Sunday, October 18, 2009

Corn & Ham Chowder for Soup Swap!!

Serves 4 (easily doubled, tripled, etc.) The creamed corn adds a great amount of richness to this dish, eliminating the need for cream. Lighter but still yummy!!

1 small onion
2 Stalks celery plus 1/4 cup celery leaves
2 tbls. butter
2 cups milk
1 can (14 3/4 oz.) creamed corn
1 cup chicken broth (you could use the fat-free, reduced-sodium, organic, too expensive type but I don't recommend it)
1 bay leaf
1 fully cooked ham steak (8 oz)
1 (10 oz.) package frozen corn
Salt and black pepper to taste
10 shakes your favorite Hot Sauce

Coarsely chop the onion and celery stalks.

In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the chopped onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Stir in the milk, creamed corn, chicken broth, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim and dice the ham into 1/2-inch chunks. Barely chop the celery leaves.

Add the ham, celery leaves, and frozen corn to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes, until heated through. Season with salt, black pepper and hot sauce.

Tipsy Shrimp WIth Dried Tomato Aioli

A new twist on Shrimp Cocktail. We put Tequila in everything!

Serves 8
1 lb Large Shrimp
3/4 cup Tequila
3/4 cup Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 tbs Finely Chopped Shallots
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1 tbs Dijon Mustard

1. Cook shrimp in 4 cups of lightly salted water in large saucepan for 1-2 minutes or until shrimp turns pink, stirring once.
2. Rinse shrimp under cold water; drain, peel and devein.
3. Combine tequila, lime juice, olive oil, shallots and 2 cloves of garlic in a large baggie.
4. Add shrimp to baggie and marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
5. Pour boiling water over the dried tomatoes; let stand for 30 minutes and drain.
6. Process the tomatoes in food processor until pureed.
7. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice, 4 cloves of garlic and dijon mustard to processor.
8. Process with a few on/off turns until well mixed.
9. Drain the marinade from the shrimp and serve with the tomato aioli.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anna's All Afternoon Baked Ziti

It doesn't really take all afternoon but it tastes like it did. This is an award winning recipe from my Allentown, PA days.

1 lb Ground Chuck
1/2 lb Lean Ground Pork
1/3 cup Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1 Egg
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Medium Eggplant, pared and diced (under 1 lb)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 Large Can (35 oz) Italian Plum Tomatoes (Undrained)
1 Can (6 oz) Tomato Paste
1 Clove Garlic, Pressed
1 tsp Sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil leaves
1/4 tsp oregano leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbls salt
4-6 quarts Boiling Water
1 lb Ziti
1 lb Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb Mozzarella Cheese, sliced

1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter, melted
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Salt
Dash Pepper
1 tbls Minced Onion

1. Have butcher grind chuck and pork together to mix well and then separate into 1lb and 1/s lb portions.
2. Mix together 1 lb of meat with bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, egg, and 1 tbs Parmesan cheese.
3. Shape into 1/2 inch meat balls and set aside.
4. In large saucepan, saute eggplant in oil until lightly browned, adding more oil is necessary and remove eggplant.
5. In same pan, brown meat balls and remove.
6. Brown remaining 1/2 lb meat and add tomatoes, paste, garlic, sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, basil, oregano and red pepper.
7. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.
8. Uncover and simmer for another 3o minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Add eggplant and meatballs.
10. Meanwhile, add 2 tbls. salt to rapidly boiling water and cook pasta until al dente.
11. While pasta is boiling, prepare sauce. In saute pan, blend flour with melted butter until smooth, gradually stir in milk, salt, pepper and minced onion. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally for about a minute.
12. After draining pasta, make a layer of the ziti in a buttered 5 quart baking dish; add half of tomato-eggplant-meat sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese; Top with Ricotta, Mozzarella slices and white sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
13. Add remaining ziti and tomato-eggplant-meat sauce and another sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
14. Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until bubbling hot.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moroccan Pasta

This tasty pasta dish is quite simple and brings together some great Moroccan flavors like honey, lemon, paprika and olives. While this recipe calls for chicken, you can substitute pork or omit the meat completely for a vegetarian dish. (picture is not the food item. I forgot to take a picture).

Serves 4
1 pound of chicken breast cut in 1 inch cubes
1 cup of kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup pine nuts
8 ounces fusilli, corkscrew or tube like pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Sauce Ingredients
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons of finely minced ginger
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped mint
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cornstarch
12 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1. In a a bowl combine all ingredients for the sauce, stir well and then set aside in the refrigerator.

