Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sweet Chili Chicken

I love Thai dishes, so I was so happy when I stumbled across this simple recipe. It's slightly spicy and sweet and all around yummy. And, guess what? It uses more Tinkerbell peppers. I'm telling you, I'm gonna have to grow them myself next year with how much I'm going to use them.

Sweet Chili Chicken
Originally found at Blue Apron

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
6 ounces Tinkerbell peppers, diced
2 scallions, sliced and separated into white and green parts
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup jasmine rice, cooked

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high until hot. Add chicken and cook 4-6 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Add garlic, ginger, peppers, and white bottoms of scallions. Cook until vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add sweet chili sauce, ponzu sauce, and water. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced in volume, approximately 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.

My Notes:
The original recipe called for green beans, but mine went bad before I could use them, so I just left them out. Feel free to add other veggies. Broccoli would work well, as would zucchini, squash, asparagus, etc. Have fun with it!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Brown Butter Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of my guilty pleasures--it features in far too many of my recipes. I need to go ahead and get some more from the store. I love it in soups, tossed with a nice and flavorful sauce, or as a quick snack with pesto. I'm not a huge fan of it in tomato sauce, since I was first introduced to it with pesto, and it seemed wrong, somehow, to switch to a tomato based sauce. So, I was quite excited when this recipe floated around.

Brown Butter Gnocchi
Originally found at Blue Apron

2 Tbsp butter
1 yellow summer squash, medium diced
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
1 lemon
10 ounces gnocchi
2 Tbsp creme fraiche
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15-30 seconds, until the button foams, then continue cooking, swirling the pan consistently, 2-3 minutes, until the butter is deep golden brown and nutty. Add squash and cook until softened. Add almonds and cook until fragrant. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the gnocchi. Cook untlt he gnocchi float, then drain thoroughly. Add gnocchi and creme fraiche to the pain of squash. Cook and stir until combined and slightly thickened. Garnish with cheese.

My Notes:
Browned butter is not something terribly easy to do, so be careful. It can burn easily. It's really the milk solids in the butter that you are browning. It's worth it, I promise. This comes out very nutty and sharp tasting. It's delightful and a nice way to add some veggies to my typical pasta dishes. I'm working on it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sweet Corn and Tinkerbell Pepper Pizza

I've been using Tinkerbell peppers for a while without knowing it. I just found them a cheaper substitute for red and orange bell peppers, since those are so. expensive. Unless I happen to catch them on sale. Which I usually don't. They seem to be a going theme with Blue Apron recently, as they are featured in several recipes across several weeks. Not that I'm complaining... it's nice to have something that can legitimately be used as a staple. Maybe next year I'll grow my own :)

Sweet Corn and Tinkerbell Pepper Pizza
Originally found at Blue Apron

Olive oil
3-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb plain pizza dough
3 ounces fontina cheese, small diced
3 ounces tinkerbell peppers, top and rind removed and sliced
1 ear corn, kernnels removed from cob
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. In a small pot, heat olive oil (2-3 tsp) on medium high heat until hot. Add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Add tomato sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly oil sheet pain or pizza stone. Gently stretch and roll dough into 1/4 inch thickeness. Rub the dough into the pan to coat in oil. Evenly spread sauce onto the pizza. Top with cheese, peppers, and corn. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until crust is light brown and cheese is melted. Allow to rest for 2 minutes, then serve.

My Notes:
You can buy premade pizza dough at your favorite pizza shop, or you can make your own, whatever suits your fancy the best. I fell in love with this recipe. Seriously. I'm pretty sure I ate the whole pizza, by myself, in a 24 hour pizza. One of the best pizzas I've ever had, and slightly creative in the ingredients for the toppings. Plus, you know, vegetarian.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Lentil Bolognese

Still going through the archives and found this one hanging out on my bookcase in my room. This one I legimately made months ago (I think I got it almost a year ago, actually). I'm shocked that I haven't posted it before, honestly. It is a very hearty dish that is filled with flavor. I was a little bit suspicious with the lack of meat, but the lentils actually substitute very well.

As a plus, I got a bunch of extra rosemary, so I have a nice little jar of olive oil that is being infused with rosemary sitting on my countertop. I can't wait to use it again.

This dish uses the typical base for most common soups and dishes: carrots, celery, and onions. At one point, I was making so many of these dishes that I just bought a bunch of each, chopped them all up, and froze them in individual portion sizes. Unfortunately, my freezer door got left open when I went out of town a couple of weekends ago, so I lost most of the things in my freezer. So, I have to start from scratch again with my food stores. Sadness.

