Tag Archives: Garlic

Moules à la Marinière

Summer is approaching here in the District, and that means outdoor dining. There is nothing greater than meeting up with friends after work for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants that have outdoor patios. I always enjoy good food with good friends on warm summer nights. Of course, I love preparing easy and delicious meals that can be enjoyed indoors or out. One of my favorite recipes that is light but packed with flavor is Moules à la Marinière. In English this dish is translated to mussels steamed in wine and flavorings. It is so simple and doesn’t take long to make, but will impress guests. This dish is also fun to make and eat slowly while sitting on the balcony/rooftop, chatting with friends. If you are feeling ambitious, homemade frites (French fries), go really well with mussels! My version of home cut fries will show up soon. Hopefully you enjoy these mussels as much as I do, and cheers to the start of summer!

moules

Moules à la Marinière

Ingredients:

2 cups dry white wine

1/2 cup minced shallots

1/2 bunch fresh parsley

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 teaspoon pepper

6 tablespoons butter

6 quarts mussels, scrubbed, soaked, and debearded

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Directions:

In a large pot or sauté pan with a lid, bring all ingredients but the last two to a boil. Allow the alcohol to evaporate and reduce by boiling for 3 minutes.

Add mussels to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Every 30 seconds or so, shake the pot around (while keep the lid tightly on) so the mussels move around and cook evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the shells open*.

Carefully spoon the mussels into large soup bowls, and ladle the remaining liquid over the mussels. Garnish with chopped parsley, serve immediately, and enjoy!

 

*Don’t forget: any mussels that haven’t opened should not be eaten!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

(adapted from How Sweet It Is)

serves about 8

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform rounds

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley*

1 teaspoon fresh thyme*

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed*

2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese*

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a nonstick wire rack on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine panko, parsley, basil, thyme, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix up with your hands to get everything combined.

If you like, peel the sweet potatoes (or not) and slice into rounds about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in a larger bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then flip around your hands to make sure each piece is coated. Add in panko and herbs, tossing again with your hands and pressing lightly to adhere. Some will stick – some will not. Place potato rounds on the wire rack, and then sprinkle the remaining panko and herbs over the potatoes.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until crust is golden and sweet potatoes are soft. After making and serving the potatoes bites, I found that some thicker slices were a bit harder or still had a crunch to them (meaning they were not cooked all the way through). Though I did no try doing this, I think baking the slices of sweet potato for a few minutes before adding the herb and panko mixture would make them perfect. I recommend baking them before adding the mixture because the breadcrumbs crisp up just right in the normal baking time (and you don’t want them burned!).

*In regards to the amount of herbs and bread crumbs for the mixture: You can really play with the amount you use. I followed the recipe as a guideline, but because I was making for a larger crowed I added more as I went based on how much I wanted the sweet potato slices covered.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday Wine Night

Earlier this year, a small group of my girlfriends decided we wanted a regular gathering every month or so. Thanks to Jordy, ‘Wednesday Wine Night’ began in the Fall! The idea is simple: every 4-6 weeks a different person in the group would have everyone over, serve wine, and prepare some offerings to snack on. Though I am allergic to wine, and we do not always meet on a Wednesday, this has been a great way to have a relaxing night with girlfriends. This past Monday the group came over to my apartment, which I took as an opportunity to try and wow everyone with my food. The menu consisted of:

  • Homemade sun-dried tomato hummus with veggies
  • Herb crusted sweet potato bites
  • Greek quinoa salad
  • Roasted red pepper pizza with a splash of balsamic
  • Lots and lots of wine & desserts

Thankfully, my wonderful friends loved the meal! I had been nervous about the pizza because it was the first time I used a real pizza pan, but the crust came out perfectly crisp. Everyone enjoyed the sweet potato bites because they were something tasty and different. One of the best compliments to the chef was when a few people asked for the recipes! Most importantly, everyone had a great time with each other chatting about life and nibbling the food.

For now, feast your eyes on some photos from the evening. Recipes to come individually!

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Greek Quinoa Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas Dinner

It has become tradition in my house that I cook a Christmas Eve feast. For the past few years I’ve made a variation of the same meal. The main dishes on the menu this year were bruschetta, baked ham with cloves (I used a half butt), roasted garlic smashed potatoes, sauteed string beans with slivered almonds, and a sugar free key lime pie (my father is diabetic). And now, our eyes can feast:

Bruschetta

Roasted Garlic

Sauteed String Beans with Slivered Almonds

Baked Ham with Cloves

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Slice of Sugar Free Key Lime Pie

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Show-Stopper Roast Chicken

There is nothing more impressive to guests, or your stomach, than a perfectly roasted chicken. What seems like a complicated feat is actually one of the easiest and best recipes to have in your repertoire. This particular recipe is great to serve to your special guy (can you say new *engagement chicken!?) because it is wrapped in BACON! Who doesn’t love bacon? Ok, my roommate doesn’t like bacon, but I don’t need to make this for her. But any single, hungry guys out there are welcome to come over for dinner!
But seriously, how amazing does that look? Lets get into making it. You will need the following ingredients:
1 roasting chicken, about 6 lbs
Kosher salt and pepper
1 bunch of fresh thyme
4 lemons
3 heads of garlic cut in half
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1/2 lbs of sliced bacon
1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of chicken stock
First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove chicken giblets (anything inside of the chicken) and rinse the entire chicken both inside and out. Pat the outside dry and place the chicken in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff the cavity with the thyme (saving enough to garnish the dish later), 1 halved lemon, and 2 halves of garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string (or, if you are like me and forget to buy kitchen string every time you go to the store, don’t tie them) and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Quarter 2 of the remaining lemons and place around the chicken with the rest of the garlic. Lastly, lay slices of bacon over chicken until it is covered (this is obviously the best part!).

