Friday, May 27, 2011

Spicy Mango Shrimp

We have a favorite little Thai restaurant that we frequent and Brian's favorite dish is the Fried Pineapple Rice. This dish, Spicy Mango Shrimp, looked not only delicious (from our Sunset Magazine cookbook) but seemed similar to a tried and true favorite. We were not disappointed. This was a flavorful, light meal with sweetness from the mango and coconut and just enough heat from the red chili flakes. The only change I will make for next time is to add the basil at the end (along with the coconut) so that it creates more of a flavor/color-pop. The whole meal comes together quickly and is great for a quick weeknight take-out-made-at-home dinner.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vietnamese Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Lime Dipping Sauce

These delicious little bundles were meant to be served as an appetizer but we had them for dinner. Every time I make lettuce wraps, I love them. There are just so many flavors and textures going on and - bonus - you get to eat with your hands, building each wrap one by one, with as much or as few toppings as you like. This recipe called for cellophane noodles, shrimp, shredded carrot, basil, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts. I also added thinly sliced scallion and jalapeƱo to the mix for an extra layer of flavor and heat. The dipping sauce was perfect: red chile flake, lime juice, garlic, sugar and fish sauce.

Enjoy these wraps with a cold beer!

buon appetito!


Chicken and Corn Summer Chowder

I love chowder but I typically only think to make it in fall or winter when a hot bowl of chowder sounds especially comforting. So it worked out well that the day I made this was gray and rainy. Slightly smoky from the bacon and chock full of tender potatoes and sweet corn (I used frozen); what really made this chowder special were the garnishes: fresh cilantro, avocado and diced tomatoes. A squeeze of lime juice really helped to liven everything up and tie it all together. Perfect for a cool, spring day!

buon appetito!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seven-Vegetable Couscous

It took us all of April, but we finally got around to cracking the magazine turned cookbook of the month. We made the Seven-Vegetable Couscous for dinner last night.
The fragrance of all the spices was delicious and really whet our appetites. The meal did not disappoint, either. This was a delicious meal after a long day at work with very little nutritious eats throughout the day. I (Kim) scarfed it down and loved it!
We'll certainly make this again.

Eat Well,
Kimberly and David

Monday, April 25, 2011

Golden Gate Grilled Turkey and Cheese

I knew that I would love this sandwich. I mean, what's not to love? Tangy sourdough bread, gooey, melted muenster and rich, sharp parmesan cheese, buttery avocado, peppy (yes, I said peppy) cilantro, come together with smoked turkey breast and grilled in a spicy garlic butter. 'Nuff said. Initally I was confused by the addition of fresh cilantro to this sandwich but it really did add a nice pungent, herby flavor that cut the richness of the rest of the ingredients. Please do yourself a favor and make this sandwich!

buon appetito!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Uova Benedetto

Breakfast on Easter Sunday!
This Italian take on eggs benedict was a really nice Easter morning breakfast. We made our own pesto since store bought just doesn't hold a candle to the real thing in my opinion! We loved the polenta as the base for this benedict but if we make again, we would definitely add an extra flavor boost to it by melting in some grated parmesan cheese as it turned out pretty bland. I just love the effect of crisping the polenta in a bit of butter as it gives the outside a light crunch while the inside remains soft. The crispy prosciutto, poached egg and pesto did add a lot of flavor and richness, so perhaps that is why the recipe didn't call to season the polenta at all, but in our opinion it could definitely benefit from more cheese. Come to think of it, most things could benefit from more cheese!

buon appetito!


