Sunday, July 18, 2010

You may have heard of the Neighborhood Hope Project, College Church's recent local mission trip--a very cool event. I took on the ambitious (I didn't realize how ambitious at the time) task of feeding the 60-100 workers dinner each night for the whole week. The vision was to provide delicious and healthy meals using local products and sustainable resources. This is one of the many great recipes I came across and served that week. You will love it, I promise! I'm sure Anna would second that. She helped me that night!! I wish I had a picture for you. It is a beautiful salad!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables (Barefoot Contessa) Ina Garden Recipe


1 small eggplant, peeled and ¾ inch diced

1 red bell pepper, 1 inch diced

1 yellow bell pepper, 1 inch diced

1 red onion, peeled and 1 inch diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup olive oil (or less)

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

½ lb orzo pasta or rice-shaped pasta

For the dressing

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

To assemble

4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)

¼ cup pignolis, toasted (pine nuts)

¾ lb good feta, ½ inch diced (not crumbled)

15 fresh basil leaves, cut into julienne

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender.
  5. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  6. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
  7. For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables.
  8. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pignolis, feta, and basil.
  9. Check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure we all have our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes.  Yet, I dare you to try this recipe from New York Times.  It is absolutely amazing!  Slightly crisp on the outside and just perfect on the inside.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour (I use regular white flour)
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour (I use regular white flour)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 cup of chocolate chips 
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.
** I make smaller cookies (an inch ball) and bake for 8-10 minutes

Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blackberry Cobbler

My friend Missy P. sent this recipe around after we went blackberry picking a few years ago. Amazing. I've adapted it slightly based on Missy's suggestions--the crust is amazing, so you will want as much of it as you can get.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup plus 2 T boiling water
4 cups blackberries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

* Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

* In a saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Mix in remaining 1 cup sugar (I only used 3/4 cup and it was still pretty sweet), lemon juice, and blackberries. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour berries in a 9X9 (or similar) baking dish.

* Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup boiling water just until mixture is evenly moist.Drop dough into the blackberries by spoonfuls. Place dish on foil lined baking sheet.

* Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven until dough is golden brown.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Curried Lentils with Chicken

This is really good ~ I think I have been making this dish about once a week ~ it's that good! Makes great leftovers. The curry is perfect - not too overpowering. Make it this week, it will make you happy! To complete the meal, serve over a bed of steaming rice.

Curried Lentils with Chicken
Servings: 4

1 cup brown lentils
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
14- ounce can diced tomatoes with jalapenos (or green chilies)
4 cups cooked diced chicken or turkey (bake some chicken tenders/breasts and chop)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

In a medium saucepan over high, combine the lentils and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the lentils are just tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, two to four minutes. Add the curry powder to the onions and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about one minute.

Add the reserved lentils, tomatoes, chicken (or turkey) and salt. Cook, stirring often, until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Potato and Leek Soup

I made this for the second time last night. Fabulous. So simple.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 18 ounces total), peeled, diced
  • 4 1/2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan. Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chives and serve.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Split Pea Soup

Time to revive this blog! This is my new favorite thing to make, especially since the weather is so frightful right now! If the idea of split pea soup makes you nervous, you probably haven't tasted it yet. I am a bonefide garden pea hater, and I love pea soup. So tasty and filling and bacony. Give it a try!

I got this recipe from the Williams-Sonoma "Soup" cookbook. It serves 4, so be prepared to double it if you want lots of leftovers--the first time we had it, we only ended up with a half-serving for lunch the next day.

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 c dried green or yellow split peas, picked over, rinsed, and drained
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
6 sliced bacon
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 t finely chopped fresh marjoram or 1/4 t dried marjoram
1/2 t finely chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 t dried thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and saute until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute until just slightly softened, 3 minutes.

2. Add the split peas, stock, 2 slices of bacon, parsley, marjoram, and thyme. Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer. Cover partially and cook until peas are tender, 50-60 minutes. Discard the bacon.

3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat, fry the remaining 4 slices bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to draim. When cool, crumble and set aside.

4. Coarsely puree 2 cups of the soup in a food processor and return to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper to taste, return the soup to medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

5. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Because It's Fall: Pasta with Caramelized Squash and Fresh Herbs

Mmm, mmm, mmm. I planted sage specifically for this recipe, and I have seriously been waiting ALL YEAR to make this again. This is from last fall's Williams Sonoma catalog. Also I don't believe in making my own pasta, so I just use good quality bowtie pasta. And, seriously, make the whole box, because it is even better leftover.

9 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 kabocha or butternut squash, 2 1/2 to 3 lb., peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 Tbs. finely diced shallots
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lb. fresh pasta sheets, cut into 2-inch squares (see related recipe at left)
1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

In a braiser over medium-high heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until browned underneath, about 6 minutes. Stir the squash and cook until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes more. Add the sugar, broth, salt and pepper, cover and cook until the squash is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the squash is dark brown and glazed, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl.

In the same pan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter until light brown spots appear, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots, nutmeg and sage and cook, stirring constantly, until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the squash.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water to the squash mixture and toss to combine. Transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow bowl and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Serve immediately and pass the remaining cheese alongside. Serves 4 to 6.