Category Archives: Main Dish

BLT Sliders

 

Cheers to a fun pub type meal at home! I love any kind of mini food. For some reason it just tastes better and looks so good. Sliders have become very popular in pubs and restaurants so I tried to come up with my own version using a basil mayo recipe from one of my favorite sources, Cook’s Illustrated. The mayo comes from my new Menu Cookbook that has quickly become my new source for inspiration. I actually bought this book (and another) for Heather for her birthday and after thumbing through the pages I had to get a copy for myself. The recipes are great alone or a fun way to cook for a dinner party. It lays out everything you need to feed a crowd and how to plan it.

These mini BLTs are great for a quick meal served with a side of roasted mini potatoes or on their own as an appetizers for a party or get together. You can make as many or as few as you like.

For the basil mayo:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup mayo
4 tsps lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
salt and peper to taste

For the sliders:

slider rolls (I used Trader Joe’s mini burger buns)
bacon
cherry tomatoes
fresh basil leaves

1. Prepare the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet (you may need more than one depending on how much you are planning to make). Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the bacon is browned around the edges but not burnt. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

2. While the bacon cooks prepare the basil mayo. Place all ingredients in a food process and pulse until smooth.

3. When the bacon is cooked and the mayo is finished, toast the slider rolls. Spread some basil mayo on each roll. top with bacon, tomato, and fresh basil. Serve with roasted herbed potatoes for a nice meal or as an appetizer.

*For roasted potatoes toss 1lb. small, halved, potatoes with olive oil and chopped fresh herbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (more or less depending on the size) or until crispy.

Source: Basil mayo from America’s Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook

Crispy Breakfast Pita

If you asked me to eat runny eggs about a year ago I would have sooner eaten my right shoe. But recently I have become fond of them. In fact, when I saw this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine cover adorned with a bacon and egg breakfast tart with a runny egg I couldn’t help but buy it. When I read through the magazine I found this crispy breakfast pita recipe as well and I couldn’t resist. It was part of a feature on Giada’s Weeknights with Giada book.*

Sure this recipe would be great for breakfast or lunch but I’m always on the lookout for yummy and quick food to make on weeknights for dinner. Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner, right?! This was perfect. It didn’t take too much time, was delicious, and not too heavy. I think my husbands words after eating this meal were “this is definitely a recipe to make again!”

Crispy Breakfast Pita

Ingredients:

6 6-inch pita breads
Extra-virgin olive oil
6 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 ounces) mascarpone cheese
Grated zest of 1/2 large lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 packed cups (3 ounces) arugula or baby spinach
8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Directions:

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Brush each side of the pita breads with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and grill 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Remove from the grill and cool slightly.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs directly into the pan and cook until the egg whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes.

Combine the mascarpone cheese, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Add the arugula and toss until coated.

Spread each pita with 2 tablespoons of the mascarpone mixture. Divide the prosciutto on top. Divide the arugula and mound on top of the prosciutto. Carefully place a fried egg on top of each pita. Season the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper, and serve.

*Also featured was her Breakfast Tart which I make regularly for girls brunches or as a make ahead for breakfast for overnight guests. I’ll definitely post it next time I make it. It’s a favorite and I love to play with the fillings.

Source: Weeknights with Giada via Food Network Magazine 
Photography by Chris Davis

Seared Scallops with Citrus, Arugula and Pomegranate Salad

Scallops are one of those foods that can really turn you off to them if you have bad ones. I was afraid to try them for a long time after a bad experience because I was imagining a scary slimy blob that would come to life in my mouth and crawl up into my brain. I think we can all agree that the odds of that actually happening are pretty slim, but it kept me away from scallops for far too long.

Scallops are surprisingly easy to make at home. Be sure you are getting your scallops from a legitimate seafood place, and make sure they are as fresh as you can get. The thing to remember while cooking scallops is that you need to cook them in a very hot pan. Do not be afraid!

