Monday, March 8, 2010

March is Ethiopian/Moroccan

I have decided that March will be Ethiopian and Moroccan. This will be the first month I am actually trying something that I have never done before. I plan on making Ginger-Carrot Chutney, Injera, Beef Stew in Berbere,Moroccan Chicken With Olives Moroccan Tagine with Carrot , Doro Wat, Mash Pot, and a few other things.

The first recipe I made was chicken tagine. I thought it was awesome, but it could have been a bit more flavorful. Here are the ingredients and recipe.

2 tbsp olive oil
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs , halved if large (I substituted chicken breasts which cuts the cook time in 1/2)
1 onion , chopped
2 tsp grated fresh root ginger
pinch saffron or tumeric (I used Tumeric)
1 tbsp honey
400g carrots , cut into sticks
small bunch parsley , roughly chopped
lemon wedges, to serve


Heat the oil in a large, wide pan with a lid, add the chicken, then fry quickly until lightly coloured. Add the onion and ginger, then fry for a further 2 mins.

Add 150ml water, the saffron, honey and carrots, season, then stir well. Bring to the boil, cover tightly, then simmer for 30 mins until the chicken is tender. Uncover and increase the heat for about 5 mins to reduce the sauce a little.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

What I really liked about this recipe was that it was super easy to make and yummy to boot!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana, Gorgonzola Pasta, and Pesto Pasta

It's been pretty busy here with school, so I haven't had much time to update lately. I have made Eggplant Parmigiana with stuffed mushrooms and Fred made Gorgonzola Pasta for Valentines. I am making Pesto Pasta tonight!

The Eggplant Parmigiana was awesome! I don't have the recipe for the stuffed mushrooms, we just kind of winged it.


2lbs eggplat
3 balls mozzarella
3/4 cups fresh basil leaves
2 14 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (I used pureed)
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup olive oil
2 ounces Parmesan grated


Rinse eggplant and cut in half. Take the halves and chop into smaller lengthwise slices. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 15 minutes,

Drain mozzarella and slice thinly. Chop basil and tomatoes add to bowl with the juice from the can, salt and pepper.

Pat the eggplant dry. Make a plate with the flour and pepper. Dredge the eggplant through the flour mixture to lightly coat it. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add oil to a pan and heat on medium. Start adding the coated eggplant and cook it until it is golden brown.

Line casserole dish with non-stick spray. Put a layer of eggplant down, then tomato mixture, then top with mozzarella cheese. Continue doing this until you run out of ingredients then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and add small pats of butter on the top. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden. Let rest for 10 minutes then serve.

The Gorgonzola Pasta was AMAZING!! It was a bit rich but I highly recommend it!


8 ounces Gorgonzola
1 small onion (we used scallions)
1 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound pasta (we used linguine noodles)
salt and pepper

Cut Gorgonzola into small pieces. Peel onion and garlic--chop them both finely.
Heat butter and oil in pot until butter melts. Add garlic and onion then sautee briefly. Turn heat to low and add cream and Gorgonzola stirring until it melts--sauce should be slightly thick.
Prepare pasta. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Both of these recipes were absolutely stunning!

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Lemon Cream Spaghetti

Tonights dinner was Lemon Cream Spaghetti. It was good, but not awesome. I think I would have made it differently. I would have added shrimp.

Here is the recipe:

-1 lb spaghetti (I used linguine noodles)
-2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
-1 lemon
-1 tablespoon butter (I used 3)
-1 1/2 cups tender shelled peas (I used steamfresh)
-8 ounces heavy cream
-salt & pepper

Boil water and prepare pasta according to the instructions on box
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in pan. Add garlic and peas--sautee briefly. Zest lemon into sauce and add cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until sauce is slightly reduced. Stir in 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Salt & pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Put the sauce on top of the noodles and serve.

I might try this again, add more butter, shrimp, less peas, and modify the amount of lemon.

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lasagna With Two Sauces

Tonights dinner is Lasagna with Two Sauces. One sauce is a cream sauce, the other a tomato. It sounded really good and I wanted to try my hand at a different kind of lasagna.
While making it, I noticed that I did not have enough sauce. I made extra cream sauce and it still wasn't enough and the tomato sauce barely covered the last layer. My noodles on the other hand were plentiful.

Here are the ingredients:

1 lb Lasagna noodles

Cream Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour (scant)
4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 teaspoon each salt and ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Tomato Sauce:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 med. stalk celery, minced
1 med. carrot, finely shredded
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used my garlic press)
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 14 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes (juice included)
Salt & Pepper
(recipe also called for panceta, but I had no clue what it was and couldn't find it.)

8 ounces lasagna sheets
salt (for boiling water)
2 balls fresh mozzarella (1/2 lb)
4 tablespoons Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter


Cream Sauce:

Heat butter over low heat until melted. Blend in flour, salt and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; cover and keep warm. If sauce thickens, beat in small amount of milk. Sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream.

Tomato Sauce:

Heat olive oil and butter in pan. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, and celery (after chopping them up). Saute briefly then add ground beef. Cook beef until crumbly and brown. Add tomatoes (chop them up) and beef broth. Simmer for an hour salt and pepper to taste.

Cook lasagna and set to the side.

Dice the mozzarella and grease the pan you are baking the lasagna in. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Add cream sauce to bottom of pan, then noodles. Next add the tomato sauce layer, the cream sauce layer, and mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. Do this until top layer and cover everything with Parmesan cheese and bits of butter.

Bake for 40 minutes

Everyone gave it a 9 or 10...Grandaddy even said it was the best lasagna he ever had!

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February is Italian!!

OK, yes I have been a slacker and have not updated my blog....but I got sick, got schooled, and got now while I have a few minutes while my one pasta sauce is boiling, I am going to update. This month is Italian. I wanted to try to add French to this month as well, but it was reallllly freaking hard to do and seeing as I was so sick and busy, it wasn't practical either (plus there are less days in this month....).

Yesterday I made some homemade pasta sauce with bowties. It was really easy......SUPER easy actually.

-4 cloves of garlic (I used my garlic press here)
-1 onion
-4 cans of diced tomatoes (I like using the kind that has seasonings like basil/oregano)
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-seasonings to your likening ( I used rosemary, oregano, parsley, italian seasoning, cilantro, & basil)
-1/2 cup red wine
-1/2 cup white
-pinch of sugar
-Salt & Pepper to taste
Just take the olive oil and heat it up. Then sautee garlic, onion and seasonings for under 5 minutes. Then add white wine. Cook another minute. Then add tomatoes and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a simmer and add red wine. Taste to see if more seasonings are needed. Cook for at least 4 hours, preferably six or longer.

For the bowties, I just cooked them normally then added a tiny bit of olive oil and rosemary at the end.

It was yummy... I also made some garlic bread using Italian bread with butter and garlic powder...super easy as well.

Now I am making a 2 sauce lasagna, it smells awesome and is looking good. I will make another post and give you the recipe there!! Now I need to go check on it!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

What's for dinner?

So, I haven't updated in a while....I was sick with the swine flu, so cooking kind of became a last priority. Today though, is the Irish Potluck. Fredric and I are inviting over several friends. I gave them a list of Irish Recipes to choose from or the choice to bring $5. I will be cooking a few interesting things as well.

So what are we having tonight? My friends are bringing the following:

-Irish Potato Stuffing:

-Cream Delight with Whiskey:


-Irish Potato Casserole:

-Soda Bread:

I will be making Guiness Soaked Ribs, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Colcannon, Boiled Bacon & Cabbage and a Bailey's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I have already made Colcannon and the cheesecake, but I want to add some variations to them. This time with the cheesecake I have a spring form pan, so that should be good. I also want to add whiskey into the whipped topping. With the Colcannon, I am going to make it with salt potatoes.

I will post the recipes for these later!

***Just took the cheesecake out! The spring form pan=MUCH better results!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lamb Shank Stew

First of all, I don't like lamb...something about eating it freaks me out. Second of all, I added rutabaga & parsnips....which I never use. Third of all, I varied wayyyyyyy from the recipe....They used a dutch oven in theirs, and I adapted it for a crockpot. I just finished making the stew....sort of--I am letting it cook a bit more now that I stripped the meat from it's bones (well it actually fell right off the bones) and added some salt & pepper to it. I will show the entire recipe I used then point out where I modified.
Olive oil
3 lbs of lamb shanks, each shank cut into a couple of pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, 2 coarsely chopped, 2 cut into 2-inch segments, and quartered lengthwise
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste ( I used stewed tomatoes)
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups chicken stock*
1 medium rutabaga, roughly chopped (1 1/2 inch pieces)
1 medium turnip, roughly sliced or chopped (1 inch pieces)
2 parsnips, chopped

2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

So basically, I took the shanks and browned them in olive oil & wine. Then I added all the ingredients to the crockpot and let it cook for approx. 12 hrs. Then I made the Gremolta, de-boned the lamb, skimmed the fat off the top, and added salt and pepper. I am now letting the crockpot cook on high for the next 20-30 minutes to let the seasonings and such soak in. The Gremolata is a topping to put on as a garnish. Here is the way to cook it if you have a dutch oven:

1 Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium high heat. Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper, add them to the casserole and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Transfer the shanks to a plate.
2 Add the unpeeled garlic cloves, celery, chopped carrots (half of your carrots, the other half are cut lengthwise to be used later in the recipe) and onion to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the wine; boil over high heat until the liquid is very syrupy, about 5 minutes.
3 Return the shanks to the pot and add the stock and orange zest. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and braise the shank for 3 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone tender; turn the shanks from time to time as they cook.
4 Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the root vegetables (turnip, rutabaga, parsnips, and lengthwise-cut carrots) in a large baking pan and toss with enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until tender.
5 In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic with the parsley and lemon zest (the "gremolata"). Set aside.
6 Remove the shanks from the pot and transfer to a plate. Pass the sauce through a coarse strainer, pressing hard on the vegetables. Discard the vegetable pulp. Skim the fat from the surface of the sauce.
7 Return the sauce to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Separate the lamb meat from the bones. Add the lamb meat and root vegetables; simmer just until warmed through.
Garnish with the gremolata and serve.

OK, so the jury is back.....Fred gave the soup a ten....I thought it was a good soup, but I did not like the taste....lamb honestly freaks me out, and that could be why I don't like the taste. It's kind of like when my uncles told me that the reason Swiss Cheese has holes is b/c mice run through it. To this day, I still can't eat swiss cheese. The same goes with baby animals....