Friday, February 11, 2011

Saucy Shrimp & Creamy Polenta

Creamy Polenta

4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, and pepper, and stir until the butter and cheese melt.

Saucy Shrimp

1 tbsp olive oil
3 slices Canadian bacon, chopped finely
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 pound large (31 to 35) peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add bacon, onion, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. To skillet, add tomatoes (with their juice) and bring to a boil. Add shrimp; cook, stirring, until opaque throughout, 2 to 4 minutes.

Serve shrimp & sauce on top of a puddle of hot polenta with fresh pepper & parmesan as garnish. Enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Corn Salsa

2 cups corn (I used frozen that that I quickly defrosted under hot water)
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalepono, finely chopped (seeds removed unless you want some heat)
Handful chopped cilantro
Zest & juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil

Toss together and serve with tortilla chips. Really yummy when paired with black bean dip!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wine Lover's Beef Stew

This is easy and perfect for a cold winter day. I like to serve it with biscuits :)

1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 can (14 ounces)whole peeled tomatoes
1-1/2 cups water
1 cube beef bouillon
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine
3 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 potatoes, cubed
1 cup pearl onions

Season the stew meat with some of the salt and pepper and coat with flour. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, Saute the beef and onions in the butter and oil until browned on the outside. Transfer the beef and onions to a stockpot and stir in the tomatoes, water and bouillon cubes. Season with garlic, parsley, thyme and remaining salt and pepper. Stir in the red wine.

Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours before adding carrots, celery potatoes and pearl onions. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cream of Tomato Soup with Grilled Camembert and Blue Cheese Sandwiches

I don't know what else to say besides MAKE THIS! Seriously so yummy and perfect for a chilly evening spent at home.

For the soup:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup red wine
28oz can whole tomatoes, drained
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp pepper
Pinch of salt
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat then add onions, celery, basil, thyme, and garlic. When onions are tender add red wine to de-glaze the pan. Toss in tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, worcestershire, salt and pepper then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add chicken broth then bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Partially puree using a immersion blender (I like this soup to be a little more rustic in texture.) Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add milk and whisk until thick, smooth, and bubbling. Whisk into tomato puree. Add additional salt & pepper to taste.

For the sandwiches:

1 chewy (sourdough is perfect) baguette, sliced diagonally about 1/2" thick
Blue cheese, crumbled

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Build mini sandwiches with 1 slice of bread, a slice of camembert, and a few crumbles of blue cheese. Toss into a non-stick frying pan and cook over med heat until brown and crispy, flipping once.

You can serve the sandwiches on the side or cut up as fancy soup croutons. So delish!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Croque Monsieur

This is another Ina Garten recipe (because I LOVE her) and makes a lovely dinner or lunch when paired with a green salad. So yummy!


* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups hot milk
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch nutmeg
* 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
* Dijon mustard
* 8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Eggplant Gratin

I have always avoided eggplant because, well, I sort of think it tastes like a big yucky sponge. Rob seems to really love it though so I thought I would try this variation of an Ina Garten recipe... because the cheese should make the eggplant edible right? Yes! This dish is so tasty... I served it with pasta tossed with marinara sauce. So yummy! This dish would also be really yummy with zuchinni in the place of eggplant.


* Good olive oil, for frying
* 1.5 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
* 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In a 9 x 13" baking dish, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper and marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, the ricotta mixture, and finally the remaining Parmesan.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Curried Rice Salad

Salad Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cup minute rice (Cook as per instructions on box) 
  • 1 can (14 ounce) niblets corn (can also use frozen corn)
  • 10 ounces frozen peas (I don't measure – just throw in enough to look good)
  • 1 ½ cups celery  - sliced fine (again, I don't measure – just throw in enough to look good)
Dressing: mix separately and stir into rice mixture
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2/3 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt