Wish Upon A Dish: November 2010

November 29, 2010

Prosciutto, Cream and Tortellini - a marriage made in heaven

Peas, Prosciutto & Cream Tortellini

* 1 (20-ounce) package fresh cheese or meat tortellini
* 1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite green peas, thawed
* 1 teaspoon butter
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 cups fat-free half-and-half
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
* 4 ounces prosciutto or lean ham, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook tortellini according to package directions. Add peas during last minute of cooking.
Drain pasta and peas; place in a large bowl.
2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds.
Combine half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; add to pan.
Bring to a simmer; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. Toss half-and-half sauce, cheese, and remaining ingredients with pasta.

After all the turkey and the leftovers I always crave a bowl of creamy pasta. This was an easy one. In my refrigerator I always have peas in the freezer, prosciutto in the drawer and cream on the shelf. Yum, yum.

November 28, 2010

Turkey Leftovers - Pie Anyone?

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as relaxing as mine was. I will be driving back and forth to the hospital until my Dad (who by the way, came out of surgery with bells on his heels) comes up near me for 2 weeks of rehab. Since the hospital is 2 hours from me and his house is only 30 minutes, I will be camping there for 3 days at a clip. Thanksgiving was 1 day home and today is another.

I feel like a vagabond. I never know what day it is or what I should be doing. Luckily The Nudge is home so I can call and he can do if I forget.

I do have to call the Dentist Office to get an appointment for my teeth. I found a place in the same town as my dentist for my dad's rehab so I can do both in one day if need be.

I have learned alot about heart surgery and how Diabetes effects your blood and healing, but that is another post.

On to the food.............

I do not do turkeys for 3 reasons:

1. There are only two of us.
2. We are not big turkey fans (a well roasted chicken has much more flavor).
3. The Nudge will NOT do left-overs for more then 2x.

I made a turkey breast for my Dad, but after we got done eating, there was still a half a breast left-over. It will sit in that freezer until he comes home, probably 3 weeks from now.

My sister-in-law gave us just enough left-overs for 1 dish, which was good because I really did not feel like cooking a whole meal on the one day I am home before hoofing it back down to the hospital for 3 days.

I am making a turkey pot pie. I bought puff pastry and I have limas in the fridge and carrots from T-day. I am frying the stuffing in a non-stick pan until it gets GB&D. That will be the 'bottom crust' and adding a can of navy beans to round out the nutritionals.

I will use a small amount of the mashed potatoes (a better choice over the flour normally used) to thicken the sauce and chop up the sliced turkey meat. You could also used mashed sweet potatoes for thickening, but the sauce will take on an orange hue (which the kids will probably think was cool anyways).

I am making 2 small casserole dishes for dinner and 2 (1 cup) ramekins for his lunch tomorrow and my dinner at my dad's house (where I am staying because it is near the hospital).

I did buy a Stouffer's Stuffed Pepper but that is in case I do not eat at the cafeteria and get home at a decent time to cook something.

Do not yell at me, I think out of all the Stouffers, that was the best pick. I do not think there is anything in there not on our list of DO NOT's.

November 21, 2010

Lemon-Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake

I am a citrus lover of anything.

Yes, my favorite is lemon but I love lime, grapefruits, blood oranges and tangerines.

This time of year when I can get tangerines, I replace the orange in a recipe with them.

I saw this recipe over at Leite's Culinaria and just had to make it. A perfect hostess gift, a great Turkey Day breakfast (or any breakfast for that matter).

You have got to stop what you are doing and make this cake....I am serious, it is the best coffee-type cake I have ever eaten. Once you make it, the second time will be a breeze. It really isn't all that difficult once you understand the outcome. I am going to make a cranberry-apple version for Thanksgiving. This one is going to my Dad's with us (if it lasts that long).

Us Diabetics and dieters can use Splenda in this dish with no problems. The sugar does not effect a crust or a caramelizing and if you have the Whey Low Powdered you are very good to go (see tab on top for ordering information).

I suggest you read the recipe carefully, there is a technique that is not normally used in a sweet bread or roll recipe. I only had a large loaf pan (11x5") for this so I probably should have made 8 stacks instead of 6. If you have the standard 9" loaf pan, this recipe works well. I will have to buy a standard loaf pan now. This cake could be made with jams or nuts or chocolate. The possibilities are endless.

Makes one 9-by-5-inch cake; 14 servings

Lemon and cream cheese have long been classic companions in American baking, and this fun-to-assemble, sweet-tart filled coffee cake makes it easy to see why. Showcasing the lively flavors of fresh citrus, the sweet, buttery filling is made with fluffy, fragrant lemon and orange zest. The warm loaf is brushed with a zippy cream cheese icing, whose tangy flavor marries marvelously with the sunny taste of citrus. Enjoy a slice of this pull-apart coffee cake whenever you need a pick-me-upper.


For the sweet yeast dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the lemon paste filling
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

For the tangy cream cheese icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Make the sweet yeast dough
1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, the sugar, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.

2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl securely with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Make the lemon paste filling
1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and the lemon and orange zests. Set the sandy-wet mixture nearby (the sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create the consistency).

Make the coffee cake
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Or, lightly coat the pan with nonstick spray.

2. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over one of the buttered rectangles. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.

3. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips width wise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.
4. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the tangy cream cheese icing
1. In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.

2. To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.

3. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days.)

4. Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.

November 20, 2010

Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Flounder

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe that I saw Emeril make on his old Food Network show.

I liked the concept of a shrimp stuffing baked under a nice piece of flounder with a white wine butter sauce on top (almost like a piccata without the capers).

I never make it the same twice, but it is always good no matter what ingredients and amounts I use.

I will write it down this time so you all can enjoy this dish. I bake mine in individual oval ramekins but you could use a baking pan if you do not have enough oval ramekins.

I buy Swai. It is cheap, it is frozen and it is an Indonesian catfish, so it is flavorful and slightly fatty (which is a good thing for us - Omega's you know).
You could use what ever white fillet fish is on Special (usually Tilapia).

Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Flounder
* 4 pieces white fish fillets
* 1/4 pound shrimps, chopped fine
* 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
* Essence
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
* 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
* 1 cup white wine
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (or 1 cup stuffing cubes from Thanksgiving, coarsely processed)
* 1 large or 2 small shallot(s), minced
* 1 tablespoon Spanish pimento peppers or peppadews
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 cup white wine, divided
* 1 tbls flour
* 3 tbls milk
* wedges of lemon

In a small frying pan add olive oil, shallot, garlic, Essence, peppers, lemon zest and a pinch of salt & pepper. Saute until soft and add lemon juice and 1/3 cup wine. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
In a small bowl with the bread cubes add the wine mixture, cover and set aside. In same fry pan add spinach and 1 tsp butter and saute until softened. Remove, cool and chop. Add to bread mixture. Cool.
Add cheese and shrimps to cooled mixture and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

In a baking pan or ramekins (buttered), put two scoops of stuffing for each fillet.
Top each scoop with 1 fillet. Salt & pepper fish.

Place 2-3 dabs of butter on top of each fillet.

Slice some lemons and place on top of fillets. The lemons, when cooked, are a nice addition to the white fish.

Heat a small saucepan and add butter, flour, milk, remaining 2/3 cup wine, lemon zest and more Essence. Heat to incorporate, cool and pour over fillets. The stuffing will absorb the juices from the fillets and most, if not all, of the sauce.
Bake in a 425F oven for 20-25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.

Beauty of this dish is the small amount of pans to wash. Three pans to wash, one to saute in and one to bake, serve and eat out of.

It's a good thing.........

November 19, 2010

Jamaican Pork Tenderloin

This dish is not what you are thinking. It is not a pork tenderloin rubbed with Jamaican spices and roasted.

It is a tenderloin, baked in a tomato-based Jamaican spiced sauce.

I don't remember where I first saw this recipe but I know I have been making this for 25 years. I gave my sister this recipe for her Jr. Woman's League cookbook and based on my niece's age, 25 years is about right.

This is my 'Go To' recipe when we have dinner guests. Easy to make, tasty and different, the tenderloin is always that....tender.
You can brown it ahead of time, make the braising sauce and set it in the oven.

Right before you are ready to eat, bake for 30 minutes.

Serve with a roasted vegetable and rice (or polenta) and you can actually sit down with your company and have a stressless dinner party.

