Monday, October 31, 2011

Asian Jicama Salad

Jicama is a root vegetable that can be served raw. It is similar in appearance to a potato, but tastes more like an apple, although not quite as sweet; I find it has an “earthier” taste. Many folks compare the crisp texture of Jicama to that of a water chestnut. Jicama is especially good in this recipe because it takes on the flavor of the dressing very well

Asian Jicama Salad

1 cup JICAMA (cut into 1 inch sticks)
1 cup SNOW PEAS (cut into ¼ inch widths)
1 cup NAPA CABBAGE (torn into salad-size pieces)
2 Tbsp VINEGAR (wine or rice)
4 tsp HONEY (or 2 tsp sugar)
1-2 Tbsp WATER

Peel JICAMA root and cut into matchstick shapes. Tear CABBAGE into salad-sized pieces (substitute romaine lettuce if preferred, but I find the cabbage holds up better in the dressing). Slice SNOW PEAS into ¼ inch widths. Shred CARROTS. Combine all in a bowl and mix.

In a smaller bowl, add VINEGAR (red or white wine vinegar or rice vinegar can be used), SOY SAUCE, HONEY, TOASTED SESAME OIL, and WATER (start with 1 Tbsp of water and add another if desired). Mix ingredients.

Combine dressing and vegetables and toss thoroughly. Serve as a side dish to add Asian flair to any meal---and it’s great with fish.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Delicious Sausage Tomato Pie

This looks like a pizza, but it's definitely not a pizza! The crust has a flaky pastry quality and the onions act the part of a pie filling. This is a rich dish, bordering on decadent; it’s super filling and super flavorful. For a meatless alternative, try faux sausage—or no sausage at all—this dish works well just as a Tomato Pie.

Sausage Tomato Pie

3 large ONIONS
2 medium TOMATOES
8-10 oz SAUSAGE
8 oz MOZZARELLA CHEESE (shredded)
5-7 GARLIC CLOVES (finely chopped)
¾ stick BUTTER (soft)
¼ VEGETABLE OIL (plus oil for sautéing)
2 Tbsp PARSLEY (chopped)
CHILI POWDER, CUMIN, SALT (to taste for sausage seasoning)
DRIED ITALIAN HERBS (thyme, oregano, basil, etc.)

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet and add GARLIC. Sauté for 1 minute and add SAUSAGE. Continue cooking, adding CHILI POWDER, CUMIN, and SALT for seasoning. Cook meat to completion and set aside in a bowl. Slice 3 large ONIONS into strips. Add oil to pan and add onions. Cook onions down until soft and caramelized; this may take some time, but the more completely the onions are cooked down, the tastier the final dish will be! Remove onions from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, combine 2 cups ALL PURPOSE FLOUR and ¾ stick softened BUTTER. Mix butter into flour thoroughly. Add ¼ cup VEGETABLE OIL and continue to mix. Add ½ cup Water. Mix until the dough is smooth. Spoon onto ungreased pizza pan and spread (use the spoon!). Spread evenly into the size of a large pizza and leave a raised edge for the crust. Place in pre-heated oven and cook at 375 F for 10 minutes. Remove dough from oven and top with DIJON MUSTARD. Spread a layer of mustard evenly and cover dough completely except for the outer edge—just like spreading mustard on a sandwich. Add cooked onions and spread evenly over the mustard. Top with SEASONED MEAT and MOZZARELLA CHEESE. Top dish with sliced TOMATOES and sprinkle liberally with dried ITALIAN HERBS: oregano, thyme, basil, etc..

In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp OLIVE OIL, 2 Tbsp TOMATO SAUCE, and 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped PARSLEY. Brush mixture over each tomato slice. Return pie to the oven and continue to bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes until edge of crust is brown.

Bon appétit!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cornish Game Hen Dinner

Cornish hen is a classy bird, and a perfect meal for 2 when cooked up with potatoes and carrots.

1 CORNISH HEN (for this recipe I'm using a 1.5 lb. size hen, adjust cooking time for a smaller bird)
2 POTATOES (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
4 CARROTS (chopped into 1/2-1 inch pieces)
1 ONION (large onion, cut into large pieces)
1 GARLIC BULB (chopped)
4-5 sprigs ROSEMARY (finely chopped)
1/4 cup BUTTER (melted--substitute olive oil, if desired)
SALT and PEPPER to taste (this is a great dish to load up with extra seasonings...try cumin, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasonings, etc.)

