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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Asparagus Pea and Turkey Bacon Frittata

Asparagus Pea and Turkey Bacon Frittata
6 Eggs and 2 egg whites
2 TBS whole milk
1 Cup peas
1 Cup asparagus
5 Strips of turkey bacon
1/4 Onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
1/3 Cup grated smoked mozzarella
Cooking spray

Oven-safe, non-stick skillet

We've been eating pizza all week (homemade of course!), so tonight I need something that's lighter on carbs. Frittatas are my new favorite go-to dinner. While my last frittata was a success, I made a few changes to the egg base to improve on texture. You can substitute any of the vegetables or meats, but I really like the combination of peas, bacon, and cheese. Yum!

For the veggies, bring some salted water to a boil. Preheat broiler. I throw in my asparagus pieces first and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. I add the peas about one minute before I take out the asparagus. Drain and rinse with ice cold water, so they stop cooking. Cook up the turkey bacon (regular bacon or pancetta would also work great with this dish). until nice and crispy. In the meantime whisk the eggs in a bowl with the milk. I found that adding the milk and egg whites makes the frittata fluffier. I've also seen recipes that add heavy cream. Remove bacon from pan and crumble when cool. Mix veggies and bacon into the eggs and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Spray oven-safe, non-stick pan with cooking spray, add garlic and onions and let cook until they just begin to brown. Add egg mixture to pan and grate the smoked mozzarella over the top as it cooks over medium heat. Once the edges are set, finish in the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned and firm.

We had these beautiful little tomatoes, so I quartered them and dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to serve with my frittata. So satisfying, no need for bread!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Roasted Herb Chicken with Sweet Potato-Arugula Salad

Roasted Herb Chicken
4 Pound whole chicken
1 Onion, quartered
1 Lemon, quartered
4 Clove of garlic, cut in half
1 bunch of oregano
1 bunch of Thyme
Salt and pepper
Chicken stock
Lemon juice
1 TSP flour to thicken gravy(optional)

Roasted Sweet Potato-Arugula Salad
3-4 Small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
1 TBS sage
1 TBS thyme
1 Shallot, sliced thin
Balsamic vinegar

Meat thermometer
Basting brush

I have always wanted to cook a whole chicken, but I have never worked up the courage to try. Martha Stewart and Ina Garten always make it seem so easy, so there's no reason why I couldn't do it! I did a lot of research, and examined several different recipes. Once I gathered some general conclusions about preparing the bird and cooking times, it was off to Bed Bath & Beyond for supplies and then Stew Leonard's for the perfect chicken. I also learned how much cheaper it is to buy a whole chicken. I got a 4-pounder for only $2.50! If we had only gotten a bigger bird, it would have fed us for the entire week. This is definitely a great budget-friendly meal for entertaining.

Remove giblets and excess fat. Rinse chicken inside and out, then pat dry. Place in roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, an onion quarter, a lemon quarter, and some sprigs of thyme and oregano. This part was a little gross at first, but you can't be afraid to get in there! Rub olive oil all over and season generously with salt and pepper. I could have used butter instead of oil, which would have given my bird a darker color. Tie the legs together with twine and tuck the wings underneath. Arrange the remaining aromatics around the chicken. Put in 400 degree oven for about an hour (basting with juices periodically), or until thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Peel and cut up the sweet potatoes. Toss with the olive oil and seasoning. Roast for 40-45 minutes or until caramelized and tender. Let cool.

When the chicken is done, let rest for 15 minutes. Take the drippings and heat in a saucepan with some chicken stock and lemon juice. Add garlic cloves and some sprigs of thyme and oregano. Bring to a boil, then take out garlic and herbs. If you want to thicken, whisk in a little bit of flour.

