Friday Recipe Exchange: Brought To You By Butter

Mmm, Dinner FinalTonight friends are coming over for dinner, so this will be a modified recipe exchange featuring the recipes from tonight’s menu. When I was putting together the shopping list I realized butter was making an appearance in a big way. I usually go through about a pound of butter every two or more months. I cook mostly with olive oil and unless I’m baking sweets the butter languishes in the freezer. Tonight I anticipate going through almost three-quarters of a pound. No one said it was going to be a low-cal night.

Skillet Cookies

As promised, here is a photo of the cute little skillet cookies. I had to make a test batch for cooking times. Sometimes the trickiest part of a dinner party is timing everything out. They are going to be warm from the oven for cookie sundaes. It’s a good thing I tested – needed to double the amount of cookie dough per pan and additional baking time.

Cookie sundae

I think the sundaes will be a hit. I’m not gonna lie, the test sundae was yummy.

Pictured at the top of the post is fairly close to the rest of what I am planning tonight.  Here are the recipes:

Buttered Potato Pie – click here (and there is an entire menu, recipes and shopping list at that link)

Roasted Asparagus (still debating on adding the cheese or not) – click here.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookiesclick here

The appetizer is going to be fresh baked bread with a variety of dips, including roasted garlic, which is in the oven right now and making the house smell delicious, and there will be a side salad.

If you’ve been around a while, you’ll notice these are recipes I’ve made on several other occasions. I wanted tonight to be pretty casual, so items I’m very familiar with and can make without ever consulting the recipes, means I can spend more time with friends and less time stressing about presentation. Also, each recipe is a favorite of one person or another, so added bonus.

Ok, you’re on your own tonight. What’s on the menu? Are you prepared for the Halloween onslaught? I dread the leftover candy, how about you?

I almost forgot, there was a Bixby update this week for the pet lovers.

Finally, here is the main dish of the evening. It’s usually served over buttered noodles, but the potatoes are a favorite and worked well the last time I paired them with the chicken, so I didn’t hesitate to do it again. Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules.

Tonight’s feature recipe:

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices*
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

bowl, skillet

Combine breadcrumbs, basil, zest, and pepper in bowl. Mix ½ tbsp oil and garlic together. Coat both sides of chicken with oil/garlic and dredge in breadcrumbs. Over medium-high heat 1 tbsp ea. of butter and oil in skillet, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken – keep warm – add lemon slices to pan, sauté 30 seconds, add water, parsley and juice, boil for 1 minute, spoon over chicken.

*Scrub well before slicing.

Just for fun, JeffreyW has a bit more traditional take on this recipe here.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, stay safe and don’t let the goblins get you – TaMara

cropped-halloween-photos.jpg



 

 

 

Tidbits

DSC_9801 (1600x1060)Mmm… rib eye steak with rosemary potatoes fried in duck fat, and stir fried asparagus.  This is about the fifth best photo of this platter but all of the better angles revealed a (gasp!) hair.  It’s still there in this one but the light doesn’t catch it in quite the same manner and it’s not something you would find without some advance notice and some scrutiny at a higher magnification.  Of the three entrees the potatoes took the longest to cook.  Some recipes call for them to be par-boiled but I went with a straight up skillet fry.DSC_9809 (1600x1060)The asparagus we had with the steak came in a sizable bunch so I kept some back and used it this morning in a frittata/omelet with a sliced onion and a bit of ham.  Mrs J took a portion of orange chicken and rice to work with her the other day but brought it back because they had a spread laid out for lunch.DSC_9811 (1600x1060)The leftovers were perfect for a nice fried rice dish – this one has bacon, peas, green onions, and an egg added to the plain rice with a splash of oyster sauce and soy.DSC01684 (1600x1200)St Francis is in the middle of moving out of the old house that the shelter was established in and into their new building.  They’ve been saving up for a while and doing sales and auctions and hitting up local animal lovers for cash, the new headquarters is nearly half paid for already but they could always use more help.DSC01676 (1600x1200)Mrs J says they aren’t quite done with the finish work in the kitteh section of the new digs but these may be the last pictures taken of cats in the old house.  They are taking bids for the demolition.  It really was falling down around them.DSC01692 (1600x1060)We’ll have photos of the new place soon-ish.

