Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs

From Real Simple, Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs. I have to tell you I was hesitant about the whole idea of the uncooked pasta and meatballs. I was delighted. Chris was delighted. This was delicious. Then I remembered the sauce I used. I had picked up fresh San Marzano tomatoes grown at Bishop's Orchards. I used them to make that sauce. You know the Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter.  Jarred Marinara? I don't think so!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pollo all'Arancia e Olive

Pollo all'Arancia e Olive, Chicken Breast with Orange and Gaeta Olives. I found this recipe on Lidia's new website. You know Lidia. The woman who cooked for the Pope!

This was such an easy meal to prepare. Well, I did do all the prep before I left for work today! All I had to do when I got home was dredge the chicken in the flour.

Delicious! A restaurant quality meal if I do say so myself!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds thin sliced chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
All-purpose flour for dredging
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, halved
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon fennel powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and lightly dredge it in flour. Lightly brown the chicken in the skillet (you want the chicken to end up with a blonde-colored crust and slowly build the color, and flavor, up) on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cook the chicken in batches, if necessary, depending on the size of your skillet. Remove to a plate as it is colored.

Once the chicken is colored, add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, orange juice and zest, white wine and fennel powder.  Add chicken back to the skillet and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce coats the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with remaining salt, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Monday, September 28, 2015

White Bean and Escarole Soup with Spicy Polenta

Another recipe from Compania. White Bean and Escarole Soup with Spicy Polenta. This was very good. Only issue was the beans. I followed the recipe and the beans just not seem to cook enough. I soaked them overnight but just a little too firm. I guess I am a canned bean person. Next time I make this I will use canned beans.
Ah, but the Polenta. I do not think I have met a Polenta recipe that I have not liked. Spicy! A perfect match for this soup.

Both of the recipes were from Bon Appetit. Click here to view the recipes. It is Monday I am too tired to type them. Sorry!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Those Chicken Cutlets & Orzo with Butternut Squash and Spinach

This seems to be becoming our Sunday dinner. I love this recipe. There was some discussion because  I had posted on the our weekly menu print out that we were having Chicken Parmesan tonight. This does have Parmesan Cheese in the recipe. But I could add some sauce next time

For a side I found a recipe on Pinterest using Butternut Squash. Orzo with Butternut Squash and Spinach. I was positive I had Orzo in the pantry. Well, I was wrong. I used Tubettini and Pastine. This was really good. Any pasta would work.

And that bread I made yesterday. Roasted Apple Bread. The absolute best bread! Toasted with butter. Wow. Then for lunch I made a grilled cheese with Dijon Mustard and Cheese!!! The recipe was from the King Arthur Flour web site. The house smelled so good while it was baking.  This will be a week of excellent breakfasts!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Roasted Flat Iron Steak with Olive Oil-Herb Rub and Much More!

We had this last week but I had made it with a Flank Steak. It was good but the Flat Iron Steak was much better. 
The original recipe is from Cooking Light. All I did was omit the garlic, surprise,  and changed the type of steak.

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flat iron steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle salt and pepper over steak. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Add wine and broth; cook 1 minute. Spread herb mixture over steak; place pan in oven. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with pan sauce.

The side dish was amazing! A Bon Appetit recipe, Potato and Autumn Vegetable Hash. I have a few Butternut Squash cluttering the counter from my sister's garden, so I had to find a recipe or two. This one will be my go-to side dish this fall. We both liked it and I have enough leftovers for a couple of lunches!

My version of Potato and Autumn Vegetable Hash.

Herb oil-
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 large golden beets
1 bunch Swiss Chard, trimmed and chopped
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 pound garnet yams or other yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
herb oil

Herb oil-
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and re-whisk before using.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Add Swiss Chard and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain well. Set aside. Scrub beets; place in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour half of herb oil over beets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil and roast beets until tender when pierced with small sharp knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let beets stand until cool enough to handle. Peel beets; cut into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve. DO AHEAD Swiss Chard and beets can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Combine squash, potatoes, and yams in large bowl. Add remaining herb oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture evenly on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are tender when pierced with knife and lightly browned around edges, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 50 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Stir beets and beet greens into roasted vegetables; dot with butter cubes and continue to roast just until beets are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to large bowl and serve.

