Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moroccan Chicken With Carrot Puree

We tried this new recipe the other night that I found on saveur.com. We love flavors of Morocco so we thought this would be really tasty and it was! I would definitely recommend this one to everyone out there. Now this recipe is a little more advanced because of all the steps. But we think it is well worth it!
Here is the recipe adapted somewhat from the original:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
3 cups chicken broth
6-8 carrots, cut into 1/4" thick rounds
1/4 of a yellow onion, minced
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 peeled orange, segmented
4 teaspoons of harissa
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 oz. arugula
handful of pitted oil-cured black olives, roughly chopped
1/2 shallot, thinly sliced

Put the chicken into a dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Bring broth to a boil in a pot over high heat. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cooked carrots to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes. Puree in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, keep warm.
Heat orange juice in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by half, 12-15 minutes. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Add orange segments and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and cook until browned on both sides. Then brush the harissa over the top of the chicken and transfer to the oven. Bake until cooked through about 6-8 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 teaspoons of harissa with sherry vinegar. Add greens, olives, and shallots and toss till well coated. Divide the carrot puree between the plates, top with the salad and a chicken breast. Spoon over the sauce.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sausage and Tomato Fritatta for Two

Last night I wanted to make something quick and easy, so I thought why not make a fritatta. Its delicious yet simple and quick. This is a great meal when you are too tired from a long day of work, its healthy and tastes great.
All you need is:
1 package of smoked sausage or chorizo (whatever you like)
handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 teaspoon of fresh marjoram or parsley, chopped
4 eggs, whisked with salt and pepper and a dash of red chili flakes
1 scallion, sliced thin

In a saute pan on medium heat, brown the sausage on both sides, add the cherry tomatoes and marjoram, cook for 2 minutes. Pour the whisked eggs over the top of the sausage and tomatoes, with a fork move the edges of the egg inward and turn the heat down low. Sprinkle the scallion on top. Cook until egg sets, half way through I put a lid on to make sure the top of the egg gets cooked. Takes about 10 minutes.
Serve it immediately with a salad of your choice

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

St. John's Eve Pasta

This recipe comes courtesy of Mario Batali's cook book "Molto Italiano", but it varies slightly from his original recipe. This was the first time we made this pasta recipe and we think it came out pretty good, not to brag or anything. :)
This recipe seems like it has a lot of steps but its pretty simple and most of these ingredients you should have in your pantry.

Handful of sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh or panko bread crumbs
3 salt packed anchovies, rinsed, and chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups basic tomato sauce (we made our own but you could use a good tomato sauce from the store)
7 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 package of fettucine or wide noodle like a papparadelle

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, gently toast the almonds in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, over medium heat until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon transfer the almonds to a plate. In the oil remaining in the pan, toast the bread crumbs, stirring until golden brown. Combine the bread crumbs and the almonds on the plate.
Add 2 tablespoons more olive oil to the pan and reduce the heat medium low. Stir in the anchovies and crush them in the olive oil with a fork. Add the anchovies and the oil to the bread crumb mixture and season with lots of black pepper.
Add 2 tablespoons to the pan and add the onion and garlic, cook gently until softened but not brown. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has reduced about 1/3. Add the basil, remove from the heat and set aside.
Drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss in the pan with the tomato sauce, add half the bread crumb mixture and mix well.
Transfer the pasta to a bowl and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. Serve immediately.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Avocado and Fried Egg Sandwich

This morning I was looking in the fridge and was thinking to myself "we have no food, time to go to the grocery store". But, I was hungry and needed to come up with something for breakfast. We had some avocado's that needed to be eaten and 2 challah rolls left over from our lamb burger night, so I thought why not make a fried egg sandwich with avocado. So I sliced some avocado and squeezed some fresh lime on top, fried and egg, toasted the challah rolls, and whipped up some mayonnaise and harissa. Took the toasted roll smeared some harissa mayo on it and topped it with the fried egg and avocado, and presto! A tasty breakfast for me and my hubby!

