Tag Archives: dinner

jalapeno tortillas recipe

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Okay, okay, it’s another Sciabica recipe. I can’t help it. This is seriously good oil. I received their product through 37 Cooks, and it was free. But I’m just about to go for broke buying more of their products. I’ve never been so obsessed with olive oil before, but I truly feel like this stuff has been making my recipes taste better.

While the bottle of Mission Spring Harvest oil is long gone after being used in muffins, ice cream, and artichokes, I still have jalapeno oil remaining. This is no insult to the flavored oil. It’s just that a little goes a long way. The stuff is so packed with heat and jalapeno flavor that I’ve been using just a tablespoon or so per recipe.

Taco night is a huge hit in our house, and these were a welcome substitution from the typical bagged flour tortillas. They were surprisingly easy to throw together. There’s enough jalapeno flavor that you taste a little heat, but not so much that the spice is overwhelming.

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Jalapeño Tortillas (adapted from http://homesicktexan.blogspot.com/2007/03/and-end-to-my-quest-flour-tortillas.html)

9 ounces flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Sciabica Jalapeno Olive Oil
3/4 cup warm milk

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and jalapeno oil. Add the warm milk and stir until the mixture forms a shaggy ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the ball comes together. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes have passed, divide the dough into eight equal balls. Place them on a lightly floured or greased surface (I just use the cutting board) and cover. Let them rest for another 10 minutes. This resting time is important because is allows the dough to soften. If you don’t let it rest, they won’t want to flatten out! Meanwhile, preheat a skillet over medium-high.

Using a rolling pin, stretch each ball into a disc as flat and wide as you can make it. Cook them on high for no more than one minute on each side. The tortillas will develop brown spots when they’re done. Try to keep warm, and serve them as soon as possible.

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fondue-stuffed chicken baked in bread recipe

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Fondue-Stuffed Chicken Baked in Bread

My last post was a recipe for the Wine Dive Challenge through 37 Cooks. But that wasn’t my only dish inspired by the Wine Dive. While the restaurant’s Florida location inspired my seafood dish, this one came straight from the wine. I thought about classic dishes that incorporated wine, and wondered which ones could be amped up to include something else.

One of my favorite food memories was the first time I tried fondue. It was during my junior year of college at my adviser’s house. She was a writing professor, but she managed to pull off some awesome courses that incorporated her love of fine food. In one such class, she teamed up with a chemistry professor and we learned the science of cheesemaking while sampling dozens of fine offerings from Zimmerman’s. I remember my professor pouring wine into the fondue pot, while we underage students eyed each other nervously and hoped we’d be able to try the alcoholic concoction. Of course we scraped up every bit of melty cheese using chunks torn from bread that our professor had baked herself. Man, I miss college.

This dish makes a neat package of those classic flavors. Wrapped in a bread crust, chicken and fondue make a perfect pair. You can omit the apple if you’d like but it does add a nice contrast to the savory cheese flavors. I love these chicken rolls served alongside broccoli and cauliflower, another traditional fondue accompaniment that’s even better when enlivened with garlic.

Fondue-Stuffed Chicken in Bread Crust with Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower
serves four

For bread crust:
20 ounces bread flour
12 ounces water
1 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast

In a large bowl or a stand mixer, combine all ingredients. Mix with a spoon (or the paddle attachment) until uniform. When blended, knead by hand on a floured surface for about ten minutes (or with the dough hook for five minutes or so). Mist the dough ball with olive oil and place in a covered bowl to rest while you complete the rest of the prep. You could also do this the day before. Just be sure to take the dough out an hour or two before you want to cook.

For fondue-stuffed chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces Gruyere or Emmenthaler cheese, or a mixture of the two
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 clove peeled garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon kirsch
1/2 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, optional

Slice each chicken breast lengthwise, beginning from the thin side. Cut horizontally not quite through, leaving the last part intact, so that the breast opens up like a book. Lay the breast flat, sandwiched between plastic wrap, and pound until the breast is thin and as even as you can make it. Season breasts with salt, pepper, and parsley.

