Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
The downside of getting recipes online is that they are sometimes written as if no one bothered to proofread them--steps out of order, cooking times vague, critical techniques and serving sizes omitted. The result of this carelessness is that the integrity of the recipe is not preserved and the chef is blamed for something out of his or her control. In my opinion, this accounts for a great many of the negative reviews that are posted on cooking sites.
Having vented, I've taken it upon myself to correct problems in these two recipes. In fact, I've added more photos than I normally do to provide something of a tutorial. I've done this because these are two fabulous dishes that are really quite simple to make as well as being very cost conscious. Yet, they look sophisticated and are full of the flavors of fresh herbs and earthy ingredients. The silkiness of the sauce on the saltimbocca contrasts beautifully with the crispy exterior of the potato cake, which encases a creamy interior. Prep time for both dishes was under 30 minutes. I substituted turkey cutlets for the veal, a huge savings. I substituted garlic and rosemary for the chives in the potato dish--my chives had expired--with no loss of flavor.
One at a time or together, you must try these dishes; you won't be disappointed.
SALTIMBOCCA ALLA ROMANA
4 (5-ounce) sliced turkey cutlets (scallopini)
4 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
8 fresh sage leaves, plus more for garnish
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
Lemon wedges, for serving
Put the cutlets side by side on a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay a piece of prosciutto on top of each piece of veal and cover with another piece of plastic. Gently flatten the cutlets with a rolling pin or meat mallet, until the pieces are about 1/4-inch thick and the prosciutto has adhered to the veal.
Remove the plastic wrap and lay a couple of sage leaves in the center of each cutlet. Weave a toothpick in and out of the veal to secure the prosciutto and sage.
Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to combine. Dredge the veal in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter and in a large skillet over medium flame. Put the veal in the pan, prosciutto-side down first. Cook for 3 minutes to crisp it up and then flip the veal over and saute the other side for 2 minutes, until golden. Transfer the saltimbocca to a serving platter, remove the toothpicks, and keep warm.
Add the wine to the pan, stirring to bring up all the delicious flavor in the bottom; let the wine cook down for a minute to burn off some of the alcohol. Add the chicken broth and remaining tablespoon of butter, swirl the pan around. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca, garnish with sage leaves and lemon wedges; serve immediately.
CRISPY AND CREAMY NEW POTATO PIE
2 pounds potatoes, washed and halved
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish (or prepared)
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chives, chopped (2 cloves garlic, minced; handful fresh rosemary, chopped substituted)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash and boil potatoes in salty water with bay leaf until fork tender. Drain potatoes and mash along with horseradish, sour cream, garlic, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.
(Based on the reviews I read, I sprayed my nonstick skillet and heated the olive oil until almost smoking, patted the mashed potato mixture into the hot skillet, then transferred the skillet to the oven.)
The bottom of the potato cake crisped up beautifully, but not the top.
(I brushed the top of the cake with a bit more olive oil, then ran it under the broiler for a few minutes.)
To serve, invert onto a plate and cut into pieces.
I think the photos speak for themselves. The only thing I can add to this is an offer to Tyler. I have excellent writing and editing skills as well as a good grasp of cooking. Most importantly, I'll work cheap. Call me!
You must check out the wonderful dishes of my fellow Tyler devotees at Tyler Florence Fridays.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
1 cup self-rising flour
Monday, June 15, 2009
extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pesto
quartered artichoke hearts
roasted red pepper slices
10 oz fresh spinach, cooked and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it as well.
Lightly oil a large baking sheet. Roll, toss, flip, or stretch by any other method the dough to fit the bottom of the baking sheet.
Spread the pesto over the dough.
Layer the spinach, artichokes, and red peppers over the dough, then cover with the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the mozzarella.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese starts to turn golden on the edges.
Serve with a salad and a good bottle of Chianti. You'll think twice about tomato sauce after you've had a piece of this ambrosial combination.
Friday, June 12, 2009
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together. Toss thoroughly. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to an hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I find it easier to eat a balanced, healthy diet when I create a menu for the week. Another bonus is the shopping list I create which staves off impulse buying. Since I'd decided to put off shopping for another day, I found myself with an opportunity to create something from what was in the larder.
I grabbed a pound of shrimp from the freezer, some feta cheese from the refrigerator, a can of artichoke hearts and one of San Marzano tomatoes from my cache in the basement. There was also my lovely fresh oregano, the plant growing ever larger from disuse. I decided that despite the fact that I was lacking some good Kalamata olives, I had all the makings of a lovely Mediterranean shrimp dish. Oh, inspiration! That package of mushroom ravioli that I had bought on impulse would finally be put to use. I didn't say I was totally immune to impulse purchases.
The onions were carmelizing as Larry arrived home. He immediately wanted to know what we were having for dinner even though it was just 3:30. To this intoxicating aroma there was soon a hint of garlic. By the time I'd added the tomatoes, I was wishing it were a bit later, too.
