Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lamb Curry in Sweet Onion-Tomato Sauce

This is a classic Indian lamb curry. It's richly flavored, but if you already have the fried onion paste made takes very little effort. The lamb we get in our CSA box is on the fatty side, so I increased the cooking time to 2 - 3 hours, but if yours is less fatty, this will be an even quicker dinner. Serve with naan or buttered rice for a simple, rich, satisfying meal.

Two years ago: Charred Broccoli with Chiles and Garlic
Three years ago: Blueberry Cake Muffins

Lamb Curry in Sweet Onion-Tomato Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
4 slices fresh ginger (2"x1"x1/8"), finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 lb leg of lamb, cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp canola oil
4 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup fried onion paste (I can't find the original recipe, but it's blended caramelized red onion and a bit of water)
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Combine coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, cayenne, turmeric, ginger, and garlic in medium bowl. Add lamb and toss to coat. Refrigerate covered for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cardamom pods and bay leaves and cook 30 seconds.
3. Add lamb and stir-fry to sear, 5 - 8 minutes.
4. Stir in tomato sauce, fried onion paste, and cilantro. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 45 minutes. Serve.

Jalapeno Salmon Burger

Our beer/meal planning calendar told us we should be doing burgers and IPA this month. We've been doing fairly well with adding burgers to the mix, but I thought it might be time to branch out into salmon. These burgers are a bit difficult to keep together, but worth the effort.

Two years ago: Pork Vindaloo
Three years ago: Corn Chowder

Jalapeno Salmon Burger (from Fish Without a Doubt)

1 lb skinless wild salmon fillet, chilled in freezer for 1 1/2 hours
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 tbsp minced jalapeno chile
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
1 large egg white, beaten to soft peaks
1 tsp vegetable oil
For serving
4 pita breads
olive oil
2 avocados
juice of 2 limes
coarse salt

1. Heat oven to 400F.
2. Cut salmon into 1/3" dice. (Sorry, the author warns using the food processor here will result in mush.
3. Put salmon in medium bowl with scallions, bell pepper, jalapeno, sour cream, and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper. Fold together with spatula.
4. Add beaten egg white and fold gently.
5. Heat vegetable oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Form fish into 4 burgers (these will be very hard to keep together!) on plate.
6. Slide burgers into skillet. Cook for 1 minute to set bottom.
7. Place skillet in oven and bake for 2 - 3 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, split pitas and brush inside with olive oil. Grill until hot and toasted.
9. Peel, pit, and chop avocados. Mash with lime juice and pinch of salt.
10. To serve, put each burger in pita half, divide avocado between burgers, and top with pita half.

Halibut Soft Tacos

There are quite a few components to these tacos, but I promise that they're worth it and each part is simple. The end result is a wonderfully light and fresh tasting taco with just enough textural contrast to keep it interesting. If you don't already have cooked halibut on hand, roast at 375F for 10 minutes per inch (so 5 minutes if your fish is half an inch thick).

Two years ago: General Tso's Chicken
Three years ago: Zucchini and Goat Cheese Galette

Halibut Soft Tacos (from Big Small Plates)

2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 - 2.5 cups flaked cooked halibut (12 ounces)
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 scallion, white and light green parts, minced
1/2 cup minced celery leaves and stalks
1/4 cup chopped green olives (optional)
1 cup arugula
1 cup cilantro leaves
6 corn tortillas
1/2 - 1 cup tomatillo salsa
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup goat cheeese
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. To make vinaigrette, combine lime juice, mustard, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
2. To make taco filling, combine fish, 2 tbsp of vinaigrette, mayo, scallion, celery, and olives in bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together arugula and cilantro. Toss with vinaigrette.
4. Heat tortillas until warm and softened. Spoon layer of fish on tortillas, sprinkle with salsa. Top with mound of greens and drizzle of yogurt. Finish with a crumble of cheese and a slice or two of avocado. Serve with lime wedges.

Grilled Goat Cheese-Stuffed Gypsy Peppers with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

I've only ever seen gypsy peppers in northern California, but this recipe was so good that I couldn't pass on posting it. Gypsy peppers are smaller and thinner skinned than bell peppers. I think you could probably pull this off with bell peppers (although the author suggests using piquillos and cooking in the oven). I was suspicious of the texture using rice and golden raisins in the mixture, but it worked perfectly and the raisin presence didn't bother me at all. I scaled the recipe down to 4 peppers and accidentally reduced the filling by half and it turned out to be the perfect amount of filling for my peppers.

