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KotW: Triple Pepper Bowties September 24, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in all-in-one, Kip of the Week, pasta, vegetarian.
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So the NEW MEXICO REDHEAD posts a recipe seasoned ONLY with BLACK pepper and calls it “balanced!” I’ll show her some balance

two tablespoons corn oil
12 cloves garlic, diced
one medium yellow onion, diced
10-oz bag crimini mushrooms or white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup wet-pack dried tomatoes, chopped
15-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
9-oz package shelled edamame
two big roasted red bell peppers, diced
4-oz can green chiles

1/2 lb. mini-bowties or mini-penne

red flake pepper, or taco mix
shredded Romano cheese

Warm the corn oil in a deep saute pan, add the garlic and onions, turn heat to medium and stir frequently until garlic is well browned and onion is transparent to golden. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until raw look is gone and mushrooms are shedding liquid. Add tomatoes, corn, edamame, and red and green peppers. Keep this mixture warm while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta till nearly done, drain it and add it while very hot to the vegetable mixture. Stir thoroughly.

Serve with flake pepper and grated cheese.

© /KC September 2008

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Pork, pasta, and veg. September 23, 2008

Posted by sarawr in all-in-one, pasta, pig pig pig, saucy.
3 comments


Hello there! I know I promised you a gingerbread post last time I popped in, but I’m hung up on a quest for molasses — I am determined to make genuine gingerbread, which requires molasses. Not honey. Not caramelized brown sugar. Not Splenda. Molasses. So. That will happen later.

In the meantime, I came up with something very yummy that I thought I’d share. I was browsing through the frozen foods aisle at Wal-Mart (hush now, I’m all right) when I came across these… uh… well, I don’t know what they’re called. They’re bags of food all frozen together so that when you heat them up, they make a meal. Beef and potatoes, chicken and broccoli with sauce, that kind of thing. One of the bags caught my eye — it was elbow pasta with chicken and alfredo sauce, and it might have had a vegetable of some sort, too. I don’t remember the particulars now, but it looked good. I wanted it. Except, I didn’t want to pay eight bucks for two servings’ worth, especially since those two servings were all flash-frozen and preservative-laden. What to do?

Well, I got creative, is what. I picked up some cavatappi pasta (elbow noodles, but somehow fancier) and pancetta (soft bacon, but smokier and also fancier) and thought about what I already had at home. I didn’t have chicken, but I did have some pork loin. I didn’t have peas… or peppers… or whatever was in the frozen stuff, but I did have spinach and some native corn (maize, to you non-New Mexicans). I hate alfredo sauce, but I thought garlic cream sauce might be nice. Bingo!
I diddled about with the proportions and various cooking times, and here’s what I ended up with. I wasn’t going to post it here until I’d given it a few trial runs, but guys: This stuff is delicious.

YOU WILL NEED:

Half a pound to a pound of cavatappi (or farfalle, or whatever — just stay away from stringy noodles)
1/4 to 1/2 pound pork loin, cut into strips or cubes
A splash of olive oil
One to two cups fresh spinach, chopped
An ear or so of native corn (or regular corn)
One cup pancetta, crumbled or diced very finely
This garlic cream sauce

WHAT TO DO:

Whip up the garlic cream sauce beforehand; with this recipe, it’s best if you add extra pepper — maybe three dashes instead of one. Then get your pasta boiling with a little salt. Pop your spinach and corn into a colander or steamer (a double boiler would be handy here, but I didn’t have one) over the pasta so that it can wilt/steam properly. While the pasta and veggies are doing their respective things, stir-fry the pork loin in olive oil for about ten minutes on medium heat. Add the pancetta to the pan about eight minutes in and let everything sizzle together for the last couple of minutes. Drain the pasta, shuck the corn, and throw everything into a pan over very low heat. Slowly stir in the garlic cream sauce.

Ta-da! Dinner. It’s even sort of well-balanced. Who’s the top chef now, huh?

KotW: Chicken in Mustard, Capers and Garlic September 17, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in chicken, herbs & spices, Kip of the Week.
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A quite French recipe with a tip of the hat to Jacques Pépin, but more forceful seasoning, Kip-style. If I did want some crunch in this dish I might coat the chicken pieces with panko breadcrumbs, but I’ll leave it to you to try that.

2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon butter
3 chicken breasts and 6 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
4-6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup Dijon-style mustard
3 cups white wine
[or:
1 1/2 cups Sherry or Madeira
1 1/2 cups water ]

Heat butter and oil in each of two 12″ pans over medium heat, using more in the pan for the white meat than the pan for the dark. Sprinkle the meat with the pepper. When the fat is hot, add the chicken pieces and one bay leaf to each pan.

Brown the pieces approximately 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Watch your heat; you want pan juices the color of butterscotch sauce. Meanwhile crush and skin the garlic, rinse the capers and press them dry. Mince the capers and garlic together.

