Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Warm Sausage and White Bean Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I added a whole lot of flavor-packed ingredients to this entree salad, including the "healthy fried onions" that I've been crowing about (steamed in the microwave and then browned in a dry nonstick pan), and to his great embarrassment, Bill all but licked the plate.

2 Bruce Aidells Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausages
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thick strips
salad greens
1 roasted beet, sliced into half moons
1/4 bulb of fennel, sliced into half moons
1 scallion, sliced thin
white beans
kalamata olives
balsamic vinegar

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Jaden's Citrus-Soy Fish Fillets with Soba (or shirataki) Noodles

This recipe is brought to you courtesy of the marvelous and talented Jaden, aka Steamy Kitchen. I would add a little chili paste next time, a drop or two of sesame oil, and maybe some chopped cilantro instead of the parsley we had kicking around in the vegetable bin. Lately when I make noodle dishes, I make regular pasta for Bill and shirataki noodles for myself. I'm pretty much addicted to them.

serves 4

4 fish fillets
salt & fresh ground pepper
6 oz. dried soba noodles

Citrus Soy Sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbl lemon juice
2 tbl honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp lemon zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and garlic powder for seasoning the fish

Boil soba noodles according to directions on package. Remember to generously salt your boiling water. Drain, set aside. While soba noodles are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in small saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce should be bright, sweet and slightly tart. Season fish fillets generously with salt and pepper and garlic powder. Heat a large, non-stick pan with 2 tbl cooking oil over med-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add fillets and fry 3 minutes. Flip fish and fry another 2 minutes, take a quick peek by poking the thickest part of the fish and add another minute if needed. Serve fish over bed of soba noodles. Pour Citrus-Soy over fish.

Shrimp and Broccoli Lo Mein with Cashews

A happy accident, this noodle dish. I went to re-create the shrimp and snow peas with cashews from a few weeks ago, but accidentally grabbed the oyster sauce instead of the hoisin when I reached into the fridge. The change resulted in a totally different dish, and, it turned out, a completely delicious quick dinner. Its light and full of good lean protein and vegetables without tasking "healthy." I ate it with shirataki noodles, and Bill had lo mein. Not a pretty dish per se, but totally satisfying and way better than Chinese take out.

2 T cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced or 1 t dried ground ginger
1/3 red onion, sliced into thin strips or 2 scallions, sliced into thin rings
1 cup raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 full head of broccoli, steamed briefly but not fully cooked
1 cup chicken stock
2-4 hefty glugs of oyster sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce, or to taste
1/2 cup salted, roasted cashews
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 package shirataki noodles or lo mein noodles, cooked and heated through

Heat the oil in a saute pan or wok. Saute the garlic, ginger and onion or white scallion rings until they are fragrant. Add the shrimp and broccoli and toss to combine. Add 3/4 of the chicken stock and the hoisin sauce. Saute until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the cashews, green scallion rings and cook just until heated through. Add the cornstarch mixed with the remaining chicken stock and bring to a boil just until thickened. Serve hot over noodles. Garnish with green scallion rings.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Linguine Frutti di Mare

So every month when Saveur shows up, I hand the magazine to Bill and say "pick one thing you want me to cook out of this." And this month he went straight to the linguini with seafood. Its the kind of dish he's always happy to eat. I cut the amount of oil down to almost nothing, tossed in a couple of clams and a little crushed red pepper. I substituted whole wheat linguine for the white stuff too..

Kosher salt, to taste
8 oz. dried whole wheat linguine
1⁄8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1⁄3 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock or clam juice, warmed up
8 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
8 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1⁄2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 leaves basil, torn, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup grated asiago cheese
4 lemon wedges

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add linguine; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Drain pasta; reserve 1⁄4 cup pasta water.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add green and red peppers, garlic, and onion; cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add wine, stock, mussels and clams; cook, covered, until mussels open, about 2 minutes. Add reserved pasta water, tomatoes, butter, and shrimp and cook, stirring, until shrimp are just pink, about 1 minute. Add cooked linguine, toss to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and clings to pasta. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta between bowls. Sprinkle with more basil, asiago, and garnish with lemon wedges.

This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #112
Photo by Andre Baranowsky

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Also from this month's Saveur, comes a recipe for a plain buttermilk chess pie. I loved the warm chocolate chess and lemon chess pies we used to serve at Virgil's Real BBQ, so I clipped this mostly out of nostalgia. We'll see how BT feels about it.
Photo by James Oseland

A variation of this classic Southern custard pie, also known as Jefferson Davis pie, is served at Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky.

3⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour
1⁄2 tbsp. plus 2⁄3 cup sugar
1 tsp. fine salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup buttermilk
1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg yolks plus 1 egg

1. Put the flour, 1⁄2 tbsp. sugar, and 1⁄2 tsp. salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add 6 tbsp. of the butter and pulse until pea-size pieces have formed. Drizzle in 2–3 tbsp. ice water; pulse until dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; form into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.

2. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12" circle about 1⁄8" thick; transfer to a 9" pie pan. Trim dough, leaving a 1⁄2" overhang; fold edges under. Flute edges with fingers. Chill for 1 hour.

3. Heat oven to 325°. Pour water into a 4-quart saucepan to a depth of 1"; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk together remaining sugar and salt, brown sugar, buttermilk, nutmeg, egg yolks, and egg. Set bowl over saucepan. Add remaining butter; cook, whisking frequently, until smooth and warm, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into chilled pie shell. Bake until center is just set, 45–50 minutes. Transfer pie to cooling rack; let cool completely before serving, about 2 hours.

This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #112

Boone Tavern Spoonbread

I clipped this recipe and photo out of the current issue of Saveuer, and I'll get around to testing it eventually, but at first glance I'm pretty skeptical. First, there's the thorny issue of white vs. yellow cornmeal. And then there's the question of method -- the paddle attachment?? Really?? And finally, there's the matter of the photo not accurately reflecting the recipe. (Where's the parchment paper?) For now, I'll stick with the tried and true.


This starter, one of the most popular offerings at Boone Tavern, which has featured the specialty for more than 60 years, is a creamy-centered corn bread pudding that rises like a soufflé.

4 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 tbsp. softened,
3 tbsp. melted)
3 cups milk
1 1⁄4 cups finely ground white cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. fine salt
2 eggs, well beaten

1. Grease a 9" round cake pan with some of the softened butter. Cut out a parchment paper circle to fit inside the pan, nestle it into the bottom, and grease the paper with the remaining softened butter. Set the prepared pan aside.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, whisking occasionally, over high heat. While whisking, pour in the cornmeal in a steady stream. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the cornmeal, for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to let the cornmeal mixture cool to room temperature.

3. Heat oven to 350°. Transfer the cornmeal mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the remaining butter, baking powder, salt, and eggs and mix on medium speed until uniform and aerated, about 15 minutes.

4. Pour cornmeal batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and puffy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #112