Tag Archives: Recipes

Orange and Thyme-Scented Orzo

Orange_Thyme-Scented OrzoFor those of you who saw my last post (and those who didn’t), I made chicken saltimbocca and chose to serve it with this orzo dish. The two went very well together. We all know orzo dishes (picnics, pitch-ins, 4th of July, etc.), but this version has a very sophisticated, wonderful and savory flavor — the orange and thyme are very mild, but give this dish it’s uniqueness among orzo dishes. Delicious, I hope you’ll try this simple, elegant dish tonight!

1 lb uncooked orzo
2 cups chicken stock
1 packed tsp finely grated orange zest
1/2 tsp chopped thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and (pre)cook for six minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add drained orzo to a large sauce pan, and add stock, orange zest and thyme. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper until well-incorporated. Plate and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

 

 

Winter Squash Gnocchi with Browned Sage Butter

Butternut_Squash_Gnocchi1-0020Yesterday, I decided to make home-made gnocchi (a pain in the @$$, but well worth it on a Sunday afternoon). This recipe is pretty common, but I added some lemon zest and sherry, and some additional nutmeg. With the browned sage butter and Parmesan cheese…mmm, fantastic! I hope you’ll try this some weekend when you have some “me” time!

1 3-lb winter squash (such as butternut), sliced in half length-wise, seeds removed

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large baking potato (russet), peeled and quartered
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp dry Spanish sherry
1 3/4 cups flour (plus some additional)
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp chopped sage

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Place squash half (cut side down) on a baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil. Place in oven and roast 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Scoop out flesh and place in a food processor. Process until smooth. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Boil potato in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain. Rice potatoes into a bowl. Measure out 2, loosely packet cups and add to squash.

To the squash mixture, add 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, salt, lemon zest and sherry. Gradually add the flour, kneading gently. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Gently knead a bit further (but don’t overdo it!). Divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2-inch rope. Cut each rope into 3/4-inch pieces. Using your hands (and additional flour, if necessary) roll each piece into the shape of a mini football. Place on baking sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. Cover each sheet with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 17 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sage and cook until butter is light-brown in color, about 4 minutes.

Place gnocchi and butter mixture in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and place on serving plates. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan. Serve with a simple lemon-vinaigrette salad.

 

Serves 6.

 

 

Cream Cheese Flan with Blueberries

Cream_Cheese_Flan1-0010I’m not a big dessert cook, but now and again I’ll make something that I really like. This recipe for flan is one of my favorites — it’s unique, simple and heavenly. This recipe was given to me by acclaimed dessert and salad chef, Rachel Bowen — I’m only hoping the way I make it is at least half as good as hers! This flan is decadent and delicious — I hope you’ll try it soon!

1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 14-oz can sweetened, condensed milk
14 oz whole milk at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Caramelize sugar by placing it in a heavy skillet over high heat. Stir constantly until dissolved and chestnut-brown. Be very careful not to burn — if burnt, start over again! Pour immediately into a 7 inch diameter by 3 inch high ceramic dish. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare custard mixture by first beating eggs lightly in a mixer for about 1 minute. Add condensed milk and blend for another minute. Add cream cheese and beat until well-incorporated. Add milk and vanilla and blend for another minute.

Pour custard mixture over caramelized sugar. Place dish in a pan — add water to pan so that the dish is submerged 1 inch. Place in oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool completely to room temperature. Run a very sharp knife around dish to loosen flan. Invert onto a serving platter and garnish with blueberries. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 8.

German “Hunter’s” Pork Cutlets with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Jägerschnitzel)

JagerschnitzelHi, so last night I had a hankerin’ for some good, old-fashioned German comfort food, so I decided to make one of my faves, Jägerschnitzel (right up there with Königsberger Klopse and Falscher Hase!). Jägerschnitzel means “hunter cutlet” in English — don’t ask me why they call it that, because I don’t know. Anyway, I always am sure to feast on this dish at least a couple of times when I’m in Germany, regardless of the season. The dish is so delicious, easy to prepare and worth the calories — hope you’ll try it out sometime this week and let me know what you think!

3 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp paprika
4 cups beef stock
4 1/2-inch thick pork loin slices (about 1 1/2 lbs, tot.), pounded to 1/4 inch between 2 pieces of plastic wrap
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp heavy cream
3 Tbsp chopped parsley, divided
Spätzle — home-made, or cooked according to package instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat butter in a large sauté over medium heat. Once foam subsides, add onions and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook until they’ve released their liquid, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and the 1 tsp paprika. Stir constantly for an additional 1 minute. Turn heat to high, and stir in beef stock. Bring to a boil, then cook down until the liquid is reduced by 1 half. Remove from heat and stir in cream and 2 Tbsp parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired (keeping in mind that there’s a bunch of salt and pepper on the cutlets). Set aside.

Sprinkle each cutlet with remaining salt and pepper on each side. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook each of the cutlets, one at a time, until they are browned and cooked through (about a minute and a half each) — keep cutlets warm, covered with aluminum foil in oven.

