Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pesto alla Trapanese

This super-simple pasta dish tastes like summer.  The sauce can be made in the time it takes to boil water and cook the pasta, and it's a great use for any herbs in your garden.  I used a mix of mint, basil, and lemon thyme, but you can go crazy with whatever other leafy herbs you have.  The pesto base is supplemented with a pound of tomatoes, making the sauce taste even more fresh and summer-y.  This pasta is great hot or cold.


Pesto alla Trapanese (adapted from Back Pocket Pasta)
Serves 4

1 pound pasta
1/4 cup toasted blanched almonds
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 large garlic clove
2 cups mixed leafy herbs
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
2. Meanwhile, combine the almonds, tomatoes, garlic, herbs, salt, and chile flakes in a food processor.  Pulse until roughly chopped.
3. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, while pulsing.  Continue to pulse until the sauce forms a smooth paste.
4. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl and fold in the cheese.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Add the pasta and toss to combine.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Pan-Fried Fish Tacos

Deep-fried fish tacos are way too much work for a weeknight (or, if I'm being honest, basically ever with life with a toddler).  But sauteed or baked fish just isn't quite as exciting.  These tacos are a good compromise -- the fish is pan-fried so it doesn't quite achieve deep-fried crispiness, but it's still got some good crunch without having to deal with a big pot of oil.  Crunchy radishes and Romaine lettuce make for great toppings alongside creamy avocado and easy Sriracha mayo.



Pan-Fried Fish Tacos (adapted from The Kitchn)

1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup + 1 T panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp chili powder or Arizona Dreaming seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1 to 1-1/2 pounds white fish, such as cod, halibut, snapper, flounder, or tilapia
Olive oil

To serve: Warm corn tortillas, thinly sliced radishes, shredded Romaine lettuce, avocado, Sriracha mayo
For the Sriracha Mayo: Stir together a few spoonfuls of mayo with Sriracha and lime juice to taste.

1. Whisk together the flour, panko, chili powder, salt, and pepper on a shallow plate or dish.
2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then toss to coat evenly in the breadcrumb mixture.
3. Heat a good pour of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet -- enough to generously coat the bottom.  When hot, add the fish and immediately use a flat spatula to press down on it so it adheres to the pan.  When the bottom is deeply golden brown, flip and cook the second side until deeply golden brown.  Transfer to a plate and repeat with any remaining fish.
4. Break the fish up into large chunks, then fill warm tortillas with the fish and toppings of choice.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lemon-Poppyseed Cake with Cranberry Frosting

Another fantastic Molly Yeh recipe, perfect for any festive occasion.  The cake itself is super moist with lemon and almond flavors, and dots of poppy seeds throughout.  The cranberry glaze is bright and cheerful, and perfect for fall holidays.  Other times of the year, you could use a different berry or make a simple lemon glaze.


Lemon-Poppyseed Cake with Cranberry Frosting (adapted from Molly Yeh)
Serves 8

For the cake:
Butter for the pan
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 T poppy seeds
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice (typically takes 2 lemons)
3/4 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

For the glaze:
1/2 cup cranberries
1 T water, more if needed
1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, salt, baking powder, baking soda, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and yogurt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil until combined, then whisk in the eggs and almond extract.  Whisk in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the yogurt mixture (flour-yogurt-flour-yogurt-flour). 
3. Pour into pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
4. To make the glaze, combine the cranberries and water in a small saucepan over low heat.  Cook until the berries breakdown and release their juices, 5-10 minutes.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.  Add the sugar and salt and mix until smooth and spreadable.  Spread over cake.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Grilled Chicken Wings

These grilled wings are my new favorite way to make wings at home.  They're way quicker than cooking in the oven, with none of the mess of deep frying.  And, they turn out super juicy and moist!  Customize with whatever spice rub and wing sauce you like.


