Friday, February 17, 2012

Fettuccine with Mushroom Marsala

I love chicken marsala but sometimes I just don't want the chicken. I just want the mushrooms and sauce. And I want it everywhere! Thankfully, I have this recipe to quell my addiction. Chock-full of mushrooms and an oh-so-good-and-tasty sauce, this will probably land in your weekly dinner rotation in no time.

Fettuccine with Mushroom Marsala 
Serves 2

1/3-1/2 lb fettuccine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
8 oz assorted mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp of cornstarch (blended with water)
1/3 cup heavy cream
several sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stalks
salt and fresh cracked pepper
Chopped parsley 
Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish 

In a heavy pot melt and butter and olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic for a few minutes.

Add in the mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mushrooms just tender.  If the pot seems too dry, add a little more olive oil.

Add the Marsala into the hot pot and let it evaporate for a minute, then add the chicken stock, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Let the sauce simmer and reduce for a few minutes.  Sprinkle in a dash of cornstarch (blended with water) and blend in.

Add in the cream, and bring back to a simmer.  Check for seasoning and set aside while you cook the fettuccine.

When the fettuccine is just al dente, either add it to the sauce and toss well, or put it in a serving bowl and top with the sauce. Garnish with cheese and parsley.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chocolate Popovers

You know the saying, "I left my heart in San Francisco"? Well, one day I dined at the Rotunda in Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and I think I did [leave my heart there]. They served me the most incredible thing I had ever eaten - a popover! What's a popover? Well, it is an incredibly light roll which rises to form a hollow shell when baked. And these popovers were light-as-air, oh-so-fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This recipe will have to tie me over until I make it back up there again.

Chocolate Popovers

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks
1 cup fresh strawberries, cleaned and diced

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 6-cup popover pan or muffin pan.

Sift flour, granulated sugar, cocoa and salt into medium bowl; set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl with electric mixer at low speed 1 minute. Beat in milk, butter and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan, equally dividing between the cups; about 2/3 full.

Bake for 35 minutes, without opening the oven, at which point, prick each popover a few times with a toothpick, to allow the steam to escape. This helps prevent exploding popovers. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continuing baking for another 10-15 minutes, or just until the popovers are brown (a little hard to tell as they are chocolate, of course).

Immediately remove popovers to wire rack. Serve immediately, while still warm, with whipped cream and strawberries.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic

Wine. Garlic. What's not to love? This pan sauce will have your mouth watering. You could probably pour this over steak or chicken. Heck, you could probably drink it out of a jar and it would taste heavenly! 

Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic
Serves 6

6 whole Pork Chops (medium-to-thin)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
Salt And Pepper
1-1/2 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup Beef Broth (more If Needed)
1 whole Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
18 whole Peeled Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Butter (additional)

Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and sear them on both sides until they're nice and golden, about 2 minutes per side. (No need to completely cook the chops at this point.) Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium-high, then throw in the whole garlic cloves. Stir them around and cook them for several minutes, or until they get nice and golden brown.
Pour in the red wine, then add the bay leaf. Stir around and let it reduce, raising the heat if necessary. Cook the sauce for several minutes, or until it's nice and reduced and thick.
Stir in the beef broth (you can add more if it needs the liquid) and add the chops back into the cooking liquid, arranging them so that they're swimming in the sauce. Allow the chops to cook in the liquid for a few minutes, then pour in the balsamic. Shake the pan to get it to distribute, then cook for a couple more minutes, or until the pork chops are done.
Remove the chops from the pan once more, then let the sauce reduce a little more if needed until it's very thick and rich and the garlic is soft. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of butter and sprinkle in a little salt and pepper.
Arrange pork chops on a platter, then pour the whole skillet of sauce (including garlic) over the top.
Serve with a green salad.
*You may substitute white wine for a slightly lighter sauce.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Spicy Sriracha Garlic Knots

These are not your run-of-the-mill, ordinary garlic knots. No sirree! These are spicy sriracha garlic knots and they will knock your socks off! You can make them as spicy as you like depending on the chilies (variety and amount) and how much sriracha sauce you use. But, one things is certain: these knots are insanely delicious! Hot and tasty, you will find yourself making these all the time.

Spicy Sriracha Garlic Knots

Make about 40

For the dough:
1 3/4 warm water
1/4 c olive oil
1 t sea salt
1 T sugar
1 1/2 T active dry yeast

Approx. 5 1/2 c all-purpose, unbleached flour

Plus extra olive oil and flour for making the knots

Spicy Garlic Coating:
1/8 c olive oil
1/4 c  unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 t finely minced Thai chilies

2 t sriracha sauce

Sea salt to taste

Combine water, 1/4 c olive oil, sea salt, sugar, and active dry yeast in a large resealable container or bowl. Mix to dissolve yeast.

