Archive | May, 2011

Shrimp, Spring Green, and Dill Crostini

29 May

If you’re looking for a light, elegant appetizer that disappears faster than you can say “shrimp, spring green, and dill crostini,” this is the recipe for you.  Like any appetizer assembled individually, it’s a tad bit time consuming.  However, I made the topping the evening before which left only the bread toasting and assembly to be completed the day of serving.  It made things a lot easier and allows the flavors to meld together.

As indicated below, the topping recipe makes double the amount you will need for 24 individual servings.  Stay tuned for some leftover ideas for the extra filling.

Shrimp, Spring Green, and Dill Crostini

Adapted from Yum Sugar

Makes 24 individual servings (topping recipe below makes double the amount you will need for this recipe)


1 16 oz. loaf French bread, cut into 1/2″ thick slices

3 tbs. olive oil

4-5 cloves roasted garlic, smashed well with a fork

Preheat oven to 400º.

Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Brush both sides with olive oil.  Bake about 10 minutes until light golden brown.  Cool for 2-3 minutes and then spread with roasted garlic.  Serve topped with shrimp, spring green, and dill topping (see below).


1 tbs. olive oil

2 small shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 lb. bag cooked and peeled tailless shrimp, defrosted and chopped into 1/2″ pieces (see note below if using uncooked shrimp)

6 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)

1/4 cup homemade chicken stock

3 tbs. fresh dill, chopped, plus more for garnish

1 cup packed spring greens, chopped (I used Earthbound Organic brand spring mix)

8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a 10″ cast iron pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and roasted garlic and cook until soft and golden brown about 3-4 minutes.

[Note:  As indicated above, I used pre-cooked shrimp to save myself some time and work.  If yours isn’t precooked, you can add it to the pan now and sauté 3-4 minutes until cooked through.  Then, remove the pan from the pan and chop into the 1/2″ pieces.]

Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until tomatoes soften and begin to release their juices, about 6-8 minutes.

Raise heat to high.  Add wine to deglaze the pan and scrape any caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan up with a spoon.  Cook for 2 minutes until almost all liquid is evaporated.  Add stock and cook until most of liquid is evaporated, another 2 minutes or so.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine tomato/shallot mixture, dill, spring greens, mascarpone, and chopped shrimp.  Stir until well combined.  Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as necessary.

Serve atop roasted garlic toast.  Can be served immediately warm or the topping can be chilled for a few hours and served cold.

Sauteed Belgian Endive with Caramelized Onions and Polenta

27 May

The slightly bitter flavor of the endive worked really well with the tangy sweetness of the vinegar caramelized onion.  The slightly salty bite of the Parmesan cheese tied everything together.  The polenta rounded this out to make it a full meal.  I loved how easily this came together and how hands off the dish was.  The cooking time is about 45 minutes total, but as long as you keep an eye on it, you needn’t be in the kitchen the entire time.  The caramelized onions add a really nice depth of flavor to the dish with almost zero added effort.

Sautéed Belgian Endive with Caramelized Onions and Polenta


1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1/8″)

1 tbs. olive oil

1 tbs. Brummel & Brown

1 tbs. red wine vinegar

3 heads Belgian endive, ends trimmed, cores removed, and halved

3 cloves garlic, minced

5-6 fresh slices Parmesan cheese (about 1″ x 1/8″)

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat olive oil and Brummel & Brown over medium-low heat.  Add onions and season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Cook 6-7 minutes until tender and slightly translucent.  Add red wine vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, 30-40 minutes until caramelized.  Add endive and garlic and sauté 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown.  Serve atop polenta and Parmesan cheese.


4 cups homemade vegetable stock

1 ½ cups finely ground polenta (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)

1 tbs. Brummel & Brown

2 tbs. Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a slow simmer.  Quickly whisk cornmeal into the stock and continue whisking until slightly thickened.  Continue to stir and simmer 20-25 minutes until creamy.  Stir in the Brummel & Brown, cheese, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Taste for seasonings and add kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper as necessary.  Serve topped with vegetables (see above).

