Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Citrus Black Beans

This is a terrific side dish. It is so easy and tastes great! We had it tonight with leftover Mexican Lasagna. The flavor combination of orange juice and smoky cumin pairs perfectly with the earthy beans and tomatoes and green chiles. You could also serve the beans with rice for a meal-in-one; just add a salad.

Citrus Black Beans
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cans black beans, drained
3/4 cup orange juice
1 can tomatoes and green chiles with lime and cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil until onion is tender. Stir in black beans and next 4 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bean mixture thickens slightly.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chicken, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes Over Arugula

A friend of a friend had an abundance of arugula in her CSA (community-supported agriculture) box last week; my friend gave me some and I had to find something to do with it. I was flipping through the July-August issue of Everyday Food and saw a recipe that used all of these ingredients. As is typical for me, I didn't actually read the recipe, I just made it into what I thought it should be. The sweetness of the corn and the brightness of the tomatoes paired nicely with the very peppery arugula.

Chicken, Corn, and Cherry Tomatoes over Arugula
1 lb. chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper to taste
Grill seasoning
4 ears fresh corn
1 tsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chicken stock

1. Season chicken cutlets with salt, pepper, and grill seasoning. Grill or pan fry for 2 minutes on each side or until done; slice. Cut corn off cobs.
2. Sauté shallot and garlic in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in cherry tomatoes and corn; cook for 5 minutes. Add in chicken stock; stir to loosen browned bits on bottom of skillet. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Add in sliced chicken; cook until thoroughly heated.
3. Place arugula on each plate; top with chicken mixture.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Berry Scones

This recipe is based on one from Tyler Florence. (KB, I refrained from making the homemade butter that the original called for.) I had a bunch of raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries to use, but you could use only one kind of berry as well. Scones are essentially slightly sweet biscuits and definitely need to be slathered in butter. If you prefer a sweeter taste, you could also drizzle yours with honey.

Berry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder (yes, 1 tablespoon)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1 1/2 cups berries

1. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in buttermilk and orange zest. Gently stir in berries.
2. Scoop batter into mounds on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with additional buttermilk. Sprinkle generously with additional sugar.
3. Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.

Potato Pancake

This was the side dish that I served with Crispy Fish last night. It's very easy to make, but it's hard to get out of the skillet and still look pretty. I'll keep working on it! I used my mandoline to slice the potatoes and onion paper thin so they would crisp up and cook quickly. If you don't have a mandoline, cut them thinly with a knife and increase the cooking time.

Potato Pancake
Olive oil
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Coat bottom of a cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Place in oven until oil is hot. Remove from oven.
2. Layer potato and onion slices in skillet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Insert a few thyme sprigs into potato mixture.
3. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Invert onto a cutting board; cut into wedges.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crispy Fish and Tartar Sauce

Tonight we had my version of Andy's childhood favorite—fish sticks. I used tilapia coated with buttermilk, egg, and a seasoned panko mixture. If you have tried panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, you must. (Look for them with the Asian foods on the international aisle of the grocery store.) They are super crispy and work well for oven-frying and regular frying. My tartar sauce is actually a combination of two flavors: the dill pickle tartar sauce from Seagrove Market (my favorite beach dive) and rémoulade sauce. It's tasty with fried shrimp as well.

Crispy Fish
Panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Onion powder
1 egg
1 lb. tilapia, cut into same-size pieces
Peanut oil
Tartar Sauce

1. Combine panko and next 4 ingredients into a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk into another shallow dish. Crack egg into a third shallow dish, and lightly beat.
2. Dip tilapia pieces in buttermilk, panko mixture, egg, and then again in panko; press panko onto surface of fish.
3. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven. Once oil is hot, cook fish, in batches, for 4 minutes or until done. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve with Tartar Sauce.

Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. country-style Dijon mustard
2 tsp. dill pickle relish
1 tsp. Wickle pickle relish
Lemon juice (optional)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir in lemon juice, if desired.

Sausage-Cheese Muffins

These super-easy muffins are probably one of the most requested items in my cooking repetoire. The inspiration: My friend Sallie taught me how to make sausage balls many years ago. Her method is distinctive because she precooks the sausage before combining it with the flour and cheese. This yields a fluffier consistency; most sausage balls that I've had are quite dense. A couple of years ago, I was making sausage balls for a family breakfast and had the idea to make them into muffins instead by adding buttermilk and eggs. They were a hit! You can make this recipe with bacon, but all my taste-testers like the original best. This recipe is easy to half or double, depending on your needs. Enjoy!

Sausage-Cheese Muffins
Depending on the size scoop you use, this yields 12 to 18 muffins.
1 lb. sausage
1 (8-oz.) block colby-jack or Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups self-rising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Cook sausage in a skillet until crumbly and browned. Drain; rinse with hot water.
2. Combine flour and cheese in a mixing bowl. Add in sausage. Stir in eggs and buttermilk. Scoop batter into lightly greased muffin cups, filling almost full.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done. (If you prefer crustier muffins, bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp

I had an abundance of peaches (thanks to our friend Jason) and blackberries (thanks to Mel, Mom, and Katie) this weekend, so I decided to make Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp. This comforting dessert is based on one from the Barefoot Contessa; it's even better served with vanilla ice cream.

