Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grilled Veal Chops with Prosciutto and Basil Lemon Oil

This dish comes together quickly enough for a weeknight dinner, but is elegant enough for company. The veal chops I had were incredibly thin, so I didn't need the oven roasting step. I think this would work equally well with regular steak.

Grilled Veal Chops with Prosciutto and Basil-Lemon Oil (from Radically Simple)

2 large bunches fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
4 large veal rib chops, 10 - 12 ounces each
2 large handfuls wild arugula
4 wide paper-thin slices prosciutto

1. Preheat oven to 400F (if you have fat chops).
2. Boil a pot of salted water and fill another large bowl with ice water.
3. Boil basil leaves 1 minute, then plunge into ice water. Drain; squeeze dry.
4. Place basil in blender with all but 1 tbsp oil, the zest, garlic, and 1/3 cup water. Process until smooth; add lemon juice and salt to taste.
5. Rub remaining 1 tbsp oil onto chops. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Heat a very large skillet over high heat. Sear chops 3 minutes on each side until browned.
7. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, until pink inside. Let rest 5 minutes.
8. Mound arugula on 4 large plates and drizzle with basil oil. Top with chops, drizzle with more basil oil, and drape with prosciutto.

Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon Zest, and Basil

This is a light and refreshing pasta, perfect for a summer day. The original recipe calls for Wondra flour, but I just used all-purpose.

Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon Zest, and Basil (from Radically Simple)

2 medium zucchini, trimmed
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
12 ounces fresh linguine
1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Slice the zucchini into thin rounds and dust with flour.
3. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a very large skillet. Add garlic and discard when brown.
4. Add zucchini to skillet and cook over high heat until dark golden and soft, about 6 minutes.
5. Add basil to skillet and cook for 1 minute.
6. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and toss with remaining oil.
7. Spoon zucchini and pan juices over pasta.
8. Grate zest of lemon on top and squeeze a little juice over all.
9. Sprinkle with cheese.

Orange-Soy-Braised Pork Ribs

I found this recipe a nice change of pace from the usual bbq sauce with pork ribs. The original calls for oven roasting at 325 for 2 hours and then reducing the sauce down. I just cooked in a slow cooker and skipped on turning the sauce into a glaze. I also omitted an extra 1/2 tsp of salt from the recipe as I thought it was salty enough with the soy sauce.

Orange-Soy-Braised Pork Ribs (from Gourmet Today)

4 lbs country-style pork ribs
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1. In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
2. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.

Seared Rainbow Chard with Leeks

We've started doing a CSA box and this was the first week. Inside, it had rainbow chard which I've never cooked with before. While searching for recipes, I found this one which also helped with my overabundance of leeks problem (why was the Val-Mont only selling them in packs of 6?!). The original (below) serves 8, we scaled it in half. I was worried it would be lacking in flavour given how few spices it has, but found the resulting dish quite bold ... and perhaps with just a touch too much leek.

Seared Rainbow Chard with Leeks (from epicurious, originally Gourmet)

2 (1-lb) bunches rainbow chard or red and green Swiss chard
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1. Cut stems from chard (if leaves are large, cut out coarse portions of rib), then cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack chard leaves and roll into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-thick strips of leaves.
2. Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté chard stems and leeks with sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add chard leaves and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until wilted. (If greens begin to brown before they wilt, sprinkle with a few drops of water.)

Gingerbread Apple Upside-down Cake

I am woefully behind on posting new recipes because we've been cooking too much lately and I've had a bit of a difficult week. This cake, though, was the perfect way to use up some of the apple-picking overabundance. It also keeps extremely well in the fridge.

