Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bowtie Pasta with Corn, Fresh Herbs, and Parmesan

Just so happens that my husband's work buddy grows corn and we were lucky enough to get two dozen ears. Of course you can only eat so much corn on the cob, so I was looking for other ways to use up my bounty. This Bowtie Pasta with Corn, Fresh Herbs, and Parmesan is perfect for a quick weeknight meal and also helps me use up my corn bounty!

Kid-friendly bowtie pasta with corn, cream, cheese, a good amount of garlic, and fresh herbs is sure to be a hit at any dinner table. I made a few changes to Curtis' original recipe. I love the combination of corn and basil, so I used the rest of my fresh basil in place of thyme.  I also had some fresh corn stock on hand so I subbed the corn stock for white wine. Finally, I decided to amp up the flavor with some red pepper flakes and also added some Herbs de Provence.

The final result was quite tasty and a perfect kid-friendly meal.  Naturally the dish becomes more flavorful as time allows and is even better the next day! I would definitely make this again!

Yummy flavor base for the creamy corn sauce!
Bowtie Pasta with Corn, Thyme, and Parmesan
Adapted from What's For Dinner
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

1 pound bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine, or corn stock
1 spring of fresh basil
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 4 ears)
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
Herbes de Provence, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook, stirring often to prevent sticking together, for about 7 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.

Meanwhile,heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, then add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about medium high, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters.

Add the corn and cream and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the corn is hot. Keep the sauce warm over very low heat. (The sauce may seem thin at this point, but it will thicken up when combined with the pasta.)

Scoop out and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the corn sauce and toss to coat. Add enough of the reserved pasta water to adjust the sauce to the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I found that I had to add a little more salt than I usually do.)

Divide the pasta among four pasta bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, chives, and pepper and serve.

Theme: Express Meals!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Roast Chicken Sandwich with Giardiniera

When the temperatures hover at 100 degrees, and the humidity is suffocating, there is NO WAY I am going near a stove! That's when I break out recipes that require NO COOKING.  This means lots of salads, fruit, smoothies, gazpacho, and of course...sandwiches.

Now that school is back in session, sandwiches are a lunchbox staple. I like to pack something light and easy to eat.  I always welcome a new sandwich recipe to help me change things up.  This Roast Chicken Sandwich with Giardiniera is just the thing.

The recipe calls for a semolina twist bread, but you an use any hearty bread. I bought a small Pugliese loaf and cut it into thick slices. Instead of roasting a chicken I bought one of my favorite grocery store staples, a rotisserie chicken. I sliced the chicken breast into sandwich like slices. Instead of making my own aioli I went fuss-free and used regular mayo. I also changed up the recipe and used an olive muffalata spread in place of the giardiniera. Even with all my lazy modifications, this was a crazy good sandwich.

This is a sandwich that I will pack in my lunchbox and look forward to eating.  The briney flavors of the olive spread really perk things up and take it to another level. A quick, tasty sandwich that is satisfying while keeping you light on your toes and ready for whatever comes next!

Roast Chicken Sandwich with Giardiniera
Adapted from Good Food, Good Life
Serves 4

1/2 storebought rotisserie chicken
 1 (16oz.) jar giardiniera, drained
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup aioli or mayo
8 slices of thick bread
 lettuce leaves

Note: I used an olive muffalata spread from jar and opted for regular mayo in place of making aioli.

Using your knife, cut the chicken from the carcass as you wish. I chose to cut the chicken breast into slices that fit the shape of my bread. 

Rinse the giardiniera and drain well on paper towels. In a food processor, pulse the giardiniera, parsley, and oil until the giardiniera is coarsely chopped. (I used an olive muffalata spread and did not put it in the food processor. Again, the lazy thing.)

Spread the aioli, or mayo on both sides of the bread.  Top with lettuce, chicken, salt and pepper, and giardiniera (or olive muffalata).  Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tagliata {Italian Steak Salad}

Tagliata, otherwise known as Italian Steak Salad, is an ultimately satisfying salad with rich and luxurious filet, fresh leafy greens, the bright pop of cherry tomatoes, and cheesy curls of Parmesan  tossed in a light and refreshing lemony garlic dressing. It's quite simply a flavor explosion!

This time of year I like to make things that either require no cooking or very minimal cooking. I find it way too hot to be standing over a stove stirring away. Here you simply sear the steaks on both sides and you're all set. The rest is a matter of assembling ingredients.

This is a delightful salad that hits all the right notes and is pleasing on both the eyes, and taste buds. You simply can't go wrong with this one!

Tagliata {Italian Steak Salad}
Adapted from A Change of Appetite
by Diana Henry
Serves 4

2 (10oz tenderloin steaks), fat removed
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
4 cups mixed greens of your choosing
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 strip of lemon zest, plus juice of 1/2 lemon
1-1&1/2 ounce of Parmesan, shaved

You need to work fast for this recipe. Get your steaks to room temperature. Bash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and put the salad greens in a wide, shallow bow.