Wash arugula and toss in a bowl with sweet potatoes and sliced shallots. Drizzle balsamic over the top.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sesame-Peanut Noodle Salad

Sesame-Peanut Noodle Salad
1 Package soba noodles, or angel hair pasta
1 TBS peanut oil
2 TBS minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Shitake mushrooms, sliced thin
Cabbage, shredded
Carrots, shredded
3 TBS Asian hot sesame oil
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
2 TBS soy sauce
12 Green onions (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

This is a great cold Asian noodle salad for a hot night. You can serve as a side, or make it a meal with chopped cooked chicken or tofu. It also gets better the longer it sits in the fridge.

Cook the noodles according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, heat peanut oil in skillet. Saute ginger, garlic and mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. Add hot sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce in a large bowl. Add the sauteed mushrooms to the bowl. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Toss noodles in dressing with carrots, cabbage, green onions, and peanuts. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit in fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with lime wedges.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Herb-Crusted Chicken and Roasted Zucchini and Feta With Couscous

Baked Herb-Crusted Chicken
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
3 TBS chopped fresh oregano
3 TBS chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Roasted Zucchini With Feta
2 Zucchinis, cut into spears
2 TBS fresh mint
2 TBS fresh oregano sprigs
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Handful of feta

1 Box of prepared couscous

I'm always looking for new ways to prepare chicken, and I've been grilling a lot lately so I need to switch it up. This baked herb-crusted chicken recipe from Bon Appétit looked like a great and versatile option to add to my repertoire. I'm also taking inspiration from a roasted zucchini spears with feta and mint from a tapas restaurant I once had, which was delicious, for my side. I'll make some couscous to round out my dish.

Cut the zucchini into spears. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, mint and oregano. Roast in 450 degree oven until tender.

Pound chicken breasts until they are very thin, then season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. In a bowl mix olive oil, bread crumbs, garlic and chopped herbs. I'm using oregano and sage instead of parsley and basil, but you can use any mix of herbs. I'm also leaving out the butter from the original recipe and just adding a little extra olive oil. Place chicken in baking dish and top with the herb-breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.

Prepare couscous according to package directions. toss feta over zucchini spears. Serve along side chicken and couscous.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Calzone Night

White Calzone
Pizza dough
1 clove garlic
2-3 Fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
6-8 Oz ricotta cheese
1 Cup mozzarella, grated
Sauce for dipping

I make pizza at least once a week, but why haven't I tried to make a calzone? So why not try now, since I have delicious leftover fresh tomato sauce to dip with?

I roll out the pizza dough as usual. I cover one half with minced garlic, about half a container of ricotta cheese and a cup of shredded mozzarella. I top with some torn basil leaves then fold the other side of the dough over. Pop in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with fresh tomato sauce, or any bottled marinara or pizza sauce.

Spinach Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Pappardelle

Spinach Turkey Meatballs
1 Pound ground turkey
10 Oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 Eggs
5 Oz plain bread crumbs
1 Clove garlic
1/4 Onion
Salt and pepper

Fresh Tomato Sauce
1 35oz can of plum tomatoes
1/4 Cup of EVOO
4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
Salt & pepper to taste
3 basil leaves, washed, patted dry and chopped
1 Pound pappardelle pasta

My mom is the queen of meatballs. She has mastered almost every type, from Italian to Swedish (my personal favorite). As an heir to the meatball thrown, I must contribute my own variation. So here is my take on meatballs using ground turkey. As a young chef, living away from home, I would buy (GASP!) pre-made turkey meatballs as a healthier option. I'm also adding spinach to my turkey meatballs because I like the idea of packing your protein and veggies into one little package.

I start with the sauce, since you can let that simmer away while everything else cooks. Heat olive oil in sauce pot and add chunks of garlic. When garlic is brown, add plum tomatoes with the juices, crushing them with a wooden spoon. Add 1/3-1/2 cup of water to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Start boiling salted water for the pasta.