Balthazar Roasted Chicken and Pan Roasted Root Vegetables

I know I have already written about my version of baked chicken but the other night we decided to try the recipe from the Balthazar cook book. If you have never been to Balthazar in NYC, I would suggest going the next time you are in New York. This restaurant is always packed, no matter the time of day, and is always good. They definitely have their menu down to a science. They serve typical French cuisine but the quality is top notch. It is "the" restaurant you go to in New York to be seen and do some great people watching. The tables are so close together that you usually end up either hearing their entire conversation or joining in. We have made many of the recipes from their cook book but have never done their roast chicken. When it came out of the oven perfectly golden brown skin and smells of garlic, we knew it had to be good, but didn't know it would be "that" good! The meat was perfectly moist with this undertone of garlic that had permeated the meat, and the skin was so crisp and juicy you could make a meal of that alone. OK, now my mouth is watering, let me get down to giving you the secret recipe:
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
8 sprigs of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 whole roasting chicken, rinsed and dried
1 head of garlic, split horizontally
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine half the rosemary, thyme, and parsley with the softened butter, using a fork to blend the herbs and butter. Season with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Going through the neck opening, slide half the herbed butter under the skin of both breasts. Rub the remainder of the butter all over the outside of the chicken. Stuff the chicken cavity with the remaining herbs and the garlic. Season the outside of the chicken all over with remainder salt and pepper.
Over a high flame, heat the olive oil in a heavy ovenproof pan (cast iron skillet). Place the chicken on its sides, searing the leg and breast. Leave it in the pan for about 4 minutes, turning only when the bird is browned. Turn and repeat on the other side, and then the top, and bottom so that its browned on all sides. Spoon out some of the excess fat, and transfer the pan to the oven. Cook for 50 minutes, basting occasionally. The bird is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, or when the juices run clear from the joint between the leg and thigh. If the skin begins to burn cover with aluminum foil.

Pan Roasted Root vegetables:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed, skins removed
1 celery root, peeled and diced small
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
2 parsnips, peeled and diced small
2 sprigs of thyme
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the crushed garlic cloves and saute for 2 minutes, until the cloves just start to take on color. Add the diced vegetables and thyme and cook over high heat, stirring frequently with a spatula, for 5 minutes. Lower the flame and continue to cook, still stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes. Add a splash of water midway through the cooking time to provide some steam. Just before the end of the cooking time, add the butter. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. The vegetables should be tender.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lamb Burger with Harissa Mayo and Pickled Cucumbers

I have to applaud myself for last night's lamb burger. I have never made a lamb burger before and this one I would definitely pay for in a restaurant. Yes it was that good! I think I might like lamb burger's better than beef burgers, that is, only if they are made like this. :) These were juicy and packed a lot of flavor. We topped them with a cool pickled cucumber salad and served them on a toasted Challah bun. Which is definitely the way to go! This recipe was adapted from Saveur's lamb burger recipe. Here is my version of the recipe:

3 tablespoons minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over high heat. Add onions, cook until translucent, add the garlic, and cook a little more until the onions are browned. Let cool. In a bowl mix the cooked onion and garlic with the lamb, mustard, herbs, spices, and salt and pepper. Form meat into 1" thick patties. Makes 4 patties.
You can grill the burgers outside on a charcoal grill or I just did them inside in a cast iron skillet. If you are doing them inside on the cast iron skillet, heat the skillet over high heat, with a little cooking spray. Add the burgers and sear on one side for about 5 minutes on one side, or until browned and a little charred, flip and repeat for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile make the Harissa Mayonnaise: take 1/4 cup mayonnaise and put in a small bowl. Stir in the juice of half a lemon and 1 teaspoon harissa. Add kosher salt to taste. Set aside.

To make the pickled cucumbers: Take 1/4 of an English cucumber, sliced very thin. 1/2 a shallot sliced very thin. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add the cucumbers and shallots and mix well. Set aside, the longer it sits the more pickled the cucumbers will become.

To assemble the burger: Toast a Challah bun and slather both sides with the harissa mayonnaise. Top with the lamb burger and the pickled cucumbers and sliced tomatoes. Serve Immediately.