Low in calories, Diabetic Friendly and Gluten-Free (if you leave out the pat of butter at the end), it is good for everyone, so no problem if your guests have dietary concerns. Pretty fantastic, huh?

Jamaican Tenderloin
Serves 4, can be doubled successfully
* 1- 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin
* 1 cup marinara sauce
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
* 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* salt & pepper
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 cup vermouth
* 1 tablespoon of butter for finishing

1. Brown pork on all sides in an oven save dish.
2. To marinara sauce add all the spices, sugar, salt & pepper and bay leaf.
3. Pour mixture over pork, and then pour vermouth over that. Do not stir in the vermouth. Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 25 minutes in a 375F oven.
4. Instant read thermometer should read 145 degrees. Remove pork to a warmed platter and cover with foil.
5. Remove bay leaf from sauce. Stir in butter. Slice pork into 1/2" diagonal slices and pour sauce over. Serve.

November 18, 2010

Everyones mind is on Turkey Day

I love the whole concept of Thanksgiving. From the process of selecting the menu, the shopping lists and the actually cooking. A full Turkey dinner is actually quite healthy as long as you eat lots of vegetable sides and sweet potatoes instead of stuffing, mashies and biscuits.

If you make a cornbread stuffing with lots of vegetables (carrots, onions, leeks, garlic and mushrooms) and even sausage, you can have 1 scoop of stuffing.

I know everyone has their family favorites that, let's face it, would not be Thanksgiving without them on the table.

My family is dwindling, I am down to 1 parent and no in laws. This may be our last get together with The Nudge's siblings, already they are talking about traveling for Christmas.
It's OK.

Time for another cruise. Never been on a Christmas cruise. I bet the boat is decorated to the hilt. But that is another post.....

This year I actually get to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for my Dad. Might be a day or two before Thursday but I have never cooked a Turkey Day menu for him.

Yesterday, armed with my list, I went food shopping.

Criteria was....a meal that would fit in 2 green bags, half-cooked and transported to his house with the least amount of fuss. I know my Dad's pantry is maybe 1 shelf in the closet. Nothing goes that will not either be eaten or thrown away, applying to the baking and serving pans. I do not want to cart things down and then have to bring them back. I also do not want to spend my evening cleaning up & I certainly do not want him to do it.

This was my shopping list....:
1 FREE turkey breast, maybe 4-5 pounds
1 bag of cornmeal stuffing cubes
1 Bib Evans sausage roll
1 quart container of good quality chicken stock
1 head of red cabbage
1 small bag of Brussels sprouts and cauliflower florets (use a salad bar for the cauliflower)
2 large white onions
1 small package of carrots
3 huge sweet potatoes
6 small Yukon gold potatoes
1 package of Knorr turkey gravy mix
1 pint of milk
1 pint of heavy cream
Platter of Italian cookies for dessert
1 pound unsalted butter
1/2 pound green beans
3 bottles of red wine

This is the menu.......:
Roasted Turkey Breast with Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Mashed and Sweet Potatoes (made ahead)
Green Beans (made ahead)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts (made ahead)
Cauliflower (will nuke steam them)
Braised Red Cabbage (made ahead)
Steamed Broccolini
Coffee and Italian Cookies (and yes, I will go to an Italian Bakery for these)

Sorry no cranberry sauce. We just don't eat it.

What we do not eat, he will have leftovers for a few days.

This will really make him feel better after his angioplasty procedure. He should be well enough to visit with his girlfriend's family on Turkey Day if he feels up to it, but if he doesn't, he at least had a Thanksgiving meal with his daughter & The Nudge.

Recipe #1: This is adapted from The Frugal Gourmet
One of the only recipes for red cabbage that did not have either onion or apples in..I love it for that reason. Once my family tried it, it was the new GO TO for Turkey Day.

English Boiled Red Cabbage
serves 6-8
* 3 small head red cabbage or 1 huge head
* 2 cups Chicken Stock
* 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/2 cup brown sugar (or Splenda Blend)
* 1/2 stick (1/8 pound) butter
* Salt & Pepper to taste

Quarter, core and slice cabbage into 1/4" slices. Place everything in a 5 quart saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. I leave the lid off and simmer longer until the sauce is thickened.

