Monday, January 30, 2012 Salsa Rosa

Adapted from an essay by Ben Karlin in Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

It says Salsa Rosa for One but it made quite a lot, about 6 servings. The first one of which I had for dinner tonight and it was delicious.

3Tbsp Olive Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic, Sliced Thin
1 Shallot, Sliced Thin
1 Zucchini, Diced
3 Tomatoes, Diced
2 cans Diced Tomatoes, about 30 oz.
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup Parmigiano Cheese, Grated
1 Box Panna (Cooking Cream*), about 10 oz.
1/2 lb. Pasta (Spaghetti, Cappellini or any long thin Noodle.)
Salt & Pepper, to taste

*Panna is an Italian Cooking Cream, Pheladelphia (as in the Cream Cheese) has a version of this, and even flavored ones as well.

Heat the Olive Oil in a Medium Saucepan over Medium Heat.
Add the Garlic & Shallot and cook, stirring, until it just turns brown.

Add the Zucchini and cook, stirring, until it has a yellowish sheen.

Add the Fresh and Canned Tomatoes.
Lower the heat a bit and cook until all the Tomatoes start breaking down and forming a Sugo (Sauce).

Add the Butter, Cheese and Cream, but don't add it all at once.
Mix it in, so the sauce continues to cook and reduce down. You want to do at least 3 or 4 waves.

Once it's all in, set the heat to Low and cover.

Boil your water and cook your Past al Dente. Remember, it will finish cooking once it's out of the boiling water, so don't leave it in too long.

After you strain the pasta, throw it back into the pot with a nice pour of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Add some Salt & Pepper, then pour the Salsa Rosa over the Pasta.

Mix, but not too roughly, just so it gets slithery with sauce.
Eat it.
Run a marathon the next day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012 a Muffuletta Date

Serves three to five

Olive Salad
1 Medium Carrot, Diced*
1/2 Cup Cauliflower Florets, Diced
1/2 Small Red Bell Pepper, Diced
8 Large Green Olives, Pitted and Diced
1 Cup Medium Green Olives, Pitted and Diced 
1/2 Cup Brine-Cured Black Olives, Pitted and Diced
3/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/8 Cup Brining Juice From Olive Jar
3 Large Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Ribs Celery, Minced
1/8 Cup Capers, Diced*
5 Sprigs Flat-Leaf Parsley, Chopped
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 

*I'm not a fan of Carrots or Capers.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Boil Carrots and Cauliflower until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside.

Roast the Bell Pepper under a broiler until the skin turns black and blistered in spots. Keep turning until the entire exterior is that way. Remove, cool, peel, and remove stem and seeds. Cut into ½ x 1-inch pieces and set aside.

With a knife (not a food processor), coarsely chop the Olives. Transfer the Olives to a large non-metallic bowl. Add all of the remaining Olive Salad ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least a day; a week is better (stored in jars).

1-2 Loaves Muffuletta Bread, Or Other Medium Texture Loaf, 8” Diameter
1/2 lb Lean, Smoked Ham, Thinly Sliced
1/2 lb Genoa Salami, Thinly Sliced
1/4 lb Mortadella (Optional, But Desirable), Thinly Sliced*
1 lb Total Of At Least 2 Of These Cheeses: Mozzarella, Provolone, Or Swiss, Thinly Sliced

*I couldn't find Mortadella so I used Turkey

To make the sandwich: Cut each loaf in half crosswise and spoon Olive Salad with a lot of the marinating Oil onto both halves. Put 3-4 slices (or more) of each of the Meats and Cheeses onto the bottom half. Cover with the top half of the loaf and cut each sandwich into quarters. Figure 1-2 quarters per person.



Tuesday, January 24, 2012 a Turkey Burger Date & Guest Post!

Michaela invited me to guest post! 
So, I sent her my Date Night from last week. 
(CPB's images are on the left in most cases.)
Here's where it's posted: Covered in Mod Podge.

Monday, January 23, 2012 Lemon Rosemary Risotto

6 Cups Low-Salt Chicken Broth
3 1/2 Tbsp Butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Large Shallots, Chopped
2 Cups Arborio Rice
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon, Juiced
4 tsp Lemon Zest
1 Zucchini, Diced

Bring broth to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp Butter with Oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add Shallots and saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add Rice; stir 1 minute. Add Wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. 

Add 1 1/2 cups hot Broth; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining Broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing Broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until Rice is creamy and tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in Cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp Butter. 

Stir in Parsley, Rosemary, Lemon Juice, and Lemon Zest. Season Risotto with Salt and Pepper. Stir in Zucchini. Transfer to bowl and serve.

