Monday, August 31, 2009

Pad Thai

Love pad thai? Well, now you can make it at home with ingredients you probably already have and stop spending money on take-out!

1 package of flat rice noodles (Chinese section of the grocery store)
1 lb. choice of beef, chicken, pork, shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (in the produce section)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 head of brocoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed*
2 green onions, cut into one inch lengths
1 can of water chestnuts, drained and roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring pot of salted water to a boil. In a wok or large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook for one minute. Add meat of your choice and saute until cooked through and remove from pan. Drain fat from pan, if necessary. Deglaze pan with chicken stock, scraping browned bits from the bottom, bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions and drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ketchup, fish sauce, sugar and hot sauce and add to the pan. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken and the flavors to incorporate.

Add steamed brocoli, green onions, water chestnuts to the pan and toss in sauce. Add meat and noodles to the pan tossing well. Before serving, stir in the fresh cilantro.

*If you don't have a steamer, a very easy and quick way to steam vegetables is to put them in a microwave safe bowl and tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave in 30 second intervals until desire doneness--about one minute and a half for very crisp, al dente, which is the way I like it.

I hope you enjoy this homemade version of pad thai! As always, leave a comment with questions or to let me know what you think!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Creamy Mushroom and Leek Pasta

This is a simple and delicious dinner that is one of my husband's favorites and I hope it becomes one of yours!

If you are not familiar with leeks, they basically look like a green onion on steroids and have a mild onion flavor. You can find them in the produce section of the grocery store.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
8 oz. carton of baby bella mushrooms
4 oz. of shitake mushrooms or other favorite variety of mushroom (can add more or less, if you want)
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 to 2 leeks, depending on size (only one if they are especially large)
1/2 can vegetable stock or broth
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Salt, to season
Pepper, to season
1 box penne pasta

To prepare, lightly wipe mushrooms with a damp towel to remove dirt, if needed and then roughly chop. If using shitake mushrooms, remove the stem before chopping as you will not want to use that part. To prep the leeks, cut the root end off then slice the leek lengthwise down the middle. Using one half at a time, flat side down and starting with the white end, thinly slice the leek up to the light green part. Discard the dark green part. Continue until all leeks are sliced. Fill a large bowl with water and put the leeks in the water to wash, swirling the leeks with your hand, a spoon or tongs to free the leeks of dirt (there will be dirt and grit in the bottom of the bowl, so do not skip this step!!) Spread the clean leeks on a clean dish towel or paper towl and allow to dry, patting if needed.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

In large high-sided saute pan (like this P.S. this pan is super versatile, I use mine all the time), heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for one minute. Add the mushrooms and allow to cook down until browned, about 5-7 minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, add the rosemary and season with pepper only. (Do not salt at this point at it will cause the mushrooms to release moisture.) Remove the mushrooms from the pan. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and allow to cook for about 3 minutes, or until almost translucent in color. Add the mushrooms back to the pan. Add the stock and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, if needed.

Whisk flour into milk and add to the pan, stirring to incorporate. Bring back to simmer and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken. The sauce should be thick and creamy! Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Drain the penne and add to the saute pan, folding it in to incorporate it with the sauce. Turn off the stove and top with the parmesan cheese, stirring once more and Voila!


As always, leave a comment if you have a question or to let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shrimp and Feta Orzo Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

This is a deliciously light and tangy recipe that is perfect for summer! You can serve this as a main dish or side dish and is great (or maybe better) the next day.

If you are not familiar with orzo, it is a small (size of rice) teardrop shaped pasta. You should be able to find it in the pasta section of the grocery store.

1 package of orzo pasta
1/2 small green or red bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 lb of shrimp, shelled and deveined and patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
cajun seasoning

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Juice of two lemons and zest of one
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain well and put in large bowl. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and toss to prevent sticking.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in skillet. Sprinkle shrimp with cajun seasoning and add to pan. Cook until opaque and pink in color.

Add bell pepper, onions and shrimp to orzo, mix well.

To make dressing, zest (with my favorite tool) one lemon into a small bowl and then add the juice of two lemons. Add mustard, basil, garlic and vinegar to the lemon juice and zest and mix. Very slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture while quickly whisking simultaneoulsy to emulsify the vinaigrette. If done properly, the dressing will not separate. )You can also do this very easily in a blender or food processor by drizzling the olive oil through the top opening while the machine is mixing.) Adjust flavor with salt and pepper, if needed.