Rub the raw peeled garlic clove around the sides and bottom of a medium saucepan. Add the cheese, wine, cornstarch, and kirsch to the pan. Over low heat, stir constantly until a smooth sauce forms. It will be thick due to the cornstarch.

Now, assemble the chicken rolls. Open each pounded chicken breast and spread fondue sauce and a fourth of the apple mixture on top, then roll it up.

Divide the bread dough into four portions. Stretch each portion out like pizza dough, and place a chicken roll inside. Seal the edges of the dough around the roll. If desired, mix the egg and water together and then brush with egg wash. Use a sharp knife to cut a little vent on top of each. Place rolls onto a sheet pan and bake at 300 for 20-30 minutes, or until 160F inside.

For Garlicky Broccoli and Cauliflower:
1/2 head broccoli
1/2 head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into bite-size florets, then steam for about five minutes (until crisp-tender). Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the butter, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper over medium-low heat. When the garlic is fragrant, turn off the heat. Toss steamed veggies in the garlic oil, then serve alongside the chicken.

Enjoy!

seared scallops with shiraz-blood orange glazed beet salad and toasted walnut couscous recipes

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Glazed Beet Salad

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Blood Orange Glazed Beet Salad and Toasted Walnut Couscous

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been a month since my last post. Let’s pretend that, as promised, I moved through the lovely queue that had built up in my WordPress account. All the lovely stuff I worked on while I had time off from work was posted as planned, and I’m not writing about stuff that already happened months ago.

Anyway, my cooking group, 37 Cooks? We had an interesting event a couple of months ago. This Florida restaurant called The Wine Dive challenged us to create dishes – incorporating a protein, vegetable, and starch – that could be served as specials in their restaurant. The options were limitless so long as our entries incorporated wine in some way. For me, it was an easy decision to use scallops. The Wine Dive is in Florida, right on the coast, and I could imagine that people would go there hoping for delicious fresh seafood. A beet and arugula salad seemed like a nice light pairing to the dish, especially using a sauce made from citrus – another Florida specialty. Although my dish didn’t win the contest, it still tasted great!

Seared Scallops with Shiraz-Blood Orange Glazed Beet and Arugula Salad and Toasted Walnut Couscous

For the scallops:
1/2 pound large dry sea scallops
Grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)

For the wine-glazed beet and arugula salad:
1 small to medium beet
olive oil
2-4 ounces arugula
1/4 cup medium-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Merlot
juice of one blood orange (or substitute a regular orange if you can’t find it)
2 tablespoons butter

For the couscous:
1/2 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon butter
Walnut oil
1/2 cup whole walnuts

For all three components, you will need salt and pepper to taste.

Make wine-blood orange glazed beet and arugula salad:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Scrub your beet, wrap it in tinfoil, and roast for an hour or two until tender when pierced with a fork. At this point, the skin should slip right off. Allow it to cool, then peel the beet and dice it. In a small saute pan heated over medium, saute the beets in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until heated through. Add the Shiraz and orange juice. Allow the liquid to come to a boil and bubble away until it coats the beets. Add butter and turn the heat down to low, stirring frequently until the beets are coated in glaze.

Meanwhile, toss the arugula in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top with glazed beets.

Make the couscous:
In a small or medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Season it with salt, pepper, butter, and walnut oil. Add the couscous, stir once, and turn the heat off. Cover the saucepan with its lid and allow it to steam for five minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a small saute pan over medium heat. Allow them to cool, then chop them finely.

Lift the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork after the five minutes are up. Stir in most of the chopped walnuts, reserving some for garnish.

Make the scallops:
Heat a large cast-iron saute pan over medium-high. Season the scallops with salt, pepper, and just a little bit of oil. When the pan is good and hot, sear the scallops, allowing them to cook for a couple of minutes on each side. Be sure to leave them alone and not nudge them until they’re good and browned! Then flip and brown on the other side.

