Sunday, April 24, 2022

Crispy Orzo with Peas

With groceries and gas sky high, I have been on a rather frugal kick lately. One of my first steps was to completely revamp how and where I shop for groceries. The second step was to do a better job of using  everything I have on hand. This means all the food has to be organized for weekly inventory. The third step, is finding the right recipes, both to use things up and for whatever is on sale that week. We no long buy whatever groceries we please. We just buy whatever is good quality and on sale. .

I was doing a quick search for spring recipes using peas and Giada's Crispy Orzo with Peas caught my attention because it called for four primary ingredients I've been trying to use up: orzo, coconut milk, fresh ginger, and frozen peas. The only other ingredients I needed were: scallions, olive oil, and lemon. I always have those on hand.

I was drawn to this dish because I've never fried pasta before and I was interested to see what the texture of the fried orzo would be like alongside the softer orzo and the peas.

The whole dish was easy enough to put together and I always love the aroma of coconut milk bubbling away on the stove top. The orzo pasta becomes very creamy when it cooks in the coconut milk and the ginger goes a long way in flavoring the pasta. The pasta sauteed easily enough and as I was tasting along the way, I noticed that I tended to enjoy the pasta more when it was only lightly fried, so I went with that. I think Giada fries her pasta to a golden brown, but I think it is up to personal preference on how you like it. Definitely taste as you go!

I was eager to try the dish and found that I loved the contrast of soft orzo, chewy orzo, and crispy orzo, especially with the pop of the peas. It was certainly an interesting dish, one that marries Italian pasta with Chinese Fried Rice. I found myself wanting to add either Parmesan cheese or soy sauce and I couldn't decide which I wanted more, so I just ate as it was and enjoyed it! I think this would make for a very tasty vegetarian meal with a crispy fried egg on top, and as I ponder the flavor profiles a little more, I dare say a dash or two of soy sauce! 

I really liked this and I would definitely make it again. I think this would be a good choice for anyone looking to really change things up. It is definitely interesting!

Crispy Orzo with Peas

Adapted from Food Network

by Giada De Laurentiis

Serves 4-6

1 can light coconut milk

one 2-inch piece ginger, sliced

salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups orzo pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 bunch scallions, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon lemon juice*

In a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk, ginger, 1 tablespoon salt some pepper, to taste, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and stir. Cook, stirring to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the ginger.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat for 1 minute more. Add the drained orzo and spread out evenly in the skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until the bottom of the pasta is starting to get browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Flip the pasta, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and continue to cook, undisturbed, until the other side is browned, about 4 minutes more. Flip again and brown another 3 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper and stir in the peas and scallions. Cook another 2 minutes to warm through. Finish with the lemon juice. Serve warm.


Spring Delights @ IHCC

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Dorie's Potato Chip Tortilla


One hardly peruses a cookbook expecting to find recipes using potato chips, especially in a French cookbook named Around My French Table, but sometimes life is full of surprises. I think that is why I was precisely drawn to this recipe.

On a recent trip back home from New Orleans we stopped inside a gas station and I bought all manner of Zapp's potato chips in all sorts of fun flavors, such as Voodoo, Spicy Cajun Crawtators, Cajun Dill-Gator-Tators, Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeno, Voodoo Heat, and Creole Onion (pictured below). I realize that sounds like excess, but they were baby bags and we had a 13 hour ride home so naturally I thought it would make the time go by faster if we had a taste test. 

We love heat and anything spicy so, the Hotter 'N Hot Jalapeno were great and also the Voodoo Heat (which was like a spicy bbq flavor) were our favorites. Don't get me wrong, we loved them all and Zapp's may very well be my all-time favorite chip.

I did notice that the half bag of Creole Onion sat lingering in the pantry and so when I saw this recipe I figured it was meant to be!

I believe the secret to a recipe like Potato Chip Tortilla is that you DO NOT want to crush the chips to smithereens. You want to leave some big pieces (even leave some whole or at least bigger chunks). What the potato chip provides in this recipe is lots of texture. When the tortilla comes out of the oven, the chips sticking up out of the tortilla will be hot and crunchy (hence the bigger larger, more whole chips) and the crushed chips in the tortilla will be cooked in. We want all the textures here, so I do feel this is crucial to the recipe.

Also, feel free to add some cheese or whatever you like! Dorie does not call for cheese in her recipe, but I found I wanted to add some.

This is a very fun recipe and I would definitely make it again. I think it would be fun to change up the flavors by using different potato chips and different flavorings.

It would be a wonderful meal with a nice green salad or some fruit on the side. 

And may I point out how easy and economical it is...we all need to be putting recipes like this in our back pocket!


Potato Chip Tortilla

Adapted from Around My French Table

by Dorie Greenspan

Serves 4

3-1/2 ounces (half a 7oz bag) potato chips

4 large eggs

1 small onion, finely chopped, or 6 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1/4 cup minced fresh herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, or basil

2 garlic cloves, split, finely chopped

Pinch of piment d'Espelette or cayenne

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

Optional: Use different flavor chips, add cheese (I added about 1/4 cup cheddar), different herbs, veggies, etc. Make it your own!

