Thursday, December 31, 2009

Herbed Grilled Shrimp

Based on pesto, this is a simple herb spread that goes great on shrimp or any other grilled fish. It can be made ahead and added to the shrimp closer to cooking or you can marinate the shrimp for longer for a richer flavor.

Herbed Grilled Shrimp
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup arugula
1/4 cup fresh oregano
2 - 4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

3 lbs shrimp

Place all the ingredients in the blender.

Mix until smooth.

Coat the shrimp and let marinate at least 20 minutes while the grill warms up.

Grill on a hot BBQ for about 3 - 4 minutes a side until cooked through.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lessons in Pizza making

A part of the "deal" with getting the pizza oven, was that my step-father-in-law insisted that I teach him to make pizza. Last night was our first try and he did a great job.

Here he is stretching out the dough.

Adding sauce.

And here is the first pizza...and tasty too.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lunch for 12

The other day we had a large group over to my in-laws for lunch. Along with some pizzas (see previous post) I made a bunch of quick salads to serve beforehand. Most of these can be made ahead, and do better with a little time to let the flavors meld.

Grilled Mushrooms

Tuna with dressing and micro greens

White beans

Burratta with grilled pepper and oven roasted tomatoes


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Taking the show on the road...

We are spending some time in Tucson over the holiday, and what a surprise when I got here. My step-father-law got a pizza oven... let me repeat... A PIZZA OVEN!!! Let's just say that over the next several weeks there will be a LOT of pizza made.

I made the no-knead dough right away and made my first pizza's in the oven last night... they were good.

Nothing like working you extra room to toss the dough.

There goes the maiden pizza...

There is number 2.

Cooking away...

And the first one out...

And the ultimate judge...gave it two thumbs up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cooking with Auden: Apple Sauce

As I have written before, why buy apple sauce? The jarred stuff is full of sugar and who knows what else. It is easy to make and can be made to the exact taste of the person eating it.

Auden has always been a huge fan of apple sauce, and this was the first time that he really got to make it almost entirely on his own.

Apple and Pear Sauce
apples and pears
water, OJ or cider
seasoning (e.g. cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, all spice, cloves...etc)

Start by peeling the apples and pears.

Once peeled, slice into pieces.

Chop into big pieces. No need to use a super sharp knife, use something kid safe.

Place the apples and pears in a pot and add a touch of liquid and the seasoning to taste.

Cook, covered until the apples are soft. Then mash using a food mill.

As always, the taster gives it a thumbs up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are so easy and versatile. This simple "recipe" is great and makes a perfect potato every time. By coating the outside with oil, the inside stays light and fluffy and the outside becomes crispy without drying out.

Coat the potatoes with just a touch of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake in 375 oven for about an hour, until they are crispy on the outside and soft and hot on the inside.

When they come out they are wonderful just the way they are with a touch of butter and salt and pepper.

I sauteed some broccoli and topped with a touch of fontina.


Polenta is great base for all kinds of flavors, it can be served soft or cooled in a pan and cut into shapes, then grilled or pan fried. The basic recipe calls for just two ingredients, corn meal and water, so is easy to make at the last minute.

3 1/2 cups water or stock
1 cup corn meal
salt and pepper
cheese to taste (I used goat and Parm)

Start by boiling the stock.

Add the corn meal and constantly stir as it thickens.

After about 15 minutes, the mixture will thicken to a porridge consistency. Then add the cheese and season with salt and pepper. It can be served warm at this point.

If you are to make pieces to cook late, lightly brush a pan with oil and spread the hot polenta in. Smooth the top and cool until firm.

While this cools, I made a quick tomato sauce. Saute half of an onion over medium heat for about 10 minutes, then add about half a can of tomatoes. Cook over medium for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

After the polenta has cooled, it can easily be cut into pieces. You can use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. Dust with flour and pan fry in a touch of oil until golden on both sides.

Serve with the sauce, and a touch more goat cheese.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arroz Caldoso

Similar to paella, arroz caldoso is a baked spanish rice, though it is wetter. You can use almost any fish or shellfish, I had shrimp so thats what I used.

Arroz Caldoso
3 cups stock (prefereably fish, but others work too)
1 lb shrimp
1 medium onion, diced
2 - 3 tomatoes, diced
2 - 3 garlic
1 cup short grain rice (arborio works)
salt and pepper

Place the stock and saffron in a pot and simmer. Pre-heat oven to 350.

Saute the shrimp in oil for a few minutes on a side until slightly browned on each side.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat a touch more oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes over medium high.

Add the garlic and saute one minute more.

Add the tomato and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and cook for a minute to coat.

Add the broth, and cook over medium heat.

Once the rice is no longer soupy, place in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Cook for about 10 minutes, then add the shrimp. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the rice is almost done. Then remove from the heat, cover for about 5 minutes.

Serve the rice with a side of aioli.

2 -3 garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar
1 egg yolk
about 1/2 EVOO

Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle.

Add the egg and lemon and stir.

Slowly drip the oil into the garlic while constantly stirring until the mixture becomes thick.