May 18, 2014

Clams and Steak

Ok... it's a random Wednesday night... nothing to do.. but COOK!  T and I had a long week (and we were only halfway through) but J&J planned a fabulous meal for us... all without recipes and homemade.. so you can totally do this at home!

Appetizer - Clams Whatever

We are not sure of the name of this - maybe clams casino?  Regardless - you throw some full uncooked clams on the grill.  They will start to open in about 5 minutes.. toss the top shell.  Then add some BBQ sauce and a few pieces of already cooked bacon and let steep for a minute.  Serve.  Delicious.  Amazing!  Perfect party meal right here!

Entree - NY Strip with Gorgonzola Sauce

There are a few things to discuss here.  First - steak.  Cook on grill to your desired done-ness.  Secondly - sauce.  This will take approx. 30 minutes.  Heat up some heavy cream, add a solid handful of blue cheese/Gorgonzola and let cook until thick and creamy.  Lovely topping (think Bearnaise on crack,)  Lastly, let's talk hash.  Chopped onions, bacon, garlic, shaved Brussels and kale, and Japanese sweet potato (see other blog for details) and you have an amazing hash that can go with any meal or even breakfast!

Dessert - Chocolate Souffle

Google any chocolate souffle and you are good to go!  

April 5, 2014

Weeknight Cioppino

Okay, on our primary blog we have definitely made a cioppino.  (In fact, I believe it was one of our first posts.)  However, I wanted to shout out another cioppino recipe that's a little less time-intensive and a fantastic weeknight "impress your last minute guests" type meal.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly and it came out stupendous!  (Also, this easily serves 6-8 unless you're feeding a group of football players or something.)  For the fish stock, I used water and that "Better than Bouillon" lobster base.  I used 1 red onion and 1 fennel bulb and followed the instructions.  I did let it simmer on the stove for no more than the 30 minutes while I tidied up the kitchen and set the table.  I only used mussels, clams, and shrimp but that was plenty!  Cooking instructions for the fish were spot-on and the meal was a huge success!  And they were TONS of leftovers, so I saved the sauce/broth/whatever you want to call it and put it over gnocchi the next day!

March 26, 2014

Orecchiette with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and White Beans

Good Evening!

I snapped a pic of today's dinner (a regular dish on our household's rotation) and wanted to post with instructions for everyone to follow!

First off, broccoli rabe (aka rapini) is a bitter green but delicious when cooked properly.  (Normally, it's approx. 2.99/lb but during holidays, is usually 99 cents/lb.)  As a side dish, it is normally sauteed in EVOO with garlic and pepper flakes.  In this dish, it is mixed with homemade sausage and pasta!  Let's get started.

(Serves 4)

Step One - Start a large pot of water to boil.  In the meantime, crumble your Italian sausage and start to cook.  (I prefer sweet sausage, but that's a personal preference.  Tonight's dinner was made with T's father's homemade sweet sausage.)

Step Two - While the sausage is cooking, add the chopped broccoli rabe (bite size pieces) to the boiling water and cook for approximately 5 minutes until bright green.  (1 head of broccoli rabe will feed 4.)  Remove from the water with a spoon and drain.  Leave the water boiling and add your orecchiette.

Step Three - Add about 3-4 cloves of minced garlic to the sausage and continue to sautee until golden.  Add the drained broccoli rabe and a can of drained and rinsed white beans.  (Any type bean will do.... I used cannellini.)

Step Four - Finish pasta until al dente.  Reserve approx. 1-2 cups of cooking water and drain the pasta.  Add pasta to the broccoli/sausage/bean mixture.  Use reserved water as needed until desired pasta texture.  (Some like it soupy, some don't.)

Step Five - Plate and then coat with freshly grated or shaved Parmigiano cheese.

Step Six - Serve with crusty bread!  And enjoy tomorrow's leftovers just as much cold or warm!

Side Notes - Flexible dish, people!  Use any type pasta.  Use spinach or another green if you prefer.  Pancetta or shredded pork meat instead of sausage.. the possibilities are endless!

March 17, 2014

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

When a chicken dish has 400+ reviews AND can be make on a weeknight AND doesn't involve bread crumbs or frying - I'm sold!  I found this recipe on Food Network, and it struck me as a coq au vin with a different flavor profile.  And since I had some chicken legs and thighs defrosting, it was the perfect way to change up a chicken dinner!

I made this chicken dish with some wild rice and roasted brussels sprouts for a fantastic meal.  However, I did make some changes, so let me walk you through it.  First off - I halved the recipe and therefore used 20 cloves of garlic and half the sauce.  Most grocery stores now sell tubs of peeled garlic - trust me - it's sooo much easier.  Secondly, I did 1/4 cup wine and 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  (I found a "chicken broth with white wine and herbs" at the grocery store - LOVE IT!)  And the reason I subbed out some of the wine was because 1) I was planning on drinking it and 2) I wanted to use up the half box of broth in the fridge.  I sauteed up in the oil and then while it simmered, I went ahead and made the sides and took that half hour to clean up the kitchen, catch some news on TV, and do a load of laundry.  The flavor was fantastic - light, rich, and not overwhelming with garlic.  Easy and fast to make, but definitely can be done for company!  (And flexible... winner!)

Cannoli Cream Desserts

Need a quick and beautiful dessert to impress at your next dinner party?  Who doesn't love cannoli cream???  Very simple recipe, let's run you through it...

First - Pepperidge Farm makes those cute puff pastry cups... spend the $4 and buy a box of 6.. they make for fabulous presentation.  Follow instructions on the box and then let cool.

Second - Using an egg beater, blend 1 pint of ricotta cheese with 1 cup of confectioner sugar.  At this point, you're pretty  much done so its about flavor.  I always add a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract and my favorite is to use mini chocolate chips and just add them and mix until I like the way the filling looks.  You can also use different nuts, candied orange, different flavor chips... the possibilities are endless.

Third - For a little "professional looking" garnish - take a chocolate bar and run over a cheese grater for some chocolate shards to dust your desserts.  Then add some fresh fruit and sliced almonds.

Voila - take a look!

And yes, it is as good as it looks!