Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have to say I've very much enjoyed doing the monthly ingredient. Anyone have a pick for February? Some ideas:

  1. Indian spices (like curry, tamarind, star anise, garam masala). Okay, I just looked up a list and it turns out curry is not a spice, but you catch my drift?
  2. Root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
  3. Grains, beans, legumes
  4. Cookies and bars
  5. Salad dressing

What are you guys itching to do?

Monday, January 26, 2009

For the "I just cleaned my kitchen and don't want to cook" night

Last night we had one of those nights where we had a nice clean kitchen and we didn't feel like messing it up again. With two kids, going out has lost a lot of appeal so our new standby for takeout is Whole Foods Pizza.

If you're like me, your eyes glaze over the second you walk into Whole Foods and see all of the perfectly stacked produce but if you don't want to cook, close your eyes and walk past the pretty peppers and go to the deli counter. You can order by the slice or even better, a whole pizza to take home is only about $11. We call ahead of time and the wait for a pizza is usually only about ten minutes. The pizza is wood-fired and some of the best takeout pizza I've ever had.

Go ahead, give yourself a break from cooking and try it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Citrus dessert pasta

Rosmarino Dessert

1/2 lb. Rosmarino pasta (orzo)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tbls. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon juice and zest of half lemon
1 lg. can mandarin oranges
20 oz. can crushed pineapple
mid-size carton Cool Whip
Garnish with fruit

Cook Romarino, drain & let cool.
Drain fruit well but KEEP- put juices in saucepan. Add sugar, eggs, flour, salt, lemon juice and zest. Cook slowly till thick. Set aside- when cool mix macaroni with this & let set in frig OVERNIGHT. Next day add all fruits & fold in Cool Whip. If you like you can add a slight amount of almond flavoring & sometimes I even tint with small amount of desired food coloring.

Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers

This is a recipe I've made time and time again, as well as the satay dip. I've made this chicken both as just breasts on the grill and skewers. I like the skewer version best.

Grilled Lemon Chicken
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
3/4 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, halved and skin removed

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Pour over the chicken breasts in a nonreactive bowl. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. Grill the chicken breasts for 10 minutes on each side, until just cooked through. Cool slightly and cut diagonally in 1/2-inch-thick slices. Skewer with wooden sticks and serve with Satay Dip.

Satay Dip
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
2/3 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root*
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Cook the olive oil, sesame oil, red onion, garlic, ginger root, and red pepper flakes in a small, heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat until the onion is transparent, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, sherry, and lime juice; cook for 1 more minute.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

*a tip about ginger root. Most recipes only call for a small bit of ginger root. It freezes very well, so you can just wrap it and freeze, then cut a piece off the next time you need some.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I made this lemon yogurt cake for the first time last weekend and I have to say, it was a bit of a dud.

It took too long for the center to cook, so the bottom and the edges were too dark. The flavor was nice, but not as lemony I'd hoped. The texture was okay, kind of dry because of how long I had to cook it. I guess what I really wanted was more of a lemon pound cake, like the ones at Starbucks. And since this cake uses yogurt and theirs probably uses butter, that's probably where the main difference lies.

Anthony thought it was okay, so maybe its worth another go, but I think I'll keep looking.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Simple Citrus Dip/Topping

So we eat our fair share of pierogies and a variety of mexican dishes...with both of these things I've always enjoyed sour cream for dipping or as a topping. Several years ago I started adding fresh squeezed lime juice to the sour cream along with paprika, whip together with a whisk and voila! I guess this isn't really a recipe but a simple way to kick up your sour-cream next time around!

Sweets in Venezia

This was my favorite shop in Venice. It was a tiny sweet shop with a horse shoe shaped counter where you could get small slices of divine cakes and pastries, as well as gourmet chocolate and other little nibbles. I thought I would remember the name, but I don't. It was very near St. Mark's, I do know that.In the back was this amazing display of chocolates. I think you'd be the most popular person at any party if you brought these sweets!

Lettuce as decoration

When we were in Venice, there were all kinds of cafes and restaurants that overlooked the lagoon. The lagoon is where the Grand Canal feeds into a larger body of water and is right near St. Mark's Square. There are several water taxi stops, so the whole sidewalk facing the lagoon is prime for people and boat watching.

