Posts Tagged ‘main dish’

GYO: Antipasto Pesto Pasta

I love the sound of that 🙂 And the dish was pretty good, too.

We had about 16 people over for Thanksgiving, and since we had spent two weeks in Europe, including a week in Italy, in September, naturally I wanted to serve antipasto for an appetizer.

But most people were holding out for the main event, so there was quite a bit left over. What to do with all these preserved meats and veggies? Put them in a pasta, of course! I found this great-sounding recipe and modified it for what we had and like, and it turned out great. I’ll definitely make it again.

This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the foodie event started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie. GYO celebrates the food we grow ourselves. We grew the basil and parsley for the pesto in this dish, and I froze pesto to use during the winter, since the basil was so prolific. The round-up of all the entries has been posted, so check them out!

Antipasto Pesto Pasta
1 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup marinated cocktail onions, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 ounces salami, chopped
1/2 cup marinated mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
8 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Place the roasted pepper, onions, olives, salami, mushrooms, and artichokes in a large bowl and mix gently.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain. In a small bowl, mix together the pesto and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; add to bell pepper mixture, and toss to combine. Add pasta to bell pepper mixture and stir.

Sprinkle each serving with 2 tsp. remaining cheese and 2 tsp. pine nuts.

Antipasto Pasta

Christmas Dinner: Herb-Encrusted Lamb Chops

I don’t make lamb very often, for one reason, because it’s expensive, and for another reason, because I haven’t always enjoyed it. I’m not sure if that’s because of the quality or the preparation, but the lamb chops I made yesterday for Christmas dinner were fabulous.

You need a good, stainless steel pan for this recipe – a non-stick pan just won’t get a good sear on the meat to make it golden-brown and delicious!

Herb-Encrusted Lamb Chops
Serves 2

4 lamb rib chops, about 1 inch thick
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil

Remove the chops from the refrigerator and salt both sides lightly. Leave out to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. The salt will draw moisture from the chops, which will then be drawn back in, seasoning them beautifully.

Prepare herbs and garlic and mix together with pepper in a small bowl.

When ready to cook, drizzle one side of each chop with a little olive oil; cover with herb/garlic mixture and press to adhere. Heat a large stainless-steel saute pan on medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil and swirl the oil around the pan. Add chops, herbed side down, to pan and cook for one minute. With tongs, turn chops over and cook for two minutes. Check temperature with an instant-read thermometer; it should be 130 degrees F for medium-rare. If it’s still a little low, cover the pan and let rest, off the heat, for about five minutes. If you’d like it more done, let cook another minute before resting.

Herb-encrusted lamb chops

I served this with Duchess potatoes mm mm good!

Kibbee and Bits

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgMy sister-in-law, Jennifer, is of Lebanese descent and when we were visiting one time, she showed me a cookbook she had – “Kibbee ‘n’ Spice and Everything Nice: Popular and easy recipes for the Lebanese and American Family,” by Janet Kalush. I was looking through it and talking about how much I like to try new things, and she gave me the book right there. Thanks again, Jen! 🙂

She also mentioned that kibbee is one of her favorite foods; I hadn’t heard of it before, but I tried it at Azar’s, a local Mediterranean restaurant, and liked it a lot. So I finally tried making it myself.

This is a variation of Lebanon’s national dish. The traditional way to make kibbee is to make the meat mixture shown below, then make another meat mixture to use as a filling; then the kibbee is baked or fried. I skipped the filling (this extra step is probably why I hadn’t made it earlier) and grilled them instead. You have to be very careful when grilling these; the bulghur wheat makes them a bit fragile. But it works!

btw, Dan kept calling it Kibbee and Bits, so here we are: Kibbee with bits of grilled potato 🙂

Kibbee Patties (spiced ground beef or lamb with bulghur)

1 cup finely ground bulghur wheat
1/2 medium onion, or one small onion
3/4 tsp. kibbee spice (see below)
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. finely ground beef or lamb
2 rounds of pita bread
tzatziki sauce (cucumber/yogurt sauce)

Kibbee Spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. crushed dried mint (I used fresh mint from the garden, then dried it in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes)
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine thoroughly in a small bowl; transfer to a spice bottle and keep in a cool, dry place.

For Kibbee

Rinse the bulghur wheat in cold water twice and drain. Cover by half an inch with fresh water and let soak. Finely mince the onion in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the kibbee spice and salt; combine thoroughly. Add the ground meat to the bowl and mix completely by hand.

Squeeze excess water from the bulghur wheat and add to the meat mixture. Mix by hand until well blended. Add ice water if necessary, to maintain a soft consistency.

