Archive for January, 2009
One of the things I was most worried about losing in the move to being gluten free was pasta. I love Italian food, especially the various textures and forms that pasta can take. Thankfully, Vita was able to find a gluten free option to pasta. So, tonight we tried it for the first time, mainly because we had some lovely portobello mushroom caps that we didn’t want to let go to waste and we needed a meal that I could make quickly. So, we whipped up the gluten free pasta (which is made from potato, rice and soy) and I made a portobello mushroom cream sauce.
Here’s how you make it.
- 1 cup (about two large caps) finely chopped portobello mushrooms
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup of cream or half and half
- 1 cup of white wine
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Gluten Free Pasta
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the chopped shallots and fry for 3 – 4 minutes followed by the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
5. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook until the mushrooms have softened and darkened in color then turn the heat up on the stove and pour in the white wine and add parsley.
7. Stir the ingredients and cook until the wine had reduced by two-thirds, then reduce the heat and stir in the cream.
That’s all there is to it. It’s very simple and really pretty quick. The mushroom cream sauce has a really subtle sweetness to it, but it’s also very flavorful and adds a nice dimension to the gluten free pasta. There’s lots of great textures and the color is really nice as well. I think the gluten free pasta will be a fine replacement to the normal semolina. There is a notable taste difference, but covered in sauce it’s actually really nice.
See you next time.
Tuesday night was one of those nights that I honestly didn’t have anything planned for dinner. So when Vita sent me a text asking for a meal that she’d originally had at my mother’s house, I took it as a welcome out of having to come up with something original. I made two different meals. For myself, I made a Grilled Greek Chicken Salad. For Vita, simply grilled Greek chicken, grilled veggies and Tzatziki sauce.
The real secret is good chicken breasts and the right blend of Greek spices. The best in my opinion is the blend my mother uses, which we buy at Rafal Spice Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. You can order it online here.
- 1/2 Red onion – chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – Diced
- Black Olives – Diced
- Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
- 2 medium sized chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons of Greek Seasoning Mix
- 4 cups pre-packaged salad mix
- 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek Dressing
- 4 tablespoons Feta cheese
1. Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. As your pan is heating, coat both sides of chicken breasts with the Greek seasoning mix.
2. Dice vegetables and spray grill pan with non-stick spray. Grill chicken four minutes per side and grill veggies until tender. Turn chicken and remove from grill. Allow chicken to rest.
3. Slice chicken and add to salad. Distribute toppings and dress to your liking.
This is so simple and so good. Vita’s dinner is pictured below.
Not really a complex recipe, but it’s really, really tasty. It’s so much more fun to make your own grilled salads anyway.
When I was a boy, I was never a big fan of soup. But as we age, so do our tastes. Now I can say that soup is one of my favorite things. I find myself pining for it in the summer months, and cherishing it throughout the fall and winter. In Michigan, it has been one of the coldest winters I can remember. We’ve had lots of snow and only a few days above freezing, which makes it absolutely perfect to start a weekly series on soup. So I give you round one of Souper Sunday!
For the first Souper Sunday, I’ll go with an awesome Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Soup. It takes a little while to do the roasting, but the payoff in flavor is definitely worth it. I borrowed the roasted tomato soup recipe from Kat over at A Good Appetite and modified it to add in the Parmesan and a little bit of a kick. Here’s how it’s done.
- 2 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 yellow onions, quartered
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Halve your tomatoes and remove the seeds. You can do this easily with a spoon or a pairing knife.
2. Put the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a large baking pan. Coat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Try to arrange the tomatoes so the cut sides are up.
3. Roast for 45 – 55 minutes until everything is soft and starting to brown. Allow to cool slightly.
4. Put the tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh herbs and any liquid in the roasting pan into a food processor. Purée until smooth.
5. Put purée into a large soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Add cheese slowly in small batches. If you want a little kick like I did, add the three tablespoons of crushed red pepper. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes before serving. Salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 4 big, tasty servings.
There are some days you just need to spoil yourself a little. Today, was one of those days for me. My wife is away for the remainder of the weekend visiting girlfriends, which makes it the perfect evening for me to do something that’s beef based. I’ve been having a craving for a nice grilled steak, so I opted for a steak with gorgonzola cream sauce.
The cream sauce takes a very long time, and requires a lot of attention, but the payoff is ohhh so worth it. Here’s how you do it.
- 2 10 ounce New York Strip steaks
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. In a medium saucepan bring the heavy cream to a full boil over medium-high heat. Once the cream has come to boil continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes until it thickens. If you’ve never boiled cream before, it has a tendency to boil over VERY quickly. Make sure you stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it. This isn’t something you can set and forget.
