits to indulge in a recipe we deem SO delicious-sounding that we absolutely must make it. I usually try to lighten it as much as possible, but sometimes it just isn't possible. Tonight's was one of those meals.

The recipe aired on the Eggplant Parm episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. It is the winning recipe, created at Mike's Deli in Brooklyn. Bobby Flay's recipe lost. After viewing this episode several times, I could no longer resist the urge to try Mike's Deli's famous recipe.

My pathetic attempt to lighten this recipe was to pan-fry the eggplant instead of deep frying. I refuse to use so much oil that it covers whatever I am cooking. But even with the pan-frying (and subsequent paper-towel drying to try to soak up extra oil), it was still very oily. There just is no way around it.

Yet all of this was worth it: our dinner was absolutely fantastic. The eggplant was cooked perfectly, everything melded together beautifully, and it was the best eggplant parm I have produced. It is also better than many restaurant versions I have had. I have to sadly admit we are not likely to make it again because of how unhealthy it is, but it was amazing just for this one time. Highly recommended!!!!

Note: The recipe advertises for the deli's products, but you're fine with regular stuff. We used two marinara sauces (Trader Joe's and Newman's Own), some storebrand sliced mozzarella, Progresso Italian-flavor bread crumbs, etc. So don't worry about that.

parm

Mike's Deli Famous Eggplant Parmigiana
Throwdown with Bobby Flay
Recipe courtesy Dave Grecco

Oil
2 large eggplants
All-purpose flour
4 eggs
Bread crumbs (recommended: Arthur Avenue Italian Deli)
1 quart marinara sauce (recommended: Arthur Avenue Italian Deli)
8 ounces sliced dry mozzarella (recommended: Arthur Avenue Italian Deli)
4 ounces grated Romano (recommended: Arthur Avenue Italian Deli)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and heat oil in a large pan, Dutch oven or deep-fryer.

Peel the eggplant and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Coat each side of the eggplant with the flour.

In a separate bowl beat 4 eggs and dip the eggplant into the egg to coat both sides. Then take your bread crumbs and do the same to coat each side.

Once the oil is hot, put the eggplant in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You can also use a deep-fryer and leave in for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Once all of the eggplant has been fried, get a rectangular baking pan and start the layering by adding the marinara sauce to the bottom of the pan, then the eggplant, more sauce, fresh mozzarella, Romano cheese, and continue to layer until you have reached the top of the pan. Top off with sauce, mozzarella, and grated Romano

Place the eggplant into the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Green Papaya Salad

This is from a Guy Fieri recipe called Green Papaya Salad and Lemongrass Chicken. As I do not eat chicken, I decided to just try the green papaya salad part. I've had green papaya salad before at Thai restaurants and loved it so I was very excited. To give it a little extra substance, I sauteed some shrimp in olive oil, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and served that on top.

Notes: I could not find a green papaya so we used a red papaya. I don't think it changed the result much. I've never used papaya in cooking before so that was something fun. All you have to do is cut the papaya in half, scoop out the seeds, and peel it. It looks really hard to cut, like a butternut squash, but it's not. It's very soft. OK enough about the papaya. I also could not find a daikon radish so I omitted that, but that's OK because they are not my favorite anyway. And at the end, I squeezed a little lime juice on top and sprinkled it with some red pepper flakes. I highly recommend doing this because it adds a nice extra flavor.

We really liked this a lot. Guy Fieri has fantastic recipes. I would like to try other green papaya salad recipes sometime, but this will be our standby because it's very good.

papaya

Green Papaya Salad
Adapted from Green Papaya Salad and Lemongrass Chicken
on Guy's Big Bite with Guy Fieri

For the Papaya Salad:
3 cups julienne green Papayas
1 cup julienne carrot
1 English cucumber, julienne
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup julienne diakon radish
1/2 cup julienne scallions, 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh mint leaves

For the Asian Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mirin
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1/4 cup olive oil

Chopped Peanuts
Chopped scallions

Mix all ingredients, toss with vinaigrette, chill and serve in 30 minutes.