Put chicken in the oven and roast for 1 hour. After this time, remove the bacon from the chicken and set aside. Finishing roasting the chicken for another 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. When the chicken is done, set aside and cover to keep warm so you can make the gravy.

Using the fat drippings at the bottom of the roasting pan, add the wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half.

Everything is now ready to come together! Place the chicken on a nice serving dish and garnish with the bacon, roasted garlic, reserved fresh thyme, and the remaining lemon sliced. Serve the gravy on the side and enjoy!

As you can see above, I served the chicken with sides of sautéed zucchini and small roasted potatoes. The zucchini is one of my go-to vegetable sides that is easy to make and very delicious. The cute little potatoes are also great with the chicken because not only are the tasty (and of course every good chicken meal needs a potato side) but they are fun to eat because they are so small! When making small potatoes like this, the key is to buy them all in similar size so they cook evenly.

Slice up the chicken, load up the plates, and enjoy! I lucked out and the chicken breasts were perfectly juicy and moist. Ladle some gravy on your plate for a little extra flavor (I found it to be dominantly wine flavored, which I enjoyed). This simple but delicious meal will wow guests and provide ample leftovers for you to enjoy later! Enjoy your Show-Stopper Roast Chicken!

*For those of you who don’t know what engagement chicken is, it basically is a simple but amazing recipe for roast chicken. The story goes that a girl who makes this roast chicken for her significant other will soon after be proposed to because it is just that good. Hence, engagement chicken!
**This recipe is my version of Ina Garten’s Lemon & Garlic Roast Chicken
Tagged , , , , ,

Roasted Garlic Smashed Potatoes

Potatoes are a great go-to side dish for almost any meal. Everyone always loves a good starch. I find that a personal favorite, and crowd pleaser, is garlic smashed potatoes. The first question you are likely asking yourself is, “What’s the difference between mashed and smashed?” Well, the big difference affects both the texture and aesthetic of the dish. When making smashed potatoes, you leave the skin of the potatoes on and then mash, as opposed to peeling them. This adds an extra layer of texture that contradicts the creamy-smooth potatoes, and also a nice bright color (if you use red potatoes).

The recipe is super easy and doesn’t take much work at all, and the ingredients are as follows:

1 head of garlic

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 lbs of red potaotes

Salt and pepper

5 tablespoons of butter

1/3 cup of milk

First things first, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the garlic and slice off the top of the head. Drizzle the garlic with EVOO, wrap in tin foil, and bake in the oven about 30 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Slicing the top off helps the garlic roast better, and makes it easier to remove the cloves from the skin.

Clean the potatoes and quarter them. Put potatoes in a pot filled with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain and put back in the pot (by returning to pot you now have an easy place to mash!). Add the garlic to potatoes and mash.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the butter until it is melted. Add melted butter and milk to the potatoes and mash up together. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Then actually taste it! The most important part of getting a recipe right is tasting it. Depending on what you like, you may want to add more butter or milk. Garnish with a tad of parsley (optional) and serve!


Tagged , ,

Chicken Baked with Red Onions, Potatoes, and Rosemary


2 red onions, each cut into 10 wedges

1 1/4 lbs new potatoes, not peeled

2 bulbs garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled

salt and pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

about 5 sprigs rosemary

1 (4lb) roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 8 chicken thighs, rubbed with sea salt to crisp the skin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the vegetables and garlic in a single layer over the bottom of a huge roasting pan so that they will crisp and brown beautifully. Season with salt and pepper, pour over the oil and balsamic vinegar, and add the rosemary, leaving some sprigs whole and stripping the leaves off the rest. Toss the vegetables with your hand and tuck the chicken pieces in among them. Bake for 45 minutes, until cooked through

This recipe comes from the cookbook Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry. The recipe is extremely delicious and flavorful. It was very easy to prepare because everything cooks together in one pan. This recipe is also great because it goes with most vegetables. For this dinner I made sautéed spinach and roasted asparagus. I used chicken thighs which were very moist, and rubbing salt on the skin made it perfectly crispy. I highly recommend this recipe, as I am sure my friends who I prepared it for would agree!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Caprese, Garlic Basil Shrimp, & Orzo

On the menu:

Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil)

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Orzo

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

The recipes:

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • Large block of fresh mozzarella
  • A few leaves of fresh basil

Directions:

Slice mozzarella and large tomatoes into even pieces. Layer tomato and mozzarella on plate alternating. Rip some fresh basil leaves and place on top. When eating drizzle some EVOO and fresh black pepper.

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Ingredients:

·   2 tablespoons olive oil

·   1 1/4 pounds large shrimp

(20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined

·   3 garlic cloves, minced

·   1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or more to taste

·   3/4 cup dry white wine

·   1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

·   1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

·   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in basil and tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Return the shrimp to pan and cook just until heated through

From the Food Network website athttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/garlic-basil-shrimp-recipe/index.html

Orzo

Buy pre-packaged orzo and follow instructions on box

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash zucchini. Cut off both ends and half each zucchini width-wise. Quarter each zucchini length-wise and place on a large baking sheet. Lightly drizzle EVOO over zucchini and season with kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in oven and let cook until slightly burned looking (check after 20 minutes until done).

Comments:

This makes a really great dinner. The caprese salad is delicious, easy to make, and really impresses guests. If it is too bland in flavor you can add a dash of balsamic vinegar. The shrimp turned out really great and I love the recipe. I will definitely make this again. However, I didn’t love the orzo. It worked with the shrimp, but pasta would probably be better. Lastly, the zucchini is great because they are very simple to make and super flavorful.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: