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Dinner Menu: Tuscan Cod and Bruschetta

Melted Bruscetta copyright

When I was in Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, we went out to dinner to a cute little fish diner, right on the water. The fish was amazingly fresh and I realized how much I miss it when I’m not on either coast. With that in mind, I went looking for one of my fish recipes. This one popped up and I thought it sounded spring like, so that’s how we got here.

When picking fish, make sure it doesn’t smell fishy, just fresh and like clean water.  It should be firm to the touch and any liquid should be clear, not milky. It helps to know your butcher, they’ll usually direct you to the freshest fillets. You should plan on using it the day you purchase it. You can substitute any firm white fish in this recipe.

  1. Tuscan Cod
  2. Bruschetta
  3. Broccoli
  4. Grapes

Tuscan Cod

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ diced red pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 4-6 oz cod fillets

skillet

Heat 1 tbsp oil in the skillet, over medium-high heat. Sauté onion and pepper for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, cumin and crushed pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and add remaining oil. Once heated, add fish fillets and cook 5 minutes, turn over, spoon sauce on top, cover and cook additional 5 minutes over medium heat. Fish should flake easily with a fork.

Bruschetta

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 French baguette, sliced in half, lengthwise
  • 3 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella

baking sheet

Mix oil and garlic together. Lay baguette halves on baking sheet, cut side up and brush with oil mixture. Broil for 3-5 minutes until golden brown (watch carefully). Remove and top evenly with tomato slices, basil and mozzarella. Broil for 2 more minutes until cheese is melted. Slice and serve.

Shopping List:

  • 1 red onion
  • ½ red pepper
  • 1 tomato
  • 4-6 oz cod fillets
  • 1 French baguette
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 8 oz grated mozzarella
  • 1 bunch of grapes
  • 1 head of broccoli or 16 oz frozen

Also: cumin, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil,

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Dinner Menu: Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce

A little bit of comfort food (at least Ravioli is in my house) for what has been a very cold and busy week. I make fresh pasta for special occasions – my spinach lasagna being one of them. I have only made fresh ravioli once, and once was enough. Much like making my own steamed dumplings, effort vs. reward is definitely unbalanced. Especially when with a little bit of experimentation, you can find really good fresh or frozen ravioli at a reasonable price. I usually stick with the cheese or cheese & spinach ravioli – most of the meat ones I find taste like mystery meat.

On the board tonight:

  1. Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce
  2. Tomato-Zucchini Confetti
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Sorbet or Gelato

Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 1 tsp crushed dried rosemary (or one sprig fresh)
  • 4 – 6 fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 20 oz frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp green onion tops, chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 saucepans

Combine cream & spices in saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer until reduces to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Cook ravioli according to package directions. Drain and return to pan. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper & cream sauce. Toss. Add scallion tops and parmesan.

*You can absolutely substitute whole or non-fat milk for heavy cream and mix well with 1 tbsp flour

Tomato-Zucchini Confetti

  • 1 tbsp + olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 4 mushrooms, cubed
  • 4 green onions, chopped (set greens aside for Ravioli)
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed (or 2 tbsp fresh)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano, crushed (or 2 tsp fresh)

skillet

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in skillet, add vegetables and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes, add chicken broth and spices, and simmer vegetables until tender. Remove, toss with olive oil and serve.

Shopping List:

  • Tossed Salad fixins
  • Salad Dressing
  • Sorbet or Gelato
  • 8 oz heavy cream or milk
  • 4 – 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 oz frozen cheese ravioli
  • 6 oz parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 4 green onions

Also: rosemary, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, chicken broth, garlic, basil, oregano

Originally posted December 2009

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Soup Pr0n – Homade Tomato

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Sammich Pr0n – Breaded Chicken

DSC_7006 (1600x1060)The little smashed potatoes worked well with this.  Boil the potatoes until they can be smashed easily with a spatula then pop them into hot oil.  I had the deep fryer going for another project so I used it but they would fry nicely in a skillet with olive oil.  The golden potatoes are good for this.  That tomato was from the garden but I don’t know how much longer we’ll have them.  We decided to rip out all but one tomato bush because I am done with canning sauces and juices and ketchup and soup.  Last year was a near total loss for tomatoes so this year we planted extra fearing a repeat but it may have been the best year ever.  I’ve been boiling down 3 5-gallon buckets per week for the last month and more and I deem our supply sufficient.

Sammich Pr0n – Bacon, Basil, Tomato, and Fried Egg

DSC_6938 [1600x1060]I wanted to use a big tomato from the garden because it was just perfect and it’s hard to find a better place to put a big thick slice than on a bacon sammich.  I like the basil on these in place of the usual lettuce, and the fried egg is now considered as a required part of the ensemble.  I used sliced sourdough for this one.

