November 21, 2010

Holiday Hens

Beauregard is in my lap "Helping" me type -so please overlook any typos.  Around my house we are celebrating Thanksgiving early.  With it just being the two of us - even a turkey breast can be overwhelming - so our new dish is Cornish game hens.  After several off the cuff attempts, I finally consulted an expert and I think the results are solid - we loved them!!!  I served the hens with golden broccoli gratin & a classic cornbread dressing.

Knight's Holiday Hens 

2 1&1/2 to 2 lb Cornish Game Hens
Salt & Pepper
Zatarain's Seasoning
2 Lemons
2 Oranges
1 cup chicken broth
4 Tablespoons Orange marmalade
1/2 cup cranberries

Light half of your grill to medium high heat - allow it to warm for at least 20 minutes & let birds sit at room temperature for this time.  Peel one orange and segment half of it into small parts. Slice one lemon in half and cut into small slices.  Stuff cavity of hens with orange and lemon slices. Heavily season hens with salt, pepper & Zatarain's seasoning.  Place hens on the unlit side of the grill & roast indirectly for around an hour - continuously check to make sure hens are in indirect heat.  In the meantime place the other halves of the orange & lemon - roughly chopped in a sauce pan with cranberries, chicken broth & 2 tablespoons of marmalade - bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer ( I do this when the hens have been on the grill for 40 minutes - allowing 20 minutes of cooking time) add the other 2 tablespoons of marmalade and remove from heat.  Allow to cool slightly.  Turn grill to lowest setting and lather the hens in the sauce - you need to leave the hens on the grill for 15 minutes - basting them every 5 minutes with the sauce.  Slice the other orange and lemon and cover your serving platter - place hens directly on platter from the grill and allow them to rest, tented for 10 minutes & then enjoy!!!

From my family to yours - Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 20, 2010

Simple Fettuccine Alfredo

I promise this will be my last pasta recipe for a while. I am sharing before I start our Thanksgiving dinner (which I will post tomorrow).  It is my husband's favorite dish and actually made for a simple weeknight meal on a rainy, dreary night.

Simple Fettuccine Alfredo
1 lb cooked fettuccine, keep warm
4 tablespoons butter, I use light Smart Balance with olive oil
1 cup 1/2 &1/2, I use fat free
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
Flat leaf Italian parsley, torn

Prepare pasta and keep warm.  Melt butter in large skillet, add 1/2 & 1/2, bring to a light simmer & remove from heat.  Add lemon juice, fresh black pepper, red pepper flakes, & whisk together.  Add pasta, cover with cheese & toss well.  Serve topped with a touch of cheese and parsley.

There are so many things you could add at this point, any type of meat, spinach, peas, tomatoes...

Seafood Casserole

This is my take on a traditional crab imperial as a pasta one pot supper. It is a very good casual entertaining dish.  I would serve it directly from the dutch oven on the dinner table.  Also please note - you need at least 2 hours to marinate the seafood.   

Lara's Seafood Casserole
1 lb shrimp, cooked & chopped
1/2 lb crab meat
1 onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup sherry
3 green onions, sliced
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2
4 tbs butter
1 cup cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 lb fettuccine
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of  Lemon juice

Combine shrimp and crab meat, add lemon juice & 2 tablespoons of sherry, toss and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Cook fettuccine and keep warm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a dutch oven, saute onion and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter under tender. Add remaining sherry, butter & 1/2 &1/2, allow butter to melt, add seafood & mix.  Take off the heat, mix in fettuccine, sour cream, parmesean, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.  Bake uncovered for 30 - 40 minutes (until bubbly), remove from oven, top with the other 1/2 cup cheddar, & bake another 10 minutes or until cheese has completely melted.  Remove, top with green onions, cover and let sit about 10 minutes.  Serve with a crusty bread and nice chardonnay. Makes wonderful leftover!!!

November 12, 2010

Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux on French Fridays

This week's selection for the French Fridays with Dorie cooking club was the roast chicken for les paresseux (roasted chicken for lazy people).  It was a perfect Tuesday night supper.  The thing about this recipe is it is so simple, you prep the chicken (all of ten minutes) and then put it in the over for 90 minutes.  It is so simple that I felt weird. 
I did add a quartered lemon & some flat leaf parsley to the cavity.  The really unique thing about this dish is that the bird is roasted on top of slices of bread. I took half of a baguette & sliced it long ways.  I rested the breast portion over the thickest portion of the bread.  Oh wow - the bread really is the chef's treat.  Crunchy and delicious.  I even made it lazier and skipped adding the veggies to the pot and fixed fingerling potatoes with thyme & reheated our left over peas with pancetta.  

November 7, 2010

Peas with Pancetta & First French Friday with Dorie

I have joined the French Fridays with Dorie cooking group.  Every month four recipes from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table are chosen, you prep them, blog about your results on Friday (hopefully this is the only time I break the rules) and read the results of others.  One stipulation is that you can not post the recipe; however after going through this book several times I can honestly say buy a copy - it is amazing. This week I choose Dorie's potato gratin.  It is sinfully delicious!!!
Dorie's Potato Gratin with Swiss cheese & thyme crust
We enjoyed the gratin with grilled fillets, Bearnaise sauce and peas with pancetta.  The peas are inspired by Ina Garten's recipe from her new cookbook. I  took it in another direction - hope you enjoy.

