Friday, March 30, 2012

Celery and Fennel Gratin

The week of Food52's Your Best Celery Recipe Contest was the week my brother was here to visit from Baton Rouge.  We made a delicious celery and fennel gratin one night and I entered in the contest.  I found out yesterday that the editor's at Food52 tested it and gave it a "thumbs up" as a Community Pick.  See the recipe and the beautiful photo of the finished product here: 

Felt like I hit the jackpot with celery!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Greek Meatball Spaghetti and an Update

First let me thank all of you who voted on Food52's Your Best Celery Contest.  My Roasted Celery Soup was the winner and I'm told that I should be receiving some "nifty" prizes.  I really appreciate you taking the time to vote.

Next let's go to last night's dinner which was spaghetti and meatballs with a Greek twist. You'll need 1 1/2 pounds of ground lamb for this - one pound for meatballs and a half a pound for sauce.  This recipe should feed about four of you (or two of you twice).

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground lamb
1 small onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 cloves grated garlic
1/2 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
1 egg
1 Tbl ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Combine all the ingredients thoroughly, shape into small (about 1 inch ) meatballs and place on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes in a 350F oven. Place the meatballs on paper toweling to drain.  Set aside while making the sauce.

For the sauce and putting it all together:
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 Tbl dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1Tbl tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
8 ounces dry red wine
26 to 28 ounces chopped tomatoes (with the juice)
1 cup water
2 Tbl chopped fresh mint
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
The meatballs
Crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh mint for serving

In a large sauce pan brown the lamb until it loses its pink color.  Add the onions, green pepper and garlic and continue to saute until the onions soften a bit.
Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and red pepper if using.  Cook a few minutes more.
Add the wine, bring up to the boil and then add the tomatoes and water.
Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the meatballs and simmer another 10 minutes.
Just before, serving stir in the chopped fresh mint and cinnamon.
Note:  If you make the sauce ahead of serving time, stir in the mint and cinnamon just after re heating.
Serve over your favorite pasta garnished with feta and fresh mint

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Breakfast in Bread

This quick bread has everything you need for breakfast - bacon, eggs, fruit, maple syrup all rolled into one.  So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk and enjoy!

Makes on 9x5 inch loaf

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup pecans, toasted for 5 minutes in a 350F oven and then coarsely chopped
1 medium apple, cored and finely chopped
8 Tbl butter (one stick)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup dark amber maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time while beating and then add the syrup and vanilla extract.
Stir in the apple, pecans and bacon and then stir in the flour mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into a 9x5 inch well buttered loaf pan.  Bake in a pre heated 350F oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until that toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Celery Finalist!!

I'm a finalist for Your Best Celery Recipe on the Food52 website for my Roasted Celery Soup!  Yay!  Go here to sign in to Food52 and vote (PLEASE!) 

Time to Grill Again!

Spring is here and it's time to get the grill out.  With the temperature at 85F yesterday we decided to do Brick Chicken.  I posted the easy recipe for it over a year ago and you can find it here: 

Make a salad and smash some redskins with butter and chives or green onions and welcome the lovely weather!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Chinese-American Recipes

Here are two links to recipes for Chinese-American dishes that I've posted on Food52. I love the idea of re creating dishes I've had out and actually think they can be so much better in.  The first one is for Lemon Chicken To Go and you can find it here: 

The second is for Pearl's Shrimp Sub Gum Chow Mein which can be found here: 

Take a look and see what you think!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Baton Rouge Comes Home

Sorry I haven't posted much this week but my brother Tom, who now lives in Baton Rouge was in town and meals were many of his favorites...we pulled out that last fried turkey from the freezer, we did Greek lamb chops on the grill, a fish, shrimp and scallop fry, Beef and Wine Sauce and of course corned beef sandwiches for St. Paddy's Day last night. We had perfect weather (temps in the 60s and 70s)...Tom said our weather was much like a Louisiana winter.  Tom works for a large seafood company in Baton Rouge where thousands of pounds of shrimp, crab, crawfish and fish are sold daily.  They sell it, cook it, ship it...they do it all.  The pic of the cooked shrimp is just one of a number he has sent me. I'll post others as time goes by.  Took him to the airport this am after he got a well deserved rest.  A great visit!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Caesar Celery Slaw

A number of years ago I found a recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine for Caesar Coleslaw which I dearly loved.  We were all in to low carb dieting and this recipe certainly fit the bill.  I think a Caesar salad is one of the greatest inventions of all time.  Here's my take on it with crunchy celery, fennel and rock shrimp.  The dressing is more than enough for the two salads but will keep in the fridge for more salad, as a dip for vegetables or a marinade for grilled chicken.

For the dressing:
1 room temperature egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbl anchovy paste (or more if you like)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the egg, salt, mustard, anchovy paste, lemon juice and garlic in the bowl of a mini food processor.  With the machine running, drizzle in the oil through those little holes on the lid until the oil is incorporated and the dressing is emulsified.  Refrigerate at least an hour.  The dressing will thicken.

