Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

I was having my friend Patti over for dinner last week and wanted to make something really hearty and delicious and came up with this recipe. Portland has been getting quite cold lately and I thought a really yummy pasta and meat dish was in store. I was craving lamb, so I immediately thought of a lamb ragu and then decided to go all out and make my favorite pasta from scratch as well. I hope you enjoy!

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 carrots, finely diced

1 large sweet onion, finely diced

2 celery ribs, finely diced

2 pounds ground lamb

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1 pound pappardelle pasta

8 ounces parmesan cheese, shaved

½ bunch parsley chopped

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add the lamb, coriander, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is reduced by 2/3rds, 3-4 hours.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, shaking well. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Place in large serving bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I know this isn't the best photo but, oh well, it's the best I have! I actually forgot to take pictures while making this dish and ran into the house to grab my camera just as everyone started eating to capture this one, LOL!
This is a favorite recipe of mine, because it is super easy to make and can be made a day in advance and tossed into the oven for dinner the next day. I was throwing a birthday party for my friend Susan which was mid-week so I chose an easy and delicious menu of Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Black Beans, Spanish Rice [except I substituted corn for the peas], and of course my home made Salsa and Guacamole! For dessert I made my famous Chocolate Cake Deluxe with a yummy Cream Cheese frosting instead of my traditional Chocolate Gnache. The nice thing about this menu was that I was able to make everything, except the rice, a day in advance so it literally took one hour to pull everything together!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

6 Chicken Breasts, skin on, bone in (or substitute 2 pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, skinned, meat removed from the bone and finely diced or shredded).
2 28-Ounce Cans Enchilada Sauce
24 Corn Tortillas, cut in half
1 Pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
8 Ounces Queso Fresco, shredded

First prepare the chicken: Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on large baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake until just cooked through (or internal temperature reads 160 degrees farenheight), about 45 minutes. Let cool, remove skin and bones and chop or shred chicken into small pieces, set aside.
To assemble casserole: Coat the bottom of a very deep (3 inches or deeper) 9x13-inch baking dish with just enough enchilada sauce to coat. Next place 12 of the tortilla halves over the bottom of the dish to completely cover (they will overlap a bit). Coat the tortillas with a generous amount of enchilada sauce, 1/3 of the chicken 1/4 of the sharp cheddar and queso fresco cheeses. Now layer again with 12 tortilla halves, enchilada sauce, chicken, cheddar and queso fresco cheeses...repeat one more time finishing with a layer of tortillas on the very top with a thin layer of enchilada sauce (you may have a bit left over), and the remaining 1/4 cheddar and queso fresco cheese.
Bake casserole in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until bubbling and cheese on top is lightly golden brown. Let rest for a few minutes to set up before serving. (serves 10)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bee & Mason

I just wanted to give a shout out to my friend Francisca who just started her own blog Bee & Mason. She has just opened up a cute little shop in Portland, OR selling vintage and antique items that she finds. I know this is a food blog, but I'm sure you know how hard it is to be a blogger and not have any traffic at first. Go ahead and check it out, she tells great stories and has a great eye with her photography!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks

I love that my friends tell me that they are tired of looking at old recipes! My friend Francisca just told me on Saturday that she couldn't look at the tart recipe any longer, I love it. I dug through my archives and found this recipe and picture that I haven't posted and decided this would be my next post! I know it's not the best summer dish, but living in Portland you do have those cold days now and again, so here is the recipe to welcome the rain. I would recommend polenta or my delicious Mashed Potatoes for the side dish, enjoy!

Braised Lamb Shanks
6 lamb shanks, well trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 yellow onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 cups diced canned tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Generously season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In a large
oval Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
Working in batches, brown the shanks on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes
total, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Transfer to a platter.
Pour off the excess fat from the pan.

Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and translucent, 5 to 8
minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from
the heat and add the wine. Return the pan to medium-high heat and
bring the liquid to a simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the
tomatoes, stock, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and lamb shanks and bring
to a boil. Cover the pan, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat
is almost falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Using tongs,
transfer the shanks to a large serving bowl and cover loosely with
aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, remove the bay leaves from the cooking liquid and discard.
Skim off the fat. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir
in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Pour some of the sauce
over the shanks and garnish with parsley. Transfer the remaining sauce
to a sauceboat.