Two years ago: Strawberry Yogurt Scones
Three years ago: Mini Chocolate Pavlovas with Raspberry Curd

Grilled Goat Cheese-Stuffed Gypsy Peppers with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette (from Big Small Plates)

6 gypsy peppers
3/4 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups feta cheese
2 cups cooked rice, chilled
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped mint
Cherry tomato vinaigrette
1 - 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 - 3 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp minced parsley
3 tbsp rice vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To finish
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
2 - 3 tbsp creme fraiche, whisked until smooth

1. To prepare pepper, cut around base of stem like a pumpkin, pull stem out, remove seeds, and keep stem lid. Blanch pepper in boiling water for 60 - 90 seconds. Drain and shock in ice bath. Drain before stuffing.
2. To make stuffing, fit mixture with paddle attachment and beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Crumble in feta and beat until smooth. Mix in rice, raisins, and mint.
3. Divide filling into 6 equal portions. Roll into same shape as peppers. Push into peppers, put tops back on, and set aside.
4. To make vinaigrette, combine cherry tomatoes, basil, and parsley in medium bowl.
5. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk in oil and pour over tomatoes and herbs. Mix gently.
6. Grill peppers over medium high flame until caramelized on all sides.
7. To serve, place a few spoonfuls of vinaigrette on each plate. Top with stuffed pepper, sprinkle with almonds, and drizzle with creme fraiche.

Sole Piccata

The only thing better than a delicious dinner? A delicious dinner that cooks in less than 10 minutes start to finish (for 2 fillets). Even better? No crazy ingredients needed.

Two years ago: Raspberry Breakfast Bars
Three years ago: Very Blueberry Muffins

Sole Piccata (from Fish Without a Doubt)

4 (6 - 7 ounce) gray sole fillets (or turbot, sturgeon, or trout)
coarse salt and ground pepper
vegetable oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 thin lemon slices
1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 tsp capers

1. Heat large skillet over high heat.
2. Season fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge in flour and pat off excess.
3. Pour slick of vegetable oil in pan. Add 2 fillets and 1 tbsp butter. Cook until golden (~ 1.5 min). Turn and cook for another minute. Transfer to dinner plates, pour out fat, and repeat with remaining 2 fillets.
4. Pour fat out of skillet and return to heat. Add 1 tbsp butter, shallot, and lemon slices. Saute until shallots soften (~1 min).
5. Pour in wine and stir to dissolve brown bits.
6. Put one lemon slice on each piece of fish, add last tbsp of butter to skillet along with capers.
7. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.

Mixed Mushrooms with Cinnamon and Lemon

The first time I made this, I loved it, but I thought I had strayed too far from the original, so I never posted it. The second time, I only again scaled back greatly (it serves 6 - 8) and used the random mushrooms I'd bought at the market. Feel free to substitute to your heart's content and play fast and loose with the quantity. It's a forgiving, delicious recipe.

Two years ago: Bulgogi
Three years ago: Watermelon Cooler

Mixed Mushrooms with Cinnamon and Lemon (from Ottolenghi)

400g button mushrooms
400g chestnut mushrooms
300g shiitake mushrooms
400g oyster mushrooms
200g enoki mushrooms
160 ml olive oil
30g chopped thyme
10 garlic cloves, minced
100g parsley, chopped
6 cinnamon sticks
25g coarse salt
1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
60 ml lemon juice

1. Put a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
2. Sprinkle in thyme, garlic, parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
3. Lay button, chestnut, and shiitake mushrooms on top. Do not stir. Raise heat to high and cook 5 minutes.
4. Give pan a good shake and add oyster mushrooms. Stir and let cook 3 minutes.
5. Turn off heat and add enoki mushrooms and lemon juice.
6. Give pan shake, add salt, and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thousand Island Dressing (and a burger idea)

I skipped over this recipe in the cookbook until someone came back raving about the burgers. I was skeptical since I'm not a huge fan of pickles, but I decided to give it a go. And you know what? It's a fantastic dressing and made for amazing burgers. Below is just the recipe for the dressing. For excellent burgers, combine with simple burger patties, sharp Cheddar cheese, arugula, and maybe some minced pickles and scallions. Or just use the dressing on salad. I'm a convert.

Two years ago: Pear Buckwheat Cake
Three years ago: Black Lentils and Yellow Split Peas

Thousand Island Dressing (from Big Small Plates)

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 - 3 tbsp ketchup
3 or 4 drops Tabasco sauce
1 drop Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp cognac or brandy

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.
2. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pecan-Crusted Turbot

This is a great option for a quick and easy dinner that's a little bit different. I strongly recommend not passing on the soy-orange sauce even though it increases the work involved a bit. The recipe makes about 2/3 cup though, so feel free to scale down unless you want leftovers. The recipes notes suggest any flatfish as a good substitute, so I made this with sand dabs.

