Sunday, June 28, 2009

Death by Garlic

No new recipes posted this week - I've been busy experimenting in the kitchen - nothing worthwhile to post. But I do have a story to tell.

My husband grows garlic (among other things) and has been wondering how to use the enormous crop he just dug up. He likes to make a recipe for Garlic Cream that we found many years ago in The Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka. You cook garlic (a lot) in heavy cream and chicken broth, season it with salt and pepper, and puree it into this fantastically rich, thick, garlicky cream. It's great for making pasta Alfredo (just add Parmesan cheese), or added to mashed potatoes. It is literally death by garlic.

So this morning Mr. P. decided to make a big batch of garlic cream. I heard him rustling around out in the kitchen and smelled the garlic wafting down the hallway. I heard the blender buzzing and then, "Oh, f**k!"

I thought, "I bet he blew the top off the blender," and went to investigate. Sure enough, he hadn't properly secured the blender top (it's tricky, I'll admit) and there was hot garlic cream EVERYWHERE. Waring sure put a good motor in that blender, because I found bits of garlic and spatters of cream eight feet away. It was on Mr. Parker (head to toe), the kitchen window, the cabinets, the floor, the counter, the wall, the sink (probably the ceiling too, I'd better go check). Georgie (our French bulldog) trotted out to help by licking the floor. Not confident of Mr. P.'s cleaning ability (or patience, at that point), I volunteered to take over the cleanup. He changed his clothes, put the garlicky ones in the washing machine, and announced that he was going to the store for a 6-pack.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

1-1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tbl olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400F. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray.

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat.

Spread the potatoes in the baking pan in a single layer. Bake for 15 min., turn and bake another 15 min. or until tender.

4 servings

Pork Chops with Sherry Mushroom Sauce

1 lb. pork chops, about 1" thick
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 c. dry sherry
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 c. chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c. light sour cream
olive oil cooking spray

Sprinkle the chops with half the pepper, rosemary, and salt, and rub the seasonings into the meat. Turn over and repeat. Set aside.

Combine 1 tbl of the chicken broth and all the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk in the rest of the broth and the sour cream. Set aside.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, brown the chops about 3 min. on each side. Spray the chops with cooking spray, turn and cook for another 4-5 min. or until cooked through. Remove chops to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add half the sherry to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sherry is reduced by half. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 3 min. or until softened. Add the rest of the sherry and continue to cook until the sherry is again reduced by half.

Reduce the heat to medium. Pour any juices that have accumulated on the plate with the pork into the skillet. Add the sour cream mixture and stir to mix well. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened.

Serve the chops drizzled with the sauce.

4 servings

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mushrooms with Herbs & Lemon

1 tbl olive oil
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (a mix of wild mushrooms is especially good)
2 tsp chopped fresh herbs (thyme, tarragon, parsley, chives, or a mixture)
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, adding a sprinkle of water if they start to stick to the skillet. Add the herbs, onion salt, pepper and lemon rind and stir well.

4 servings

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Italian Sausage with Olive Marinara Sauce

1 lb turkey Italian sausages, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 tbl olive oil
1 26-oz jar marinara sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 oz kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, slivered
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned and cooked through, about 30 min., stirring occasionally. Add the marinara sauce, black & red pepper and simmer uncovered 10 min. Add the olives and basil, heat 1-2 min.

If desired, serve with hot cooked pasta, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

6 servings

Pink & Green Shrimp Salad

1 lb. cooked shrimp, peeled
3 plum tomatoes, seeded & diced
2 tbl lime juice
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, & diced
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup diced honeydew melon
1/2 cup cilantro mayonnaise (see below)

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

4 servings

Cilantro Mayonnaise
1/4 c. light mayonnaise
1/4 c. light sour cream
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
dash salt
dash pepper

Honey Ginger Chicken

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbl minced garlic
1 tbl minced ginger
1 tbl chopped fresh cilantro
3 lbs chicken, cut up
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, then pour into a zip-loc plastic bag. Place the chicken pieces in the bag, seal it, and squish the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Turn the bag over every 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the dish skin-side down and pour 1 cup of the marinade over it. Bake 20 minutes, turn the chicken over, bake 20-25 minutes more, or until juices run clear. Remove chicken pieces to a serving plate and pour the cooking juices into a saucepan. Heat the juices over medium high heat, add cornstarch mixture, cook and stir until sauce is thickened.

Serve the chicken with the sauce on the side.

4-6 servings

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chinese Red-Cooked Meat

You can do this with cut up chicken, pork ribs, or beef ribs.

2 lbs meat
1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice powder (found in the herbs/seasonings section at the supermarket)
3/4 c. chopped scallions, divided
1 tbl chopped fresh ginger
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese wine or dry sherry
1 tbl rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 4 teaspoons water

Spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat it over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, remove from the pan, and discard the fat that cooked out of the meat.

Lower the heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 c. of the scallions, the ginger, broth, water, soy sauce, wine, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and simmer for 20 min. Return the meat to the pan, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until the meat is tender (about 45 min. for chicken - the cooking time for ribs will depend on how meaty they are).

Transfer the meat to a serving platter. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick and shiny, about 5 min.

Sprinkle the meat with the rest of the scallions and serve with the sauce alongside.