Dinner Menu: Quick and Easy Chicken Parmesan

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Photo by JeffreyW

Heading out of town, but wanted to leave you with one of my favorite recipes.  I’m off to Boston…hoping for good weather and good food. Good company is a given.  When I get back I think I want to tackle some fun Halloween ideas.

This is a fairly simple Chicken Parmesan and the Mushroom Confetti is a light and tasty side. Enjoy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Chicken Parmesan
  2. Garlic Bread*
  3. Italian Mushroom Confetti
  4. Sherbet or (my favorite) Gelato

Chicken Parmesan

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 bonelss chicken breasts, cut into fillets or 1 lb chicken breast fillets
  • 2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste**
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into rings
  • 4 oz grated parmesan cheese

large skillet and 9×13 baking dish, lightly oiled

Wash and lightly dry breasts, then coat in bread crumbs. Heat oil in skillet, reduce heat to medium and brown chicken on both sides, remove, set aside. Add onion, sauce, paste & spices and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Place a ladle of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, place chicken on top and then spread remaining sauce over the top of the chicken. Add cheese slices on each fillet. Sprinkle evenly with parmesan, top with green pepper rings. Bake at 375, 20 -25 minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown.

**Extra tomato paste can be frozen in ice cube trays and stored in a plastic zip bag. 1 cube = 1 tbsp of paste

Italian Mushroom Confetti

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large Portobello mushroom caps (or 6 to 8 button mushrooms)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 large tomato or 14 oz diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp basil

skillet

Cut mushrooms, peppers, zucchini & tomato into uniform pieces. Heat oil in skillet, add vegetables, including corn, sauté 2 minutes, add stock & spices. Stir over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

*Quick and easy garlic bread: slice loaf lengthwise, melt butter, add garlic and brush on cut side of each half of bread.  Top with a little parmesan and broil until golden.  Slice and serve.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts or 1 lb chicken breast fillets
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 onion
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 4 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green pepper
  • 4 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms,
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 sm. Zucchini,
  • 1 large tomato or 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 oz vegetable, chicken broth or equivalent
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 1 pint Gelato or Sherbet

Also: basil, oregano, garlic, rosemary, olive oil, butter

Originally published October 2009

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Dinner Menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

This is one of my favorite menus. The salmon is based on a dish from a restaurant and my whole table raved about and the garden fresh soup can be served hot or cold. Substitute any garden fresh fruit for dessert.

  1. Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze
  2. Tomato & Bell Pepper Soup
  3. Hearty Bread
  4. Raspberries & Blackberries w/whipping cream

Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze:

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted, opt)

Combine marmalade, oil, ginger, garlic & vinegar. Brush glaze on each side of salmon, grill 5 minutes each side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

Shopping List

  • 4 oz orange marmalade
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • 2 oz  sesame seeds (toasted, opt)
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • hearty bread loaf

Also: toasted sesame oil (or olive oil),  ground ginger, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar

Bacon Pr0n – The Weave

DSC_6576 [1600x1060]It was only a matter of time before I tackled this thing I’ve been seeing in various forms for a while.  My first go was at a bacon burger and the method shows promise though this try taught me some lessons.  I need to be better prepared with sammich fixings for these to be Sammich Pr0n material.  The lettuce and tomato just didn’t work for me, and the massive burger overwhelmed the puny buns.  Anyway, this is how I went about making these:DSC_6567 [1600x1060]The flat weave I went with is self explanatory.  I gave this 20 minutes in a 375 oven and then pulled it to cool for handling.DSC_6568 [1600x1060]You don’t want it fully cooked but it needs to be set.  This was pretty close.  I didn’t add anything to the bacon but a good sprinkle of pepper wouldn’t be a bad thing.DSC_6570 [1600x1060]I cut it right down the center and wrapped a beef patty in the bacon, as shown here.  I really wasn’t sure how thick to make the burger, I wanted the burger to be cooked before the bacon burned.  I gave these another 20 minutes on the timer, looked at them once, and gave them a few more minutes.  I wanted the bacon to be fairly crisp, at least on the top side.DSC_6574 [1600x1060]I judged these done to suit me.  There was a little pink in the middle but nothing grossly underdone.  Next time I might try to turn them over at this point to better crisp the bacon on the underside. They were plenty juicy!

Cucumber Tomato Salad

Originally published July 2009
cucumber-salad

Cucumber Tomato Salad:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large green pepper
  • ¼ cup salad dressing (miracle whip style) or mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
  • salt & pepper

large bowl

Thinly slice cucumbers, onions, pepper & dice tomatoes.  Mix together with salad dressing and Italian dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serves 4-6.

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Sammich Pr0n – Gyro Dogs!

DSC_6274 [1600x1200]I just could not resist doing this.  I thought about it yesterday when I noticed how sausage like those ground lamb kebabs looked.  These sport a dollop of the tzatziki sauce and a sprinkle of chopped tomato and onion, garnished with a chiffonade of mint.

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