 Put the potato chips in a bowl, reach in, and crush the chips (or crush them in the bag - be sure not to crush them entirely and leave some pieces bigger).

Put the eggs, onion or scallions, herbs, garlic, and piment d'Espelette or cayenne into another bowl. Season with salt and pepper whisk to combine. Pour the eggs over the chips and stir to blend well.

You'll need a small skillet that can go under the broiler: 9 inches is about as big as it should be. I use a cast iron skillet, but a nonstick skillet is also good (if you're not sure of the handle you can cover it in foil). Position a rack under the broiler so that when you slide the skillet onto it, it will be about 5 inches from the heat source. Turn on the broiler.

Place the skillet over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, give the eggs and chips a last stir and pour them into the pan. Use a fork to push the mixture out to the edges of the pan if necessary, then turn the heat down to low. Cook the tortilla for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is set around the edges and the top is almost done (being set is more important than the timing, so just keep watching the eggs). Remove the pan from the heat and run a spatula around the edges and under the tortilla in case it has stuck to the pan. 

Slide the pan under the broiler and cook until the top of the tortilla is set, about 1 minute. Slide the tortilla onto a serving platter or board, and serve warm or at room temperature.

The Incredible Edible Egg @ IHCC

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Dorie Greenspan's Salted-Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes

Well, we have arrived back home from a whirlwind vacation to New Orleans where we ate everything, drank everything, and did everything we could for 5 days straight. We had the time of a lifetime, but we are exhausted and in need of another week off....just to rest! No such luck though...

We are cooking (and baking) the recipes of Dorie Greenspan for the next six months, so I was looking through my Everyday Dorie cookbook when this recipe for Salted-Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes caught my eye. I mean...who doesn't love a good hot fudge sundae made with homemade salted chocolate bits, toasted slivered almonds, homemade fudge, and homemade whipped cream? Layer all those goodies up and you have a recipe for success!

Those little salted chocolate bits are like chocolate heaven! Smooth and creamy with a hint of salt, it really hits the spot alongside the toasted slivered almonds and the fudge sauce.

Dorie serves all these homemade goodies over coffee and vanilla ice cream, but we are not big coffee fans so we just used two scoops of plain-ol' vanilla ice cream and it was sooooo good! I'm convinced you could bottle up all these components and sell these sundaes for big money! You could make all the components for this ahead of time and keep it on hand and you could MOST DEFINITELY make the components ahead of time and serve this at a dinner party or any type of event where you're entertaining. 

This is an incredible recipe! Cool, creamy, crunchy, sweet, rich, and a hint of will hands down be one of my favorite recipes this year and I will definitely be making it again and again! Dorie and I have cooked and baked together years ago when I participated briefly in Fridays with Dorie, but I am really excited to get back in the kitchen with her and try more of her recipes! We are certainly off to a promising start!

 Salted-Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes

Adapted for Everyday Dorie

by Dorie Greenspan

Serves 4-6 

For The Salted-Chocolate Bits

1/2 pound (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, not chips (finely chopped)

3/4 teaspoons fleur de sel or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For The Hot Fudge Sauce

6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet chocolate (not chips), finely chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons sugar

For The Sundaes

About 3/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

About 1 pint coffee ice cream

About 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Lightly sweetened whipped cream

To Make The Bits: Line a pie plate with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or on low power in a microwave. Add the salt and stir to blend, then, using an offset spatula or a table knife, spread chocolate in the pie pan, making a layer that's 1/8" thick (shape doesn't matter). Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface and freeze for at least 45 minutes. When the chocolate is solid, chop it into bits. Keep frozen until needed. (You can do this up to 2 weeks in advance.)

To Make The Sauce: Put the chocolate, cream, corn syrup, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate melts and the mixture comes to a light simmer, about 5 minutes. Still stirring, let it burble for a minute or two more, then scrape it into a heatproof container. Use now or cover and refrigerate until needed. (The sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator).

To Make The Sundaes: If necessary, warm the fudge sauce in a double boiler or microwave on low. For each sundae, sprinkle some salted chocolate bits and almonds into the bottom of a bowl, snifter or sundae glass. Top with a scoop or two of coffee ice cream and some hot fudge sauce, almonds, and bits. Finish with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream and more fudge sauce, whipped cream, almonds, and chocolate bits. Serve immediately.




Welcome, Dorie @ I Heart Cooking Clubs

Friday, April 1, 2022

My Favorite Half Baked Harvest Recipe!

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs, we have been cooking the recipes of Tieghan Gerard featured on her blog, Half Baked Harvest. I always like to pick a few favorites at the end of our six months and feature them here.

The winning recipe is Tieghan's Creamy Tortellini Vegetable Soup! It was my favorite recipe that I made of hers and one that I will likely make again.

 Thank you, Tieghan! 

I Heart Cooking Clubs will now start cooking the recipes of Dorie Greenspan and I am very excited for that!