Penne with Oyster Mushrooms, Prosciutto, and Mint

This meal seemed to be the perfect marriage of winter and spring flavors: Cheesy pasta and mushrooms complimented with delicate and light, prosciutto and mint. We used whole wheat penne to boost the nutritional value of this dish. The oyster mushrooms were perfect, not too earthy, they added a pleasant chewiness to each bite. The fontina cheese melted really nicely over the pasta and mushrooms and the nuttiness of both the cheese and the whole wheat pasta together was super yummy! The mint did add an unexpected layer of flavor but we weren't wow-ed by it. The prosciutto was a nice finishing touch but could easily be left out to make this a vegetarian meal. Overall, we liked it, we just didn't love it!

buon appetito,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Squash Dinner Rolls

Jim and I just returned from a trip to New York City to celebrate our 5 year anniversary! The city was everything that I thought it would be and more! We really enjoyed every minute (and every bite!). It may come as no surprise that New York has no shortage of amazing food and while eating out 3 meals a day for 6 days in a row is fun, not to mention delicious, I was anxious to get back into my own kitchen and dive into this month's cook"book"!
I have made it a personal mission to become adept at making yeast breads. Last summer I challenged myself to perfect homemade pizza dough and I'm proud to say that I really think I mastered it! When I saw the Squash Dinner Rolls on page 19, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try my hand at another type of yeast bread.
When you make these rolls, keep in mind that you've got to allow at least three hours of prep time, since a significant portion of the process is devoted to allowing the dough to rise. You've also got to be ready to get your hands dirty since you'll be kneading the dough which can be sticky.
The golden color of these rolls comes from the addition of pureed squash. The recipe indicates that you can use canned pumpkin but I decided to roast a butternut squash in the oven and then puree it in the food processor. Once the ingredients have been mixed and the dough comes together, it's time to let it rise in a lightly oiled bowl under a towel. I have found that one of the most satisfying moments in baking is the moment when you lift the towel off of a bowl of rising dough and find that it has doubled in size to a pleasing airy, fragrant mound.
Kneading the dough for a full seven minutes gives you a chance to really get a feel for the change in texture from sticky and loose to smooth and elastic.
After nestling balls of the dough together on the baking sheet, they get brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with poppy seeds (I used a mix of white and black sesame seeds). Finally, they need to rest and rise for an additional 30 minutes before going into the oven.
The flavor of the roasted squash wasn't completely apparent and they didn't have quite the vibrant color of the rolls in the picture, perhaps due to the fact that I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I served these rolls as an accompaniment to a hearty bowl of brisket and potato stew. A delightful, home cooked meal!

buon appetito!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Salt-crusted Beets

I must admit: my love for beets lies more in their deep ruby color than in their earthy flavor. As much as I want to love eating them, I am still in my infancy stage of a mature beet palate. So, when I saw this recipe for Salt-crusted Beets with Avocado, Lavender, and Thyme I decided to make my next move towards becoming a Beet-Lover.
This salt crust mixture was so heavenly; it smelled like a high-end spa body scrub (I did actually exfoliate my hands with the remaining amount of lavender-scented salt. So. Soft.). I had never worked with a salt crust before, but I loved it! The beets were so tender, well seasoned with the slightest hint of lavender and thyme. It was a great method that I would also like to try translating to fish (which I have seen done on a whole fish). Ultimately, I would give the final salad a 2 1/2 (out of 5). It was ok, but I felt that everything was so good and perfectly seasoned until the lavender dressing. It was just too much lavendar for me and really overpowered the whole meal. I will definitely roast beets again, but next time I will try an alternate dressing for the salad.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Caramelized Carrot Risotto

I was very excited flipping through this new "cookbook"; the enticing colorful photos, a wide range of food options... I felt inspired to try something new. I have made risotto a number of times, but the idea of a Caramelized Carrot Risotto was a fresh take on the Italian staple, so I decided to give it a go. There was bit of prep work, but overall a painless process yielding delicious, smooth, slightly sweet, creamy results. I LOVED it! With fresh bits of thyme and parsley scattered throughout, it helped to balance the richness of the mascarpone cheese leaving a lovely first course meal. Um, confession... we ate this as a main course, of course. I would have to advice against this, however, unless you are in the mood for a small meal. The creaminess of the dish was a lot to eat alone, and would have been better suited as an accompaniment to a protein of some-sort. Regardless, I really liked this version of risotto and will be making it again!