Recipe #2: This is adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Family approved, easy to make. The sprouts caramelize with the shallots and the vinegar at the end plays off the sweetness and cuts through the bacon fat. You could not get easier then this.

Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Shallots and Thyme
serves 4-6
* 1/2 pound fresh brussel sprouts
* 2 slices apple wood smoked bacon, diced
* 1 large shallot or 2 small, sliced
* 1/4 cup water or chicken stock, if you have
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon both olive oil & unsalted butter
* 1 large spring fresh thyme
* Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large fry pan, bring water or stock to a boil. Add chopped bacon, sprouts and shallots; Cover, and simmer 4 minutes.
Remove cover and continue to simmer until water has evaporated and bacon is starting to crisp.
Add thyme sprig, olive oil and butter. Saute until everything caramelizes. Shut off heat and add vinegar. The residual heat from the pan will reduce the vinegar to a glaze and turn it sweet. Remove the thyme, taste for seasonings and serve.

Recipe #2: This is adapted from America's Test Kitchen
These are by far the most decadent mashed potatoes you can make. Butter and heavy cream, roasted garlic and salt & pepper. That's it, that's enough. What makes these even more light and creamy is that the potatoes are steamed, then put through a ricer.
If you ever make mashed potatoes again, you have to try these. I do not like buttermilk or sour cream in them, I am not a fan of that tang, not in my potatoes, but feel free to add it if you want.

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic
serves 8-10
* 5 pound bag of Idaho Potatoes
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, more if needed
* 4 garlic cloves, peeled
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* Salt & Pepper to taste

Peel and cut potatoes into 1" cubes. In a large stockpot with a steamer insert, steam potatoes with garlic cloves for 25 minutes.
In a large bowl, pour in cream and butter. Rice potatoes, along with garlic cloves into bowl with cream& butter in it.
Stir to incorporate and season with salt & pepper. Remember, potatoes can take more salt then you think it needs. Taste after each addition. If you are storing these for later use (like I am) you will need to add more cream (or milk) and butter to them right before serving.

All I have left to do before Monday is the sweet potatoes (I have already baked them in their skins but haven't figured out which way I want to serve them yet) and the cauliflower. More then likely I will slice the sweet potatoes, lay them in a baking pan and top them with a brown sugar, maple butter drizzle.

I will brine the turkey breast on Saturday. When I get to my Dad's I will remove it from the brine, place it on a baking sheet and let it dry out in the refrigerator. This gets the skin crispy, crunchy.

1:00pm - Remove the turkey from the fridge to room temp.
1:30pm - Lay the stuffing on the baking sheet. Make compound butter and rub it under the turkey skin. Salt & pepper the outside.
2:00pm - Place the turkey over the stuffing ans into a 400F oven for 20 minutes and then lower the heat to 350F and continue baking until thermometer reads 160 degrees (I am assuming it will take about the same time as a large roaster chicken, 90 minutes).
3:30pm - Remove turkey to counter and tent with foil. Remember, the stuffing will have soaked up any pan juices so make sure you have a quart or 2 of turkey or chicken stock handy.
3:40 - Heat in a 300F oven the green beans, red cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, and sweet potatoes along with a package of frozen biscuits. Nuke the cauliflower and mashed potatoes. Set oven to warm, add the turkey and stuffing.
3:45pm - Make the gravy and put in thermal gravy boat.

While The Nudge is picking up my Dad I will be home doing the following:
4:15pm - set the table, open the wine and carve the turkey.
4:30pm - Sit down to a lovely dinner.

If I forgot anything, I will just improvise when I get there.
This meal is not so much about the food as it is about my Dad finally letting me do something for him.

This is going to be a nice meal for my Dad. I am pretty jazzed about it.

November 17, 2010

Please Remember that November is American Diabetes Month

With all the recent activities going on around here (the Giveaway, the Daring Cooks November Challenge, my Dentistry, Thanksgiving preparations), I made two pledges and I admit am a BAD girl.

I have been eating beans this week but I have not been blogging about Diabetes everyday (I pledged to the American Diabetes Association to do just that).

Today The Nudge forwarded 3 PDF's to me that were forwarded to him from his company's Director of Human Resources about Diabetes. He thought my readers would like to read them. I agree.

