Thursday, February 12, 2015

Forkful Of Simplicity Cookbook.....: Chocolates, Red Wine and Broccoli Raab

Forkful Of Simplicity Cookbook.....: Chocolates, Red Wine and Broccoli Raab: Trust me on this one nothing says I love you like chocolates and  red wine  and garlicky broccoli raab. Not not all together of course but ...

Chocolates, Red Wine and Broccoli Raab

Trust me on this one nothing says I love you like chocolates and red wine and garlicky broccoli raab. Not not all together of course but when paired separately they are perfect. Chocolates and red wine are the classic and perfect match while red wine and broccoli raab creates a masterpiece of flavor.  The bitter broccoli raab paired with the peppery taste of the red wine and a dash of spicy garlic keeps anyone coming back for more.
It is too easy to make this dish and it will make your Valentine's heart, and tummy, flutter with happiness and since you will both be eating together the garlic breath will cancel itself out - trust me on that too!

So grab some simple ingredients, 2 bottles of red wine and a quality box of chocolates and enjoy the evening with the person (or people) you love the most and remember use love as the first ingredient...Happy Valentine's Day!

Red Roni, Red Roni, Red Wine Roni

***Roasted broccoli raab 
16 oz. short cut pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions 
(for a little color add a healthy splash of wine to the cooking water for a purple tinged pasta) 
Meanwhile in a small pan heat the olive oil and red pepper flakes
Season with salt/pepper
Cook on high for 5-8 minutes on high heat
Add wine and cook on high
Strain hot seeds and toss with pasta and broccoli raab
Top with grated Parmesan cheese 

***Roasted Broccoli Raab 
2 Large Heads Broccoli Raab 
Cloves of Garlic (sliced thin)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 
Rinse and dry the top of the broccoli raab 
Carefully cut the broccoli raab above the twist tie and discard the bottom stems 
Separate the broccoli raab evenly among two non-stick cookie sheets
Sprinkle the garlic over the two pans of broccoli raab 
Season with salt/pepper 
Coat with olive oil and toss with your hands 
Place in oven for 15 minutes 
Remove from oven and re-season with a pinch of salt and toss 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Not So New England Shrimp Chowder

All this chatter about the Superbowl champions, the New England Patriots, puts me in the mood for what else...Chowder.  I love soup, that is no secret here, and I also love chowder. Chowder comes in all different types, New EnglandManhattanBermuda Fish Chowder, Southern Illinois Chowder, Corn Chowder and my newest favorite Shrimp Chowder!  My side kick chef found a recipe for this chowder and we decided to make it.  Of course we changed it a little to make it our own and what great changes we made to it.  It is so shrimpy, creamy and hearty.  It totally stands up to my favorite chowder at California Grill on Long Beach Island!  It is simple to make and it tastes even better the next day.  So whip out your soup bowls and dig in to some Chowder or Chowda!

Not So New England Chowder
2 tablespoons butter
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 red onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
2 tablespoons corn starch
16 oz. clam juice
2 cups water
2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh basil (chopped)  
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp (cleaned and devained)
12 oz. frozen corn
2 tablespoon capers

Heat butter in 4-6 quart Dutch oven
Add celery, onion and pepper stir and cook 5 minutes over medium heat
Stir in corn starch to coat
Add clam juice, water, old bay and basil
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat
Add shrimp, corn and capers
Cook 6 minutes till shrimp are pink
Remove from heat
Stir in marscapone cheese
Serve hot with grilled cheese sandwiches  

Friday, January 30, 2015

The deconstructed baked potato...

Let's talk stuffed baked potatoes.  They are good but are they really that good? All of the goodness lays on top and once you get to the middle and the bottom of the spud it is usually dry and tasteless unless of course if you are making a twice baked potato and that is a whole different recipe.  Back to the baked potato...I find the skin to be tough if cooked too long and it just falls flat in flavor.  So how to make it better?  I know how to make it better - deconstruct it and layer the flavors.  Oven roasted, crispy potatoes topped with meat and cheese and more cheese. A nice twist on an old classic and my version is so worth it and can be made as a main dish, an appetizer or a picky food at a party...fantastic food for Super Bowl XLIX!

