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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cod in Tomato Stew with Chorizo

I've recently started to love cod - I'm not sure why I never used to eat it. I prefer it in stews and other dishes rather than on its own since it holds well to other flavors. I keep a couple of large fillets in the freezer and 1lb of cod is perfect for this stew and feeds 2 people. Although this is hot, it's a good summer stew - fresh tasting with the tomatoes and cod and a little spicy and salty with the chorizo. Substitute the potatoes for a good crusty warm bread for dipping!!

1 medium to large leek, chopped
2 small (or 1 large) chorizo links, cut lengthwise and then into 1/4 inch pieces
4 medium red or yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28oz (large) can of diced tomatoes (fire roasted is good!)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 lb cod fillet, cut into thirds or in half, or large cubes if you prefer

1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil until just soft and drain.

2. In a large pan with high sides or a dutch oven, heat the oil on medium heat.

3. Add the leeks and chorizo and saute until leeks are soft, stir occasionally.

4. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

5. Add the tomatoes and their juice, the wine, water, salt and pepper. Bring to boil on high heat. Add the potatoes then partially cover the pot, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Season the cod with salt and pepper and lay on top of the stew. Spoon some of the tomatoes on top of the fish to help it cook. It should take about 5 minutes. Flip gently if you need to.

7. When the fish is done, it's ready to serve!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Pasta

I love pasta, but red sauce is sometimes a little too much in the hot summer. This is a nice and light pasta dish with lots of room for fresh veggies. I prefer to use asparagus and love to add swish chard if I have it - it's a great alternative to spinach - you get the good vitamins and it holds up a little more in the hotness of the food. I like to use penne or rotini or some kind of pasta that can catch the ricotta.

Pasta - whatever kind you like, penne or rotini are good with this
2 tbsp olive oil
2 spicy chicken sausages
Handful of asparagus
2-3 shallots, chopped
4-5 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups swiss chard or kale, chopped, and if you have it
Salt and pepper

1. Start the pasta.

2. In a large pan (use one with deep sides if you have one), heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the sausage - cook until done.

3. When the sausage is done, remove from the pan and set aside. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook until just tender. When done, remove from heat and set aside with the sausage.

4. Add the shallots and garlic and mushrooms and cook until just soft. Don't burn the garlic.

5. Turn heat to medium high and add the wine and broth, scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the bits up. Simmer until reduced to half.

6. While liquid is simmering, chop the sausage into small pieces and chop the asparagus into bit sized pieces.

7. Add the swiss chard to the pan and stir until soft. Add the sausage and asparagus.

8. When pasta is done, set aside about a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the pan and mix with the sausage and vegetables.There should be enough juice so that everything is well coated but you don't really want juice at the bottom of the pan. If it seems a little dry, add some of the water from the pasta.

8. Add the ricotta and mix until everything has a little ricotta on it. Again, you might want to add a little pasta water to help the ricotta mix in with the rest of the ingredients but be careful not to make it watery. If it is, just simmer until the water evaporates.

9. Add the basil, mix well again and it's ready to eat!

*good with a little grated romano on top.

Chicken Teriyaki with Basil

I'm not a big fan of bottled sauces because they tend to be thick and salty and not so fresh tasting. So whenever I can make my own version, I try to. This is a good teriyaki recipe that doesn't take long, and doesn't require a lot of ingredients - it's also a good summer dinner. I like to use a combination of snow peas, baby bok choy and mushrooms but you could also add or substitute carrots, baby corn, or broccoli. I also like mine on the sweet side so you could do either the honey or the brown sugar instead of both.

2 chicken breasts - cut into 1/4 inch cubes (bite size)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp canola oil
Handful of snow peas
2 baby bok choys
5-6 dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in bowl of boiling water until soft, ~5 minutes)
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger
1/4 cup mirin
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

* Serve over rice

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Add the cornstarch to the chicken broth and mix well. Set aside.

3. Heat a medium sized pan to medium high and add the oil. When hot, add the snow peas and bok choy and cook until slightly browned. You want the pan pretty hot, the vegetables won't take long at all so stir frequently! When done, remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.

4. Add a little more oil to the pan and turn down to medium. Add the chicken and stir frequently until cooked. (Don't over cook! The chicken will cook through fast, avoid it getting too dry). When done, add into the bowl of cooked vegetables.

5. Add a little more oil to the pan if you need to. At medium heat, add the garlic, shallots, and ginger until it smells good. Then add the mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sugar and the cornstarch mixture. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any pieces from the pan and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly. While sauce is thickening (this will only take a couple of minutes) chop the softened mushrooms into very small pieces and add to the bowl of chicken and vegetables.

6. When sauce is thickened, add the bowl of chicken and veggies and stir well so that it's all coated. If sauce is too watery, add a little more cornstarch to a little more water in a cup and pour in. If sauce is too thick - add some of the water that the mushrooms were soaking in.

7. Add basil and mix well.

Serve over jasmine rice.