If you already have been diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 Diabetes, you have probably covered all the information that is, indeed, in these 3 flyers.

One flyer is geared for people who might be worried about actually having diabetes and not knowing if they really do (like I was 8 months ago).....
This flyer is for them.

This flyer is information on stopping Diabetes before it leads to loss of toes or kidneys.

This flyer is about maximizing and maintaining control over Diabetes.

Either one would be a good read and if you want (I think it might be a good thing) you could print them out and post them on the company's post board (you, know, where employees can post pictures, announcements or company policies). I would, of course, get permission to post them, but they are worth sharing with your friends and co-workers. Maybe your Human Resources Director can Email them to all the employees.

My sister-in-law has diabetes and for years I knew she had it, but never in my mind did I think I was "that close" to joining her. She went from pills to insulin shots in 1 year. I refuse to shoot anything into my body if I can control it with food and exercise. I had none of the symptoms and my blood tests showed nothing until the last one I took. My Doctor called the lab and ordered the AC1 test and I was at 115.

120 is Diabetes. What I did and what I have accomplished is in the archives on this blog. I didn't even know what a blog was BD (Before Diabetes). I am now empowered with the knowledge of food, nutrition and how it effects your body, to finally get a hold on my overall health.

Now it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

I have started to loose weight (slowly but consistently), I feel better, I have no digestion issues, I haven't had to 'down a TUM' in months and my sugar is being controlled.

Yes, I still have bad habits I can't shake......like not eating breakfast when I get up, not snacking when I know my sugar is low and, my most worse habit.....NOT EXERCISING.

If you have gotten 'HERE' than I have to thank you for reading this post.
If I help one person on the road to better health because of this post and blog, then I feel I have done something constructive with my life.

November 16, 2010

Panko Baked Halibut + a giveaway!!!

The chef´s secret is out - panko is in! A longtime secret of Japanese cuisine, panko is now a pantry staple for creating perfect crispiness in any dish. Lemon Pepper has joined the ranks of Progresso´s line of panko bread crumbs, which includes Original and Italian flavors.

I love panko for the extra crunch it adds to the healthier oven 'fried' foods.
The Nudge just loves the crunch.

I was recently given a gift pack including one package of Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko to try and an autographed copy of chef Chiarello´s new cookbook: Michael Chiarello´s Bottega.

The very kind people at General Mills and My Blog Spark are also providing another Prize Pack to one lucky winner!

I have looked at every recipe in this cookbook and The Nudge has requested I make them all, it is that good. I was aways a fan of Chef Chiarello, but now he moves right up there under Thomas Keller.

Since this is my very first giveaway (I am already planning another right before Christmas) this is what you need to do:

International readers can participate and as always, you don’t need to have a blog to enter.
You can do any or all of the following (the more you do, the greater your chances of winning!). Please leave a separate comment for each so I can count it as another entry:

1) Leave a comment here letting me know what you would make using the Lemon Pepper Panko.

2) Add me to your RSS feed and leave a comment here letting me know.

3) Link back to this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment here letting me know.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, November 30th at 9PM EST; after that I’ll use a random number generator to determine the winner. The winner will be announced on Thursday. Good luck to all!

While browsing the Serious Eats website recipes I was looking for a recipe that was healthy, seafood based and included hazelnuts (I had just bought a large bag) I stumbled upon a recipe for Pan-Seared Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower & Hazelnuts.

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower say fall while the panko coated seared halibut said healthy & seafood. I loved the addition of a rich Hazelnut Cream. I'll admit that the recipe is a bit complex, but some steps can be done in stages and even the day before.

Panko Halibut with Caramelized Cauliflower and Hazelnut Sauce
serves 6

For the Hazelnut Cream:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup hazelnuts, skins removed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup fish stock
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the Caramelized Cauliflower Cream:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound cauliflower, sliced 1/2-inch thick
3/4 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Brussels Sprouts:
3/4 pound medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
4 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

For the Halibut:
6 skinless halibut fillets, 6 ounces each
* 1 cup Lemon Pepper Panko
* egg wash
* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Make the Hazelnut Cream: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast them until golden brown, stirring occasionally to keep them from burning, about 3 minutes. Add the fish stock and heavy cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth (can be made a day ahead).