*Recipe from Williams Sonoma

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raspberry & Peach Tart

This is one of my favorite Summer desserts, easy, fresh and delicious! I make many variations of this recipe depending on the season and what's fresh. My friend let me pick some raspberries from his garden and I thought they would go well in this dish. I did cheat and use canned peaches, but I actually prefer them to fresh because they don't brown and have a slightly firm texture compared to fresh.

Raspberry & Peach Tart

Tart Pastry
1/2 Cup Cold Butter, cubed
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Egg Yolk, beaten
2-3 Tablespoons Ice Water

In a mixing bowl cut butter into flour until pieces are pea sized. Stir together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of the ice water. Gradually stir egg yolk mixture into flour mixture. Add remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time, till all the dough is moistened. Gently knead the dough just till a ball forms. Press into the bottom of a 12 inch tart pan. Poke all over with a fork and bake at 350 degrees until just lightly browned, about 12 minutes, set aside to cool.

2 Cups Fresh Raspberries (or any other berry that's in season)
1 28-Ounce Can Peaches in heavy syrup, drained and juice reserved
2 8-Ounce Packages Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Corn Starch

Start by making the filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar together with just enough peach juice to create a thick frosting consistency. Spread over bottom of cooled tart pastry.
Next cut peaches into 1/4 inch thick slices and arrange along with berries to cover cream cheese.
To make the glaze, in a small sauce pan, combine remaining peach juice with 1 teaspoon corn starch over medium heat, cook until just thickened. Let cool slightly and then brush over entire pastry.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to set up.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grilled Pork Loin

If you know me well, you know that I'm a huge pork fan. I just love the lean meat and the mild flavor as it allows you a lot of freedom to make it meld with any dish. I made this particular recipe to go with my Summer Succotash and it was a perfect match with the fresh vegetables. I also used a bit of chunky finishing salt at the end to really bring out the flavor of the pork and add a bit of crunch. So the crystals on the bottom picture are not snow!
I made this dish on my charcoal BBQ and used an indirect heat, slow cook method which was surprisingly easy, so make sure to give it a try!

Grilled Pork Loin

2.5 Pounds Pork Loin Roast
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Teaspoons Sweet Paprika
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Finishing Salt, optional

Remove any excess fat off the pork roast. Mix all spices to create dry rub. Drizzle just enough oil over the roast to coat and cover with dry rub, cover and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
To create indirect heat on your grill, fill a chimney completely full of charcoal briquettes (do not use wood here it burns to hot and quickly). When charcoal is ready pour onto 1/2 of the grate and you are ready to BBQ.
Place pork roast directly over coals and cook just a few minutes on each side to brown the outside and create a crust. Next move the pork roast to the side of the grill without any coals, cover with lid and let cook without moving until it reaches 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer, about 1 hour. Remove roast from grill and place on plate and tent with foil, let rest for 10 minutes (internal temperature will continue to increase to about 155 degrees).
Cut roast into desired thickness, sprinkle with finishing salt, and serve.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Succotash

I know it seems as if I've fallen off the face of the earth this year, but I really haven't! Thank you everyone for your kind words to continue my blogging! Also, a thanks to my friends who have been complaining about how tired of the last post that I did :)
To be honest I really haven't been cooking a lot this year, and if I have, I've been re-visiting all my old recipes so I haven't had a lot of recipes to post. Low and behold I woke up this week eager to try something new and threw a last minute dinner party, so alas, a new recipe!
I can't help but smile when I hear the word succotash, it immediately transports me back to when I was a kid watching cartoons and hearing "suffering succotash"!
I was intending on serving this as a bed for fish or scallops, but the seafood just didn't look too good, so I ended up making a delicious BBQ Pork Loin, in which I will blog a bout soon!

Summer Succotash

12 Ounces Bacon
1 Large Sweet Onion, finely diced
2 Large Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 Pound Frozen Sweet White Corn
1 Pound Frozen Shelled Edamame
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Pints Grape Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
1 Lemon

In a very large skilled fry bacon until very crisp, remove to paper towels to cool. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from pan, return to medium heat. Add onion and garlic, salt lightly and saute until soft and just beginning to get a bit of color. Next add corn, and edamame cover and cook for 6-8 minutes until thawed and heated through. Add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and stir, cover and cook a few minutes until tomatoes are just softened and start to burst. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Now add chopped parsley and basil and juice of the lemon. Crumble bacon over top and mix, salt to tase and serve at room temperature.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Salt Crusted Potatoes

I've seen many versions of salt crusted potatoes and thought I would give it a whirl. I love the sweetness of a baby red potato and then with the salt crust, yum! This really is the easiest recipe ever. Also, the skins of the potatoes come out super crisp and tender like parchment. Enjoy!