One year ago: Smoked and Fresh Salmon en Chemise
Two years ago: Cashew Chicken with a Cilantro Sauce
Three years ago: Lime Flavoured Rice with Yellow Split Peas

Pecan-Crusted Turbot (from Fish Without a Doubt)

2 cups pecans
2 large egg whites
4 (4 - 5 ounce) pieces turbot fillet
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flour
vegetable oils
4 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
Soy-Orange Sauce
2 cups orange juice
1 tsp soy sauce
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. To make sauce, pour orange juice into a wide saucepan and boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and reduce to 1/3 cup. Scrape orange juice into a small saucepan and add soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and whisk in butter, piece by piece. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, grind nuts in food processor in batches to fine meal. Pour into shallow bowl.
3. Beat egg whites in separate shallow bowl until frothy.
4. Season turbot on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour and pat off excess. Dip in egg whites and then nuts.
5. Heat medium skillet over medium heat (you may need 2 to fit the fish). Pour in a bit of oil. Cook fish for 2 1/2 minutes on first side or until nicely browned and another 1 1/2 minutes on the other side.
6. Serve fish garnished with orange and a drizzle of soy-orange sauce.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms on Herbed Tomato Salad

This dish is a celebration of summer. It's a bit of work, but well worth it for warm goat cheese hidden in squash blossoms on top of a fresh tomato salad. My squash blossoms were on the small side, so I had to make the balls even smaller.

One year ago: Israeli Couscous with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta
Two years ago: Spinach with Ginger and Green Chiles
Three years ago: Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Stuffed Squash Blossoms on Herbed Tomato Salad (from The Herbfarm Cookbook)

4 ounces goat cheese
1 tbsp coarsely chopped basil
1 tbsp finely chopped marjoram
8 large zucchini blossoms, pistil removed
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered or larger tomatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp coarsely chopped marjoram
12 basil leaves, torn into 1/2" pieces

1. Stir filling ingredients together in small bowl. Form into 8 balls. Cover and set aside.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge 4 blossoms at a time into water and boil for 10 second. Remove with slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of cold water.
3. Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully place ball of goat cheese filling in each blossom and close bloom (it may be easier to separate petals underwater. Place on baking sheet and brush with oil. (You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate covered.)
4. Bake blossoms until cheese is warmed through, 5 - 7 minutes.
5. Toss tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, marjoram and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and arrange on 4 plates.
6. Top each salad with 2 blossoms and serve.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Shaved Fennel Salad with Parmesan and Orange Zest

I'm not crazy about just eating cooked fennel, although I love the flavor it gives dishes. I was a bit suspicious of this salad, but decided to give it a shot. The crispy fennel worked great with citrus and chunks of hidden cheese. I substituted a bit of lemon for the orange because I had that on hand. Lime might also work well here. Feel free to play with the cheese as well (or omit it entirely). The author suggests that blue cheese would work well here too and I think that would be a fantastic substitute, but I love all things blue cheese.

One year ago: Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Sauce
Two years ago: Turmeric Rice
Three years ago: Pasta Pesto Salad

Shaved Fennel Salad with Parmesan and Orange Zest (from Cook This Now)

2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and outer layers removed
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces Parmesan

1. Cut each fennel bulb in half lengthwise. Using a mandolin or knife, thinly shave fennel. Transfer to bowl.
2. In small bowl, whisk together zest, juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in oil.
3. Pour dressing over fennel and toss well.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave cheese over salad, toss, and serve.

Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings

We've gotten in the habit of buying whole chickens and breaking them down. Usually the thighs and breasts get used quickly, but the drumsticks and wings occasionally collect in the freezer. This is a great, low-effort dinner for using up those pieces. It may seem like a lot of garlic and pepper, but I promise it's not too much. I added drumsticks to the recipe below and started those in the oven 25 minutes before the wings and lowered the temperature to 425.

One year ago: Spaghetti with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon, and Greens
Two years ago: Apricot Plum Crisp
Three years ago: Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings (from Big Small Plates)

1/2 cup mushroom soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs chicken wings, tips discarded and cut at the joint

1. Mix together marinade ingredients. Cover wings with marinade and marinate in refrigerator for 12 - 24 hours.
2. Heat oven to 450F. Arrange wings in shallow roasting pan.
3. Roast for 12 - 18 minutes until skin is dark brown and crisp and meat cooked through. Serve.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers

If you like roasted bell peppers, this is a great appetizer for you. The bell pepper mixture can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time. The original serves 6 - 8 people, so feel free to scale down.

