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If I had my way, I would eat fish every days. If my family had their way, it would be meat. After a couple days of turkey, fish was welcomed with open arms from everyone.

Perusing my dear friend and chef Eliane web site, La Serviette Blanche, I came across a recipe that looked fantastic and decided to replicate it. I had just purchased cod and wanted to do something different with my mashed potatoes and the Brussels sprouts.

I did not know what to expect when I decided to have cauliflower and mashed potatoes together, and I must admit, and I am addicted to them.  A bit thicker texture, but the flavor just delicious. Next time I will process the cauliflower in the blender for a smoother texture.

The Brussels spouts I decided to blanch them to shorten the cooking time and to remove the bitterness from them. And who does not like chestnuts?

Enjoy!!

Giangi

Tonight’s December 1st, 2014:

Wine Steamed Cod with Cauliflower Potato Mash and Chestnut Brussels Sprouts

WINE STEAMED COD

4 pieces of cod, all the same thickness and size

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup white wine

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper each pieces of cod.

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pieces of cod, making sure they do not touch. Sauté for 2-3 minutes on each side. Add the wine, cover and continue cooking until all the wine is evaporated.

MASHED POTATOES AND CAULIFLOWER

 

This is kind of my rule for measuring the ingredients:

1 medium to large baking potato per person

1 ½ cup cauliflower florets, stem cut short

1 to 1 ½ tablespoon of butter for person

Heavy cream to reach the desire texture (a bit less than 3 to 4 tablespoons per person)

Salt and pepper

Peel and cut the potatoes in quarters. Clean the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Place potatoes and cauliflower in a large pan of salted cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

When potatoes and cauliflower are inserted with a knife and are tender, drain.

Return to the cooking pan and let the heat dry the excess moisture. Add salt and pepper and with a hand masher or a potatoes presser, press the potatoes – cauliflower until all mashed to desire consistency.

Add the butter and mix well. Add the heavy whipping cream and continue to mix well. Taste and add more salt if necessary, or butter.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS

2 Cups of Brussels Sprouts

1 cup whole steamed Chestnuts (Williams Sonoma)

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan bring water to a boil.

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, remove the lower part of the core, and discard the outer layer leaves, if needed. Once the water is boiling place the Brussels sprouts in the pan and blanch for 3-4 minutes, or until the core is slightly soft. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In large skillet melt the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté.

Add the whole chestnuts and cook until hot, a couple of minutes.

 

Panko Prawns

I am not too much of a shopper. I always go to the store with my grocery list and can get a cart filled pretty fast with all the necessity. I know where everything is located and get lost when the store plays cute with me and changed things around. The audacity of the marketing department to mess with my shopping!!

With that said, we are fortunate to have a wonderful service by Pete at Personal Gourmet Foods. All our meat, poultry and fish is delivered to us. Each  piece is individually packaged. No more packages of 5 pieces for a family of 4… with that also come the bountiful selection of quality meats, fish and poultry that we can choose from.

Fish is always the first item that is running low and we love the selection that is presented to us.

Prawns are a favorite and almost a staple.

Usually we prepare pasta with them but last night I was in the mood of something different and decided to prepare them as I would chicken cutlets: with panko and egg mixture.

Deliciously fun dinner enjoyed with a green salad.

A strawberry sorbet ended a fun and great evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s November 10, 2014 dinner:

Breaded Panko Prawns
Mixed green salad
Strawberry Sorbet

 

PANKO PRAWNS

1 pound of prawns
1 cup all- purpose flour
2 extra large eggs
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup Panko
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dry marjoram
Oil
Salt and pepper

On a shallow dish combine the flour, salt and pepper. On a second dish, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third dish, combine the bread crumbs, panko, and marjoram and parmesan cheese.

Coat the prawns on both sides with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread crumbs mixture.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan, ½ inch up to skillet side, and cook breaded prawns on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown on each side. Do not overcrowd the skillet.

