Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My partner at work has been telling me I MUST make the local dish entitled Halushki. I keep forgetting to do it because, as you know, I am useless when it comes to cooking without a straight-up recipe. But when I made the buttered cabbage for St. Patrick's Day, an anonymous commenter (is that you, Jen?) again mentioned it. So I used that cabbage recipe, tossed in an onion, cooked up some egg noodles, and made some delicious halushki.

In a rare turn of events, I don't have a specific recipe to post, other than the buttered cabbage that I used as the basis for it all. I did google to find out if I was doing it right. According to this site, I did it right! We would agree. It was definitely delicious, super-simple, and super-easy. I will definitely make this again.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Multigrain Streusel-Topped Muffins

Going along with my advance preparation of breakfast foods for the week, I made these muffins. I can freeze them! That is exciting. I will definitely warm them in the oven or microwave them in the morning because they are better warm. (I may have eaten a couple throughout the day...) I think these are nutritionally fantastic, full of wonderfully healthy ingredients. I would definitely make these again.


Multigrain Streusel-Topped Muffins
Vegetarian & More! by Linda Rosensweig, pg. 263

These muffins can be double-wrapped in foil and frozen for up to 1 month. To use, thaw in the refrigerator, then bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until heated through.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup oat bran
1/4 cup honey-flavored wheat germ
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp molasses

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp quick-cooking oats
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter

To make the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 400. Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, oat bran, wheat germ, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, egg, oil, and molasses. Stir into the flour mixture just until moistened (The batter will be very thick. Don't overmix it, or the muffins will be dense). Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups.

To make the topping:
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, oats, flour, and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins and let cool completely on the rack.

Yield: 1 dozen

Maple-Pecan Granola

This is actually a sub-part of a larger recipe from Cooking Light: basically that recipe is to make this granola and layer it with vanilla yogurt and blueberries. That is the reason I made the granola! I am hoping to eat it with yogurt and blueberries for breakfast this week. I am eating horribly lately and really need to start eating breakfast so I don't make crappy choices later in the day out of desperation. So I made this and some muffins (will post about that in a minute). This granola is very yummy and I look forward to trying it out in parfait form tomorrow!


Maple-Pecan Granola
Cooking Light, June 2006

2 cups regular oats
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine oats and next 5 ingredients (through salt); spread on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

To make the parfaits:
2 cups vanilla fat-free yogurt
2 cups blueberries
1 cup Maple-Pecan Granola

Spoon 1/4 cup yogurt into each of 4 parfait glasses; top each serving with 1/4 cup blueberries. Top each serving with 1/4 cup Maple-Pecan Granola, 1/4 cup yogurt, and 1/4 cup blueberries.

Yield: 4 servings

Muttar Paneer

Since discovering the Indian grocery store near our house, I have happily been experimenting with paneer recipes. I really love paneer because it's a cheese but it cooks like tofu. You can brown it, stir-fry it, cook it in liquid - whatever - and it still maintains its beautiful consistency. I love it.

Muttar Paneer basically means, "Let's cook the paneer and mix it with a literal ton of peas." I was underwhelmed by this dish (perhaps because I was overwhelmed by all the peas), but he really liked it. He made an astute observation that it seemed like a British Colonial influence on Indian food, since "The Brits really like their peas." That was an interesting statement since the recipe comes from British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson! Is she still airing on Food Network here anymore? I liked her. Anyway. I don't think I'd make this again. I still prefer the butter paneer.

Changes: I very, very significantly reduced the amount of oil (maybe 1 tsp total?) and I didn't bother pureeing anything.


Muttar Paneer
Nigella Lawson, via Food Network

1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, halved
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
Sprinkling of salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 (10-ounce) packets frozen peas
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 cup vegetable stock

Special equipment: food processor

Heat the oil a large skillet and add the paneer cubes, in 2 batches, and fry until they are golden. Remove the golden cubes to a double thickness of kitchen towel. (It is possible to dry fry the paneer cubes in the pan with no oil, to avoid the oil splashing you. Then continue with the recipe below.)

Pour all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil out of the pan. Put the onion, garlic cloves, and ginger into a food processor and blitz to a coarse pulp. Fry gently for about 5 minutes with a sprinkling of salt. Stir in the garam masala and turmeric and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the still frozen peas.

