Thursday, December 18, 2008

Super Scampi

Cook Time: 8 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 6 anchovies
* 6 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 stems oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped
* A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
* 1 quart chicken stock
* 2 cups water
* 2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 pound linguini
* 1 lemon
* 1 cup basil leaves, about 20, torn
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Crusty bread, torn into pieces


Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add anchovies, garlic and crushed
pepper to the pan and cook until anchovies melt into oil, a couple of
minutes. Add herbs and wine and reduce for 1 minute then melt butter
into sauce. Add stock and water to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir
in the shrimp and pasta and reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered
for 7 to 8 minutes until pasta is al dente and shrimp are firm. Stir
in zest and juice of 1 lemon and basil, season with salt and pepper to
your taste. Serve directly from pan with hot, crusty bread.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken in a Pot, No Pie

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 starchy potatoes, skin left on and diced (recommended: Idaho)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy green tops, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, chopped
1 small bunch pencil asparagus, trimmed of woody ends and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, 4 to 5 sprigs, chopped
Serve with crusty whole-grain bread - a lot easier than making pastry!


Heat a large, deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium high heat.
Add extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Melt butter into oil then add
the potatoes, onions, celery and carrots, adding them to the pot as
you chop them. Add bay leaf and season veggies with salt, pepper and
poultry seasoning, cook 5 to 6 minutes to soften them a bit. Add flour
and cook another minute then whisk in wine and cook off a minute more.
Add stock and put a lid on the pan or pot and raise heat to bring to a
quick boil. Slide in chicken and cook 5 minutes. Stir in asparagus and
cook 3 minutes more. Turn off heat and add the peas and tarragon. Stir
to combine and adjust salt and pepper, to your taste. Ladle into bowls
and serve with crusty bread for mopping.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
* 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
* 4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
* 4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
* 1 cup canned pumpkin
* 1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
* Coarse salt and black pepper
* 1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
* Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
* Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment


Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion, as an accompaniment, recipe follows

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1
tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it.
Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet
and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and
then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2
minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce
until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and
stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt
and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf
from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine
sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta
with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Serve pumpkin sausage pasta with pumpernickel or whole grain bread and
Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion.

Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion:

* 1 pound triple-washed spinach, de-stemmed
* 1 small Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored, and sliced
* 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 1/2 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) apple cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon grain mustard
* 1 tablespoon (a good drizzle) honey
* Coarse salt and black pepper

Place spinach, apple, and onion in a salad bowl. Place oil, vinegar,
mustard and honey in a small plastic container and fit lid on
container. Shake dressing to combine, 1 minute. Pour dressing over
salad, toss, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chicken Quesadilla Pinwheels

Cook Time: 8 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 appetizer servings


* 4 large 10 to 12-inch flour tortillas
* 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack
* 1 cup chipotle salsa
* 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken meat, still warm from store or
warmed in microwave


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a flour tortilla, blister
it on 1 side then turn it over. Scatter cheese on top and cook 1
minute. Remove to cutting board. Top the tortilla with 1/4 cup salsa,
spreading it gently with the back of a spoon back to edges. Top with
1/2 cup chicken, then roll tortilla into a log. Let stand a minute
before cutting. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut pinwheels into
1/2-inch slices and arrange on platter.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pasta al Forno

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


* 1 pound ziti rigate
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 (15-ounce) can, crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 2 pinches ground cinnamon
* Salt and pepper
* 3 ounces prosciutto, 1 thick slice from deli, chopped
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
* Softened butter to coat a medium casserole or baking dish


Bring large pot of water to boil, then salt and cook pasta to al dente
on the chewy side, 7 minutes. Once your pasta water comes to a boil to
cook ziti, preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

To medium skillet over medium heat add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns
of the pan. Cook onions and garlic in oil 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in
tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Add cream and season sauce with
cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add chopped prosciutto to sauce and stir
with cooked pasta to combine. Coat a medium casserole with the butter.
Adjust seasonings and transfer pasta to casserole. Cover pasta with
Parmigiano-Reggiano and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve hot
from oven.

French Vanilla Ice Cream with Sauteed Bananas and Phyllo Triangles

Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 servings


* 4 sheets phyllo dough, 13 by 17
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 2 bananas, thickly sliced
* 2 bananas, sliced on an angle
* 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 2 shots spiced rum
* 1 pint French vanilla bean ice cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Top with a layer of phyllo
and brush the sheet with the melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon.
Scatter a layer of sugar across the butter coated pastry. Repeat with
2 more layers of pastry, then top with a final sheet of dough then cut
pastry into long triangles, working from side to side of the cookie
sheet, using a sharp paring knife or pizza wheel. Cover the pastry
with another sheet of parchment paper and another cookie sheet. Place
pastry in the hot oven and bake 15 minutes or until golden. Remove
pastry from oven to cool.

Begin other recipes in your menu while pastry bakes.

When you are ready to serve dessert, heat a medium nonstick skillet
over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. When butter melts,
add bananas and saute 3 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar to coat
bananas. When sugar melts around fruit, add rum and flame it. Pour rum
from shot glass, not from the bottle, to prevent flame ups. When flame
goes out and alcohol has evaporated, spoon warm bananas into cocktail
glasses. Top with small scoops of French vanilla ice cream and garnish
with phyllo triangles. Serve extra triangles on a pretty plate for
sweet snacking.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Macadamia Coconut Cookie Bars

Cook Time: 20 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 16 bars


* 1 package dry sugar cookie mix, prepared to package directions
* 1 cup macadamia nuts
* 1 cup shredded coconut
* 1 cup white chocolate chips
* 9 by 12-inch baking dish
* Softened butter, to prepare baking dish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

To cookie mix prepared to package directions, add nuts, coconut and
white chocolate chips. Butter the baking dish and spread cookie dough
evenly into a thin layer across the baking dish. Bake bars for about
15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, and cool
slightly. Then cut into squares, remove with offset spatula and serve.