Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins
I served these muffins at brunch one week ago.  Shradha liked them so well I sent six home with her.  I was surprised how the topping  flavored the cake part of the muffin.  This will be my go-to recipe for muffins.
*
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
Topping:
1/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flour
2 Tablespoon butter cubed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
*
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to measure one cup.  Mix this with flour mixture.  Fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with the crumb topping mixture.
*
To make crumb topping:  Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Mix with fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
*
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until done. Yield 1 dozen muffins.






Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spicy Shrimp With Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salsa


Spicy Shrimp With Pink
Grapefruit and Avocado Salsa
The first time I ordered fish with a mango salsa I was ready for just a taste test.  Much to my surprise it was fabulous.  I came home and sought a recipe.  This week in the Food Section of our newspaper this recipe was published.  Since I will have company in a few weeks who will be staying with me, I am saving this recipe for the occasion. 
***
 Salsa:
2 large pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented, plus any accumutlated juices
1 ripe but firm avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
2 green onions sliced, green parts only
1 Jalopeno, deseeded and finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 to 4 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
large pinch fine sea salt
*
Slice each grapefruit segment into thirds.  In a medium bowl, toss together the grapefruit, the accumulated juices, avocado, sliced green onion tops, jalopeno, crushed garlic and cilantro.  Toss gently and season with sea salt.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to one hour.)
*
Shrimp:    
1 pound 16-20 Shrimp, tails on, devined, peeled, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, crushed   
1/2 teaspoon chipolte chili powder
1 tablespoon lime juice
Fine sea salt to taste 
*
Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook for one or two minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and chili powder to the pan and toss with the shallots.  Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until they are cooked through, firm and turning bright pink; about 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the pan
from the heat and drizzle with lime juice and season with salt.  Serve immediately with the salsa.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kale & Brussels Sprout Soba Noodles Salad







KALE + BRUSSELS SPROUT
 SOBA NOODLES SALAD
Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison:Vegetable Literacy
The recipe originally calls for 4 brussels, but I wanted to finish up the bunch I had. I ended up using around 10 and discarding the tough core. There is enough dressing to bulk up the greens here, so the recipe below reflects that change.


  • 1 bunch tuscan kale
  • 5 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 10 brussels sprouts
  • 1 plump clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (white or black)
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 4-8 oz. soba noodles
  • 4 slivered green onions, for garnish


Slice the kale leaves from their stems and discard the stems. Working in batches, stack the leaves, roll them up tightly lengthwise, and then thinly slice them crosswise into narrow ribbons. Put the ribbons in a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the sesame oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Massage the leaves with your hands until they glisten.
*
Discard any funky outer leaves from the brussels sprouts. Slice them paper thin (mandoline works best) then toss them with the kale.
*
Pound the garlic until smooth in a small mortar (I used a bowl and minced the garlic fine). Stir in the vinegar, remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss well. This much can be done in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to serve, or enjoyed alone as a salad.
*
Bring the water to a boil. When starting the noodles, finish the salad with the sesame seeds, pepper flakes and green onions. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and drain well. Toss the noodles with the greens. 
*
The noodle salad can be served warm or cold.  Serves 4

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eggs Oscar with King Crab




              Eggs Benedict served Oscar style, with king crab,                    grilled asparagus, and Bearnaise sauce.

I am planning a brunch for five neighbor women who have been so supportive of me during the last seven and half months.  This has been the proof of real friends and how lucky I am to have these people in my life.

Ingredients

Instructions



  1. Top each English muffin half with an egg.
  2. If using leftover Bearnaise, heat in the microwave on 10-second bursts at 50% power, stirring/whisking in between until warmed.
  3. Warm the crab and asparagus spears and place on top of the egg and muffin.
  4. Divide the Bearnaise sauce between the two plates, spooning over top.
  5. Serve immediately.

Notes

Yields: 2 servings

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Red Pepper and Red Onion with Goat Cheese Strata

Today I was privileged to have friends visiting from Catalina Island for brunch.  My photo is Roshan, Shradha with their new son Mantra.  Mantra is such a happy baby.  
Red Pepper and Red Onion with 
Coat Cheese Strata
 

I served this strata with rave reviews.  My only suggestion to anyone wanting to make this tasty dish is to use stale bread (not fresh).  You want to the bread dry enough to absorb the egg milk mixture. 
***
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing baking dish.
8 eggs
1 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
8 ounces whole wheat baguette, preferably day old or more, cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 onion thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or (1/4 teaspoon dried)  
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
***
Brush a 9" x 9" baking dish with oil.  In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, Parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Add bread; toss until coated; transfer to baking dish and let set.  
*
Heat oven to 400 F.  In a large non stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.  Saute bell pepper, onion, thyme and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until onion begins to brown, 10 minutes.  Add bell pepper mixture to baking dish, spread evenly over bread mixture; dot with goat cheese.  Bake until top is puffed and browned and center is firm, 25 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes.  Garnish with thyme if desired. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Mardi Gras Dinner



A Mardi Gras Dinner

I enjoy entertaining and with Ash Wednesday this week, I chose to have a Mardi Gras dinner with a select group of friends.  My menu included a kale salad, chicken breast stuffed with roasted asparagus and a shallot wine sauce served on bourson cheese polenta and for dessert a pear and hazelnut frangipane tart topped with butter pecan ice cream.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Morrocan Meatball & Burger Seasoning

I stopped by the Williams & Sonoma Retail Store on  Saturday.  The theme of Winter is Moroccan Cooking.  Everything from stylized dinnerware. cookware, recipe books and spices are displayed.  The one clerk had a sample tasting of a spice Williams & Sonoma compounded. The aroma in the store was heavenly.  I checked the ingredient list on the container and thought since I had all of the ingredients I could attempt to compound the spice blend.  I will share the list of ingredients in the order listed.  The container size I would guess at 8 oz. or one cup.
***
onion
paprika
Turkish cumin
Kosher salt
white pepper
dried parsley
dried cilantro
red pepper
tarragon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil*


