Posts tagged ‘basil’

Pasta, Veg, Veg, Veg, Dairy, Fruit

Menu: Mini ravioli with squash, shells, and parmesan shavings * chopped roasted eggplant with red and yellow bell peppers and basil * sauteed spinach * ricotta-yogurt blend with blueberries

Really more of a Thursday kind of supper, where I’m cleaning things out and/or trying not to have to go to the store, but there it was a Saturday and we had no meat or fish thawed or ready in the fridge and it was time for dinner and we are trying not to call Mangia Pizza in these circumstances.

I’d been to the farmers market, so once again I had lovely small Italian heirloom eggplants. I roasted them in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes, along with a red and two yellow bell peppers. I found half a box of dry-pasta mini-ravioli stuffed with squash next to a quarter-box of shells (why I kept a quarter-box of shells instead of cooking it, I have no idea), and cooked them together (same cooking times). The vegs finished roasting and I peeled and chopped them together in a bowl with olive oil, a splash of balsamic, and a handful of basil from the patio, intending to use them to dress the pasta. Then I remembered the parmesan shavings, so decided to toss those with the pasta instead and serve the eggplant and peppers beside for mix-as-you-go-if-you-like. And so I did.

Finished the meal out with another batch of sauteed spinach (same as the last seven times you’ve seen it here); quick, easy, nutritious, delicious.

For dessert, I came across the end of a small tub of part-skim ricotta, and mixed it with the end of a big container of Brown Cow vanilla yogurt. Served it with blueberries and it was also interesting, though next time I might drain the yogurt a bit first as the dairy mixture separated out just a little towards the end.

About to head to the grocery store to replace all of the used-up-the-tail-ends ingredients above, plus purchase marinade ingredients for either lamb chops or steaks for Sunday dinner…

June 29, 2008 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Lamb, Beans, Salad

Menu: Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce * Marinated Pink-Eyed Peas and Fresh Herbs * Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad

Lemon-Garlic Lamb Chops with Yogurt Sauce (from The Gourmet Cookbook)
I didn’t change this much if at all, so I’ll type it in as it is in the cookbook.

In Turkey, lamb – the meat of choice – is very often served with this simple yogurt sauce, a Mediterranean classic (the key is fragrant mint). To give the yogurt a thicker texture, we drain it before mixing in the garlic and mint.

Yogurt Sauce:
1 c plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T chopped fresh mint
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chops:
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
3 T olive oil
4 1/2-inch thick shoulder lamb chops
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T water

Yogurt sauce: Set a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth over a bowl, add yogurt to sieve, and let drain at room temperature for 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. (Note: I don’t keep cheesecloth around, so I used a #4 unbleached basket coffee filter and it worked just fine.)

Chops: Stir together lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and 2 T oil in a shallow baking dish. Add chops, turn to coat, and marinate 20 minutes. (I have an Italian herb blend grinder; I used that.)

Remove lamb from marinade (reserve marinade) and season with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 T oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Cook chops in 2 batches, turning once, about 4 minutes per batch for medium rare. Transfer to plates and cover loosely with foil.

Add reserved marinade to skillet with 1 T water, and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, for 1 minute. Pour pan sauce over chops and serve with yogurt sauce.

Marinated Pink-Eyed Peas and Fresh Herbs (from Frank Stitt’s Southern Table)
Again, I didn’t change this much, so here it is as Frank Stitts of Highlands in Birmingham wrote it.

This Southern take on a French lentil salad has become a regular staple in summertime, when peas are at their prime. It is a great barbecue side dish, easy to make, and holds up well for several hours. I like to serve it with creamed corn and fried okra as part of a vegetable plate.

2 pounds pink-eyes, black-eyes, crowders, or butter peas, or a combination, shelled
2 onions, quartered
1 ham hock or a small chunk of slab bacon
2 dried hot chile peppers
2 bay leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch sage, leaves removed and torn into small pieces
1 bunch thyme, leaves removed
fresh ground black pepper
hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula (my note: since living in New Orleans, Crystal is the hot sauce of choice)

In a large pot, combine peas, onions, ham hock, hot peppers, bay leaves, and salt; add cold water to cover by three inches. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer til tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the freshness of the peas. Set aside to cool in cooking liquid, then drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the liquid. Discard onions, peppers, and bay leaves; if desired, remove meat from ham hock and reserve for another use (discard the bacon if that’s what you used).

In a large pan, heat olive oil with garlic, sage, and thyme until fragrant. Add peas along with reserved cooking liquid and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper and serve with hot pepper sauce.

(I spaced out and accidentally drained all of the liquid; I tried to make up for it with a few shakes of Pickapeppa sauce and soy sauce, plus some cane vinegar. The flavors were good, but the peas were slightly dry, only slightly, but next time I would pay more attention.)

