Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pasta with Chard and White Beans

Here is another quick pasta recipe. Almost any winter green would work here as well.

Pasta with Chard and White Bean
bunch Chard
1 Can white beans, drained
1 - 3 garlic cloves, sliced or diced
1/2 lb pasta
Salt and pepper
red pepper flakes

Remove the stems from the chard. You can pull the leaves off or use a knife to cut out the stems.

Blanch the chard in the pasta water for a minute, then drain. You can then cook the pasta in the same water. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Saute the garlic in a touch of oil and add the beans, season with salt and pepper

Add the chard and a touch of the water. Cook until warm and add the cooked pasta. Add more liquid to keep from drying out.

Serve with Parm and red pepper flakes to taste.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seared Tuna with Mango

Seared Tuna is an easy way to make an impressive meal. With a nice salsa and some rice this makes a great dinner.

Herb Seared Tuna
Tuna - about 4 -5 oz per person
1 Tbs Chili powder
1 tsb garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper

Mix the spices together and generously coat the outside of the fish. Drizzle a touch of oil on the outside and rub to coat the entire surface.

Heat a dry pan over medium high heat until hot. Place the fish in the pan and cook a minute or so on each side. The idea is to cook the out side 1/4 inch or so. When done all sides remove and slice into thin slices.

Serve with mango salsa (see below) and rice.

Mango Salsa
1 mango, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 jalapeƱo or splash of hot sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Friday, January 22, 2010


We finally had our friends Drew and Jorie to dinner...only took 9 months. I made several small plates, two I'll highlight.

I made a simple salad of arugula, pomegranate seeds, and feta. I drizzled this with a little EVOO and balsamic glaze and seasoned with salt and pepper.

For a simple soup I made a variation on the basic tomato soup I've mentioned in the past. I didn't thin with any stock and let the soup cook over low heat for a couple of hours. This really intensified the flavors, with out much work. I also topped it with some fried onion. To make these, thinly slice onion, toss with flour to coat and fry in a touch of oil until they are golden. Remove and pat dry on a paper towel and season with salt.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indian Feast

Last night I wanted to try a few new Indian recipes. Having never made these dishes before I was careful to read through the recipes and make sure I had everything ready before I started. Since many of the same spices where used in several dishes, I had all my recipes out and was able to measure each spice for each recipe one at a time. I put those that went in together in bowls to help keep track, and had all my pots and pans ready to go before I started. This took only a few minutes, but saved a lot of time when I got to the cooking of the dishes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cooking with Auden: Arugula and white bean crostini

Here is another great simple recipe that is can surely use the help of a few small hands.

Arugula and white bean crostini
1/2 can white beans rinsed
about 2 cups arugula
4 - 6 slices ciabatta
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper

Start by mixing the arugula and beans and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle with EVOO and a touch of balsamic. This is a great step to have the kids help with. You can use tongs (as Auden does) or your hands.

Toast or grill the bread, then rub with the garlic clove. Another great kid step.

Place a few slices of bread on the plate and top with the salad.

And yes we do eat frozen pizza. Ok, well not exactly...we had this left over and need something quick.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Adding up the pieces...

Last night we had our old nanny and now great friend...Auntie Ashley, for dinner.

We started with polenta with roasted tomatoes and balsamic glaze.

Then oven fries with feta and hot peppers.

Then a salad of arugula, feta and beets.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I had more of the left over chili from the other night and wanted to serve it again but needed something to change it up, so I decided to make polenta cakes. To dress up the polenta, I added a tablespoon of chili and 1 teaspoon each of cumin and coriander to the stock. This complimented the chili nicely.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Roasted Squash

One of my favorite winter vegetables is squash. There are so many varieties, each with a slightly different flavor and texture. With their natural sweetness they are also a kid favorite. Roasting is an easy way to prepare almost any squash, here are two other easy preparations.

Roasted Squash with Arugula
1 medium kabocha or other squash
2 cups arugula
salt and pepper

Wash the squash and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon (these can be reserved and toasted as a crunchy topping).

Cut the squash into thin strips and place on a baking tray lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and soft.

Place the arugula in a bowl and drizzle with EVOO and season with salt and pepper.

Place a few slices of the squash on the plate, drizzle with balsamic and top with the greens. Drizzle a touch more vinegar and top with shredded cheese.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

This week we received some great looking portobello mushrooms in our produce basket from Irv and Shelly's.
I wanted to use them right away before they dried out. They were huge and I realized they would make a great base for a hearty topping. We were recently out to dinner and I saw a crab stuffing on the menu and thought about crab as a great filling.

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
2 large portobello mushrooms (one per person)
1/4 small onion
1 Tbs fines herbs
1 - 2 Tbs grainy mustard
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 small can crab
salt and pepper
olive oil

Start by cleaning the mushrooms. NEVER let them get wet, use a slightly damp cloth and brush off and dirt. Remove
stems and finely chop. Remove the black ribs on the bottom with a spoon. Lightly brush oil and season with salt and pepper and place on a baking tray. Pre-heat oven to 375.

Finely chop the onion and saute in the oil for a few minutes over medium heat.

Add the stem pieces and cook for about 5 minutes until fully cook through.

In a bowl mix the bread crumbs with the fines herbs and season with salt and pepper.

In a seperate bowl, combine the crab meat with the onion and mushrooms and the mustard, add about half the breadcrumbs.

Top the mushrooms with the filling and sprinkle the rest of the bread crumbs on top.

Bake in oven for about 20 minutes until the filling is hot and the top is browned. If the top needs more browning, you can place under the broiler for the last 4 or 5 minutes.

This recipe can also be made with smaller crimini mushrooms as an appetizer.

To accompany the mushrooms I made a salad using the fines herbs and mustard, arugula and beets.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What to make...

...when you have been away for several weeks and didn't go to the grocery store: Chili. Its easy, uses many things that are shelf stable (i.e. canned beans and spices) and tastes better with age.

Simple Chili
1 lage can tomatoes
several cans mixed beans (I used pinto, chick peas and red beans)
1 Tbs chili powder (more or less to taste)
1/2 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs oregano
1 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper
about 1/2 a beer

Start by warming the tomatoes in a large pot.

Once boiling, add the spices and cook for several minutes. Add more to taste.

Add in the beans with their liquid.

Let cook for at least an hour over low heat, stirring periodically. Add some water if the chili is drying out.
Serve topped with cheese.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Eve

For New Years this year everyone got to pick one dish and we had a selection of favorites.

Grilled mini peppers stuffed with caramelized onion goat cheese.

Spinach filo triangles

Pepperoni pizza

Truffle pizza

Crab cakes

Molten chocolate cakes

Apple (pie) crustada