Dissolve the tomato puree in the vegetable stock and pour over the contents of the pan. Stir again and turn the heat down to low, cover with foil or a lid and cook for 15 minutes, tasting to check that the peas are tender. You can cook muttar paneer up to this stage, if you like, uncovering and then reheating gently with the diced, oil-crisped cheese, or proceed directly now.

In which case, take off the foil and add the paneer cubes to warm them through before serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Curried Sweet Potato and Cheddar Pizza with Pickled Red Onions

I have had these two individually-wrapped balls of pizza dough in the freezer for a couple of months and I have NO recollection of when I made it or what it was originally for. Do you? I'd like to know because we thawed it and used it for dinner and it was FANTASTIC. I want to make a big batch of it and freeze them so we can keep making individual pizzas.

Anyhow. So I thawed it out so we could have Curried Sweet Potato and Cheddar Pizza with Pickled Red Onions. It was SO great! I love this recipe. It's really a lot easier than it seems like it would be. Still a fan.

EDIT: It was the dough from the Herbed Cheese Pizza!!! I will definitely make more of this.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nutballs in Tomato Sauce

What a horrible, horrible name for a recipe. Seriously. But it's accurate. These are, in fact, balls made of nuts. It sounds so ridiculously simple but they really do turn out having a good consistency. I won't say they are even close to meatballs, but they're a nice substitute. He waited until AFTER I'd plated them to let me know that he hates meatballs. He only ate one nutball. He was not pleased. I really liked them a lot. I kind of want to try them in a sandwich as the note suggests. They're easy enough to whip up to do just that.


Nutballs in Tomato Sauce
CLBB (heavy hedonist)

All notes are from the original poster

1 cup prepared or homemade tomato sauce
1 cup raw brown nuts, (such as almonds, cashews and walnuts, but a few sunflower seeds or pine nuts are good too, and peanuts work as long as not more than 1/2 the measure ) ground fine in FP or blender
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tsp fresh oregano or parsley
1/2 cup grated parm or romano cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degress F. Butter or oil a small baking dish.

Saute onions, garlic, fennel and dried oregano in EVOO over medium heat until soft. Let cool a bit, then combine all ingredients EXCEPT tomato sauce in a large bowl with your hands, being careful not to compact mixture too much. add fresh herbs now if using. Form into eight small balls, place into pan so as not to be touching each other, pour over the tomato sauce, and bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes. Serve hot over pasta or rice, crumble into sauce, or best of all, serve warm topped with cheese and more sauce for a Nutball Hoagy. Add your favorite spices in place of mine-- more fennel and some sage makes it more sausage-y-- rosemary is more Italian, etc.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Primanti Bros.

When we told people we were going to Pittsburgh, people unanimously told us that we must - MUST - go to Primanti Bros. for sandwiches. We then discovered that Primanti Bros. has been on the Travel Channel like a billion times on a variety of the shows that we love to watch (like Man vs. Food!). So, naturally, this made us even more interested. We took a little walk from our hotel into the Strip District to get dinner.


We sat at the bar and ordered our food. The guys behind the counter assemble the sandwiches in a fascinating fashion. The sandwiches here are famous for their unique ingredients: besides just meat and cheese, they all are topped with coleslaw (more like a sauerkraut), tomatoes, and fries. Exceptional fries.


It was a wondrous time when I got my sandwich! Always a huge fan of egg sandwiches, I ordered a double egg and cheese sandwich. Oh good lord.


I enjoyed it very much!

Gibby ordered a cheesesteak, which in Pittsburgh is very different than a Philly version, but he loved it anyhow.

By the time we finished our meals, we were stuffed! Pay in cash, throw away the paper (no plates!), and walk on back to the hotel.

The Original Fish Market

While we were in Pittsburgh, we stayed in the Westin hotel for our counseling convention. On the bottom floor is the restaurant The Original Fish Market, so we decided to have a fancy dinner there after a long day of workshops. Gibby didn't let me take pictures, haha. But we were next to an aquarium with some goofy looking fish that entertained us throughout the entire meal.