Garnish with peanuts and scallions.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chili Cheese Casserole

At lunch today, one of my coworkers was talking about tortilla chips and salsa, and it made me excited for dinner. I threw together the Chili Cheese Casserole we made a few months ago, and we were very happy. We had a very nice dinner. :)

Side note: We got a new food-related wedding present today! It's a big beautiful serving bowl from Crate & Barrel that goes with the dish set we got from Gibby's grandma (which are in storage at my parents' house until we have a bigger place and more room to store things).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Asian Dumpling Soup

Only two Tuesday night classes remaining this semester... It is seriously the worst class I have had in graduate school thus far. So, as usual, we needed a quick and easy dinner to throw together when I got home. Asian Dumpling Soup was just what we needed. It was very yummy and we are happy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Swiss Chard with Chickpeas and Couscous

When I started dinner, I was given a look that said, "Ewwww are you really making that?" But once it was done, he felt better about it because it looked nice and smelled delicious. And then he ate it, and he liked it a lot! I win. I agree this is very yummy, and I would probably make it again as a quick weeknight meal.

Instead of a 10 oz box of couscous, I just used some whole wheat couscous. The recipe doesn't indicate how to prepare the chard, so I removed most of the stems and chopped up the leaves. It came together very quickly and we enjoyed it.

couscous

Swiss Chard with Chickpeas and Couscous
Real Simple, February 2007

1 10-ounce box couscous
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup raisins (dark or golden)
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Place the couscous in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water and stir. Cover tightly and let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, over low heat, toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan frequently, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return skillet to medium heat, add the oil, and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, raisins, chard, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and divide among individual plates. Top with the chard and sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Tip: It's easy to vary this basic recipe from one week to the next. Try using spinach instead of Swiss chard, almonds in place of pine nuts, or currants as a substitute for raisins.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shanghai Tofu Burgers With Chinese Slaw

It is a rarity that I make tofu for dinner and hear, "Holy crap, this is amazing. You have to make this again." Yet that is the response I got this evening for the Asian-flavored tofu burgers that I made. So obviously this is a definite make-again.

There are several components and it seems very overwhelming, but each component takes like 5 minutes to make. There also is a big ingredients list, but you probably have a lot of the ingredients on hand already so there isn't that much to purchase.

I made a batch of Moomie's Burger Buns to serve it on, which just made it all the more awesome. Seriously, this sandwich is fantastic.

It gets two pictures because it was so yummy:

burger
burger 2

Shanghai Tofu Burgers With Chinese Slaw
Cooking Light, September 1997

1/2 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound firm tofu, drained
Cooking spray
8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
Chinese Slaw (Recipe Follows)
1/2 cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce (Recipe Follows)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a shallow dish. Cut tofu lengthwise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Add tofu to dish, and spoon green onion mixture over tofu. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour, turning tofu occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place tofu on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Place 1 tofu slice on bottom half of bun; top with 1/2 cup Chinese Slaw. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon Red Bell Pepper Sauce; cover with top half of bun. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients.

CHINESE SLAW:
4 cups shredded green cabbage
3/4 cup diagonally sliced green onions
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER SAUCE:
1 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves
Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

Note: Store pepper sauce in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 8 sandwiches

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe

To go along with our salmon tonight, I thought we could try a new vegetable - broccoli rabe! What is broccoli rabe? I don't know. I guess it's a green, kind of related to broccoli? Who knows.

It's a simple recipe and sounded like it would be really good, but it turns out that broccoli rabe is very bitter. So although this is probably a great recipe for people who like broccoli rabe, we just couldn't get past the bitterness.

rabe

Sauteed Broccoli Rabe
Giada de Laurentiis

4 bunches (12 to 16 ounces each) broccoli rabe (rapini), stems trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup raisins
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Working in batches, cook the broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 2 to 3 minutes per bunch. Transfer the broccoli rabe to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the cooled broccoli rabe and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to coat. Add the reserved cooking water, the raisins, and cook until the broccoli rabe is heated through and the stems are tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt, to taste. Toss the mixture with toasted pine nuts, serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Almond-Crusted Salmon

This was not good. I should have known better - it wasn't a spicy fish recipe! It was just a basic recipe! Sigh. The fish was perfectly cooked through though, so that is a plus. But everyone agreed it was "too fishy-tasting" even for those people who goes out on a boat, catch a fish, and eat it. So I don't think this is a very good recipe, and it's definitely not a make-again.

fish

Almond-Crusted Salmon
Cooking Light, October 2007

1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup panko
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish; set aside.

Brush tops and sides of fish with juice: sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working with 1 fillet at a time, dredge top and sides in almond mixture; place skin side down on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle any remaining crumb mixture evenly over fish; press gently to adhere. Bake at 500° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with lemon wedges.

