Saturday, August 31, 2013

Corn & Peas Mac & Cheese

2 cans of corn, drained
1 small container of mascarpone cheese
1 small pint of ricotta cheese
1 cup or so of Parmesan cheese
1 box of Elbows macaroni
1 cup of frozen sweet peas, thawed
1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons of butter
a little bit of milk (eyeball)

Boil water, add in some salt and elbow pasta (as followed on the box instructions)

In the Cuisinart- put in corn to give it a couple of pulses like a chunky puree before adding in the mascarpone and ricotta (both cheese room tempature).
In a small saucepan- melt butter before adding some milk (eyeball it, I poured enough to cover the base of the saucepan) to simmer with steam but not boil. Add the parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Add the corn and cheese mixture to heat through. Let it slightly boil before adding in the thawed-sweet peas and tarragon, fold them in and let them heat through for a few minutes.

Drain the pasta (save some pasta water for the cheese sauce in case too thick) and back in the pot before pouring in the corn, pea and cheese mixture to mix together before serving.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Yellow Pepper-Peas Stuffed Mushrooms

I honestly eyeballed everything, I didn't measure other than sizing up the mushrooms and guessed the measurements. It was also a throw-together using whatever I found in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. 

button mushrooms with stems removed (save them!), seasoned with EVOO and S&P. Saute filling of yellow pepper, mushroom stems, peas & garlic putting them in food processor. Join in bowl with croutons crushed as bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake in 400° oven for about 20 minutes till golden brown on top.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper Orzo

Grilled Chicken:
4 chicken cutlets
McCormick's Grill Mater's Roasted Garlic & Herb
mix together and marinade for about 30 minutes
heat up grill and cook the chicken for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Let rest for about 5 minutes off the heat before chopping up the chicken

Red Pepper Orzo:
about 2 tablespoons of butter
1 shallot chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 cup of orzo
1 2/3 cups of chicken broth
melt the butter in a small or medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent before adding in the red pepper for another 5 minutes or so. Add orzo to let toast for a few minutes before adding in the broth. Cover, come to a boil and then lower the heat to Low (as low as you can go) to let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Use fork to fluff up the pasta before putting it in the serving bowl

In a serving bowl, mix red pepper orzo and the chopped grilled chicken together, season with salt and pepper to taste and a little drizzle of EVOO before serving.
Optional: sprinkle chopped parsley as garnish

Dolley Madison's Recipes

We are going back in time to when Dolley Madison was First Lady of the United States. She happens to be my favorite First Lady, especially after I learned that she was quite a 'foodie' in her day. It was said that she and President Thomas Jefferson introduced ice cream to their guests when they hosted (he was a widower when he arrived at the White House, President Jefferson asked Dolley help with the social events). I found some of her own recipes (at least I think they were hers, according to their sources that seem to be legit) on the internet. 

Soft Gingerbread
Mix 1 cup molasses with 2/3 cup fresh butter. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water. Sift your dry ingredients: 2 1/4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons ginger, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Next pour 3/4 cup hot water which has almost reached the boiling point into the molasses mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Beat thoroughly with mixer or beater. The dough should be soft enough to pour. Bake in a shallow, well-greased baking dish in a preheated medium (350 degrees F.) oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Delicious served warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Layer Cake
Beat the whites of 8 eggs until stiff and in peaks. Put aside. Cream 1 cup butter with 2 1/2 cups sugar. Add 1 cup milk slowly, mixing well. Add 3/4 cup cornstarch and 3 cups sifted flour to the butter-egg mixture. Mix well and add 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Fold in the egg whites carefully. Bake in 4 layer pans, well-greased. Bake in a medium (350 degrees F.) oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs bake when touched lightly. Cool on racks and frost with Dolley Madison's Caramel

Mix well 3 cups brown sugar, 1 cup cream, and 2 tablespoons butter. Put mixture in the top of a double boiled and cook gently for 20 minutes. Just before removing from the stove, after the caramel has thickened, add 1 teaspoon vanilla, stir constantly. Remove and cool. Fill the layers of the cake and put icing on top as well.

Source: The Food Timeline

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Fudge Chip Muffins

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Makes 8 muffins

Cooking spray
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup oat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semisweet dairy- and gluten-free chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 8 paper liners in muffin tin; coat with cooking spray.

2. Combine applesauce and next 4 ingredients. In a sepa-rate bowl, whisk together the next 6 ingredients. Add oat mixture to applesauce mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20–22 minutes, rotating the pan a half-turn after 10 minutes. Muffins are done when tops are firm to the touch.

4. Cool slightly. Top with powdered sugar, if desired. (Serving size: 1 muffin)

Calories 154 (24% from fat); Fat 5g (sat 2g, mono 1g, poly 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Protein 2g; Carbohydrate 30g; Sugars 21g; Fiber 3g; Iron 2mg; Sodium 331mg; Calcium 86mg.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Pistachio & Mint Pesto

I was munching on pistachios one day (breaking into the shells for the nut) and an idea hit me: I can make this into a pesto! But with what and for what I had to think about it. Sure enough, I thought mint would be good and it would go great with lamb. However, a member in my household doesn't like lamb but loves seafood (yet I'm not a seafood fan myself) and so I decided on shrimp- it's one of the only 2 types of seafood I can tolerate.