This cafe featured lettuce in planter boxes for part of its floral/fauna decoration.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Basil Baked Tilapia

Here's my new citrus recipe! I had tilapia to cook last night and when I came across this recipe, I realized I had all of the ingredients. What really convinced me to make it though, was the fact that I'd HAVE to open a bottle of wine....and drink some while cooking. The tilapia was good, too. ;-)

Basil Baked Tilapia



1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh basil leaf
4 thin fish fillets, like tilapa
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
salt and pepper


1 Preheat oven to 450*.

2 Pour wine and butter into glass measuring cup and microwave on high until butter begins to melt, about 1 minute.

3 Spread basil leaves over bottom of 9 X 13 glass baking dish, reserving a few large ones for the top of the fish.

4 Place fillets over the basil.

5 Remove the wine mixture from the microwave and add fresh lemon juice.

6 Stir or whisk the wine mixture and pour over the fish.

7 Season the fish with the salt and pepper.

8 Sprinkle the onion powder and bread crumbs evenly over the fish, then add paprika.

9 Cover the pan with aluminum foil, place in lower third of preheated oven, for 12 minutes.

10 Uncover fish and continue to cook until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 2-3 more minutes.

11 Serve at once.

Recipe courtesy of: http://www.recipezaar.com/Basil-Baked-Tilapia-94502

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

My mom introduced me to this biscotti recipe a couple months back, and, even though it calls for just one teaspoon of citrus, I think it's worthy of citrus month. It's from Giada de Lauretiis and the Food Network. They call it holiday biscotti; I call it cranberry pistachio biscotti. (Recipe source)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Notes: You can skip the dipping in chocolate part if you'd like. Also, I think, adding white chocolate chips to the batter would achieve the same effect as dipping in chocolate.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lemon Fusilli pasta

Okay, so this weekend I'm going to make a new recipe with lemon. In the meantime, here's one I've made before (including last night). Its great reheated and makes a lot for leftovers. This is from the Barefoot Contessa at Home cookbook. I serve it with Parmesan crusted chicken and good bread.

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, and tomatoes.

Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

A couple of notes:
  1. I am a very lazy cook and use mixed field greens instead of arugula. Mostly because I always have field greens on hand, but also because the arugula is just a bit too much for me.
  2. I skip the last step, also because I am lazy. There is PLENTY of lemon flavor.
  3. The online recipe calls for the addition of broccoli. I've never done that, but the cookbook encourages adding other vegetables if you wish (like asparagus, etc). Whatever you add, don't omit the tomatoes. They add a tasty tartness to the dish that you would really miss.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Butternut Squash

Since we like Sweet Potato Fries so much at our house, tonight I think I going to try Butternut Squash Fries. http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/10/butternut-squash-fries.html

I also came across these recipes for a Butternut Squash Soup and a Pasta dish that sound good too. http://fall-recipes.suite101.com/article.cfm/butternut_squash_soup_and_pasta_recipes

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One ingredient

How often do you buy something that just has one ingredient? Nothing added for flavor, preserving, color, etc.

White Chicken Chili

Mmmmm, I have made this a few times, including last night. So good and could be low fat depending on which toppings you use. My favorite are a squirt of lime juice and green onions.
White Chicken Chili
1 c. diced onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 14 oz. can chicken broth
2-4 chicken breasts, cooked, with broth to equal 14 oz, shredded. (I just add a little water and a bullion cube to whatever chicken broth is left over from cooking the chicken to equal 14 oz.)
1 4 oz. can diced chilies, undrained
2 cans great northern beans, white, drained
18 oz. shoepeg corn, undrained (often sold in 11 oz. cans by Green Giant--I use a 15 oz can of Del Monte fresh cut corn)**
3 T. lime juice
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. cumin seed
1 t. ground cumin
Saute onion and garlic in a little oil. Add other ingredients and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes. When served, garnish with grated cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, green onion and avocado. Add slightly crushed tortilla chips if desired.

**When I made it last night, I wasn't paying attention and drained the corn but not the beans. Turned out just fine! Photo from Your Heart Out.


Okay, lets give this a whirl ladies. Each month we'll choose an ingredient and find new recipes using it. Also, I guess we can include any recipes we already make and like using the ingredient. I always love cooking with citrus, especially in the winter months, so here's to oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits etc. Photo from allposters.com.