Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rotini Pasta Salad for Summer

This pasta salad recipe has been my summer BBQ “bring something to share” standby. It’s easy to make, and it yields quite a bit, and the leftovers keep well in the fridge for several days of lunches.

16 oz rotini pasta noodles (1 box)
2 tomatoes, chopped1 green bell pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
8oz Italian-style salad dressing

I like to use cherry tomatoes instead of chopping up larger tomatoes. Depending on the size of the cherry tomatoes that I get, I’ll either slice them in half or throw them in whole. A full onion can be a bit overpowering for my taste, so I like to use just a half. Rather than chop the cucumbers, I sometimes slice them for presentation.

My routine is to get the water boiling and then start chopping. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, throw the noodles in for 10-15 minutes or until they reach your desired tenderness. Drain and rinse in cold water. Then, combine the noodles with all the other ingredients, including the dressing, and then cover and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

The recipe is pretty basic, and I’m sure you can make just about any substitution to customize it for your taste buds. Perhaps use yellow pepper instead of green? Add some mozzarella or feta cheese? For meat lovers, maybe some pepperoni or diced ham would hearty it up. Yum!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blackened Tuna, Basil Rice, Green Beans, and Basil Onion Bread

My Dad sent over his dinner recipe to post up for you all. Looks very good!

Blackened Tuna:

Heat skillet on high heat with tablespoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper the tuna and add blackening spice. I used Cajun seasoning. Just when the oil begins to smoke, add the tune and sear on both side, about a minute for each side. Place in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes to finish cooking.

Basil Rice:

Dice onions, about ¼ cup and place in sauce pan with a little olive oil. Slow cook to soften and then add 1 cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon basil, and rice. Prepare the rice according to package directions. I used ½ cup of Uncle Ben’s converted rice and after bringing to boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Peal a blanched tomato and dice, also diced olives and stir into the rice when cooked. Let sit for 2-3 minutes.

Green Beans:

Dice ¼ cup onions and smoked ham (or bacon bits). Cook in small amount of oil. When softened, add one can of green beans and simmer until hot. About 10 minutes. Serve with some of the broth to keep the beans warm.

Basil and Onion Bread:

In a mixing bowl, add one cup bread flour, one tablespoon sugar, pinch of salt, table spoon of basil, minced onions, make a well in the bowl. Proof yeast in ½ cup warm water and place in well along with a teaspoon of olive oil. Stir to combine and then roll out on cutting board. Knead for 10 minutes until dough to smooth. Place in warm spot for half an hour. Punch down and knead again placing in small bread pan. Let rise again for half hour and then place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Butter the top for a golden brown crust.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Obento Ya Japanese Bistro, 112 Eatery, and a calzone

For Matt's birthday weekend we went to Obento Ya Japanese Bistro on Saturday and I brought him out to the 112 Eatery on Sunday.

After a weekend of eating out I made calzones for dinner filled with ricotta, cheddar, basil, and (fake) pepperoni.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pizza & Beef, Beets, & Broccoli

We made two amazing dinners two nights in a row. Quite the accomplishment for two sleep deprived, working, new parents.

Tonight's dinner was Beef, Beets, & Broccoli. We did a modified version of this recipe I did several years ago.

The best part about this dinner was the beets! Yum. I'm super into coconut right now. So, I tossed the very thinly sliced beets in coconut oil, a few splashes of rice vinegar, and some salt and pepper. I roasted them for about 45 minutes (I wasn't really keeping track) at 400 degrees.

Paul pan fried some small beef chunks with some curry paste and ginger. The beef and beets were served next to some bright green steamed broccoli.

All I can say is beets roasted in coconut oil, AMAZING!

Sunday night Paul made some amazing pizza crust and tried his hand at tossing the dough instead of using a rolling pin. Turned out great. Somehow he made it the exact size of the pizza stone. We topped it with garlic, olive oil, fresh hand pulled mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil. To finish it off we used a little Himalayan pink salt that we scored from a friend and fresh ground pepper. Yum!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mexitaly Tacos!

I bought the ingredients for grilled chicken tacos a few days back, but had to abort the meal. Last night, I decided it was time to act; some of the ingredients had slowly started disappearing--snacking, mostly.

Pulling what was left from the icebox I saw a perfect opportunity to slap some tacos together with the sundry components that survied. A little here, a little there and, Voilà! (Or should I say, Booyawn!) Mexitaly tacos!

Chipotle-Lime Chicken Tacos:

Chicken breasts, cut into strips, marinated in macerated chipotles, adobo sauce, salt, lime, grilled
Pico de gallo - Fresh tomatoes, Onions, Jalapeño, (tad o garlic if you like) cilantro, salt, peper
Farmer's cheese (such as Chihuahua)
Cilantro as garnish
(personally, I can't get enough cilantro, but if you're like Steve D-N, cilantro tastes like nothing. Whatevs, Steve)

So I made four with the chicken and moved on to the more adventurous Italian inspired taco. We like Antipasti (cured meats, caprese salads, marinated white beans, so I decided to use these leftovers to create a taco).