My Pistachio-Mint Pesto
-about a cup of un-shelled pistachios, toasted
-about 2 cups of mint
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic
-about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of EVOO
-salt and pepper*
*go easy on the salt, especially if you have salted pistachios. Taste it to be sure if it's right for you
I marinated my lamb (and shrimp) in the pesto for a couple of hours- mainly in the refrigerator- before grilling it.
mix it in the Cuisinart or blender

I like to serve this dish along with cous-cous 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Food Quotes: Mariska Hargitay

"Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good."

"But there does seem to be a magical component to a good plate of mac and cheese that can cure whatever my current ailment might be."

"Survivors have had to experience some of the worst that life has to offer. In contrast, we have seen so often on our Joyful Heart Foundation retreats how powerfully healing a meal can be when it is prepared with love and shared in a community. The experience of being cared for is profound, and it nourishes the soul as much as the food does the body. The act of gathering together to eat doesn't make wounds disappear, but it does create a safe space where those wounds can be tended with love."

“I’m just grateful that my body is healthy. I want to be on this planet for a long time, so I try to eat things that make me feel good and make me strong. But I also love food and I love life: Some days having that extra bowl of pasta and a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup means more to me than being thin.”

"I was nursing, so I tried to focus on how everything I was eating was going into August's body. But as soon as I stopped, it was Gummi Bears by the mouthful!" 

"Eating. Especially if it's not my turn to do the dishes."

"I was on the Amalfi Coast one summer, and a friend ordered a caprese salad at a restaurant on the beach called La Conca del Sogno. I took a bite of a tomato, and suddenly I was eating Italy—the sunshine, the ocean, Rome, Tuscany, the cliffs in Sicily, and all the rest of it—in a single bite. The meal couldn't have been simpler, but it was sublime."

"I'm not good with no. You say I can't have a steak? Watch me eat this steak." 

"We share [the cooking]. My husband makes the best salads ever. And I cook Italian. We went to Italy and ate at the same place every night; their pasta with tomato sauce was crazy good. I hammered the restaurant guys down. I said, "What part 'I'm not leaving until you teach me to make this pasta' do you not understand?" 

"I try to eat well, but sometimes I run out of energy and eat anything. I want my Nacho Cheesier Doritos. Isn't that the cheesiest? Oh and dark chocolate. I love Scharffenberger."

"It's about a balance diet. And for me, it's also about a little extra dark chocolate. They call it 'the healthy chocolate'. No seriously. A girl's gotta leave the room for chocolate, right?"

"I drink a lot of water. I try to breathe, I hold my breath when I'm stressed, and I do everything in moderation. I know I'm somebody who needs Dark Chocolate in my life, as much as I try to give up sugar." 

Favorite ice cream: chocolate
Favorite junk food: 70% dark chocolate

My Ultimate Caprese Pasta

There are several recipes and variety of this dish- it's classic Italian flavors: tomatoes, basil, mozzarella with pasta. However I decided to kinda twist it up to make it my own. 

I made the classic basil pesto with some twists to the ingredients without changing the recipe: 
-about 2 cups of basil
-instead of about 2 cloves of garlic, I used two heads of garlic (it sounds A LOT, doesn't it?) and roasted it in a 425 degree oven for 40 minutes in wrapped foil. That helps mellow that sharp bitter (yet yummy- I love garlic but it can be very strong and overpowering). Let cool before handling it for the pesto.
-toasted 1/3 of pine nuts
-salt & pepper
-blend everything well in a blender or Cuisinart while streaming in about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
-stop blending to add 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese before blending again until mixed in well

As for the tomatoes
-10 (you can do 12) of plum tomatoes, ends cut off, cut in half and seeded and scoop out the pulp. In a bowl, salt and pepper the tomatoes with EVOO and mix around with your hands so coated evenly. Set in a single layer on a baking sheet (lined with aluminium foil) cut side up and roast in the 425 degree oven (after you roast the garlic) for 35 minutes. After out of the oven, cut the tomatoes in quaters before adding to the bowl for the pasta dish
*while the tomatoes are roasting, that's when I make the pesto together

Mini mozzarella balls
option to cut in half. If you can't find mini mozzarella balls, you can buy a ball and cut it to bite size pieces

Penne pasta
reserve about a cup of pasta water to help thin out the basil pesto if necessary if too thick

In a serving bowl, mix together the penne pasta, basil pesto and roasted tomatoes. Add the mini mozzarella to stir it in the last minute before serving

(explanation regarding the below tags of this post- tomato is technically a fruit, which is why fruit is listed instead of being under vegetables)