Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paprika Shrimp & Green Bean Saute

This recipe helped me re-discover green beans! I've never eaten too many fresh green beans because I thought it took too long to chop of the ends of the beans - but this really isn't true. All veggie preparation takes time and prepping the beans weren't that much more than some other slicing and dicing I've done lately...

I'm a huge shrimp fan so I will try almost any recipe featuring shrimp. This kind of reminded me of a spinach salad I've made in the past with shrimp and white beans. But it was different because of the flavoring of the paprika and vinegar. The green beans added a really nice freshness and crispiness.

Paprika Shrimp & Green Bean Saute
Serves 6

4 cups green beans, trimmed (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound; see Note), peeled and deveined
2 16-ounce cans large butter beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put green beans in a steamer basket, place in the pan, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until just fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in beans, vinegar and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.

Divide the green beans among 6 plates. Top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roasted Asparagus and Eggs

I'm somewhat infatuated with eggs... I love learning different ways to eat them. Especially for dinner. I know they eat eggs at all meals throughout the world, but I'm used the American style of keeping eggs for breakfast. Through some interesting recipes I've made lately I'm discovering that a poached egg is a nice compliment to many things. And it really goes well in this dish with asparagus, Parmesan shavings and a bit of balsamic. Yum!

This recipe doesn't yield enough to make it a meal (unless you eat the entire thing with only one or two people) but it's a really elegant starter or side salad. Would be really nice to make when entertaining.

Roasted Asparagus and Eggs
Serves 4

1 bunch medium thick asparagus (1 pound), tough ends removed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Coarse Salt
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. light-brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
4 large eggs
2 ounces shaved Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet with a rim, toss asparagus with oil. Season with salt. Bake until asparagus is lightly browned and tender, 15 to 18 minutes (timing will vary depending upon thickness of asparagus).

In a small saucepan, cook balsamic vinegar ans sugar over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large skillet with 2 inches of water to a simmer over medium heat. Add cider vinegar and season with salt. Break on egg at a time into a cup, then tip cup into pan. Simmer until whits are set and yolks are soft but slightly set, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spatula, scoop out eggs one at a time and drain on paper towels. With a paring knife, trim edges.

Divide asparagus among four plates and drizzle with reduced balsamic. Top with shaved Parmesan and egg.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Xuxu and Shrimp with Chile and Lemon

Since I love playing with new ingredients, I was intrigued by this recipe calling for Xuxu. What the heck is a xuxu? Oh, well it's a chayote. Well what the heck is a chayote? See how much fun this is? (The picture above is of the chayotes.) Lucky for me I had seen chayotes at my fruit market and in fact I almost bought some once just to play. But this recipe found me instead.

Besides this fun new ingredient, the recipe calls for shrimp, artichoke hearts and jalapeños - three of my favorite ingredients. So this a simple and fun dinner that ends up tasting very flavorful but also light at the same time. It's a nice easy dinner and probably would be really great in summer.

Xuxu and Shrimp with Chile and Lemon
Serves 4

6 garlic cloves
3/4 cup chopped white onion
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeño, including seeds
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 medium xuxu (chayote; about 1 3/4 pound total)
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 (14-ounces) jar or can hearts of palm, rinsed well, patted dry, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

With motor running, drop garlic into a food processor and finely chop. Stop processor and add onion, jalapeño (to taste), lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then pulse until finely chopped.

Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes for flavors to develop.
Peel xuxu if skin is tough. Cut xuxu off pit in slices, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks.

Toss shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté shrimp until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Sauté xuxu in remaining tablespoon oil in skillet until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Return shrimp to skillet, then add hearts of palm and sauté until just heated through. Remove from heat and stir in chile-lemon sauce and cilantro.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce

Finally, a fool proof way to make fish! I have been missing the mark the last twenty or so times I made fish. I usually bake it or broil it and I either over or under do it. But this recipe calls for poaching in a savory sauce and the fish came out perfectly cooked and incredibly tasty! And what's nice about this is that it's really quick to put together - except for pulling off the fresh thyme leaves from the stems.

I serve this with farro, due to the suggestion in the magazine. And I'm so glad I tried it because it is now my favorite grain and I make it quite often.

Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce
Serves 4

1-1¼ pounds Pacific cod or tilapia fillets, cut into 4 pieces
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
½ tsp. salt, divided
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup white wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
¼ cup heavy cream or half and half
½ tsp. cornstarch

Season fish with 1 teaspoon thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, garlic and 1 teaspoon thyme; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and the fish to the pan; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the fish is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfre the fish to a large plate; keep warm.

Whisk cream and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add to the pan, along with the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Divide the fish and sauce among 4 shallow bowls.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mixed Wholegrain and Berry Salad

I love when I set out to make something healthy and it ends up tasting super yummy! For this one I headed to the bulk isle at Whole Foods to find the various grains. It was fun for me because I haven't ever tried most of these before so I didn't know what to expect. These grains are so good! Chewy and nutty. I did make a few changes... not sure what dinosaur kale is so I used regular kale. And I already had some dried cranberries so I used those instead of trying to find dried blueberries - but I bet the dried blueberries would be really great.

I ate this as a meal itself (and packed a few containers to take for lunch), but there is a note in the cookbook that "this makes an amazing side dish for roasted poultry during the autumn or holidays". The author also suggested substituting cracked wheat for the wheat berries or brown rice instead of kamut.

Mixed Wholegrain and Berry Salad
Serves 4

1 cup wheat berries
½ cup kamut grains
¼ cup millet grains
¼ cup farro grains
1 head dinosaur kale (black cabbage), coarsely shredded
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. chopped candied ginger
4 Tbsp. dried blueberries or cranberries
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the wheat berries and all the brains in a pan of boiling water until just tender but still nutty, 15-20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Tip into a large salad bowl.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to boil, add the dinosaur kale, and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Add to the grains with the almonds, ginger, and berries.

Whisk the oil, vinegar, and cinnamon together. Pour over the salad and toss gently. Season to taste and toss again. Serve at room temperature.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Garlic and Kale Soup

You wouldn't know it by the name, but this is one of my favorite recipes I have made in the past year! I think Rachael Ray would call this a "stoup" because it's nice and think, but I found this recipe for Garlic and Kale Soup in the February, 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times magazine. It's perfect for a healthy and filling winter meal.

I was drawn to this recipe for two reasons: kale and wheat berries. In fact, I had never heard of "wheat berries" before... Wheat of course, but I was intrigued about the berry part. Ends up it just a raw form of wheat similar to barley. As for the kale, I know it is super healthy for you so I like to find ways to incorporate into the food I eat. And soup is perfect!

This soup is special because it's chewy. Now chewy isn't a term that I normally associate with soup, but I really like the texture of the ingredients. The wheat berries and kale both keep a firmness, almost al dente. Also, the light vinegar give the flavors an interesting tang, making it even more unique. The flavors are much more complex than one would expect.

So if you are looking for a simple, healthy soup to try out, I highly recommend this one. Don't let the ingredients scare you off.

Garlic and Kale Soup
Serves 6

½ cup wheat berries
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3.5 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced (1 cup)
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup brown rice vinegar
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch kale (10 oz.), stemmed and coarsely chopped

Soak wheat berries in large bowl of cold water overnight.

Heat oil in 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt, if desired. Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add garlic, and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in vinegar; simmer until vinegar is almost evaporated, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan.

Drain wheat berries, and add to mushroom mixture with vegetable mixture and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes. Add kale, and cook 10 to 20 minutes more, or until kale is tender. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pineapple-Fennel Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing

The combination of radishes, pineapple and fennel drew me to this salad. The avocado sealed the deal.

I have made a few recipes with fennel and I'm always looking for something to pair it with - other than oranges (which seems like the most common combo). This is a nice and light salad that would probably go with anything. I served it with the Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Torn Fresh Basil and some steaks.

Both the salad and linguine were both featured in the February, 2010 issues of Vegetarian Times magazine as part of a Valentine's feast article. Almost every ingredient in the salad had some "love potion" quality which is kind of fun.

Pineapple-Fennel Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing
Serves 6

1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds or black sesame seeds

1 medium fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 cup sliced radishes
2 green onions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
1 cup diced avocado
3 cups watercress or arugula

To make Dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, honey, and ginger in small bowl. Whisk in oil, then sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

To make Salad: Toss fennel, pineapple, radishes, and green onions with Dressing in large bowl. (Salad can be made ahead to this point, and refrigerated overnight.) Stir in avocado, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Divide watercress or arugula among serving plates. Top with pineapple mixture.