We all have items in our refrigerator and freezer that we cannot live without and must  always have. For me is Puff Pastry. Easy to thaw, endless recipe possibilities, great with left over and perfect for a quick last minute meal. Not to mention the perfect pastry when you have no minutes left and guest are coming and you need an appetizers now.

Did I mention the pastry is perfect for individual fruit pastry for an afternoon snack?

I had some turkey left over after an event and wanted to prepare something else than your usual sandwich or pasta with it. As I stood with refrigerator and freezer doors open, my next dinner was been created.

Took out all the necessary out and assembled our dinner in less than 10 minutes. Dinner was devoured and enjoyed. Something different is always welcome.

TIP: You may use chopped ham, sausage meat, blanched bacon, chopped cooked beef or all vegetables that you will blanch prior to placing in with the cheese mixture.

Just have fun with it and let your imagination take over.

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

Turkey and Cheese Puff Pastry

Mixed Green Salad

TURKEY AND CHEESE PUFF PASTRY

1 Puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 cups of cooked turkey, chopped
1 cup of ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Nutmeg, dash
1 egg
Salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven at 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
Roll out the puff pastry until is doubled in size, and thin
Cut in half to have two sheets.
In a large bowl mix the chopped turkey, 1 egg, ricotta, and mozzarella, dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the turkey and cheese mix in half and place on each puff pastry half, leaving 1 inch space on the three ends. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg. Bring the puff pastry over the mixture and seal the edges with a fork.
Brush all over the pastry with the beaten egg and place in the warm oven.
Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the top is nice golden.
Remove from oven and let rest for a couple of minutes and serve.

 

Apple Pie

Apple pie is all I could think of. The air is nice and crisp early in the morning and late in the evening. The leaves are turning into this beautiful golden color, the sweaters are coming out of the closet. A great cup of coffee or tea with some apple pie is the perfect ending to a great day. It can be enjoyed after a great meal, or sitting in your favorite chair and enjoying a quite moment.

Here is my family favorite. As soon as they see me coming home from the store with extra apples, their faces light up as they know what they will get to enjoy.

From my family to yours, enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Giangi

APPLE PIE

1 Pastry crust – I use Pillsbury
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
½ to ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll out the pie crust in a 9 inch pie dish. Make sure the crust is all the way up to the rim. Poke lightly the dough and place in the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove and let it cool off.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, heavy cream, vanilla extract and the brown sugar.

Add the sliced apples to the pie dish. Cover with the egg mixture.

Place a pie shell shield to cover the border of the dough or make one with aluminum foil.

Lower the heat to 375°. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. The top should be nice a golden brown, and the middle should not be runny.

Welcome Fall

Fall is the season we love the most. Living in Arizona we welcome Fall with open harms. This is the time we forget the long warm summer days and we say goodbye the days of 100 plus degrees with pleasure . The morning air is clean and crisp, and a bit chilly if you wake up early and want to enjoy a cup of coffee with a full stars sky. I love it!

With the welcoming of fall, our house is enjoying a make over and the kitchen is the place of all the changes take place. As we settle into our routine we enjoy cooking more.

A dish that is a staple is homemade pasta. Working the dough, cutting it, letting it dry while we prepare a wonderful tomatoes sauce, is a family affair during the week end. A time to enjoy each other and have fun.

Last week end was no exception. Homemade fettuccine with tomato sauce, spinach and prawns.

We could not wait to enjoy our dish that we did not take the picture of the finished dish. I guess we will have to make it again…

Enjoy!

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

 

HOME MADE PASTA

 

Pasta:

3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt
Warm water or white wine

Pasta Preparation:

Place the eggs, flour and salt into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the bread blade. Mix slowly and add water as needed to the dough. Once the dough is well blended, not flaky or too wet (add more flour if this is the case) remove, place on cutting board and cover with a bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes or until ready to use.