We started off with buffalo baby shrimp with a blue cheese dipping sauce, and they were FANTASTIC. Because it's a seafood restaurant, we naturally had to have fish for our meals. Gibby got mesquite-grilled mahi mahi and I got green curry tilapia. Both were wonderfully delicious. I loved that my curry was spicy! It made the fish delicious. For dessert we had a chocolate lava cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Perfect!

The thing I liked most about this restaurant was that I didn't even need to pull out my Seafood Watch guide - the menu already contains this statement:

At The Original Fish Market, the sustainablility of the world’s seafood supply is a great concern. With increased consumer awareness and an increase in seafood consumption worldwide, the demand for aquaculture and sustainable wild sources has increased in recent years. Items marked with an asterisk represent our most sustainable options.

I like that they are socially aware and emphasizing that to their customers. Awesome!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas

I need to get my review up from restaurants we went to in Pittsburgh. Just a side note.

Tonight I made these quesadillas, touted as tasting similar to pulled pork. Well, it was absolutely correct - they DO taste a LOT like pulled pork, which is excellent since that is something I enjoyed before I stopped eating meat. We used Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce because it is my favorite one. It was easy and delicious. We didn't use any coleslaw but did serve it with some guacamole. It's very summery. I would make this a jillion times.

The reviews of it suggested to significantly reduce the barbecue sauce, so that is what I did. I used maybe 3 tablespoons and it was perfectly enough.


Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas
Eating Well, March/April 2009

This smoky mushroom-filled quesadilla is reminiscent of pulled pork. A touch of chipotle chile pepper adds extra heat. Serve with coleslaw and guacamole.

1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 5 medium), gills removed, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat tortillas
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.

3. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons cheese on half of each tortilla and top with one-fourth (about 1/2 cup) of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala

I used some microwave steamable yukon gold potatoes so this came together really quickly. Never shying away from spice, we took it a little too far and used a habanero with some hot mango chutney on the side. It was very good but maybe a little too spicy. Still edible. My problem with these kinds of curries is that they're all tasting the same lately and I want to find good recipes that are set apart from the rest. This was good but we won't make it again.


Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala
Vegetarian Times, April 2009

Why Yukon gold potatoes? Because their creamy but firm texture make them a perfect fit for stews, plus the tender skin doesn’t need to be peeled. Serve with steamed rice, and a sweet-and-sour chutney, such as Fresh Mango Chutney on

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (11/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeño chile,finely chopped (1 Tbs.)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Steam potatoes in steamer basket set over simmering water 10 minutes, or until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Add steamed potatoes, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, to coat with spices. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.

3. Stir in spinach, garam masala, and 1/4 cup water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or
until spinach is wilted. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens

For some reason I forgot to post this. I have no idea why. I made it on Thursday night, so maybe that's why. We went to Pittsburgh the next day so we were very busy. This was a quick meal, but it was not a special meal. The beans made it all kind of mushy and weird. It was good, but it isn't a make-again.


Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens
Cooking Light, August 2009

Canned beans are a great pantry staple with lots of protein and fiber. To help reduce sodium in regular canned beans, we rinse and drain them.

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
5 ounces arugula leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Place pasta in a small bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, tossing gently. Set aside, and keep warm.

2. Return pan to medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and beans; cook 2 minutes. Add pasta; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add reserved pasta water and arugula, tossing gently to combine. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cheese. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Friday, March 19, 2010

Irish Pirate

I meant to make this yesterday but I did not even have the patience. I've never used the blender (I suck) so I was pleasantly surprised to find out it's super-easy and all goes into the dishwasher. That makes me more likely to use it again on a regular basis. The milkshake was yummy and simple. I used 2% milk instead of whole milk, low-fat slow-churned ice cream, and left out the rum. I added a little too much mint extract, oops! It was a little strong. But otherwise this was yummy and I'd make it again on any day, not just for St. Patrick's Day!


