Archive | October, 2010

Sesame-Seasoned Yellow Sole with Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

31 Oct

This dish was healthy and tasty and quick and easy.  What more could a girl ask for?  The tahini-crusted cauliflower was crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, and was packed with bright flavor.  The fish was moist and simple, which was a good foil to the “punch” of flavors in the cauliflower.  I served this with a small side of Fattoush Salad.

Sesame-Seasoned Yellow Sole with Tahini Roasted Cauliflower

Sesame-Seasoned Yellow Sole:

2 fillets frozen yellow sole, defrosted

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. sesame seeds

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. dried parsley

Season fish on both sides with garlic powder, sesame seeds, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add fish and cook 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through.  Season with dried parsley.

Tahini Roasted Cauliflower:

Adapted from Saveur.com

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1 1/2” florets

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup tahini

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1 lemon

Non-stick cooking spray

1 tsp. dried parsley

Preheat oven to 475º.

Combine olive oil,  cumin, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper and whisk thoroughly.  Add cauliflower and toss until cauliflower is well-coated.

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread cauliflower evenly over the baking sheet.  Add to oven.

Roast, tossing halfway through, 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and the tahini sauce has become deep golden brown.  Season with dried parsley and serve with sesame-seasoned yellow sole.

Spicy Pork Stuffed Butternut Squash

30 Oct

Remember how I’m obsessed with using leftovers?  This is day one of using the shredded pork and French bread left over from yesterday.  I love the way trying to use leftovers forces you to be resourceful as well as innovative, so as not to get bored by the same flavors over and over again.  Overall, this dish was a success.  The spice of the hot sauce really complimented the natural sweetness of the butternut squash and the crunch of the bread cubes worked as a good foil to velvety smoothness of the squash and softness of the pork.

Spicy Pork Stuffed Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash:

1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed

2 tsp. garlic flavored hot sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350º.

Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Spray the “flesh” sides of the butternut squash with nonstick cooking spray and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and garlic hot sauce.  Place in oven, flesh side up, and bake for thirty minutes.  Flip flesh-side down and bake another 15 minutes or until easily pierced with fork and almost fully cooked.

Stuffing:

2 cups leftover shredded pork (from Shredded Pork and Tomato Stew)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 cup shredded very sharp cheddar cheese

2 tsp. garlic hot sauce

1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup French bread, cubed

1 large brown cage-free egg

Combine all ingredients.  Take the butternut squash out of the oven and scoop a 1/2″ thick “trough” down the center of the squash to meet the natural depression where the seeds previously were.  Add this to the other ingredients and stir to combine.

Using a large spoon, scoop the filling into the depression of the squash and the trough you created.  It is okay if the filling does not fit level with the squash – about 1/2″ above the surface of the squash is fine.

Put the squash back into the oven and cook another 20 minutes until cheese is melted, stuffing is heated through, and bread cubes are toasted.

Shredded Pork and Tomato Stew

28 Oct

I’m a big fan of braises and roasts.  Sear your meat, cover it with some liquid or sauce, and and throw it in a low oven before leaving for work (or, in my case, school) in the morning.  Then, when I come home in the evening dinner is more or less ready.  Plus, you get all 8 hours of flavor jam-packed into whatever meat you are cooking and tender meat that falls apart at first touch.  Now that the weather is cooling off,  braises and roasts are the perfect comfort food – especially because they generally provide for lots of delicious leftovers.  This pork shoulder was juicy, tender and mouth-wateringly aromatic and flavorful.  Served with some crusty French bread to sop up the accompanying braising liquid, this was a delicious, healthy dinner.

Shredded Pork and Tomato Stew

Pork Shoulder:

1 5.75 lb. pork shoulder, tied by your butcher/grocer with twine

1 tbs. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried cumin

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

3 whole marinated garlic cloves, halved

Non-stick cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except pork shoulder and whole marinated garlic cloves.  Cut six small slits spread across the pork and insert the garlic cloves.  Rub the entire pork shoulder with the rub.  Let sit for 2-3 hours.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat over high heat and brown pork shoulder on all sides, roughly 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.

Braising Liquid:

1/2 yellow onion, quartered

1/2 red onion, quartered

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 28 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes

1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 200º.

Rub the pork shoulder on all sides with tomato paste.  Spray a large casserole or dutch oven with cooking spray and add pork shoulder.  Cover with tomato slices.  Add tomatoes, with juice, and onions.  Cover casserole tightly.

Place pork shoulder in oven and roast 8-10 hours (it would probably be fine after 4-6 hours, but I put it in before leaving for school at 8:30 and didn’t remove it until 5:30 or so), adding corn kernels for last hour or so.