If you're using a frozen hen, allow bird to thaw overnight in the fridge. Wash hen well and cut through the breast and into two halves. Lightly oil a baking dish and place halves. Rub both sides of hen with salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Cover hens with potatoes and carrot and additional seasoning. Top with chopped onion and melted butter and cover dish. Cook in 400 degree F oven for 30 minutes. Remove, mix ingredients, cover and return to oven for 15 minutes more. Remove hen from oven and uncover. Mix ingredients, place hen halves on top of vegetables and return to oven and cook additional 10 minutes. At this point (dish has cooked 55 minutes total) I like to turn on the broiler and broil each side of the hen for 2-3 minutes, making the skin crispy and tasty. Keep an eye on the hens and do not overbroil! Remove from the oven and serve. I like to rub dried oregano between my palms and coat the plate and serve with sliced tomatoes.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Awesome Easy Shrimp Linguine

A fast and tasty pasta dinner recipe for two!

Awesome Easy Shrimp Linguine 

1 pound SHRIMP (20-30, peeled and deveined)
8oz LINGUINE (about ½ box)
1-2 cups BROCCOLI florets (or substitute ½ cup PARSLEY if you’re not into broccoli)
6-8 GARLIC cloves (minced)
½ large ONION (finely chopped)
½ stick BUTTER
3-5 Tbsp OLIVE OIL
SALT to taste
(add oregano or Italian herbs if desired--I like just the extra garlicky taste)

Prep your ingredients first, then get your pasta cooking.  I like to add a Tbsp of olive oil to my pasta water as well as a 2-4 tsp salt.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions and whatever firmness you desire.  I'm using whole grain wheat linguine for this recipe, which takes about 12 minutes to cook--a bit longer than most linguine.  The cooking time for the skillet ingredients should be around 7-9 minutes, so try to time your pasta to finish with the shrimp--overcooked shrimp is rubbery and overcooked pasta is mushy, so timing is everything!!!

In your skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 butter on medium heat.  When hot, add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add onions and continue to cook a couple more minutes.  Add broccoli florets, and add more butter and oil as needed.  If you don't want to add broccoli, substitute 1/2 cup chopped parsley instead.  Sauté  florets, garlic, and onions another 2 minutes and then add shrimp.  Throw in some Italian herbs if you want to get all herby.

The shrimp will be done when they turn pink--don't overcook or they'll turn rubbery!!  Remove the cooked pasta from water and add directly to the skillet.  Don't drain or strain the pasta!!--you're just throwing away good flavor.  Add the remainder of your original 1/2 stick butter.  Mix pasta and ingredients.  Add some pasta water to the mix (about 1/2 cup or so).  I find that the salt in the water and butter is plenty for me, but salt a little more if desired.  Remove the skillet from the heat and serve.  Fresh Parmesan cheese and toasted garlic bread are nice accompaniments!!  Maybe some wine?
Bon appétit!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Best Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a versatile food, similar to rice, but with 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s easy to prepare and super tasty. The salad recipe below makes an excellent meal, a tasty side dish, or a light snack. Serves 2-4.

1 cup quinoa
3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
¼ cup red onion (finely chopped)
3-5 garlic cloves (minced)
½ inch ginger (minced)
1 cucumber (chopped)
1/3 yellow pepper (chopped)
1 carrot (thinly sliced)
¼ cup parsley or cilantro (chopped)
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt (to taste)

Add 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10-15 minutes (I find it usually takes about 15 minutes). Place cooked quinoa in bowl and let cool—doesn’t have to cool completely—by the time you get your other ingredients prepped, the quinoa will be cool enough. Add vinegar, olive oil, salt, and stir well. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. I usually chop the onion fine and MINCE the garlic and ginger VERY WELL. The raw garlic and ginger adds lots of flavor and nutrition. Give the bowl a good stir and get these ingredients mixed thoroughly. Add yellow pepper (red pepper is fine, but yellow makes a nice color contrast), cucumber, carrot. Sometimes I also add green onions—or even diced jalapeños if I'm looking for a little kick—feel free to experiment with any vegetables you enjoy in a raw state. Mix ingredients and then add the tomatoes. I like to add the tomatoes last so they don’t get too beat up by the spoon. If you’ve got some parsley or cilantro on hand, throw that in as well—I make sure I’ve got some cilantro on hand when I’m making this dish. A bit of lemon juice is a nice finish and will also help keep the colors of the dish vibrant. Bon Appétit!