Heat a heavy skillet until really hot, add a thin film of regular olive oil, and heat until the oil is just beginning to smoke. Season the steaks all over and saute for about 2 and a half minutes in total, turning every 20 seconds so they cook evenly. Put the steaks on a warm plate, cover with foil, and let rest.

There won't be much oil in the pan, but whatever there is, pour it out. Don't wipe the pan: there's flavor in it. Add the extra virgin oil to the pan and set it over medium heat. Thrown in the garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest. Let the flavorings meld in the oil for three minutes, then add the lemon juice.

Cut the steaks into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Strain half the dressing in the pan through a strainer onto the greens in the bowl. Spread the steak and Parmesan over the greens, too, then strain the rest of the dressing over the top. Sprinkle more salt over the whole dish along with a good grinding of black pepper and serve immediately.

Monthly Featured Chef: Diana Henry

Every Sunday @ Kahakai Kitchen

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fettuccine with Garlic Shrimp and Homemade Pesto

My 9 year old son is a good boy, but he sure does leave a trail of destruction wherever he goes.  Yesterday, for instance, he parked his bike right next to my herb garden.  Of course he was in a hurry  and the bike immediately fell over onto my gorgeous basil plant, breaking all the stems.

All the basil had to be harvested so I made a big batch of Curtis' homemade pesto.  Since this pesto is the last of my fresh basil  I was rather picky about how I was going to use it.  Then I remembered Curtis' recipe for this Fettuccine with Garlic Shrimp and Homemade Pesto and I smiled from ear to ear. This was one of the first recipes that called to me when I opened my copy of Curtis' Relaxed Cooking (except I must confess that making homemade pesto isn't so relaxed).

Picture perfect on the plate this pasta dish is full of color, flavor, texture, and deliciousness. The pesto is bright and fresh, the shrimp are succulent and garlicky, and the pasta is the ultimate in comforting.
It's the perfect bowl of pasta to soothe your basil blues and your back-to-school blues.

Fettuccine with Garlic Shrimp and Homemade Pesto
Adapted from Relaxed Cooking
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

1-1/2 cups (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

12 cherry tomatoes on the vine
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
9 oz. fettuccine
2 garlic cloves, minced
20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Parmesan shavings, for garnish

To Make The Pesto:  Grind the basil, pine nuts, and grated Parmesan cheese with a mortar and pestle until a smooth paste forms. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, use a food processor instead.) Slowly add the olive oil, grinding until a smooth sauce forms. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Then cover and set aside. 

To Make The Tomatoes:  Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the vine of tomatoes in an ovenproof skillet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 8 minutes, or until heated through.

To Make The Pasta:  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking, for about 8 minutes, or until al dente.

To Make The Shrimp:  While the fettuccine cooks, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shrimp and saute for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are just cooked through and the garlic is tender. Stir in the pesto into the shrimp mixture.

Drain the fettuccine, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the fettuccine in a large bowl with the shrimp pesto mixture, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the sauce so that it coats the pasta evenly.

To Serve:  Using a two-pronged carving fork, swirl some pasta around the fork. Slide it off the fork, letting it mound in the center of a plate. Repeat.  Arrange the shrimp and the roasted tomatoes around the pasta. Garnish with the cheese and serve.

Theme: Herbalicious!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Strawberry, Lemon, & Basil Mimosa

Sunday brunch calls for a special drink. A mimosa with a twist. Instead of the typical orange mimosa, this is a Strawberry, Lemon, & Basil Mimosa. Sliced strawberries, lots of fresh basil, lemon juice, honey, a bottle of Prosecco, and a little sparkling water and you are in for one light and bubbly summer refresher.

Sip after sip of this sweet drink reveals a lovely and somewhat intoxicating basil fragrance. A delightful drink that would pair well with many dishes. I can see this being a hit at any ladies function, or perhaps perfect for some front porch sipping, and/or maybe even a picnic.

Strawberry, Lemon & Basil Mimosa
Adapted from Food Network
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
Juice from 2 large lemons (about 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice)
1/2 cup agave or honey
8 medium fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed and sliced
One 750ml bottle Prosecco, chilled
1/2 cup soda water or sparkling water, chilled

Combine the basil, lemon juice and agave in a pitcher. Using a wooden spoon, lightly crush the basil. Stir in the strawberries, Prosecco and soda water. Pour into chilled champagne glasses and serve.
Theme: July Potluck!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Curtis Stone's Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter

Tomato-Basil Butter...doesn't that just sound like something you could slather on about anything? I can see it now on pasta, toast, biscuits, baked potatoes, grilled cheese, corn, chicken, so many ideas. Good thing it is tomato season.