***
When adding spice blend to meat, use a small amount of olive oil to make the spice and herb blend into a paste.  The directions said to add 1 tablespoon per pound of ground beef.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Best Winter Soup

I found this recipe on the blog of Alton Brown and today it is in my stockpot.
 The Healthy Librarian's "Enlightened" Riff on Alton Brown's Best Winter Vegetable Soup

Cooking time:  about 2+ hours
Makes 6 1/2+ quarts of soup 
This recipe is an "enlightened and enriched" riff off of Alton Brown's soup.
Ingredients:
8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
 2 large carrots, chopped
 2 celery ribs, chopped
 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, chopped
 2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
 28 ounces of whole tomatoes in tomato puree or juice (next time, I'm using chopped tomatoes)
 2 ½ quarts of low-sodium vegetable broth
 3 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce  (Alton says the soy adds Umami)
 2” X 2” skinny square of parmesan rind ( Totally Optional)  
It stayed intact and we discarded it after cooking.
 1 pound, 2 ounces of pre-cut butternut squash cubes (the size of TJ's pre-packaged cut-up squash)
 10 ounces of chopped curly kale, stems removed
 2 cans (15 ounce ea.) no-salt Great Northern beans---DO NOT DRAIN!
 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. (Alton says the vinegar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)


Directions:

1.  Use a large 8 quart soup pot.  Heat on high & sear & brown the mushrooms, until tender.  Only add a little water or broth if they start to stick.  Remove them from the pot, to add back in later.
2.  Lower heat & sweat onions, carrots, & celery over low heat for 30 minutes, at least.  I like to cover the pot, and stir occasionally, checking to see if they are getting too dry, & need a little water to deglaze the pan. They’ll be very soft.
3.  Add in garlic, rosemary, & sage
4.  Add the tomatoes in their juice, & mix with a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes.  Cook for about  5 minutes, to blend everything together.   (Note: next time I'm using chopped tomatoes)
5.  Increase the heat, & add the vegetable broth to the pot.  Mix in soy sauce & drop in the parmesan rind. Heat just until boiling.
6.   Lower heat to a simmer &  add the squash & kale.   Cover & simmer for at least 30 minutes.
7.   Now, add the mushrooms back in, & the 2 undrained cans of Great Northern beans to help thicken the soup with their starch.  Mix well.  Then add the 2 TSP of red wine vinegar to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
8.   Heat through.
9.   Alton says this is the best soup he has ever made.
Options:  Consider adding some orzo or another whole grain small-sized pasta into the soup.
Serve with a salad & crusty grainy bread.
Bon Appetit!
 The Healthy Librarian's "Enlightened" Riff on Alton Brown's Best Winter Vegetable Soup

Cooking time:  about 2+ hours
Makes 6 1/2+ quarts of soup 
This recipe is an "enlightened & enriched" riff off of Alton Brown's soup.
Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  •  2 large carrots, chopped
  •  2 celery ribs, chopped
  •  4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  •  1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, chopped
  •  2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  •  28 ounces of whole tomatoes in tomato puree or juice (next time, I'm using chopped tomatoes)
  •  2 ½ quarts of low-sodium vegetable broth 
  •  3 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce  (Alton says the soy adds Umami)
  •  2” X 2” skinny square of parmesan rind  (TOTALLY OPTIONAL!!) It stayed intact & we discarded it after cooking.
  •  1 pound, 2 ounces of pre-cut butternut squash cubes (the size of TJ's pre-packaged cut-up squash)
  •  10 ounces of chopped curly kale, stems removed
  •  2 cans (15 ounce ea.) no-salt Great Northern beans---DO NOT DRAIN!
  •  2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. (Alton says the vinegar cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)





Directions:
1.  Use a large 8 quart soup pot.  Heat on high & sear & brown the mushrooms, until tender.  Only add a little water or broth if they start to stick.  Remove them from the pot, to add back in later.
2.  Lower heat & sweat onions, carrots, & celery over low heat for 30 minutes, at least.  I like to cover the pot, and stir occasionally, checking to see if they are getting too dry, & need a little water to deglaze the pan. They’ll be very soft.
3.  Add in garlic, rosemary, & sage
4.  Add the tomatoes in their juice, & mix with a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes.  Cook for about  5 minutes, to blend everything together.   (Note: next time I'm using chopped tomatoes)
5.  Increase the heat, & add the vegetable broth to the pot.  Mix in soy sauce & drop in the parmesan rind. Heat just until boiling.
6.   Lower heat to a simmer &  add the squash & kale.   Cover & simmer for at least 30 minutes.
7.   Now, add the mushrooms back in, & the 2 undrained cans of Great Northern beans to help thicken the soup with their starch.  Mix well.  Then add the 2 TSP of red wine vinegar to cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
8.   Heat through.
9.   Alton says this is the best soup he has ever made.
Options:  Consider adding some orzo or another whole grain small-sized pasta into the soup.
Serve with a salad & crusty grainy bread.
Bon Appetit!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dried Mission Fig & Kalmata Olive Spread

Dried Mission Fig & Kalamata Olive Spread
This is a list of ingredients for a spread which I purchased at a Farmers Market.  I plan to attempt to duplicate the recipe.  The ingredients were listed in this order which gives me a hint re: portions.
***
Dried Black Mission figs
Kalamata olives
Garlic
Black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Orange zest
Orange juice
Salt 
Fennel