Sunday, February 28, 2010

Penne with Crispy Cauliflower

"Cauliflower, like such other cruciferous vegetables as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, is know for its antioxidant properties.  Some evidence suggests that these kin may also help in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis.  All of them seem to contain compounds that aid the body in its efforts to neutralize potentially toxic and carcinogenic substances..."

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
4 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and broken or cut into bite-sized florets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne
grated dry Jack or other grating cheese for serving


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the 1/3 cup olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the anchovy fillets and use a wooden spoon to smash the anchovies once they begin to melt into the oil.  Add the cauliflower and cook until soft and browned, about 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


While the cauliflower is cooking, add salt to the boiling water and then add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Scoop out and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water, and stir together for a couple of minutes.  Add more of the pasta water if the mixture seems dry.
Pour the pasta onto a platter or into a big bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.  Pass the cheese at the table.

Serves 4 to 6

My Review

I had the chance to visit San Francisco a couple seasons ago and made a bee-line for the Ferry Plaza.  I spent my entire afternoon browsing and eating my way through the Ferry Building.  I came across this autographed copy of "The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook"  from a cute little shop called The Gardener.  I love this cookbook and all its fresh simple recipes.  I can't wait to try more recipes from this one and I can't wait to go back to the city where I left my heart!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Edamame with Scallions and Sesame

"Edamame is the Japanese name for green soybeans.  These tasty beans have exploded in popularity in recent years.  Give them a try, and soon you'll be hooked!  The easy cooking method used here has this dish ready in 15 minutes"

1 bag or 12oz. frozen shelled edamame
1 T light soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 t sesame oil
Dash of hot-pepper sauce (optional)
2 T finely chopped scallions
1/8 t ground black pepper

Bring the edamame, soy sauce, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, or until tender.  If any liquid remains, cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated.
Remove from the heat.  Stir in the sesame oil, canola oil, hot-pepper sauce, if using, scallions, and black pepper.

Makes 4 servings

My Review
I heart edamame!  It's a great source of protein and fiber.  This would be a great side dish or cooled and topped on a salad.  Enjoy...

Lobster Bisque

"Silky and full-flavored, bisques make any meal an elegant celebration.  This easy version uses lobster tails to make preparation a breeze."

2 T canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 T whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 t salt
1 pound lobster tails, shells removed and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
1/4 t hot-pepper sauce
1 t paprika
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 T chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until tender.  Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 
for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Stir in the broth, tomato puree, sherry, and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the lobster, cover, and simmer for 6 minutes, or until the lobster is opaque.

Stir in the milk, hot-pepper sauce, and paprika.  Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until heated through.  Stir in the plum tomatoes and parsley.

Makes 4 servings

My Review

Wow this is amazingly tasty and healthy!  I love lobster, but this was the first time cooking with it.  I put my kitchen sissors to good use with this recipe.  Also, I did not miss the heavy cream used in traditional bisques.  If lobster was a little cheaper, I'd cook this one up more often! 

Thursday, February 18, 2010


These brownies fool everyone!  You won't believe how scrumptious they are (or how good they are for you) until you make them yourself.  Just don't serve them warm- it's not until they're completely cool that the spinach flavor totally disappears.

3 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup carrot puree
1/2 cup spinach puree
1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T margarine
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup oat flour, or all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.  In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Whisk in egg whites.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon.  Pour batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 bars.

These brownies are low in calories (only 133 per brownie) and saturated fat.  They're also packed with 3 grams of fiber (which is just crazy for a brownie!), while spinach and carrots provide two powerful antioxidants that help your kids' eyes stay healthy.

My Review

Let's just say that this is a healthy dessert for kids!  This will not satisfy an adult chocolate craving.  That being said... this brownie is a dense fudgy goodness.  You can not detect the spinach and the carrots.  My daughter even thought her brownie had a chocolate chip in it... but it must have been a piece of carrot!  The name of this cookbook, 'Deceptively Delicious' is appropriate.

Friday, February 12, 2010

White Bean Soup with Fresh Sage

From Kurt Beecher Dammeier's 'Pure Flavor': 
"When cold weather settles in, it's time for this rich soup.  Bacon adds even deeper flavor to the classic Italian white beans and sage combination..."

1 T unsalted butter
2 T roughly chopped fresh sage
4 oz bacon (about 4 strips), diced
About 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
11 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 15 oz cans Great Northern beans,
     drained and rinsed in cold water
3 T finely chopped, drained
     sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 T chopped green olives
2 oz Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup)
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. 
Cook until the butter browns, about 2 minutes.
Add the sage and saute for 30 seconds.  Set aside.

Heat a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the bacon and saute for 6 minutes or until crisp and brown.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a small bowl, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.  Return the pan to medium heat.

Add enough olive oil to the bacon fat to make about 4 tablespoons total.  Add the garlic cloves and stir until they are fully coated.  Cook the garlic until it just begins to brown, stirring frequently to prevent burning, about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic to the bowl with the bacon.

Add the celery and onion to the pan and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and translucent but not brown.  Add the wine, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the wine has nearly evaporated.  Add the stock, beans, bacon, garlic, half of the sage, 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon of the olives, and the cheese, salt, and pepper.  Blend the mixture briefly with an immersion blender, just until the garlic is chopped.  (The texture should be chunky.)  Alternatively, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender, returning the soup to the pan after processing.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Serve the soup garnished with the remaining sage, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives.


Makes 4 cups; serves 2 to 4

My Review

What a lovely soup.  So many flavors that work so well together!  The garlic and bacon are obvious, but the hint of sage is earthy.  I had to make this soup before the weather turns.  We enjoyed this with crusty whole wheat bread and a nice glass of the Two Vines from Columbia Crest.  Not a bad way to start the weekend!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

This recipe is from 'The Essential Eating Well Cookbook'...
"Versatile miso keeps for months in the refrigerator and adds instant flavor to soups, sauces, dips, marinades and salad dressings. In general, the lighter the miso, the milder and sweeter its flavor. Light miso is the key to the wonderful flavor of this salmon."
1 T sesame seeds
2 T shiro miso (sweet white miso) paste
2 T mirin (Japanese rice wine)
1 T tamari or reduced- sodium soy sauce
1 T fresh ginger, minced
A few drops of hot pepper sauce
1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, cut into 4 portions
2 T thinly sliced scallions
2 T chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil. Coat foil with cooking spray.
Toast sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl.
Whisk miso, mirin, tamari (or soy sauce), ginger and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl until smooth.

Place salmon fillets, skin- side down, in a prepared pan. Brush generously with miso mixture. Broil salmon, 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer salmon to plates and garnish with reserved sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro (or parsley).

Makes 4 servings

My Review

This recipe is so easy! And the time is takes to cook salmon is nothing. The simple flavors and the fresh garnish is just what salmon needs. I will be adding this recipe to my weekly list for a quick dinner!