More Grilling Fun

DSC_8609 (1600x1060)The ribeye was seasoned with salt and pepper and left to come to room temperature before grilling, the asparagus marinated in olive oil, balsamic glaze, minced garlic, and lemon juice.  The potatoes were tossed with oil, garlic, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper.  I started the potatoes first in one of those perforated veggie grilling trays, then the steaks went on, and finally the asparagus for a quick grilling while the steaks were resting.DSC_8606 (1600x1060)Mrs J made the caprese salad using our cherry tomatoes and basil.  We didn’t have a really good. fresh mozzarella but what we did have worked well enough.DSC_8605 (1600x1060)

Dinner Menu: Linguine w/Peppers and Italian Asparagus

It’s the time of year that I begin to crave fresh, light dinners. I’ve tired of stews, hearty soups and the other staples of the mid-winter gloom. As I start to believe spring will arrive again, I want meals that reflect that belief. Lots of fresh veggies, fresh fruits, light sauces and simple, full flavors.

This menu includes items that are plentiful at my local grocery this week. All the peppers are on sale right now, so I use red, yellow. orange and green. Lots of fresh berries, too. And asparagus is everywhere.

On the board tonight:

  1. Linguine w/Garlic & Peppers
  2. Italian Asparagus
  3. Mixed berries & whipped cream

Linguine w/Garlic & Peppers

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ to ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes*
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 oz shredded Romano-Parmesan cheese
  • 9 oz pkg. fresh linguine

saucepan and skillet

In skillet heat oil, add garlic, red pepper flakes, green & red peppers and sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add fresh basil, tomatoes, salt & pepper let simmer while pasta cooks. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well. Toss with pepper mixture & cheese.

* you can use fresh tomatoes, probably 2 large, but I couldn’t find any decent ones this time of year.

Italian Asparagus

  • 1 bunch (approx. 16 oz) fresh asparagus spears
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano, crushed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz shredded Romano/Parmesan

saucepan & steamer

Gently scrub asparagus, cut in half and place in steamer. Add enough water to saucepan to come in the bottom of the steamer. Steam for 5 to 8 minutes, until the stalks are tender. Remove and toss with oil, oregano, salt, pepper & cheese.

Shopping List:

  • 1 green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes*
  • 4 oz shredded Romano-parmesan cheese**
  • 9 oz pkg. fresh linguine
  • 1 bunch (approx. 16 oz) fresh asparagus spears
  • 2 oz shredded Romano/Parmesan
  • 16 oz mixed berries
  • Whipped Cream

Also: oregano, olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, crushed red pepper flakes

=============================

Dinner Menu: Baked Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is an elegant dinner that looks like it took you all day to prepare.  From start to finish I cooked the asparagus and gnocchi in 1/2 hour.  The strawberry bread takes an hour to cook, but it’s a breeze to put together.  So if you feel the need for something special, but still easy, this one could be for you.

On the board tonight:

  1. Baked Ricotta Gnocchi
  2. Broiled Asparagus
  3. Loaf of good crusty bread
  4. Strawberry Bread

Christmas Eve is spent eating good food at friends’ Mark and Larissa’s house. Mark’s mom is from Italy and Larissa’s mom is from Japan, and luckily for me, the subject always turns to food from both countries. This year we talked about ravioli, gnocchi and fish in salt domes. I have to confess I’m not a fan of gnocchi. Should be good, right? – potato goodness, covered in sauce. What’s not to love? It just isn’t a favorite of mine. Maybe because I’ve never had it fresh I am missing out. But after we discussed how to make it fresh, well, I don’t think I’d be making it anytime soon. Then I saw a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi and it sounded good and best of all, easy.  So I’d thought I’d try it. This is what I came up with and it quickly became a favorite of my guests.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

Sauce:

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while preparing gnocchi.