In other news, I'm in my last year of training (for now)! It's been a long road, with crazy long hours and lots of missed sleep and not nearly enough time for me to actually explore my interests. This year, I will be working much harder while I'm at work, but will overall be working less. I'm excited to have some of my weekends back.

Lentil Bolognese
Originally found at Blue Apron

1 bunch rosemary, leaves removed from stems and stems discarded
3/4 cup green lentils
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup verjus rouge*
1 cup water
6 ounces fresh pasta*
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook 16-18 minutes, until al dente (slightly firm to the bite). Drain and set aside. Refill the pot with salted water and bring the water to boiling.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large, high sided pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the rosemary leaves, cook 30 seconds to 1 minute, until crispy and fragrant. Remove the rosemary using a slotted spoon or spatula to a paper-towel lined pan. Add garlic, carrots, celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant. Add tomato paste. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until dark red and fragrant. Add lentils, verjus, and water. Simmer 10-12 minutes, until thick and saucy.

While the sauce cooks, add pasta to the pot of boiling water, stirring to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Cook 9-11 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, and drain thoroughly. Add the pasta to the sauce, and add water as needed to thin the sauce enough to coat the pasta. Garnish with fried rosemary.

My Notes:
Verjus rouge is a juice made from unripe grapes. If you cannot easily find it, a good red wine or red wine vinegar can be substituted, but you'll need to adjust it to taste.

For the pasta, fettucini was the original recommendation for this recipe, but any long noodle should do fine. You could also use short noodles (macaroni, etc), as you would any meat sauce, but it will obviously not hold the sauce as well.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Quinoa and Black Bean Enchiladas

I am way behind on my recipes. I have a bunch of photos stored away and a bunch of recipe cards just waiting to be typed up. I'm working on it now that I have a little bit of time to breathe. This recipe I actually made months ago and enjoyed it, and I just found the recipe card while I was cleaning up my kitchen, so I figured it was time to type it up and post it. I'm sure I have a photo somewhere, but I'm not sure where at the moment, so you get a photoless entry for now.

I'm really fascinated with tomatillos now. Which is probably a good thing, since evidently, one of my co-workers has a giant tomatillo plant that is making so much fruit he isn't sure what to do with it all. This recipe calls for them to be roasted first. I had an interesting experience with trying to chop them afterwards, because they just burst apart. So while the recipe calls for them to be chopped, I more like mashed them. The end result was essentially the same, I think.

When I've made salsa verde in the past, it hasn't come out right, but I do think it complements this dish well and adds some to the flavor. I like a little extra spice (though nothing compared to my Asian and Indian friends), so I used a whole Poblano and didn't blink an eye about having some seeds in there. There was nice heat.

Quinoa and Black Bean Enchiladas
Originally found at Blue Apron

1/2 cup quinoa*
4 large tomatillos, husked
1 Poblano pepper
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp water
2 limes
1 1/4 cup cooked black beans (or 1 can), rinsed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chile powder*
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4-6 tortillas
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 475F. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Rinse the quinoa under cold water, then add to boiling water. Cook 16-18 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Place tomatillos and Poblano pepper on sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roat 10-12 minutes, until browned and softened. When cool enough to handle, finely chop both the pepper and the tomatillos.

To prepare the salsa verde, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion, and cook 2-3 minutes until softened. Add water, the chopped tomatillos, and the chopped pepper (to taste). Cook 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of 1/2 lime.

To the bowl of quinoa, add the beans, all spices, and the juice of 1 lime. Drizzle with olive oil and stir to combine. Spread about 1/2 cup of the filling into the bottom of a baking dish. Spoon 1/4-1/2 cup of filling into each tortilla, roll tightly, then place seam down into the baking dish in a single layer. Pour the salsa verde over the enchiladas and top with cheese. Bake 13-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Garnish with remaining lime.

My Notes:
*Red quinoa was initially used in this recipe, and it does add some nice color to the dish. But I imagine just about any quinoa would work in a pinch. For additional flavor, try Chipotle or Ancho chile powder.

This dish was a little on the dry side, but I'm not entirely sure what I can add to the filling to make it more moist. Maybe more cheese? I also had way too much filling for the 4 tortillas that were originally part of this recipe, which is why I increased the number of tortillas compared to the original recipe.
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