Linguine Bolognese

My husband and I love Italian food, I think we could eat almost everyday of the week. We went on our honeymoon to Italy and we both gained like 10 pounds, because we couldn't stop eating! I especially love pasta, and bolognese is one of my favorites. My husband makes this recipe for me and I swear I could eat the whole pot by myself, but I do show a little restraint. Here is the recipe:
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
1 pound ground sirloin
1/2 pound ground veal
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz. tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
5 oz. milk, (we use lactose free low fat milk, but you can use any milk, just not skim)

In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil on medium high, add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until onions are translucent. Add the meats to the pan and add salt and pepper. Cook until the meats are browned. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine and cook for another 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the fresh thyme. Stir in the milk and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until done, about 7 minutes. Reserve a little bit of the salted, starchy pasta water. In a large bowl add the linguine and bolognese with a little bit of the pasta water and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Serve with Parmesan or not :).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

I started baking these muffins about a year ago when I bought the "Baked" cook book. This is the same cook book I got the chocolate chip cookie recipe from, so you know it has to be good! I love the combination of banana and chocolate and I love muffins. They are the best little snack when you are craving a delicious baked good. This is my cousin Rachel's favorite dessert that I make so every time I make them she calls dibs on at least half the batch! :)
Here is the recipe:
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk (i use lactose free low fat milk)
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12- cup muffin pan with non stick cooking spray or you can use paper muffin liners in the pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg.
In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool 15 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.
Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie Bars

Last night we were invited to dinner at my Uncle and Aunt's house, to meet my Aunt's niece and her husband and baby who were in town visiting from Kansas. We were having an all vegan dinner because my Aunt's niece and her family are vegans. So I offered to bring the dessert! I have never made a vegan dessert before so I did some researching online and found this recipe for chocolate chip coconut cookie bars that looked really good. I found the recipe from another blog called passion 4 eating. The recipe is super simple and tastes great! You would never know that it was vegan! Here is the recipe:
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (found this at central market or could get at whole foods too) this in place of butter
1/3 of a ripe banana, mashed (this is in place of the 1 egg)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (make sure they don't have any milk fat in them)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 35o degrees, lightly grease an 8x8 baking pan
Melt the coconut oil and allow to cool to room temp.
In a large bowl add the sugars and the cooled coconut oil and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Then add the mashed banana and the vanilla. Beat again until well combined. In a smaller bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt until well mixed, then add to the sugar mixture. Mix until well blended but do not over beat. Add the chocolate chips and the coconut, mix well.
Scoop batter into baking pan. Smooth it out, and press evenly into pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing into squares.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Best Brownie's Ever!!!

I discovered the best brownie recipe from Martha Stewart! I have tried many brownie recipes from everyone and this one is the best by far! It is easy and they always come out perfectly moist with a nice crunchy top!
To get the recipe go to: Fudgy Brownies
Sorry this is a short post, got to run to dinner!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Warm Potato Salad with Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg

Last night we wanted to make a simple and quick dinner and this potato salad is so easy and scrumptious! We love the combination of the potato, smoked salmon and egg..you just can't go wrong with that. Here is the recipe:
For the Potato Salad you will need the following:
6 small red new potatoes, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 green onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of capers, drained
1 teaspoon of fresh dill, chopped
Dressing from the Cobb Salad entry
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put aside and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then in a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until they start to turn golden brown. Add the green onion, parsley,capers, and dill. Toss to combine and turn the heat off. Then add a couple tablespoons of the dressing, and toss to coat. Serve immediately with one poached egg on top and smoked salmon. Sprinkle with fresh dill on top and Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The perfect Roast Chicken served with Roasted Potatoes and Heirloom Broccoli

