Sunday, February 27, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato, Asparagus & Arugula Salad

I served this salad under roasted chicken when Euro and James came over for dinner. It's gluten free and vegetarian. The peppery leaves of the arugula pair wonderfully with sweet potatoes and the citrus vinaigrette balances the salad out nicely.

Pecan Pieces
Sweet Potatoes - peeled and diced in large chunks
Citrus Vinaigrette
Goat Cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Toast the nuts by placing them in a heated pan and cook for about a minute. You'll know that they're toasted when you smell them. Set the nuts aside.

Separately, toss the potatoes and asparagus in EVOO. Sprinkle both liberally with s/p.

Place the potatoes in the oven. Cook until tender, stirring once or twice, 40-60 minutes depending on the size and type of potato chunks.

When the potatoes are 10 minutes from being cooked, put the asparagus in the oven. Cook the asparagus turning once until they are tender crisp, 6-10 minutes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cabbage Rolls

This is my version of my mother's version of my great grandmother's Cabbage Roll recipe. These days my mother doesn't roll her cabbage, she layers the ingredients instead. It saves some time and still taste great, but I like the little meatballs that are formed inside the cabbage. I say try it this way first and then if it's too much work for you, layer.

1 lb Ground Meat - I use turkey. You can use beef, chicken, pork or a combo.
4 cloves Garlic - pressed or finely chopped
White Pepper
Smoked Paprika
1 green Onion - finely sliced
Fresh Parsley - chopped
3/4 cup Rice*
1 can Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Sauce
Garlic Chili Sauce (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

As you wait for the water to boil, mix the first nine ingredients together and set it aside. Your hands are the best tools for this job.

Remove the core form your head of cabbage.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This one's for you Auntie M!

I know this cake has been done before, it's not super original, just my version. It's cooked in a cast iron pan. I guess that's because I'm a Texan, and that's how we do it in the South. If you don't have a cast iron pan, you should get one. Until then, you can melt the butter in a small pot and then pour it into a cake pan. Continue the recipe the same from there.

1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 20oz can crushed Pineapple - drained, liquid reserved
3 Egg Yolks
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt
1 t Mexican Vanilla
2 Egg Whites

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat a ten inch cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the butter, let it melt, and then turn the heat off.

Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter.

Evenly place the pineapple over the brown sugar. Use your fingers to gently press the fruit up to the sides of the pan.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Creamy Garlic Potatoes

These garlicky potatoes are a great side dish. The potatoes are cooked in water and finished in cream and butter with herbs. I know that a lot of people are trying to avoid two of those things, so I have a few suggestions. You can use more EVOO and only a small dab of butter and/or substitute stock for some of the cream. You could also use Greek yogurt instead of cream. This will reduce the amount of fat and calories, and should still make some tasty potatoes, though less rich and creamy.

6-8 medium Red Potatoes
Cold Water
1/2 T EVOO
2 T Butter
Garlic Chili Sauce (or any hot sauce)
2-4 finely chopped Garlic Cloves
1 Green Onion - thinly sliced (green and white parts separated)
Cream ( I didn't measure the cream, I think I splashed about a 1/4 cup into the pot)
Parsley - chopped

Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a pot.

Cover the red potatoes with cold water.

Bring the water up the a boil, then reduce the heat and let them simmer.

Once the potatoes are fork tender, remove them them from the pot and throw the water out.

Place the pot over low heat.

Add your oil, butter, and hot sauce sauce to the pot.

Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the garlic and white onion slices (the bottom half of the onion) to the butter mixture.

Cook the aromatics for one to two minutes. Then, add the potatoes back to the pot.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jalapeño Corn Cakes

These corn cakes are quick and simple, thanks to the help of Jiffy Mix!! Use them as canopies for a party appetizer. Or, serve them along side my Gazpacho with Crab and Shrimp, like I did.

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 Jalapeño - finely dice, seeds removed
Chili Powder
Garlic Salt
White Pepper
1 Egg
3/4 cup Milk

Heat grill pan and grease with non stick cooking spray.

Mix everything together (you can add 2 T melted butter or shortening, if desired). Don't over mix, the batter will be lumpy.

Use a tablespoon to evenly place the batter on the hot grill pan. Leave room between each cake, so that they don't stick together.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Gazpacho w/ Crab and Shrimp

Gazpacho is a tomato based Spanish soup prepared with raw fruits and vegetables and is served chilled. It's super lite and refreshing. This soup is a wonderful summer meal from the garden.

Traditionally, gazpacho is made with chunks of bread blended in it. This adds texture to the soup and makes it more hearty. I didn't add bread to this recipe because I wanted a lighter, smoother soup. Instead, I served this gazpacho with silver dollar sized Jalapeño Corn Cakes. This allowed the diners to dip, top, or crumble the bread into their soups individually. I like interactive food, it adds a lot of fun to the dinner table!


7 Tomatoes
3 Cucumbers - peeled
1 Jalapeño - seeds removed
1 small Onion - grated
1/4 large Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Garlic Clove - minced or pressed
Juice from 1 Lemon
Hot Sauce
White Pepper

Set two bowls out in your work station, one large and one smaller. Dice all of the fruits and veggies. Place about 1/3 of each in the small bowl and the rest in the large bowl.

Once the veggies are chopped, blend everything that's in the large bowl together until it's smooth. Use a blender of food processor and work in small batches to insure a consistent texture. Once blended, place the soup in a large serving or storing bowl.

Stir your diced fruits and vegetables, from the small bowl, into the blended soup.

Season the gazpacho with lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Taste as you're seasoning and adjust as needed.

Now, your soup is done. You just need to chill, garnish, and serve.

At this point, the gazpacho is gluten free and vegetarian. To keep it this way, serve in a chilled glass topped with petite diced veggies and garnish with a lemon wedge and/or cucumber slice.

To make your gazpacho a little more fancy (and fun), top it with seafood!

This seafood topping was inspired by The Sample Room's Gazpacho that we ate last summer.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sloppy Jane Sandwiches

I roasted a chicken last night and used the leftovers today to make these open faced sandwiches.

1/2 small Onion - sliced
1 Garlic Clove - smashed and peeled
2 cups Chicken - shredded
Soy Sauce
Hot Sauce
White Wine Vinegar
French Bread - 6 slices
Goat Cheese Spread (see below)
Sunflower Seeds

Heat EVOO in a pot. Add onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is clear.

Then remove the garlic, cut it up, and set it aside.

Add chicken to the pot and stir in the rest of the ingredients. I didn't measure them. I just splashed and tasted until I had a desirable, well balance flavor.

Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, toast your bread.

To make the cheese spread, mix softened goat cheese in a small bowl with the garlic that you set aside, salt and hot sauce.

Spread your cheese mixture evenly over the toast.

Top with arugula.

Spoon chicken over the greens.