Irish Pirate
Party Line with the Hearty Boys (Food Network)

1 cup whole milk
1 pint green mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
3 tablespoons dark rum
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Put the milk, ice cream, mint extract and rum into a blender. Blend on high until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour into 2 chilled glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Yield: 2

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Buttered Cabbage

Crap. I came on to post this recipe and just realized that I forgot to make the Irish Pirate milkshakes I'd planned on making. I have had TOO MUCH TO DO. Bahhhh. Well. We had the St. Patrick's Day staples anyway: potatoes and cabbage. I made our favorite Crash Hot Potatoes and then we had this buttered cabbage dish that took approximately 8 seconds to make. I have no idea what a "knob" of butter is, but I interpreted it as saying "use only a little bit of butter." I probably used 1-2 tablespoons. It was exceptionally delicious and much nicer than just steaming or boiling the cabbage as often is done in honor of St. Patrick. I really liked this and would make it again even as a regular side dish.

Now if only I'd made the milkshakes :(


Buttered Cabbage
Epicurious | February 2008
by Darina Allen
Irish Traditional Cooking

1 lb fresh Savoy cabbage
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
an extra knob of butter

Remove all the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into four, remove the stalk and then cut each quarter into fine shreds, working across the grain. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of water into a wide saucepan, together with the butter and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, add the cabbage and toss over a high heat, then cover the saucepan and cook for a few minutes. Toss again and add some salt, freshly ground pepper and the knob of butter. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pineapple-Brown Sugar Frozen Yogurt

I will start right up and say that I made a huge mess of the kitchen while making this. I have no idea why I am so messy when making ice cream. Everything was sticky. I'm terrible. But the frozen yogurt - it is DELICIOUS. It's a little softer than the other ice creams I've made lately, but it's just so simple and yummy. I would make this again.


Pineapple-Brown Sugar Frozen Yogurt
Cooking Light, 9/00

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 (15 1/4-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
4 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the sugar and pineapple in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Chill.

Combine pineapple mixture, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon yogurt into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.

Yield: 18 servings

White Bean Chili with Jalapeno Bulgur

I was a little bit nervous about this at first because the I thought the chili would be bland. It's true, but putting the bulgur on top really adds a whole new level to the chili. I doubled up on the bulgur and gave us each some extra, so it was very yummy. I don't know if we'd make the whole thing again, but I will save it in case we decide to make the bulgur as a side dish sometime. It's so good!


White Bean Chili with Jalapeno Bulgur
Real Simple, September 2009

1/2 cup bulgur wheat
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed

1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add the bulgur and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, scallions, jalapeño, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and 1½ cups water to the onion mixture; bring to a boil. Add the beans and simmer until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Divide the chili among bowls and top with the bulgur.

Yield: 4 servings

To freeze: Omit the bulgur. Make the chili as directed. Cool to room temperature and divide among freezer containers or bags. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To cook: Thaw the chili in a bowl of cold water or overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to a pot and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bulgur. Top the chili as directed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lucques' Grilled Cheese with Shallots

We love grilled cheese sandwiches. Did you know that? We do. A lot. Fancy grown-up versions are delicious as well. This one is quite delicious and decadent. It's definitely something special. We couldn't find Cantal so our cheesemonger recommended some Irish Dubliner cheese. Appropriate, given the proximity of St. Patrick's Day. And delicious!

I loved it. The bread and shallots are fantastic. The cheese melts beautifully and is delicious - EXCEPT it's so strong that it is a little bit overwhelming. I loved the preparation of the sandwich. Using my cast iron skillet is awesome. If we made this again, I'd use a more mild cheese. And we probably will make it again, so I need to figure out what kind of cheese to use.



Lucques' Grilled Cheese with Shallots
Adapted from Lucques on Melrose

From chef-owner Suzanne Goin. She recommends serving the sandwich with an arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and best-quality olive oil.

2 large shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt, pepper
2 slices country white bread, sliced 1/2 -inch thick
5 ounces Cantal cheese, sliced 1/8-inch thick

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the shallots in half lengthwise and peel them. Place the shallots cut-side down. Slice lengthwise into about one-eighth-inch wedges. In a small sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring often until the shallots are caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining butter and swirl in the pan until it is melted. Place the two slices of bread in the pan and toast for a minute or two until just beginning to color. Divide the cheese evenly between the two pieces and top with the shallots.

Place the pan in the oven and cook 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crispy. Remove to a cutting board and carefully assemble the sandwich, placing together the two slices of bread. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

Yield: 1 serving

Broccoli with a Crunchy Crumb Topping

Almost two sticks of butter? For a broccoli dish? No. I used a tablespoon to sautee the breadcrumbs and that was it. Maybe that is why it wasn't as great as it sounded. It was yummy but it wasn't anything special. I used whole-wheat bread crumbs as well. If it requires that much butter to be delicious, it isn't worth it to me.