I spied this recipe months ago and I filed it away for late July/August when fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes are everywhere. Every time I paged through my Curtis Stone cookbook, What's For Dinner?, his Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter called to me. I could practically envision everyone smiling and happy at the dinner table.

As usual, I was right. This was an incredible chicken dinner! The tomato-basil butter keeps the chicken moist, helps to create a crispy delicious skin, and adds a fresh summery flavor. The remaining tomato jam makes for a lovely accompaniment. I was hoping for some leftover chicken, but it was picked clean. Much to my disappointment, there would be no leftover chicken sandwiches with tomato jam.

However, the tomato jam was delicious on a breakfast sandwich with a fried egg and some Italian cheese. Then later I used up the last bit of tomato jam on a pita with some hummus and spinach. I also think it would be lovely spooned over a block of cream cheese and spread onto crackers. You really can't go wrong!

Curtis suggests making a double batch of the tomato-basil butter, and therefore also the tomato jam, and I have to agree with him. Do yourself a favor and listen to his advice. The tomato jam is fabulous on sandwiches and the tomato-basil butter has endless uses. You can even freeze the butter so you can enjoy the lovely fresh flavors come winter time (yikes)! I promise you won't be sorry.

Whole Roasted Chicken with Tomato-Basil Butter
Adapted from What's For Dinner
by Curtis Stone
Serves 4

Tomato-Basil Butter
4 plum tomatoes (about 12 ounces total)
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, very coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

One 4-1/2 pound chicken
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375F. 

Make The Tomato-Basil Butter: In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes; thyme, and garlic with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes, with the thyme and garlic, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool slightly; discard the thyme stems. Leave the oven on.

On a cutting board or in a food processor, finely chop the tomatoes and garlic. Transfer the tomato jam to a small bowl and mix in the basil. In a medium bowl, mix the butter and half of the tomato jam to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining tomato jam.

To Roast The Chicken: Using your fingers, starting at the neck end of the chicken, carefully make a pocket between the flesh and skin of the chicken breasts and top of the legs. Gently slide enough of the tomato butter inside the cavity of the chicken, then stuff the cavity with some of the carrots, celery, and onions and half of the garlic. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs of the chicken together. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders.

Place the remaining chopped vegetables in a medium roasting pan (or cast iron skillet). Spread the remaining tomato butter all over the chicken; set the chicken on the vegetables. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 160F. Transfer the chicken to a carving board to rest for about 15 minutes.

To Serve The Chicken: Meanwhile, discard the vegetables in the pan. Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup and spoon off the fat. Heat the pan over medium heat and add the broth and pan juices. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a sauce boat. Carve the chicken and serve with the pan juices and tomato jam passed on the side. 

Theme: You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nigel Slater's Stir Fry of Broccoli and Lamb

We love a good stir fry in my house and it has been far too long since the last. It's no wonder then that Nigel Slater's Stir Fry of Broccoli and Lamb literally jumped off the page at me! Lamb stir fry? With our favorite veggie, broccoli? Why hadn't I thought of this before?

So happy I found this gem of a recipe because it was fabulous! The lamb was so succulent (a word I use a lot when cooking Nigel's recipes).  Flavorful and tender, it is the perfect base for the broccoli, garlic, and chilies.  However, the winning component of this dish was the sauce.   

A simple mixture of soy sauce, sugar and lime juice? How can that be so stinkin' delicious? Yet it totally makes this stir fry.  I poured the sauce on the stir fry as it was finishing and my entire family ran to the kitchen wondering what in the world smelled so good! The sauce coated the stir fry leaving behind glossy veggies and juicy bits of lamb. All the yummy browned bits from the bottom of the pan mingled with the stir fry to make one perfect dish.

Mouths drooled as I added white rice to the bowls and placed the stir fry on top.  It was hard to get pictures of this one. This dish needs little extra in the way of a garnish, but I enjoyed mine with a little extra cilantro and a drizzle of Sriracha to spice things up! Heavenly!

Stir-Fry of Broccoli & Lamb
Adapted from Tender
Serves 4

Broccoli - 2 large handfuls of florets
green onions - 6 whole
garlic - 6 plump cloves
3 hot red chilies
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound of ground lamb
a lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
handful of cilantro

Blanch the florets of broccoli in boiling water for one minute. Drain and set aside. Chop the green onions, removing the darkest green leaves as you go. Peel the garlic and chop it finely, then seed and chop the chilies. Get the oil really hot in a shallow pan or wok, then cook the onions, garlic, and chilies until soft but not colored, moving them quickly round the pan as you go. It will appear there is too much oil, but bear with me.

Add the ground lamb and let it color appetizingly. It should go a rich golden color. Add the drained broccoli. In a small bowl, mix the juice of the lime with the soy sauce and sugar. Add to the hot pan and let sizzle briefly, scraping at the gooey stickings on the bottom of the pan and stirring them in as you go. Check the seasoning - you may need a little salt - and stir in the cilantro.