Archive for December, 2009

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Oven Roasted Potatoes

December 30, 2009

This is a staple side dish in my family.  It’s quick and you can use whatever spice combination you have on hand from salt, pepper and garlic powder to Italian spices or whatever you like!  If you were making a roast, you can also throw the potatoes in that baking dish to cook in the extra juices.

You will need:

  • 1 small bag or box of red bliss potatoes
  • 3 T olive oil
  • Desired spice mix (I used 1 t oregano, 1 t parsley, 2 t garlic powder)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you…

  1. Cut potatoes into small chunks and place in bowl with cold water to remove some starch.  Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, then drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Add potatoes to 9 x 13 baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with seasoning.  Toss.
  4. Bake about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  5. They are done when cooked through and crispy on the outside.
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Curried Vegetable Couscous

December 29, 2009

Couscous is a great grain; it’s ready in 5 minutes after sitting in a little bit of hot water AND you can dress it up in all sorts of ways.  This dish was a big hit while I was home.  It is great paired with the lamb köfte recipe from yesterday!

You will need:

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced (I used a couple handfuls of baby carrots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 2 t cumin
  • 13 3/4 oz. can broth (reduced-sodium and low fat chicken or veggie)
  • 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed several times
  • 1/4 c raisins
  • 2 T mango chutney
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 2 t fresh ginger, grated (about 2-3 inches)
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c couscous
  • 3 T chopped fresh parsley

Then you:

  1. Heat about 2 T oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add the onion and carrots; cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, curry powder, and cumin; cook for 1 mind to mix.
  4. Add the broth, chickpeas, raisins, chutney, vinegar, ginger, and salt.  Bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in the couscous, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes until the couscous is tender.
  6. Stir in the parsley and serve!

NOTE:  When grating the ginger, cut off the skin first!

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Lamb Köfte

December 28, 2009

I had an urge to try this when I saw a variation on this recipe in Bon Appétit this month.  It was delicious and juicy.  I served it with a curried vegetable couscous and antipasti salad (artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, feta, romaine and vinaigrette), but it would be just as good with some pita.  I’m also including a quick yogurt sauce that taste great too!

You will need:

  • 2 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 c fresh mint, minced
  • 1/4 c onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T paprika
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • 2 large onions, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Then you:

  1. Mix the lamb with the mint, onion, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
  2. Roll into small patties about 3-inches in diameter. (You could make them more like meatballs or burgers…depending on how you want to serve them!).
  3. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot.  Add patties and brown on each side until just cooked through.
  4. Line a baking sheet with sides with tinfoil.  Preheat oven to 275.  As patties finish, use baking sheet in oven to keep them warm.
  5. After patties are cooked, add onion slices to the remaining oil and juices.  Cook until just carmelizing over low heat.  Add to cooked patties.

Yogurt Sauce!!

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 c low-fat greek yogurt
  • 3 T tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 t salt

Then you:

  1. Mix together; chill and serve!
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Drunken Crab

December 27, 2009

A couple of days before I drove home for Christmas, my momm called all excited.  She’d found king crab legs on sale at the local market and bought nearly 4 pounds of them.  We boiled them in this delicious mixture for Christmas dinner and served them up with garlic butter.  It turned out much better than anyone expected!  Note to the reader:  use the biggest stockpot you’ve got.  Ours was small enough that I had to crack the legs into smaller pieces and shift them around during cooking so everyone got some time in the hot broth!

You will need:

  • 4 lbs king crab legs
  • 6 bottles amber ale (we used Dos Equis)
  • 5 lemons, juiced
  • 2 heads of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter

Then you…

  1. Combine ale, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 heads of the garlic in a large stockpot.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the crab legs, cover and boil for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Melt the butter with remaining garlic.
  4. Strain the crab legs and serve hot with the drawn butter!

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Bagels

December 26, 2009

Nothing beats a good bagel.  Nothing.  Over the summer I tried my hand at making my own, and I had a blast.  It was a fun excuse to have people over for brunch and, while it takes a little bit of advance planning, the overall process is rather easy.  You just need to allow for all of the separate rising times.  It had been awhile, but having them on Christmas morning reminded me of just how simple and tasty these can be!  My brother was psyched, because he got to turn his bagel into a mobius strip after having read about it online.  It was kind of complicated, but resulted in way more surface area for creamy cheese!

