Sunday, March 30, 2008

Orzo Salad

I served this salad this week at a dinner I co-hosted for 25 women. It went over really well, so I thought I'd share it. It's actually very similar to Lyd's Wild Rice - might be a fun alternative for the summer! It is also very easy and healthy.

Instead of 1.5 cups, I used 1.5 boxes of Orzo (plus extra broth and all of the vinaigrette I made) to stretch it out, and the flavor was very mild (and good).

Orzo Salad
Serves 6 (?)

4 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups orzo
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, halved
¾ cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¾ cup Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
salt & freshly ground pepper

Pour broth into large sauce pan. Cover pan & bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in orzo. Cover partially & cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain the orzo. Transfer orzo to large wide bowl and toss to cool. Cool completely.

Toss orzo with beans, tomatoes, onions, basil, & vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve at room temperature.

¼ cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice (~1 lemon)
1 t. honey
1 t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, & pepper in blender. With machine running, gradually blend in oil. Season with more salt & pepper if desired.

Can't wait to see you this summer!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Orrechiette Carbonara

Forget that Spring Break diet!

Orrechiette carbonara
Bon Appétit April 2008
Jeanne Thiel Kelley

Eggs become a silky, creamy sauce when they're tossed with hot pasta. Here, leeks add a nice spring touch to the traditional Roman dish.

Servings: Makes 4 servings
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4 applewood-smoked bacon slices, diced
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
10 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or small shells
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet if necessary. Add leeks and sauté over medium heat until tender, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Whisk eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan in medium bowl to blend; gradually whisk in 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to leeks in skillet and stir to heat. Remove skillet from heat. Pour egg mixture over pasta and stir until sauce is just creamy and eggs are no longer raw, about 2 minutes. (Return skillet to very low heat if egg mixture is runny; do not overcook or eggs will curdle.) Add some of remaining 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid to pasta if needed to moisten. Stir in bacon and parsley. Serve pasta, passing additional cheese separately.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Ode to Mooncakes- Steak Sandwiches

When I lived in NYC, I went to Mooncakes in my SoHo neighborhood (Watts & 6th Ave) about once a week. Mooncakes is a tiny dive that serves quality and fresh food fast and for cheap (hard to find in SoHo). Nothing beats their steak sandwich and a cold Sierra Nevada (right, Friedman?) but other popular dishes include their miso salmon and shrimp summer rolls.

I've been craving a little Mooncakes so last night I decided to try to recreate the steak sandwich I love to so much and introduce it to my boyfriend. They use a homemade wasabi mayo but I opted for pesto mayo instead and it was just as delicious. Drew and I agreed that this needs to cycle into our monthly menu more often. I served it with chopped romaine lettuce and avocado tossed with a red wine vinegar and stone mustard dressing.

Mooncakes Steak Sandwiches
(The Easy Shaw Version)
2 jumbo french bread rolls (rectangular not round)
1 small jar of roasted red peppers
1 10 oz skirt steak
2 parts mayo
1 part pesto (store bought)
2 whole romaine lettuce leaves
1/8 c. Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt & pepper

Marinate skirt steak in Worcestershire sauce, cumin and S&P for at least 1 hour and up to 6.

Remove two outer leaves from head of romaine. Chop about 1/2+ inch from ends, rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Mix 2 parts mayo and 1 part pesto and set aside. Half french rolls and place on broil pan. Next to rolls, lay out enough red peppers from jar to cover 2 halves of the rolls, about the size of one red pepper total.

Turn on broiler and heat up grill or stove pan (I use a hybrid of the two- a Calphalon grill pan). Generously season steak again and grill until medium rare- about 4 minutes per side. While skirt steak is grilling, pop broiler pan in the broiler for about 1 minute. *Note: watch this closely. All ovens are different. Could take less or more time. If you don't have broiler pan or broiler, use a cookie sheet in 500 degree oven and add more time.

Once bread is toasted, coat with pesto mayo and layer with lettuce and roasted red peppers. Carve steak into 1/2 inch slices. Layer on bread and serve.

Zagat Blog- Who knew?

I frequent Zagat books and their website to gain some perspective on restaurants before I dine. My NYC Zagat is actually flagged and highlighted with places I want to go and places I have been. So, when my foodie friend brought their restaurant and food blog, Buzz, to my attention, I was suprised that I hadn't heard of it already and how comprehensive it was. Check it out. Covers major cities, including San Francisco, Boston, London and NYC.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Making the Most Out of Your Easter Egg Hunt

Don't you dare throw out those Easter eggs!
Scotch Eggs with Fresh Herbs

1 pound bulk sausage meat
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives3
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large egg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
1 cup all purpose flour
6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Vegetable oil (for deep-frying)

Mix sausage, chives, and parsley in medium bowl to blend. Whisk egg and mustard in bowl to blend. Place breadcrumbs in large bowl. Place flour in another bowl. Roll 1 hard-boiled egg in flour. Using wet hands, press 1/3 cup sausage mixture around egg to coat. Brush egg with mustard mixture, then roll in breadcrumbs, covering completely and pressing to adhere. Place Scotch egg on plate. Repeat with remaining eggs. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Add enough oil to heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 325°F. Add 3 prepared eggs to oil; fry until sausage is cooked through and coating is deep brown, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining 3 eggs. Serve warm


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days but I have been home sick as a dog. So what better recipe to post than Chicken Noodle soup? This one is a classic and if it's too boring for you just chop up some veggies of your choice and add them.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Servings: Makes 10 servings.

