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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recipe Review from 4/26/11

If you’ve seen the previous post you'll figure out that we had quite the roller-coaster week emotionally.  I’m amazed that I still managed to make a couple-three new dishes AND do some baking. I think the baking was a stress response.  I haven’t baked in ages and suddenly I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies (first batched turned out to be chocolate chip biscotti – go figure) and muffins.

Salmon with Blistered Tomatoes  (Ckng Lght, May 2011)
This called for artic char; like where the heck am I going to get artic char in Northern MN? Decided to sub salmon instead. Had a filet of that in the freezer. I’m not certain about the 3 pints of cherry tomatoes this called for – I used two (regular red cherry tomatoes) and it was more than plenty. I also let some of them pop so it was a saucy mixture that went over the fish. The sauce also tasted better the next day. My other addition/substitution was I used parsley instead of basil (I have a problem with spending $2.50 on a tiny package of basil), and I added some small capers. The flavors below just called for some tangy capers.

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 4 (6-ounce) arctic char fillets
• 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
• 4 garlic cloves, halved
• 3 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes  (I used 2 pints of regular)
• 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
• 2 shallots, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fillets with ½ teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add fillets, flesh side down, to pan, and sauté for 2 minutes. Place pan in oven; cook at 400° for 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add tomatoes to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until skins blister, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle tomato mixture with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, basil, and shallots; toss to combine. Serve with fish.

Shrimp Cobb Salad  (Ckng Lght, May 2011)
This didn’t come together as quickly as I had thought it would, even with the Husband helping. That may be because I decided to oven bake the bacon (my new favorite method of cooking bacon) and then I tossed the shrimp in and baked them for just a few minutes as well. We skipped the carrots and used some leftover broccoli slaw instead. I halved the recipe so it only made enough for two of us for one dinner. Bright flavors; best for a warm summer evening with some warmed sour dough bread to accompany.

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• 4 slices center-cut bacon
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• Cooking spray

• 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
• 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

• 1 (10-ounce) package romaine salad
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
• 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)   (I used broccoli slaw)
• 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
• 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges

1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; cut in half crosswise. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.

2. While the shrimp cooks, combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, juice, oil, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add lettuce; toss to coat.

3. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups lettuce mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 6 shrimp, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot, 1/4 cup corn, 2 avocado wedges, and 2 bacon pieces.

Pasta Puttanesca  (Ckng Lght, May 2011)

My version didn’t quite look like the picture when done, but really, it’s just pasta in a red sauce. I did forget my red pepper flakes and I could tell immediately - this was on the bland side for our tastes. Points though for ease of prep.

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 • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 3 anchovy fillets
• 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
• 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon drained capers
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

• 6 quarts water
• 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine

• 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add anchovies; mash in pan to form a paste. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to tomato mixture; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to combine. Spoon 1 1/2 cups pasta into each of 4 bowls. Drizzle each serving with 3/4 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with cheese.

Chai Muffins  (Ckng Lght, May 2011)
Baking urge kicked in with these. They are an uncomplicated recipe – only special ingredient one needs is a couple chai spice tea bags. I had some on hand from making chai biscotti so it was great to be able to use them for something else. I skipped the pistachio’s and glaze on top, instead, topping mine with some coconut while baking. The Husband’s were left plain. I really liked the flavor of these – chai like without being overly spicy. Recommended for rainy days.

• 7 9/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)

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 • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 chai blend tea bags, opened

• 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
• 1/4 cup butter, melted
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• Cooking spray

• 1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut open tea bags; add tea to flour mixture, stirring well. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

3. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

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