My Top Ten

Monday, November 30, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Deluxe "adapted from" Giada De Laurentiis' Everyday Italian Cookbook

I made this dish and took it to our Thanksgiving gathering, and it got rave reviews. I did tweek the original recipe, however; I did not make enough changes to it to rightfully claim it as my own. Just for your information, it doesn't take much to make a recipe "yours". All you have to do is make (3) three distinct changes; I'm not talking about reducing the black pepper from 1/2 tsp to 1/4 tsp and increasing the parsley amount or nominal changes like that. Come on, get creative! You must add or replace or even take away to make a new creation. So happy creating! Now, back to the roasted veggie dish: Even though it's not my personal creation, I thought it was still worth sharing. It's perfect for a night when you're going to have company and you want an excellent dish alongside your meat protein that you don't have to worry about taking out of the oven at a specific time. This dish can roast for 40 minutes up to an hour, and it's not going to dry out or burn the vegetables. This will leave you free to tend to your main course and your dinner guests as they arrive. Enjoy!

The key to the success of this recipe, in my opinion, is finely slicing the red onion, zucchini and tomato which lay atop the diced veggies. Also, it's important to dice the the other veggies close to the same size so they are all "done" around the same time.

Coat the following with 3 TBspn olive oil & salt and pepper to taste:
1 potato, peeled & diced
1 sweet potato, peeled & diced
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 red bell pepper; cored, seeded & diced

Pour into a 9X13 baking dish.

Finely sliced, 1/8 inch thick:
1 medium Red Onion (you may not need the entire onion, since you are slicing so finely)
1 small Zucchini (I peeled the zucchini, but only every other strip, leaving half of the skin on)
2 Tomatoes (beefsteak or garden)

Lay the red onion out so as to make a thin layer of onion over the diced veggies, then lay the zucchini over the onion, and finally, lay the tomatoes on top of everything. Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil.

In blender, blend 2 slices whole wheat bread plus 1 TBspn parsely to make fresh bread crumbs.
Spread bread crumbs over tomatoes & grate fresh parmesan reggiano over the bread crumbs.
¥ou can adjust the amount of cheese according to your liking, I probably grated about 1/4 cup.

Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 45 minutes or so.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ginger Cranberry Chutney....perfect for Thanksgiving

This chutney is excellent over turkey, if I do say so myself. I did put some red pepper flakes into my chutney; which gave it a nice little "zing". You could definitely leave the flakes out and still have a plethora of flavor from the ginger & orange. I do need to mention that it's important to sort (discard any yucky ones) and wash your cranberries. Allow me to remind you of Ocean Spray's slogan about their freshly harvested cranberries..."straight from the bog". Here's the definition of bog: wetland with acid, peaty soil, typically dominated by peat moss. Ok, now that I've convinced you to wash your produce well, we can proceed. Lastly, whenever you're using the zest of something, it's really ideal to go organic.

Lish's Cranberry Chutney:

1 bag cranberries; washed

1/2 cup 100% maple syrup

1 apple; peeled, cored & diced

1 orange; zest & juice

2 inch piece of fresh ginger; peeled & grated

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 cup water

In sauce pan over medium heat, pour in maple syrup and cranberries. While the cranberries begin to soften down, peel and chop your apple and grate your fresh ginger. Add this to your cranberries along with the red pepper flakes and water. Zest your orange directly into the chutney and squeeze the juice from the orange into the pan. Bring to a light boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer until everything is melded and the cranberries have broken down. You can help them along by mashing them during this process. Be mindful of your chutney and don't leave it unattended for too long, keep it moving-- especially during the boiling stage. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Presenting......the Scookie!

Yes, I have a new creation to share. I call it the Scookie (which I cannot take credit for, that was my ingenious husband). Scone meets cookie. That's the best way to describe this little treat.
I was going for winter spice cookie, and the "Scookie" was born!

Perfect with a cup of herbal tea! Enjoy:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In bowl, mix dry ingredients together:
2 c flour
1 c oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c craisins (could sub raisins)
1/4 c salted sunflower seeds
2 tsp freshly grated orange peel
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

In 2nd bowl, mix wet ingredients:
1/2 c grapeseed oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c 100% maple syrup
1 egg, beaten

Mix dry ingredients into wet; mixture will be crumbly.
Loosely press into balls and bake for 11-13 minutes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I love my Microplane...

This kitchen tool is seriously amazing. It can do it all, I find myself reaching for my microplane time and time again. Thus, I have brought it before all of you to ponder the wonders of the mircoplane. Perhaps I can encourage you in your culinary skills, or inspire you to go out and get your very own microplane! Or, remind you to dig it up out of your drawer if you already own one. Here's why:

The microplane is extremely versatile. It serves as a very efficient zester, as well as an effortless grater. Let me just run you through some of my very common kitchen scenarios that involve the use of this excellent tool: zesting an entire orange peel (quickly!) for baking up some cranberry orange muffins, grating a hard cheese, such as parmesan reggiano, over a bowl of steamy tomato soup, grating some fresh nutmeg over silky, smooth & seasonal Soy Nog (yum! there's really nothing quite like fresh nutmeg), maybe the zest of a fresh lemon over your foil-baked salmon, and of course chocolate shavings, everything? Hot cocoa, whipped cream, cake, ice cream, my toothbrush. Who doesn't love chocolate shavings?

The stainless steel zester/grater is sturdy enough that you can hold it over a bowl or dish or even lay it on top of your bowl or dish and grate away, directly into your food. Bonus, the classic microplane zester/grater now comes in five fun colors.