Add flour.  Mix to incorporate flour, cover, and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in volume (usually 1-3 hrs depending on initial water temp and warmth of proofing area).

Chill the dough for a couple hours to make it easier to handle. Set up your rolling and knotting station.  Put out a large wooden cutting board and oil liberally then dust with flour (the oil and flour balance the stick and glide of the dough, you’ll use them both liberally while making the knots.)  Leave the container of olive oil and medium bowl of flour within easy reach. Line several sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats and place within easy reach.

Oil your hands to help keep dough from sticking to them. Pinch off and weigh ping pong sized balls of dough (approx. 1 oz). Set on the floured board, leaving an empty area to roll out the individual knots.

Taking the ball nearest to you, toss in the bowl of flour, and smack the ball of dough the board to knock off the excessive flour. Roll the ball back and forth between your hands and using the board to create an even rope.

Tie into a knot (over, under, and through) and place on lined sheet pan with a 1 1/2″ spacing between each knot.  At first it may seem awkward making the knots but with a little practice it will become easy.  Flour is your friend to help keep the dough from sticking to itself while forming the knots.

Continue making the rest of the knots with the rest of the dough. After each sheet pan fills up, cover with a dry sack towel, and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise.

Preheat oven to 400° F

After knots have doubled in size, take off dry sack towel and place sheet pans in the oven.  Bake for approx. 12-15 min. or until golden.

While knots are baking, make the spicy garlic coating.  Gently warm olive oil, butter, garlic, and minced chilies in a small saucepan (if you like your garlic with less of a bite, cook it for a few minutes in oil/butter mix until soft & slightly golden).  Add sriracha sauce and chopped parsley into the coating. Taste for spice then set aside.

After removing knots from oven, while still warm, either brush with garlic coating, or place knots in a large bowl and toss with garlic coating. Season with sea salt to taste. Best served warm, but still good when at room temp.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Turkey Taco Cups

One day I made lasagna "cupcakes" and the kids thought I was the bomb-diggity-bomb. Ever since then, I've been searching for other savory cupcakes to make. To my utter delight, I found one for turkey tacos. Pure genius! And totally tasty. As you'd expect, these tasty treats went over really well. So much for having leftovers for my lunch tomorrow. Oh well, I guess that's a good thing.
Turkey Taco Cups
Makes 24 cups
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 Tbs. favorite taco seasoning
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
24 Won Ton wrappers
2 avocados
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
Juice from 1 lime
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat oil over medium-high in a skillet. Add the onion and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute.
Add in the ground turkey and cook until browned, 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and cook another minute. Add in the black beans and cook 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly coat each won ton wrapper with oil and nestle into a muffin tin.
Stick in the oven for 3 minutes, to start the crisping.
Remove from oven and fill each cup with the turkey mixture and tomatoes. Top with cheese and stick back in the oven for about 8 more minutes, until the cheese melts and the won tons crisp up. Keep an eye on them!
While they’re baking, whip up your quick guacamole. Mash the avocado and then add in the cilantro and a good squirt of lime juice. Season with salt.
Top each turkey cup with a dollop of guacamole and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Give a nice squeeze of lime over each cup and serve immediately!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pizza Dip

One of my favorite days of the year is Super Bowl Sunday. At no other point in time is it possible to find so many amazing appetizer and dip recipes.

I can easily skip a main course entirely and make a meal out of an appetizer (or two) and a dessert. Which naturally means that on a day like Super Bowl Sunday I am in a state of food nirvana.This pizza dip is super simple and combines all of the crave-worthy flavors of a pizza without the need to toss dough, preheat a pizza stone, or bust out the pizza peel. An awesome compromise for the sake of dip.

Pizza Dip
Serves 8 to 10

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup pizza sauce
2 oz. sliced pepperoni
2 tbsp. chopped green pepper

2 tbsp. sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread the cream cheese over the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Top with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.

Spread the pizza sauce on top of the cheese, and then top with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Top with pepperoni slices, chopped green pepper and sliced black olives.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

With Superbowl around the corner, these lightened up jalapeño Poppers will make the perfect party appetizer. Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cheese, coated with seasoned panko, then baked not fried. You won't miss the full fat version!  

Baked Jalapeño Poppers
Makes 24

4.5 oz light cream cheese

5 medium scallions, green part only, sliced
2 oz shredded low fat sharp cheddar 
1/2 cup egg beaters or egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
salt and fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Wearing rubber gloves, cut peppers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar and scallions in a medium bowl.

Combine panko, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another bowl.

Fill peppers with cheese filling with a small spoon or spatula.

Dip peppers in egg beaters.

Place pepper in panko mixture, using a spoon to make sure all the seasoning doesn't fall to the bottom of the bowl.

Spray a baking pan with oil spray. Lightly spray the peppers with a little more spray.

Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cheese oozes out.

Remove from oven and serve immediately. Serve hot.