4 servings

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Italian Sausage & Bean Stew

2 zucchini, trimmed and diced
1 small onion, chopped
6 oz. Italian sausages (sweet or hot), cooked, drained & diced
1 15-1/2 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 14-1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 tbl chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onion and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 5 min. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3-5 min.

4 servings

Avocado & Fruit Salad

1 ripe tomato, diced
1 ripe avocado (not too soft), peeled, pitted, and diced
1/4 c. lime juice
1 cup diced cantaloupe or papaya
1 cup diced pineapple (canned is fine - drain it first)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime-garlic vinaigrette (see below)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup light sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tbl grated orange zest.

Toss the tomato, avocado, cantaloupe, pineapple, lime juice and orange juice in a bowl.

Mix the sour cream with the orange zest.

Make the vinaigrette.

Just before serving, toss the salad with the vinaigrette and mint.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

4 servings

Lime Garlic Vinaigrette
2 tbl red wine vinegar
2 tbl lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbl olive oil
1 tbl chopped fresh basil

Combine vinegar, lime juice, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the basil just before serving. Makes about 1/2 cup

Caulfilower, Broccoli & Bacon Salad

4 cups fresh cauliflower florets, cooked until tender-crisp
4 cups fresh broccoli florets, cooked until tender-crisp
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 tbl olive oil
1-1/2 tbl sherry vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1 tsp grated orange zest

Toss ingredients in a large bowl.

4 servings

Grilled Eggplant Salad

2 large eggplants (about 3 lbs total), peeled and sliced 3/8" thick
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbl olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbl chopped fresh mint
3 tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Spray eggplant slices with olive oil cooking spray and grill or broil until brown on one side, 5-7 min. Turn over and grill or broil another 5-7 min. or until tender. Transfer the eggplant to a cutting board and chop.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggplant with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 2 hrs. Bring to room temperature before serving.

4-6 servings

Black Bean Cakes

1 cup cooked black beans (canned is fine - rinsed & drained)
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, chopped
hot pepper sauce to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. skim milk
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tbl canola oil
prepared tomato salsa
plain fat-free yogurt or light sour cream

Combine the beans, pepper, scallions, pepper sauce & cilantro in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder, cumin and salt. Add the eggs and oil to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Add the bean mixture and stir until well combined.

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Spoon the batter into the skillet by 1/4 cupfuls. Cook until the tops of the cakes are covered with bubbles and the edges look dry, 2-3 min. Turn and cook until lightly browned, about 1-1/2 min. more. Transfer to a warm plate, keep warm while you cook the rest of the cakes.

Serve with salsa and yogurt or sour cream.

6 servings

Roasted Zucchini with Herbs

2 lbs zucchini (4 medium squash), trimmed, cut in 1" chunks
2 tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs of your choice (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary or an Italian blend)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 500F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Toss the zucchini, oil, herbs, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Spread out on the baking sheets ina single layer.

Roast for 5-7 minutes, stir and flip the zucchini, and roast for another 5-7 min. until the zucchini is browned.

4 servings

Sweet Potato Pancakes

2 sweet potatoes (8 oz each), baked
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup 1 egg, separated
4 tsp maple syrup (sugar-free is OK)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Peel the skin off the potatoes. Mash the flesh in a medium bowl. Add the milk, egg yolk, syrup, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir the flour and baking powder together, then stir into the potato mixture until well blended.

In another bowl, beat the egg white with an electric beater until soft peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold the egg white into the potato mixture until just blended (don't overmix it).

Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Drop the batter into the skillet by rounded tablespoonfuls, flattening slightly to form six 2" patties. Cook until golden and set, about 1-1/2 min. per side. Transfer to a warm plate and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture to make 24 pancakes.

Serve with additional maple syrup if desired.

4 servings

Chicken with Prunes

10 prunes (dried plums)
1 cup red wine (can substitute chicken broth)
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 3-1/2 to 4 lb chicken, cut up
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14-oz can chicken broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Put the prunes in a small bowl with 1/2 cup of the wine and the orange zest. Set aside.

Spray a Dutch oven with cooking spray. Add the chicken pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until browned on all sides (4-5 min/side). Remove the chicken and drain off most of the fat. Put the Dutch oven back on the stove and saute the onion until softened, 4-5 min. Add 1/2 cup wine and the juice and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Boil 2 min. Add the prunes with the wine and zest they were soaking in, the chicken broth, and the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the thyme.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer with the lid slightly ajar for 45-60 min. or until the chicken juices run clear.

To serve, remove the chicken pieces and prunes to a serving dish. You can discard the cooking liquid, or make sauce with it.

4-6 servings

1 tbl cornstarch
1 tbl cold water

Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and add the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened.

Catfish Cakes

1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 lb catfish fillets, cooked, flaked
2 tbl light mayonnaise
1/4 cup eggbeaters or 1 egg, beaten
1 tbl chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
dash hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. cracker crumbs (Ritz or Saltines)
3 tbl butter, margarine, or canola oil

Saute onions and celery in the oil until tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Mix the veggies with all the other ingredients EXCEPT the cracker crumbs. Form into patties and dredge the patties in the cracker crumbs.

Brown the catfish cakes in the butter in a skillet.

4 servings