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Monday, March 29, 2010

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream

I have a really bad habit of going to the grocery store without a list. I tend to buy whatever looks good at the time, as well as what is on sale, and what I "think" I have on my list of things of cook. This results in me having really random stuff that doesn't go together and having to call for pizza delivery after I get home from the store and am starving. I went through my cabinet and freezer this morning and found many of the ingredients below. Thanks to the lovely internet, I was able to find a recipe that contained many of the ingredients I had on hand. I just had to buy a can of tomatoes and some heavy cream. Yes, you read correctly; I HAD to buy heavy cream. The internet told me to. This turned out to be a really great dish that I will definitely make again. I used hot sausage instead of sweet, and it was delicious.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Go ahead and chop up the onion and garlic. I would also start boiling the water for the pasta. Follow the directions for al dente pasta and save 1 cup of the reserved water for later.


Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes.


Oh, yes, you'll want a glass of wine. Red, white, who cares? This is a lovely Bordeaux that I bought over the weekend.

Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer.

See? All nice and brown.


Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan.

Toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved liqued from pasta by 1/4 cupfulls as needed.

Transfer pasta to dish. Sprinkle with basil and cheese. And serve. Look how pretty!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thai Red Curry Shrimp

I don't hide my love for ethnic food. It's yummy, usually inexpensive, and exposes me to flavors and tastes that I didn't experience growing up down south. Usually, it's cheaper to order delivery if I am in the mood for Thai food. However, this recipe might be one of the easiest ever, and I have altered the ingredients for 2 people, so that I can have leftovers for lunch the next day. The ingredients are easy to find in NYC, but even if you have to hunt them down, there are tons of recipes online that include these things, so don't worry... they won't go to waste. It really is a delicious meal and one of the easiest things I know how to make. The rice takes longer to cook than the actual dish!

The ingredients:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon red curry paste (this adds a good amount of spice, but I actually prefer more)
1 teaspoon sugar
12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup coconut milk (feel free to use light if you are watching the calories)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I like to use a bit more)

Why not make things easy and just go ahead and chop your ingredients now?



Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 2 things noticed: I need a new nonstick pan PRONTO!....and this is very Medusa-esque. I am pretty sure I made up that word. I like it.


Add onion and curry paste to pan, and sauté 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Stir in sugar; sauté 15 seconds.

Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently.

When they are pink throughout, those boogers are done.

Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and basil. (Oops, forgot to take a picture.)

Serve with rice and your choice of side. I went with haricot verts because that is what I had. Feel free to use anything. Told you it was easy. And delicious, right?


Monday, March 15, 2010

Irish Stew

Well, it's obvious why I chose this, right? Today it St. Patty's Day, otherwise known as Green Beer Day. I remember going to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jackson when I was little and wanting some of Daddy's "green drink" so bad. Knowing him, he probably gave me a sip when my mom looked the other way! I can't really figure out what makes this stew Irish besides potatoes, but hey, what Papaw says goes.


Ingredients: (full recipe):
5 lbs. roast, cut into bite size cubes (I used beef already cut for stew and diced a bit more)
1 qt. water, in container
1 large onion, chopped
salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 1 lb. can tomatoes
2 cans tomato paste
5-7 potatoes


Cook first ingredients on high until boiling. This picture looks, well, brown.

Add the tomatoes and paste. Cook on low for 2 hours. You may have to add more water.



While cooking, peel and dice the potatoes. To prevent them from browning, keep covered in cold water until you add to the stew.




After 2 hours is up, add the potatoes and cook for 30 more minutes or until the potatoes are tender.


And serve.