Gingerbread Apple Upside-down Cake (from Smitten Kitchen, originally Karen Bates via NYTimes)

4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing pan
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
4 apples (about 1 3/4 pounds - I did it based on weight and used 6), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup dark molasses
1/3 cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan.
2. Make the topping: Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes, then swirl in salt.
3. Remove from heat and pour into the bottom of your cake pan. Make circles of overlapping apple slices on top of the caramel. Chop any remaining slices and place them in the gaps.
4. Make the batter: Using a mixer, blend 1/2 cup butter and the sugar on medium-low speed. Increase the speed to high and cream until light and fluffy.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, molasses, honey and buttermilk.
6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
7. Alternate mixing the flour and molasses mixtures into the butter mixture, adding the next once the last has been incorporated.
8. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at least 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
9. Let cool on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a platter (one that will catch spills).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grape Focaccia with Rosemary

Every year, I can't seem to resist buying the Ontario blue grapes. They're my favourite grapes and when the price drops, I can't resist them, even if I have an overload of fruit. While searching for things to do with these delicious little jewels, I found this recipe and was not disappointed with it. The best part about these grapes? Unlike Concord, they don't need to be seeding, saving more than a little bit of time!

The recipe makes two 9" breads, which are entirely too easy to finish in one sitting if you don't watch it.

Grape Focaccia with Rosemary (from Smitten Kitchen, originally Last Course)

3/4 cup (177 ml) warm water (105° to 110°F)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk, slightly warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved Concord, red or black (or blue!) grapes, seeded
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary needles
2 tablespoons (8 grams) raw or another coarse sugar
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well on low.
3. Attach the dough hook, raise the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer.
4. Brush a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. Scrape dough into the bowl and brush the top with additional oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
5. Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into two balls.
6. Brush a large baking sheet (or two small ones) with olive oil, place the balls of dough on it and brush the top with more oil. Set it aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel.
7. After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough into a 8 to 9-inch circle-ish shape. It will be dimpled from your fingers. Cover again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.
8. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush tops of dough with remaining olive oil and top the sprinkle grapes, rosemary, coarse sugar and coarse sea salt evenly over the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Let cool before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Savory Squash with Spinach and Coconut Milk

When I arrived home from Europe, I found 3 squashed on my cabinet. They sat, taunting me, until this week when I finally had the chance to use one of them. This recipe calls for bottle gourd squash, but I used a delicata squash as that's what I had on hand. I was a bit concerned that this recipe would be lacking in flavour due to the shortage of spices, but I found it remarkably tasting. I did overdo it a bit on the sliced jalapenos because I overcompensated for the lack of serrano chiles. Use your own judgement on that. I served this over rice.

Savory Squash with Spinach and Coconut Milk (from 660 Curries)

680g bottle gourd squash
2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seed
2 - 4 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/4" slices
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
680g fresh spinach, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
10 medium to large fresh curry leaves (I used dried and added them in the simmering stage)

1. Peel squash and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4" cubes.
2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and cook until seeds have stopped popping, about 30 seconds.
3. Add squash and chiles and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Pour in coconut milk and squash (and dry curry leaves if not using fresh).
5. Add 1/3 of spinach, cover and cook until greens are wilted, 2 - 4 minutes.
6. Repeat with remaining spinach.
7. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally until squash is tender, 15 - 20 minutes.
8. Uncover and raise heat to medium high. Cook, stirring occasionally until coconut milk thickens, about 5 minutes.
9. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Celery Root and Apple Puree

I wasn't entirely sure that I was a puree person, but I love celeriac (or celery root) and had too many apples. This made a great side dish for pork (and is a nice alternative to a more traditional applesauce). I scaled this recipe in half (I think their celeriacs are bigger than the ones I find here) and ended up with more than 2 servings. The original is included below.

Celery Root and Apple Puree (from Gourmet Today)

900g celery root
1 Gala, Empire, or McIntosh apple
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1. Peel celery root and cut into 1" cubes. Peel and core apple and cut into 1" pieces.
2. Melt butter in a 2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add celery root and apple with salt and stir to coat with butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Puree mixture in a food processor until smooth. Return to pot.
4. Stir in cream, pepper, and nutmeg.
5. Heat, covered, over medium heat, stirring until hot, about 5 minutes.

Pork Chops and Apples, Madeira-Bay Butter Sauce

A surplus of recipes right now is making me a bit pickier about posting recipes. I've never been a bit pork chop fan, but this recipe was quite satisfying and had the bonus property of using up extra apples (well one extra apple)! I did find that I needed longer than specified to cook the chops and I wish I had waited to put the apples on as they were a little more blackened that I would've liked, but this recipe is quick and easy yet filling. I highly recommend the cookbook that this comes from as everything I've had from it has been at least decent and most dishes have been outstanding. They're also generally quick and easy (even if the ingredients sometimes get a bit fancy).