One year ago: Sweet Watermelon with Garlic and Red Chiles
Two years ago: Walnut Muffins with Coffee Glaze
Three years ago: Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers (from Big Small Plates)

3 red bell peppers
3 yellow bell peppers
2 ounces anchovies, finely chopped and smashed into paste
1 handful fresh basil leaves, shredded by hand
pinch of fresh oregano, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
sea salt and pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
12 - 16 slices baguette or other bread

1. Roast peppers until blackened (on a wood grill or under a broiler).
2. Place peppers in a paper or plastic bag until cool enough to handle.
3. Peel peppers and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Tear into strips over a mixing bowl to catch the juices and place in bowl.
4. Mix in remaining ingredients except bread.
5. Brush bread slices with olive oil and toast in oven at 375 or on grill.
6. Pile bell pepper mix on each crouton and eat.

Upside-down Polenta Plum Cake

Our plum trees been a bit over-active lately, so I'm trying to take advantage of the plums while they last. The author also suggests that rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, apricots, and pineapple could be a good alternative for this cake. Per her suggestion, I also added a bit of ground cardamom to the batter to give it a little bit extra, but she also recommends citrus zest or ground nutmeg as additions. This cake is good cool, but even better served warm. Make sure you line your pan well or stick it on a baking sheet because I experienced some leakage.

One year ago: Berry Summer Bundt Cake
Two years ago: Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers
Three years ago: Vodka Cream Pasta

Upside-down Polenta Plum Cake (from Cook This Now)

1 3/4 lbs plums, rinsed, pitted, and sliced 1/2" thick
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook plums, 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt, stirring until plums are tender and liquid begins to reduce, 20 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 9" springform pan with parchment and grease well.
3. Spread plum mixture into pan.
4. In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.
5. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and remaining 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
6. Add eggs one at a time to butter and beat to combine.
7. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
8. Use a spatula to fold in dry ingredients. Scrap batter on top of plums (it will be extremely thick) and smooth as best you can with the spatula.
9. Bake until cake is golden and cooked through, 45 - 55 minutes.
10. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Flip onto a plate and unmold. Serve warm.

Broiled Flat Fish with Arugula Pesto

This is a quick, easy, and green alternative to traditional fish fingers. The original recipe calls for flounder, but I used local sand dabs. The pesto recipe makes quite a bit more than you'll need for this recipe, but it freezes well.

One year ago: Watermelon Salad with Feta and Olives
Two years ago: Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausages
Three years ago: Arugula, Strawberry, and Caramelized Pear Salad

Broiled Flat Fish with Arugula Pesto (from Fish Without a Doubt)

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
4 (5 - 6 ounce) flounder of other flat fish fillets, about 1/2" thick
coarse salt and pepper
2 tsp grated lemon zest
4 tbsp Arugula pesto
2 tsp dry bread crumbs
lemon wedges

1. Season flounder on both sides. Dip in melted butter.
2. Rub 1/2 tsp of lemon zest on top of the skinless side of each fillet. Spread on heaping tbsp of pesto and sprinkle on 1/2 tsp of bread crumbs. Set on greased baking sheet.
3. Set an oven rack 5" below heat source and heat broiler.
4. Slide baking sheet under broil and broil for 5 minutes until browned and oil bubbles.
5. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Arugula Pesto
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts
6 ounces arugula
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Put garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
2. Add arugula by the handful, pulsing after each addition.
3. Turn on processor and add oil in a steady stream until formed into a paste.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Red Bell Peppers, Fennel, and Marjoram

I realize that this recipe probably won't work for most of you this time of year, but the summer heat wave in San Francisco only means that we almost hit 80 degrees! This is a great side dish for just about anything. I served with some roasted shrimp with marjoram.

One year ago: Rabbit with Tomato and Green Olives
Two years ago: Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart
Three years ago: Leftover Skillet Eggs

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Red Bell Peppers, Fennel, and Marjoram (from All About Roasting)

1 large or 2 small red bell peppers (10 ounces), cored and seeded, cut into 1" chunks
1 small fennel bulb (12 ounces untrimmed), trimmed, cut into quarters and into 1/3" slices
1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped marjoram
kosher salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 375F.
2. Spread potatoes in single layer on baking sheet. Add peppers and fennel, drizzle with oil, and scatter marjoram on top. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
3. Roast for 50 - 60 minutes until potatoes are tender, stirring every 20 minutes or so.