2. Make the Cauliflower Cream: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced cauliflower and cook until the slices are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the heavy cream and simmer until the cream has been reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Purée the cauliflower mixture in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper (can be made a day ahead)

3. Cook the Brussels Sprouts: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer the sprouts to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain the sprouts.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the hazelnuts and sauté until they just begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and continue cooking until the sprouts and hazelnuts are browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook until the garlic and sage soften, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Sauté the halibut: Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Dip in egg wash, then in panko. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

Place 3 halibut fillets in the pan and cook until the fish begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and cover it with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 halibut fillets.

5. To serve: Place a spoonful of cauliflower cream in the center of 6 plates. Top the cauliflower cream with the halibut, spoon the hazelnut cream on top of the fish, and scatter the Brussels sprouts around the fish. Serve immediately.

Now I know why people on low carb diets use cauliflower as their mashed potato. The Nudge went bonkers over the taste, he loved it that much. Said I could make it every night if I wanted. Amazing, I found a cauliflower recipe he will eat without an eyeroll............

Make this dish. The only carb and Diabetic Unfriendly ingredient in it would be the panko and there really wasn't that much to begin with.

November 15, 2010

Bottega - Michael Chiarellos new cookbook review & a giveaway

The minute I picked up Michael Chiarellos new cookbook, I drooled over each and every recipe & picture in that book from page 1 to the end.

It is spectacular, his best work. His older 'At Home' is a very informative cookbook on easy entertaining (which he based his Emmy award winning Food Network show on) but 'Bottega' is a book with recipes on actual dishes from his restaurant of the same name and is pure restaurant genius which can be made at home. Each recipe has a wine pairing suggestion, which makes it a no-brainer.

Although he uses traditional Italian ingredients (I am sure he has them shipped over) in his restaurant, he does offer substitutions for items that can be found at your nearest Italian deli or salumeria and if you are lucky, in your local market.

Simple but top quality has always been the Italian way. 5 Ingredient Fix was invented in Italy.

If you want to impress your family and guests at this years Christmas Party or Dinner, this cookbook is for you.

Starting tomorrow you can have a chance to win a signed copy of this wonderful cookbook. Keep it yourself or give it as a Christmas gift.
Details will be in tomorrows post (Tuesday).

Now a sneak peek recipe from the book......

Tagliatelle with Bread Crumbs, Mint and Tomato Carpaccio
* 1 pound your fresh Tagliatelle or fresh Linguine
* 6 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced or pint of grape tomatoes, halved
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* Sea salt
* Freshly, ground pepper

Garlic Bread Crumbs:
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 1 1/4 cups dried bread crumbs

* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus 3-4 leaves, finely shredded
* 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano

Make a pound of your favorite homemade pasta dough and run it through the small spaghetti cutter or buy a fresh linguine-style egg pasta.

Lay the tomato slices on a large serving platter or pasta bowl, overlapping them. Drizzle a good quality EVOO over the slices and season with sea salt & pepper. Set aside.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. When it foams, add the garlic and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir until well mixed. Remove and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, bread crumbs and chopped mint. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water or more if needed. Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the platter on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with shredded mint and pecorino. Serve, making sure each person gets tomato slices with their pasta.

November 14, 2010

Three Sisters Souffle - Daring Cooks Challenge November 2010

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge!

Dave and Linda provided many of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

For my souffle, I choose the Three Sisters.

The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of some Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans.
The three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil are built for each cluster of crops. Several maize seeds are planted close together in the center of each mound. When the maize is 6" tall, beans and squash are planted around the maize, alternating between beans and squash.

The three crops benefit from each other. The maize provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provide the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants utilize and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight, which helps prevent weeds. The squash leaves act as a "living mulch", creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil, and the prickly hairs of the vine deter pests. Maize lacks the amino acids lysine and tryptophan, which the body needs to make proteins and niacin, but beans contain both and therefore together they provide a balanced diet.

I made a base with puree of roasted butternut squash, baby Lima beans, chickpeas, cream-style corn aromatics, spices and toasted Pepita's. I add that to a standard bechamel sauce and will add a dry grated cheddar cheese.