Topping:

  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 oz grated parmesan or Romano cheese

Gnocchi:

  • 15 oz Ricotta (whole or low-fat)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 oz fresh parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup unbleached flour

large stock pot, mixing bowl, mixer, glass baking dish- lightly oiled

While preparing gnocchi, bring water to boil in large sauce pan or stock pot. In a mixing bowl, mix together Ricotta and eggs. Add parmesan, salt, pepper and flour, stir in by hand until combined, do not over mix.  Bring water up to a low boil, you’ll want a low boil to keep the dough from falling apart as it hits the water.  Form dough into cookie dough sized balls (I use a cookie scoop, you can use two tablespoons) and drop into boiling water. Do not crowd, cook in several batches as needed (I managed 12-13 per batch of 1″ balls). Cook for 7 minutes, remove with slotted spoon, draining well,  to baking dish. When all the gnocchi are cooked, cover with sauce, and top with cheeses. Bake for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven, until cheese is bubbling.

This week I actually made this a day ahead, keeping the gnocchi, sauce and topping separate, so I could bribe the guys at work to attend a lunch meeting.  I put it together and baked just before serving and it turned out very well.  I baked it for 20 minutes until it was heated through.

Broiled Asparagus

  • 1 lb Asparagus
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

baking sheet

Cut woody stems off of asparagus and toss lightly with olive oil. Spread onto baking sheet in one layer. Broil until lightly brown and tender, turning as each side browns, about 8-12 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Strawberry Bread

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup butter
  • 12 oz frozen strawberries, thawed & chopped*
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

loaf pan, greased

Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, strawberries and pecans. Stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes then run knife around edges & remove to cool on wire rack.

*I pureed mine, works fine, needs additional 5 minutes cooking time

Shopping List:

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Fresh basil
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 3 oz grated parmesan or Romano
  • 15 oz Ricotta (Whole or low-fat)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 loaf nice crusty bread
  • 12 oz frozen strawberries
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 oz chopped pecans

Also: garlic, dried oregano (or fresh), salt, pepper, flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, olive oil, cinnamon, sugar

Originally Posted January 2010

==================================

Farmer’s Market

P1000213 [1600x1200] P1000215 [1600x1200] P1000219 [1600x1200] P1000220 [1600x1200] P1000222 [1600x1200] P1000226 [1600x1200] P1000227 [1600x1200] P1000229 [1600x1200] P1000232 [1600x1200]It’s the time of the year for flowers and asparagus.  There are the usual booths with craft trinkets and odds ‘n ends of processed fare like honey and jams and breads and pies.  Plenty of veggie and herb sets but too early for local veggies other than lettuce and green onions.  I can’t wait for the sweet corn!  All in all it was nice day for mingling and pet watching.  Gorgeous bouquets of flowers were a bonus.

Gadget Post – LP Gas Grill

DSC_3694 [1600x1200]In my last post I hinted at a new grill.  Here it is, set up and pre-heating.  Last Saturday I wandered into a local store in the midst of a spring sale.  I thought I was in the “just looking” phase but when they mentioned a waiver of the sales tax, along with free set up and delivery, I pulled out the credit card. This one is a Weber Genesis EP 330.

I put together too much stuff for the first day cooking with it, some of it sits on the side tables ready to grill.  I did corn, asparagus, potatoes, portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and t-bone steaks.  I also bought squash and red and yellow bell peppers, and a pineapple but reason won out and those I saved for later.DSC_3699 [1600x1200]

DSC_3701 [1600x1200]

DSC_5875 [1600x1200]The steaks were just right, the corn was perfect, as was the asparagus.  The zucchini, alas, was undercooked, and the potatoes were a tad too done.  The mushrooms!  They were just superb!  The got a marinade of EVOO and balsamic vinegar with lots of garlic and some minced onion.  Five minutes per side over a medium flame,  Delicious!

Surf and Turf

DSC_4699 [1600x1200]The classic dinner, strip steak, a lobster tail and roasted asparagus with a nice salad.  The ramekin has melted butter spiked with lemon juice for dipping the seafood, and it’s damn good on the asparagus, too.

I steamed the lobster tails, and pan grilled the steaks in my 12 inch cast iron skillet that was smoking hot before dropping the meat in. They went 4:30 per side, the first side at high heat, and then medium for the other.  I set the steaks aside to rest and then dropped the lobster into the already hot steamer and fired the broiler for the veggies.  They took just under ten minutes to finish.  The asparagus was tossed with olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt beforehand.  DSC_4701 [1600x1200]

Yum!