When the chicken pieces have a good brown coat, combine them into one pan and keep them warm. In the empty pan, saute the garlic and capers; careful not to burn them! but let them brown lightly till you can barely resist eating them out of the pan, scraping the mass around with a spatula rather than a spoon so that you loosen the pan juices. Add the mustard and work it in. Add half the wine and stir to a thin smooth sauce, heating to a simmer.

Transfer the chicken pieces to the pan with the sauce. Deglaze the empty pan with the other half of the wine, scrape, and add it to the chicken. Discard the bay leaves.

Simmer covered for 10 minutes, uncover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes longer, till the sauce is glossy and showing all its alluring green and brown bits. Voilà.

© /KC September 2008

Quickie: Not-so-original pinwheels. September 15, 2008

Posted by sarawr in appetizers, cheesy goodness, pig pig pig, quick & dirty.
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I should probably put in a disclaimer here: when I came up with the recipe I’m about to post, I truly thought I was a genius. People, I bragged about this. “It’s so good!” I said. “It’s so easy!” I was very smug, and I planned this post in meticulous detail.

Then I told my friend Heather about this recipe and she was like, “Oh, yeah, pinwheels. Those are good.” D’oh. Also, duh. Still, while this little snack-or-lunch option isn’t as creative as I’d thought, it is still tasty and super easy.

YOU WILL NEED:

Several slices of deli ham — or, even better, prosciutto
Cream cheese (whipped, if you’re feeling fancy)
Chives or green onions
Paper towels

WHAT TO DO:

Chop up a small handful of the chives/onions. Lay out your ham slices and blot them with the paper towels. Put a teaspoon or so of cream cheese in the center of each slice, then dampen your hands with water and spread the cream cheese with your fingers. (I have tried to do this with a knife, and without blotting the ham, and all that happens is Cream Cheese Ham Skating.) Sprinkle a generous line of chopped chives down the center of each ham-cheese concoction, then roll the whole thing up.

Et voila. You have either a tasty snack, a delicious hors d’oeuvre, or — if you’re a busy freelancer with a deadline and a hungry pre-schooler — dinner. You can cut the rolls in half and place each one on a garlic Triscuit if you want to be really fancy. Black olives make a nice accompaniment too.

(Be gentle with me, guys. I’m going to attempt gingerbread in the next few days — if it turns out well I might have a real recipe for you!)

KotW: Kip’s Koftas September 10, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in Kip of the Week, red meat, Thai.
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As you’ll realize from the parade of chicken and vegetable recipes in here, I don’t cook red meat that often. When I do, it’s an occasion, and I put a little extra work into it. So it is that hamburger — whose attraction used to be that you only needed to shape it and put it near some heat — works its way into dishes with several ingredients and a slightly fancy presentation. These koftas have a venerable Middle Eastern attitude toward ground beef, but with a bit of Thai spin in the details.

Piece of fresh ginger the size of your thumb, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium onions, chopped
2-3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup prepared red curry sauce (I use Trader Joe’s)
[or:
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt ]

In a food processor, grind the ginger and garlic as fine as possible. Add the onions, curry powder, allspice and nutmeg, and pulse-chop until minced but not mushy.

Preheat broiler. By hand, combine the onion mixture, ground beef, egg, and curry sauce. Shape into eight thin patties and broil five to six minutes each side. Serve with rice and with more curry sauce if desired. Serves four as a main meat course or eight as an appetizer.

© /KC September 2008

KotW: Fennel, Potato and Prosciutto Soup September 3, 2008

Posted by schizodigestive in Kip of the Week, poultry, soups and stews.
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In late summer or early fall you’ll find the magic moment for this soup — when you can still pick tender fennel bulbs out of your garden or buy them in a produce market, but your evenings will be cool enough that you’ll welcome a dish that’s hot and satisfying without being heavy.

3 quarts flavorful chicken stock (carcass stock or low-sodium organic box stock)
2-3 chicken thighs skinned

3-4 medium to large fennel bulbs
3 tablespoons butter

4 cups (packed) fennel fronds pulled off stems
1 cup stock out of the pot
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup cream cheese

3 to 8 potatoes, depending on size and type, peeled and diced
3 ounces prosciutto, diced

Bring stock to boil. Add chicken pieces and allow to simmer till meat is tender. Remove chicken pieces, let cool slightly, shred meat and return shreds to stock.

Clean fennel bulbs and fronds VERY carefully. Slice bulbs thin and cook slowly in butter till tender. Add potatoes and prosciutto to stock and leave on fast simmer.

Put fennel fronds, then cream cheese, then yogurt, then stock in food processor and puree to neon-green mush. Turn out mixture into sieve over cup or bowl and press mixture till dry. Set bowl aside. Discard pulp in sieve. Rinse food processor tank, then puree sauteed fennel and pan juices. Add fennel to stock.

When potatoes are nearly done, bring soup to boil, add fennel/dairy mixture from bowl and stir just until combined. Serve with toasted chunks of a sourdough baguette or ciabatta.

© /KC September 2008