Yield: 4 servings

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spicy Baked Macaroni

It's been awhile since I made a Giada recipe, so we had this macaroni dish for dinner. It is NOT macaroni and cheese. It is a baked macaroni. There is a difference. I did think it was very good. We would make this again.

macaroni

Spicy Baked Macaroni
from Giada de Laurentiis

Salt
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound assorted mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup
1/4 cup Romano, plus 1/3 cup
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons
12 ounces mozzarella cubed (about 2 cups)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and the onion is golden, about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spinach, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup Romano. Spread the softened butter in a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle half of the bread crumb mixture inside the dish to coat.

In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture with the cooked macaroni, cubed mozzarella, the remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and the nutmeg. Spoon into the prepared baking dish, top with the remaining bread crumb mixture, and dot the top with the remaining butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Potato-Leek Gratin

Yum yum! We loved Potato-Leek Gratin the first time we made it, but this time it was even yummier due to the French Thyme I got from Penzeys on my last shopping trip (where I got 13 high-quality spices for $23!). It was so delicious tonight! I wish I had made more!!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas

We loved the mango-black bean salad so much that we had a few weeks ago that I decided to be adventurous and try the combination in other ways. So I happened upon this recipe for Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas from the September 2005 issue of Cooking Light. It tastes very yummy, but we had a lot of issues. First, our new oven's broiler is a little hotter than we anticipated and the tortillas burned. Second, one of the tortillas ballooned up for no reason and made more of a weirdly shaped burned tostada than a quesadilla. But despite all of that, this was yummy. Mangoes and black beans and avocado = a good combination. We won't make this recipe again, but I shall continue experimenting!

We took a picture of the more 'normal' looking quesadillas:
quesadilla

Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas
CL, 9/05

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups presliced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup jarred sliced peeled mango (such as Del Monte SunFresh)
1/3 cup cubed peeled avocado
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat broiler.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, oregano, salt, pepper, and poblano, and sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add beans; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in mango and avocado.

Place flour tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Arrange about 3/4 cup bean mixture on half of each tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese over bean mixture, and fold tortilla in half. Lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheddar cheese melts.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lasagna in a Bun

OK so since no one else is too keen on layered pastas, and I miss lasagna, I picked out this recipe that involves all the lasagna fixings (sans noodles) stuffed into a sub roll and baked. It is DELICIOUS. At least to me. I thought it was super wonderful and it made me very happy.

This is what it looks like when it comes out of the oven. There is a lot of cheese so you can't even see what's inside:
bun

No one was quite as excited about it as I was. I don't know why. I think it is the best. It's very kid-friendly, too. I love it and would definitely make it again!

I used soy crumbles instead of beef (of course), and I used my Penzeys Pizza Seasoning and Penzeys Garlic Salt as the seasonings for the sauce. I love Penzeys.

This is what it looks like if you cut it in half:
bun2

Lasagna in a Bun
www.tasteofhome.com

8 sub or hoagie buns (8 inches)
1 pound ground beef
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Make a 2-in.-wide V-shaped cut in the center of each bun to within an inch of the bottom. Remove cut portion and save for another use; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the spaghetti sauce, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Cook 4-5 minutes or until heated through.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese and half of Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. Spoon meat sauce into buns; top with cheese mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheddar and mozzarella. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Yield: 8 servings

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

This recipe is technically for an appetizer, but we had it as our entree for dinner. It won the category prize for Starters & Beverages in this year's Cooking Light Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest. And it is very deserving of that prize! We loved these. You can't really taste the shrimp, so it could probably be made without the shrimp. The sauce is wonderful, the filling is wonderful - it's all just very wonderful. We agreed that this is probably our favorite dumpling recipe that we've made. We would definitely make these again.

A note: Apparently they can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature and cooked according to the recipe. I made them immediately, but it's nice to know they can be made in advance if need be.

shrimp dumplings

Ginger-Shrimp Pot Stickers with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Cooking Light, March 2008

Pot stickers:
3/4 cup shredded green cabbage
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup matchstick-cut carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound cooked peeled small shrimp
Dash of hot sauce
24 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 cup water, divided

Sauce:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Remaining ingredient:
Chopped green onions (optional)

1. To prepare pot stickers, combine first 10 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 4 times or until coarsely chopped. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time (cover remaining wrappers with a damp towel to prevent drying), spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons shrimp mixture into center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Bring remaining 2 corners to center, pinching points to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place pot stickers on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch.

2. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 12 pot stickers to pan; cook 2 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Slowly add 1/2 cup water to pan; cover and cook 4 minutes. Uncover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, 12 pot stickers, and 1/2 cup water.

3. To prepare sauce, combine 1/4 cup water and next 5 ingredients (through sugar) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve sauce with pot stickers. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

Yield: 12 appetizer servings (24 dumplings)

Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies

After my mom left this morning, I decided to make these chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. They were very easy to make, very yummy, and we would make them again.

I reduced the amount of sugar by just a little bit. I don't know why, I just did. It worked out perfectly so I would make it that way again next time. This makes enough for more than 2 dozen cookies (although I'm not sure about the 3 dozen it claims) but I only made about 20 and then got tired of baking so I tossed the leftover dough. Plus we shouldn't eat that many cookies anyway. So it was good that I limited the amount I made, since the cookies are so yummy.

cookies

Double Chocolate-Chip Cookies
Real Simple, May 2005

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk-chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350° F.

Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Lower to medium speed and add the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. On low speed, add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Form the dough into approximately 1 1/2-inch balls. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until centers are just set, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Yield: 3 dozen

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bibimbap

My mom came down for the weekend because I have my dress fitting tomorrow (!!) so I decided to make some Vegetable Bibimbap for dinner. It's one of her favorite foods but she hasn't eaten it in like 10 years. So that was a lot of fun. She used a tiny, tiny squeeze of Sriracha. I think that is how much a 'normal' person uses. Gibby and I are just ridiculous and use way more than any person should.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Asparagus with Parmesan Butter

Tonight we had Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Red Onion and Aioli and it was delicious again, so it shall stay in rotation throughout the spring and summer. But I needed something to go with it, and tater tots just didn't seem to fit (although we have like 3 bags in the freezer). So I looked and found this recipe from the June 1998 issue of Bon Appetit and it was perfect.

I was reallllly lazy and instead of whipping all the ingredients together, I kind of just dumped them on top of the blanched asparagus and popped it under the broiler. This actually worked really well and I would make it this same way again next time. We both really liked it. This recipe is a definite make-again!

asparagus

Asparagus with Parmesan Butter
Bon Appetit, June 1998

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Cook asparagus in large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Arrange asparagus on broilerproof platter. Preheat broiler. Beat butter in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in cheese, basil, garlic and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drop butter mixture by teaspoonfuls over asparagus.

Broil asparagus until topping browns, watching closely to avoid burning, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rice & Peas

Tonight we had the Rice and Peas that I meant to make last night, and it was glorious. I think I've now realized that when you're 2 months out for your wedding, every day brings a crisis. So even though we are experiencing constant chaos, I will keep cooking according to schedule and make sure that at least that's something we can count on!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Crispy Fish Tacos

Tonight we were going to have Rice & Peas, but I got so excited about all of the response cards we received today that I wasted a lot of time running around being giddy and making piles, and then I didn't feel like spending 30 minutes making dinner. So instead I made our old stand-by, Crispy Fish Tacos, which I was going to make tomorrow. I'm just switching things around. Shakin' things up.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Unstuffed Shells

He doesn't like stuffed shells (or manicotti, or lasagna) because: "You shouldn't have to use a knife to eat pasta." I, however, love stuffed shells and manicotti and lasagna. So when this recipe was posted on Joe's Blog, I was happy because it was a recipe we could both be excited about.

It has chickpeas pureed in the filling, but this is a wonderful thing. You don't taste the chickpeas at all and they blend in with the ricotta as a binder, so it would be a great way to sneak beans or protein into a dish.

As it turns out, he is fine with stuffed shells! (Still not lasagna, but that's a start). It turns out that what he doesn't like is the spinach-ricotta filling! He didn't like this dish either, so now we know. If I try a stuffed-shells recipe that has a 'different' kind of filling, perhaps he will like it. I guess we will try it sometime soon. But for the record, I really, really liked this recipe a lot! I have a ton of leftovers and I plan to eat them! I thought it was really yummy and if everyone had liked it, I would have made it again.

unstuffed

Unstuffed Shells
Joe's Blog

16 ounces dry medium pasta shells
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
15 ounces ricotta cheese
2 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups marinara sauce, divided
2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375

In a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook according to package directions. Before draining, set aside about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, add chickpeas, ricotta, 1/4 cup Parmesan, onion, egg, salt, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Scoop mixture into a medium bowl. Add spinach and stir until well combined. Add pasta and the reserved cooking liquid - stir until well combined.

