Friday, October 26, 2012

Caliente Pot Roast

Last night, I got home late but thanks to this recipe, we were sitting down to dinner 40 minutes later---and that was including time out to help my 17-year-old prepare for his debate! I served this with a bagged Dole Southwest salad & steamed green beans. The leftover couscous, even though cooked in chicken broth, was good reheated this morning with a little butter & brown sugar. This is my adaptation of a BHG cookbook called "365 Last-Minute Meals" that I would recommend to anyone who has very little time to cook & doesn't object to a semi-homemade approach.

Caliente Pot Roast
1 14-oz. package cooked pot roast au jus from the refrigerator section
1 1/2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
8 oz. picante sauce
14 oz. chicken stock
1 c. quick couscous
Sour cream
Chopped tomato
Avocado chunks

Put pot roast jus in large skillet with mushrooms & picante sauce. Let heat while cutting roast into 1" dice. Add meat to skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in couscous, remove from heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve pot roast over couscous, garnished with sour cream, tomato, & avocado. Serves 2-4.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Garbanzo Soup

Today, Jeannene has been recovering from a very nasty migraine, so a pot of soup was a perfect dinner plan. A little pumpkin swirl toast on the side & apples with caramel dip for dessert made for a nice fall meal.

Garbanzo Soup
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp. salt
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
A few threads of saffron
2 tbsp. lightly toasted cumin seeds
2 tsp. dry mustard
4 cans garbanzos, drained & rinsed
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lemon
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
2-3 tbsp. tahini (optional)

Heat oil in soup pot. Add everything up to the garbanzos. Sauté about 10 minutes. Add garbanzos & stock. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, & cook 20 minutes. Add rest. Adjust seasonings. In hindsight, this would probably also be really good puréed, kind of like hummus soup. Will try next time! Serves 6-8.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Tonight was a simple, cozy dinner night, with practically no cooking involved. It was delicious! I cooked some perciatelli al dente, doctored a jar of Newman's Own Sockarooni sauce with extra basil & garlic, put together a Caesar salad from a Dole kit, & made this bread:

1 tbsp. shredded cheddar
2 tbsp. shredded asadero
2 tbsp. shredded parmesan
Some chopped parsley
The white & light green part of 1 scallion, minced
Dash of salt
3 tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 loaf farmhouse bread (French would be just great, too)

Mix cheeses, parsley, scallions, salt. Melt butter in small skillet. Add garlic & cook until fragrant. Slice bread in half, then across. Dip cut side of each piece in butter. Put on baking sheet, butter-side-up, and top with cheese mixture. Broil until melted & bubbly.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Planned October 2012 Meals

1- Grab it & growl
2- Grab it & growl
3- Broccoli soup, fried green tomato BLTs
4- Cafe Istanbul
5- Bamboo Cafe
6- Calico beans for Aaron & Mimi's Wedding Hootenanny
7- Vegetable soup, rolls, tutti frutti salad
8- Jeannene's choice
9- Empanadas, black beans & rice, avocado salad
10- Spaghetti, Caesar salad, cheesy garlic bread
11- Jeannene's choice
12- Lemony lamb skewers, lentil pilaf, North African bread salad, chocolate upside-down cake
13- Golden garbanzo soup, fall salad, hearty bread
14- Jeannene's choice
15-17- GLAUCE Fall Gathering
18- Butternut, goat cheese, & sage ravioli with hazelnut brown butter, salad, ciabatta
19- Oktoberfest at Church
20- Jeannene's choice
21- Pumpkin Joes & pumpkin pie dip with gingersnaps for Family@5 harvest potluck
22- Jeannene's choice
23- Broiled grouper, dilled rice, salad with creamy garlic dressing, grapefruit compote in rosemary syrup
24- Buttery cabbage & noodles for new member potluck
25- Caliente pot roast over couscous, green beans
26- Vietnamese food in honor of my grandmommy's 10/27 birthday
27- Wild Mango Queens Jack o'Lantern party
28-4- Mama food
5- Jeannene's choice
6- Jeannene's choice
7- Nacho chicken, yellow rice, refried beans, green salad

Sabbath Noshes-
Chocolate chip pie
Chocolate chile bread pudding
Chicken salad
Fried taters

Bonus cooks-
Taco soup
Peanut butter bars

Steaks for Jessie & Tom

My cousin, Jessie, and her boyfriend, Tom, recently moved 10 minutes away from us. When they came to dinner a few weeks ago, I made paprika-rubbed steaks with blue cheese butter, baked potatoes, & steamed broccoli. This is my adaptation of a February 2005 "Food & Wine" magazine recipe:

5 thinly-sliced cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
Pinch cayenne
Pinch oregano
1/4 c. olive oil
4 10 oz. ribeyes, about 1" thick
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1 tbsp. finely-chopped shallot
1 scallion, finely-chopped (dark green only)
2 oz. crumbled blue cheese (Valdeón recommended), at room temp

Mash garlic to a paste with the salt (a molcajete is useful here). Mix with the spices. Add the oil, mix well, and rub into steaks. Let stand 1-4 hours or overnight in fridge. Mash butter with shallot & scallion. Add cheese & mix well. Pat into 4" long log, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, & chill until firm. Grill or broil steaks to desired doneness. Serve with butter slices on top. Serves 4.

