Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tortilla Soup

I apologize for the lack of pictures, but our kitchen is about to be remodeled and I wanted to get this posted before I forgot how I made it.  I truthfully opened several cans and dropped ingredients in a pot, but it came out delicious!  All ingredients can be adjusted to taste, and I think I might happily make it without the chicken next time, it was almost unnecessary.

Tortilla Soup
1 can green enchilada sauce
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, undrained
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can great northern white beans, undrained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 1/2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
32 ounces chicken broth or stock
5-7 6-inch corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons dried minced onions (feel free to saute fresh onion and then add everything else)
cumin, to taste
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
chili powder, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and cook until tortillas have begun to break down and thicken the soup.  Serve with shredded cheese, diced avocado, cilantro, whatever sounds good!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Continuing with my pumpkin theme, I found a pasta recipe that reminded me of a simple pumpkin soup I adore.  I love recipes that used canned pumpkin puree, and I adapted this one to taste more like the soup, just over pasta.  Enjoy!

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce 
(adapted from a recipe from Circle B Kitchen)

1 pound campanelle or penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 oz goat cheese
1 tsp salt
½ tsp fresh cracked pepper (or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin (add to your taste)
1 teaspoon of dried rubbed sage
Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, crushed red pepper (if using), and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, pumpkin, salt, pepper and cream. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin and whisk in the goat cheese and sage. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Can add a little of the Parmesan cheese here if you like.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, cover and let sit off the heat for 5 minutes or so. Place in a serving bowl and top with a good dusting of the Parmesan cheese and a little more sage. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese at the table.

**On a side note, you could easily add chicken or sage sausage to this recipe if you aren't up for pasta without meat.

**Second Day Recipe....
I wanted to do something a little different with the leftovers, so I made a frittata.

2 cups leftover Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
6 to 8 ounces sage sausage, cooked
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
any extra cheese you want to add

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Heat some olive oil in a 10-inch skillet.  Add pasta and egg mixture and spread evenly and press down in the pan.  Cook for 8 minutes, or until golden brown.  Carefully invert onto a  plate, add a little more oil to the pan, and slide mixture back into skillet and cook the other side for 6 to 8 minutes. Turn out onto serving platter and cut into wedges and serve warm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

It's fall, which means I love to eat everything pumpkin - pasta, soup, and of course, dessert!  I love traditional pumpkin pie, but I also love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate.

Pumpkin Blondies

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree
2 cups dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans; roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Grease with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. If the mixture looks curdled, do not fret.
Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spicy Basil Noodles with Crispy Tofu

I love stir frys, even more when they are spicy.  But they are so healthy and full of flavor that they make a great dinner.  This one calls for tofu, which I happen to love, but it would work just as well with chicken or beef.

Spicy Basil Noodles with Crispy Tofu (from Cooking for Two)

For the sauce:
4 fresh Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 shallots, peeled
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (I use soy sauce instead)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the noodles:
6 ounces flat rice noodles (I prefer the wide ones)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 (14-ounce) block firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup snap peas (about 3 ounces), end trimmed and strings removed
1 red bell pepper, steemed, seeded, and sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 1/2 cups fresh basil, preferably Thai basil

For the sauce:  Pulse the chiles, garlic, and shallots in a food processor to a coarse paste, about 15 pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed; set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk the broth, fish sauce (or soy sauce), sugar, lime juice, and cornstarch together; set aside.
For the noodles:  Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.  Remove the boiling water from the heat, add the rice noodles, and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain the noodles and set aside.
Spread the cornstarch in a shallow dish, then dredge the tofu in the cornstarch and transfer to a plate.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add the tofu and cook, turning every few minutes, until all sides are crisp and browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the tofu to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
Heat 1 tablespoon more oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add the snap peas and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the snap peas are crisp-tender and begin to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer the vegetables to a small bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the processed chile mixture and cook until the moisture evaporates and the color deepens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Whisk the broth mixture to recombine, then add it to the skillet.  Stir in the drained rice noodles, cookied tofu and vegetables, and basil, and cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce has thickened and the noodles and vegetables are well coated and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.  Serve.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Habanero Jam

After a bumper crop of habanero peppers in my garden, I needed a recipe to use up many at once.  I discovered Habanero Jam and have made it with both peaches and strawberries.  Both recipes are here for your enjoyment.  It's a pleasant balance of sweet and spicy, even though it seems to call for a lot of habaneros.