In the mean time, finally dice-up the onion and garlic. Add with bread crumbs, spinach, salt and pepper to bowl of ground turkey. Make sure you squeeze the spinach, so it's almost dry. Add the eggs and mix until combined. Brown in frying pan with cooking spray, then finish cooking in a 350 degree oven.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Top al dente pasta with sauce, meatballs and Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grilled Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms Over Greens

For The Salad
Bag mixed greens, washed
3 Thin sliced chicken breasts
3 Portobello mushroom caps
Parmesan cheese

Balsamic-Shallot Vinaigrette
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 Shallots, minced
3/4 Cup EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste

It's almost the end of the week, so that means it's time again to clean out the fridge. I have three huge portobello mushrooms caps, mixed greens and chicken that need to be consumed. Grilled chicken and portobellos will be great to beef-up a salad to make it a meal. I think I have grill-fever this summer! Though not quite as the same as the real deal, our grill pan is pretty awesome and I use it a lot!

I season the chicken breasts and 'shrooms with some salt, pepper, balsamic. Let marinate while the grill heats up. Grill until chicken is done, and portobellos are soft. In the meantime make the vinaigrette. Let chicken and mushrooms cool slightly, then slice and arrange on mixed greens. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad, and top with some Parmesan cheese.

While the grill is still hot, throw on a couple thick slices of bread drizzled with olive oil.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Panini With Smoked Mozzarella

Roasted Vegetable Panini With Smoked Mozzarella
1 Small eggplant
1 Red pepper
2 Portobello mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves
Smoked mozzarella slices
Crusty French or Italian bread

I had some left over vegetables from dinner the other night, so I'm making sandwiches and salad for this hot and humid evening. Our current cheese obsession is smoked mozzarella, which will be delicious with the roasted vegetables. If you don't have a panini press you can heat up on a frying pan or griddle and weigh down with a heavy pan.

Pre-heat oven to 425. Arrange vegetables on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes. Let cool.

Cut bread into 6-8 inch sections and slice length-wise. Place basil leaves and a couple slices of the cheese on one piece of bread, then pile on the vegetables. Press down the other piece of bread and place on the hot panini press. Heat until cheese melts.

For the salad, I tossed greens with salt, pepper and some balsamic vinegar. The extra vinegar is great for dipping the sandwich in!

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry
3 Garlic cloves
2 Chilies, seeded
1 Small onion, chopped
1 Inch piece fresh gingers, grated
1 TSP cumin
1 TSP coriander
1 TSP turmeric
1 TBS oil
7 Oz coconut cream
2 1/2 Cups boiling water
2 Lbs vegetables

Sunday night's dinner is going to be a two-part blog, since there are a lot of components! I finally bought myself an Indian cookbook (Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking), because I've been dying to learn how to re-create the dishes from my favorite cuisine. I decide to tackle the kebab, chutney and poori recipes from my book to start with, since they required the least number of ingredients. Luckily, I live near an Indian grocery, which has every possible spice and exotic ingredient you can imagine, so I'm able to find everything I need. I just need a veggie side to round out my meal. This vegetable curry dish actually comes from a Thai cookbook I have, but I am using the same spices, so the flavors will go well with my Indian kebabs.

I cut my vegetables into large chunks. I'm using cauliflower, red pepper, eggplant and green beans. You can really use any veggies you like, such as squash, potatoes, mushrooms, etc. Set aside while chopping the garlic, chilies and onion. Grate the ginger. I pulverize my onion mixture using my Slap-Chop, or you can blend with a food processor. Heat oil in pan. Add onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add spices and cook for 3 minutes more. In the meantime, mix coconut cream with boiling water until dissolved. I'm using light coconut milk and using a little less water. Add vegetables to pan and toss until coated with spice mixture. Add coconut milk and water and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes while I prepare the rest of my meal.