Carrot Soup & Jicama Salad

I love the monastery kitchen cookbooks & often pair a soup & a salad from those respective books. The food is delicious and the books have cool illustrations & great little stories & quotes. You should own them. Last month, we had the carrot potage & the mixed jicama salad, both lovely. Sourdough rolls completed the meal. These are my adaptations:

Carrot Potage
10 carrots
1 potato
1 onion
8 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. sugar
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Peel & slice carrots, potato, & onion. Put in a soup pot with stock, tomato paste, butter, & sugar. Cover & cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat about an hour. Blend with an immersion blender or carefully, in small batches, in a regular blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, do yourself a favor and get one. They're wonderful. Season soup and add cream. Heat through. Garnish with parsley when serving. Serves 6.

Mixed Jicama Salad
About 1 lb. jicama, peeled & cut into matchsticks
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, & cut into matchsticks
2 green peppers, cut into matchsticks
2 apples, peeled & cut into matchsticks
1 tbsp. lemon juice
7 mint leaves, cut in chiffonade
1/4 c. olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cider vinegar
Salt & pepper

Toss all ingredients up to mint gently in a large salad bowl. Chill 1-2 hours. Just before serving, toss in mint. Whisk
olive oil with 2 tsp. lemon juice, cider vinegar, salt, & pepper until slightly thickened. Toss with salad, making sure everything is nicely coated.

Pork Cordon Bleu & Other Yummies

Playing recipe catch-up again, a round-up of dishes I've made in the last month. First up, a delicious variation on chicken cordon bleu, using pork tenderloin. I served it with mashed potatoes & applesauce.

Pork Cordon Bleu
1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin
Salt & pepper
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices Swiss cheese, halved
4 slices ham, halved
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. sage

Slice pork diagonally, across the grain, into 8 thin slices. Pound to 1/8" thickness. Season. Lightly dredge in flour. Heat oil on medium-high in a large skillet. Cook the pork about 3 minutes in the oil. Turn & top each slices with a slice of ham & a slice of cheese. Carefully pour wine & broth into the skillet. Bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with sage & serve with sauce in the pan. A twist of lemon is nice, too. Serves 4.

One night when Jeannene was out of town, I made an adaptation of my friend, Diane Carpenter's Szechuan chicken pasta salad. I call my version "Asianish chicken pasta salad." It was yummy indeed even before the recommended overnight chill.

Asianish Chicken Pasta Salad
1 lb. thin noodles, cooked (I just used spaghetti)
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. peanut oil
2 c. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Dijon
1/4 c. sesame oil
2 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless), cooked & diced
6 thinly-sliced scallions
2 chopped carrots
1 chopped red pepper
8 oz. sliced water chestnuts
6 oz. mini corn, sliced
1/2 lb. snow peas, julienned
Lightly toasted sesame seeds
Szechuan chili oil

Toss noodles with 1/2 c. soy sauce, then peanut oil. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to make sure pasta is well-coated. Mix mayonnaise, Dijon, sesame oil, 1/4 c. soy sauce, chili oil to taste. Add chicken, scallions, carrots, red pepper, water chestnuts, & mini corn to noodles. Mix with sauce. Chill overnight. Add snow peas just before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds. This makes a ton, so if you have cousins living nearby, stop by their place late on a rainy night to drop off leftovers & have a good visit.

My friend, Suzanne Evans, who is a fantastic life coach, gave me a recipe for her corn frittata, which is out of this world. I served it with my friend Kira's herbed potatoes, a stunner of an heirloom tomato salad, & my almost-grandma's boozy fruit.

Suzanne's Corn Frittata
3 ears sweet corn
Cooking spray
Salt & pepper
5 egg whites
2 eggs
1/4 c. chopped basil
1/4 c. grated smoked mozzarella

Preheat broiler. Cut corn off the cob. Sauté in sprayed skillet with salt & pepper for about 5 minutes. Set aside. Lightly beat the egg whites & eggs. Add basil & half the cheese. Add corn. Spray an oven-proof skillet and add egg mixture. Cover & cook 5 min. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese across the top & broil until bubbly & browned. Serves 4.

Kira's Herbed Potatoes
1 1/2 lb. small red potatoes
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
6 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp. white wine
2 1/2 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash & halve the potatoes. Put 1/2 c. of potatoes on each of 6 squares of foil. Divide the rest of the ingredients evenly among the foil packets. Seal, place on a baking sheet, and bake 1/2 hour. Let cool 5 minutes before opening. Serves 6.

Heirloom Tomato Salad
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1/4 lb. haricots verts, trimmed
1/4 lb. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. minced chives
2 tsp. minced thyme
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 lb. assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut in big chunks
1 small head fennel, cut in 1/8" slices
2 c. arugula (I subbed baby spinach after discovering my arugula had keeled over)
1/2 c. finely-chopped red onion
6 oz. crumbled gorgonzola

Bring a pot of water to a boil with the salt. Cook haricots verts in it for about 2 minutes, until just tender, then plunge into an ice bath. Whisk oil, vinegars, herbs, salt to taste, pepper, & garlic together. Add tomatoes, arugula, & onion. Toss to coat. Divide among 8 plates & top with cheese.

Much more pedestrian, but still yummy, was the tuna noodle casserole I threw in the crockpot one day. Good with a green salad with plenty of crunch---peppers, cucumbers, radishes...

Crockpot Tuna Casserole
2 large cans tuna, drained
2 c. uncooked egg noodles (macaroni would be fine, too, or shells)
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 c. finely-chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup (reduced-fat works great)
1/4 c. hot water
2 oz. jar chopped pimientos (unless you are serving this to my auntie, or someone like her, who is horrified by them)
8 oz. frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp. parsley

Spray the slow cooker with butter-flavored cooking spray. Mix everything together & cook it on low for 4 hours. Serves 4-6.