T's Deconstructed Baked Potato

1 lb. ground beef
8 red bliss potatoes (sliced evenly)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for potatoes
1 large onion (diced)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 bottle beer (I used Yuengling beer)
tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon jalapeno flakes
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 (15.5 oz.) can small white beans (rinsed and drained)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Liberally season sliced potatoes with salt/pepper and garlic powder
Coat with olive oil and toss
Lay seasoned potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan
Bake for 1 hour

Meanwhile heat a medium pan over medium heat
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and onions
Season with salt / pepper
Add 1/4 of the beer to onions and cook for 6-8 minutes
Add the ground beef
Season with cumin and jalapeno flakes
Add additional 1/4 cup of beer
Cook till meat is no longer pink about 10 minutes
Add tomatoes and beans
Re-season with salt/pepper
Toss all ingredients over heat to medium/low heat
Cover to cook for 10 minutes
Stir occasionally
Remove from heat and stir in desired amount of cheese

Remove potatoes from oven
Allow to cool for 2 minutes
Place potatoes in a single layer on an oven proof serving dish
Top with cheese (if desired)
Top with meat mixture
Top with additional desired amount of cheese
Place in oven for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted
Serve hot

Monday, January 27, 2014

Gyoza O Boyza...

Gyoza what is the world is a gyoza... In essence it is the it is the cousin of the wonton.  Goyza is made from a thicker dough than a wonton and it is shaped differently when prepared.  Why all the chatter about the goyza...because I had left over wonton wrappers from the open faced, baked crab rangoons I made last week and in keeping the Asian flare I wanted to make wonton soup.  To the Internet I go and look for recipes.  I find a recipe for gyoza and think alright this sounds good so go with it, but of course not without tweeking it just tad. I make them for dinner and not only did my kitchen smell like The Original No. 1 Chinese Restaurant (which happens to be my favorite Chinese food restaurant in northern New Jersey) but they tasted like I placed an order with No. 1!  So delicious and so easy to make.

So I do a little research about gyoza because that is what I think I made last night and low and behold I get a this new found knowledge about gyoza and wontons.  So the recipe said gyoza but I used wonton wrappers so how is that a gyoza?  No idea, so for all intents and purposes my creation is now known in my kitchen as Gyoza O Boyza It's A Wonton!  Enjoy...

Goyza O Boyza It's AWonton
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups Napa cabbage (chopped)
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (diced)
1/4 cup carrots (chopped)
1/2 lb shrimp (rinsed, peeled and devained)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (10 oz.) package wonton wrappers
1/4 cup water

In a large skillet heat sesame oil over high heat
Mix cabbage, onion, garlic and carrot until limp
Add shrimp and the egg and cook till shrimp is pink and egg is no longer runny
Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool

Fill Wontons:
Take 1/2 teaspoon of cooled mixture and place it in the center of each wonton
Moisten the outer edge of the wonton and fold in half to seal it
Continue until all wontons are filled and sealed

Preheat vegetable oil in the same skillet used to make the wonton mixture
Cook each wonton approximately 1 minute per side or until slightly browned
Place water in the skillet and cover
Allow wonton to steam until the water is gone about 3-5 minutes

Remove from skillet and serve warm with optional dipping sauce

Optional Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Enchilada Perfection...

I was recently in the mood for something fiesta like in flavor.   I was thinking how about enchiladas I have not made them since I first got married - look out 10 years - and back then what did I know about cooking...not too much but I do remember making enchiladas and my husband loved them.  Ok off to the store for the "enchilada sauce".   Of course it is not just the "enchilada sauce" it is this, that and the other 10 things for a total of $53.50 biggie.