Pork Chops and Apples, Madeira-Bay Butter Sauce (from Radically Simple)

2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Madeira
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 large thick rib pork chops (I had bone on chops and they seemed to be forgiving to overcooking)
1 large apple
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp finely minced fresh tarragon

1. Combine broth, Madeira, garlic, and bay leaves in a skillet (NOT a pot, you want a thin layer so it boils off quickly). Bring to a boil over high heat and continue to boil until reduced to 3 tbsp, ~15 minutes. Remove bay leaves and stir in butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Season pork with salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet.
3. Slice through apple to make 6 1/4" slices. Remove core and seeds and arrange around chops. Drizzle with oil.
4. Broil chops as close to heat as possible for 5 minutes, until soft and golden (mine took longer and needed to be flipped).
5. Stack apples on chops, drizzle with sauce, and season with tarragon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lamb Chops with Smoked Paprika Oil, Cumin, and Arugula

When I was greeted from vacation with a giant cheese platter that included Manchego, the first thing I thought of was that I had a recipe that used Manchego. As luck would have it, it also uses paprika and I just happen to have some nice paprika souvenirs from Budapest. The additional inclusions of lamb, cumin, and arugula were just bonuses really. This lamb dish was every bit as delicious as I had hoped. It's quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal (although not exactly a budget meal!), yet elegant enough for company. I scaled the recipe in half and also went a bit light on the meat, so I scaled back the cumin to 1 tsp because I feared it would overpower the dish, but I think I would've been fine with more. Just cover the meat well with it. I didn't measure the arugula and just used big handfuls for the plates, likely going a bit heavy on the arugula. The original recipe is included below.

Lamb Chops with Smoked Paprika Oil, Cumin, and Arugula (from Radically Simple)

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 thick shoulder lamb chops, about 280g each
4 tsp ground cumin
60g arugula
2 tbsp lemon juice
shards of Manchego cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Stir together 1/4 cup olive oil, paprika, and garlic. Add salt to balance flavours.
3. Season chops with cumin, salt and pepper. Place on broiler pan.
4. Broil 3 minutes on each side, until rare.
5. Put arugula in bowl. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Divide arugula between 4 plates. Top with a lamb chop. Drizzle with paprika oil and garnish with cheese.

Parsnip-Apple Soup with "Bacon Candy"

Warning, the original recipe below makes a lot of soup. I scaled this in half and had plenty of leftovers after the two of us finished eating. If you are using the full version, you might want to use a large pot as my medium pot seemed quite full after I cut this in half.

I won't say this was the most amazing soup I ever had, but it has a nice parsnip flavour cut by a bit of sweetness. I skipped on the candied bacon, but think it would add something very nice, so I'm keeping it in here. I also substituted McIntosh apples for Fuji because that's what I have an overabundance of.

One year ago: Cheesecake Marbled Brownies

Parsnip-Apple Soup with "Bacon Candy" (from Radically Simple)

4 packed cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts
2 pounds parsnips, peeled
3 large Fuji apples, 1 1/4 pounds, peeled
4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
6 1/2 cups water
1 tsp salt
8 strips thick-sliced bacon, divided
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Wash leeks and dry. Cut parsnips and apples into 1" pieces.
3. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium pot.
4. Add leeks; cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
5. Add parsnips and apples; cook 5 minutes.
6. Dice 2 bacon strips and add to pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until vegetables are very soft, 25 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, place 6 slices of bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Rub sugar evenly over the top of each slice.
8. Bake 10 minutes; drain the fat. Bake 10 minutes longer until crisp. Cut into 1/4" pieces.
9. Puree soup using immersion blender. Melt in remaining 1 tbsp butter. Garnish with bacon candy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Pie Streusel Muffins

We went apple picking yesterday and came home with a giant bag of apples. You can expect many apple recipes to come as we try to work our way through these apples. The only problem is, I like apples, but I'm not a huge fan. Any bets on how long it takes before I cave and turn them all into applesauce for baking later?