The other night we decided to have the classics for dinner. You can't go wrong with roasting a whole chicken. You usually have leftovers for sandwiches or salads the next day which is always the best. Our formula for a perfect roasted chicken is very simple.
1 whole roasting chicken, cleaned
3 tablespoons butter
1 whole red onion, quartered
1 whole lemon, sliced
"Nantucket Offshore", Mt. Olympus seasoning
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of chicken stock
Place the chopped onion and lemon in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or roasting pan. Place the chicken on top of the onion and lemon, this will prevent the bottom of the chicken from burning and will give lots of good flavor. Take pats of butter and put under the chicken skin, but be careful not to tear the skin. Take the olive oil and rub all over the body of the chicken. Sprinkle the whole chicken generously with the mt. Olympus seasoning. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes and add chicken stock to bottom of pan. Put back in the 400 degree oven for another 30 minutes. Spoon the juices on the bottom of the pan over the chicken. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. Spoon more juice over the chicken and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the thermometer reads 165-170, or make a slice in the crease of the leg and body and if the juices run clear then it is done.

Roasted Potatoes
1 pound of red new potatoes, quartered
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Toss the potatoes in all the above ingredients to coat well. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Baked Broccoli
1 bunch of fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, zested
salt and pepper to taste
Take the broccoli and steam just until the broccoli turns bright green, run the broccoli under cold water to stop the cooking. Place the broccoli in a baking dish. Take the melted butter, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper and combine in a bowl. Sprinkle this bread crumb mixture over the broccoli. Bake at 350 degrees until the bread crumbs start to turn golden brown about 20 minutes. *we bought our broccoli at the farmers market and the taste was a hundred times better than store bought broccoli!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bow Tie pasta with Italian Tuna and Cherry Tomatoes

We started making this dish about 5 years ago when we lived in Brooklyn and we were looking for a quick and easy pasta dish to make after a long day of the hustle and bustle of the city. We found this recipe in the William Sonoma Pasta cookbook. Some people might be thinking..canned tuna and pasta..but its actually a very classic combination of flavors..especially when you buy the Italian canned tuna or tuna in olive oil. The flavor of the tuna in the olive oil is so much better than the tuna in water..it brings a richness to this dish that you don't get with the tuna in the water. You can switch up the type of pasta you use as well, we like to use linguine and bow tie pasta. We have done many versions of this pasta, but we have found that roasting the tomatoes really brings out the best flavor. This recipe is also very economical, because most of these things you should have already in your pantry.
Here is the recipe:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions,thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound linguine or bow tie pasta
2 cans oil packed Italian tuna, drained and crumbled
2 tablespoons capers, drained
large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon,zested
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with the green onions and garlic and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bake until the tomatoes turn golden brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.
Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, 7-9 minutes.
Put the tuna, capers, and parsley in a warmed large shallow bowl. Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lemon zest on top. Add the cherry tomato mixture and toss again gently.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made, hands down the Best chocolate chip cookies ever, yesterday! The recipe comes from one of my favorite baking cook books called "Baked". The book was written by two guys who grew up in the south but they moved to Brooklyn and opened the best bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. So, all the recipes in their book are all very home made with a southern flair to them. They are all the classic desserts you grew up with but 100 times better! The chocolate chip cookie recipe I had made once before, but I had failed to read the recipe all the way through before I started and realized that I was supposed to refrigerate the cookie dough for 6 hours before baking! So, the first time I made these they tasted great but they were very flat and crunchy, which is not a bad thing, they just weren't how the "Baked" guys described them to be. They were supposed to be a little crisp on the outside and soft in the centers. Which is how I love my cookies. After the somewhat failed attempt the first go around, I decided to try them again yesterday since we had a BBQ to attend and my job was to bring the dessert. This time I let the dough sit in the refrigerator for about 3 1/2 hours, which definitely made a huge difference. Although there was a little bit of a mishap with the baking, the recipe says to place the dough balls on the cookie sheet 1 inch apart, which I did, but when they were baking they all started to melt into each other to form one large cookie! So, needless to say some of the edges didn't get crisp, and they made for a very interesting shape cookie! But they tasted phenomenal and were a big hit at the BBQ. So, here is the recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I know what your thinking this is a lot of butter but this recipe does make a lot of cookies and the butter is what makes these cookies so soft and gooey)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use bitter sweet chips and I don't use all 2 2/3 cups, I find that about 2 1/3 cups is just enough chocolate otherwise it gets a little too chocolaty)
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
Add half the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl tightly and put in the refrigerator for 6 hours (I only did it for 3 1/2 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon scoop out the dough and form into a ball with your hands and place on the prepared baking sheets. Space them 2 inches apart or they will melt into each other if they are too close. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the pans once during the cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the tops just start to darken.
Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove the cookies and place on the wire rack to finish cooling.
*The note in the cookbook says that you can make the dough and leave it in the fridge for up to 5 days and bake it off in small batches anytime you want warm, fresh from the oven cookies!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beef Soft Tacos