So I say how about roasted veggie enchiladas.  Slicing and slicing I go.  Colored bell Peppers, poblano peppers, onions, squash.  Beautiful colors tossed with olive oil to glisten in the oven.

Ok...wait 30 minutes for veggie perfection and they are perfect!

Lets assemble the enchiladas.  I look at the can on the counter and I read the ingredients AGAIN...I cannot stress enough the AGAIN part because in the store I completely, totally and utterly missed the modified corn protein part as well as the monsodium gludimate part...WHAT...I missed that.  Now i am in fiesta feisty MSG no way Jose not in my kitchen mood I think there is no possible way I am pouring chemicals onto my roasty toasty beautiful veggies.  I walk the can over to the donation bag and make a deposit.  Onto plan B.   Fresh cilantro from the fridge into the blender with a little half/half and whir it up.  Well not only does it compliment the colores of the veggies but it is so vibrant and OH SO delish.

Now we can assemble and return to happy fiesta mood. So my apologies go to my husband...sorry for the processed MSG I gave you ten years ago but this dish came out so good you will marry me all over again and totally forget those "other" enchiladas!

1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced long ways)
1 Yellow Pepper (sliced long ways)
3 Small Poblano Peppers (sliced longways)
2 Onions (sliced)
1 Green Zucchini (sliced long ways)
1 Yellow Zucchini (sliced long ways)
Olive oil
1 handful cilantro
2 Tablespoons of Half/Half
6 Flour Tortillas
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
Pam Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
On a baking sheet lay veggies in a single layer
Season veggies with salt/pepper and toss with olive oil
Roast for 30 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes

In the meantime blend half/half and cilantro set aside

Assemble enchiladas
Spray a baking dish with Pam spray
Lay out 6 tortillas
Place a little bit of cheese inside each tortilla
Add veggies to each tortilla
Fold and place seam side down onto baking dish
Top with reserved cilantro sauce
Top with remaining cheese
Bake for 20 minutes till cheese is melted

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Friday, November 8, 2013


I know it I am a flake...I post, post post then nothing absolutely noting out of me for months. Why, why do I keep doing this to you?!? Simple...Life gets crazy! Ever since I added a new little chef to my kitchen last November I get caught up and since we started solid food I am whipping up apples purees, mushing bananas and whirling up the baby bullet with all kinds of concoctions. But this is no reason to leave you out. So here we go again, I will do my best to post, but if it is any consolation when I go into hiding I am still cooking and squirreling away recipes to share with you so you are never far from my mind! So what do I have for you will I entice you to return to reading my blog and following me again...BACON...that's right BACON. Bacon gets everyone's attention and put us all in a good mood. So now that you may have forgiven my flakiness I have the most amazing, irresistible, delicious, mouth watering, serious Mac & Cheese you have ever eaten in your entire life. Forget about your favorite Mac & Cheese it is a Mac & Cheese of the past this is the Mac & Cheese of your future. But wait didn't I mention something about Bacon?!? That is correct, I have added bacon to this Mac & Cheese. There our relationship is now fixed and you will not even remember I ever left the blogging world...Enjoy!
8 oz. elbow macaroni
8 strips of bacon
1/2 cup white onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 Large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
8 oz. freshly grated smoked white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons white truffle oil

In a medium pan over medium heat cook bacon till crispy
Remove from pan with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined dish and blot
Crumble when cooled and set aside
In the same pan add onion and cook for 5 minutes
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
Remove from heat Bring a large pot of salted water for the pasta to a boil and cook according to directions
In a separate bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, egg, salt/pepper and cayenne
Once the pasta is cooked and drained immediately stir in evaporated milk mixture until combined
Take the pasta and add to the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce comes to a simmer
Remove from heat stir in cheeses
Mix well to incorporate
Gently stir in truffle oil and half of the crumbled bacon
Top with remaining bacon serve immediately
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