Broccoli with a Crunchy Crumb Topping

This recipe calls for orange zest. If possible, choose organic fruit for zesting, and be sure to scrub the fruit well to remove any residue or wax. Cut off only the thin, colored part of the rind, taking care not to include the bitter white pith. You can use a zester, a tool designed to remove the zest in long, narrow strips, which can then be left whole or chopped. A paring knife or vegetable peeler can also be used, but both often produce short, wide pieces that need further slicing. Zest can be removed with the fine rasps of a handheld grater as well.

3 large bunches broccoli (about 10 stalks)
Salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp.
14 Tbs. (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
2 Tbs. finely chopped orange zest
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 cups fresh white bread crumbs
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cut off the broccoli stems and reserve for another use. Separate the heads into florets. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and add the broccoli. Cook, stirring once or twice, until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain the broccoli and transfer to a bowl of ice water. When cool, drain again and pat dry.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 8 Tbs. of the butter. Add the orange zest and garlic and cook, stirring once or twice, until the butter begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir to moisten. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the crumbs are crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp. of the salt and a generous grinding of pepper. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in another large fry pan over medium heat, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter. Add the broccoli, cover the pan and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until heated through and glazed with butter, about 5 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and a generous grinding of pepper and toss again.

Spoon the broccoli into a warmed wide serving bowl. Spoon the bread crumbs evenly over the broccoli and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Make-Ahead Tip: The broccoli can be prepared through the step of placing it in ice water up to 1 day ahead. Drain, pat dry, cover and refrigerate. Return the broccoli to room temperature before proceeding. The bread crumbs can be prepared several hours in advance and then reheated just before serving.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shula's Steak House

Gibby's birthday was yesterday! He's 24! Hooray! To celebrate, we went to Shula's Steak House at the Saucon Valley Promenade. It was GREAT. The service was great, the ambience was great, the food was amazing, they treated us wonderfully, the bathrooms have TVs in them, and they called us to tell us Gibby had left his credit card there. We really liked it a lot. It's definitely somewhere we'd go to for another special occasion sometime.


What did we eat?

For an appetizer, we shared the Calamari "Fries." I don't know how they did it, but they were long strips of calamari, versus the typical rings, lightly seasoned and fried. They kind of reminded me of chicken fingers. They came with two sauces: a tomato remoulade and a mustard aioli. The portion was huge so it was definitely good to share.

Then for an entree, Gibby got the Steak Maryann, which was two little steaks and a peppercorn sauce. This reminds me to mention that you may recognize Shula's from the live episode of Man Vs. Food. The restaurant has a challenge where, if you eat their 48 oz steak in one sitting, you get your name on a plaque and a signed photo from Don Shula. Tangent. OK. So Gibby didn't get the 48 oz at all because he weighs like 5 lbs to begin with. He got two 5oz steaks. I got some crab cakes, which were huge and exceptional. And, to share, we got some lobster mashed potatoes, which were just as decadent as they sound. Holy god. Delicious.

Then they brought out a chocolate seven-layer cake with a sparkler in it for Gibby's birthday! Hoorah! Happy birthday, husband. :)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad

Last night we had dinner out to celebrate Gibby's birthday. I will make a post about that momentarily. Tonight we had Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Feta-Olive Salad and it was excellent. To me. Gibby hated it. I don't care. I love it!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Two-Pepper Rigatoni and Cheese

To see what this recipe is SUPPOSED to look like, click HERE.

To see what OURS looked like, see below.


It does not look the same. What it seems, to us, is that rigatoni is way too big for this recipe. It is a solid, yummy baked pasta dish, but rigatoni just doesn't do the job. It should be smaller, like a medium shell or macaroni or penne. But other than that, this is very yummy. I ran out of milk so I used leftover rice milk and we didn't even notice the difference. That was a surprise. I also used panko instead of the buttery crumbtop and jarred red peppers instead of sauteeing a fresh one. Lazy? A little. We liked this, though, and we would make it again - just with a different type of pasta!