Grilled Chicken Wings (adapted from Katie Lee)

Chicken wings and drumettes -- however many you need for your group
Spice rub of your choice (I used 33rd and Galena from Penzey's but whatever you like is fine)
Wing sauce of your choice (bottled or homemade -- I went BBQ)

Toss the wings with the spice rub.  Preheat the grill to medium heat (350 degrees).  Place the wings on the grill, crowding them together so they are all touching.  Grill, flipping the wings every 5 minutes, for a total of 20 minutes.  Toss with wing sauce and serve.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Chicken Shawarma Tacos

Tacos are always hard to photograph even though they're so delicious!  This is another fantastic Molly Yeh recipe.  I would call these more "wraps" than tacos, especially if you accidentally buy big tortillas rather than taco sized.  Either way, though, the chicken is insanely delicious -- the mix of spices sounds kind of random, but together everything is pure magic.  Tahini sauce adds creaminess, and diced cucumber adds freshness.


Chicken Shawarma Tacos (adapted from Molly Yeh)
Serves 4


1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken Better than Bouillon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion
Flour tortillas, to serve
Tahini Sauce, recipe follows
Diced cucumber, to serve

1. In a large bowl, mix together the curry powder, garam masala, Better than Bouillon, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, and 2 T olive oil.  Rub all over the chicken.  Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish, cover, and marinate at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. 
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cook the chicken until cooked through, 45 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then slice into bite-sized pieces.
3. Thinly slice the onion.  Heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the onion.  Cook and stir until browned, 15-20 minutes or so.  Add the cooked chicken as well as any marinade from the dish, and cook until warmed through and starting to brown a bit around the edges, 5 minutes or so.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Warm the tortillas and fill with the chicken mixture, tahini sauce, and diced cucumber.

Tahini Sauce:
1/4 cup tahini
1 T lemon juice
3 T cold water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything together until thickened. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Korean Sloppy Joes

This is a fun twist on Sloppy Joes that I saw on a recent episode of The Kitchen.  I really liked the flavor -- it's sweet like normal sloppy Joes but with Asian flavors from the ginger and gochugang.  The only thing I would change next time is to add some diced bell pepper with the onion to get a few more veggies in the mix.  But, the baby loved it, so it's a winner in my book!


Korean Sloppy Joes (adapted from The Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 pound ground pork
1 T grated fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
5 T gochugang 
1 T sesame oil
1 T white sugar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
Toasted buns, to serve.
Shredded iceberg lettuce to serve
Thinly sliced cucumber, mixed with a little rice vinegar and salt to taste, to serve

1. The night or morning before you plan to make the dish, place the ground pork in a large bowl with the ginger, garlic, gochuang, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, and pepper.  Mix to combine, cover, and place in the fridge for at least two hours, until ready to cook.
2. Heat the oil in  a large skillet over high heat.  Add the onion, and stir until soft.  Add the meat and saute, stirring constantly until cooked through.  Drain any residual fat.
3. Toast the buns, and top each bun with shredded lettuce.  Top with the Sloppy Joe mixture, and the add the cucumber and the top bun.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Eggplant Pasta with Walnut Pesto

This pasta dish is a great way to serve eggplant.  The roasted eggplant is mixed with a tangy walnut and sun-dried tomato pesto as well as salty goat or feta cheese.  The pasta is great hot or cold, making this a great dish to bring to a potluck, pack for lunch, etc.  



Eggplant Pasta with Walnut Pesto (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Serves 4

For the pesto:
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted in a skillet
3 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T sun dried tomato pesto or 2-3 minced sun dried tomatoes
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Several leaves of fresh basil
Kosher salt
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

For the pasta:
1 medium eggplant
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 pounds pasta
Crumbled cheese, such as ricotta salata or goat (optional)

1. Make the pesto. Combine the walnuts, cheese, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, thyme, and basil in a food processor with a generous pinch of salt.  Pulse until coarsely chopped.  Add the rice vinegar and olive oil and pulse until combined.  Taste and add more salt, vinegar, or olive oil as preferred.  Set aside.
2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch slices.  Grill or roast in the oven until cooked through.  For grill, oil both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium high 8 minutes on the first side and 5-8 minutes on the second side, until charred.  For oven, preheat oven to 425 degrees, coat a baking sheet with oil, and arrange eggplant in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, roast 15-20 minutes, and flip.  Sprinkle with more salt and pepper and roast an additional 10-12 minutes.
3. Chop the eggplant into chunks.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Reserve a cup of pasta water and then drain.
5. Combine the pasta, pesto, and chopped eggplant.  Taste, and adjust seasoning, adding more oil or pasta water if needed to get the consistency you prefer.  Add cheese if desired.