Search This Blog

Monday, August 15, 2016

Recipe Review from 8/8/2016

It's been quiet after the excitement of the storms last week and a long bike ride.  Some shuffling to the meal plan was necessary this week, and the corn chowder didn't make as much as advertised so I was left scrambling a bit for lunches at the end of the week.  To make things easy on myself, I got lo-mein take out from a "new to me" Oriental restaurant on my way back to the office - two egg rolls and a tub of lo-mein gave me enough for three lunches, which was perfect to get me through Monday of the following week.  Not sure what the Husband did. 

The Meal Plan
Sat (L) Grand Rapids  (S) chicken salad sandwiches
Sun (L) Picnic at Gooseberry  (S)  Grilled Pepper Tacos  leftover chicken salad sandwiches
Mon (yoga)  grilled pork chops
Tues  -  grilled pepper tacos  grilled pork chops
Wed -  Summer squash and Rotini   grilled pepper tacos
Thurs (yoga)  Summer squash and Rotini   grilled pepper tacos
Fri (early early am yoga)  Summer squash rotini

Lunches - Slow cooked Fresh Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Slow cooked Fresh Corn and Shrimp Chowder  (Ckng Lght, Aug 2016)  gluten free
This was the teeniest bit putsy on the front and back end.  Front end - cutting corn from the cobs is a rather messy job.  "Milking" the cob even more so.  I'm not sure how they got 4 cups of corn from 7 cobs, because I had so much extra corn I froze a quart in addition to the extra cup I put in the soup.

On the back end - sauteing the corn and shrimp.  I honestly wonder if the nuances of sauteing added any depth of flavor, or if this step could just be skipped and everything cooked all together - adding the shrimp during the last 30 minutes.  I did follow the directions and cooked the corn and shrimp.  Yay know, what could be really tasty - would be grilling a cob of corn and the shrimp. Hmm... 

Overall, this is a darn tasty soup.  I do think a person could easily substitute ham for a nice smokey flavor.  Recipe noted this served 10.  I only got 6 servings and that was with 1 cup extra water and 1 cup extra corn.   Their measurements are a bit off on this one...

photo from

7 ears yellow corn, shucked
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4-in. pieces
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided 
1. Cut kernels from corn cobs to measure about 4 cups. Using the dull side of a knife blade, scrape liquid from corn cobs directly into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add cobs and 3 cups kernels. Stir in chicken stock, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and potatoes. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours and 30 minutes.

2. Discard cobs. Stir half-and-half and 2 tablespoons butter into corn mixture. Transfer half of corn mixture to a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in lid (to avoid splatters). Process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining corn mixture. Stir in pepper.

3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; cook 2 minutes or until foamy. Add shrimp, remaining 1 cup corn kernels, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to pan; cook 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and are done, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons chives. Divide soup among 10 shallow bowls; top evenly with shrimp mixture, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons chives

Charred Pepper Tacos  (Whole Foods co-op flyer)  gluten free, vegetarian
I modified this recipe and my modifications are written below.  The original recipe roasted the peppers in the oven.  Which seemed silly here at the height of summer, when a grill can serve the same function and provide extra flavor.  If you think of it ahead of time - which I did not - slice the onion into rings and also toss on the grill.

I thought this came together very quickly and was very flavorful.  Some goat cheese on top would have been a tasty and tangy substitute for sour cream.   I do recommend warming up the corn tortillas - especially if you don't have access to fresh ones - they work better warm.    Recommended! 

3 bell peppers, seeded and cut in half or quarters
3 tbsp olive oil, divided  (or cooking spray)
1 small yellow onion, sliced horizontal (I used a red onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup vegetable broth
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro
1 lime, quartered
12 corn tortillas
salsa, sour cream, avocado optional

Heat grill to 450*.   Spray pepper halves or quarters with oil or cooking oil.  Grill for 15 minutes, flipping once, or until peppers are tender and lightly charring on the edges.  Remove.  Cool slightly and cut into thin strips. 

In a medium sized saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute the onions until onions are lightly browned but not caramelized.  Add the garlic, saute 30 seconds.  Add the spices, tomato paste, broth and beans and stir well; simmer for 10-15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add thin sliced red peppers, stirring to combine.  Warm tortillas.  Serve with sour cream, salsa and avocado if desired.

Serves about 6.

Basil, Squash and Tomato Pasta Toss (Ckng Lght, July 2016)  vegetarian and gluten free option**
This is a classic "whadda got in your garden" summer recipe - using that abundance of squash, tomatoes, and basil that many people plant.   I didn't have zucchini, so I just used the summer squash twice.

This does come together fairly quickly.  My first complaint with this recipe is the amount of pots and bowls - three.  One pot to boil the pasta and reduce the liquid, one dish to put the pasta in while the liquid reduces, and one pan to saute the squash.

My second complaint is combining the cheese with the liquid never works.  Adding the cheese during the cooking process, in a recipe like this never works.  I keep trying, and what I end up with is a mess of cheese sticking to my spoon, the pan, and eventually, by dish scrubbie.   Skip the whole adding the cheese to dish while it cooks, and save the goodness for the table.

3 cups unsalted chicken stock (or vegetable stock*)
Photo from
1 cup water
2 tablespoons plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces uncooked whole-grain rotini pasta
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup), divided
1 large yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped tomato (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 medium zucchini, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. Bring stock, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt to a boil in a large skillet. Add pasta; cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender. Remove pasta to a bowl with a slotted spoon.

2. Return cooking liquid to a boil; cook 13 minutes or until reduced to about 2/3 cup. Stir in 1/3 cup of the cheese; cook 1 minute, stirring until smooth.  SKIP - makes a MESS.

3. While sauce reduces, heat another skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add yellow squash; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooking liquid, yellow squash, tomato, zucchini, and juice to pasta; toss. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and basil.

Fish Tacos with Sweet Relish Sauce  (Ckng Lght, Aug 2016)  gluten free
These are super easy to assemble and taste great.  I used salmon because not only did I have it on hand, but because I think it stands up better to the spices used in the recipe.  I also simplified the recipe a tich by taking advantage of my grill instead of heating up/smelling up the kitchen.  If you really want to kick it up a noch, grill the avocado too.   Recommended!

photo from
4 (5-oz.) tilapia fillets (I used salmon)
1 teaspoon chili powder
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
8 (6-in.) corn tortillas
1 ripe avocado, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium tomato, cut into 16 wedges
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Coat pan with cooking spray.

2. Sprinkle fish evenly with chili powder, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and cumin. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Cut each fillet into slices.

3. Combine mayonnaise, pickle relish, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Heat tortillas according to package directions.

4. Divide fish, avocado, and tomato evenly among tortillas. Drizzle tacos evenly with mayonnaise mixture; sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe notes:  The creamy sauce offers a cool counterpoint to the bold blackening spices. Not in the mood for tilapia? The recipe is also great with chicken, sliced flank steak, or shrimp. Toss some avocado, tomato, and cilantro into the mix, and you're ready to knock Taco Tuesday out of the park.

No comments:

Popular Posts