Flashback Friday – Undecided

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 2 September 2009.

I can’t decide if I like this recipe or not. Maybe it needs a different cheese because the smoked Gouda seemed to overwhelm everything else. Other than a cheese substitution, would you make any other changes?

Ziti Baked with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Smoked Gouda

Cooking Light Pasta

  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14.5 ounces canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, with juices
  • 10 ounces canned Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda, divided

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach to pan and cook 30 seconds or until spinach wilts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Add pasta and 3/4 cup cheese to tomato mixture.  Toss well to combine.

Spoon pasta mixture in 5 individual, or 1 large, casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

{Printable Recipe}

Lemon Tartlettes

Lemon Tartlettes

Adapted from Sugarcrafter

BAH Note: Tracy got uber fancy and made a meringue topping for her tarts.  The next time I make these I might give that a try.  But I thought the tartlettes were sublime sans meringue…and it meant I didn’t have to fuss with the broiler.

BAH Tip: Don’t have a food processor to grind those cookies into crumbs?  A blender will work just as well.

  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice + zest of the lemons

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the cookie crumbs and butter in a bowl and stir to combine.  Place 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture into 8, 4-ounce canning jars or glass ramekins.  {You may have leftover crumb mixture.  If so, put it in a freezer bag and freeze for later use.}  Using a small spice jar (with a clean bottom), press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the jar.

Bake the crusts for about 5 minutes and allow them to cool while you make the filling.

Add the yogurt, sugar, salt, eggs, lemon juice and zest to a medium bowl and whisk until combined.  Divide the filling among the jars and bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until the centers are set.

Let the tartlettes cool to room temperature before serving.  Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator.

Ina’s Panko Salmon

Panko Crusted Salmon

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces), skin on
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and a pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.  You want the panko to be moist.  Gently stir in the dijon mustard.

Dry the salmon.  Divide the mustard/panko mixture among the filets and press it into the flesh.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, oven safe frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the salmon to the pan, skin side down, and cook, without turning for 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer the frying pan to the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the salmon is nearly cooked through.

Carefully remove the frying pan from the oven and serve.

Flashback Friday – From the Files

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 31 August 2009.

Orange Roughy

I’ve been making an effort to go through my old recipes, the ones that I’ve already tried out and decided are keepers, and post them. My goal is to turn my home files into a printed record of what you see here at BAH. Today’s tidbit is from the pages of Cooking Light.

Sauteed Tilapia with Lemon Peppercorn Pan Sauce

Cooking Light

BAH Note: I didn’t have Tilapia on hand that last time I made this so I used Orange Roughy. Any firm, white fish would probably work. Just make sure that it’s a thin fillet. I find that the pan sauce is a little piquant even with rinsing the capers, which I used instead of brined peppercorns. When you add the butter into the pan sauce, remember that even softened solids going into liquids will cause a splash. I didn’t, and ended up with sauce everywhere.

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth (I like the low sodium version)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons drained, brine packed green peppercorns, lightly crushed (I used rinsed capers)
  • 3 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 Tilapia fillets (I used Orange Roughy)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

Combine broth, lemon juice, and peppercorns (or capers) in a small bowl.

Melt 1 teaspoon butter with vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. While butter melts, sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in flour and shake off excess.

Increase heat to medium-high until butter begins to turn golden brown. Add fillets to pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Add broth mixture to pan, scraping up any loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil cook about 3 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and stir in last 2 teaspoons butter with a whisk.

Spoon sauce over fillets and garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

{Printable Recipe}

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Tomato Caper Relish

Crispy Skinned Salmon with Tomato Caper Relish

Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 salmon filets (4 to 6 ounces each), skin on
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the diced tomato, orange zest, capers, sugar, vinegar, and olive oil in a small bowl.  Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper and set aside.

Dry the salmon and heat the vegetable oil in an oven safe frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the salmon, skin side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, without turning, before transferring the frying pan to the oven.  Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the salmon is almost cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Carefully remove the pan from oven and serve the salmon topped with the tomato caper relish.

Coconut Curry Tilapia

Coconut Curry Tilapia

Adapted from Closet Cooking

BAH Note:  When I make this, I keep a second can of coconut milk on hand in case I’ve put too much curry or chili paste in the sauce.  Additional coconut milk will cut the heat a bit.  The fish sauce and sugar should balance each other out so your sauce is neither too sweet nor too salty.  I usually end up adding the juice and zest of a second lime to brighten the flavors and pull everything together.  Taste your sauce after you’ve added one lime’s worth of juice.  If it tastes kind of flat, add more juice and zest.

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (vegetable oil would be ok)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven heats, melt the coconut oil in a large, oven safe frying pan over medium heat.  Whisk in the curry paste and chili paste and cook for a minute or two until you start to smell the curry.  Then whisk in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice and zest.  Taste for seasoning and adjust until it tastes the way you like it.  Bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and add the tilapia filets.

Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Using a spatula or serving spoon, carefully break up the fish in the curry sauce.

Serve as is or over rice.

Flashback Friday – Muscle

The following post was originally published on BAH on 28 August 2009.

A good amount of the disk space on our Tivo gets taken up with cooking shows. Food Network, PBS, I like to mix it all up. When I watch them, I frequently experience kitchen envy. Seriously, have you seen Paula Deen’s or Ina Garten’s kitchen? Dreamy. Multiple cooktops, deep fryers, and refrigerator drawers. Best of all are those professional stoves. 48 to 60 inches of high btu muscle with double ovens. They are the kitchen equivalent of the Ford Mustang in Steve McQueen’s Bullitt. High revving, rubber burning, wild horses. I so wish I could have one of those. My kitchen, in comparison, is more like a Honda Accord. It’s reliable for getting you where you need to go but would never win in a drag race.

