Friday, February 26, 2010

Shallot Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts??? Wasn't a huge fan. Bitter, clunky, and heavy I tended to leave them alone. My dearest friend Rose convinced me otherwise when she sent me this recipe. I have yet to try the sole, but the brussels sprouts are absolutely delicious. Slicing them lengthwise and simmering them in stock removes the majority of the bitterness and allows the beauty of the brussels sprouts to shine through. As a previous anti-brussles sprouts individual, I am a newly converted fan. If you give this recipe a shot you too will appreciate brussels sprouts on an entirely different level.

Shallot Brussels Sprouts

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
6-8 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup vegetable broth (1 1/4 cup if you use 8 ounces brussels sprouts)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and saute until almost translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add brussels sprouts, saute for a few minutes and then add broth.  Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until brussels sprouts are tender and liquid is almost completely absorbed, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze

Salmon holds a special place in my heart. After growing up in a small seaport town where salmon fishing was a main income source and it was common to see the bumper sticker- friends don't let friends eat farmed fish, it's not surprising that I was spoiled by the abundance of fresh salmon available. Because I'm also a mustard fan, I knew I had to try this recipe out when I found it online here.

A few tips:
-Instead of using a mini-food processor, I finely minced the herbs, put the garlic through a press, and combined the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
-To round out the meal I roasted potatoes that were tossed in olive oil and the herbs included in the salmon glaze and prepared shallot brussels sprouts which I will post the recipe for soon.
-If your salmon is fresh you may not need the lemon wedge garnish as the glaze is quite tart on its own.

Broiled Salmon with Herb Mustard Glaze
-Adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Nonstick olive oil cooking spray
6 (6 to 8-ounce) salmon fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Finely mince garlic, rosemary, and thyme and combine with wine, oil, Dijon mustard, and whole-grain mustard in a small bowl. Set aside.

-Preheat the broiler. Arrange salmon fillets on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Broil for 2 minutes. Spoon the mustard sauce over the fillets. Continue broiling until the fillets are just cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tomato Goat Cheese Strata

I originally found Peter Berley's book, Fresh Food Fast, at my local library. After trying and enjoying several recipes I decided it was worth adding it to my personal cookbook collection. Divided into four sections, one for each season, the book focuses on healthy vegetarian meals that can be prepared quickly- great for weeknight meals. One of my favorite recipes in his book falls in the winter section although I must admit I made it in July first. An excellent brunch or dinner option, this strata reheats very well if you're lucky enough to have leftovers. If you like this recipe I highly recommend you try other recipes from this book.


Tomato Goat Cheese Strata
Adapted from Fresh Food Fast- Peter Berley

6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce (or 2 14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound artisan bread cut into 1 inch cubes
5 ounces goat cheese (I used the herb coated variety)
1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely grated

Set oven rack in the middle to upper middle shelf of the oven and preheat to 450°F. Whisk together the eggs, cream, and parsley in a medium bowl.
Place a 10-12 inch ovenrproof skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes. Sauté, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a simmer.
Add the bread to the skillet and stir to combine. Crumble the goat cheese over the bread, then pour the egg mixture over the entire skillet. Sprinkle the romano cheese over the skillet and bake the strata until the egg has set and the top is golden, about 22-25 minutes. Let the strata rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Torta al Vino - White Wine and Berry Cake

Light, moist, and fresh- this cake requires few ingredients and has become one of my go-to recipes when I need a dessert to share. I've only baked this cake with blueberries, I find the smaller wild blueberries work best, but you could also use grapes. The smaller grape varieties found locally during the summer months would be best but don't feel that you need to wait for berry season to enjoy this cake. Since February is far from blueberry season in our hemisphere, I used frozen wild blueberries when I made the cake photographed below and they worked beautifully.

Update: I've noticed that it's really important to dry the berries as much as possible before tossing them with a bit of flour. Fresh berries are easier to thoroughly dry so they'll sit a bit high in the baked cake, but both work very well as it's mainly the appearance of the finished product that varies.



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roasted Vegetables & Sautéed Kale Pasta

I was at 1550 Hyde  in San Francisco recently and enjoyed a lovely entrée-

ricotta-wild stinging nettle gnocchi:
black chanterelles/ butternut squash/ parsnips/ brown butter/ pistachios

Pleasantly surprised by the radiant green gnocchi, I decided to try to make my own version of this dish sans the labor intensive homemade gnocchi.   My adaptation isn't the quickest weeknight meal but it is worth it if you're feeling ambitious and you'll be rewarded with lots of leftovers.

1 medium butternut squash- peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 large bunch of kale- cleaned, destemmed and roughly chopped
4-5 small portobello mushrooms - cleaned, destemmed, and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
1 lb. short pasta
2 cloves of garlic- minced or pressed
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1+ cup of walnuts- roughly chopped
pecorino romano cheese- grated 

Set oven to 375 degrees F°. Toss the butternut squash with a few tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place in a glass baking dish, and bake until cubes are tender when pricked with a fork, about 35-40 minutes. Toss the squash occasionally to ensure even cooking.  Line the mushrooms on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake, turning once, until the mushrooms are tender and starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

In a nonstick skillet heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/ medium high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic to the oil and let cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale tossing it to coat it in the oil, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of salt, and partially cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the kale cook until tender but not limp, stirring occasionally. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven for a few minutes until fragrant and starting to change color. Remove the walnuts from the oven and let cool.  Once boiling, salt the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente.

Drain the pasta, return to the cooking pot, and toss with olive oil.  Add the kale, squash, and mushrooms to the pasta, tossing gently. Garnish servings with the walnuts and pecorino romano and serve immediately.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Red Curry Mussels

R in the month or not, I love mussels. And curry. When I tasted the red curry mussels appetizer New Years Eve at Wild Ginger in Seattle I knew I had to make this myself. The fragrant, rich, spicy, warm broth paired with the mussels fabulously, though I was very disheartened by the lack of bread to sop up the decadent broth. A tragedy I never want to relive, I strongly suggest serving this dish with a fresh loaf of crusty bread. A quick weeknight treat, this one pot meal could be accompanied with a green or cucumber salad.


1 stalk lemongrass, chopped in to 2 inch pieces
2-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
juice of one lime
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (thai or italian basil can also be used)
2-3 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed (2 pounds as appetizer)
crusty fresh bread

Combine lemongrass, curry paste, white wine, coconut milk, shallot, fish sauce, lime juice in a large pot. Whisk & warm slowly to allow flavors to combine. When the base is simmering, add the mussels, cover the pot and let steam until mussels are open, about five minutes. Check mussels after 3-4 minutes, quickly toss them, and reseal the lid. Add the chopped herbs and toss to incorporate. Serve immediately.