Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade

January 27, 2013

IMG_9554I do not pride myself on being ahead of culinary trends, or even knowing when one has come and gone. However, I read enough food magazines and go out to eat enough to realize that we really are seeing a trend of casual/street food turned gourmet. Restaurants serve gourmet $20 burgers with fois gras, hot spots are touting fancy wood-fired pizzas wearing brussels spouts and pistachios and taco joints are serving up the traditional Mexican fare stuffed with braised short ribs and kimchi. But one of the most fascinating trendy spots I have seen is a restaurant downtown that showcases what a dressed up hot dog can really do. And this place really does the job – a turducken dog, a croque monsieur with ham and bechamel, and a Chevy Chase complete with pretzels and beer cheese.

At first I was skeptical – that is until I actually had one of these exhibitions of gourmet picnic food. Who knew a hot dog could be so multi-dimensional. And, as a home cook, it has opened my eyes to what “dressed up casual food” I could make on an average weeknight.

So, when I saw a recipe for a BLT hot dog with caraway remoulade in my Food and Wine magazine, I thought why not? It is quick (easy for a weeknight), cheap (how much can all beef dogs really be?) and completely unique (not sure who decided to put bacon on a hot dog, but that person should win a Pulitzer Prize).

I cannot rave enough about this super simple recipe that tasted exactly like a BLT (but a bit better, to be honest!). The lettuce mixed in the homemade remoulade really makes the dish, so make sure to get a bite of it along with the dog, tomatoes and bacon.

This is surely going in my recipe book not only for an easy weeknight standby, but also to really mix up my next grill out. Who said picnic food can’t be a little fancy?

BLT HOT DOGS WITH CARAWAY REMOULADE
Serves 8

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickle
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted
8 hot dogs, cooked
8 hot dog buns, toasted
8 slices of crisp, cooked applewood-smoked bacon
1 cup chopped tomatoes
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/3 cup small basil leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the shallot, capers, pickle and toasted caraway seeds.

Put the cooked hot dogs in the buns; top with the bacon and tomatoes. Toss the lettuce and basil with some of the caraway remoulade. Top the dogs with the slaw. Serve any remaining remoulade on the side.

Spaghetti with Sicilian Meatballs

January 13, 2013

IMG_9502When we were in Italy, what struck me most is that there truly isn’t “Italian” food. Rather, their food is identified by the region you are in. Spaghetti and clams in the Italian Riviera. Boar in Tuscany. Pizza in Naples. That is why I was so intrigued when I saw a recipe for Sicilian meatballs in Bon Appetit.

The food of Sicily has a Greek and sometimes African influence, making it have more olives, capers and currants than you would find in the “boot.” So when looking at the meatball recipe, at first glance it seemed very traditional. Sausage meat (which was an interesting twist on the typical beef, veal, pork combo), breadcrumbs in milk, garlic, onion, etc. Yet, then they add pine nuts and currants to make it have a bit of nutty sweetness. They are baked, and then smothered in a traditional Italian red sauce.

This dish has that same warm, comforting result as typical Italian meatballs, but they do have an interesting sweetness to them that makes them have a “hmm, what’s that?” factor. It is a great alternative to a typical bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, and will be making its way to our dinner table as a great Sicilian (not Italian!) dish!

SPAGHETTI WITH SICILIAN MEATBALLS
Serves 4-6

Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Meatballs:
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried currants

1 pound spaghetti

For Sauce:
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and 2 tablespoons basil; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens, breaking up tomatoes with fork, about 1 hour. Mix in 2 tablespoons basil. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.

For Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet. Mix crumbs and milk in medium bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Mix in Parmesan, onion, basil, egg, garlic and pepper. Add sausage, pine nuts and currants; blend well. Using wet hands, form mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place on baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are light brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add to sauce.

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Mound in dish. Bring sauce and meatballs to simmer. Mix with and spoon over spaghetti.

