Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baked Shrimp Orzo

This was the first time I've ever cooked with orzo, and I'd have to say this was one of the easiest, quickest dinners I've made in awhile, and it was delicious! YUM!


I followed the recipe I saw on Dishing Up Delights, but added an extra clove of garlic, half a green pepper chopped, and didn't have dill and parsley, so left it out. We added the feta, but also had some fresh parmesan on top.

The only thing I'd change for this is next time I'd cook the shrimp first in some herbs and spices and maybe some lemon or lime. The shrimp could have been more flavorful, otherwise, we'll definitely be having this again!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Soups!

The past two days out here were rainy and gray. I feel like rainy days are made for a steamy bowl of soup!

These two bowls hit the spot and were both easy to make.

Broccoli Soup
Adapted from Martha Stewart, Great Food Fast

I know, broccoli soup, really? Yes, I love broccoli, (I was a weird kid who ate broccoli but not blueberries), but I thought it sounded funny too, but it was quite tasty!

Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/3 C rolled oats
1/4 C Quinoa
1.5 lbs broccoli, I just used one huge head. Cut up into smaller pieces and stems sliced thinly
Salt and Pepper to taste
4-6 C chicken broth

Heat your onion and pressed garlic in a large soup pot or dutch oven with a good bit of olive oil until onions are tender. Add the nutmeg, cook another minute. Add broccoli, oats, quinoa, and broth. You should have enough broth to almost or just about cover the broccoli. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer until broccoli is tender, 8-12 minutes. Use an immersion blender or in small batches transfer to a regular blender and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you should certainly add some, this soup needed a bit of salt, and I'm not usually a salt person. Next time I might add a few more herbs or some garlic salt in the cooking process. But otherwise, great with some nice fresh bread!


Potato Leek Soup

I'd seen a couple recipes for this here and on Erin's blog. I used these as a reference and went with what I had in the kitchen. This was super tasty and perfect for a chilly fall night!

1 TBS Butter with some olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2-3 large cloves garlic (the garlic from the farmers market has HUGE cloves)
3 Leeks, sliced length wise then in thin slices, just the white and light green parts
3 Potatoes, (one smaller, two larger, about 4-5 Cups) Sliced in cubes
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 C celery, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano
1/4 - 1/3 C Quinoa
4-5 C Chicken Broth
3/4 C water (optional, my pot just needed more liquids to cover the veggies)
1/3 - 1/2 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute your onions and garlic in butter/olive oil until fragrant and tender. Add leeks, celery, thyme, oregano and oregano. Cook a bit more. Add potatoes, broth, quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer about 12-15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Blend with immersion blender or blender until about half of the mixture is smooth. Add your cream, salt and pepper, stir until blended. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Favorite Season!

This past weekend we had some icky rainy fall weather, but also a gorgeous fall day on Sunday! Abundant sunshine, perfect temperature, and some gorgeous foliage. I was going to go upstate but decided to head out around Brooklyn instead and went out for a bike ride in Prospect Park. The leaves were just beautiful. Here are a few photos of the colors!







To go along with the great fall day, I decided to make a tasty fall dinner instead.

I went with salmon, Pioneer Woman Rosemary Acorn Squash, and Sweet Potato Mash.


The salmon was great, and I liked the sweet potatoes, the acorn squash was decent, although Alex wasn't a fan. I don't think it's a recipe I'd make again.

Salmon: Just pan sauteed with olive oil, butter, lots of fresh garlic, and some lime juice.


Sweet Potato Mash:



Two sweet potatoes, peeled.
A few tablespoons of heavy cream
A Tablespoon or two of butter
A bit of cinnamon and nutmeg
A splash of milk

Boil potatoes until tender, drain water. Mix with the rest of the ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A bit of a copy cat.

This past week I also made the delicious Chicken Pomodoro that I saw on Erin's blog.



I will say though, chef beware, you can't really deglaze a non-stick pan. I didn't realize the recipe called for this until after I'd started. Opps. Oh well, this still turned out great!

A tasty fall salad!

After making the delicious butternut squash soup the other night, I realized I still had half a squash that I needed to figure out what to do with. Realizing I couldn't make anything too major, and, having the heat back on in our apartment, I decided a nice salad would be the way to go.

This was delicious and easy, and a great kinda fancy and fun way for us to get our greens.


