09 June 2015

pasta w/ mussels

The finished product
I'm all about trying new things these days: new ingredients, new techniques, etc. I don't think I've ever cooked a mollusk before. Truth be told, I honestly didn't realize that mussels were alive when you bought them. While storing them in the fridge before cooking, half of them opened up. Which I knew was bad. Opened mussels = bad mussels. However! After running them under cold water, they all closed up again! It was kind of gross, kind of cool. I guess I'll have to deal with it if I ever intend to cook a live lobster (I want to try it, but I SO DO NOT at the same time). Anyways, keep them cool and rinse and scrub them before you proceed with the recipe. Toss any that stay open.

Regardless of your experience with mollusks, you should definitely try out this recipe. It's super delicious and makes for a great dinner party dish. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 can chopped or whole tomatoes (you have to chop them anyways, so might as well by them that way) 
  • 3 fat garlic cloves; 1 crushed, 2 minced 
  • 1 shallot, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine 
  • 2 pounds mussels, rinsed, scrubbed and beards removed 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or marjoram, or both 
  • Pinch sugar 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1 pound linguine or other pasta 
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley 

01 June 2015

beef bourguignon

Beef or Boeuf?
After watching Julie & Julia while spending a weekend away in the Catskills last weekend, I was inspired to take my new Le Creuset dutch oven for a spin and make an attempt at Julia Child's Beef ("boeuf" if you're fancy and/or French) Bourguignon. I was going to actually go out about buy her cookbook, but it was too wordy and daunting, so the recipe below is compiled from different variations I found online (most of which were very confusing). Keep in mind this thing takes around 5 hours start-to-finish, though you're only active for about an hour of that time. Great for a lazy, rainy day. Here's what you'll need:

08 May 2013

seared tuna w/ olive tapenade vinaigrette & arugula

I think the title of this post takes longer to say than the actual meal takes to prepare. As work continues to kick into full gear now that summer has past and the early sunsets make for less ambitious evenings, I'm really growing to appreciate meals that take more time to eat than to make. Tonight was another one of those. I found a recipe that sounded tasty, but complicated (they made the tapenade from scratch), but like most meals on this site, I simplified without sacrificing taste. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed olive tapenade
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 6-ounce ahi tuna steaks (each about 3/4 to 1 inch thick)
  • 2 handfulls baby arugula
  • Salt and pepper (maybe - see below)
So I began by purchasing a pre-made olive tapenade. My local market had several varieties: black, green, kalamata, mixed, etc. I went with the mixed, which also had roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, garlic and salt mixed in. I didn't object to any of those things, so I rolled with it. 

Mix the tapenade together with the onion, basil, oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste (and if necessary - I didn't add salt since there was already some in the tapenade). Set aside.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Rub oil, salt and pepper on each side of your tuna steak and toss on the skillet. I like my tuna steaks medium-rare, so I only cooked about 2-3 minutes per side. Let the steak cool for just a minute before slicing. 

Add the tuna slices over a bed of arugula and top with the olive tapenade. Voila - seriously delicious meal in under 10 minutes.

Bon chappétit!

24 April 2013

spinach salad w/ fish & balsamic honey dressing

So I know a lot of my recipes have an emphasis on red meat and carbs (I can't help it!) However, every once in awhile I like to kick back with some fish and leafy greens. The recipe below is for an awesome little salad that only uses one pan - great taste AND easy clean-up. It doesn't get better than that. Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 lb. white fish fillets (I used tilapia)
  • 4 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons of honey
Rinse the fish and pat dry with a paper towel. Then cut the fish into 4 serving-sized pieces and set aside. Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside. In a large skillet, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until tender and slightly golden. Add the sweet pepper, cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir the onion mixture into spinach; transfer to a serving platter and set aside.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the fish fillets with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. In same large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully turn fish. Reduce the heat to medium; cook 3 minutes more or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place the fish fillets on top of wilted spinach and cover to keep warm.

In a small bowl, stir together the balsamic vinegar and honey. Add to the same large skillet. Cook and stir until heated through, scraping up any browned bits. To serve, spoon the balsamic vinaigrette over the fish and spinach. Makes 2-4 salads, depending on the appetites at hand.