Smoke-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Paprika and Creme Fraiche Stuffed Tomatoes

October 4, 2010

As Ohio seems to have gotten a severe fast-forward into fall, I am resigned to the fact that grilling out is going to be few and far between. Although, my parents grill in the dead of winter in Michigan (and shovel a path to their grill!), so I am not saying it cannot be done. But, I will admit our grill gets used a bit less frequently, especially when I would rather cacoon inside and smell up the house with spices and tantalizing goodness.

But, a few more grilling recipes will be showing up as stragglers – ones I really wanted to try this year and just couldn’t bear waiting until next spring. Needless to say, they would become hidden in my folder of “must tries” and then get shoved aside for the new recipes that Bon Appetit or La Cucina Italiana says I must make in spring 2011.

So, this New York Times recipes is one of the last ones standing. My husband requested it when he read it a few Sundays ago, and I make a point to always whip up his requests…

It seems so simple – just smoked paprika, honey, lemon juice, garlic and butter – smothered on some chicken thighs and nestled on a sizzling grill. But, the taste explodes with a sweetness of the honey (and nice caramelizing), the smokiness of the paprika and the punch of the garlic. And, the butter just melts it all together…

The stuffed tomatoes were a far cry from what the original recipe said. I couldn’t find robiola in my local store (although I have run past 2 recipes since then requiring it, so I will need to find a supplier quick!), so I substituted creme fraiche. I am sure another cheese would be better – something less the texture of creme fraiche and more the texture of, well, robiola. But, it turned out really nice and refreshing, and cut the smokiness of the chicken perfectly.

So, don’t give up on your grill quite yet -there is no snow to shovel, just leaves to sweep out of the way. Seems a small price to pay for a fantastic dinner!

SMOKE-ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PAPRIKA
Serves 4
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons softened butter
8 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3½ pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish.

Build a fire in a grill with a cover, leaving about ⅓ of the grill free of coals. If using a gas grill, make sure one side of the grill is unheated, and either swap out the paprika above for the smoked version known as pimenton de la vera or wrap two small mounds of moistened wood chips in heavy aluminum foil and pierce the tops of the packets with the tines of a fork.

In a bowl, combine the paprikas, honey, lemon juice, garlic and butter and stir to make a paste. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat thoroughly by hand with the spice paste.

Place chicken on cooler side of grill and cover. If using wood chips, place the foil packets, pierced side up, on the hotter side of the grill and cover. Roast chicken for 15 minutes, turn, cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until cooked through.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature, with lemon wedges, sprinkled with mint leaves.

ROBIOLA-STUFFED TOMATOES (or CREME FRAICHE-STUFFED TOMATOES)
Serves 4

4 large ripe tomatoes
3½ ounces robiola cheese, rind removed, diced (or creme fraiche or other soft cheese)
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or use insides of ripe tomatoes, above
½ teaspoon mild paprika
4 chives, finely diced
2 tablespoons vodka (yes, vodka)

Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and some of the flesh. Sprinkle the shells with kosher salt and turn them upside down on paper towels to drain for 30 minutes.

Place the robiola, gorgonzola and butter in a bowl, season sparingly with salt and aggressively with pepper, and beat until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Fill the tomatoes with the mixture. Place on serving dish until ready to serve. Serves 4. Adapted from “Recipes From an Italian Summer,” by the editors of Phaidon Press.

Gemelli with Sausage and Saffron

September 18, 2010

I have to be honest, I always have a bit of sticker shock when I buy saffron. Spices themselves are quite pricy, but saffron normally runs over $10 and there is just a little envelope in the jar with a few strands of it. I know a little goes a long way, but does it really have to cost so much?

So, I did a bit of research and – ok – I will admit, I think it should cost more than it does! The spice comes from the saffron crocus flower. A pound of dry saffron requires the styles and stigmas of 50,000-75,000 flowers – an equivalent of a football field’s area of cultivation! Forty hours of labor goes into 150,000 flowers (only 2 pounds of dry saffron). Ok, I get it. This stuff is tough and time-consuming to produce. I can see why the spice is $500+ per pound.

