Posts tagged ‘recipe’

April 23, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

I’ve always loved a piping-hot bowl of Italian Wedding Soup, but I had never found the right recipe. Until now. I scoured the Web and combined a little bit of this one with a little bit of that one, added a few more vegetables and voila—it was perfection. Everyone had seconds and asked me to make it again.

I started by sauteeing a container of mirepoix from Trader Joe’s, which is basically chopped carrots, onions and celery, in olive oil. Pre-chopped vegetables for a good stock is just what I needed on a rushed day. Then, I added 8 cups of low-sodium chicken broth, plus 1 can of cannellini beans and a the heel of a wedge of Parmesan cheese. I let it simmer for a about 15 minutes and then I added the meatballs.

For the meatballs, I combined:

1 lb. of lean ground beef

1/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2  tsp minced garlic

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs (leave out if you’re GF)

I shaped them into mini meatballs and dropped them into the simmering broth until they were cooked through. Lastly, I turned off the heat and stirred in a bag of baby spinach. You could substitute endive or Swiss chard, but you’d have to increase your cooking time. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

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January 20, 2012

Chinese Noodles with Pork & Peanut Sauce

“Oww!!! Stop it!” S yelled.

“Give it back then,” C said.

“It’s mine!” S retorted.

“Aaaaargh! Give it now!” C screamed.

Sigh. I had lost count of the number of times I had heard this type of dialogue all day. All I wanted was to sit in a quiet room with a glass of Chardonnay and a big bowl of carbs. Carbs are so comforting. And really, any carb would do—pasta, mashed potatoes, a crusty French baguette. But with Chinese New Year just a few days away, I decided that noodles, which represent longevity, would be perfect. I love noodles! But I needed it to be easy and quick, because I wasn’t sure both kids would make it in one piece to dinner.

Williams-Sonoma has a simple and delicious Chinese noodle recipe that requires just a few staple ingredients. You brown some ground pork, add some green onions, garlic and ginger, followed by 2 TB of peanut butter, and then a mixture of chicken broth, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. The sauce thickens as it simmers and after it has reached the right consistency, you toss it with some cooked egg noodles (you could easily substitute spaghetti noodles). Dinner is done! I had set aside some beautiful baby bok choy to go with the noodles, but the battle between S and C had made its way into the kitchen and two little bodies were flying around me. There was no time to cook a separate vegetable. So, I reached for a bag of frozen peas and dumped half of it into the pot of boiling water which was cooking the noodles. I drained all of it in a colander and voila, it was a one-dish meal!

The recipe calls for some chili oil, but I just top my own heaping of noodles with it.

The craziness continued through dinnertime, between the kids taking bites of noodles. But I ignored the insanity and soothed myself with two servings of warm pasta and my long-awaited glass of wine. It was almost like being in a soundproof room.

There was plenty for S’s lunch the next day.

Chinese Noodles with Pork & Spicy Peanut Sauce (Williams-Sonoma)

Ingredients

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/ 4 cup hoisin sauce

2 TB soy sauce

1 TB peanut or canola oil

3/4 lb. ground pork

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup minced green (spring onions), white and tender green parts

1 TB minced garlic

1 TB peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 TB creamy peanut butter

1 lb. thin fresh Chinese egg noodles

1 tsp hot chile oil

Make the sauce

1. In a small bowl, stir together the broth, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce; set aside. Place a 12-inch frying pan over medium heat and add the peanut oil. When the oil appears to shimmer, add the ground pork and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is crumbly and the color changes from pink to gray. Add 1/2 cup of the green onions, the garlic, and ginger to the pan and mix well with the pork. Add the broth mixture and peanut butter, stir well, and cook until small bubbles form on the surface. Cook until the peanut butter smelted and the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Cook and drain the noodles

2. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles all at once, stir gently, and cook until the noodles are tender, but still slightly chewy, about 2 -3  minutes. While the noodles are cooking, reheat the sauce in the pan over medium-low heat. Pour the noodles into a colander to drain, then shake the colander to remove excess water. Don’t let the strands get too dry, or they will stick together.

Toss the noodles with the sauce

3. Add the drained noodles to the pan with the sauce. Using 2 wooden spoons or spatulas, toss the noodles until they are evenly coated with the sauce and the pork is evenly distributed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup green onions and the chile oil and toss to distribute evenly. Serve right away.

December 8, 2011

Honey-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks!

Quick poll: Did you grow up eating and loving drumsticks? Because I remember when drumsticks were the go-to meat for kids, the item on the dinner table that kids would wrestle each other for. Why? It’s the meaty part of the chicken leg with a built-in handle. Natural finger food. What could be better? But now, most children are rarely ever exposed to meat on the bone. The truth is, neither are many parents. Sadly, that means kids are missing out on delicious cuts of meat and knowing where their meat really comes from—yes, an animal (gasp!).

I loved grilled chicken—thigh, wing, drumstick, you name it. The main reason I love it is because I usually grill chicken with both the bone and skin attached. The result is moist, juicy chicken with a crispy skin. I know it’s not politically correct to eat chicken skin anymore, but, really, if you can’t eat it when you’re a kid when can you?

I feel lucky to live in San Diego, because I’m able to grill year-round. Last night, I decided to try a new drumstick recipe from FoodandWine.com. It looked so easy, which marinating typically is, and only required seven ingredients: salt, pepper, five-spice powder, cilantro, sesame oil, garlic and honey. I marinated the drumsticks along with some boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a couple hours and then threw them on the grill and brushed them with honey. The recipe says to grill the chicken for 35 minutes, but for me it was much closer to 15 minutes. While they cooked, I steamed some rice and stir-fried some Chinese green beans.

What was the consensus? S said, “This chicken is so good,” and C said, “I love the chicken. Thank you, mommy!” Isn’t it so satisfying when you try a new recipe and every member of the family likes it?

S went to school this morning with a lunchbox filled with rice, a drumstick, carrots and some seaweed.

Honey-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks (from Food & Wine)

Ingredients

18 chicken drumsticks

2 1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

3 TB sesame oil

Vegetable oil, for the grill

6 TB honey, warmed

Instructions

  1. Make 3 crosswise slashes down to the bone on the meaty part of each drumstick. Put the chicken in a large shallow baking dish.
  2. In a bowl, mix the salt, pepper, five-spice powder, garlic and cilantro. Add the sesame oil; stir into a paste. Rub the paste in the slashes in the chicken and spread any remaining paste over the skin. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Light a grill. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the chicken over a medium-hot fire, turning occasionally, for about 35 minutes, or until just cooked through. Brush the drumsticks with the honey and grill until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Serve hot.
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