And wait there is more...
Roasted Apple and Pecan Bread. Tomorrow's breakfast. More about it in tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sausage, Fontina and Bell Pepper Strata

The last full day of summer and we had the first comfort food of the autumn season. This recipe came from an old issue of Bon Appetit. I made 1/2 of this recipe and there is still enough for 2 meals for us.

Ingredients -
6 large eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casing removed
1 large bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch wide strips
1 loaf Italian bread
2 cups coarsely grated Fontina cheese

Spray Pyrex square pan with cooking spray.
Whisk first five ingredients in large bowl. Sprinkle with pepper. Set aside.
Cook sausage and pepper until sausage is cooked through and the peppers are brown in spots about 7 minutes.

Arrange half the bread slices in the prepared pan. Pour half the egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then half of the sausage-pepper mixture. Repeat laying. Let stand 20 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread to submerge. Bake Strata until puffed and brown, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Handmade Pasta with Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs

When I saw that this recipe, in Bon Appetit, was from a chef from Compania I had to tear it out of the magazine. That was back in September of 2006. The other day I was flipping through a cookbook and found the recipe tucked in between the pages.  

The pasta was so easy to make. No machine to clean and it was a light pasta. The sauce, well Fuhgettaboutit! Onions, Pancetta and Cherry Tomatoes. Oh this was delightful! 

I made a video of how to shape the pasta with by hand.

The recipe serves 6. I cut it in half and there was just enough for the 2 of us.

From Bon Appetit, Handmade Pasta With Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes And Herbs

2 cups (or more) 00 flour
1 cup hot water, divided
4 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped pancetta (Italian bacon)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3 cups small cherry tomatoes, halved
16 fresh basil leaves plus fresh sprigs for garnish 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional Romano cheese, shaved


Place 2 cups flour in large bowl. Make well in center. Add 1/2 cup hot water, 4 teaspoons oil, and pinch of salt to well and stir to combine. Gradually mix flour into wet ingredients, adding remaining 1/2 cup water to form soft dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if sticky, about 5 minutes. Gather dough into ball. Transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour at room temperature.

Lightly dust large baking sheet with flour. Place dough on work surface and cut off 1/2-inch-thick slice. Roll dough between palms of hands and lightly floured work surface to 1/3-inch-thick rope. Repeat with 5 more dough slices, rolling each into rope. Cut ropes into 1-inch lengths. Using 2 fingers, push fingertips into dough as you pull it toward you to form horizontal imprints. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough in batches. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover with dry kitchen towel, then plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature.

Heat remaining 1/2 cup oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pancetta, and pepper and sauté until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with any juices and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in 16 basil leaves and oregano. Season to taste with salt.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and boil until tender but still slightly firm to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well; return to pot. Add half of sauce and 1/2 cup grated cheese and toss over medium heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Divide pasta among bowls. Spoon remaining sauce over. Garnish with basil sprigs. Serve, passing shaved cheese separately. 

When Chris came upstairs he said it smelled like a pizzaria. That was because I had a Focaccia di Recco in the oven. I had some of the dough in the freezer. Yes it does freeze very nicely! I put Fontina, Mozzarella and a little Provolone in for the cheese.

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
3 cups bread flour
1 pound stracchino or Crescenza cheese or marscapone cheese

Using a wooden spoon, mix the water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour little by little, mixing with the spoon until thoroughly combined. Knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (poke it; it should bounce back easily). Let rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 480º F, and grease a baking sheet or a round pizza tray with olive oil.

Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and keep them under a tea towel or wrapped in plastic wrap when not in use. Roll out the dough ball initially with a rolling pin on a floured work surface, then begin stretching it carefully with your hands, using the weight of the dough to help stretch it. Get the dough as thin as you can, then transfer it to the prepared baking tray. Lay spoonfuls of the cheese over the dough. Take another piece of dough and roll and stretch again as before. Lay this layer over the cheese. With a knife, a rolling pin, or your hands, tap the edges of the dough together all along the border of the tray to trim the dough to exactly the size of the tray (see pictures for reference). Go over the edges of the focaccia again with your thumb, pressing down to seal the edges of the two layers of dough (again, see the pictures on this link). Gather the excess dough, and roll into a ball to use for the next focaccia.

Pinch the top of the dough in 5 or 6 places to create holes for steam to escape. Drizzle the top of the focaccia with a bit of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.

