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Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Even thought it’s currently coming down in buckets outside it’s still summer and that means it’s officially grill season. The smell of barbeque seems to be drifting from every corner so we joined the masses and fired up our grill for some tasty treats. I adore outdoor cooking and keep my grill handy all year round for a quick fix. I was hankering for some old fashion comfort food so decided on BBQ ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries sprinkled with basil salt served with garlic lemon mayo (I could eat these all by themselves for a meal!), and grilled corn on the cob. A quite simple yet satisfying meal.

If you don’t have a BBQ (that’s a tragedy that you must remedy immediately) I’ve included instructions for oven grilling the ribs.

I promised the lovely Diana I would post these recipes…So cheers to you missy! Enjoy.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

You’ll need:

  • 6 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup liquid crab boil
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 2 pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, washed, ends trimmed, and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed and toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 cup malt or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Preparation for ribs:

In a large pot, combine all the rib ingredients and enough water to cover by 1-inch (about 12 cups) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a slow boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until ribs are very tender when pierced with a fork.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the BBQ sauce. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, horseradish, cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and the flavors have married, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

GRILL: Preheat grill to around 400. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Generously coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce. Grill the ribs turning and brushing with the sauce until cooked through and marked nicely.

OVEN ONLY: Preheat the oven to broil. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Spread half of the BBQ sauce over the 2nd lined pan. Lay the ribs flat over the sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs to coat generously. Broil until the sauce is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonnaise

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

You’ll need:

  • 5 sweet potatoes, cut into about 1 by 5-inch “fries”
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the sweet potato “fries” on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

You’ll need:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, in their husks

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

Remove the visible silks from the tips of the corn and any long pieces inside. DO NOT remove the husks!

Submerge the corn in their husks in cold water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn.

Serve hot, with butter and salt. Or better yet, herb butter. YUM.

What are your favorite flavors of summer? Got any great BBQ recipes or secret tips? Please share!

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My brother Joe and his lovely wife, Janet

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Janet for over twenty years. She has an amazing smile that sparkles from across the room, finds humor in even the small things, competes in triathlons AND in addition to be an incredible mom to the sweetest niece and nephew an aunt could want, coach & mentor of young girls, den mother, PTA leader, (uh, yeah, I could keep going on here!) is ALSO a personal chef. So, I must say, I feel fortunate this talented lady is my sister-in-law. After our wedding in Spain last month, my brother and his family joined us in Sweden for a week of sight-seeing, golfing, and lounging out on the lake. Sadly, the latter two didn’t really make it on the agenda….but next time Joe, I promise!

One night hanging out in the Swedish midnight sun (Yes, it’s true. The sun sets at midnight in the height of the summer) Janet made us the most scrumptious salmon cakes. Her clients, including her own family, rave about these fish patties and I can see why. Simple, easy to prepare, and just plain delicious. You’ll love them.

Janet’s Salmon Cakes on Mixed Baby Greens

Makes four servings

You’ll need:

  • 1 lbs salmon
  • 1+ cup white wine
  • 1+ cup cracker meal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 round tsp Old Bay Seasoning or seafood seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • 1/2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 20 blades chives
  • 1 tbs dill, fresh
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • Salad greens – mixed baby greens
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1+ tsp chili sauce, such as Siracha
  • 2 tbs dill pickle relish – or chopped dill pickles

Preparation:

1. In covered pan, poach salmon in wine and enough water to just come to the top of fish. Quarter a lemon lengthwise and add 1/4 piece to pan along with a few sprigs of dill and chives. Cover and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
2. In medium bowl, flake the cooked salmon with a fork. Add about 1 cup cracker meal and work through with hands. Add the eggs, Old Bay, bell pepper, chives, dill, cayenne pepper sauce, and the zest and juice of 1 of the lemon and continue to blend well. If the mixture is wet, add more cracker meal. Let stand 5 minutes while pan is heating. Form into 4 patties about 1 inch thick.
3. Heat heavy skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom.
4. Cook until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.
5. Combine mayo, and relish and chili sauce to taste in a small dish.
6. Toss salad greens with course salt and the juice of the remaining lemon. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
7. To serve, place salmon cake on a bed of baby greens, and top with chili mayo.

Old Bay Seasoning

The exact recipe is a secret, but this is a close approximation.

  • 2 tablespoons ground bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Makes about 1/4 cup.

July 2008 - Midnight Sun in Sweden

July 2008 - Midnight Sun in Sweden

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Yeah, ok. So it seems (hearing the rumblings coming from the mouths of my close friends at least) the majority of my posts are centering around food in some form or fashion. But I can’t seem to help it. Every recipe I’ve tried lately has been a hit and I feel obliged to share.

This baked fish & saffron concoction I whipped up last week is no exception. It was absolutely D-I-V-I-N-E. Yes, I do agree, this dish has a helluva long title and it does take a little prep work, but I promise it’s totally worth it.

I’m making it Saturday night for 26 peeps….Wish me luck!

Halibut

Baked Halibut in a Saffron Broth over Mashed Potatoes with a Tomato and Black Olive Ragoût

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network.