The shrimp, served over mushroom ravioli, would have been equally delicious over a penne or rigatoni. This is definitely a keeper.
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine, like a good Chianti
1 - 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
4 oz feta cheese
3 tbs fresh oregano
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 lb pasta of your choice
Heat 1 tbs oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook slowly to carmelize (15-20 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Scrape up any brown bits and cook down for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As you prepare the pasta to the al dente stage, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbs olive oil. Add the shrimp in 1 layer. Cook for 1 minute, then turn and cook on the other side for an additional minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and toss over the heat. Remove from the heat and add the fresh oregano leaves, then crumble the feta cheese over the shrimp. Tent with foil until the pasta is cooked and drained. Add the shrimp and cheese mixture to the drained pasta and toss well.
To serve, ladle a bit of sauce in each dish, top with the pasta and shrimp, then add more sauce to taste.
Both of us loved the varied tastes and textures that made up this dish. The sauce is sweet from the addition of the carmelized onions and the tomato paste. This contrasts nicely with the saltiness of the feta cheese and the acidity of the artichoke hearts. I know that the Kalamata olives would have been the crowning touch. Next time.
Friday, June 5, 2009
I'm finding that my favorite Tyler recipes are those for pasta dishes. This particular recipe, though it has "cold" in its title, was absolutely incredible served warm the first night and cold as leftovers. This is the first incarnation of Tyler's cold pasta salad, but it will not be the last. I am going to make it again in the coming week with my own twists.
I like to give a recipe an even break the first time and make it as written, so that is what I did. Again, the flavor was incredible, but I'll discuss later how I intend to tweak the recipe.
extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb plums, halved and pitted
1 lb penne
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 lb crumbled blue cheese
handful fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat a 2-count of oil in a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium high heat until almost smoking. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Flip the breasts again, then place in the oven and cook until the juices run clear (another 12-20 minutes). In the last 8 minutes of cooking, add the plums in with the chicken. Remove plums and chicken from the pan and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta to the al dente stage. Drain after chilling with cold water.
Make the vinaigrette last by whisking together the mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a large serving bowl, then whisking in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the chopped herbs. Slice the chicken and toss into the bowl along with the pasta, the blue cheese, and the whole basil leaves. Toss, taste for seasoning, then serve with the plums alongside.
Now, about those "tweaks." This is the second Tyler recipe that called for beginning the chicken by sauteeing, then finishing it in the oven. I have to say I do not like this method for 2 reasons. First, it uses more oil than necessary. Second, the chicken isn't as moist as it can be. Next time I make this pasta salad, I will prepare the chicken the way I normally do. I will marinate it with some Italian dressing, my own or bottled, then grill the chicken. This produces a more flavorful and moist chicken. I may also substitute skinless, boneless thighs as that is what SO and I prefer.
Next, while the plums looked pretty, they were pretty mushy and didn't add much to the salad. I will eliminate these entirely or wait until plums hit their peak. It was a pain to split and pit them and they just weren't very sweet. Plus, there was that mushiness and I only had them in the oven about 5 minutes, not the called for 8. I am toying with the idea of adding some very ripe, seeded and cored, chopped tomato.
Finally, I am going to replace the "saved" olive oil calories with some chopped bacon. After all, what is blue cheese without bacon?
I hope Tyler will forgive me for these changes. I'm pretty sure he will since he's an understanding type of guy and, after all, it will still be HIS recipe. I'll be sure to post the pasta salad redux when I try it.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Since I've been focusing on healthy eating, I knew I'd have to start with a recipe that could be lightened somewhat. I adore Mexican food, but there is that cheese (God, how I love cheese!). Since enchiladas are, in my twisted mind, Mexican manicotti, I chose one of Gloria's enchilada recipes--cheesy chicken enchiladas. Even with a halving of the cheese and the use of reduced fat sour cream, they were deliciosa. If your idea of toiling in the kitchen is to produce a great dinner in under 45 minutes, this one's for you.
I've written the recipe as it appears in Gloria's cookbook with my efforts at lightening in parentheses):
Makes 10 enchiladas
1 1/4 lb deli chicken breast, sliced 3 1/2 inches thick and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it)
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno, shredded and divided (I used an 8 oz pkg WW shredded Mexican cheeses)
1 8 oz container sour cream (I used reduced fat sour cream)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
10 - 6" flour tortillas, warmed
1 - 19 oz can enchilada sauce
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the chicken, 1 1/2 cups cheese, sour cream, chili powder, and cayenne powder and mix well.
Divide the chicken mixture among the 10 tortillas. Roll up to enclose the filling.
Place 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13 X 9" baking dish. Arrange the tortillas seam side down.
Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through (my oven required 30 minutes).
To serve, top with the olives and green onions.
This was a great weeknight dinner; Larry had a terrific lunch the next day; and, I have a single serving in the freezer for one of those nights when one or the other other of us is out. Thank you, Gloria, for a wonderful cookbook and thank you, Teresa, for a fun give-away.