Butternut Squash Salad
For 2 people

1/2 smallish butternut squash
Chopped walnuts or pecans (I used a bit of both)
1 pear
Fresh Arugula, a few good handfuls
1.5 tsp Olive oil
.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 or so tsp dijon mustard
dash of sea salt
thyme, rosemary, more olive oil
Goat Cheese

1. Peel your squash as best you can, and dice into small cubes. Toss in a bowl with a good coating of olive oil, a few dashes of dried thyme, rosemary, and sea salt.
2. Place on a foil lined baking sheet in a 400 degree oven. Bake until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
3. When the squash is done, mix in a bowl with the arugula, thinly sliced pear, and nuts and dressing.
4. To make the dressing, mix your olive oil and vinegar in a 3-1 ratio. I did 3 one half tsp oil to one half tsp vinegar. Add a bit of mustard and a sprinkle of salt, whisk with a fork. Pour over the salad, toss to mix. Serve on a plate with a few pieces of goat cheese.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Butternut Squash Curry Soup

I remember vaguely having to try butternut squash around the age of about 4 and thinking it was pretty darn gross. Alex has also told me squash is one of the few things he doesn't like... (Despite me now getting him to eat it on multiple occasions. :-) )

However, on my quest to eat local foods and with that eat what is in season, I couldn't help but wonder about all those crazy squashes that have been appearing in the farmer's market as of late. Most I have yet to identify, but I figured of all of them, butternut squash seemed the safest place to start. At least it was a variety I've heard of, and at least has a tasty sounding name.

I googled around for a bit to see what I could find for butternut squash recipes, and decided I was going to make a soup, as it's suddenly gotten quite chilly in NYC, particularly in our apartment... which had heat for one day, and now apparently the radiator or heating pipe has ruptured between our floor and the basement apartment's ceiling. Shoot. Hence, no more heat. (This will hopefully be fixed tomorrow.)

But for the meantime, soup! I was inspired by this recipe for Curried Squash Soup on I varied things up a bit, and am excited to try this again with even more variations. I have discovered I love adding quinoa to soups as I think it adds a little more oumph and makes them a little more filling.

My recipe was as follows:


* 1 and a half smaller butternut squash (I could probably have used the full two)
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped
* 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed
* Olive oil
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* A Sprinkle of Sea Salt
* 1 or 1.25 teaspoon curry powder
* 1/8 - 1/4 or so cup Quinoa (I just sprinkled some in, just an estimate)
* 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into small thin pieces
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus a tad more. (I don't have an 1/8 tsp, so I estimated.
* 5.5 or so cups chicken broth, I used homemade chicken broth, which I would highly reccomend. This could also easily be switched to veggie broth if you're looking for that.
* Bay leaf, (My spice rack has crushed bay leaf, so mine stayed in, if you have actual bay leaf, use that and remove it)

* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1/8 cup whipping cream
* 1/8 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley



1. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds now or after baking. Rub your squash with olive oil and sprinkle with some dried thyme and sea salt. Place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until tender.


2. In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the flour, salt, curry powder and cayenne until blended. Add carrot. Stir in broth. Add the quinoa and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. (Mine didn't really thicken exactly, but, that was allright.) Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf.


3. The next step I did with an immersion blender, but could be done in a regular blender in small steps. Scoop out your cooked squash and add it to the broth mixture. Blend everything up with your immersion blender.
4. Add your mixed cilantro cream topping, and enjoy!


This soup was really, really delicious! Alex and I finished off the pot for the two of us. So, if you're cooking for more, I'd recommend serving it with bread or making a bit more. The flavors in this were warm and wonderful. The spices came through but weren't overpowering. I will for sure be making this again!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some Asian Flavors

I've been a big fan of roasting whole chickens lately, and though I love the flavors I normally use, I saw this recipe on For the Love of Cooking for Asian Roasted Chicken, and thought it sounded to tasty to pass up.

I marinated my bird for about 4 hours, then prepped it for the oven by filling it with a chopped yellow onion, garlic cloves, and a few pats of butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder. As it cooked I basted it with the leftover marinade every 15 minutes. Although the end result was super different from normal roasted chicken, you could still taste the new flavors and it was wonderfully moist and juicy!


Sorry, I started slicing before I remembered to take a picture!


To go along with the chicken I stir-fried some veggies in garlic and ginger with a bit of soy sauce and oil which were very tasty. I also was curious about the sesame noodles I'd seen on Pioneer Woman and the Love of Cooking Blog, and decided to give them a try. I wasn't sure how they'd turn out, so made a bit of rice just in case. I thought these were just ok. Alex liked them well enough, but overall, I probably wouldn't make them again. Oh well, you win some you lose some!



Tuesday, October 6, 2009

White Pizza with Arugula

I saw the recipe for White Pizza on Ezra Pound Cake's blog in my google reader the other day and just had a craving to make my own pizza dough. This recipe stuck out to me because it's easy! Most dough recipes I've seen take forever!



I made this pizza dough in under an hour without a stand mixer! I kneaded it by hand without any difficulty. I did use instant yeast, as that's what we had in the kitchen, but used a little less, as that's what google told me to do. Overall I got 4 personal pizzas out of the deal. Not bad!


This dough turned into a wonderfully light yet filling crust. I really liked the white pizzas, Alex said they were a bit dry. I will say I didn't use all the cheese it called for, as I didn't have it, and didn't buy any more because I thought I did. So perhaps if you use all the cheese it calls for, yours wouldn't be as dry. The following day we used the leftover dough to make a more traditional pizza with red sauce, and it turned out tasty for both of us!