Bon chappétit!

16 April 2013

cherry tomato pizza margherita

I've featured different kinds of pizza on the blog several times, but I've never tried a basic margherita. The recipe I tried is a variation of one I found. It includes a nice kick with the addition of the red pepper. And it's super quick and easy, which is always nice. You could also probably use this recipe to cheat a really simple pasta sauce! Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Dozen or so cherry tomatoes, stemmed (do not cut!)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper 
  • 1 4 oz. ball fresh mozzarella in water (ovoline), coarsely diced 
  • 4 ounces shredded whole-milk mozzarella
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 6" whole wheat pita breads (or you can make the pizza crust from scratch if you wanna be all fancy)

14 April 2013

bon chap on facebook

Happy Sunday Bon Chappers! ("Bon Chappers" - do we like that? Have any better suggestions? Leave it in the comments!)

Just a friendly reminder that if you're a fan of the blog, be sure to like me on Facebook. In addition to staying up-to-date with original recipes, I also re-post past recipes from the blog archives, new variations to old favorites and helpful cooking tips from around the web.


08 April 2013

lemon oregano roasted chicken

After all of the fish and healthy vegetables I've been consuming lately, I was in the mood for something hearty, something with potatoes. Something completely not that healthy! I'd never made roast chicken before, nor have I ever made it with the skin on. I can safely say, it will not be my last. This was delicious. Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 chicken breasts with skin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 

06 April 2013

shrimp & broccoli rabe

I came across this recipe on nytimes.com. It was a little outside of my comfort zone - being that I've never liked broccoli rabe in the past - but decided to try it anyways. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment? Well not this time. It was actually pretty great, and super quick and easy. And guess what? I liked the rabe! Is there supposed to be an accent on that: rabé? Whatever, let's get to it.

  • Broccoli rabe, tough bottom stems removed. Just get a whole bunch. I thought I had WAY TOO MUCH, but that stuff really wilts down. Just load it on there.
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes (I didn't have this, unless it's the same as red pepper flakes mixed with cayenne pepper, which is what I had and used)
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled 
  • 1 large orange (1 teaspoon orange zest, plus the wedges for serving)

25 March 2013

halibut w/ bell peppers & soy-ginger dressing

I love a good 20/20 experience, and I'm not just talking about the new JT album (which I also love, for the record. Except for that song about Jessica Biel being a drug dealer. That's odd. Catchy, but odd). No, my 20/20 experience is a meal that's under $20 and 20 minutes. If it's great tasting (and this one is!), then it just doesn't get any better. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 skin-on halibut fillet, rinsed and patted dry
  • Assorted bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into long, thin strips (My local market sells an assorted, pre-cut bunch for ~$2.)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • Juice of one large orange (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

11 March 2013

beer-marinated pork tenderloin w/ red cabbage

And I don't even like beer! Apparently it makes a good marinade though. I had my doubts about this one. I won't lie, it didn't have the greatest smell when I first put together the marinade. The flavors came together in the end though, especially the cabbage. I've never made cabbage before, but after tonight, I think it'll definitely become a regular side dish. Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 pork tenderloins (1 - 1.5 lbs total) 
  • 1/4 cup lager (I have no idea if I even bought the right thing here)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, divided 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1/2 medium red cabbage, cored, cut into 1/2" strips 
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, chopped (I used a Fiji)
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper 

Place the pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Whisk the lager, soy sauce, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl and pour into the bag with pork and seal. Chill, turning occasionally, for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven your to 400°F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the pork from marinade, allowing any excess to drip off (reserve marinade). Cook the pork, turning until browned on all sides, 8-10 minutes.

Transfer the pork to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork registers 140°F, 10-15 minutes. I just tossed it on a cookie sheet, but if you have an oven-safe skillet, you can probably just toss that in there. When done, transfer the pork to a plate and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly thickened, 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat (I used the same one that I'd browned the pork in.) Add the cabbage, apple, and 1 cup of water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the cabbage is softened, 15-20 minutes. Add remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar and toss to combine.

Slice pork and serve with cabbage mixture and sauce.

Bon chappétit!