Ingredients

  • 3 clementines, peeled and cut into segments
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
  • Salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 16 large scallops
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1/2 a small red onion, finely julienned
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds

Serves 4

Combine all the citrus in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt and crushed red pepper.

Remove the ‘tail’ part of the scallops and dry them with a paper towel. Season the scallops with salt. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the smashed garlic. When the garlic has become golden and aromatic, remove it from the pan and discard it. Next, gently lay the scallops in the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You may need to cook them in two batches depending on the size of your pan and your scallops. If the pan begins to smoke reduce the heat of the burner. The scallops should look beautifully caramelized on each side.

Toss the onion with the citrus. Place a large handful (or two) of arugula on the plate and place the citrus and onions over it. Be sure to reserve the accumulated juice in the bowl. Once all of the salads are in place, drizzle with the citrus juice and olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and sprinkle pomegranate seeds over each salad. Place 4 scallops on each place and enjoy!

Source: Anne Burrell – Foodnetwork.com

Orange Chicken with Scallions

If you are like me, you are constantly on an endless quest to find a consistently good Asian delivery place. Just when you think you have found a great place, you get sesame chicken that tastes like cardboard. I am starting to think that we can categorize great Asian take-out food with the Loch Ness Monster and a husband who can empty the dishwasher and put everything in the right place. They just don’t exist. I recently decided to bite the bullet and buy myself a rice cooker, dust off my wok, and make the food myself.

I have used my new rice cooker twice and it has already become one of those things that I don’t know how I lived without in the kitchen. I love it! If you don’t have one, I highly recommend that it be your next purchase in kitchen toys. One of the biggest things to remember when cooking with a wok is that everything happens very quickly, so make sure to do all your prep before you start, and have everything within an arms reach.

Ingredients

  • 1 large navel orange
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of light brown sugar
  • 1/8 of a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of canola or peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (Keep the whites and greens separate)

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zest from the orange in long, wide strips. If necessary, remove any large patches of bitter white pith from the zest using a paring knife. Juice the orange into a small bowl and mix with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper.

Sprinkle the chicken cubes with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In a mini food processor, process the egg white, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt until smooth. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the cornstarch batter.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or large stir-fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Using tongs, transfer about half of the chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, flipping every minute or so, until the chicken browns and crisps all over and is firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. With clean tongs, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet (use more if you need it) and repeat the cooking process with the remaining chicken; transfer to the plate.

Put the orange zest strips in the skillet and cook, stirring, until they darken in spots, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir the orange juice mixture and add it to the pan. Let it boil for about 10 seconds and then add the chicken and the scallion whites. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce reduces to a glaze and the chicken is just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens with white rice.

Source: Fine Cooking Annual: Volume 3

Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Chutney

Mahi Mahi is probably the weirdest edible fish I’ve ever seen, but let me tell you, it tastes delicious! Wait, I take that back, monkfish is the weirdest edible fish I’ve ever seen but mahi is a close second. I love reicpes that keep the fish simple and compliment it with bright flavors. This dish took me back to Key West with every bite and I love when a meal can evoke fond memories and bring me back to a place I love to visit.

Sometimes when I’m having cooking-block and I’m in need of some inspiration I’ll look back to past issues of my go to magazines and that’s where I found this one. It came from Cooking Light Jan./Feb. 2010. I like the way the recipes in Cooking light add a lot of flavor without going overboard with oil, butter, or salt. And it looks really pretty on the grill pan.

On a side note, mahi mahi is considered sustainable by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide. Sustainable seafood is generally abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. If you want to learn more about how to make good seafood choices visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium website by following the link or download the Seafood Watch app for your area on your phone or tablet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded habanero pepper
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup gold rum
  • 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Cooking spray
  • 6  6-ounce mahimahi filets
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add rum to pan; cook 20 seconds or until liquid evaporates. Stir in pineapple, sugar and juice; bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until liquid thickens. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in cilantro.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of fish evenly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with chutney.

Photography by Chris Davis