Ever since my husband and I moved to Austin, we seem to have taco night at least once a week. We never did this when we lived in Brooklyn, I guess its because you can't get good tortillas in Brooklyn and we didn't have a grill. I think the key to good beef tacos is grilling your meat. It gives the meat a nice crust and the flavor is just so much more intense. But you can certainly make this dish if you don't have a grill. We have done it before..just heat the meat in a hot skillet and brown it on all sides and then put it in the oven at 400 degrees to finish cooking.
We like to build our tacos with home made flour tortillas from (Central Market or HEB) guacamole, fresh tomatoes, shredded green cabbage, and salsa Verde from (Central Market).
For the meat:
1 skirt steak or flank steak (we prefer the skirt steak cause it has more fat on it, therefore is a little more tender and has more flavor)
Dry Rub: we use a prepackaged product called John Henry's East Texas Apple Chipotle seasoning. It is great! But if you don't have this you can make your own dry rub with
equal parts salt, brown sugar,paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and cumin. Mix it all together and rub into the meat very generously.
Cook on a hot grill until done about 20 minutes.
For the Guacamole:
2 ripe avocado's, mashed
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Mix everything together.

Slice your meat and build your tacos! Enjoy!


We were introduced to this North African dish by our good friends Kasey and Scott. The first time we ate it was at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Brooklyn. From that point on we fell in love with this tomato and egg dish. This dish was brought to Israel mainly by the Tunisian Jews after the Jewish exodus from the Arab lands. It is a great dish for brunch and we even love to eat it for a quick dinner. There are many variations to this dish, but here is the recipe that we used:
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4-1/2 onion, chopped (depends on how oniony you want it)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
1 fresh tomato chopped
1/2 teaspoon of harissa (this is a little hard to find in the grocery store, you will find it at Whole Foods, but if you can't find it, I would just use your favorite hot sauce)
4 eggs
coarse salt and pepper to taste
serve with a nice warm bread (pita or crusty loaf)

In a skillet saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil, until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, Harissa, and cook the sauce down on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the eggs cracked directly into the pan. Drizzle olive oil lightly over them and add salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until egg whites are opaque.
This recipe serves 2.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lemon Bars

I grew up eating lemon bars that my grandma made and they were one of my favorite desserts. Once I found out that I was lactose intolerant I thought they were out of the picture for me. But I found a recipe from one of my fellow blogger's sweetcakesbakeshop.blogspot.com/, so we tried it out last night. They are so tart and buttery, my mouth starts to water just writing this. Oh, and I forgot to mention they are the easiest dessert to make!
Here is the recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
confectioner's sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and 8x8 inch baking pan.
Combine the flour, confectioner's sugar, and butter. Pat dough into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until slightly golden. While the crust is baking, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice until frothy. Pour this lemon mixture over the hot crust.
Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust the top with confectioner's sugar. Cut into squares.

