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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

I completely forgot to post Barefoot Bloggers’ recipe for Herb-Roasted Onions chosen by Kelly from Baking with the Boys. I dont’ particularly care for onions unless they are in something else, so I have to go off of my guinea pigs’ responses. Supposedly two-thumbs up.

Click here for the recipe.

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I was just dying to make macaroni and cheese last week. There is something about cold weather and having to retire my flip flops and gauzy tops (ok, they should have been retired long ago) in favor of fleece hoodies and drawstring sweats that makes me crave pasta, butter, and cheese. Unfortunately for me, I had some deliciously tempting but not-as-much-craved-for shrimp and beef in the fridge. Well, I did have two delicious meals, but really, I just couldn’t plow through those perishables quick enough to get to mac and cheese.

I dug my nose into Foodgawker, Tastespotting, and some of my favorite food blogs in search of a fail-proof recipe. Well, I was a little overwhelmed and confused. Everyone seems to have their own protocol. Cold roux with warm milk; warm milk with cold roux; warm roux with warm milk; to preboil or not preboil; Velveeta as a stabilizer; American as a stabilizer; the decisions were endless. I threw up my hands in disgust and did what I always do when I am overwhelmed – turn to Ina.

I could just sing Ina’s praises all day long. Her recipes are always simple, easy to follow, and delicious. This recipe was no different.

Mac and Cheese
Adapted from

  • Kosher salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat elbow pasta
  • 2 c. low-fat milk
  • 1 c. cream
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 c. grated cheddar
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ c. Italian breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cream and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Swiss, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Top with breadcrumbs bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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This is my first post with the Barefoot Bloggers, a group that posts twice a month on their experiences with pre-selected recipes from Ina Garten. While I will always have my Ina cookbooks, I am thrilled she just signed on for another season of FN. Now amid the round-the-clock coverage of Rachel Ray, junk food, and Guy Fieri, I still will have my 30 minutes of solace M-F 5-5:30 (thank you, God).

Anyways, below is the recipe, as I made it. I did make a few changes and if you wish to see the original recipe, please click here. I basically halved the recipe. Ina and friends must be smoking some pretty good stuff if four people can polish off the original dish – four of us only finished two-thirds (of the reduced portion!). I omitted the fennel, pearl onions, saffron, and Pernod the recipe originally called for. I made up my own crust recipe as well because the original one called for shortening, and that’s where I draw the line. The crust only had 4 tablespoons of butter for over a cup of flour, but after adding Greek yogurt it came out nicely. I was actually quite surprised at how deliciously flaky the crust was despite the small portion of fat.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tb. unsalted butter
  • 1 md. onion, diced
  • ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups good chicken stock
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. basil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ¾ c. large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • ¾ c. sliced asparagus
  • ¾ c. peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (1-2 carrots)
  • ¾ c. peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
  • ¼ c. minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:

  • 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tb. unsalted butter
  • ¼ – ½ cup ice water
  • ¼ c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, basil, paprika, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
  3. For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry cutter until fat is evenly distributed. Add water, a tablespoon at a time until the dough just almost comes together. Then add in the Greek yogurt and incorporate with a fork. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Spread the vegetable mixture in a 9″ pie plate. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Brush the outside edges of the pie platel with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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Before I lose my carnivore readers, please, give tofu a chance. I believe tofu is an acquired taste, like coffee, olives, or stinky cheese. Sure, it is jiggly, white, and made of bean curd, but what’s to say it can’t be your new bff?

Tofu and buckwheat noodle salad is a perfect make-ahead brown bag lunch. The tofu will absorb the sesame and tamari vinaigrette and the salad’s flavor improves over time.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. buckwheat noodles (rice noodles would be good too)
  • ½ pkg. extra firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1-2 scallions, sliced thinly
  • ½ English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ¼ raw peanuts (almonds or cashews work good too)
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 2 tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 ½ Tb. rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp. tamari
  • Pinch sugar
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/8 c. chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Boil noodles, strain, and allow to cool. Add scallions, cilantro, sesame seeds, peanuts, and cukes to noodles.
  2. In a small bowl, mix tamari, rice vinegar, and sugar. Whisk in sesame and peanut oil. Toss with noodles. Serve chilled.

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Asparagus is pretty much my favorite vegetable. It does make your pee a little funky, but that’s the price you have to pay. Any carb is my friend, but the mushy goodness of risotto holds a special place in my heart. I hope you enjoy this recipe. When I originally made it, I added too much thyme, so this here is adjusted to a better amount. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 7 c. chicken stock, simmering
  • 2 c. arborio rice
  • ½ c. dry white wine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 c. steamed asparagus, sliced on the bias into 1″ pieces
  • 1 t. thyme
  • ½ t. kosher salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • ½ c. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ c. chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. butter

Directions

  1. Heat 1 Tb. olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat. Add zest, onion, and garlic to oil and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and thyme.
  2. Add 1 Tb. butter and arborio rice to skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is slightly golden.
  3. Once rice is toasted, pour in white wine and lemon juice. Stir rice until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Add in about half a cup at a time the chicken stock. Don’t add any more stock until the last addition is completely absorbed. This will take about 35-40 minutes.
  5. When rice is almost done, test the acidity and add more lemon juice if needed and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese, sliced asparagus, 1 Tb. butter, and parsley when rice is just about done. Allow the cheese to melt and then serve.
  7. **Note, I warmed the asparagus in the microwave before adding to the rice for about 30 seconds so it would not cool down the dish.


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