Saturday, January 21, 2012 Magnetic Chalkboard Craftiness

Mrs. M had a great plan for her New Years Goals. She wanted to put up a list of things to accomplish in 2012. Seeing them would then be additional motivation for doing them and once completed she wanted a way put up pictures of the tasks. They were separated into three categories: Memories (photobooks, care of Blurb), Home (projects around the house) & Travel (places to go and people to see).  My craftiness came into play with the 'how to' of the actual board. I came up with the idea for a magnetic chalkboard after a friend of mine made one that filled the better part of a wall in her place. So here's what we did....

A Lovely Frame
Sheet Metal
Tin Snips (if necessary)
Paint for the Frame (if necessary)
Paint for the Chalkboard
Large White Sidewalk Chalk
Chalk Pens
Damp Cloths

Mrs. M and I found a frame (on the left) at a local shop that fixes up finds from flea markets.

The frame wasn't exactly the color she wanted, they have a tendency to repaint things a lovely seafoam green but it doesn't match everything, so we painted it an off-white with a satin spray paint.

Next was the sheet metal. Standard sizes we found were 12"x18" and 24"x36" the frame was 16"x20". It took a pair of tin snips to cut the sheet metal down. Then we got to painting the metal. We did one coat of just the paint, a chocolate brown, and then two more of the paint & grout, care of Martha Stewart custom color chalkboard paint.

Follow the sanding instructions and then season the board. (I'm not sure if that's the right term but it's like seasoning a cutting board.) The first thing written on the chalkboard will forever remain if you skip this step. Take a large piece of white sidewalk chalk on its side and run it across the board, cover it fully.

Wipe it off once with a dry cloth or paper towel and then again once or twice more with damp cloth. We tested the board with a chalk pen in the corner to make sure it would come off, it took a damp cloth to remove it but it came off cleanly.

We then Velcroed the metal to the back of the frame. It had a lip to take the bulk of the weight, though the metal wasn't really heavy so the Velcro was for stability more than structure. There are plenty of other ways to permanently affix the metal but this allow Mrs. M the flexibility to change the use the frame someday. Just be sure to put the fuzzy part of the velcro on the frame side.

Last step was to write up the goals for the year, Mr. M kindly hung it on the wall and then Mr. M attached a picture with a magnet of the first goal completed, a trip they took last week. Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Once Upon a Recipe 
(The Cookies are exactly the same, the Frosting has been altered.)

For the Cookies:
1 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1½ Cups Pumpkin Puree
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, beat the Butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add The Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg. Beat until thoroughly combined, taking care to scrape the bowl down at least once. Add the Egg and Vanilla, and beat until combined. 

Beat in the Pumpkin. 

Add in the Flour and mix together well. 

Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons onto a cookie sheet. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are just set and have lovely golden brown ridges. 

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the Frosting:
1 (8oz.) Package Cream Cheese, Softened
¼ Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Icing Sugar
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth.
Frost the cookies when cool and enjoy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012 a Turkey Burger with Molasses BBQ Date

Michaela! Thanks for the guest post invite. I hope you get a chance to make these soon, they're wonderful. Chris and I made these yesterday for our long distance date night, he sent me a few of his pictures to add in too. 

We did all of the chopping first and then the order of operations was combining the salad ingredients, cooking and warming the sauce then we mixed and grilled the burgers.  Enjoy!

For the Salad:
1 Limes, Zest and Juiced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cucumber, Chopped
Spinach, Coarsely Chopped

For the Sauce:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Diced
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp Molasses
1 Cans Fire-Roasted Tomatoes (15 ounces)

For the Burger:
Ciabatta Bread
1- 1/3 pounds all-white-meat ground turkey breast (about 1 package)
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Scallions (Green Onions), Finely Chopped
1/4 Bunch of Cilantro, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Limes, Zest and Juiced
Salt & Pepper
1 Packages of Goat Cheese

(Recipe originally from Rachel Ray edited and finagled with JH.)

Place the Chopped Spinach, Cucumber, Sliced Red Onion, the Lime Zest and the Lime Juice in a bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.

The Molasses Barbecue Sauce: In  a medium size sauce pot over medium-high heat and add 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil. Add the Chopped Red Onion and Garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until Onion becomes slightly tender. Add the Vinegar and Molasses, cook for another minute, then add the tomatoes. Bring up to a light bubble and cook for 10-15 minutes. Leave on the stove at a low temp to keep warm.

In a medium size bowl, combine the Ground Turkey, Scallions, Cilantro, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Zest of 1 Lime and one Tbsp of Olive Oil. Score the meat into four equal parts and then form four 1 1/2-inch thick patties. Place a small chunk of Goat Cheese in the middle of each patty. Drizzle with Olive Oil and place on the grill for 6-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Toast the Ciabatta on the Grill or Grill Pan on both sides. To serve, place a piece of Toasted Bread on a plate and top with a couple spoonfuls of the molasses barbecue sauce. Place the Turkey Burger on top of that and then finish it off with the Salad.


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