19th September 2007

Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco, Pan-Roasted Green Onions and Guajillo Chile Dressing

We’re really enjoying the heirlooms lately, and I wanted to make something that would go well with the tortilla soup we were having as our main course tonight. This tomato salad from Mexican Everyday hit the spot — the dressing had a really unique toasted chile flavor and I just loved the ever-so-slightly wilted green onions on top. Now we just have to figure out what to do with the leftover dressing — it’s too good to go to waste!

Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco, Pan-Roasted Green Onions and Guajillo Chile Dressing
3/4 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or a mixture of the two
2 medium dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in quarters
1/4 white wine vinegar
6 green onions, roots and outer leaves removed
2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
1/2 cup crumbled Mexican queso fresco

Pour the oil into a medium-large skillet and set to medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chiles and the garlic. Turn and stir continually until the insides of the chiles have lightened in color and they are toasty smelling — 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat.
Transfer the chiles to a blender (leave the oil and garlic in the pan), add the vinegar and a teaspoon of salt. Blend for 30 seconds. When the oil and garlic are cool, add to the blender (set the skillet aside) and puree until smooth. Taste and season with more salt if desired. Pour into a jar and secure the lid.
Return the skillet to medium heat. Brush the onions with a little oil, then lay them in the skillet. Cook, turning regularly, until they become wilted and browned in spots, about 3 minutes. Remove and slice crosswise at 1/4″ intervals.
Arrange the sliced tomatoes on plates, sprinkle with salt, then top with the green onion. Shake the dressing and drizzle over the tomatoes, saving the remainnder for another use. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve.

4 Servings.

posted in Mexican Everyday, Salads and Light Soups | 2 Comments

18th September 2007

Maryland Crab Cakes

Lisa was at the helm tonight and whipped up these delicious crab cakes using a recipe found in Cooking Light. They turned out perfectly: crispy on the outside, hot and steamy on the inside — I loved all the minced green onions in there. We served the crab cakes along with some heirloom tomatoes, pictured, and a mushroom couscous.

Maryland Crab Cakes
1 pound lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
1 1/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup minced green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon 2% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 egg whites
1 1/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Lemon wedges (optional)

Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Divide crabmeat mixture into 8 equal portions. Place 1 1/3 cups breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge crabmeat portions in breadcrumbs, shaping into patties about 3 1/2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.
Heat 1 tablespooon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 patties, and cook 3 minutes. Carefully turn patties over, and cook 3 minutes or until golden. Repeat procedure with the remaining oil and patties. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

8 Servings

posted in Cooking Light, Main Dishes | 1 Comment

13th September 2007

Greek Shrimp with Orzo

We knew we were going to be pressed for time tonight, so I made this super-easy, super-filling meal from the We [Heart] Food recipe binder. There’s minimal prep work involved, and the addition of fresh chopped basil adds both color and a lot of flavor. At some point I had written “Party Dish!” on the printout of this recipe, and I can see why — it makes a fair amount and could easily be doubled and brought to a potluck.

Greek Shrimp with Orzo
12 oz uncooked orzo
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion(s), chopped
1 medium green pepper(s), chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pound shrimp, medium-size, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup basil, fresh, chopped
feta cheese, crumbled

Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions without added fat; drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano; bring to a simmer. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir cooked orzo into shrimp mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Spoon about 1 1/2 cups of orzo-shrimp mixture onto each of plate or bowl and top each with feta.

4 generous servings

posted in Main Dishes | 0 Comments

11th September 2007

Chicken Baked in Yogurt with Red Onion and Grape Leaves

Here’s another addition to what seems to have become yellow food month (why does yellow food always look so unappetizing?). I’ve been looking forward to trying out a dish based on one of the recipes from The Olive and The Caper, and this one seemed to fit the bill for a weeknight, as it didn’t take very much prep — whisking together the marinade, pouring it over the chicken, and tossing it in the oven. The kitchen smelled fantastic while this was cooking (although at 450 degrees the oven made the kitchen… an oven)! We served it with bulgur pilaf, from the same cookbook.

Chicken Baked in Yogurt
1 cup plain nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 bay leaf, finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into pieces
1 large red onion, quartered and cut into slices
8 grape leaves, cut into 1-inch-wide shreds
2 tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 450F. Whisk the yogurt, mint, bay leaf, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and white pepper in a bowl. Place the chicken pieces into a 16×9 glass baking dish. Add the onion, grape leaves, and yogurt mixture, and turn to coat. Cover with foil and bake until the liquid is boiling and the chicken almost tender, 40 minutes. Remove the foil, stir, and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the chicken is very tender. Sprinkle the zest over the chicken and serve.

Bulgur Pilaf
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup coarse ground bulgur
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bulgur and onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the stock and tomato paste, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer until the bulgur is tender and the liquid absorbed, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.

Serves 4.

posted in Main Dishes, The Olive and The Caper | 0 Comments

10th September 2007

Angel Hair with Shrimp Puttanesca

This is one of those “let’s see what we have in the refrigerator” meals that I just love. Capers, anchovies, and olives, all in one sauce? Yes, please. I like to add shrimp, and we happened to have some in the freezer. The recipe below is quick and easy, and one that I return to again and again. Everything was on the table in just over 25 minutes.

Angel Hair with Shrimp Puttanesca
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes
1/4 cup minced parsley
3 tbsp olives, roughly chopped (I prefer kalamata, tonight we used green)
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp capers
2 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, more to taste
shrimp (optional)
3-4 cups hot cooked pasta (we used whole-wheat angel hair)

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat. Add garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add tomato and next 6 ingredients (tomato through crushed red pepper) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes or until thick.
Meanwhile, if using shrimp, cook as desired (I quickly sauteed the shrimp in a tsp or so of garlic-infused oil). Stir cooked shrimp into tomato mixture.
Combine tomato mixture and pasta and toss well. Garnish with oregano sprigs or fresh basil.

3-4 servings.

posted in Main Dishes | 3 Comments