Friday, August 13, 2010

Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Inspiration for this is from the garden, obviously.  All the veggies were fresh off the vine. I'm up to my neck in ripe tomatoes!

Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

3 medium eggplant, sliced thin
2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
several large tomatoes, seeded and diced
olive oil
grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375°.

Arrange eggplant and zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat vegetables with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes. Arrange half of eggplant in a single layer in an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with half of zucchini and half of tomato. Drizzle olive oil evenly over vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese and next 4 ingredients; sprinkle half over the tomato layer. Repeat layers with remaining eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and breadcrumb mixture. Pour broth over top. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender and topping is browned.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Roasted Poblano, Avocado and Cucumber Soup

Long time, no post. I apologize.  I've been fairly uninspired in the kitchen lately, relying mainly on good, old staples.

But now that the garden is producing more than just salads, it's time to get back in the kitchen. Tonight's dinner is inspired by a recipe by Food & Wine, an abundance of cucumbers from the garden and wanting to do something with them other than yet another salad, and a husband who made gagging noises at the idea but who is, conveniently, at soccer tonight.  He doesn't know what he's missing.

Roasted Poblano, Avocado and Cucumber Soup

2 medium poblano, cored and seeded and cut in half
3 cloves garlic
5 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 avocados, chopped
~4 cups chicken broth
~3 tsp hot curry powder
dash of tumeric
dash of saffron
1 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
salt to taste
cilantro to taste

Preheat broiler to 500*.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, spray with cooking spray.  Place poblano halves skin-side up.  Broil 5-10 minutes or until skin is charred.  Remove from oven, let cool. Remove the skin and coarsely chop.

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add olive oil and heat thru.  Add garlic and sautee until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Add poblano and sautee about 5 minutes.  Add curry powder and toast until fragarant.  Add broth, cucumbers, and avocado; cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until smooth, adding more broth if necessary to maintain texture.  Add in spices and lime juice to taste.  Simmer another 5-10 minutes.

This soup can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oven-Friend Buttermilk Chicken

This was 5 million times better than KFC.  The chicken was perfectly moist, the skin was crispy.  I think using the convection settings on the oven helped this.

Oven-Friend Buttermilk Chicken

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin on

1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a large ziploc bag.  Add chicken breasts to bag, turn to coat.  Let sit at room temperature for 15 mintues.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.  Combine breadcrumbs and seasoning in a large bowl.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.  Place an oven-safe cooling rack in the baking sheet.

Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture, coating evenly on all sides, and arrange on cooling rack.  Place in oven on a middle rack and bake at 425ºF for 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160ºF, turning halfway thru.

Increase heat to 450º and cook 5-10 minutes or until skin on top is crispy and internal temperature reads 175-180º.  Remove from oven and serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Cheddar Bay" Biscuits

Tonight's dinner was your basic tilapia in a lemon-butter sauce.  But I wanted to have biscuits with it.

I poked about online for a replica of the only reason people go to Red Lobster - the Cheddar Bay biscuits.  And all of them, to the last one, called for Bisquick mix.

Really?  You're too lazy to mix together some flour, baking soda and baking powder??

I've been using this biscuit recipe for four years now.  So I just took this basic recipe and modified it.  The results?

Delicious, fluffy biscuity goodness.  YUM.

"Cheddar Bay" Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried chives
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4-5 tbsp butter
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in cheese and toss lightly to coat with the flour.  Cut in butter until flour resembles crumbs. Using a wooden spoon, mix in buttermilk until combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto parchment. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are done (insert a toothpick to test).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Limoncello Scones

This is a unbelievably delicious variation on my standard scone recipe.  I'm not quite sure what made this idea pop into my head but ginger and limoncello just sounded divine.  And it IS.  So, so divine.

Limoncello Scones

4 cups all purpose unbleached organic flour
1/2 cup Splenda (or sugar)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tsp Five-Spice Powder
6 tbsp Smart Balance (or butter), cold and cut into pieces
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup ginger nibs (you can get them at the Spice House)
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute)
1/3 cup limoncello
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat oven temperature to 400º F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and five-spice powder. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture until the mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and ginger nibs. In a small measuring cup combine the buttermilk with the maple syrup and then add to the flour mixture, add limoncello. Stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times. Divide the dough in half.  Working with each half, pat the dough into a circle that is about 4 inches wide by 3 inches deep and about 1 inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half, then cut each half into 4 squares.  Repeat with the other half of the dough. You will have 16 scones altogether. Place the scones on the baking sheet that is lightly coated with spray oil.

Bake for about 16 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

We don't make stuffed peppers often.  I still have this deep-rooted aversion to the dish from my childhood.  If my mother were reading this post, she wouldn't believe I was the one writing it.

But this isn't your typical ground chuck mixed with onions and tomatoes (or ketchup, in some cases).  Consider this a step up.

The mix makes more stuffing than for the peppers I had on-hand.  I think it would probably stuff about 2 more peppers.  But the stuffing itself would make excellent stuffed pitas or even mixed into a fritatta.

Ground Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

2 cups chicken broth
2 saffron threads
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin
1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 tbsp olive oil
1 14oz can artichoke hearts
2 shallots
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1 lb ground turkey
2/3 - 3/4 cup parmesan cheese

3 red bell peppers

To make the quinoa:
Combine the chicken broth and spices in a 3 qt sauce pan.  Bring the broth to a boil.  Add quinoa, stir, reduce heat and cover.  Cook 12 minutes until the broth is absorbed.  Removev heat and set aside.

To make the stuffing:
Combine artichoke hearts, shallots and kalamata olives in a food processor.  Pulse until chopped.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery.  Add artichoke heart mixture and cook 3-5 minutes.  Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in quinoa.  Let cool slightly; stir in half the parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 400F. Slice the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes.  Stuff the peppers with the turkey-quinoa mixture and place in a 13x9" pan.  Sprinkle the top with remaining parmesan cheese.  Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the dish and cover the dish loosely with foil. Bake for 40 minutes or until the peppers are tender. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Greek-Style Buffalo Pita Burgers

I'm really in love with buffalo meat as a substitute for ground beef.  Don't get me wrong, I still love ground turkey for things like tacos and chili.  But sometimes you just want a juicy burger off the grill.

Measurements are estimates.  I just sort of measured into my hand or into the bowl.

Greek-Style Buffalo Pita Burgers

1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp water

1 lb ground buffalo

Feta Cheese
Pita bread

Combine first nine ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add ground buffalo to the bowl and mix well with spice mixture.  Form into patties.

Heat grill to medium-high heat.  Add patties and grill 8-10 minutes, turning once halfway thru.  During last minute of grilling, top with slices of feta and allow to melt slightly. Remove from grill and let rest 2-3 minutes.

Slice pita bread in half.  Into each pocket, place the burger.  Serve.