The apple muffins turned out surprisingly well. They're light and moist with a rich cinnamon and nutmeg flavour. I followed the recipe exactly (except for adding 1 tsp vanilla which was mentioned in the directions but not the ingredient list and substituting pecans for walnuts) despite a few misgivings while mixing and was rewarded with 12 very large and tall muffins.

One year ago: Veal and Tomato Ragout with Potatoes, Cinnamon, and Cream

Apple Pie Streusel Muffins (from Sprinkled with Flour)

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups shredded or diced apple (peeled and cored)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. For the Streusel: In a small bowl combine the 1/4 brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a fork cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts, set aside.
3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, sugars, yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla,baking powder, salt and baking soda. (If you don't have a mixer, you don't really need it for this recipe!)
5. Fold in flour, stirring just until incorporated. Gently fold in the apples.
6. Divide the batter between 12 muffin tins, making sure each one is filled to the top.
7. Sprinkle the streusel topping over each muffin.
8. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375F and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Chicken Paprikas

I came home from Budapest with a wide selection of Hungarian paprika that I was eager to put to good use. I also arrived back with an aversion to grocery shopping and a case of jet lag that made me hesitant to cook. Fortunately for me, I found this recipe and it did not require a trip to the store. It came together quickly and easily and had a nice flavour. I served over rice. I cut the broth in half and subbed 1 tsp hot paprika for 1 tsp sweet paprika and was happy with the result.

One year ago: Gratineed Cauliflower with Butter and Parmesan Cheese

Chicken Paprikas (adapted from epicurious, originally Bon Appetit)

2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
3 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika, divided
1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large plum tomato, seeded, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream

1. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, salt and pepper.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Add chicken and sauté until just cooked through, about 3 minutes.
4. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate.
5. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter to same skillet. Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
6. Add remaining 3 teaspoons paprika; stir 10 seconds.
7. Add tomato and stir until beginning to soften, about 1 minute.
8. Add broth.
9. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon thinly, about 5 minutes.
10. Mix in chicken and any collected juices. Reduce heat to low.
11. Add sour cream and stir just until heated through (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Xie Laoban's Dan Dan Noodles

I settled on this dish immediately prior to vacation because it looked quick and easy and used ingredients I had on hand. Unfortunately, I thought I had sesame paste, but in reality had soybean paste, so I ended up substituting peanut butter much to my chagrin. I also omitted the preserved vegetables.

One year ago: Bolognese Meat Sauce (which happens to be simmering on my stove right now)

Xie Laoban's Dan Dan Noodles (from Land of Plenty)

340g dried Chinese noodles
Meat Toppings
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 Sichuanese dried chiles, snipped in half, seeds discarded
1/2 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
2 tbsp Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetables (I omitted)
115g ground beef (I doubled)
2 tsp light soy sauce
salt to taste
Sauce (I believe I doubled this with the beef)
1/2 - 1 tsp ground roasted Sichuan pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp sesame paste (see notes above)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp chili oil with chile flakes

1. Heat 1 tbsp peanut oil in a wok over medium heat. Add chiles and Sichuan pepper and stir fry until oil is spicy and fragrant.
2. Add meat, splash in soy sauce, and stir fry until meat is brown and a little crispy. Season with salt to taste. Remove mixture and set aside.
3. Put sauce ingredients in a serving bowl and mix together.
4. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to sauce in serving bowl.
5. Sprinkle with meat mixture and serve immediately, stirring before serving.

Sweet-and-Sour Red Peppers

I made this right before I left for vacation to use up some of the bell peppers I had leftover. I could not stop snacking on these. It was quite tasty with a touch of sweetness.

One year ago: Tomato Galette

Sweet-and-Sour Red Peppers (from Land of Plenty)

2 red bell peppers
3 tsp white sugar
3 tsp clear rice vinegar
salt to taste
2 tsp sesame oil

1. Cut peppers in half and remove stems and seeds. Steam of boil for a few minutes or until cooked.
2. Rinse in cold water and then peel away the skin (I think I skipped the peeling).
3. Cut the peppers into strips and put in a mixing bowl.
4. Dissolve sugar in vinegar. Add 1 - 2 pinches of salt to taste.
5. Pour sauce over peppers and toss together. Add sesame oil and toss again.