Salt Crusted Potatoes

2 Pounds Baby Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Bay Leaves

Scrub potatoes and dry. Then toss with just enough olive oil to coat.
Place 1" of salt in a baking dish that is large enough to hold all the potatoes in a single layer, scatter a few bay leaves. Next place potatoes in salt and press into the salt so they are almost covered. Bake in a 375 degree oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Brush a bit of the salt off and serve immediately.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mexican Chicken Chili

I made this a while ago when I was not feeling well, as I wanted something warm and a bit spicy. I loved the complex flavors, the subtle spice, and the amazing flavor all the ingredients added! I used a recipe from Williams Sonoma for White Turkey Chili, but changed a lot of the recipe, so here it is. I wish I would have thought of adding some crispy corn stips...maybe next time!

Mexican Chicken Chili

1 Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1Large Yellow Onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Pound Anaheim Chilies, roasted, peeled and diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
7 Cups Chicken Stock
3 Cans Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro, minced
Shredded Jack Cheese & Sour Cream for serving

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil and fry the chicken until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side, remove and place on a plate. Add the diced onion, cumin, and garlic and saute until soft and just turning golden. Next add the anaheim chilies, jalapeno, and chicken stock, and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Add the chicken to the pot and simmer until just tender, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from pan and cool slightly, shred chicken, discarding any bones, and add meat back to the pot. Next add the beans, oregano, and cilantro, and flavor with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low for about 30 more minutes so all flavors meld together.
Serve topped with jack cheese and sour cream.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Onion & Gorgonzola Flatbread

My good friend Patty has had this recipe hanging on her fridge forever, so I decided to go ahead and make it. We both almost fell over because it tasted so amazing! We had such a fun time together in the kitchen rolling out the dough, caramelizing the onions and sipping on champagne! We made this as an appetizer, but could have easily eaten it for dinner. I changed the recipe a bit from the original, by adding more rosemary, caramelizing the onions first, and also making one large sheet pan of flat bread versus the individual rounds the original recipe called for. I might even be really bad and add some crumbled bacon to this dish next time I make it!
Original recipe from "Sunset Magazine, 2007"

Red Onion and Gorgonzola Flatbread

1 Package Active Dry Yeast
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Semolina Flour
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Large Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves, minced
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
6 Ounces Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water (about 100 degrees). Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in flours 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1 teaspoons salt. (Dough will be stiff.) Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place to rise until 1 1/2 times its original volume, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and thinly slice. In a medium sized frying pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt, saute on very low heat until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with olive oil. Turn risen dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough just until it feels smooth, about 10 times. Roll out and place into baking sheet. Stretch dough to cover entire sheet, should be about 1/4 inch thick. Cover dough with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and rosemary. Bake until browned and sizzling, about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately, or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

I can't imagine anything better than these biscuits, wow they were amazing!!! I saw this recipe in my Bon Appetite magazine and almost ate the page with the picture of these on them. I had a few friends over for dinner and made these at the request of one of my guests, such a great choice. They are the perfect texture; crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and full of flavor. I had one for breakfast and lunch the next day...hello treadmill, here I come!

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

3 3/4 Cups Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 Pound Thick Cut Bacon, cooked until crisp, drained and broken into small pieces
12 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1/2 Cup Fresh Chives, chopped
1 3/4-2 Cups Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and position rack just above center of oven.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, add butter and cut in until texture of course meal. Add bacon, cheese, and chives, mix to incorporate into flour mixture. Add buttermilk to moisten, toss with a fork, add more buttermilk if needed (up to 2 cups total) to just bring dough together. Place a generous 1/2 cup batter for each biscuit onto baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thai Green Curry Shrimp

I was planning on making curried lamb shanks, but when I saw these amazing shrimp at the Asian market, I just had to change my menu! I just recently posted a recipe for home made Thai Green Curry Paste, but you can easily substitute any Thai Green Curry Paste, which you can pretty much pick up at any grocery store these days. I wanted a clean, fresh, healthy flavorful curry so I used Thai & Indian eggplant, sweet potato (which was everyone's favorite!), sweet pea pods, and your basic Thai basil, lime wedges, and cilantro as an accompaniment to the dish. This is a very saucy recipe so make sure to serve with rice so you get to enjoy all the yummy curry sauce!