For the slaw:
1 cup finely sliced fennel bulb, cut into slices about 2 inches
2 cups thinly sliced celery cut on the diagonal
1/2 pound cooked rock shrimp or small gulf shrimp
6 to 8 Kalamata olives
Parmesan shavings for serving
The dressing previously made
Salt and pepper if desired

In a medium bowl toss the fennel and celery with 2 or 3 Tbl of the dressing.  Taste and add a little salt and pepper if desired.  In another bowl toss the shrimp with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.
Divide the celery/fennel mixture on to two salad plates.  Top each with half of the shrimp.  Place a few olives on top and add the parmesan shavings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Roasted Celery Soup

Celery roasted with a little fennel and garlic and then pureed with chicken broth and potatoes makes for a nice starter or light lunch.  A touch of half and half or  cream with a spritz of lemon finishes it off.

8 large celery stalks cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 bulb fresh fennel cut into 2 inch chunks
2 large whole garlic cloves
3 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 medium redskin potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1 1/2 inch dice
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper for re seasoning if needed
Celery leaves and fennel fronds for a little garnish

Place the cut celery, fennel and cloves of garlic in a 9x13 inch roasting pan.  Add the salt, pepper and olive oil and toss to thoroughly coat everything.  Roast in a 350F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the vegetables just begin to brown.
While the vegetables are cooking, cook the potatoes in the chicken broth until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Set the pan aside to cool a bit.
When the vegetables have finished roasting add them to the potatoes and broth.  Let everything cool a bit.
In a blender puree the soup in batches.  If you have a "liquefy" setting on your blender use that.  If you like you can strain the soup through a mesh strainer.  Once pureed, return the soup to the pot and bring up to the boil.  Stir in the half and half/cream and the lemon juice.  Re season if needed and garnish each bowl with celery leaves and fennel fronds if you like.
NOTE:  For a little more pronounced celery flavor add a pinch or two of celery seed or salt when re seasoning. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Final Green Onion Update

I guess I could have kept this going but the onions were beginning to get thin and soft and weren't growing that I took these, sliced them up and added them to my cheesy garlic butter and slathered on bread and in the oven.  The bread was good.  Oh well...I'll try to find a new experiment in the near future!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Patty Melt

Fellow Food52er cheese1227 entered a recipe for a Patty Melt in the contest for Your Best Beef Burgers about a year ago and came up the runner up.  We made this the other night - it was fantastic!  With her permission she's let me share it with you.  When you go to the link take a look at her other fabulous recipes and beautiful photographs of her food.  Thanks so much for letting me post this cheese1227!!

Here's the link: 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Minty Red Lentil and Ham Soup

This is an adaptation of the Ham and Bean soup posted here a little over a year ago.  This time instead of beans I used red lentils and it was wonderful!  Make it early in the day or even the day before to let the flavors marry.  The Ham and Bean Soup can be found here: 

And here's the adaptation using red lentils:

1 meaty ham bone or ham shank
3 quarts water
2 bay leaves
3 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbl sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups red lentils
6 cups ham broth which we'll make with the ham bone
6 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 cup rough chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup rough chopped fresh mint leaves, very lightly packed
Salt and pepper to adjust seasoning if necessary

In a large pot make the ham broth by simmering the ham bone or shank in the 3 quarts water with the bay leaves for about an hour.  Remove the bone and bay leaves.  Pick off any meat from the bone and reserve.  reserve the broth.
In a large soup pot saute the onions, celery and carrot in the olive oil until the onion starts to soften.  Add the garlic and continue to saute for 3 or 4 more minutes.
Stir in the paprika, salt and pepper and then add the lentils.
Add 6 cups of the ham broth and the 6 cups of chicken broth, bring up to a boil and the gently simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until the lentils are soft.  Add the reserved ham from the bone along with the 3 cups of diced ham.
Stir in the parsley and mint and re season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Red Peperonata

Here's another version of peperonata using all red peppers and anchovies.  Don't be afraid of all those anchovies...they mellow out considerably during the cooking process.  Or at least just add a couple fillets on your first venture.  My original post on these peppers is here: 

4 large red bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 thinly sliced red onion, cut into half moons
4 garlic cloves, minced
1  2 ounce tin anchovies packed in oil
3 Tbl brine packed capers, drained
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
10 thinly sliced basil leaves
A few grinds of black pepper

Core, seed and thinly slice the peppers 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.  In a large saute pan, heat the oil along with the oil from the tin of anchovies and add the peppers and onion.  Keeping the heat at medium, saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes of saute, mince the anchovies and add half of them and the minced garlic to the pan.  Continue to stir and saute for 15 more minutes over low to medium heat.  Add the remaining anchovies and continue to stir and saute another 15 minutes more until the peppers really soften.
Stir in the capers, parsley and basil for another minute and then add the black pepper to taste.  Cool and refrigerate for at least an hour, but it's best brought back to room temperature for serving as a side or condiment.