Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Linguine Carbonara

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound linguine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. In a small stainless-steel frying pan, heat the oil and butter over moderate heat. Add the bacon and cook until brown but not crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, wine, and pepper. Simmer until the wine is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, and salt.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, add it to the egg-and-cheese mixture, and toss quickly. Pour the bacon mixture over the linguine. Add the parsley and toss just until mixed. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan.

Yield: 4 servings

Penne with Vodka Sauce and Capicola

12 ounces whole-wheat penne
2 ounces capicola or pancetta, finely diced (see Tip)
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup vodka
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until just tender, 12 minutes or according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, cook capicola (or pancetta) in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel.
3. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat; add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 1 minute. Increase heat to high; add vodka and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, half-and-half, Worcestershire sauce and crushed red pepper to taste; reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.
4. Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the capicola (or pancetta), basil and pepper.

Mushroom, Sausage and Spinach Lasagna

8 ounces lasagna noodles
1 pound lean spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup water
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably chunky
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
2. Cook noodles in the boiling water until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain; return the noodles to the pot, cover with cool water and set aside.
3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and water; cook, stirring occasionally and crumbling the sausage more, until the sausage is cooked through, the water has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Squeeze spinach to remove excess water, then stir into the pan; remove from heat.
4. Mix tomatoes with basil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
5. To assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup of the tomatoes in the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, trimming to fit if necessary. Evenly dollop half the ricotta over the noodles. Top with half the sausage mixture, one-third of the remaining tomatoes and one-third of the mozzarella. Continue with another layer of noodles, the remaining ricotta, the remaining sausage, half the remaining tomatoes and half the remaining mozzarella. Top with a third layer of noodles and the remaining tomatoes.
6. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake until bubbling and heated through, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on the lasagna. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is just melted but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 10 servings

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Chicken Burritos with Black Bean Salsa

1 2/3 cups drained and rinsed black beans (from one 15 ounce can)
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 pound pepper Jack cheese, grated
4 large (9-inch) flour tortillas

Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a small glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the beans, scallions, lemon juice, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.

Rub the chicken breasts with the chili powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook the chicken over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook until brown and just done, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove, let the chicken rest for a few minutes, and then slice.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put one quarter of the cheese in a line near one edge of each tortilla. Top the cheese with one quarter of the black-bean salsa and then with one quarter of the chicken slices. Roll up the burritos and wrap each one in foil. Bake them until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes.

Banana Bran Muffins

2 large eggs
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium)
1 cup buttermilk (see Ingredient notes)
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran (see Ingredient notes)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in bananas, buttermilk, wheat bran, oil and vanilla.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, if using. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full). Sprinkle with walnuts, if using.

Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Overnight Coleslaw with Mustard Seed Recipe

1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced thin
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 medium white onion, diced

For the Dressing:
1 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large, nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots and onion.

In a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, mix the vinegar, oil, honey, lemon juice, mustard seeds, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Take the dressing off the heat; immediately pour it over the vegetables. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (overnight is best) before serving.

Black Bean Cakes with Salsa Roja and Cilantro Yogurt Recipe


For Black Bean Cake:
2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno chile
Cornstarch, as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

For Cilantro Yogurt:
1 cup yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup Salsa Roja (recipe below)

FOR BLACK BEAN CAKE: Pulse black beans, onion, cumin, and jalapeno in food processor until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon water to help blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Form bean paste into small cakes using 2 tablespoons of bean mixture for each, a one ounce ice cream scoop ensures uniformity. Line baking sheet with plastic wrap; dust with cornstarch. Heat small amount of oil in large nonstick skillet. Add black bean cakes and cook until crisp and brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and keep warm.

FOR CILANTRO YOGURT: Mix yogurt, cilantro and cumin in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

TO SERVE: Top black bean cakes with yogurt and Salsa Roja.

Salsa Roja Recipe
3 cups water
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 garlic clove, flattened
1/2 jalapeno chile
1/2 teaspoon chiles de arbol

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine 3 cups water, tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno and chile de arbol in 1-quart saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Puree in food processor. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer salsa to bowl. Mix in chopped cilantro. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve.
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Weber 2820 Smokey Mountain Cooker/Smoker

I guess that while I'm recommending things, let me give a shout out for our new
Weber 2820 Smokey Mountain Cooker/Smoker

I didn't think I would like smoked foods as much as I do, but OMG I love them. Mostly, though, I love the smell in the yard when we've got something outback smoking. It's like the best smell you've ever smelled when those hickory or mesquite chips are going full blast back there. MMmmmmmmm!

Click here to get one of your own at Amazon.
Weber 2820 Smokey Mountain Cooker/Smoker

Calphalon 9 Piece Cookwear Set

Calphalon did away with their "hard anodized" set and replaced them with a newer set, so these are on sale (like 70% off)! You will never ever ever find a better deal in cookware.

I got this set for what I consider a steal. The price has been fluctuating a bit, and if you hit it at the right time you can get them for an outstanding price. Just like all the other hard anodized cookware I have bought from amazon, I LOVE these pans! I have now converted nearly all of my cookware to this line, and highly reccommend it to anyone who wants to become a better cook. If you read other reviews, people complain about sticking. YES, food does adhere to the pans while cooking, but when it is done, the food releases from the surface. If you burn the food, do like Emeril says, and use the knobs on your stove. It does take some time and patience to rid yourself of the habits of teflon pans, but the food is so much tastier - I have never made better gravy in my life than since I switched cookware. This is a great starter set, and has most of the pans that you'll need. I would say that the average cook could get around 75% of their cooking done with this set. Have some patience, and I am sure you'll be pleased with the results.

Click here to get it at Amazon, seriously, you will never get a better deal in cookware. Calphalon Set

* Set includes 2-1/2-quart covered shallow saucepan; 8-, 10-, and 12-inch open skillets; 3- and 7-quart covered chef's casseroles
* Heavy-gauge, hard-anodized aluminum construction provides fast, even heating
* Riveted stainless-steel handles stay comfortably cool for stovetop cooking
* Casserole lids are domed to return moisture to pot; oven-safe
* Wash by hand recommended; metal utensil and broiler safe; lifetime warranty