Chicken Kebabs with Green Chutney and Poori

Easy Chicken Kebabs
3-4 Chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
3 TBS plain yogurt
2 TBS chickpea flour (also called besan, found in most Indian markets)
1/2 TSP salt
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS ginger, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 TSP cumin
1/2 TSP turmeric
1/4 TSP cayenne
1/2 TSP garam masala (can be found in some grocery stores, or Indian markets)

Fresh Green Chutney
6 TBS plain yogurt
2 TBS chopped cilantro
2 TBS chopped mint
1 TBS Lemon juice
Salt to taste

2 Cups chipati flour (or 1 cup all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat mixture)
2 TBS oil
7-8 TBS milk or water
1/2 TSP salt

My veggie curry is simmering away, so now I can work on the other dishes.

Instead of rice, I want to serve a bread with my meal. I could have easily purchased any of the pre-made naan breads they have at the Indian grocery, but the poori (fried puffed bread) recipe looks simple enough. Mix flour in a bowl with salt (I used the mixture of white and wheat flour). Drizzle in the oil and mix with your fingers. Slowly add the water or milk until the dough begins to form. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Roll into a ball and keep covered until ready. These should be made right before serving.

For the chutney, roughly chop the mint and cilantro. Mix in with the yogurt and lemon in a small bowl. Season with salt. Refrigerate.

Pre-heat the broiler for the chicken. In bowl mix together the yogurt, flour, lemon juice, salt, ginger, garlic, and spices. Mix well, then toss in the chicken chunks. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Thread the chicken onto skewers and arrange on broiler pan. Broil for 5 minutes or more, until the chicken is opaque and lightly browned. The recipe says to baste the chicken with oil or clarified butter, which I'm sure makes the chicken even more sumptuous, but since I'm serving with fried bread I'm going to spare us from the extra fat.

Heat up the oil for the poori. Divide into 12 balls of dough and roll out into 5 inch diameter circles. Gently place in hot oil, and push down sides with the back of a slotted spoon. These should puff up in seconds. Flip over and cook for a few seconds more. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with kebabs, chutney and curry.

Now, my poori didn't puff up like it was supposed to either because a.) I should have used the chipati flour, b.) I didn't knead the dough for 10 minutes or c.) I didn't use enough oil because I ran out. They were still delicious, but just tasted more like paratha bread. I think this may require more practice!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moroccan Night

1 Can chickpeas, drained
1/4 Cup chopped onion
3 TBS all purpose flour plus more for dredging
2 1/2 TSP garlic-pepper spice blend
1 TSP ground cumin
1 TSP baking powder
1/2 TSP salt
2 TBS (packed) chopped fresh Italian parsley
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Moroccan Lentil Salad
1/2 cup dry lentils
1 1/2 cups water
1 tomato, chopped
1 minced hot green chili peppers
1 cucumber
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 TSP cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

I worked from home today, so I have some extra cooking time on hand tonight too try something a little more ambitious. I wanted to try this recipe from Bon Appétit for falafel. I have some tomatoes and cucumbers from my parent's garden, so I'm going to serve a Moroccan-style salad with lentils.

For the salad, cook the lentils according to the package directions. Dice-up onion, chilis, cucumber, parsley and tomato. Mix in a large bowl with lentils then add cumin, salt, pepper, EVOO and lemon juice. Let chill in fridge.

For the falafel, combine all ingredients (except oil) in a blender or food processor. Pulse until just combined. A food processor is best for getting a breadcrumb-like texture, so the falafel patties are less heavy, but a blender is fine. Roll a tablespoon of the mixture into balls and lightly roll in flour. Flatten slightly. Heat a 1/2 inch of oil in a deep pan or pot. Fry in batches, until golden brown. While hot, squeeze fresh lemon over the falafel. Drain on paper towels.

Plate falafel patties with the lentil salad and serve with flat bread, hot sauce and lemon wedges. Silverware optional.

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The Hungry Yuppies, Annie and Rich, are a young couple from CT who are self-proclaimed foodies. Annie is the chef, and Rich is her willing taste tester. Juggling a full time job in the city wasn't going to get in the way of Annie's love for cooking. It's about eating well whether you have just 30 minutes on a Monday night, or all day on a rainy Sunday.