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 t yeast
  • 7 3/4 c flour
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • 2 3/4 t salt
  • 1 T malt syrip
  • 1 T baking soda
  • Cornmeal

Then you…

  1. Stir 1 t yeast into 4 c flour in a very large mixing bowl.  Add the water and stir until well mixed.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for two hours.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and stir in additional 1/2 t yeast to the sponge mixture from earlier.  Add 3 c flour, the malt syrup, and the salt to the bowl.  Mix until all of the ingredients form a ball.
  3. Knead dough for 10 minutes, working in remaining 3/4 c flour.  The dough will be a little stiffer and drier than normal.
  4. Immediately after kneading, split the dough into a dozen same-size pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and set aside.  Cover them with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. To shape the bagels, punch your thumb through the center of each roll.  Rotate the dough, working it so that the bagel is as even in width as possible.
  6. Place the shaped bagels on an oiled sheet pan with 1-2 inches between each bagel.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 20 minutes.
  7. Refrigerate bagels overnight.
  8. Preheat oven to 500.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, including the baking soda.  Sprinkle cookie sheet with cornmeal.
  9. When the water is boiling, drop bagels in — boil for 1 minute on each side.  Remove from pan with slotted spoon and place on cornmeal-lined cookie sheet.
  10. Immediately after removing from water, top with desired toppings (sesame or caraway seeds; cinnamon sugar; etc.)
  11. Bake for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to 450 and bake 5 minutes longer until bagels begin to turn golden.
  12. Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for as long as you can resist before cutting and topping with cream cheese and other delectables!

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Norwegian Nut Crescents

December 26, 2009

These cookies are another family holiday tradition.  The recipe came down through my mom’s mom.  They are pretty tasty, especially if you like pecans.  Depending on how large you make them, the recipe can make 6 to 8 dozen cookies.

You will need:

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Then you…

  1. Grease cookie sheet.  Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugar and the salt until well mixed.
  3. Add flour, a little at a time, stirring thoroughly.
  4. Add vanilla and pecans.  Work together with fingers until the mixture holds together.
  5. Take about 1 heaping teaspoon of dough at a time; roll lightly in palm to form finger-like strip.
  6. Gently curve into crescents.
  7. Bake on greased cookie sheet 12-15 minutes, or until starting to golden up.
  8. After cookies are baked, roll them in powdered sugar to coat.  Place on brown paper bag to cool.
  9. Store between layers of waxed paper.

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Pesto Pine Bread

December 25, 2009

My friends joke about me and Betty Crocker…usually I have to laugh, but this recipe actually comes from a Betty Crocker Christmas cookbook.  AND it is mighty delicious.  You only need half of the dough below.  The other half can be shaped into a loaf and baked at 350 for about 45 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

For the dough:

  • 5 c flour
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 pkg yeast
  • 1 t salt
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1/3 c margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t garlic powder
  • 2 t parsley

Then you:

  1. Combine 1 1/2 c of the flour, the sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Heat milk, water and margarine until warm (105 to 110 degrees); gradually stir into flour mixture.  Beat until well mixed.
  3. Add eggs and 1/2 c more flour.  Beat until well mixed.
  4. Stir in remaining flour until a stiff dough forms.
  5. Grease large bowl.  Roll dough ball to grease all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled.
  6. Punch down and cut in half.

For the Pesto Pine Bread, you will also need:

  • 1/2 of the dough above
  • About 1/2 c of pesto
  • A large handful of pinenuts
  • A large handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Then you…

1.  Grease a large cookie sheet.  Roll dough into 15 x 10 inch rectangle on lightly floured surface.
2.  Spread pest over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges.  Roll up tightly (like a jelly roll), beginning at 15-inch side.  Pinch edges of dough into roll to seal.  Stretch and shape until even.
3.  Cut lengthwise in half.  Turn strips filling sides up.
4.  Cut each half of the log according to the photo below (2 short triangles — one on each end, a 5 inch piece, a 6 inch piece, and a 7 inch piece).

5.  Shape into tree form on cookie sheet; 5-inch pieces at top, then 6, then 7, and then the two small triangle sets.
6.  Sprinkle with pine nuts. Cover and let rise in warm place about 25 minutes or until double.
7.  Heat oven to 350.  Bake 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake about 5 minutes more, or until golden brown.
8.  Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack.  Serve warm or cool.

It’s great, because the bread just pulls apart as you want some!

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