2. As the cream begins to boil, rub your steaks in olive oil and give them a generous rub with salt and freshly ground pepper. After 35 minutes, toss your steaks onto a grill pan or on a traditional grill. Cook steak to your liking. I do about 4 to 5 minutes a side tops for a medium rare finish. Halfway through the grilling process, toss on 8 to 10 spears of asparagus and cook through.
3. Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm.
4. Plate your steaks and let the meat rest for approximately 4 minutes. Spoon Gorgonzola sauce over your steak and asparagus and grind two or three turns of freshly ground pepper over the top.
It’s a fantastic sauce and you’ll undoubtedly have leftovers. It’s great on crackers, grilled chicken or even as a salad dressing. Reheating it is VERY easy or you can have it cold.
If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.
Let me know if you try it… the sauce is really easy but tastes gourmet!
Last day of dinner with Vita for the week was a quick meal. We wanted to go with something quick and fast. So, I made a slight twist on an old standby and made Tilapia with sauteed vegetables in a tequila lime reduction. We punch up our fish a lot with lots of Mexican and southwestern spices, but the recipe is pretty straightforward. Here we go.
- 2 large fillets Tilapia
- 1 large lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of gold tequila
- 4 teaspoons southwest seasoning or Cholula dry seasoning
- 1/2 yellow pepper diced
- 1/4 red onion diced
- 1/4 cup of diced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Lightly season both sides of the Tilapia Fillets with seasoning.
2. Melt butter in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat and add Tilapia fillets. Cook for two to three minutes and turn fish.
3. Briefly remove the fish from the pan, scrape up flakes and seasoning. Add vegetables and tequila. Simmer for two minutes and return fish to pan. Allow fish to rewarm before removing from heat and serving. Be sure fish is cooked through. It should be fork tender and flaky.
Another incredibly simple recipe that’s really big on flavor. The onions, the lime and the veggies really add something special to the fish. It’s also one of the fastest and most difficult things you can screw up. Goes really well with a rice pilaf or a Spanish rice. Veggies like asparagus or even potatoes are awesome with the lime, tequila sauce drizzled over the top as well.
If you try it, let me know how it goes.
After our morning workout, I decided to give a recipe I originally saw on Giada De Laurentis’ Food Network show, Everyday Italian a go, while making a few modifications of my own. So before leaving for work, I made the marinade for grilled chicken with lemon basil dressing. I’m happy to report that it turned out fabulously.
Looks pretty appetizing huh? Allow me to attest, the dressing is AMAZING. I’ll be using it for everything from salads, to marinades Here’s how to make the whole shebang.
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (for marinade) plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds (the original recipe calls for a course crush, but Vita isn’t a big fennel fan. I left them intact for a milder flavor)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 large clove garlic
- teaspoon grated lemon zest
Whisk in 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty, zippered, plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turn the chicken occasionally if you have time. Just be sure you get to toss it every now and again before you bring it to the grill.
Blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Once you’ve got it evened out, blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired. I don’t think you’ll need it though, as it’s already a flavor backed punch.
Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.
The lemon basil sauce adds a huge kick to the chicken, giving it a lot flavor. The marinade makes the chicken really, really moist and the fennel adds a lot of earthy tones to the meat. This is a recipe I have a feeling I’ll be making over and over again. Vita said the chicken “dances” in your mouth. I’d agree, it’s really strong and very zippy. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll like it.
I’ve been a very big fan of seafood lately, and since I’ve become dedicated to gluten free I’ve been making lots of it. Tonight, we went with a pre-made Lobster Bisque Soup that we tried (Sam’s Club) and I picked up some fresh shrimp that I briefly sauteed with rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes. It turned out a little bit more lemony than I would have liked, but all in all, I was happy with it.
Personally, I thought the Lobster Bisque (the brand name escapes me) was fantastic. Big chunks of lobster, good color and lots of Italian herbs.
- 1 pound large shrimp (de-veined, peeled, tail on)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (dried is fine)
- 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
1. To a medium sized skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Saute over medium heat until golden.
2. Add rosemary, pepper flakes, and shrimp, and cook, stirring. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to serving dish. If you like, add two tablespoons of butter at the very end and allow it to melt in. This creates more of a “sauce” that you can drizzle over your plate. And if I were eating bread still, I’d douse a good crusty piece in it too :).
3. Squeeze half lemon over shrimp.
That’s it, couldn’t be easier. Still, very tasty and super fast for when you’re pinched on time.