Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chicken Soup with Tortellini and Spinach - Adapted from Gourmet

This is a nice easy soup for a winter evening.  Start by dicing 1C cooked chicken.  Saute 4oz. sliced mush-rooms and 3 cloves of chopped garlic in 3T olive oil in a soup pan.  Add 3 14 oz. cans of chicken stock and heat to boiling.  Add a package of frozen tortellini (cheese, mushroom, veggie all work) and cook in the stock mixture according to package directions.  Add the chicken to heat through.  For the last minute or two, add 8oz. chopped spinach (other greens would work, swiss chard, rapenni, etc).  Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and serve with a crusty bread.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Instead of posting specific meals, we decided to post 3 new dishes over the holidays.  They could easily be mixed and matched as you wish.  

The first was a Greek Octopus Salad or Appetizer that Karen is familiar with from her trips to Greece- Adapted from Gourmet.  We chose to pressure cook the octopus rather tan boiling it for 2 hrs as the recipe says...15 min in the pressure cooker.  You can see the octopus after cooking.  The skin sloughs off very easily and the tenticles can be cut into bite-sized pieces.  The dressing is made by mixing 1C olive oil, 1C white wine vinegar, 1 large onion, diced, 1T Greek Oregano, 1t freshly ground black pepper, 2t rosemary, and 1/2C lemon juice.  The octopus is placed in the dressing for at least 24 hrs. before serving.

The second dish was lamb tenderloin.  We saw this cut at the West Side Market in Cleveland and have not seen it elsewhere.  The lamb was browned in an oven-proof pan and finished for a scant 5 min in a 400 degree oven so as not to overcook the lamb, medium rare.  Remove the meat and add to the same pan 1/2C chicken stock, 2T dijon mustard, 1T rosemary, salt and pepper to taste.  Reduce the liquid to half and serve the pan sauce with the lamb.  We served it with butternut squash ravoli drizzled with olive oil and grated Asiago cheese.

The third dish was Argula, Bacon and Gruy`ere Cheese Bread Pudding - Adapted from Gourmet.  Start by cooking 6 bacon slices and removing to drain.  Pour off all but 1T or the fat and saute 1 large finely chopped scallot and 3 chopped garlic cloves.  When they are golden, stirl in 8 oz. of arugula and cook until wilted. Make a custard mix by mixing 1 1/2C milk, 1/2C heavy cream and 5 eggs in a bowl.  Add the bacon, arugula and 6oz. grated Gruy`ere cheese to the egg mixture.  Also add a cubed 1 lb. load of rustic white bread to the mixture.  Pour into a baking dish and cook in a 375 degree oven for 30 min.  This is a wonderful dish that could be served alone as a breakfast strada, we think.
We served the bread pudding with chicken breasts that were browned and removed from the pan.  One cup of chicken stock was added along with 8oz sliced mushrooms and 2/3C dry white wine.  The chicken was returned to the pan, covered and simmered for about 20 min.  The sauce was served over the chicken.

We show the cooked octopus, the salad, the lamb and the bread pudding.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pasta with Sausage and Rapini - Adapted from Tyler Florance

Start by preparing some Italian sausage.  If you are using bulk sausage, form it into small meatballs.  If you are using links like we did, slice them into bitesize pieces.  Brown the sausage in 3T olive oil and then remove and drain.  In the same pan saute a clove of mince garlic, 1/2t cayenne pepper, and 1T dried thyme.  When the garlic is golden add 1C clam juice and simmer while you prepare the pasta and rapini.  In a large pot of water cook the pasta according to package directions.  Near the end of the cooking, add a large bunch of rapini (if you don't care for the bitter edge to the rapini you could substitute another green such as kale or collard greens) that has been cut roughly and with the stems removed.  Add the rapini to the pasta and water and boil until just tender.  Drain the pasta/rapini and return to the pan along with the sausage and a can of chopped clams.  Just before serving, drizzle on some olive oil and finish with 1/4C grated parmesan cheese.  We served the dish with sliced tomatoes, crusty bread and a dry Spanish Rose`.   


Monday, December 08, 2008

Crab and Asparagus Quiche - Adapted from Julia Child

We think a quiche is a nice light dinner, brunch, first course or even break-fast...very versatile with the addition of your favorite filler such as bacon, cheese, or, in this case, crab meat and asparagus.  Start by pre-baking a pie crust according to the directions.  While it is baking, beat 3 eggs and 1C heavy cream in a bowl.  Saute 3T diced onion, 1C diced asparagus, and 1C cooked crab meat in 2T butter.  When the onion is soft but not browned, add the mixture to the eggs and cream.  Pour into the pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 min; until the eggs are firm and the top nicely browned.  Allow the quiche to rest for 10 min. before slicing.  We served it with a green salad and crusty bread along with an appropriate beverage.