I know from making a polenta souffle, the denseness of the base effects the rising power of the egg whites so I always like to add 2 extra ones for the normal amount usually asked for in a basic recipe.

I thought long and hard about what the spices or flavorings would be, and since the squash is native to the Americas, I chose chili powders.

First thing I did was whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Knowing I would be doing this hours before, the stiffer the better. I will have to rewhip them right before folding into the base.

Roasted Butternut Squash
* 1 large peeled, deseeded butternut squash, cut into 1” chunks
* 1/2 head of garlic, separated into peeled cloves (about 7-8)
* 6 large sage leaves
* 3 tablespoons of olive oil
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* 1/2 cup Pepitas or sunflower seeds, shelled
* Cedar planks or papers for baking
* 1 tsp New Mexico chili powders (I make a blend using 1 part ancho powder, 1/2 part guajillo powder, 1 part negro pasilla powder and 1 part hatch peppers)
* Oven set to 425 degrees.

Spread first 5 ingredients on planks on rack or papers on a baking pan and bake for 40 minutes.
Last 5 minutes throw in seeds. Remove to bowl.
Cool and puree, add chili powder and taste.
Adjust seasonings.

Three Sisters Souffle
* 1/2 cup baby Lima's, defrosted
* 1/2 cup squash puree
* 1/2 cup chickpeas
* 1/2 cup cream style corn
* 4 yolks
* 6 egg whites
* pinch of cream of tartar
* 3 T butter
* 3 T ww flour
* 1 cup milk
* salt & pepper
* 1/2 cup finely grated smoked cheddar cheese

I gently folded in the egg whites until only small streaks of white were showing.

I baked it at 375F for 40 minutes.

I have made a few souffles over the last year and they are really quite easy as long as you have everything prepared ahead of time and you bake it right before serving. You can make the base a day or two in advance and the only thing left would be the egg whites, which can be stored in the fridge.
Just bring them to room temperature while the oven is preheating and since it only takes 2-3 minutes to whip them, let the Kitchen Aide do that while you set the table.

It was light, airy, extremely tasty (for a total vegetarian base), and even though we ate it solo, I think it would be a wonderful side made in a small ramekin.

November 11, 2010


I absolutely adore a good Madeleine. Golden brown along the edges, buttery interior, light and airy and not too sweet. After all, they are for eating with a good cup of coffee and we all know that if the dessert is too sweet it alters the taste of a good cup of coffee. Desserts, like foods, should work with the coffee, not against it.

That is why the French never drink coffee with their dessert course. I have tried my share of recipes and I finally think I found a good one.

It is actually flavored with sweetened flake coconut so the texture has a little chew to it. I like that. I am also dipping half of them in melted chocolate and then a sprinkle of coconut while the chocolate is still warm.

The Nudge, not a fan of coconut, agreed with the dipping in melted dark chocolate but not with the extra coconut sprinkled after.

I bought my coconut from Whole Foods and there is a difference in that and the bagged brand often found at a basic market.

Even though this recipe only uses 1/2 cup of sugar for 24 cookies (1 teaspoon in each cookie) and we are allowed 4 teaspoons of sugar a day, I used the Splenda anyway.

Coconut Madeleines
makes 24 cookies

* 1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
* 3 large eggs
* 1/2 cup Splenda
* 1 cup GF all purpose flour mixture
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
* 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar (optional), or
* 1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels + 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Coat 24 indentations in madeleine pans with melted butter.
2. Pulse coconut in a processor until ground.
3. In a large bowl, with electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until blended and slightly foamy, about 2 minutes.
4. On low speed, beat in flour, ground coconut, baking powder and salt until just smooth. Add melted butter and extracts; stir until combined. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
6. Scoop, using a small 1oz scoop, a generous amount into each indentation.
7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cookies are done when they are golden around the edges and springy when pressed with your fingertips. Let cool 5 minutes. Remove from pans to rack, let cool completely. Dust with sugar (optional).

8. In a bowl over boiling water, melt chocolate with cream. Dip each cookie, rounded side, into chocolate and place on a pan with parchment or waxed paper. I find that freezer paper works well also.

You can see from what's left of my madeleines, they were good undipped also.