Peach Habanero Jam
8 whole habaneros, stems removed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1½ - 2 fresh peaches, peeled and diced
½ cup peach nectar
½ cup fresh orange juice
6 cups sugar
1 envelope Certo liquid fruit pectin 

Blend the habaneros, vinegar, peaches, nectar and juice until pureed. Combine mixture with sugar in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes, then add Certo. Return to a boil, then pour into ½ pint jars and seal.

Strawberry Habanero Jam
8 whole habaneros, stems removed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
½ cup strawberry nectar
½ cup pear nectar
6 cups sugar
1 envelope Certo liquid fruit pectin

Blend the habaneros, vinegar, strawberries, and nectar until pureed. Combine mixture with sugar in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 8 minutes, then add Certo. Return to a boil, then pour into ½ pint jars and seal.

The way I canned:  Wash and dry canning jars thoroughly. Place lids and rings in a pot of boiling water and boil for at least 5 minutes. Once jelly is ready, fill a jar, leaving about a ¼" headspace. With tongs, remove lid and ring from water, place on jar, and tighten, although not all the way. Turn jar upside down on a dishtowel. Repeat with remaining jars. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Turn upright and allow to seal. Tighten rings on all jars. If any of the jars don’t seal, simply store in the refrigerator once cool. The other jars can be stored in a pantry for 8 months to a year, if it lasts that long.

Turkish Walnut Red Pepper Dip

A few years ago, I discovered Central Market cooking much fun, I highly recommend them!  A wonderful Turkish woman who lived in Austin at the time, Ozlem Warren, did several classes on Turkish cooking, all of which have given me great recipes.  She has since moved to England, but still does a class when she comes to Texas to visit, so keep an eye out!  This is one of my favorites, a go-to dip recipe.  If you enjoy this dip, I highly recommend you check out her blog Ozlem's Turkish Table.  She continues to post wonderful Turkish recipes there.

Walnut Red Pepper Dip (Cevizli Biber)
3 slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
⅓ cup yellow onion, chopped
4 tablespoons red pepper paste
1 cup English walnuts, shelled
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water

Grind the walnuts, onion, cumin, salt, and red pepper paste in the food processor. Soak the bread in water and squeeze the excess water. Crumble the bread and add to the mixture in the food processor. Add the olive oil and water and blend to make a smooth spread. If it appears too thick, add a little more olive oil.
To serve, place the spread in a bowl. Pour 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil all over and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon read pepper flakes. Serve with toasted baguette slices or flat bread.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hummus Dip

I love hummus, and figured there was a way to make it at home more cheaply than buying it in the store.  I started with a recipe Kelly gave me, then modified it slightly to cut the fat and give it a brighter flavor.  Here's the result....

Hummus Dip
(adapted from Dave Lieberman)

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained, 1/4 cup liquid reserved
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin, depending on your taste 
12 grinds black pepper

In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients.  Blend on low speed until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.  If the mixture seems too dry, drizzle in water or olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency.  This dip tastes best at room temperature. 

(makes about 1 cup) 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrating Summer

Just wanted to share a fun pic I took for our photography class....

Making Your Own Cookbook

I have been wanting to find a way to compile all of those recipes I have written on random scraps of paper or on recipes cards stuck in a box that was easy to use.  I've tried computer programs but didn't really like the way any of them worked.  And then I stumbled upon Tastebook.   So, I figured I'd give it a try.  You type in your own recipes or you can search the many they have on their site, you can even include pictures of your food.  When you've compiled the ones you want, they will print out all your recipes, create a custom binder for you and whisk it off to you.  I LOVE mine and highly recommend it!  Mine came by UPS yesterday.  The binder is sturdy, looks like a spiral (none of that 3-ring flimsiness), the paper is good quality and heavy and the colors are very nice.  So, if you're like me and have lots of recipes that you love but are in several different places and hard to find, get yourself a Tastebook.  Now, I'm going to go start putting in recipes for my next one....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies

My favorite part of making dessert is to share them.  I love making them, but I really don't like having them sit around for me to eat them.  So these get to be shared at a boat outing this weekend, we'll see what everyone thinks of them.  They have both white and dark chocolate, and the white chocolate really provides a nice accent to the peanut butter.

Black and White Peanut Butter Brownies  
(from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine)

1 cup chopped white chocolate
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs 1/4 - 1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter (use as much or as little as you like. I don't measure mine so much as spoon it out straight from the jar.)
1 1/4 cups of unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup bittersweet chunks or chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil, allowing the it to hang over the edge for easy removal. Lightly grease or spray the foil.

Place the butter in a heatproof bowl over simmering water (double boiler style.) Once the butter has melted, remove it from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Keep stirring until the chocolate softens. If you need to, place the bowl over the simmering water again but be careful. White chocolate is sensitive to scorching and you don't want it to separate from the butter. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla and salt. Mix well. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Add the peanut butter and beat till incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  Stir into the egg mixture.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chunks. Spoon the batter into a greased 9" square pan, and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chunks over the top.  Bake the brownies for 25 minutes, until they're light golden brown and the edges pull just slightly away from the pan.

Remove from the oven, and cool before cutting.

Makes about 12-16 brownies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Create Your Own Cheesecake Recipe

I have spotted the funnest thing today....a website that lets you choose your cheesecake elements, then creates a printable recipe for your own personal cheesecake!  My first one is a chocolate-raspberry cheesecake with a little Chambord and fresh raspberries...yum!  Try it out here. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pan Roasted Carrots

I love when carrots are tender and sweet, when they've been roasted with meat in the oven for a long time, but sometimes I'm not roasting anything else, so I've found a great recipe that achieves the same taste, but on the stovetop and in less time!  They're sweet and tender and have a hint of rosemary flavor.

Pan Roasted Carrots  (from Cooking for Two, by America's Test Kitchen)
makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias (diagonally)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 small sprig rosemary (about 3 inches)

  Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the carrots, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  Stir in the broth and sugar, then add the rosemary sprig and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring carefully, until the carrots are tender, 6 to 10 minutes.
  Uncover, remove and discard the rosemary sprig, and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cloudy with a Chance of (Swedish) Meatballs

I just got a new cookbook with recipes all scaled down for 2 servings, so yay for not eating the same meal several nights in a row.  This Swedish meatball recipe sounded odd at first with some of the spices, but the end result was amazing, I loved it.

Swedish Meatballs  (from Cooking for Two, by Weinstein & Scarbrough)

1/3 pound ground beef
1/3 pound ground veal (if you can't find veal, just use all ground beef)
1 large egg yolk
2 medium shallots, minced
3 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (14 oz) can beef stock (really needs to be low-sodium as you will be concentrating it later)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sour cream

In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef and veal with a fork just until combined.  Mix in the egg yolk, shallots, bread crumbs, milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper just until combined, but not so much that the meat fibers break apart into mush.  Form this mixture by tablespoons into 20 or so balls; set them aside.
In a small bowl, mix the flour with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, the allspice, and cloves; set aside.  To concentrate its flavors, bring the beef stock to a boil in a small saucepan set over high heat.  Boil for about 5 minutes, or until reduced to 1 cup.  Set aside, covered, to keep warm.
Melt the butter in a large skillet or saute pan set over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and saute for about 4 minutes, or until browned, turning occasionally.  Use a fine-mesh sieve or strainer to sift the prepared flour and spice mixture over the meatballs.  Shake the skillet once or twice to mix any flour with the fat in the pan (stirring the mixture can break up the meatballs).  Continue cooking for 1 minute, shaking the pan frequently; then pour in the reduced stock.  Again, shake the pan a few times to combine the stock and the flour and to distribute the mixture evenly.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, basting the meatballs often with the sauce.  Stir in the sour cream, cover, and immediately remove the pan from the heat.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

The would be great with hot noodles, but I served mine with mashed gold yukon potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Milk Bread

I made yummy bread the other day and while bread may seem imposing, it's really very easy with the mixer and a little time.  I will say, the taste and smell of fresh baked bread is entirely worth the time and effort.  I made two loaves, one plain and one with a cinnamon swirl.  The recipe for both is below.