While the first focaccia is in the oven, prepare the second with the remaining dough (adding the scraps from the first to the balls of dough) and bake when the first is out of the oven; it is recommended to only baking one at a time as the distribution of heat will be compromised with more than one in the oven.

The dough can also be frozen (wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and then freeze.) Before using the dough, defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gamberi Coi Fagioli, Shrimp and Beans

It has been awhile since we have had this for dinner. Chris had one comment. And that was that this was delicious. My work is done. Good night everyone.

From Every Night Italian by Giuliano Hazan, Gamberi Coi Fagioli, Shrimp and Beans -

1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced crosswise
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound)
1 1/2 cup drained canned cranberry or cannellini beans
6 to 8 fresh sage leaves
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley
fresh ground pepper

Put the onion and 2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet and place over medium heat. Sauté until the onion turns a rich golden color.
While the onion is sautéing unravel the pancetta and cut into strips about 1 inch long and 1/8 inch thick. Peel and devein the shrimp.
Add the pancetta to the onion and cook until it begins to color lightly, then add the beans and sage and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When you are ready to serve, put the garlic and remaining tbsp olive oil in a clean skillet and place over high heat. Begin reheating the beans over low heat, if necessary. Sauté the garlic until it begins to color, then remove the cloves and discard them. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the wine and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp until they turn completely pink, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Toss the beans and shrimp together and serve at once with a good crusty bread.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oops! Ratatouille Hot Dogs!

Last night I made Ratatouille for dinner. Oops, forgot to take a photo. Well, there were enough leftovers for tonight. We had Hot Dogs. Kind of an end of summer wind down dinner. We have not had Hot Dogs all summer so I thought why not! The leftover Ratatouille was the perfect topping. The recipe was from The other Hot Dog is topped with S & F Artisan Salsas Texas Caviar. Wow that stuff is good! Just a hint of heat.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Chicken Breasts With Tomatoes and Capers

I found this recipe on the New York Times Cooking site. Super easy, quick and inexpensive.
From the New York Times, Chicken Breasts With Tomatoes and Capers

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2 1/4 pounds
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoon dried
8 ripe plum tomatoes cut into small cubes (or one 28-ounce can of tomatoes, drained and chopped)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup drained capers
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottom skillet. Add the chicken breasts and saute over medium-high heat, turning the pieces often until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the shallots and garlic around the chicken. Cook briefly; add the tarragon, tomatoes, vinegar, capers, wine and tomato paste. Stir to dissolve the brown particles adhering to the bottom of the skillet.

Blend well; bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 9 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pork "Saltimbocca" with Roasted Onions and Potatoes

From Bon Appetit, we have Pork "Saltimbocca" with Roasted Onions and Potatoes. What a delicious and simple meal. Well, you do have to do some prep but this very easy to prepare. The flavors were a perfect mix. Roasted onions and potatoes, sage, pork chops and prosciutto. Seriously, this was quite good.
4 1-inch-thick slices pork loin (6–8 ounces each)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound small (2-inch-diameter) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
8 thin slices prosciutto

Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Pierce pork slices all over with the tip of a paring knife. Place in a dish just large enough to hold pork in a single layer. Pour wine over and let marinate at room temperature while preparing other ingredients. 

Place onions in a medium bowl, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat without breaking up slices. Transfer onions to prepared baking sheet, spreading out in an even layer. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, potatoes, and sage in same bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place potatoes on sheet, tucking in among onions. 

Roast onion-potato mixture until potatoes are beginning to brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove pork from wine and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and top each pork slice with 2 prosciutto slices. Place pork on baking sheet atop potatoes and onions. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center of pork registers 135°, about 10 minutes. Let rest for 5–10 minutes. 

Divide onions, potatoes, and pork among plates.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Rustic Salad

I got the idea for this salad from Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking. But I used our "House Dressing." I boiled the potatoes and the hard boiled eggs. I chopped the scallions. I mixed the cooled potatoes, 1/2 a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans and the scallions with some of the dressing. I mixed arugula with some of Jake's Green Leaf Lettuce. I added some dressing to the lettuce and topped it with the potato mixture. Added the eggs on top and some chopped tomatoes. Very good. Keeping it light this Labor Day.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Spaghettini all'Olio e Rosemarino

Spaghettini all'Olio e Rosemarino and Steak. Why pasta and steak? Chris had to go into work yesterday and today. I wanted to make him a delicious dinner and I think I achieved that goal.