Spanish Chicken with Saffron and Almond Sauce

Last night we made this chicken dish that we had never made before. I got the recipe from Elle Magazine and the recipe was written by Tamasin Day-Lewis (Daniel Day-Lewis's sister). She is a cookbook author and I had never heard of her until I saw this article. This recipe we tried was packed with flavor and I would definitely make it again. Although at first glance it seems a little complicated but I have to say it was well worth it. The recipe follows:
Saffron threads
1 cup chicken stock, heated
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3 sliced garlic cloves
1 thick slice stale bread, crusts removed
1 whole chicken, cut into 8-pieces
2 whole cloves, crushed
Dash nutmeg
1/2 cup Fino sherry
Sprig of bay leaves
Leaves of 4 thyme sprigs
36 whole blanched almonds (the recipe calls for Marcona almonds, but these are very expensive so we opted for plain old almonds) coarsely ground in a blender
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
spritz of lemon juice
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Soak saffron threads in a ladleful of the hot stock. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Before it browns, remove garlic and set aside. Fry bread in same oil until browned. Place aside with the garlic. Season chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle with nutmeg and crushed cloves. Add to skillet with a dash more oil if needed. Brown on all sides (about 20 minutes). Remove, then add remaining stock to skillet with sherry (please make sure to take the pan off the heat before you add the sherry, we almost set the house on fire!) Scrape to deglaze the pan. Let liquids bubble. Return the chicken back to the skillet. Add the finger crushed bay leaves and thyme. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender put the garlic, bread, stock with saffron, almonds, and parsley and pulse until it forms a sauce. You might have to add a little more chicken stock to get the saucy consistency. Add the sauce to the chicken and stir with juices. Cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Add the spritz of lemon. Serve with Basmati rice.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sausage and Sundried Tomato Pasta

One of our favorite chefs is Mario Batali, we have been to three of his restaurants in NYC and they are all outstanding! If you've never tried his food before you are definitely missing out. It is authentic Italian cuisine that makes your mouth water just thinking about it. We bought his cookbook Malto Italiano and have tried numerous recipes and they have all been wonderful. One in particular that we like to make is the Pasta with Sausage and Sun dried tomatoes. It is simple and has minimal ingredients and is great for a quick and easy dinner at home. We have adapted the recipe slightly according to what's available in our supermarket. The recipe follows:
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, remove from casings
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
6 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1/4 to 1/2 cup of white wine
6 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
1 pound wide pasta, we use a pasta that looks like lasagna noodles but about 3/4" wide, but you can use a fettuccine or paparadelle.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, add the garlic and cook until it starts to turn golden brown. Add the sausage meat to the pan and cook until cooked through. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add the sun dried tomatoes, white wine, and tomato paste and cook until all combined and the wine reduces down. Turn the heat off.
Meanwhile fill a large pot with water and place on high heat with the lid on, until water starts to boil. Salt the water and add your pasta, cook according to package instructions. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta water before you drain the pasta.
Add the drained pasta to the large skillet with the sausage mixture and toss with a little bit of the starchy pasta water. Add the chopped basil and toss one more time. Now its ready to serve!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Last night we wanted to do something really simple and light, since we had been eating out for the past couple of days. So, we made grilled chicken breasts and a nice chopped salad and put it all on a yummy ciabatta roll with some herb mayo. I have to say it was pretty delicious!
To make the chicken breast:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon of granulated garlic
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
4 ciabatta sandwich rolls, toasted
Take the chicken breast and slice in half lengthwise, that way you have a thinner piece of meat and you get more bang for your buck! Pound the chicken until about 1/4" thick. Rub the chicken breast on both sides with the spices. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat, until the butter is bubbling. Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 6 min. on one side until it forms a nice browned crust. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 6 minutes.
Set aside to cool. Slice the breast on the bias to get flatter pieces for your sandwich.

For the salad: (we used a similar salad in the Valentine's dinner entry)
1/2 head of red leaf lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of capers, chopped
For the dressing:
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon juiced
2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
4 to 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
In a large salad bowl combine the lettuce,tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, and capers. In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss the salad until all combined.

For the herb mayo:
1/4 cup of mayo
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme chopped
1/2 teaspoon of fresh marjoram chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

To put the sandwich together, take the toasted ciabatta rolls and slather the herb mayo on one side. Take the sliced chicken and place on the roll, then top the chicken with the chopped salad. Put the other side of the roll on top and slice in half. And it is ready to eat!