Milk Bread  (adapted from Joy of Cooking

3 tablespoons warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided

Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
Add the warm milk, melted butter, sugar, egg and salt.  (I melted the butter in a small saucepan, added the milk to warm, then tempered the egg with the warm milk to avoid having scrambled eggs in the bread.  I added the egg/butter/milk mixture to the bowl of the mixer, then added the sugar and salt.)
Mix by hand or on low speed for 1 minute.  Gradually stir in 2 cups of flour.  
Gradually add 1 1/2 to 2 more cups of flour until dough is moist but not sticky.  Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn it once to coat with oil.  Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap or a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place (75 to 85 degrees F) until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.  Roll the dough into an 8 x 18-inch rectangle, then roll tightly into a loaf.  (If you want to make the cinnamon swirl bread, brush the dough rectangle with 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter, then sprinkle with a mixture of 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, reserving 2 tablespoons of the mixture.  Then continue to roll tightly into a loaf.)
Brush the surface of the dough with oil, cover loosely with greased plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to  1 1/2 hours.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter or milk.  (For cinnamon bread, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar mixture on top).
Bake until the crust is deep golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sound hollow when tapped, 35 to 45 minutes.  Remove the loaf from the pan to a rack to let cool completely.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Goodies!

My mother made some great food for Memorial Day, and my father smoked some pork ribs. While I do not have the recipe for the ribs, I can share the sides. :)

Yellow Rice Casserole
This recipe is really great for a potluck, it's easy, pretty cheap and tasty.

1 package Mahatma yellow saffron rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can green chiles
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare yellow rice according to directions on package. Stir in next four ingredients. Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

And a bonus....

Fresh Mandarin and Avocado Salad

1 head butter lettuce, washed
1-2 avocados, peeled and sliced
1 can mandarin oranges
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Italian salad dressing, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Three Nut Pork

Thanks to Kelly, I have the recipe for Three Nut Pork, pork medallions breaded in a mixture that contains hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans. I would love to try the recipe on chicken sometime as well...

1-1½ pounds pork tenderloin

½ c pecans

½ c hazelnuts

½ c macadamia nuts

1 c bread crumbs

1 c crusted bran flakes

½ c flour

3 eggs, beaten

⅓ c olive oil

⅓ c butter



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bread crumbs, bran flakes, and nuts in food processor and pulse until they form a breading. Melt butter and oil in an oven-safe saute pan. Cut pork into slices, about ½-inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dust with flour and dip in eggs. Coat pork in nut mixture. Saute pork on both sides in oil and butter. Transfer to oven and bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

On a side note about chicken...using this breading on chicken tenders would make for a great addition to a salad with some tomatoes, red onions, avocado, maybe some hard boiled eggs and a little bacon...yum!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Southwestern Chicken Panini

We made this recipe as a girls' night treat and to try out the Cuisinart griller we received as a wedding gift. The chipotle mayonnaise really makes the sandwich and would be great as a dip for sweet potato fries on the side. :)

Southwestern Chicken Panini
(serves 2)

2 cups packed cilantro leaves and stems
4 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
juice of ½ lime
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile in adobo
½ teaspoon sugar
4 slices white or wheat sourdough bread
softened butter
2 ounces pepper Jack or Havarti cheese, thinly sliced
3 ounces rotisserie chicken, torn into large pieces

Pulse cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, lime juice, and salt for the pesto in a food processor until minced; scrape down sides of bowl. With machine running, drizzle in oil until paste forms.
Combine mayonnaise, chipotle, and sugar in a small bowl.
Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread; spread mayonnaise on the other sides of two slices and 1 tablespoon pesto on the other two slices. Top pesto with cheese, then the chicken; place the other two slices of bread on top, buttered sides up.
Toast sandwiches in a panini press until golden brown.

©2009 Epicuriosities | by TNB