December 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
I know what you’re thinking – lemony, garlic shrimp in December? Preposterous. But seeing as how the temps this week reached 70°, I thought what the hey. So I made it and it was delicious. Very basic flavors, very simple to do. Sometimes it’s nice not to over-think things.
Now because I was working with precooked and deveined shrimp, this was a super fast start-to-finish cook time. Step 1 was to get the couscous going. Someone in my home is a very big fan of Israeli or pearl couscous. I normally just buy the Near East boxed kind but thought I should know how to make my own by now. So I went for the tri-colored.
My shrimp still had some ice so I ran them under water for a few seconds. Then, toss them in a large skillet with 1 tbsp. heated olive oil. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic with 1 tbsp. lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
After sauteeing for about 5 minutes, you should be good to go! Top off the couscous and shrimp with grated parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh lemon.
The perfect accompaniment is mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, walnuts and my new favorite dressing: Trader Joe’s Pear Champagne Vinaigrette. The sweetness of the pear balances the tangy, salty, lemony shrimp.
December 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Butternut squash oooh what I’d do with you. Soups, stews, risottos, salads, just plain roasted… talk about versatility. This time, I mixed it up with a blend of hearty grains from Trader Joe’s, some ricotta salata cheese and onions. I started out aiming for this recipe from Smitten Kitchen but wound up with some substitutes that undoubtedly changed the results. This salad tastes just like fall with the sweet, roasted squash, salty cheese and some sauteed onions.
Ingredients (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/4 cup grain of choice (Trader Joe’s blend includes Israeli couscous, baby garbanzo beans, red quinoa and orzo)
- 3/4 cup ricotta salata crumbled or coarsely grated
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (original recipe calls for a red)
First step is roasting the squash. Preheat the oven to 375° and then get to peeling. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Below are the tools you’ll need.
Then cut the squash into about 1/2 inch pieces. Coat a baking sheet with 2 tbsp. olive oil,turn the squash to coat then season with salt and pepper to taste. Pop them in the oven for about 30-45 minutes turning occasionally. Once it’s done (soft to pierce) set aside to cool.
When the squash is in the oven, it’s time to cook your grains. Mine only needed 10 minutes to cook but the farro in Smitten Kitchen needed a half an hour. Cook your grain according to the package instructions.
When the onions are translucent, stir them into the vinaigrette.
I had this as a side with some roasted pork loin and greens but I am very much looking forward to leftovers tomorrow for lunch! This is also great when entertaining since it doesn’t need to be served piping hot.
November 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Ever since this dinner, at Sunda in Chicago, my eyes have been opened to a world of raw brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts that are delicious without being roasted or smothered in sauce or topped with bacon. Of course all of those preparations are delicious but there is a sea of brussels sprouts salad recipes out there so I picked this one since it seemed simple and light enough plus the ingredients are things you’ll most likely have on hand.
Ingredients adapted from Shutterbean
- about 14 oz Brussels sprouts, shredded
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano–Reggiano, finely grated
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, in pieces
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cinder vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper
Set the nuts aside to cool and start prepping the brussels sprouts. After rinsing, cut off the hard ends and chop thinly. If you have a mandolin that gets the job done well.
Whisk the olive oil, cider, mustard and salt and pepper together. Combine with the sprouts, walnuts and cheese mixture.
November 27, 2012 § 3 Comments
You may have noticed that this blog has been on a little hiatus lately. What with visitors, holidays, travels, etc. as I’m sure you’re all too aware, it’s very easy to let hobbies slip by the wayside. So I’m offering this, the quintessential Apple Pie recipe, as an apology and a promise that I will never abandon this little blog completely!
So back to the pie. I read Emily Schuman’s Cupcakes and Cashmere every week and when she posted this recipe claiming it tackled her biggest pie fears (namely being overly sweet and mushy), I knew I would be trying it this holiday season. So when we trekked out to Give Thanks last week, I couldn’t wait to have this in tow.
Another dough endeavor sans mixer sounded really intimidating. Fortunately, I learned this handy tip: freeze the butter and shortening, grate it into the flour and rub the flour-coated pieces in your hand. That’s right, what you see in the picture above is a giant mound of shaved butttaa.
While your dough is chilling in the refrigerator, it’s time to peel and core and slice your apples. And this takes probably longer than you will take. The recipe calls for 4 lbs. of apples but I had at least 2 full apples left over so I think you can get away with 3 small apples of each kind (and this will help shave off a little time). Preheat the oven to 425 °.
Toss the sliced apples with 3/4 cup sugar and lemon juice and zest and allspice and cinnamon. I thought the lemon flavor was a little too strong so I would cut what the recipe calls for in half.
Roll out one of the pie shells until it is about 12 inches and place over a 9-inch Pyrex. There should be some extra hanging off the edge. Pile in the apples with the juices and form a mound in the center. Roll out the the dough ball and place on top.
November 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve been holding out on you. For weeks now I’ve been popping these addictive little balls and never managed to share here. They are the perfect antidote to the post-work yet pre-workout time when you’re famished from lunch but know if you reach for the Tostito’s that gym class is a goner. They’re delicious in the morning when you’re running out the door and can manage to grab a banana and one of these. Oh, and did I mention there is one step? Mix. I guess if you really wanted to spell it out you could stretch it to three steps: mix, wait, roll but that could be overkill. We all have Amy from Fearless Homemaker to thank for these genius little Bites!
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes (I used unsweetened)
1/2 cup flaxseed (the recipe originally calls for ground but I like a little bit of the grainy texture)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. This will make it easier to roll into balls. To roll into balls, gather a very heaping tablespoon and shape the heaping mixture into ball while still in the spoon.
October 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
Entertaining tomorrow night? Here is a last minute solution for what to serve. The sake needs to be done the night before but everything else can come together just a few hours before people arrive. So even if you didn’t have plans, why not throw something together last minute? Menu taken care of.
I would start with the cupcakes first (of course). I used the recipe here and they were delicious. The batter even started tasting like pumpkin before I even added the pumpkin (yes, I tried the batter).
This fiesta dip was sort of inspired by a few different versions of 7 layer dip and other Mexican dips. I just tried to simplify the best I could. I think one version that is topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and cilantro could be delicious.
I used the Devils on Horseback recipe here. Mine turned out a little more well done than I would have preferred but I am always someone who would take my bacon overcooked rather than undercooked. The grease from this bacon gets your oven really hot so keep an eye on them.
The rest of the apps are just slicing and dicing! If you don’t have a full bar already stocked, a good way to cut down is by serving a signature drink. Then have a few standard options like beer, wine and whiskey.