We had it with some roasted brussels sprouts! I'm trying to fit these in as much as possible before we officially move into spring cuisine!

Two-Pepper Rigatoni and Cheese
Joe's Blog

16 ounces (1 pound) dry rigatoni pasta
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded fontina cheese
4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeño pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced green onions
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 slices (about 2 ounces) white bread, torn into pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, add pasta and cook according to package instructions for just short of an al dente result. Drain well and place pasta in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Stir in bell pepper - cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop pepper into the bowl with the pasta.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the pan, then stir in flour. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a boil - cook, stirring, until beginning to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheeses, jalapeño, green onions and salt - stir until cheeses melt. Pour into the pasta, tossing well to coat. Scoop mixture into a 9" x 13" baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Add bread pieces to a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter - drizzle over crumbs and season with an extra pinch of salt, tossing to combine. Scatter breadcrumb mixture over the pasta in the baking dish. Place into the oven and bake until heated through and browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before servings.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pepperoni, Provolone, and Pesto Stromboli

I've been talking to my coworkers about my blog lately ('sup, Jen and Melissa!) and discussing the fact that we don't repeat a whole lot of stuff. However, tonight's dinner is probably one I've repeated the most: Pepperoni, Provolone, and Pesto Stromboli. It's yummy and easy. Roll it up, stick it in the oven, forget about it for awhile. Tonight I didn't have olives so I used some olive tapenade instead and it worked just fine. Yum!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine

Tonight we had Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine and it was excellent and better than the first time. Instead of using Emeril's seasoning this time, we used my new Cajun seasoning from Penzeys. Yum!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tomato-Provolone Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo

Tonight's dinner was REALLY quick to put together and definitely delicious. It's very similar to the Mozzarella Grilled Cheese we love so much but it was even quicker. I liked the arugula too. We would definitely make this again for a quick dinner, or even for a lunch.


Tomato-Provolone Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo
Cooking Light, September 2009

3 tablespoons organic canola mayonnaise (such as Spectrum)
5 teaspoons refrigerated pesto
8 (1 1/2-ounce) slices sourdough bread
4 (1/2-ounce) slices provolone cheese
1 cup arugula leaves
8 (1/4-inch-thick) tomato slices
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Combine mayonnaise and pesto in a bowl, stirring well.

3. Arrange bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil bread 2 minutes or until toasted. Turn bread over; place 1 cheese slice on each of 4 bread slices. Broil 1 minute or until cheese is bubbly. Spread about 2 teaspoons pesto mixture over each cheese-topped bread slice. Arrange 1/4 cup arugula and 2 tomato slices over pesto mixture; sprinkle tomato slices evenly with pepper and salt. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons of remaining pesto mixture evenly over one side of each remaining bread slice; place 1 slice, pesto-side down, on top of each sandwich.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, March 01, 2010

Korean-Inspired Sauteed Tofu

A Korean tofu dish that doesn't use sriracha?! What is this? This is delicious, as it turns out. I cooked the tofu extra-long so it would get crispy and firmer and loved it. I sauteed some spinach with garlic and sesame oil and we had that and some jasmine rice. It was a very yummy dinner. We would definitely make it again.


Korean-Inspired Sauteed Tofu
Cooking Light, September 2009

Serve this as a first course for an Asian-themed meal, or make brown rice and steamed spinach to go with it for an entrée. Draining and pressing the tofu yields a crisp crust when pan-fried; it also helps the tofu absorb more flavor from the zesty pan sauce.

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, divided
1 (14-ounce) package water-packed soft tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and julienne-cut
3 tablespoons diagonally sliced green onions
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1. Combine vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon red pepper in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Cut tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Arrange tofu on several layers of paper towels. Top with several more layers of paper towels; top with a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan. Let stand 30 minutes. Remove tofu from paper towels. Cut tofu into (1-inch) cubes. Sprinkle tofu with remaining 1/8 teaspoon red pepper.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until crisp, carefully turning to brown on all sides. Remove tofu from pan; keep warm. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in pan. Add ginger and green onions to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds or just until golden. Add ginger mixture to vinegar mixture; stir well. Pour vinegar mixture over tofu; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sesame seeds.

Yield: 6 servings