Thai Green Curry Shrimp

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Large Sweet Onion, chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, minced
3-5 Tablespoons Green Curry Paste (depending on how spicy you like your curry)
1 Lime, zest and juice
2 13-Ounce Cans Coconut Milk
1 13-Ounce Can Chicken Stock
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
6 Thai Eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
6 Indian Eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/2 Pound Fresh Snap Peas
2 Pounds Large Shrimp, peeled and devained
Thai Basil, Cilantro, and Lime Wedges, for garnish

In a dutch oven or very large skilled, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until tender. Next add the ginger and curry paste, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next add lime zest and juice, coconut milk, chicken stock, sugar, and salt, cook until all solids from coconut are disolved and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplant, and sweet potatoes, loosely cover and cook at a simmer until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes. Next add the pea pods and shrimp cook until shrimp are just cooked through and pink, only a few minutes. Garnish with basil, cilantro and lime wedges. Serve over jasmine or white rice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thai Green Curry Paste

I was craving something totally different for dinner the other night and got inspiration from my Indian Curry cookbook. I wasn't in the mood for Indian though, so I thought why not try to make a Thai Green Curry? It was much easier that I thought it would be and turned out very yummy! I just hopped into the car and headed to the Asian market and they had everything I needed for the curry paste.
I ended up using the curry in a coconut and shrimp curry recipe (which I will share in a few days), and it turned out so good...not too spicy, but it still had a bit of a kick, and the flavors were divine! This recipe is from the Food Network, one of Tyler Florence recipes.

Thai Green Curry Paste

2 Tablespoons Coriander Seeds
1 Tablespoon Cumin Seeds
1 Tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns
8 Fresh Thai Green Chiles
2 Shallots, Coarsely Chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, smashed
Small Handful Fresh Cilantro
2-Inch Piece Galangal, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Lemon Grass Stalks, white part only, coarsely chopped
Zest 1 Small Lemon
2 Teaspoons Dried Shrimp Paste
1/2 Cup Water

Heat the coriander, cumin seeds, and peppercorns in a small dry skillt for 2 minutes until fragrant. Put the seeds in a clean coffee grinder or spice mill and process the spices until they form a powder.
Put the spice blend and all remaining ingredients in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Pour in the water to help grind everything down into a paste.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Beet & Cabbage Coleslaw

My friend just made this and it's delicious! I also love how easy it
is to make, and it's beautiful.

Beet & Cabbage Slaw

1/2 Cabbage, shredded
1 Beet, shredded
3/4 Cup Italian Dressing
Salt & Pepper

Mix cabbage and beets with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yum, enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dungeness Crab

Do you ever have those weeks that turn into months and then you wonder where your time has gone? I feel that I was in a work coma for the last few months and I suddenly found myself at home tonight missing my food blog and wondering why I haven't posted in so long?
I immediately fired up the laptop and scanned through my pictures knowing that I had TONS of exciting dishes that I hadn't written up recipes for yet, and what do you know? I had one...the lonely little Dungeness crab you see above!
I have been cooking, just neglecting my camera in lieu of eating as soon as the food was ready not worrying about my presentation or writing down my ingredients as I go. Oh well, at least I'm back and excited about food again! I have a couple of good friends coming over for dinner tomorrow, a perfect excuse to try some new recipes and warm up the camera again. I also re-painted my kitchen, and put in a tile back splash today, so I have nothing to hold me back! Ok, now for the crab...I picked some up when I was at the coast last. They are so easy to prepare, and so delicious. I also get a sick kick out of cracking the shell with the mallet, its a very stress releaving dinner!

Dungeness Crab & Sorts

Dungeness Crab
White or Red Potatoes
Cheap Beer
Old Bay Seasoning
Lemon Juice

In a large pot, place a steam basket in the bottom and pour in 1 inch of beer. Turn heat on high and bring to a boil. Next add the potatoes and corn, sprinkle generously with the Old Bay, cover turn the heat down to medium and steam until potatoes are almost soft. Next add the crab, continue steaming to heat crab through, about 5-10 minutes or so. Plate everything and sprinkle with Old Bay, and a bit of course salt. I like to dip my crab in melted butter mixed with a bit of fresh lemon juice, but you can do as you like. Enjoy!