"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thai Shrimp with Coconut and Kaffir Lime, Jasmine Rice

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 medium carrots, trimmed and shredded
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste, recipe follows
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Kaffir Lime leaves whole (a good substitute, if you don't have Kaffir lime leaves, is a small bay leaf, zest of half a lime and 1/8 teaspoon of lemon-thyme per leaf needed.  this produces an amazingly close flavor profile)
3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooked jasmine rice, accompaniment
Sprigs fresh cilantro, garnish

In a large wok or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, bell peppers, carrots, and garlic, and stir-fry until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and Kaffir lime leaves, cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stirring, add the fish sauce and sugar, then the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and cilantro.  Remove Kaffir leaves prior to plating.

Serve over jasmine rice, garnished with cilantro sprigs.

Curried Cider-Braised Pork Chops

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 thin boneless pork chops or 2 thick bone-in pork chops
2 cups chopped onions
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet and sauté until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer pork to plate. Add onions, celery and bay leaf to skillet. Sauté until onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Mix in curry powder. Add cider and boil until sauce is slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Return pork and any accumulated juices to skillet. Simmer just until cooked through, about 3 minutes for boneless chops and 5 minutes for bone-in chops. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu April 28th - May 3rd

Curried Cider-Braised Pork Chops
Thyme Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan

Thai Shrimp with Coconut and Kaffir Lime over Jasmine Rice

Corn Pasta with an Eggplant and Roasted Vegetable Ragù
Chopped Salad with Italian Herb Vinaigrette

Black Bean Burgers with Avocado and Sprouts
Arugula Salad with Red Onion and Apples, Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Chicken with Sautéed Wild Mushrooms
Rosemary Red Bliss Potatoes
Green Beans and Shallots

Roasted Vegetable and Smoked Bean Enchiladas
Garden Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing 

"Smorgasbord Night"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lowcountry Catfish with a Maple-Pecan Crust

I learned this recipe from one of the long time cooks when I was working at The Greenbriar in White Shulpur Springs, WV.  The maple syrup and buttermilk marinade makes a tremendous combination with the pecans and fish.  It's especially good when paired with collards, mac 'n cheese, and Hoppin' John.  

Makes 4 servings

2 pounds catfish fillets
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 tablespoons, plus Peanut oil or Vegetable oil

In a food processor grind pecan pieces and bread crumbs together until smooth.  Season with a some salt and pepper. Combine buttermilk and syrup in a shallow bowl, place each the flour and the pecan mixture in separate shallow bowls.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan until shimmering and hot.

Meanwhile, lightly season fish with salt and pepper.  Dredge catfish fillets in flour, then buttermilk mixture. Coat thoroughly with pecan/crumb mixture. Press breadcrumb mixture gently into fish.  Add catfish to oil and cook until golden brown and done in the middle, about 3 minutes a side.  Remove, place on a paper-towel prior to serving on warm plates.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu April 20th - April 26th

Dinner out with Friends

Curried Red Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Basmati Rice with Spring Onions

Mexican Chicken Soup
Warm Tortillas with Salsa Fresco

Leek and Mushroom Frittata
Baby Lettuce Salad with Lemon-Honey Dressing

BBQ Chicken
Roasted Corn Hash
Garden Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

"Smorgasbord Night"

"Steak and Martini Night"

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spinach with Peanut Sauce

1 large bag baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Handful of chopped peanuts

Peanut Sauce:

(1) 1" piece ginger, peeled
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 -1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

Peanut Sauce-
With motor running, drop ginger and garlic clove into a blender or food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and 1/3 cup water and blend, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if needed to thin, until smooth.

DO AHEAD: Peanut sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes, do not brown.  Add spinach and a tablespoon or two of water, cover and wilt the spinach, about 1-2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Plate in a warm serving bowl and drizzle some of the peanut sauce over the top.  Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Vegetable Quinoa with Onion Harissa and Chicken

This is a great dish and reminds me of  the cuisines of North Africa.  You can easily omit the chicken, add more squash and it makes a very satisfying vegetarian meal.  You can also substitute cous cous or rice for the quinoa.  This is a very versatile recipe, experiment with different vegetables, grains, seasonings, have fun with it.

For the Quinoa:
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), minced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
1 cup raisins
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch (generous) of cayenne pepper
1 cup diced seeded plum tomatoes
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups Quinoa, rinsed well and drained

1 pre-cooked Rotisserie Chicken from the market, meat shredded
Lemon wedges

For the Harissa:
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
6 green onions, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced

To make the Quinoa:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large sauce pan oven over low heat. Add leeks and garlic. Cover and cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups stock, turmeric, ginger, cayenne and the quinoa. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring mixture to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.  Quinoa should be soft, tender and seeds are "open".  Mixture will be wet, quinoa holds a lot of liquid, so drain well in a fine sieve.  Return to pan, cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, heat the remainder of the oil over medium high heat.  Add squash, zucchini, and lima beans, season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are crisp tender.  Add shredded chicken and 1/4 cup of chicken stock.  Let cook another 2-3 minutes making sure chicken is reheated. Add raisins, tomatoes, peas, and cilantro.

Fluff quinoa with fork and add squash,chicken mixture to quinoa.   Transfer to large warm platter. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serve, passing Chunky Onion Harissa separately.  Enjoy!

To make the Harissa:

Combine tomato paste, crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in vinegar. Mix in onions and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Stir Harissa well before using.)

Shrimp Fried Rice

This is a really fast and simple preparation.  The key to any stir-fry, is to have all your ingredients prepped so when it's time to cook that's all you are doing.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
12 ounces peeled deveined small shrimp, thawed if frozen
Kosher salt
8 scallions, whites chopped, greens thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger
3 cups cold cooked white rice
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season shrimp with salt and cook, turning once, until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in same skillet; add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Cook until rice is crisp, about 2 minutes. Push rice to one side of skillet; add eggs to other side and cook, stirring and working into rice mixture, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add edamame, peas, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and cooked shrimp. Cook, tossing constantly, until shrimp and vegetables are heated through, about 1 minute. Top with scallion greens.  Serve in warm bowl and Enjoy!

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Red Cabbage

2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds total)
1/4 cup lager
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium red cabbage, cored, cut into 1/2" strips
1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Place pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Whisk lager, soy sauce, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl; pour into bag with pork and seal. Chill, turning occasionally, for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Remove pork from marinade, allowing any excess to drip off (reserve marinade). Cook pork, turning, until browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork registers 140°F, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in another large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage, apple, bay leaves, and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until cabbage is softened, 15-20 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar and toss to combine.
Slice pork and serve with cabbage mixture and sauce.  Enjoy!

Weekly Menu April 13th - 19th

Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Red Cabbage and Apples
Baby Greens with a Grainy Mustard Dressing

Wheat-Free Pasta with Bolognese
Romaine Salad with Garlic Dressing and Anchovies

Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
Mexican Beans and Rice

Shrimp Stir-Fry
Spinach with Peanut Sauce

Turkey Burgers with Avocado and Lime Mayo
Garden Salad
Spicy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Vegetable Quinoa with Onion Harissa and Chicken

Grilled Ribeye Steaks, Herb Butter
Braised Forest Mushrooms
Oven Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
Baked Potatoes