Not that having fancy, expensive equipment means anything when it comes to serving up good food. Deb, who I heart, from Smitten Kitchen turns out the best food from a teeny, tiny New York City apartment kitchen. Think your kitchen is small? Try working in a 24 square foot space. That’s smaller than my closet. And yet, without the aid of fancy equipment, she turns out all sorts of baked, fried, and roasted goodness.

Like anything else, your equipment is a tool that either you know how to use or you don’t. That 48 inch Viking isn’t going to magically transform a bad dish into a good one. So work with what you have, find its muscle, and make it work for you. Your kitchen may not burn rubber like Steve McQueen’s Mustang, but it won’t need new tires as quickly either.

Oven Roasted Salmon

Cook’s Illustrated

I added paprika and chili powder, not original to the CI recipe.

  • 1 skin on salmon fillet, 1 3/4 – 2 pounds (I used two individual skinless fillets)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Chili powder
  • Salt

Place a sheet pan on an oven rack in the lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. If your salmon has skin, make 4 or 5 shallow slashes about an inch apart along the skin side of each piece.  Do not cut into the flesh.

Dry salmon with a paper towel, rub with oil and season with salt, paprika, and chili powder. Reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and remove the HOT baking sheet. Carefully place salmon (skin side down) on your sheet pan. Roast until salmon is still translucent in the thickest part of fillets when cut into with paring knife or when an instant read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the fillets registers 125 degrees, 9 to 13 minutes. Transfer fillets to individual plates or platter.

{Printable Recipe}

Pineapple Avocado Salsa

The Washington Post

  • 4 ounces fresh or canned pineapple, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • Flesh of half a medium avocado, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 scallion, white and light green parts, cut crosswise into thin slices (2 to 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 to 2 limes (1 tablespoon)

Combine the pineapple, avocado, scallion, salt, and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

{Printable Recipe}

Crock Pot Mole Chicken Chili

Crock Pot Mole Chicken Chili

Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution

BAH Note:  My note in the margin says to “reduce adobo and make a double batch”.

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili  powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons Minute tapioca
  • 2 teaspoons minced chili in adobo sauce
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinned

Combine the onions, vegetable oil, chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cloves in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onion softens.  Transfer the onion spice mixture to the crock pot.

While the onion and spices microwave, season the chicken with salt and pepper.

After transferring the onions to the crock pot, stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes with their juices, peanut butter, tapioca, and chipotle.  Add the chicken, cover and cook 4 to 6 hours on low until the chicken is done.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly then shred it into bite sized pieces.

Allow the juices in the crock pot to settle and skim any fat from the surface before adding the chicken back to the pot.

Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

Adapted from Saveur

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Combine the rosemary, garlic, a pinch of kosher salt, and half the oil in a small bowl.  Rub the mixture all over the tenderloin, transfer the tenderloin to a platter or piece of foil, and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Melt the butter and remaining oil over medium heat in an ovenproof frying pan.  Add the tenderloin to the pan and brown on all sides.

Transfer the frying pan to the oven and roast until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium rare or 140 degrees for medium.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven, loosely tent the frying pan with foil, and let the meat rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Flashback Friday – Lost in Translation

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 26 August 2009.

Soup's On

Some families have recipes that they pass down like heirlooms. These treasures connect generations and keep traditions alive. Other families mostly just have the memories of dishes that used to be, like Grandma’s fried chicken or Auntie’s pound cake. That would be my family.

I had all of my grandparents alive growing up. I even had great grandparents. To keep the great grandparents straight, we called them by the name of the street that they used to live on way before I was born…at least that’s the story I was given. So we had Michigan Grandma and Grandpa and Kilbourne Grandma. The great grandparents were already senior citizens by the time I can first remember them. Michigan Grandpa, for example, was born in the late 1800′s. So by the late 1970′s, he had already seen the world change around him. Seriously, he came to America on a boat after the turn of the century. He didn’t speak a word of English and, as the story goes, had a note pinned to his coat with instructions to get him on a train and out to his father who had already moved to this country. Upon arriving at the train station, my great great grandfather was called to let him know his son had arrived. My great grandfather had never seen a telephone before and thought the box through which his father’s voice was coming was the devil. Or so I was told.

I was also told how good the cold cucumber soup was that Michigan Grandma used to make. My aunts and uncles would get together and eventually someone would bring up Michigan Grandma’s cucumber soup, or potato pancakes, or Michigan Grandpa’s homemade booze. As we like to say today, good times. I never got to try the soup or potato pancakes. But we did run across a bottle of Michigan Grandpa’s booze in the cellar after he died. That was one recipe that definitely would not make for a good heirloom.

Now, as an adult, I wanted to try and recreate the cold cucumber soup. My parents were coming up for a visit and I thought it would be great to surprise my dad with it. He had said that my uncle had the recipe. So I asked for it. I was expecting something that resembled an actual recipe. What I got instead was a cryptic shopping list. No quantities. No instructions. It looked like this:

  • cucumbers, grated or chopped
  • salt
  • dill
  • onion, chopped fine
  • sour cream
  • stir ice in really well
  • hard boiled eggs
  • vinegar, if desired

Well now, what was I supposed to do with that? Since I’d never had the original soup, I had no idea what I was working towards. So, I decided to come up with my own interpretation of this family classic. After my dad finished his second bowl of soup, he said it was just as good as Grandma’s. While I may have lost something in the translation, I think this definitely gets filed away under family treasures.

Cold Cucumber Soup

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh dill to taste
  • 1/2 shallot diced
  • 1 cup sour cream, plus more to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

Place cucumbers, shallot, salt, and dill in a food processor. Pulse until cucumbers are nearly pureed. Add sour cream and pulse until creamy and smooth. Add vinegar and additional sour cream to taste and pulse to mix.

{Printable Recipe}