Ok, I am not gonna lie. At the end of the day, this is a very basic stew. It's a bit bland for my taste buds, so I decided to doctor things up a bit. I took a pic of what I added below, but you can add whatever you like. Once I added these things, it definitely didn't taste more Irish, but it definitely added a bit more depth. If I were going to make this again, I would try adding Guinness and some red wine to give more flavor. Now, you just relax and treat yourself to some yummy Irish whiskey. You deserve it. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken Curry (kind of)

In case you didn't know already, Mark Bittman is a food writer who has a weekly column for the The New York Times called The Minimalist. Even if you don't read the dining section first thing on Wednesday morning like me, you are probably familiar with one of his 6 cookbooks. The best thing about Bittman is his simplistic recipes; they are perfect for the people out there that like to cook, but really have no idea what they are doing...aka ME. This chicken curry recipe is not necessarily "authentic," but hey, there is chicken and there is curry....therefore, it is named appropriately. This is perfect for a weekday night when you don't feel like making something fancy pants, but don't want to order greasy chinese delivery either.



Ingredients:
1 Tbsp corn, grapeseed, or olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder, or to taste
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 cup sour cream
Minced fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

Bittman also recommends adding slivered almonds and a dash of chile pepper flakes. If you want to use yogurt instead of sour cream, just make sure that the yogurt never simmers. If it does, it will curdle.

Before you start slicing those onions, start the rice. Just follow the directions on the back of the box. This isn't rocket science people. Now, get to slicing.


Put the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.


When hot, add the onions (and optional raisins), sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.


Turn the heat down to medium, sprinkle with half of the curry powder, and continue to cook a minute or two.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle it with the remaining curry powder.


Move the onion to one side of the skillet.

Add the chicken in one layer. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.

Flip.

Transfer to a plate.

Add the sour cream and stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture is nice and thick.


Return the chicken to the skillet and cook for a couple more minutes, or until cooked through, turning once.



Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve with rice. No cilantro or parsley in my kitchen tonight so I skipped this step.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Crawfish Monica

If you've ever been to Jazzfest in New Orleans, then you've definitely had Crawfish Monica. And if you've ever had Crawfish Monica, well then you know what heaven is gonna be like. I'm talkin cream, pasta, garlic, butter....yep, like I said, heaven.

You can change this up as much as you like. If you don't have fettucini, use whatever pasta you have around. They usually serve it with rotini at Jazzfest, so if you want to be traditional, go that route. Also, you can always substitute shrimp for crawfish, which is what I did. Believe me, if I could find crawfish, I would have used it. I love New York and all, but they really don't know what they are missing out on by not having crawfish up here.




Ingredients:
1 pound fettuccine
3 tbsp butter
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
Creole/Cajun Seasoning to taste
1 cup peeled, seeded plum tomatoes
1 pound crawfish tails
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups heavy cream
2 ounces grated Parmigiana Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions, (green part only)


So like I said, I went with shrimp instead of crawfish. I ended up buying frozen because I didn't like the look of the fresh. Plus, I mean, hello? If someone wants to devein shrimp for me, I am NOT going to stop them. A quick way to thaw shrimp? Run cold water over them in a colander, and you have unfrozen shrimp in about 6 minutes.




While the water is running, get your ingredients chopped. Shown below is garlic, chopped roma tomatoes, and onion.



By the time you are done chopping, the shrimp should be thawed. However, you want to dry these little boogers or else they will hold water and be gross. So I just lay them out on paper towel.



And then put another piece on top, patting them dry.



Now boil some water with some salt, and then add your pasta. Cook according to the instructions on the pasta package. I know, real exciting stuff here.



In a large saute pan, melt 1 T. of butter



Then add the onion and sprinkle with cajun seasoning. I used Tony's...and I have a very heavy pour. Come have a drink with me; I'll prove it.


Saute for 1 minute.



Add the tomatoes and more Tony's. Saute for 2 minutes.


Now sprinkle even more Tony's on the shrimp.


Add the shrimp to the pan and saute 1 minute.


Then add the garlic and season with another healthy shake of Tony's.


Add the cream and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cheese. Mix well.




In the meantime, drain the pasta. Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper.



Ok, I admit it. This is when my friend showed up, and I totally forgot to continue to take pictures. I blame that heavy pour I referenced earlier. =) But I promise, you don't need pics of the next steps. Turn the sauce into a large mixing bowl. Add the pasta and green onions (I didn't have these at home so skipped). Mix well. Mound the pasta in the center of each plate and serve.

Here is a shot of what it should look like. Thank you, Google. This is much prettier than anything I would have taken.