Serve:

Plate the couscous and top with reserved chopped walnuts. Plate the beet and arugula salad, and top with scallops. This portion will serve two adults.

Enjoy.

shepherd’s pie recipe

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I think I had shepherd’s pie maybe twice in my life, and both were in my college’s cafeteria on nights when there was truly nothing more appealing.

But tonight, there was some ground beef in my fridge and there was cauliflower. I asked if anyone had a preference for dinner and the answer I received? “Ground beef. And cauliflower.”

It popped into my head out of nowhere: shepherd’s pie. Ground beef, simmered with onions, carrots, peas. Although it’s usually slathered with rich and buttery mashed potatoes, I thought we could make a perfectly delicious topping from the cauliflower that was already in our fridge. It would even be healthier. So we did. (Although we did have to augment it with potato after over-salting the cauliflower, something you don’t have to do but I’ve included it in my recipe). And it was the best dinner we’ve had in a long time.

Recipe: Shepherd’s Pie

1 medium head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
4 tablespoons of butter, divided (or alternatively, use olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup green peas
1 pound ground beef (sirloin or low-fat)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup milk
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and potato, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender – about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add carrot and onion and, stirring frequently, saute until tender. Add green peas towards the end of the cooking time. Then, add ground beef. Brown, continuing to stir. Add salt, pepper, beef stock, and soy sauce. Allow to simmer until thickened but not dry.
When the cauliflower and potatoes are tender, drain, and then mash them together with the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the milk. Alternatively, use a ricer to make them very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread the meat mixture evenly into a casserole dish (9×13″ works well). Then, spread the mashed cauliflower mixture on top of it. If desired, use a fork to whip it into little peaks that will brown deliciously in the oven.
Bake for thirty minutes. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley if you’ve got it – fresh herbs always help.

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tasso carbonara recipe

Creamy, delicious pasta

Growing up, I was spoiled rotten by my mom’s cooking. She made us amazing meals, from scratch, almost nightly. The food was so good that my brother and I would battle over leftovers, going so far as to sneak into the kitchen late at night to snag the last fajita or a serving of Moroccan chicken.

Carbonara was a lazy-night meal for my mom, and as I’ve spent the last years living on my own and then cooking for others, it’s become the same for me. Carbonara is fast and easy to prepare, but yields fabulous results every time. All you need is a little bit of pork, a few eggs, and cheese. There are fancy ways to make carbonara, but it’s just as good when you keep it simple. When I got some tasso – a Cajun cured ham – from Teet’s, it was a Thursday night and as much as I wanted to experiment, I really just wanted to get dinner on the table. So carbonara was an easy choice, especially when I thought of adding some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to the mix to complement the ham.

The sauce in carbonara results from scrambled eggs heating just enough to thicken. So pull your eggs out of the fridge to take off the chill before you do anything else. If they’re cold, they’ll take longer to thicken, and you might be tempted to turn the stove back on – not a good idea, as it will almost always end in scrambled eggs, not creamy sauce. (That has happened to me on more than one occasion. I eat it anyway – it’s delicious).

Teet’s Tasso Carbonara, as seen on 37 Cooks

  • 1/2 pound pasta, such as linguine or fettucine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces Teet’s tasso, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon Slap ya Mama seasoning, or other Cajun seasoning
  • Fresh salt and pepper to taste

Before you get started, do a little prep work: in a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, and Slap ya Mama seasoning. Set aside.

Set a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until almost done.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium. Add tasso and saute until slightly crispy and fat has begun to render. Add garlic and turn the heat down to low.

Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with tasso and garlic. Toss for a moment so the flavors mingle, then take the pan off the heat. Whisking quickly, add the egg mixture to the pasta. Toss and stir constantly until the eggs have thickened into a creamy sauce. (If the eggs scramble instead, exhale and eat it anyway – it will be tasty, and you can try again some other time).

Garnish with black pepper and a little more cheese, then serve and enjoy.