Antipasti Mexitaly Tacos:

Marinated Large White Beans
Prosciutto (four slices)
Asparagus--oiled, s&p, grilled
Fresh Mozz
Fresh Basil
Thinly sliced red onion

I first crisped up about 4 thin slices of Prosciutto--fancy bacon! I set the large marinated white beans to a slow slow, oh so slow simmer in the same pan after removing the meat. (you can get these awesome bean treats at the whole foods olive bar). I grilled asparagus until slightly charred and tender, then compiled the taco, starting with the asparagus, ending with the crispy Prosciutto, all topped with chopped fresh basil.

And Here we go: Served family style--grab it like it's hot.

While I was waiting for the chicken to rest (during which time is reabsorbs its juice, I think the technical term is "Re-suckin' the Juice") I lightly grilled stacks of corn tortillas (stacks of 5 or so) until just slightly steamed. If grilling tortillas, it really really helps to use something that has some kind of fat in it--lardy, it's way better that way.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baked Cod Pipérade

My dad gave me a used copy of Fresh From France a few years ago. Most of the recipes take a lot of work so we don't cook from it that often, but when we do every meal turns out both interesting and tasty. Tonight we walked over to the fish market and the veggie market and picked up the ingredients to try this one which sounded good. I'm a big fan of cooking things in spicy tomato sauce (there's an egg recipe that I love where you mix the egg whites into a spicy tomato sauce and then carefully cook just the yolks on top).

This one wasn't too hard:
Cooked onions, hot pepper, red peppers, and tomatoes for about an hour to make a thick sauce:

Put a layer of the sauce on a baking pan, and put the cod on top:

Added another layer to cover Mr. Fish up in his nice cozy bed, and baked him for 15 minutes in the oven at 425. The end result is perfectly done fish, with a spicy tomato/pepper sauce:

Thinking about it I might try the same sauce and cooking method with proteins other than fish, as I think it would work with just about anything you wanted to keep flavorful and moist.

Rhubarb & Potatoes

I picked up rhubarb and potatoes from the farmers market downtown on my lunch break today. I made a simple potato salad to use up the rest of the fresh dill I have. I added celery, red onion, oil, mustard, and lemon juice... with a Gouda grill cheese on the side.

Matt mentioned that he's never had rhubarb so I'm making him rhubarb crisp for dessert from my Grandma McPherson's recipe! So so good!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New toppings for veggie burgers

I wish I would have taken photos tonight at dinner with my sister, brother-in-law, and their friend in St. Paul. They were going to a Perfect Circle at Roy Wilkins and Brittney Spears was playing at the Excel Center so the streets were crowded with big haired, short skirt blonds. We met at Patrick's Pub for burgers one block from the venue. The black bean burger was topped with blue cheese and a large fried onion ring :) I'd like to make up some other good creative burger toppings. It won't be the same as the onion ring bean burger with Brittney want-a-be surrounding me though!

Biscuits and Gravy

I made my biscuits and gravy for our Monday morning holiday. I tweaked the biscuits a bit this time and added cake flour that turned out well.

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup cake flour
4 T unsalted butter cut into flour
2/3 buttermilk

No kneading just enough to ball and flatten out. Cut out biscuits with a drinking glass and bake at 500° for 8 minutes.

The gravy I start with melting 5 tablespoons or more of butter in a pan and add all purpose flour until it is a nice thick paste. Stir in milk and continually whisk. I add half a vegetable bouillon cube, a good squirt of mustard, pepper, red pepper flakes, and 4 thawed veggie sausage patties. Keep stirring and adding milk until desired thickness. Sometimes I chop up mushrooms if I have them. The photo kind of looks gross but it tastes good!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cold Noodle salad

I bought veggies from the salad bar at the grocery store, added lots of fresh cilantro, and rice noodles. I had a bottle of store bought peanut sauce in the fridge that I cut down with lemon juice, oil, and water to make it lighter. The peas were nice with the peanut sauce so next time I'm going to get a few more spoon fulls from the salad bar!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Spinach chop and pretzel bread with dill butter

I made the spinach recipe and the dill butter from my Super Natural Every Day cookbook. The dill butter was super good! It was dill, chives, green onion, goat cheese and unsalted butter mashed up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Brown rice & fried Tofu

Brown rice cooked in vegetable broth. Topped with soy sauce and green onions. Salty but yummy! Pan fried tofu that's sliced and peppered with a squirt of Sriracha sauce.

My tip with tofu is put it in the freezer and then thaw it and drain the juice. It gets it super solid for frying.

Cesar Salad, fake chicken, & baguette

This was last nights dinner. 6/30/11

Simple cesar bag salad, cooked up fake chicken strips, and a baguette from the bakery at Kowalskis.