Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh my gosh, I don't have a spare moment!

We're smack dab in the middle of lacrosse season and I am completely out of time on a daily basis. I've even delegated and I'm still without a spare moment. You have not missed too many fabulous meals, but there are a few recipes I will share when I regain a little control over my days. Two weekends ago I made a strawberry-rhubarb double crust pie and enjoyed probably half of it. Yummm! The meal that proceeded the pie was southwest short ribs from Fine Cooking (ahh, slow roasting one last time before it's too hot). Last weekend I made an all-time classic grilled meal of tri-tip with red wine barbecue sauce and balsamic carmelized onions. That one always merits repeating. Tonight since it is chilly again I took the opportunity to make fire-roasted tomato, two-bean and chicken chili that Sara and I mastered after many versions over the winter. I have been cooking, but goodness I can barely get it all in right now so hang on and I'll get back to you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eric Bibb - Shine On

day two and skillet roasted corn

Born out of necessity during "the lost years", i.e. when I wore braces, the family favorite of skillet roasted corn was born. I will get to the recipe but first, let's revisit the whole braces wearing experience. My dentist always referred to my bite as "interesting" (you know, how when you find something not quite right so you tell someone it's "interesting"), but after the third broken tooth , clearly drastic measures were in order. Braces instead of a new vehicle, braces on my face as I sent my first child off to college and met all of her new friends, braces gracing my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and a family portrait for my parents. There are worse things, but I couldn't honestly tell you I enjoyed the process. Thankfully, Dr. Sondhi and Dr. Biggs did good work and they were off ahead of schedule two days before Christmas last year. One of the best Christmas presents ever.

Needless to say you can not enjoy corn on the cob with braces. So employ a good chef's knife (I love my Wusthoff Santoku knife), stand the corn on it's end in a bowl and slice the kernels off into the bowl. Or, grab a bag of the delicious organic super sweet corn from the freezer at Trader Joe's and you are ready to go.

Heat a large non-stick skillet* over a medium high flame and melt about 1 T of butter or 1 tsp of butter and 2 tsp of olive oil in the pan. Pour in the corn (4 ears or one bag) and saute a bit. After 5 to 10 minutes just let it sit over medium-medium high heat so it will brown. Stir it again and let it sit to brown a couple of times then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve. I have yet to overcook the corn and have had good results cooking it for 10-25 minutes.
Now let's make it better. Simply add chopped sweet onions when you add the corn and that makes it extra delicious. If peppers are your thing, add chopped green or red peppers (one pepper to one bag or 4 ears of corn is a good ratio) when you add the corn to the hot pan. Alternatively, a chopped and seeded fresh jalepeno pepper or a can of diced green chiles would perk it up too.

*Pan note: non-stick certainly makes life easier, but if I use my Le Crueset enameled cast iron casserole pan the browning it achieves is amazing. It can be worth the clean-up.

Now here's the recipe for the super-deluxe version I fixed last night along with grilling Chile Lime Chicken burgers from Trader Joe's. Let me tell you, those TJ's burgers from the freezer section (4 burgers to a box) are delicious.

Skillet Roasted Corn, Super-Deluxe Version

1 tsp butter
2 T olive oil
1 bag Trader Joe's Organic Super Sweet Corn (or any bag of sweet corn, or 4 fresh ears of kernels removed from the cob)
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 to 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 or 2 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to melt the butter. Add the corn, onion and red pepper. Saute for 5-10 minutes. Stop stirring and let the mixture cook undisturbed for 5 minutes so it will brown. Stir again and let it cook and brown one or two more times. Add the black beans and heat another minute or two. Squeeze in one or two limes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

guacamole, the obvious choice

Really, I should have posted my recipe for guacamole (what else says "blue skies and a squeeze of lime" so well?) for the maiden run so before I return to my housework here it is:

Guacamole, straight-up

3-4 large avocados
one large sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/2 a bunch of cilantro cleaned and chopped
one medium tomato, diced
2 limes, juiced
1/2-1 tsp kosher salt

Cut the avocados along their longitudinal equator (you know, lengthwise), spear pit with your knife and pull out (or pull out with your fingers) and scoop the pretty green flesh out into a bowl. Combine with the onion, cilantro, tomato and lime juice. Use a fork and mash leaving it a little chunky. Add 1/2 tsp salt at a time to taste. You can always squeeze in another lime to taste too. That's it. If you've made it early for a party or dinner, cover tightly pressing plastic wrap into the guacamole to keep the air and the ugly brown color out. Then call me and I'll come over and we can enjoy it together.

you have to start somewhere

I've been thinking for a while that I need a way to share recipes and other good things that come out of my kitchen and into my life. So, the experiment with a blog begins today.
Last night I tweaked a recipe from Cooking Light and created Lemon Asparagus Risotto as follows:

Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

2 T olive oil
4 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C arborio rice
1/2 C dry white wine (mine was the pinot grigio in the fridge)
4 C organic chicken broth
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
juice of half a lemon (2 T)
zest of one lemon (2 tsp)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 C fresh grated parmesan reggiano

Prep your asparagus and steam for 5 minutes or par-boil for 3-5 minutes and immediately drain and cool the asparagus in a bowl of cold water.
Start the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and warm to simmering.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the shallots until soft (3-5 min). Stir in the garlic and saute for one minute being careful not to brown or burn the garlic. Stir in the rice to warm and coat with the oil. Stir in the white wine and continue stirring until absorbed by the rice. Keep a ladle handle and the broth simmering for the duration. Ladle simmering broth into the rice 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed by the rice mixture. It's okay to multi task a little while stirring risotto, but the more your stir the creamier your finished dish. You will be adding broth and stirring for about 25 minutes, so grab a magazine and read and stir away while you catch up. Combine your lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and
When you have stirred in all of the broth, have a little taste and make sure the rice is nice and creamy and al dente or soft to bite. If you've neglected to stir faithfully you may need to warm a little more broth to stir in until your risotto is perfect. Combine your lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir into the risotto followed by the grated parmesan and the asparagus and serve. Serves 4 as a main and up to 6 as a side dish.