Peach-and-Blackberry Crisp
3 cups peeled and chopped peaches
1 cup blackberries
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup oatmeal

1. Combine peaches and next 3 ingredients; let stand 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a lightly greased baking dish.
2. Combine 1 cup butter and next 4 ingredients. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Sprinkle oat mixture over top of peach mixture in baking dish.
3. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

Fried Peach Pies

I've mentioned before how much I've been craving fresh peaches after reading a story that's in the July issue of SL. A friend of ours is from Chilton County, which is the center of Alabama's peach industry. Last week he brought me back some ripe peaches after a trip to his parents. The first thing I had to try was Fried Peach Pies, which I've been dying to make since I made Fried Apple Pies a few weeks ago. Making the peach pies was simpler because I didn't have to cook them to soften them first. All I did was add a little sugar to the peaches before spooning them into the dough rounds. Yummy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flank Steak and Pasta With Gorgonzola Sauce

Tonight we had some friends over for dinner who love blue cheese as much as we do. So I made Flank Steak and Ziti With Gorgonzola Sauce. I haven't made this since September and am glad it's back in my recipe box. Andy grilled the steak outside instead of cooking it on the grill pan, which was yummy and meant the kitchen didn't get too hot!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caramelized Onion Dip

This is a terrific dip from the Barefoot Contessa. Once you try it, you'll never want to eat that dried soup mix stirred into sour cream again. I think it tastes best with homemade potato chips or kettle-cooked chips. This is a great addition to your summer party menus.

Caramelized Onion Dip
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, halved and sliced into thin rings
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/ 2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Potato chips

1. Melt butter in oil in a skillet. Stir in onions and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring occasionally, at medium heat for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until onions are soft and caramel colored.
2. Combine mayonnaise and next 2 ingredients in a bowl; stir in onion mixture until blended. Serve with potato chips.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mad

Our niece Madeline, who lives in Virginia, has been visiting Hunta (my mom) this week. She turns 11 on Tuesday, so we decided to have an impromptu birthday party for her tonight. Mel, Russ, and the girls joined us. (Mom was at Bible study.) The little girls love their cousins so much! For dinner, we had our favorite Pork Dumplings (I actually fry the dumplings instead of steam them) and Noodles With Peanut Sauce. The cake was a yummy one from Whole Foods. Happy birthday, Mad! We love you!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

I had planned to make The Pioneer Woman's Simple, Perfect Enchiladas for some friends who came for dinner tonight. However this was our first foray into cooking corn tortillas in oil so that would be easy to roll. The recipe called for you to cook the tortillas in hot oil for about 30 seconds per side; Andy cooked them for less than that, but they were still too crispy. My solution: I used all the enchilada ingredients to make a layered casserole. The tortillas were like two layers of noodles. We'll definitely have this again. (It was even easier to make it as a lasagna that it would be to make it as enchiladas.) The meal was rounded out by Queso, Homemade Tortilla Chips, Guacamole, fresh watermelon, and Lemon-Blueberry Cupcakes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pasta With Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

I was looking through The Pioneer Woman's cooking archives this weekend and found this delicious recipe. It sounded like a great option for a busy weeknight, and I wasn't disappointed. On Saturday I went to my local farm market for the first time and came home with $42 worth of fresh produce. There are few things better than the South's glorious summer produce! This dish does have cream in it (only 3/4 cup divided among six servings), but it tastes deceptively light (like Lemon Chicken Pasta; for comparison, this has 2 cups of cream). You can follow The Pioneer Woman's method but I thought it would be helpful to include the ingredients list. (By the way, because tinkering with recipes is my hobby, I planning to add some bacon to this dish next time.) You'll love this, I promise!

Pasta With Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes
2 zucchini, cut into cubes
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (I used this instead of Arrowroot and just sprinkled it in the pan with the cherry tomatoes.)
3/4 cup cream
Parmesan cheese

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pork Chops With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

For dinner tonight, I wanted to use some pork chops that I had in the freezer. I had thought about making Pork Chops With Apple Gravy. In the fridge I had some brussels sprouts. That made me think about how well pork and cabbage goes together, so I decided to chop up the sprouts and cook them with chops. I served the dish with Risotto. Dinner was delicious, and believe or not, we were eating 35 minutes after I began cooking. For dessert, we had vanilla ice cream topped with warm leftover apple mixture from last week's fried pie experiment.

Pork Chops With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
1/2 onion, chopped (I used the other half in the risotto.)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 bone-in pork chops
Dried thyme
2 bacon slices, chopped
8 oz. brussels sprouts, cut into slices (about 4 slices per sprout)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. Sauté onion in hot oil, stirring occasionally, until onion softens. Sprinkle pork chops on both sides with next 4 ingredients. Place in skillet, and cook 2 minutes on each side; remove pork from skillet.
2. Add bacon slices to skillet, and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in brussels sprouts, and lemon zest and juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 more minutes. Return chops to skillet.
3. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes or until chops are done and sprouts are caramelized and tender.