Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spanish Lentil and Sausage Soup

Hearty Spanish Lentil and Sausage Soup
Serves 6 to 8

We prefer this soup made with small Spanish brown lentils, also called pardina lentils. French green lentils, or de Puy, can be substituted. If cured chorizo is not available, kielbasa sausage can be used. Alternatively, fresh chorizo can be used, but it should be removed from the pot after 15 minutes of cooking in step 3. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for sherry wine vinegar. Smoked Spanish paprika comes in different heat intensities. We like to use the sweet variety in this soup. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

1 pound (2 ¼ cups) Spanish brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1 large onion
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds cured chorizo, pricked with fork several times
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1. Place lentils and 2 teaspoons salt in heat-proof container. Cover with 4 cups boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, finely chop three-quarters of onion (you should have about 1 cup) and grate remaining quarter (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to large plate. Reduce heat to low and add chopped onions, carrots, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft but not brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown add 1 tablespoon water to pot.

3. Add lentils and sherry vinegar to vegetables, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until vinegar starts to evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water, bay leaves, and sausage; bring to simmer. Reduce to low, cover, and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add paprika, flour, grated onion, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Remove sausage and bay leaves from lentils. Stir paprika mixture into lentils; continue to cook until flavors have blended and soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut sausage into ¼-inch thick slices, return to soup, and heat through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pollo alla Parmigiana - Parmesan chicken

Chicken Parmesan
Serves 4

Because the sauce is very simple, it is important to use high-quality tomatoes.This recipe makes enough sauce to top the cutlets as well as 4 servings of pasta. If your chicken breasts have the tenderloin attached, remove it and save it for another use. The chicken breasts will be easier to slice in half if you freeze them for 15 minutes. To slice a breast in half, place one hand on top of the breast to secure it, hold a chef’s knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice through the middle of the breast horizontally. We recommend serving this chicken with pasta and a simple green salad.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

2 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed, halved horizontally, and pounded ½ inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (¾ cup)
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves

1. For the Sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, and ¾ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

2. For the Chicken: Sprinkle each cutlet with ¼ teaspoon salt and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Combine mozzarella and fontina in bowl, set aside.

3. Adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Whisk egg and flour together in shallow dish or pie plate until smooth. Combine Parmesan, panko, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper in second shallow dish or pie plate. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge cutlet in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat all sides in Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so crumbs adhere. Transfer cutlet to large plate and repeat with remaining cutlets

4. Heat vegetable oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Carefully place 2 cutlets in skillet and cook without moving until bottom is crispy and deep golden-brown, 1½ to 2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip cutlets and cook on second until deep golden brown, 1½ to 2 minutes. Transfer cutlets to paper-towel lined plate and repeat with remaining cutlets.

5. Place chicken cutlets on rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over cutlets, covering as much surface as possible. Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to serving platter, and top each cutlet with 2 tablespoons sauce. Sprinkle with basil, and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce separately. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vegetable Gnocci with Pesto

Thanks to Key Ingredient for this recipe!



6 yellow squash (about 1¼ lb.)
8 sweet mini bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 (16-oz.) package gnocchi* Spinach-Herb Pesto ½ (5-oz.) package baby spinach
¼ to ⅓ cup (1 to 1½ oz.) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Spinach-Herb Pesto:
½ (5-oz.) package baby spinach 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2 oz.) freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup olive

(Pulse first 8 ingredients in a food processor 6 to 7 times or until finely chopped. Add Parmesan cheese and oil; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Use immediately, or store in refrigerator up to 48 hours. If chilled, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before using; stir until blended.)


1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut squash into 1-inch pieces. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Stir together squash, bell peppers, oil, salt, and ground pepper. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan, and bake 15 minutes. Stir and bake 5 minutes or until tender and golden.
2. Cook gnocchi according to package directions in a Dutch oven; drain. Return to Dutch oven. Add Spinach-Herb Pesto to gnocchi, and toss to coat. Add squash mixture and spinach, and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
*Medium-size pasta shells may be substituted.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Roasted Shrimp with Cumin and Ginger

Roasted Shrimp with Cumin and Ginger
Serves 4 to 6

Don’t be tempted to use smaller shrimp with this cooking technique as they will be over-seasoned and prone to overcooking.

1/3 cup salt
2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), unpeeled
½ cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 scallions, green and light green parts only, sliced thin

1. Dissolve salt in 1 quart cold water in large container. Using kitchen shears or sharp paring knife, cut through shell of shrimp and devein, but do not remove shell. Using paring knife, continue to cut shrimp ½-inch deep, taking care not to cut in half completely.  Submerge shrimp in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

2. Adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Combine vegetable oil, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, cumin, and pepper flakes in large bowl. Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Add shrimp and scallions to oil mixture, toss well, making sure oil mixture gets into interior of shrimp. Arrange shrimp in single layer on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

3. Broil shrimp until opaque and shells are beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through broiling. Flip shrimp and continue broil until second side is opaque and shells are beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes longer, rotating sheet halfway through broiling. Transfer shrimp to serving platter and serve immediately.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Prefect Boiled Egg

Boil the perfect egg!

An all-too-common problem with hard-cooked egg recipes is that they produce a greenish colored yolk and a sulfurous odor. How do we make perfect hard cooked eggs every time?

Don’t boil the eggs.  The best results are when you cover the eggs with an inch of water, bring it to a boil, cover the pan, and remove it from the heat.
After 10 minutes, drain the eggs and cool them in ice water.

The gentle heat perfectly cooks the eggs—not a chance of the green tinge or unpleasant smell.

Makes 3 eggs
To center the yolks, turn the carton of eggs on its side in the refrigerator the day before you plan to cook the eggs.
  • 3 large eggs
  • Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with 1 quart water and 1 dozen ice cubes. Pour off water from saucepan and gently shake pan back and forth to crack shells. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon and let cool 5 minutes.
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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.