Monday, December 28, 2009
Santa (aka My Wonderful Husband) answered my wishes this year. I am excited to welcome a new member of my kitchen:
Le Creuset Round French Oven, in Cobalt
I am excited to try all kinds of soups, stews, roasts, and sauces in this ideal piece of cookware for simmering, marinating, poaching, braising and browning.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes - can sub bacon or ham
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed, drained - I used 1 package
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta - can sub low-fat ricotta
1 cup grated asiago cheese - can use an Italian cheese blend
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg - can omit
(Instead of this sauce, I use regular pasta sauce)
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cream
2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the Shells:
1. 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.
2. Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5-10 minutes (similar to cooking bacon). Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl.
3. Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
4. Stuff the shells with about 1-2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture each and place the stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.
For the Sauce:
(Instead of this sauce, I use about 2 cups of regular pasta sauce. The point of having a sauce on top is to prevent the shells from drying out)
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
4 .Turn the heat to very low and add the 2 cups asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved.
1. Pour the sauce over the shells.
2. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese.
3. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Picture courtesy of Food Network
Recipe courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis
Saturday, June 27, 2009
3 whole ancho chiles - used 3 poblano peppers, roughly chopped
3 whole pasilla chiles - can leave out
4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth - can use water if broth is not available
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks - or any other type of pork or beef (used boston butt)
Freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick - the whole stick was too much for me, I recommend 1 tsp or tbsp
Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Assorted taco toppings, for garnish
1. Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Stem and seed chiles. Transfer chiles and garlic to a blender (or food processor). Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.
3. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. (Or cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more minutes.)
4. Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. (If you prefer a thicker sauce like pictured below, leave the crock pot on Low, open the lid and let the liquid cook off for about 5-10 minutes).
5. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Friday, June 19, 2009
Red Curry Chicken with Basil
Total: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, shaken
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite size pieces (if you want to make it meat-less, use firm tofu, cut into small slices and add your desired veggies)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce – can leave out or substitute oyster sauce
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced – can add extra bell pepper, onion, baby corn, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, etc.
10 large basil leaves, chopped – can leave out
Equipment: A large frying pan with tall sides and lid works much better than a wok!
1. Heat the oil in the frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the curry base and simmer for 2 minutes, so that it is dissolved and foaming. Stir frequently so the curry doesn’t burn.
3. Stir in the can of the coconut milk. Cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until the coconut milk begins to bubble and thickens
4. Add the sliced chicken. Simmer for 2 minutes and then add the vegetables.
5. Stir in sugar and fish sauce. Simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 3 minutes more. (I usually turn the heat down to Low-Med, close the lid, and simmer for 5-10 minutes so the vegetables soften a little. If you like a thicker sauce, keep the lid off to let the sauce reduce).
6. Add the chopped basil. Season to taste with more sugar or seasoning sauce as desired.
7. Serve chicken, vegetables, and sauce over rice.
Tip: Experiment with the amount of curry and the different types of curry. Our favorites are Panang Curry (sweeter and milder) and Massaman Curry (aromatic and loaded with dry spices). We are still exploring other curries.
Recipe courtesy of A Taste of Thai
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I love this picture. It's so classic, yet very paradoxical - like we're taking a leasurely walk in the park on such a busy day as our wedding day. I think it's so adorable that he's holding my bouquet!