Lightly coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom. Spoon the pasta mixture on top and then cover with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and scatter with the mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Continue baking until the cheese has melted, about 10 more minutes.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Crispy Pacific Cod with Parmesan-Butter Dipping Sauce and Broccoli

There was an article in last month's issue of Real Simple that talked about specific fish recipes for specific purposes. Naturally, I was drawn to the recipe associated with the problem, "My kids don't like fish!" I figured that if this recipe was created to get kids to like fish, it would probably be Lauren-friendly.

And I was correct! Real Simple succeeds again. This came together in less than 15 minutes and was very delicious. I didn't hate the cod, yay! It's amazing what butter can do. Haha. Although I have to say that we did use a reduced amount of butter, because holy crap that's a lot of butter. My Parmesan cheese didn't 'melt' too well into the butter, but it was enough to taste yummy. Though the fat content is high (if you use all the butter), the calorie content is not bad. I'll post the nutritional information and if you decide to make it, you can adjust accordingly.

fish sticks

Crispy Pacific Cod with Parmesan-Butter Dipping Sauce and Broccoli
Real Simple, March 2008

1 pound Pacific cod, skin removed and cut into 2 1/2-inch-long pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup corn flakes, crushed
1 small head broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch florets
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Kosher salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 400° F.

Rub the cod with the oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Dip the top side of the fish pieces (not the bottom side, from which the skin has been removed) in the corn flakes and place on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until just cooked through and opaque, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Divide the fish and broccoli among individual plates. Serve with the butter sauce in small ramekins for dipping.

Yield: 4 servings
393 calories, 29 g fat (16 g saturated fat) per serving

Friday, April 04, 2008

Masur

During my senior year of high school, my mom and I took a 6-week Indian cooking course in Brookfield, CT. This recipe is one of the things we made. My original copy of it is all scrawled over and makes no sense so I am going to rewrite it neatly here. It's very good recipe, and it is very "authentic" Indian food. It is very tasty but it has so many flavors, so make sure to serve it with some rice and naan and other yummy things like that.

It doesn't look so pretty, but it is good.
lentils

Masur (Lentils)

1 cup lentils [2 cups of water to 1 cup lentils]
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp oil (canola)
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground curry powder
Pinch of cloves
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice - to taste
1 tsp salt - to taste
1 small chopped onion (optional)
Pinch of sugar
Garlic
Cilantro


1. Grind seeds in a mortar and pestle.

2. Rinse lentils 3 times thoroughly and drain.

3. Cook lentils with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

4. Make the Vigaar: Put oil in small saucepan, and heat at medium setting. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, immediately add turmeric, cumin seeds, sugar, and tomato. Do not allow seeds to char. Stir until tomatoes are soft, almost like a paste. If you are using an onion, toss that in there at this point as well.

5. When lentils are soft, add vigaar, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, red pepper, cloves, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, covered.

6. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Variation: Substitute black-eyed peas or chickpeas for the lentils.

Uh-oh!

My website is apparently down - hopefully temporarily?! - so none of our photos are going to show up on my blog. Don't worry! I'll get it fixed!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sweet Hot Tofu

In our household, we can't really go wrong with Asian-flavored tofu and rice. So here is yet another tofu recipe! It came together extremely quickly (less than 15 minutes). It's not the most fantastic, so we won't add it to our repertoire, but it was pretty good so I would recommend it. I'd leave out the sherry though because it gives it a wine-y aftertaste that doesn't really belong there. I would also increase the amount of red pepper because we didn't even notice it. Although I think our heat tolerance is way higher than most, so maybe don't do that after all.

tofu

Sweet Hot Tofu
Cooking Light, March 2005

1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (14-ounce) package firm reduced-fat tofu, cut into (1-inch) cubes
2/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Dash of crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons bottled minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from skillet.

Combine broth and the next 7 ingredients (through pepper), stirring well with a whisk.

Add ginger, garlic, and onions to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add tofu to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring gently to coat. Divide rice evenly among each of 4 plates; top each serving with tofu mixture.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches

Tuesdays have been rough for me this semester because my class is really stressful (horrible professor!) and by the time I get home, I am completely not in the mood to cook. Plus I get home close to 7, which just adds to it, because I want dinner done now.

So I pulled out an old stand-by, Open-Faced Jerk Vegetable Sandwiches, and it was perfect for tonight. Most of the preparation was done last night, so all I had to do was saute the vegetables and broil the bread. Ta-da!

open-faced