Sunday, May 29, 2011

Penne with Cauliflower and Pancetta

Rachael Ray's cookbooks were some of the first I owned. I received a copy of 30-Minute Meals right after college when I still lived at home with my parents. While I experimented with her recipes, and I think Rachael was the first television personality who ever inspired me to try more cooking, I couldn't stand her mostly photo-less cookbooks. There's something about seeing the end result of a recipe that is important to me. I was very excited when she came out with Rachael Rays' Look and Cook, and I finally purchased a copy. This recipe jumped out at me when I first skimmed through the recipes and photos. The only change I would make to this recipe is to use less rosemary next time. I love the smell and taste of rosemary, but I do not like the texture of it. I have a weird thing when it comes to textures, but that's a whole other story! I recommend you give this pasta dish a try. You could make a vegetarian version of this dish by omitting the pancetta and replacing the chicken stock with a veggie stock. I also found a slightly different version of this recipe online that added spinach or watercress. Check out more of Rachael's recipes on Saturdays with Rachael Ray.

You will need:
*salt and pepper
*1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
(As you can see, I did not use penne. Any shape will do. I enjoyed rotini)
*1 head cauliflower
*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced
*1 head cauliflower
*1 onion, finely chopped
*3 large cloves garlic, chopped
*2-3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
*Freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)
*1/2 cup white wine
*1 cup chicken stock
*1 cup grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt the water, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain.

2. While your pasta is cooking, trim the cauliflower and chop it into small florets.

3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and cook until the fat renders(about 2 minutes). Stir in the onion, garlic, rosemary, and cauliflower; season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower is just about tender.

4. Add the wine and cook uncovered until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the stock and reduce the heat. Keep covered until the pasta is finished cooking.

5. Once the pasta is drained, toss with the cauliflower pan and add the cheese. Adjust any seasonings to taste. (Add spinach or watercress topping if desired. I am going to try that next time)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chambord Ganache Frosting

I was pretty consistent with keeping the cupcake trend going for my friend's birthdays. This month I've slacked a bit due to more demands at school, but I promise that I'll get back at it soon! When I spotted this cupcake recipe on My Baking Addiction, I filed it away for my friend Meghan's birthday. This were rich and delicious, and I think I've discovered a go-to chocolate cupcake recipe. I loved the ganache topping on these and the subtle hint of raspberry that the Chambord provided balanced the heavy chocolate texture. Everyone seemed to enjoy these as evidenced by our ability to pawn off any leftovers!

For the cupcakes, you will need:
*1 3/4 cups flour

*2 cups sugar

*3/4 cups cocoa powder

*2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken

*1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature

*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used a dark espresso blend)

For the frosting, you will need:
*18 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped pieces or chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream

*4 tablespoons Chambord

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line two standard muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate the mix of dry ingredients. Add the coffee and stir to combine. 

4. Place the in the muffin tins until each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.

5. Place chocolate in a large heat safe mixing bowl.

6. Heat heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to boil. STAY at the stove to ensure that the cream does not boil over.

7. Immediately pour the hot cream over chocolate; let sit for five minutes.

8. Begin stirring or whisking the cream starting in the center of the bowl and working your way out. Continue until the cream and chocolate are combined. Allow your ganache to cool for 15 minutes before you add the Chambord.

9. Allow ganache to cool completely and set up before frosting the cupcakes. This should take about two hours at room temperature, or you could place the bowl into the refrigerator for about an hour. If you use the fridge, be sure to stir the ganache every 10-15 minutes so that it does not get too firm.

10. Top the cupcakes with the ganache through a tipped piping bag.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

My cookbooks are neglected. We haven't found an area in the kitchen to keep some, so they remain forgotten in our guest room. My Google Reader is my go-to source for new recipes, and I love when I'm reminded of a cookbook I already own. This recipe was posted on Proceed with Caution, and it comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Bridal Edition Cookbook. I am going to try and cook more from my cookbooks this summer, so stay tuned!

You will need:
*2 teaspoons curry powder
*1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon chili powder
*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 cup chopped red onion
*2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped (omitted because I forgot to buy them!)
*5 cloves garlic, minced or grated
*1 can light coconut milk (14 oz)
*1 tablespoon cornstarch
*3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into ribbons
*1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
*3 cups cooked rice

1. Combine curry powder, black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the chili powder into a medium bowl. Cut raw chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to spice mixture in bowl tossing to coat. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

2. Heat oil into a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken. Cook and stir for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. Add onion, jalapeno peppers, and garlic to pan. Cook and stir until tender but still crisp-about 8 minutes.

4. Stir together coconut milk, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Carefully add to the hot pan with the onion mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.

5. Return chicken to pan. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chicken Parm with Pepperoni

I think I could eat Italian-inspired food every day. I work in an Italian restaurant, and I never tire of anything with cheese and sauce. From pizza to pasta, the possibilities are endless. Eat, Live, Run posted this delicious Food and Wine recipe a few months ago. I figured chicken smothered in cheese was bad enough for me, so I hesitated to add pepperoni. Well, I have no regrets as this is now my go-to chicken parmesan recipe. Dave refers to it as "pizza chicken." I served this with zucchini (which I love in tomato sauce) instead of pasta. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try.

You will need:
*4 chicken cutlets, or 2 butterflied chicken breasts
*2 cups panko breadcrumbs
*2 eggs
*1/2 cup flour
*1/4 cup milk
*1 cup shredded mozzarella
*about 2 oz. pepperoni (I figured about 12 slices)
*1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*1 large jar of your favorite tomato sauce
*1/4 cup cooking oil (canola is probably best, I used vegetable because that's all I had)
*salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a shallow bowl of rimmed plate, combine the eggs and milk. In another, place the panko. And in the final dish, spread the flour.

3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dunk one chicken cutlet at a time into the eggs/milk, followed by the panko and then the flour. Repeat this dipping process until all chicken pieces are battered.

4. Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and lightly fry until golden and cooked through. Drain the chicken on paper towels before placing into a greased casserole dish. Cover the chicken with tomato sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Place the pepperoni on top of the cheese covered chicken. Bake for 15 minutes.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lemon Kale Pasta

I have developed a love for kale. I spotted this recipe on Annie's Eats, and I knew it was something I'd enjoy. Dave will eat things made with kale, but he tires of it quickly, so I need to spread out my recipes featuring this leafy green. This dish would make a perfect summer side hot or chilled. We used it as a main dish, and I think I would pair it with some more protein next time.

For the dressing, you will need:

*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

*1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

*5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

*juice of 2 lemons
*1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

*ground black pepper, to taste

For the pasta dish, you will need:
1 lb. whole grain pasta
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into 1/2 ribbon strips (don't forget to rinse and dry first!)
lemon slices and additional Parmesan, for serving if desired

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, cook pasta according to the package directions.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, make the dressing. Sprinkle the minced garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt and smash this combination into a paste with a fork. Place the garlic paste in a small bowl and whisk to combine the Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.

3. Place the kale ribbons in a large bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. When the pasta is finished, drain, and allow it to cool for 2 minutes.

4. Toss the pasta with the dressed kale until well coated. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and lemon slices.