Friday, July 26, 2013

Chipotle Corn Chowder

We were big fans of this soup!  I loved the chipotle kick.

6 ears corn
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as yukon gold, cut into small cubes
2 ribs celery from the heart with leafy tops, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream 
Lime wedges, chopped flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped scallions and crumbles cotija cheese or queso fresco, for garnish (I used cheddar cheese)

Preheat a grill or broiler. Grill or broil the ears of corn until charred, 7 to 8 minutes (cover the grill to give the corn a smoky flavor). Scrape the kernels from the cob.

While the corn is charring, in a soup pot, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Add the onion, potatoes, celery and garlic to the pot. Add the bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper, cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Using a food processor, puree the chipotle chiles. Stir into the vegetables, then stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and keep warm. Rinse the food processor bowl.

Add one-third of the corn kernels to the food processor, pour in 2 cups of the soup and puree. Pour the mixture into the remaining soup and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the remaining corn kernels, the cream and reserved bacon and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve the chowder in bowls with the lime wedges, parsley, scallions and lots of cheese.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chicken Spaghetti

This was probably my favorite meal from the week.  I couldn't find any spaghetti squash, which is what the original recipe calls for, so I made some changes that I'll include below and served everything tossed with linguine.  I'd like to try it again some day using squash.

1 lb. linguine, cooked per instructions on package
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
1 broccoli crown, chopped
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
grated parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
salt/pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to directions on package.
While pasta is cooking, in a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Saute one minute.  Then add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute 5 minutes.  Add peas, chicken, and remaining 3/4 cup chicken broth. Shake about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into mixture (just enough to thicken the chicken broth).  Reduce heat to medium-ow. Cover skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add cooked noodles and toss gently with chicken mixture.  Serve with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

I completely agree with Jessie - this is a perfect salad for a summer picnic.  

1 (12 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
10 slices bacon
1 cup mayonnaise (I used 2/3 cup)
3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
1 large tomato, chopped
1 (4.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in rotini pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain and chop.  (I chopped my bacon first and then fried it, that way it all can cook in one pan at the same time)

In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and garlic pepper. Whisk in milk until smooth. Place pasta, bacon, tomato, black olives and cheese in large bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mango Blueberry Quinoa Salad

I loved this salad!  Very light, summery, and refreshing.  I served it with a baguette and some brie.   

For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes (I used frozen chunks, chopped them into bites, and they'd thawed by the time we were ready to eat)
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

Place the quinoa and water in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer covered for about 15 minutes or till the quinoa is cooked. Remove the lid, and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.

While the quinoa is cooking, combine the fruits in a bowl and refrigerate till you are ready to serve the salad.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients, except the chopped basil. Refrigerate till you are ready to serve. Chop and add the basil to the dressing just before serving. 

Add half the dressing to the quinoa and mix gently.

Assemble the salad just before serving – toss the quinoa, fruits and cucumbers together. Serve other half of the dressing on the side. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Thai Turkey Burgers with Broccoli Slaw

Jessie and I did another week-long menu swap - so fun!  Trying the recipes she sent was even more fun than picking out the ones to send her.  This week, each post will be one of the recipes she sent for me to make.

I started with these burgers  which I was really excited about.  In the end, we didn't get to eat the burgers with the slaw, but topped them with some chard that I spiced up and sautéed.  It worked even though I was disappointed that I could not find any slaw or even raw cabbage.  But the flavor of the burgers was fantastic and everyone enjoyed them.

Served with Sesame-Ginger Asparagus - delicious!

1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1 egg
1 lb of ground turkey or chicken
1 carrot, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp chili paste (I used sweet chili sauce)
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2 scallions, finely diced
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp of lime zest
1 tsp curry powder 
Salt and pepper

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Form ground turkey mixture into patties.  

Grill - flipping once - for about 8 to 12 minutes, checking to make sure they are properly done before serving.  Serve with broccoli slaw as a side or on top with toasted buns.

Broccoli slaw
1 bag broccoli slaw fixins
1/4 cup mayo
juice of 1 lime
bunch of cilantro
1 tbsp chili paste
1 teas of sesame oil
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes so that the flavors mingle before serving.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Greek Dressing & Marinade

We've been enjoying some warmer weather this month, so I'm trying to keep the oven off and outdoor eating on!  This dressing/marinade is versatile and so delicious.  I used half the batch for marinating chicken skewers that we grilled.  The rest was drizzled over raw vegetables, cooked veggies, salad, pasta, and whatever else I thought might remotely work.