Remove pork shoulder from oven.  Remove meat from braising liquid and keep warm by covering with tin-foil.  Place braising liquid and vegetables in a medium stock pot.  Let sit 10-15 minutes and skim fat from the top.

Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chopped parsley.  Simmer over medium heat 15 minutes or until reduced by 1/4.  Meanwhile, shred desired amount of pork (I used less than half of the roast for the two of us).

Place the shredded pork in the bowl and top with a few heaping ladles of braising liquid, making sure to include some onions, corn, and tomatoes.  Serve with a few slices of French bread and butter or butter substitute.

Potato, Bell Pepper, and Cheddar Frittata

27 Oct

I burned my fingers like HELL making this dish due to an instinctive reaction upon seeing my dog putting his head suspiciously close to the open oven.  It’s a little painful typing this to be honest, but … it was worth it.  A couple weeks ago, I had never made a frittata, but they are so versatile I’m sure I’ll be making them again and again.  All of these flavors worked together well and the addition of the tomatoes and cheese made this an extremely robust, filling meal.

Potato, Bell Pepper and Cheddar Frittata

Adapted from Bon Appetit, 2003

Serves 2

1 tbs. olive oil

1 Idaho potato, cut into 1/4″ dice

1/2 large white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup sliced crimini mushrooms

1/2 cup packed chopped parsley, divided

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

4 tbs. all natural, whole-wheat flour, divided

1/4 tsp. baking soda

Cooking spray

5 jumbo, cage-free brown eggs

2 tbs. milk

1 cup extra sharp cheddar, shredded

Heat oven to 400º.

Boil a small pot of salted water.  Add chopped potatoes and cook until slightly tender, 6-8 minutes.  Drain.

Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add cooked potatoes, white onion, garlic, red bell pepper and mushrooms and cook until all vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, roughly 10 minutes.  Stir in 2 tbs. flour and baking soda.  Transfer to a bowl and add chopped parsley.  Let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs.  Add to vegetable mixture and stir well combine.  Add 3/4 cups of cheese and combine.  Spray your casserole dish liberally with non-stick cooking spray.  Coat the sides and bottom of the baking dish well with the extra 2 tbs. of flour (use more if necessary).  This will form a light “crust” for your fritatta, so try to make it as uniform as possible and be sure it extends to at least where your vegetable-egg mixture will fall in the casserole dish.

Pour the vegetable-egg combination into your casserole dish and use a spoon to make sure it’s even.  Bake in oven, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes until eggs are set.  Add remaining cheese to top and let melt, roughly another 5-8  minutes.

Brown Butter and Garlic Pasta with a Fried Egg

26 Oct

This dish might not be the prettiest, but it was absolutely divine in flavor.  I had a bit of the mishap with the eggs and the yolks got overcooked slightly, but it was still absolutely delicious.  In the future, I will take care to keep the yolks runny and perfect.  I will also use homemade or fresh, rather than frozen, pasta.  The rich flavors of the brown butter and garlic were delicious, comforting and warm.  Although he initially seemed skeptical about the idea of an egg with pasta, as soon as Zak took his first bite he told me that I would have to make this again soon because he absolutely loved it.  Though it’s important to take care to make sure the butter doesn’t burn, this dish is fast and easy and comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.

Brown Butter and Garlic Pasta with a Fried Egg

Serves 2 (with leftover pasta and sauce.  Cook 2 more eggs to serve 4.)

Adapted from Saveur.com

16 oz. frozen Gia Russell cavatelli with ricotta, cooked according to package instructions 1/2 cup of cooking liquid reserved

2 tbs. unsalted butter

3 tbs. Brummel & Brown or other butter substitute

1 tbs. olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

3 large cloves garlic, minced

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbs. chives, finely chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 jumbo brown eggs

In a large skillet, melt butter, Brummel & Brown, and heat olive oil.  Add pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently, for roughly 10 minutes until lightly golden brown.  Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside in a small bowl.

Add garlic to pan and sauté three to four minutes until tender.

Working in batches if necessary, add eggs to butter.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper and cook, spooning butter over yolks, until yolks are lightly set and whites are cooked through.  Remove eggs from butter sauce and keep warm.

At this point, the butter should have taken on a light golden brown color.  If not, keep butter over medium-low heat for a few more minutes until butter is lightly browned.

Add cooked pasta and pine nuts (reserving some for garnish).  Slowly add reserved pasta liquid, stirring constantly, and simmer 1-2 minutes until a sauce forms from the browned butter.  Add most of chives (reserving some for garnish) and half of Parmesan.  Stir thoroughly to combine.  Place in a serving dish and top with remaining pine nuts, chives, and eggs.

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