Ingredients1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, preferably kosher, cut into 8 pieces
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and cut in half
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
5 medium celery stalks, with leaves, cut in 2-inch pieces
5 medium parsnips, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut in half
1 bunch fresh dill
4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried wide egg noodles*
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium celery stalks, cut in 1/4-inch pieces

*White rice can be substituted.
PreparationIn 12-quart heavy pot, combine chicken and enough water to cover, about 8 quarts. Bring to boil, skimming froth. Add onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, sweet potato, and dill, and simmer, partially covered, 3 hours.

Pour stock through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, reserving chicken and discarding remaining solids. Refrigerate stock, covered, until completely cool, then skim fat from surface. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones, shred meat, and refrigerate until ready to use.

In 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, bring stock to a boil. Add salt, pepper, and noodles. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 4 minutes. Add carrots and celery, and continue simmering until noodles are tender, about 4 minutes. Add shredded chicken and simmer until heated through. Serve hot.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Key to Souffles

If you watched the premiere of Top Chef this week, you saw two chefs bomb souffle dishes. Not to brag but I've got souffles down and make them often. The key is in the egg whites and how you fold them into the mixture. Here's a video that walks you through it.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wild Rice and Barley Salad

This Cooking Light side dish would perfectly compliment Lizzy's Lamb dish below. It is one of our favorites year round. It is healthy and amazing.

1 3/4 Cups Organic Chicken Broth
1 Box uncooked White and Wild rice mix including spice packet
1/2 Cup uncooked Pearl Barley
3/4 Cup rinsed and drained Garbanzo Beans
1/3 Cup Golden Raisins
1/4 Cup sliced Green Onions
1/2 Cup Chopped Red Onion
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
3 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds- Toasted

Combine 1st 3 ingredients in medium saucepan and boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Mix in bowl with garbanzo beans, raisins, red and green onions.

Combine red wine vinegar and next 4 ingredients into a small bowl and wisk together. Pour over barley mixture. Chill. Stir in Basil and Almonds prior to serving.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Time to Start Thinking Easter

In the market for a lamb recipe this Easter? Well, look no further. I've made this twice and both times a hit. I added one more step because I heart garlic: Make shallow slits about 1/2 inch wide and stuffed them with garlic cloves. Probably 10 slits total at one clove per slit.

Great recipe for big groups.

Roast leg of lamb with salsa verde
Bon Appétit April 2006
Giada De Laurentiis
Ask your butcher to butterfly the leg of lamb for you.
Servings: Makes 8 servings.

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup salted capers, soaked in cold water 30 minutes, or brined capers, drained, chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 5 1/2-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, trimmed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Stir first 10 ingredients in large bowl for salsa verde. Place lamb on work surface, smooth-side down. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper, then garlic. Rub 1/4 cup salsa verde into lamb. Roll up lamb. Using kitchen string, tie lamb every 2-inches to hold together. (Lamb and salsa verde can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill. Let lamb and salsa verde stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.)Preheat oven to 450°F. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan. Roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Transfer lamb to cutting board; remove kitchen string. Cut crosswise into thin slices. Arrange sliced lamb on platter. Spoon some salsa verde over. Serve lamb, passing remaining salsa alongside.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Top Chef Chicago!!!

Goodbye Project Runway and hello Top Chef! In case you have been living in a cave lately, the Top Chef premiere is this Wednesday, 3/12, on Bravo. And guess what? It's in my town; Chicago. So tune in foodies. Utensils down, hands up!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dulce De Leche

I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew both in the office and in the kitchen. This week's project was canning. Yes, canning. And let me tell you that hauling these around the city from the store was tough and my arms are sore.

Each Monday I bring treats to my office. So this week I figured I would give everyone the choice between Dulce de Leche or my Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Marinara. This turned out to take up the better half of my day. Go figure.

Dulce de Leche (aka Milk Candy)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 sweetened condensed milk
I added:
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
3 tablespoons of dark rum

Add rum to pan and let alcohol burn off, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and whipping cream to medium heat pan. Whisk for about 5 minutes until mixture reduces to one cup. Add nutmeg and stir in condensed milk.

And, yes, it's that flippin' easy.


Greek Night

Last night, Drew and I went Greek and it was very easy to prepare and delicious.

Lemon Zest and Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops
8 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of rosemary
Zest from 2 lemons
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 lamb chops

Put garlic and lemon zest in mortar and pestle and mash up until it forms a paste. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary. Cover lamb chops with marinade and place in fridge for 4 hours. Grill on high heat (I used a grill pan on stove top) about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Cut lemon in half and grill for 3 minutes with lamb. Serve on the side as a garnish.

I served the lamb with a traditional Greek salad.