Peas with Pancetta
1 pound snap peas or snow peas
1/4 pound pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Slice pancetta and brown in saute pan with a tablespoon of water.  When done transfer to plate with paper towels to absorb grease, cool, crumble and set aside.  Remove the strings from the beans.  I used a mix of sugar snaps and Chinese snow.  Saute peas with oil and vinegar over medium low heat for about 25 minutes.  Taste for doneness (trust me you will know).  Add pancetta and pepper, toss well and allow pancetta to warm up.  Add Parmesan cheese and serve 
The peas will turn more of a brownie green, but they are delicious. My picky husband loved them & the gratin!  I think I am going to see what the gratin tastes like cold...

November 6, 2010

Sauteed Vegetable Frittata & My 1st Go With Pastry Dough

It has been quite a week for deliveries around here - amazing concert tickets for my husband's birthday, my copy of Dorie Greenspan's Around my French Table, a signed copy of Ina Garten's How Easy is That, and my new beautiful oval Le Creuset dutch ovens.   I have wanted these since I was a child.  I fell in love with them watching the Huxtables cook on The Cosby Show.  Then the Food Network came along - every single chef had them & in so many colors.  Now I have mine - is it sad to be this obsessed with cookware?
3 1/2 quart and 5 quart Oval Dutch Ovens
We typically only have 2 meals on Saturday and Sunday, with a great snack in between.  This weekend's snacks are a tiny cheese ball from our local steak shop & savory palmiers.  Last night I attempted Cleo Coyle's Italian Easter Pie Palmiers.  I say attempted because I need much more help with pastry dough!  They taste awesome, but they don't look anything like they are suppose to.
My 1st attempt at Savory Palmiers

These are worth getting right, because they will make an amazing Holiday appetizer. Please give them ago!

This morning I fixed a sauteed vegetable frittata inspired by Ina Garten's Roasted Vegetable Frittata.  Here is my quicker, lighter version. 

Sauteed Veggie Frittata, serves 6
1 zucchini, small dice
1/2 red onion, small dice
1 orange pepper, small dice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper & red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2, I used fat free
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Gouda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Saute onion, pepper & zucchini in olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium high heat. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Add minced garlic and saute for another minute or two.  Add butter and remove from heat, mix in melted butter. Whisk 6 eggs & 1/2 & 1/2 with touch of salt and pepper, stir in Parmesan cheese.  Add sauteed mix to the bottom of a pie plate that is coated with cooking spray, pour egg mixture over evenly.  Bake in oven for 25 to 35 minutes, until frittata is set (just move it gently in the oven, when it doesn't jiggle it is ready), remove and top with grated Gouda.  Put back in the oven for about 2 -3 minutes - just so cheese melts.  Remove from oven, slice as a pie and serve.

I am spending the rest of the day with my kindle reading Cleo Coyle's latest - Holiday Grind.  Her coffee house mystery series is wonderful - check them out.

November 1, 2010

Shrimp & Wild Rice Casserole

Sunday Brunch -  Lobster Mac & Cheese, champagne cocktail & roses from our garden
This weekend was one of indulgent eating.  Some meals were planned and others not.  We have been so good lately; however an exhausting Friday lead to take out Chinese.  After a sleepless Friday night due to bad dreams triggered from the Chinese food I was too exhausted to roast sweet potatoes & work on a veal recipe Saturday night.  A spinach pizza from ole Father John's came to the rescue.  Sunday was going to be different - no giving in or coping out.  Husband was in NY and I was fixing my favorites that he won't eat! 65 minutes of tough cardio (while watching Halloween 2) started the day off right.  I enjoyed a brunch, pictured above, of Lobster Mac & Cheese & a pomegranate champagne cocktail. I finished the day the way I planned with my Shrimp & Wild Rice Casserole.  Nice to follow through with my actual intentions!  Hope you enjoy & Happy November!!!

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
6 oz box Long Grain Wild Rice
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 pound of shrimp, cooked & peeled
1 cup chopped onions
8 oz Crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Zatarans
1 tsp hot sauce
3 Tablespoons Sherry
3/4 cup sour cream, I used light
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, divided

Cook rice according to box's directions, however cook in broth rather than water.  When rice has about 15 minutes left saute onions over medium high heat, add Worcestershire sauce, Zataran's, dash of pepper.  If onions get too dry add some cooking spray or butter.  After about 10 minutes add mushrooms and 1 tablespoon of sherry.  Cook over medium high for 5 minutes and turn eye off.  Check rice - you want it to still have a little moisture & remove from heat.  Add butter to the mushrooms & onions, allow it to melt and cool.  Add rice to the mushrooms & onions, mix well, add Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, and hot sauce.  Let it rest a bit (5 to 10 minutes).  Add shrimp, sour cream and remaining sherry - mix well.  At this point you can cover, refrigerate and bake later or put right in the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, add to an 8 x 8 baking dish and cook uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes (should be bubbly & cheese has melted).  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and crusty bread .