Tomato and black olive ragoût:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

In a saucepan heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and olives and cook until sauce is thick and most liquid has evaporated. Season with herbs and salt and pepper to taste, adding sugar if necessary to correct acidity. Serve warm on top of baked halibut in a saffron broth with mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes and saffron broth:

2 quarts chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron (about 1/4-ounce)
Salt
5 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups warm milk
Freshly ground white pepper
3 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

In a large saucepan combine chicken stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, add potatoes and cook, covered, until fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain liquid into another large saucepan and reserve. Add butter to potatoes and stir and mash until completely melted. Add milk, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while making the halibut. In a saucepan saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add reserved saffron stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add green onions and simmer 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Halibut:

8 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup saffron broth from above

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Season halibut fillets with Creole seasoning on both sides. Rub fillets with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled shallow casserole or baking sheet with sides and pour saffron broth around fillets. Cover filets loosely with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes, uncover and bake another 5 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily. Serve fillets in a large bowl on top of mashed potatoes, with saffron broth ladled over all and fish topped with a generous dollop of tomoato and black olive ragout.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup

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goat cheese ravioli with walnuts

He loved to tinker and immerse himself into just about anything he hadn’t tried before. So it was no surprise when my dad trotted in one day with a pasta rolling machine under his arm. We were little munch-kins barely able to see above the kitchen counter and for that moment we thought this shiny silver thing with a crank on it was the coolest thing ever.

As kids we loved learning how to gently roll out those sheets of fabulous yellow tinted dough; linguine laying out on every single piece of flat surface we could find including draping it over the back of the kitchen chairs. He was always bringing fun and adventure into our lives including in the heart of the home – the kitchen. For me, these are treasured memories of my dad that I’ll always keep close.

As a treat during the post holiday sales, Fattie and I bought ourselves a pasta machine so we could roll out fresh Italian dishes whenever the urge presented itself. So, what to do on a Saturday night? Yup – you guessed it – pasta!

We decided on ravioli because we both adore it and it’s such a joy to sink your teeth into this handmade goodness…..I wanted to make a lobster and crab recipe but we settled for this over indulgent goat cheese & walnut number. It really is fantastically rich and yummy.

pasta machine

 

Ravioli Dough

Courtesy of Tyler Florence & The Food Network

You’ll need:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yolk, for egg wash

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix. Drizzle in oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. *Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.

Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Brush the top surface of dough with egg wash. Drop 1 tablespoon of cooled filling about 2-inches apart on half the sheet of pasta. Fold the unfilled half over the filling. With an espresso cup or fingers, gently press out air pockets around each mound of filling and form a seal. Use a crimper to cut each pillow into squares. Check to make sure the crimped edges are well sealed before cooking. If making ravioli in advance, dust with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking.

ravioli 2

 

Goat Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse & The Food Network

You’ll need:

Filling:

1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced lemon peel
3 large pasta sheets

Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan

In a bowl combine the goat cheese, walnuts, basil, oil, garlic and lemon peel, and mix well. Set aside.

Put pasta sheet on work surface with long side facing you and put packed teaspoon of filling 2 inches apart lengthwise along half of the pasta sheet (you should have 10 to 12 mounds). Around each mound of filling brush dough very lightly with water. Fold dough lengthwise in half over mounds of filling, gently pressing around mounds to force out any air, and seal edges well. With a fluted pastry wheel trim edges and cut between mounds of filling to separate ravioli.

Line a large tray with a dry kitchen towel and arrange ravioli in 1 layer. Make more ravioli with remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling in same manner, transferring to kitchen-towel-lined tray and arranging in 1 layer. Ravioli may be made 8 hours ahead and chilled on towel-lined tray, covered loosely with plastic wrap.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove nuts from the pan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, shallots and garlic, and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine and cream, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high until the liquid has thickened and reduced by nearly 50 percent in volume, about 4 minutes. Stir in the basil, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli until they are tender and rise to the surface, carefully stirring to keep them from sticking together, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander. Transfer the cooked ravioli to the pan with the sauce, and gently toss to coat and heat through.

Divide the ravioli among 6 serving plates or shallow bowls, and sprinkle each serving with walnuts and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

 

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Can’t help it. I adore risotto.

Every gluttonous mouth watering bite is comforting to my soul. There is just something so remarkably satisfying and sensual about the creamy rice texture once it has lapped up all that glorious stock and Parmesan has been delicately melted and laced throughout.

Risotto

We have the Italians to thank for most gastronomic delights (yes, of course the French get loads of props too). If you’ve never indulged in risotto, I beg you to allow this sensational dish to pass your lips.

Last night was my lucky night.

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PF ChangsYes, if you’ve trotted your bootie over to PF Chang’s, it’s almost certain you’ve bitten into one of their famous chicken lettuce wraps at one time or another.

I was feeling a little nostalgic for my suburban mall (silly I know – I haven’t been to one of those lovely joints since I left the states) and decided to cook these babies up last night. There are many variations to this dish but this one comes pretty stinking close to the real deal. Don’t be intimidated by the laundry list of ingredients or the numerous preparatory steps involved. There’s no qualification needed to assemble these bad boys. These are actually quite simple to drum up and your mouth with thank you.

P.F. Chang Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves 3-4 as an appetizer

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jamie oliver

Fattie had dashed over to grab the new truck and trailer (in order to store all the paraphernalia we were going to purchase for the remodel we needed both vehicles. BTW, this remodel seems to have taken over my life the last few weeks – but uh-uhmmm, I guess that’s for another time….) and as he honked for me, I reached for my Louis Vuitton and my puffy North Face.

Since I knew we were going to be in the rig for the better part of an hour, I spun around, turned back, and quickly snagged a cookbook off the shelf for some dinner inspiration.

I ended up with Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef Takes Off.

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