Form meat into eight 3-inch patties, and press in the center with your thumb to form a dimple. Grill 3-4 minutes on both sides until cooked through.

To serve: Serve kibbee patties over tzatziki sauce or in pita pockets. To serve in pita pockets, briefly grill pita rounds to warm them a bit; cut in half. Put a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce in each pita half and place two kibbee patties on top of sauce. Serves 4.

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Andrea herself.

If you count the cucumber in the tzatziki, I used three ingredients from my garden in this meal: cucumber, onion and mint.

Kibbee patties ready for grilling
Kibbee patties ready for grilling

Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes
Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes

Pork Chops with Herbed Mustard Sauce

These are really simple to make and really delicious to eat 🙂 Really. Just take a few tablespoons of Dijon mustard and mix with a half teaspoon of fresh thyme. Sprinkle pork chops (these are Saratoga chops) with salt and pepper and spread one side with mustard mixture. Grill 5 minutes, turn, spread with more mustard mixture, top chops with a sprig of rosemary, and grill another 5 minutes or till done.


Festa Italiana: Osso Buco

logo-festa-italianaI love all kinds of Italian food, and I’ve been wanting to try osso buco, aka Italian Braised Veal Shanks, for ages, so this blog event, hosted by Marie of Proud Italian Cook and Maryann of Finding la Dolce Vita, seemed like the perfect time to make it.

This is one of those long, slow-cooking dishes that I like to make on Sunday afternoons, when I have a lot of time for cooking dinner, and especially when it’s cold outside. Braised dishes are so satisfying on days like that, and this one was no exception.

Dan gave me a copy of “The Best International Recipe,” a cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, for Christmas in 2007, so I made their recipe. OMG, it was so good – absolutely delicious. I made the classic saffron risotto to go alongside it and served it with a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the juices. I hope everyone at the Festa Italiana enjoys it as much as we did!


Osso Buco

Veal Shanks
6 1-1/2-inch thick veal shanks (8-10 oz. each), tied around teh middle with butcher’s twine (so they don’t fall apart during cooking)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves

Gremolata (topping)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tsp. minced lemon zest
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown half of the shanks on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, reducing the heat if the pan begins to scorch; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Off the heat, add 1/2 cup of the wine to the Dutch oven, scraping up the browned bits, then pour into the bowl with the browned shanks. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more tbsp. oil and the remaining shanks. Add another 1/2 cup wine and transfer to the bowl.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. oil to the pot and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1-1/2 cups wine, broth, tomatoes and bay leaves. Add the browned shanks with any accumulated juices, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the meat is easily pierced with a fork, but not falling off the bone, about 2 hours.

To make the gremolata, stir together the garlic, lemon zest and parsley in a small bowl.

When the shanks are cooked, remove the pot from the oven and the bay leaves from the pot; stir in half of the gremolata. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove the shanks from the pot, cut off the twine and place the shanks in six individual serving bowls. Ladle some braising liquid over each shank and sprinkle with the remaining gremolata. Serve.

Grow Your Own: Creole Chicken Fricassee

Grow Your Own 2008We have lots and lots of bok choy in the garden right now. It doesn’t really seem like that much – we have four more plants out there – but when there are only two of us to feed, a little goes a really long way. See here for a picture from a while back.

In case you’re not familiar with it, bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage, although it doesn’t really look like cabbage. It has stems that look like celery and broad, dark-green leaves that can be treated like spinach. I use it in stir-fries, but I also use it to replace celery, as in this recipe.

This chicken fricassee recipe is based on one from Cook’s Country magazine, a sister magazine to Cook’s Illustrated. You can use any kind of sausage in it that you like. I had some chipotle chicken sausage I had picked up the last time I cruised up to Trader Joe’s in Newport New, so I used that, but kielbasa, andouille or something similar would work just as well.

Creole Chicken Fricassee

Creole Chicken Fricassee

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
3 tsp. Creole seasoning
8 oz. andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch rounds (I used chipotle chicken sausage)
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced thin (I used six bok choy ribs, with leaves)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Hot cooked rice

Sprinkle chicken with 2 tsp. Creole seasoning and toss to coat. Cook sausage in large pan over medium-high heat till browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Cook chicken in sausage fat until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with sausage.

Add oil, onion, celery and pepper to skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and remaining tsp. Creole seasoning and cook until flour begins to brown, about 1 minute.

Slowly stir in broth until sauce is smooth. Return chicken and sausage to skillet. Cover and simmer until chicken registers 160 degrees, about 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the twice-monthly food blogging event that celebrates home-grown ingredients. It’s hosted this month by the founder, Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

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