So, I have a bit more appreciation when a recipe calls for a small amount of saffron – giving it a honey, grassy almost hay-like flavor (not to mention an amazing color). When I saw this pasta recipe in La Cucina Italiana, I thought I would try it, since I had never used saffron in pasta.

I don’t know if it was the San Marzano tomatoes (essential!), the unique shape of pasta (it called for malloreddus but I couldn’t find it so used gemelli instead), the sausage, or the amazing taste of saffron, but this pasta became one of my favorites in just one bite. There is so much favor – a spiciness (I added a few red pepper flakes) with the fennel in the sausage, that flavorful saffron taste along with the sweetness of the San Marzanos. Not to mention a great flavor and sweetness from the onions.

So, next time you wonder why you are paying so much for saffron, remember the process to cultivate it, and make this pasta. One bite, and you just won’t care how much you spent to make it!

GEMELLI WITH SAUSAGE AND SAFFRON

One pound sweet Italian sausage
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce can) whole peeled tomatoes with juices, preferably San Marzano
1/2 cup dry white wine
Fine sea salt
500 grams (1.1 pounds)  fresh malloreddus or dried malloreddus (available at some supermarkets and specialty stores) or one pound of Gemelli pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for serving

Remove sausage from casing; break meat apart a bit. Combine saffron and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add sausage, reduce heat to medium and cook, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices and wine; cook, breaking up tomatoes, for 5 minutes. Add saffron mixture and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently simmer sauce until thickened and flavorful, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 6 minutes after water returns to a boil for fresh malloreddus). Meanwhile, gently warm sauce. When pasta is al dente, drain pasta, transfer to a large bowl, immediately add sauce and toss to combine. Add cheese and toss once more. Serve immediately, passing extra cheese at the table.

Turkey Chili

January 31, 2010

There is always that recipe that you are known for – the one your friends always ask you to bring over without fail. For my husband, it is his turkey chili – our game time favorite.

I must preface this by saying we love sports in our household. I wouldn’t consider myself a tom boy, but growing up, my father and I always watched football and basketball. And now, with the dawn of fantasty football, I cannot get enough (combining my competitive nature and love of football is a dangerous combination!). My husband, like most husbands, loves any and all sports. But, he has a special love for those associated with his hometown of Cleveland.

So, when the Browns are playing, you better believe we will be going to a get together – and you better believe my husband will be bringing his chili, the perfect football food.

My husband won’t let me blog this one without giving credit to the true recipe originator – his friend Greg Fisher.

Enjoy, and go Browns!

TURKEY CHILI
Serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 can whole or diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cocoa

Heat up ground turkey with onion and garlic, brown meat. Drain fat. Put in bigger pot and stir in remaining ingredients, simmer for an hour or more.

Pork Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce

October 5, 2009

CHIPOTLE MEATBALLSWhen the weather gets cold, I love a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. So, when I saw this recipe on a PBS show (Everyday Food), I thought it was an interesting twist. I love the unique flavor the chipotles provide, and it gives the traditional spaghetti and meatballs a different personality.

I personally love to bake the meatballs vs. frying them in a skillet (I tend to get a better shape and overall cooking temperature). But, this recipe would work either way (it was originally written for pan frying). I also cut back on the onion (1/2 an onion vs. a full onion) because it seemed like a lot in comparison to the meat. But, feel free to add more!

PORK MEATBALLS IN CHIPOTLE SAUCE
Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 medium onion, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
1 small zucchini, coarsely grated and squeezed firmly to remove excess liquid
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 to 2 chipotle chiles in adobo
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cooked rice and chopped fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine pork, onion, zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, oregano, cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well with a fork. Form into 16 (2-inch) balls; transfer to a plate, and place in freezer until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes and chiles in a blender; process until smooth, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meatballs; cook until brown, turning often, 4 to 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and meatballs. Or, preheat oven to 375-400 and place meatballs on jelly roll pan. Bake until cooked almost all the way through.

Add pureed sauce and return all meatballs to a skillet on medium low (the same skillet you cooked the meatballs in if you pan fried them). Cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice, sprinkled with cilantro, as desired.

BBQ Spiced Chicken, Salsa Salad and Pumpkin Chipotle Polenta

August 6, 2009

IMG_1121I have to admit, although I married into an Italian family (with the last name Pasquinucci), I had never cooked with polenta before. Not only did I have no clue how to even cook it, but I always thought it had the stigma of being like gruel with no flavor. So, in the spirit of Julia Child, I was not afraid and gave it a whirl!

For those of you who haven’t made it before, you will laugh at how quick and easy it is. Just boil chicken broth with half and half, throw in the polenta and it is done in literally 2 minutes. But, the trick is adding additional flavor – this recipe does a great job with chipotles in adobo (if you haven’t tried these before, start slow in adding them until you get the head you want) and pumpkin.

The chicken also has an amazing flavor, different than other BBQ chickens I have made.

This recipe is special thanks to Rachael Ray – whose spice and flavor I always love!

BBQ SPICED CHICKEN, SALSA SALAD AND PUMPKIN-CHIPOTLE POLENTA

1 tablespoon grill seasoning
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 fresh pineapple, cut into spears and grilled
2 limes
A handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
3/4 cup quick cooking polenta
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat.
Mix spices and sugar in a large plastic food storage bag. Coat chicken with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and add to bag. Coat the chicken evenly in the spices and sugar. Let the chicken hang out a few minutes.

Chop and combine the tomatoes, bell pepper, onions and grilled pineapple spears.

Place chicken on grill and cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side.

Dress the salad with lime and a couple tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season the salad with cilantro, salt and pepper.

Heat the stock and milk or half-and-half in a sauce pot with chipotle and adobo sauce. Whisk in the polenta and thicken 2-3 minutes, stir in pumpkin to warm through. Stir in butter and honey and season with salt and pepper.

Serve polenta with chicken and salsa salad.

Summer Chicken Parmesan

August 1, 2009

IMG_1065For those who know me, know I love to cook seasonally. And, one of my favorite winter dishes is chicken parmesan, but for some reason it just doesn’t feel right in the summer. A bit heavy, a bit rich and a bit out of place.

So when I stumbled upon this Bon Appetit recipe they call “new chicken parmesan” I knew I had found the summer solution to one of my winter favorites.

This dish can be served with whichever side you would like, but I love the traditional pasta with olive oil.

SUMMER CHICKEN PARMESAN
Serves 4

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce container grape tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese in water, drained, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 500° F. Whisk first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Place tomatoes in medium bowl; mix in 2 tablespoons garlic oil, then oregano and crushed red pepper. Add chicken to large bowl with remaining garlic oil and turn to coat.

Place 1 cup Parmesan in pie dish. Dip 1 side of each chicken piece into cheese to coat; arrange chicken, cheese side up, on 1 half of large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter tomatoes on other half of sheet.

Roast chicken until just cooked through and firm to touch, about 10 minutes. Arrange mozzarella slices atop chicken. Return to oven; roast until cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chicken and tomatoes to 4 plates. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes and Paprika

March 28, 2009

img_02252This recipe marked the moment in my life when I fell in love with Bon Appetit. I was searching for new chicken recipes about a year ago and found this dish on their site. At first I felt intimidated by the recipe being from such a prestigious source. But once I made it, I realized that Bon Appetit has amazing recipes, with amazing ingredients, that are amazingly NOT intimidating.

This is my “go to” recipe when I am looking for something easy and different. And, it is great for entertaining because it is so bright and colorful. For such a simple recipe, the presentation gives the ficade of hours of complex cooking.

ROAST CHICKEN BREASTS  WITH GARBANZO BEANS, TOMATOES AND PAPRIKA

(serves 4)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (make sure it is smoked, it gives it a truly unique flavor!)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 15oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12oz container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken (or more if needed). Add beans, tomatoes and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates Spoon bean mixture over.


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