The Spaghettini all'Olio e Rosemarino was a recipe from Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking.

1 pound spaghettini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bushy rosemary sprigs, needles stripped , from the stem (about 3 tablespoons)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When you begin preparing the sauce, begin cooking the pasta.

In a large skillet, over -medium--high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the rosemary, and cook until the needles are sizzling and the rosemary is fragrant. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water, and simmer to reduce by half. Stir in the parsley.

When the pasta is al dente, remove with tongs directly to the skillet. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat, toss with the grated cheese, and serve.
The steak was added to the menu just because I knew Chris would enjoy it. I marinated it in his favorite, A1 Steak sauce and salt. It was quite good. Chris even said that this was the best dinner ever.

And on a sad note, today was the last day of Jake's Farm Stand. I bought 10 ears of corn today. I plan on freezing some tomorrow. I bought my last $2 head of green leaf lettuce that supplied me with a week's worth of lunches.
I picked up some of the incredible tomatoes and made a I made a Caprese Salad.  No more corn or huge heads of lettuce until next summer....
And the wine was just something I picked up this week and thought it would be a nice addition to the meal. Hey, I was right!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Grilled Pork Chops with Sage and the Corn Debate

One of my favorite blogs to read is Ciao Chow Linda. I read her last post and there was an immediate connection. I had read the book that her blog post was based on. Provence 1979 by Luke Barr. The book is about James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones who find themselves together in the South of France. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. This is a must read for anyone who loves food.
At the end of the post was the recipe for Côtes de porc grillées à la sauge, (Grilled pork chops with sage). I have a sage plant on our deck and have wanted to use some of it up rather than just drying all of it. This was perfect.
The original recipe is from "The Provence Cookbook", by Guy Gedda and Marie Pierre Moine

2 large, thick pork chops
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 3/4 T. grainy Dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves

Cut slits in the fat at regular intervals around the pork chops, and season lightly all over with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard and oil. Coarsely chop and stir in 6 of the sage leaves. Arrange the chops in a shallow dish and brush both sides with the mustard mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Before cooking, return the chops to room temperature.

Grill over indirect heat turning once, until cooked through but still juicy inside, about 15 minutes total, depending on the thickness.

Season with a little extra pepper and garnish each chop with a fresh chopped sage leaf.

Now about the corn. We buy our corn from Jake's Farm Stand. It is located on the Post Road in Madison from July until September. The corn is fantastic. It is so sweet and never varies. Today I was at Robert's buying the Pork Chops and they had corn from a local farm. I thought I would give it try. Just to see if Jake's was the best. Well, we could not eat it. It was mealy. Chris referred to it at "Cow Corn." It was just not as good as Jake's.

I had some of the Farro and Zucchini Cakes that I made last week in the freezer so we had that as an additional side dish. They were better than the corn!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Book Club - All the Light We Cannot See

It's September so that means our book club starts up again! I love Book Club. The women are so interesting and fun to be with and the book selections have all been good. Tonight we met at Karen's house. We were picking our books for this year and discussing the book we read over the summer, All the Light We Can Not See, by Anthony Doerr. Everyone enjoyed the book. It was truly an amazing story. Every time I read a book about the sacrifices people made during World War II, actually during any war, it makes me realize I should not complain about a few inconveniences that might pop up every now and then.
Karen went with a French theme, as the story was set in Paris and Saint-Malo. We started with cheese and bread and an amazing jam. For cocktails Karen served Lillet and Soda with lime. I have never had Lillet before. We will be adding it to our bar.

Karen made Zucchini Vichyssoise. Delicious! She got the recipe from The Barefoot Contessa. I will be making this for dinner next week. Perfect for a warm summer night.

Doreen wowed us with her dessert. Julia Child's Cherry Clafouti from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We loved this.
The consistency was so light and not too sweet. Clafouti is French country dessert that puffs up impressively before it collapses into a soft, custardy pancake. It was a beautiful presentation. And délicieuse!

I brought a new cookie recipe that I wanted to try. Coconut Lime Balls. Not bad! But not French....

I have submitted this post to the Novel Food. That is where people read a book and are inspired to cook something based on the book. Looking forward to see what others have read and cooked!