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. white vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (this will not make the dressing spicy, just flavorful)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 c. canola oil (or other salad oil)
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. dry oregano
In the jar of a blender, combine all the ingredients through the garlic. Blend until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil in a steady stream. Turn off the blender and add the feta and pulse the blender a few times (more if you want a creamier consistency). Whisk in the herbs. If possible, refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Use as a marinade for chicken, lamb, or flank steak or drizzle over a Greek salad.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jap Chae

My husband and I used to live near some dear friends who are Korean.  The wife, Suki, was a fantastic cook and delighted in sharing some of her cooking tips and recipes with me as I studied her every move in the kitchen.  I'd never had Korean food before meeting her and I was happy to make up for lost time at her dining table!  

Fast-forward six years and I'm walking through an Asian grocery store when I spotted a package of sweet potato noodles.  I almost bought out the entire shelf!  Seeing the package immediately sent a flood of tasty memories from a delicious dish Suki made that I'd forgotten about.  I brought the package home and started searching recipes to find something that would help me attempt at recreating what she made so well.  My creation certainly was not as good as Suki's noodles, but it was tasty and easy to put together.  Plus, since my family liked it, I now have an excuse to go back to the Asian market for  more noodles.  There are plenty of different ways to throw it together.  This is the recipe I used. 

1/2 pound dried sweet potato noodles
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon cooking oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 stalks green onions, cut into 1″ lengths
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced (shitake, wood ear)*
1/2 lb spinach, washed well and drained
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Fill a large pot with water and boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes.  (Mine took longer - almost 10 minutes) Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again and toss with only 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Use kitchen shears to cut noodles into shorter pieces.  Set aside.
In bowl, mix soy sauce & sugar together. Add the cooking oil in a wok or large saute pan on high heat and swirl to coat. When the cooking oil is hot but not smoking, fry onions and carrots, until just softened, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions and mushrooms, fry 30 seconds. Then add the spinach, soy sauce, sugar and the noodles. Fry 2-3 minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off heat, toss with sesame seeds and the remaining 1 1/2 tsp of sesame oil.
*rehydrate your mushrooms if you are using dried

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Barley and Feta Salad

I threw this together and served it next to tilapia fillets.  I'm a big fan of barley, so I enjoyed the variety of chewy and crunchy textures mixed with simple spices.  I think this would also make a nice lunch with a loaf of crusty bread and would probably taste even better as a picnic food in the sun!

1 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. chicken bouillon flavoring (optional)
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips (use red, orange, or yellow for additional color)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pan, combine barley, water, and chicken flavoring.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes until barley has absorbed all the water.  The barley should be tender.  Set aside.

Heat oil in frying pan.  Add garlic and broccoli and cook over medium heat until broccoli is tender-crisp.  Add pepper and onion.  Toss until everything is combined then remove pan from heat.

In a large bowl, combine barley and broccoli mixture.  Stir to combine.  Add feta and lightly toss.  Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, and add cumin with a final stir to mix everything gently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more olive oil if it seems too dry.  Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chai-Spiced Coffee Cake

The spice combination for the topping on this cake was just right to get that chai flavor, but without overdoing it.  The cake was incredibly moist.  I filled my pan with half the batter then sprinkled a layer of topping before pouring the rest of the batter in.  I would have increased the amount of filling in the middle.  Maybe even half of all you have.  The topping got very crumbly and a lot was lost in between bites. 

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, full or low fat

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil.

Make the Topping: 
In a medium bowl, combine all topping ingredients except butter. Whisk to blend.
Gradually stir in the melted butter, using a large fork or spatula to mix. When all the butter has been incorporated and the mixture looks like wet sand, squeeze small clumps together to make large crumbs ranging in size from that of a pea to that of a grape. Set aside.

Make the Cake: 
In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. With the mixer set on a low speed (or by hand), alternately add in flour and sour cream in two or three additions. When no streaks of flour remain, pour into prepared pan. (put a layer of the topping mixture in between half the batter if you want)  Top evenly with crumb mixture.
Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Serves 9-12

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