Add dressing to orzo, tossing well to coat. Gently fold feta into the orzo to incorporate.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

As always, leave a comment if you have questions or just to let me know what you think!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shrimp and Roasted Green Chile Grits

Before moving to Louisiana, I had never had Shrimp and Grits and frankly did not have any real desire to try it; however, once I tried it, I really liked it and have made it several times in different ways. If you have never tried shrimp and grits, I highly recommend you try this recipe!

This recipe is a little southwestern twist on this southern classic and I think you will really enjoy it!

1 fresh green chile
Olive oil, for drizzling
3 strips of bacon
2 cups of fat free milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of cajun seasoning
1/2 cup of yellow corn grits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 pound of shrimp
1 tablespoon of margarine
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Arrange oven rack 4-5 inches away from broiler and heat broiler to high. Place green chile on a sheet pan and drizzle chile with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Allow chile to roast under broiler until skin is charred and black on all sides (you'll have to turn the chile over mid-way through). Remove from oven and place in a brown paper bag and roll the top of the bag down. Leave chile in the bag for about 15 minutes to allow the chile to steam. This will allow you to easily peal the skin from the chile later.

Meanwhile, heat skillet to medium heat and cook the bacon. I recommend cutting the bacon in half as I find that it cooks better this way. After bacon is crispy remove from pan and allow to cool on a paper towel. Once cool, crumble the bacon. Turn off burner, but reserve bacon grease and drippings in the pan until it is time to cook the shrimp.

Add milk, salt, garlic and cajun seasoning to a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir milk occasionally so the milk does not scald (burn) on the bottom of the pan before you add the grits. While milk is coming to a boil, remove chile from brown bag. Gently peel the skin away from the chile, using a knife to scape, if necessary. Cut the stem off and slice lengthwise down the chile. Unfold the chile so it is flat and using your knife, scrap all the seeds out and discard. Roughly chop the chili. Make sure to wash your hands when you are finished handling the chile.

When milk comes to a boil, add grits slowly while whisking quickly. Turn temperature to medium low and allow grits to cook according to the package directions. Depending on the type of grits and the brand you purchase, this could be anywhere from six to twenty minutes. Continue to whisk the grits while they are cooking to achieve a creamy texture. Turn temperature to low and add cheese, chopped chile and two-third of bacon crumbles. Stir to incorporate.

Re-heat bacon pan to medium heat. (If there is too much bacon grease, lightly soak it up with a paper towel.) Melt one tablespoon of butter in pan and add lemon juice. Add shrimp to the pan and cook for several minutes until the shrimp are opaque and pink in color.

To serve, spoon grits into a bowl and place shrimp on top. Top with remaining bacon crumbles and ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grilled Portabella Paninis with Goat Cheese and Carmelized Onions

4 portabella mushroom caps
8 slices of gourmet bread of your choice (foccacia, sour dough, ciabatta, whole wheat, etc.)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
1 small to medium sized onion
1 small goat cheese log or 1 tub of herbed goat cheese spread, whichever you prefer

Prepare by heating grill and panini grill to medium heat. Remove goat cheese from refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature.

While grill is heating up, heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet on the stove. Thinly slice onions and add to the pan to caramelize. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Caramelizing takes awhile (about 20-25 minutes), so be patient and allow the onions to cook down to a deep golden-brown color, stirring occasionally.

Clean the mushroom caps with a slightly damp paper towel and trim the stem off. With a knife, score the top of the cap and the stem in a diamond pattern. Lightly drizzle both sides of the mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms gill side down on grill and grill for five minutes. Flip mushrooms and grill for an additional five minutes on cap side.

While the mushrooms are grilling, check on the onions. Once they have started to brown, pour a small splash (about one tablespoon) of balsamic vinegar into the pan to deglaze the bottom, scraping up the brown bits and continuously stirring the onions. Then season lightly with salt and pepper.

To assemble sandwich, spread about one tablespoon of goat cheese or herbed goat cheese spread on one side of bread. You may use whichever type of goat cheese you like better. I have done both. It just depends on whichever you think you will use for other purposes. Slice portabella thinly and arrange on another slice of bread, pile high with the carmelized onions and top with other side of bread.

Place sandwich in panini grill and press for several minutes until golden brown.

I hope you enjoy this panini! As always, leave a comment if you have a question!
Related Posts with Thumbnails