Using the pasta machine, follow manufacturer directions to prepare long strips of pasta. I use Kitchen Aid and the last turn of pasta is with number 6.

Summer is officially over. Well almost! When you live in Arizona you never feel as your summer ends.
We have had a fantastic summer and this year we decided to take the summer off to enjoy some great travels and spend as much time with family as possible. With that said we also had a great time eating our way thru our vacation. No guilt eating, is the best!
While home, we made it a point to prepare some new fun dishes in our kitchen as well as some old time favorite recipes.
I will start with this new recipe, “Honey Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic” that I have found in an old magazine long ago. I have modified to our taste and also due to the fact that we were not able to locate some ingredients. Isn’t that the fun of cooking after all? Creating, been adventurous with new flavors and most of all… have fun.
The strong flavor of the garlic and the lemon, required some side dishes that will blend well together while not overpowering each other. Milk peas and lime cilantro rice were just that, perfect side dish. The cumin from the rice blended well with the cilantro in the rice. The pea’s light and tender flavor was the perfect balance between them. Love it and could not get enough of it.
Do not be taken back by mi picture of the Roasted Chicken, the skin got a bit caramelized too much, however the flavor was not just perfect. Juicy chicken breasts, soft caramelized garlic.
A great meal for the whole family that is easy, delicious and a bit different.
Enjoy!
Bon Appetit!

Giangi
Honey Roasted Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Garlic
Milk pears
Lime Cilantro Rice

HONEY ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS WITH HONEY AND LEMON

2 large skin on bone in chicken breasts – about 2 pounds
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 lemon cut into quarters, separate the rind
¼ cup good quality honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
10 garlic cloves, crushed and halved

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle cumin both under and on the skin. Carefully tuck 2 quarters of lemon rind under the skin of each breasts. Pour honey under and over the skin of each
Heat a large 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add the oil and the butter to the skillet. When the oil is hot and the butter melted, add the chicken skin side down. Arrange the garlic in the pan so the cloves all make contact with the bottom. Cook for 7 minutes, then turn the chicken, skin side up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven, and let the chicken cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken cut off the bone with all the caramelized garlic pieced and the thick sauce underneath it.

MILK COOKED PEAS

¾ teaspoon cornstarch
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup half and half
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Mix 1 tablespoon of the butter with the cornstarch and set aside.
In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the garlic, and cook until the garlic begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the peas and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and cook the peas until they turn bright green, about 1 minute.
Add the half-and half and cook until it bubbles in the center, about 30 seconds.
Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring until the content of the pan thickens and the peas are tender.
Add the lemon zest, parsley and tarragon. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust if necessary. Serve immediately.
You may want to remove the garlic cloves before serving.

LIME CILANTRO RICE

2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Jasmati or long grain white rice
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro

Bring water to a boil, stir in the butter and rice into water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro into the cooked rice just before serving.

School is out, triple digits are in. Finally catching up on all my dinner that I did not post.

I will start with this simple and yet very delicious Vegetarian Quiche. Perfect for lunch and dinner and enjoying it with a nice chilled glass of white wine.
Green salad as a side, and ice cream to top off a perfect evening.

Bon Appetit!!

Giangi

Tonight’s dinner:

Vegetarian Quiche
Green Salad
Vanilla Ice cream with Blackberries in sugar

VEGETARIAN QUICHE

1 Puff pastry sheet (Pepperidge Farm), thawed
4 tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas thawed
1 teaspoon sugar
½ of a can of artichoke hearts
4 eggs
1 ½ -cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1-tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven at 400°
Roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a 9” pie dish. Butter and flour the pie dish. Place the pasty and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile peel cut and removes all seed from the tomatoes. Chop them roughly, salt and pepper them.
Add the peas, artichoke and tomatoes to the puff pastry.
Beat together the eggs, heavy cream and the Gruyere cheese and pour over the vegetables.
Lower the heat to 375° and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned and the eggs mixture is solid.
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