September 27, 2010

Pasta Primavera

I've only had this dish once in a restaurant, so it's hard to compare, but I thought this recipe was absolutely amazing!

1/2 pound angel hair pasta or spaghetti
1 small bunch broccoli, about 1 heaping cup of florets
1 small zucchini, diced
4 asparagus spears
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup snow peas
3 minced garlic cloves
3 Roma or other paste tomatoes, seeded and diced
12 basil leaves, chopped
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


September 25, 2010

Mini Fruit Pizzas

Also, for the pig roast, I made mini fruit pizzas.  I had fruit pizza quite often growing up, however this was my first time making it, and it's just as delicious as I remember.  A great summer dessert.  I realize it's technically fall now and the best fruits to add to a fruit pizza are now out of season, however a potluck-style outdoor pig roast feels like a summer event :)

Unfortunately I'm short on time to cook this weekend, so I used Pillsbury sugar cookie dough for the bases.  Buying the pre-shaped dough helped save me even more time since I intended to make mini fruit pizzas, which seemed easier for a potluck.  The fruit pizza I had growing up always had Pillsbury dough as a base, so it's nostalgic in a way.

Therefore, I cannot comment on the cookie dough portion of the recipe below, but the cream cheese topping portion of it turned out well.  I read a few helpful tips in the online reviews about ensuring that the fruit is dry before adding it to avoid a soggy crust.  Also, if you're making the full pizza version, cut the crust after adding the cream cheese mixture before adding fruit.

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/fruit-pizza-i/Detail.aspx

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in egg. combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Press dough into an ungreased pizza pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until light. Spread on cooled crust. Arrange desired fruit on top of filling, and chill.


September 18, 2010

Peach Crumble Bars

This peach bars I made tonight were awesome (that's a quote from Chris). The recipe is from one of the many food blogs I've been reading lately.  They are such a great source of inspiration! 



One of the things I like best about this recipe is that it's not overly sweet, which dessert recipes often are.




Peach Crumble Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (makes 24 - 2" squares)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)
Instructions
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with a nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk.
  • Add butter and egg and use a pastry blender to mix into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly.
  • Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer.
  • Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges.
  • Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. Store in refrigerator, or freeze.
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen
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Eggplant Salad Toasts

I love weekends because there's so much time to cook!  The contents of my CSA box have disappeared quickly, so I stopped by a farm stand near my house and just picked stuff that looked good without any real idea of what I'd make.  I ended up with tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, and hot peppers.

When I saw cabbage I was reminded of Chris' obsession with homemade egg rolls, so on the way home I picked up bean sprouts and egg roll wrappers, so we could make them tonight.  I picked up eggplant because in my quest for eggplant recipes, I have more recipes than eggplant.  Kind of an odd combination but we had eggplant salad toasts with egg rolls tonight :)

The one change I will make the next time I prepare this eggplant recipe is to add minced garlic instead of rubbing the bread with a garlic clove because it could use more garlic flavor.  Other than that, it was great!

9/19/10 Update: Last night we enjoyed the eggplant salad mixture warm. Tonight we're having the leftovers cold, and I think both ways are really good.

http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/08/eggplant-salad-toasts/

1 medium eggplant, about 3/4 pound, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for oiling baking sheet
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup crumbled crumbled feta
1 scallion, thinly sliced
8 1/2-inch slices of baguette, brushed with olive oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled and halved

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or roasting pan. Toss eggplant, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and a generous amount of black pepper together in a medium bowl until evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, moving pieces around occasional so they evenly brown. For a cold salad, let the eggplant cool a bit before mixing it with red wine vinegar, feta and scallion. For a warm salad where the feta glues itself to the eggplant a bit, toss the vinegar, feta and scallion together when the eggplant just comes out of the oven. You’ll want to eat the warm salad quickly.  Broil or toast baguette slices then rub them with a garlic clove before heaping on eggplant salad.

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash

I found this recipe in my Cooking Light cookbook but also found an online version.  I see in the online comments that one reviewer said it could use a heavier flavor and I completely agree.  I added a bit more maple syrup before serving.  I thought this recipe was quite tasty, but Chris told me he thought it was too sweet.  He doesn't really like sweet foods in general though, so I don't think his opinion counts :)

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=522375

6 acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices; peel. Combine syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring well. Add squash; toss to coat.

Place squash in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.


September 16, 2010

Romano Beans with Pesto Potatoes and Kale

I was searching for a new kale recipe when I came across this one that seemed perfect given the contents of this week's box.  I just had one issue when making it and that was how long it took to cook the potatoes.  Next time, I'm going to pre-cook the potatoes, just to soften them a bit first since the beans and kale cook more quickly.  Despite the potatoes being a bit hard, it was still delicious :)


1 lb Romano green beans, trimmed and broken in half
1 lb heirloom potatoes (such as Russian banana)
½ lb Tuscan lacinato kale
12-15 pearl onions
1 cup cream sauce (2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 cup milk)
½ cup freshly made basil pesto
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the kale into small, thin strips after removing most of the tough, central vein in each leaf. Simmer kale along with onions, bite sized beans and potatoes with bay leaf until potatoes are nearly done. Drain and remove bay leaf.

2. While vegetables are simmering, make cream sauce by blending 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons flour and slowly blending in 1 cup milk. Then stir in half a cup or more of freshly made pesto.

3. Pour pesto cream sauce over vegetables and simmer on low for several more minutes until potatoes are just done.



September 12, 2010

Chunky Vegetable Paella


Chris told me this is the best recipe I've made so far. I didn't think that highly of it, but it was quite tasty.

8-10 strands Saffron
1 medium eggplant, cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 tsp. salt
6 T. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow pepper, sliced in 1" pieces
1 medium red pepper, sliced in 1" pieces
2 tsp. paprika
1 ¼ c. Arborio rice
3 ½ c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb. tomatoes, fresh, chopped
pinch ground black pepper
6 oz. mushrooms, fresh, cut into chunks
15 oz. garbanzo beans (chickpeas), with liquid

Steep saffron in 3 T. hot water. Sprinkle eggplant with salt, leave to drain in colander for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry.

In a large pan, heat olive oil and sauté garlic, onions, peppers and eggplant for about 5 minutes. Add paprika and stir.

Mix in rice then add stock, tomatoes, saffron and black pepper. Bring to a boil; simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in mushrooms and garbanzo beans. Simmer 15 minutes more until liquid is absorbed. Stir as needed.