1. Toast the pine nuts in a preheated skillet until golden brown taking care not to burn. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. When pasta is al dente remove from heat and drain.

3. Cook chicken in skillet until golden brown and cooked through.

4. Add pasta, olives, pine nuts, parsley and sauce. Stir and toss until evenly combined and well heated.

5. Serve.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Places We Like: High Point Cafe

The High Point Cafe is located in the West Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. There are two locations. One at 602 Carpenter Lane and another at the Allen's Lane Train Station on the Septa R8 Line.

So why do we like it?
1. Great Coffee
2. Scrumptious pastries (I am told they have delicious crepes, but haven't been able to pass up the pastries that are some of the best I've tasted)
3. Smiling faces from a friendly staff - Great Ownership (Meg)
4. Rotating Art Gallery with works for sale.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood, stop in for a cup a coffee and some great fresh pastries (or crepes). They are located directly across from the Weaver's Way outdoor Farmer's Market that takes place on Thursdays.

The are open daily from 7am to 7pm.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Watermelon Margarita Salad

This is an updated version of the old "bottle of vodka in a watermelon". We twist the tasty treat with the flavors of a Margarita; Tequilla, Lime and Salt.

1 Large Oblong Watermelon that sits as flat as possible
1/2 cup Tequila (Use something a step above the well if you know what I mean)
1 Tbs Kosher Salt
1 Lime

Here comes the challenge...You need the longest serrated knife you own. If you fancy yourself artistic you can cut the watermelon into a myriad of shapes. Most commenly, people do Baskets. I am not that good with my knife (which is why the picture is not of the finished product, but heck it tasted good.)

So, cut the watermelon into some semblance of a 1/2 bowl shape. Using a melon baller, scoop out all of the watermelon and reserve in a bowl. Put empty watermelon bowl in the freezer. Add Tequila to watermelon balls and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.

Remove bowl from freezer, add watermelon balls, salt and fresh squeezed lime.

Hard to tell how many this serves as usually one or two people just fall in love and eat it all (and sometimes drink the juice out of the bottom)!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Carmalized Chimay Onion Grilled Cheese

We are obsessed with Grilled Cheese! We even considered, at one point, when we young and foolish, about opening a restaurant dedicated to it "Homage to Fromage". Enjoy!! There will be lot's more melty cheese in your future. Stay tooned...
Only makes 2 sandwiches (Hide them from your kids, neighbors, etc. or buy double the ingredients...they are that good...)
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 white onions
1 shallot
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaf
1 cup Chimay Blue beer
1 tsp. Chicken stock
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. white pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbs. Grey Poupon Country Dijon mustard
1/8 cup water
4 slices of sourdough bread
2 Tbs. Butter
1 lbs. Gruyere cheese
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped (for garnish)
1. Place a saucepan on medium heat and add butter and oil. Peel and slice your onions into circle slices. Peel shallot and slice thin. Add both to the pan, stir and sweat and simmer down for 8-10 minutes.
2. Season the onions with salt & pepper, thyme and bay leaves keep them on medium heat. Once the onions have turned translucent and cooked down by nearly half, add the cup of beer and stock. Turn heat down to a simmer. Add onion powder, white pepper and salt and black pepper to taste.
3. You want the onion mixture to be wet but not runny. Remove the mixture from the pan, set onions aside. Add 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard and dash of water and let this cook off scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spool to get the yummy grilled bits into your sauce. Let this cool and later spoon over the finished dish.
4. Shred your Gruyere cheese and set aside.
5. Choose a pan that is wide enough to fit two sandwiches. Place skillet on medium-high heat until thoroughly hot. Turn down to medium and begin grilling.
6. Butter one side of all the slices of bread. Top two of the slices with cheese and place them butter side down in the hot pan. It should sizzle but not too explosively. Add 1/2 cup of onion mixture to the cheese. Top both with the second slice of bread and press down carefully.
7. Cook until bread is golden brown. Flip it over and press down. Repeat until cheese is yummy and oozy.
8. Remove both sandwiches from heat. Let sit for 1-2 minutes under a metal colander, to let the cheese settle and gel without cooling too much. Then slice and serve. Garnish with a slather of the reduced sauce and a pinch of parsley.