Plate each of the cutlets with a portion of spätzle. Spoon mushroom sauce over each and garnish with remaining chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 4.

 

Tomato and Gruyère Tarte

Tomato_and_Cheddar_Pie1Hi everyone, and happy fall (or spring in the Southern hemisphere)! The herbs in the garden are about to become history when the first frost hits (any time now), so I wanted to make the most of them. Also, I wanted to take advantage of the few farm stands that still have fresh, tasty heirloom tomatoes, so I decided to make this dish — fantastic! The simple, fresh ingredients all come together in this European-style, savory pie. I served it with a simple green salad, and it was a perfect, light meal. I hope you’ll try this before the fresh tomatoes and herbs are done for the season!

3 large, ripe and flavorful tomatoes, sliced in 1/4-inch slices
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1 store-bought pie dough/crust (bottom portion only)
1 Tbsp butter
1 medium Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups grated gruyère cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, etc.
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place tomato slices on paper towels, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, cover with more paper towels and let stand for 30 minutes (you want them to be pretty dry).

Place dough into a 9-inch, glass pie pan. Crimp edges. Line with parchment paper and fill with Tomato_and_Cheddar_Piepie weights. Bake crust 20 minutes, rotating 180 degrees after 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment paper, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. once foam has subsided, add onion and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until carmalized, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand.

In a medium bowl, combine cheese, mayo, chopped herbs, hot sauce, ground black pepper and onion mixture.

Assemble tarte by lining bottom of pie shell with tomato slices and top with the cheese mixture. Place in oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until golden brown (rotating 180 degrees halfway into baking). Remove and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Serves 6.

 

 

 

 

Grilled Meatloaf with Romesco Sauce

Grilled_Meatloaf (1 of 1)Perfect weekend for outdoor cooking here in New England! As many of my readers know, I love meatloaf of all kinds — I’ve adapted one of my favorite recipes for the grill. The added benefit is that you’re not heating up the kitchen, and in particular, the meatloaf takes on a fantastic smokey bbq flavor. The romesco sauce is not typically served with meatloaf (usually served with shrimp/prawns), but I served it with this dish, and it  was a spot-on compliment to the meatloaf. This is an unusual, but great summer outdoor dish — I hope you’ll try it this weekend!

2 slices of bread
1/3 cup milk
2 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
7 cloves garlic (3 of them finely minced or grated; 4 unpeeled)
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 ground allspice
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped
1 1/2 lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 plum tomato, halved and seeded
4 red Thai bird chillies, cut lengthwise and seeded
4 Tbsp shelled hazelnuts
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp water

For meatloaf, combine bread and milk in a medium bowl. Set aside to soak. Heat bacon in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon to paper towels. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once foam subsides, add onion, minced garlic, celery and carrot. Sauté 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, allspice, salt and pepper.

Squeeze excess milk from soaked bread, and place in large bowl. Add onion mixture, prunes, beef, pork, eggs and parsley. Combine with hands. Form into a loaf and place in an appropriate, disposable aluminum pan, approx. 8 inches x 10 inches.

Prepare gill for indirect cooking at 400 degrees (e.g. flame on one side, dish on other).

Place meatloaf in aluminum pan on hot grill. Cook covered for 1 1/4 hours, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F. Remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

For the romesco sauce, heat oven to 400 degrees F (can also be done on grill with the meatloaf).  Line a baking sheet with foil. Wrap garlic cloves in foil and place on sheet (or disposable aluminum sheet) together with tomato, chiles and bake for 12 minutes. Add hazelnuts and bake for another 4 minutes. Remove tray from oven and let cool 15 minutes. Peel the tomatoes and squeeze both tomatoes and garlic into a food processor. Add the hazelnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, chilies, olive oil, vinegar, salt and water. Process to a smooth, creamy consistency.

Slice meatloaf and serve with romesco sauce and mashed potatoes and perhaps, some green beans.

Serves 8.

 

 

 

Lime-Scented Chicken Curry

Chicken_and_Lime_Curry (1 of 1)I’ve been cooking red meat like crazy on my new pellet grill/smoker, so it was time to give that a break. This weekend, I was in the mood for something fresh and spicy, so I made this Thai-inspired chicken curry. Fantastic –  this dish really fulfilled my culinary desires for something different (not that I haven’t posted my share of Southeast Asian curries, but it’s been a while). This recipe can also be made with fresh, peeled and grated galangal in place of ginger — if you have access to that, I recommend it. Oh, and for some added fun for the kids, don’t seed the chilies! I hope you’ll try this dish tonight!

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 – 8 red Thai bird chilies, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves removed, bottom (white) portion very finely chopped
2 tsp ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp turmeric

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch x 1-inch chunks
2 14-oz cans coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish

Combine first 6 ingredients (onion through turmeric) in a food processor. Process into a fine paste.

Heat oil in a wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add spice paste and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook an additional 4 minutes. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, lime leaves, sugar and fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat. Season with additional fish sauce and sugar, if desired. Serve with lime wedges and steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.