Fava Bean and Onion Spaghetti

26 May

I found some really lovely fava beans in the supermarket today, so I decided to throw together a simple spring pasta for dinner.  I blanched the fava beans and then sautéed them with some onion and garlic in order to allow the delicate, simple flavors to shine.  This dish was incredibly easy and quick but had loads of flavor.  A slight heat from the crushed red pepper flakes really brought all of the flavors together.

Fava Bean and Onion Spaghetti

1 box whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente according to package instructions

2 cup fava beans, shelled and rinsed

2 tbs. olive oil

2 small onions, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2-3 tbs. Parmesan-Reggiano, freshly grated

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Blanch fava beans for about 2 minutes in salted, boiling water.  Transfer immediately to an ice bath.  Remove any residual shells and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook 4-5 minutes until slightly tender and translucent.  Add fava beans and toss to combine.  Cook another 2-3 minutes until onions are completely tender and translucent.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute until fragrant.  Add pasta, crushed red pepper flakes, and cheese and toss to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Add cilantro and serve immediately.

Curried Chicken Salad

25 May

On Monday, I started a summer position as a law clerk for the county public defender, so I’ll be packing lunch most days.  My favorite thing to do for lunch is eat leftovers.  Sometimes I go for leftovers “as is,” by throwing an extra serving into a Tupperware.  More often, I like to take a main component from the evening’s meal and jazz it up a bit.  Here, I took the leftover meat from a roast chicken and mixed it with some yogurt and spices for a super easy curried chicken salad.  It doesn’t reflect well in the picture, but this had a beautiful bright yellow hue that looked really great against the greens.  The crunch of the celery added just enough variation in texture to keep this quick but tasty lunch interesting.

I’ll be posting lots of lunch dishes over the coming months and will try to make notes on what is particularly good the next day and how well it travels.  Everyone knows that chicken salad is pretty much the best leftover dish ever.  I packed the chicken salad atop the greens and everything was still separated and the greens crisp and unbruised.  Despite the heat, I’m going to continue roasting my weekly chicken so I can make yummy chicken salad variations, because this was delicious, flavorful, and healthy.

Curried Chicken Salad

2 cups leftover roast chicken, preferably white meat, dark meat, and some skin, shredded

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

2 stalks celery, sliced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups mixed spring greens, for serving

Thoroughly mix together all ingredients except mixed spring greens and let chill overnight for flavors to meld.  Serve atop mixed spring greens.

Fiddlehead Fern and Snap Pea Risotto

24 May

This fresh spring risotto was absolutely delicious.  I added a leftover fillet of perch from my Lake Erie Perch with Seared Wild Mushrooms and White Wine Sauce for an added bit of protein and because, well, it was there.  And it tasted great with the fiddlehead ferns and hollandaise, so I figured, why not?  All the flavors of this risotto worked together quite well.  The creamy texture of the rice and fish paired nicely with the crunch of the peas and fiddlehead ferns.  Overall, this was a flavorful and easy risotto that I would love to make again.

Fiddlehead Fern and Snap Pea Risotto

1 cup arborio rice

6-8 cups homemade chicken stock

2 tbs. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup snap peas, snapped in half

1/4 lb. fresh fiddlehead ferns

1 leftover fillet Lake Erie perch, diced

1 tbs. Brummel & Brown

1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat homemade vegetable stock in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat.  Cover and maintain at barely a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add arborio rice and sauté until lightly golden brown.  Add bay leaves.  Slowly, one cup at a time, add the simmering stock.  Stir frequently.  As each cup of stock is completely or nearly completely absorbed, add another cup of stock, continuing to stir.  Cook, slowly adding stock and frequently stirring, until rice is al dente or to taste.  This will take roughly 35 minutes.  Once final cup of stock is almost totally absorbed, stir in snap peas, fiddlehead ferns, Brummel & Brown and Parmesan.  Taste for seasonings and add salt and pepper as necessary.  Serve immediately.

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