Cucumber Tomato Artichoke Salad
Sunday evening’s recipe again, replicated successfully.

June 25, 2008 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

Headache, Grain, Dairy, Egg, Comfort

Menu: Polenta with parmesan, mozzarella, fresh basil, and egg

Over the course of the afternoon, my head felt variously like it was being impaled on a spike, caught in a bear trap, and caught in an industrial vise. Needless to say, I was not up for giving the lamb chops I bought yesterday the attention they deserve. M, meanwhile, had set up come-buy-our-old-stuff-off-Craigslist appointments starting at 6:30.

The stone-ground coarse yellow cornmeal I use takes 5 minutes to polentaize. Three cups of water, 1 cup of corn. Boil water, dump in cornmeal, turn heat down to medium low, stir, set timer, stir, turn attention to eggs (below), stir. When the polenta has thickened, stir in a handful of parmesan shavings and 2 handfuls of reduced-fat mozzarella. Be sure to turn heat to lowest or off.

Meanwhile, in a non-stick pan sprayed with cooking spray, cook two eggs. Crack one egg at a time into pan; turn heat down to medium, medium-high. Turn attention to polenta. After whites have set, very gently roll eggs over and take off heat. Let eggs sit in hot pan while serving polenta.

Spoon hot polenta into bowls. Gently lay an egg on top. Sprinkle with fresh basil and grind sea salt over.

At table, break yolk; spoon a little polenta over. Let hot polenta cook the egg just a little as you eat. Try not to think about your headache. Look forward to bed with a full comfy tummy.

June 24, 2008 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

Fish, Veg, Veg, Veg

Menu: baked wrapped tilapia again * eggplant relish again * three-tomato salad * tilapia-influenced coleslaw

I don’t usually re-run recipes quite so quickly, but we enjoyed the baked wrapped tilapia from my first post so much that I went ahead and did it again. This time instead of the chile garlic sauce, I used fresh hot peppers from this morning’s farmers market run, but otherwise it was unchanged.

I used a few of the ingredients … the wasabi oil and chopped garlic … to make a dressing for shredded cabbage for slaw… I added some chile garlic sauce, a little bit of Steen’s cane syrup for sweetness, Steen’s cane vinegar, a splash of mirin, and finally a spoonful of Miracle Whip light to finesse the line between creamy slaw and vinegary slaw.

For the eggplant relish, again, I roasted two small heirloom ivory eggplants from the farmers market in the same 400-degree oven with the fish packets and a red bell pepper. I chopped the peeled pepper and eggplant together and stirred in a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. That was it.

Finally, I sliced three kinds of heirloom tomatoes purchased at the market this morning, ground fresh sea salt over, and sprinkled a chiffonade of basil over.

I would definitely do it again.

June 22, 2008 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

Pork, Vegs, Grain

Menu: herb-dijon marinated pork tenderloin * oven-roasted yellow squash * oven-roasted okra * polenta with mozzarella and basil

Bless the butchers at Central Market and their marinating team. Tonight’s tenderloin was as moist and flavorful as last night’s chicken. I turned the oven to 400 to start; it pre-heated to that, and I put in the tenderloin for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, as I put in the oven sheet of okra (with salt and red pepper ground over) and the oven sheet of yellow squash (cut in half, placed face down on a drizzle of olive oil), I turned the heat down to 375 and set the timer for another 15 minutes.

When the timer went off, I peeked at the vegs, which were roasting nicely, and started the water boiling for the polenta. 3 cups water and a grind of salt; bring to a boil, add 1 c medium stone-ground yellow cornmeal. Stir in; reduce heat to medium-low; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add handful skim mozzarella and 1 T butter; stir, remove from heat. Just before serving, stir in chiffonade of basil.

Remove everything from oven; slice and plate.

June 17, 2008 at 1:08 am Leave a comment


Some of my cookbooks

In no order except for how they appear in my LibraryThing cookbook catalog: True Women Cookbook: Original Antique Recipes, Photographs, & Family Folklore, Janice Woods Windle (1997) * Made in Texas; H-E-B's 100th Anniversary Cookbook (2005) * The Texas Cowboy Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos, Robb Walsh (2007) * The Silver Palate Cookbook, Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins (1982) * In the Land of Cocktails: Recipes and Adventures from the Cocktail Chicks, Ti Adelaide Martin & Lally Brennan (2007) * Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine, Daniel Boulud (2006) * Moosewood Cookbook : Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, Mollie Katzen (1977) * Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans, Susan Spicer (2007) * Saveur Cooks Authentic American: By the Editors of Saveur Magazine, ed. Colman Andrews (1998)

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