Monthly Archives: January 2012

Asian Lettuce Wraps

We were in the mood for asian cuisine minus the take-out. It’s funny how you get chinese take-out and 30 minutes later you’re hungry and you wake up with puffy fingers from all the sodium. This recipe has great flavors, a little lighter and is a great choice for a week night meal. The lettuce adds crunch and the fresh ginger, Sriracha, and soy add those flavors and spice we love.

Switch it up and add whatever vegetables you like best. My husband likes mushrooms so those were a must, and I also added bamboo shoots. I used turkey meat for the filling but you can use whatever meat you like best. I used butter lettuce and it held up really well. I’ve done lettuce wraps in the past and iceberg works just as well.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:
1½ tsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce

For the filling:
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
2 cups mixed vegetables (I used mushrooms, peppers, and bamboo shoots)

To assemble:
Butter lettuce leaves, washed and separated
Shredded carrots for topping

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix to blend.

To make the filling, heat a skillet on high heat with cooking oil.  Once the pan is hot, add the garlic and ginger to the pan, and stir fry for a few seconds, just until fragrant.  Add the ground turkey or chicken, breaking into small pieces, and cook until almost cooked through.  Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the sauce and cook for about 1 minute until thickened slightly.  Remove pan from heat.

Serve the filling in lettuce “cups” and top with shredded carrots, if desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats
Photography by Chris Davis

Banana Bread with Peanut Butter Chips

To say that we go through a lot of bananas in this house would be an understatement. They are one of Gwenny’s favorite foods, but since some weeks are crazier than others, we don’t always get to them. I started making banana muffins and banana bread so that the over ripe bananas would not go to waste. Once I had found a recipe for the bread that was fast, easy, and addictively delicious, I decided to make it a little bit more interesting by adding some peanut butter chips. They were calling my name at the grocery store and I was determined to put them into something. And as you can see by the picture below, Gwenny also approves of this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter chips (can be increased to your desired level of peanuttiness…I just made a word!)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter a 4×8 inch bread pan.

If you have a mixer, you can be lazy like me and use it. If you don’t have one, you can certainly mix all of this by hand and give yourself a nice little arm workout.

Mix together the melted butter and mashed bananas. Once well mixed, add the sugar, egg, and vanilla and stir. Add the baking soda and a pinch of salt. Incorporate 1/2 of a cup of flour at a time and mix in between each addition until you have added all 1 1/2 cups. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for an hour. I noticed my bread was getting a little dark after about 45 minutes, so I covered it with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. You can check the doneness by use the same method of checking any other baked good and insert a toothpick in the center to make sure it comes out clean.

Once the bread is finished baking, let the pan cool on a rack until cool enough to handle. Flip the pan and let the bread cool on the rack until you are ready to eat. The bread will keep in a plastic bag or container for several days…but it won’t last that long.

Source: simplyrecipes.com

Vegetable Tian

 

I was looking for a vegetable recipe that kept the flavors simple and really let the vegetables shine. I love this recipe because it has zucchini, tomatoes, AND potatoes! This recipe is great for the winter because the tomatoes condense and develop their flavors so you don’t need to wait for summer ripe tomatoes for this one. It’s also super easy and delicious and is a great side dish. I served this dish with roasted chicken but it would be great with any meat.

The original recipe calls for onions at the base of the dish but I omitted them to simplify the dish. All you need is some veggies, olive oil, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper. Layer, season, pop it in the oven and enjoy!

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 zucchini
3 large roma tomatoes
2 russet potatoes
3 springs thyme
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the vegetables uniformly and layer in a shallow casserole dish. Remove thyme leaves from the stems and sprinkle over the veggies. Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 35 minutes. Remove foil and top with parmesan cheese. Bake for another 25-30 minutes or until top is browned.

Source: For The Love Of Cooking

Herb Baked Eggs

Oh the joy of a runny egg yolk. There are few things that I love more in life than sopping up the ooey gooey yellowy goodness of a perfectly cooked egg with a piece of toast or crusty bread. Even though I could eat a fried egg every morning for breakfast, and be perfectly content, finding a new method to prepare my favorite breakfast meal is always very exciting. I will warn you that baking an egg and achieving a runny yolk can be tricky and can go wrong very quickly, so I encourage you to pay very close attention to your little friends while they are in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes on low.

Toss together the chopped garlic, herbs and grated cheese and set aside.

Crack your eggs into a separate bowl to allow for easy transition to the gratin dish when it is time.

Split the heavy cream and butter between two individual sized gratin dishes and place them on a baking sheet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until bubbling. Remove from the oven and carefully add two eggs to each dish and cover with the herb mixture. Return to the oven and broil until the white part of the egg is mostly set but the yolk remains runny. Once you remove the eggs from the oven, they will continue to cook slightly. Serve with bread or toast.

 

Source: Ina Garten

 

Spatchcocked Chicken with Chickpeas and Cilantro

One of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment is my cast iron skillet and it’s a must have for this dish. The high oven temperature combined with cast iron skillet make roasting a whole chicken a weekday reality. The meat stays juicy, the skin gets crispy, and best of all there is no butter or oil used in this dish at all!

You can play with the flavors of this dish, and I have, but I keep going back to the chickpeas with cilantro and lime. The chickpeas around the chicken get crunchy from contact with the cast iron, the lime at the end adds a zesty kick, and let’s just face it, cilantro is amazingly delicious.

Ingredients:

1 4lb. whole chicken
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
fresh limes and cilantro leaves (for serving)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
“Spatchcock chicken by cutting the backbone out with kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Then turn place the chicken breast side up and press on the breast to flatten it out. (Make sure the wings are tucked under.) Place the chicken breast side up in the cast iron skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and add the rinsed and drained chickpeas. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Let rest for 5 minutes. Squeeze fresh lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro leaves before serving.

Source: Martha Stewart