Friday, March 19, 2010

February 15-28, 2010

Wednesday 2/17 - Beer-battered Fish nuggets were shared with friends – fish that even the kids loved. Oscar Pasta is always popular with kids AND adults. Red velvet cupcakes were yummy, but I should have cut the recipe in half and the frosting recipe in a quarter (so I shrunk the recipe below).

Thursday 2/18 - Pork with blueberries - I enjoyed as much as the lamb with blueberry sauce in Italy, but Allen was not fond of the flavor this time. Brussel sprouts were yummy, however, the mashed parsnips we threw away (maybe they were overripe and too sweet).

Friday 2/19 - Homemade pizza for Greysen and his friends. They each got a small 6-7 in crust, spread spaghetti sauce on, sprinkled cheese and placed their pepperoni. Everyone ate well.

Sunday - Veggie lasagna was great, but VERY time-consuming. We loved the spices and all of the veggies packed in it.

Tuesday 2/23 - Cod with lentils was good, but Allen thinks he over-salted it. Very interesting flavors, but not sure it was worth the effort.

Thursday 2/25 - Sirloin pasta portobello was good and simple. Tasty, but unfortunately the sirloin was overdone.

Saturday 2/27 - Homemade pumpkin ravioli with a sage brown butter sauce that I always love, but unfortunately I forgot to mark on the recipe a key addition. So the essence of the enclosed ravioli was ruined, but it still tasted wonderful. Had this with chicken, but Greysen's favorite part was the fried sage leaves. They were quite yummy. We pan-cooked chicken breasts in olive oil and seasoned them with salt, nutmeg and clove to complement the ravioli.

Oscar Pasta
Any kind of pasta - Greysen prefers penne or rotini
a big container of fresh spinach
dash of nutmeg
salt to taste
butter and or milk
(I sometimes also stir in diced or minced carrots)
Cook pasta to directions. Steam spinach in a pot with a tiny bit of water. Put fully cooked spinach in blender or magic bullet, add a dash or two of nutmeg, a dash or two of salt and a good chunk of butter (or natural oil butter). Can add a little bit of milk to make creamier (and easier to reheat). Blend. Pour spinach sauce over pasta. Stir and eat.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 12 frosted cupcakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cocoa powder
¾ cups vegetable oil
½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon white distilled vinegar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ pound cream cheese, softened
½ sticks butter, softened
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake papers or grease each hole. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.
*Recipe from Paula Deen

Braciole ai Mirtilli (Pork Chops with Blueberries)
Serves 4
4 spare rib chops
All purpose flour for dusting
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
¾ c red wine
2 ¾ c blueberries
Scant ½ c clear honey
Preheat the oven to 400F. Dust the chops with flour. Heat the butter and oil in a small flameproof casserole; add the chops and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over. Pour in the wine and cook until it has partly evaporated, then season with salt. Pass the blueberries through food mill (or blender) and mix with the honey in a bowl. Spread this mixture over the chops, then cover the casserole, transfer to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.
*Recipe from The Silver Spoon.

Carmelized Brussels Sprouts
Cut in half with a little olive oil in a frying pan until they brown.   We seasoned them with Sale Roma or a Roman Salt (or a type of Italian seasoning).

Puréed Roasted Parsnips Recipe
Serves 4
2 lbs parsnips, peeled, stringy cores removed, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds after removing cores)
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel parsnips, make a cut off the top of the fat end of each parsnip. This will show you extent of the inner core. Often this core is stringy and woody, especially at the larger end of the parsnip. When you are prepping the parsnips, cut around this core. Place chopped parsnips in a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and stir to coat. Lay out the parsnips on a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, at 400°F, until lightly golden, turning the parsnips once half-way through the cooking. Put cooked parsnips into a blender or food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and pulse until puréed to the desired consistency. Add more water if necessary. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
*Recipe posted by Elise on

Vegetarian Lasagna
Marinara Sauce:
1 c chopped onion
3 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped, peeled carrots
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ c red wine
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
28 oz can peeled whole tomatoes
½ c chopped mushrooms
1 Tbsp honey or sugar
½ tsp salt or to taste
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 medium eggplant, sliced length-wise ½ inch thick
Salt to taste
Less than 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb spinach
5 oz goat cheese or ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Basic White Sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil 2 c warm milk
2 T unbleached white flour
¼ c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c thinly sliced scallions or green onions
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt
12 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 c water
1/12 c mozzarella, shredded
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Make the marinara sauce: sauté the onion, garlic, and carrots in the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the red wine, oregano, and basil, and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, honey or sugar, salt, and Italian seasoning, and continue to cook until the mushrooms become limp, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Broil the eggplant: Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil, salt lightly, sprinkle on a little cayenne, and lay on a baking tray. Broil for 3 minutes on the middle rack under the broiler until it turns brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Prepare the spinach: Steam the spinach for 1 minute in a pot filled with ½ c water. Remove from the heat and let cool. Squeeze the spinach, using clean hands, to remove excess water.

Put softened goat cheese or ricotta in a medium bowl. Add the spinach and mix together thoroughly with a fork. Put the olive oil, onions, and sliced garlic in a small sauté pan over low heat. Sauté for 2 minutes until the onions turn light golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool. Add it to the softened cheese and spinach and mix. Add the pepper and the fresh basil and mix again until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended in.

Make the white sauce: Pour the olive oil into a medium saucepan over low heat. Put the milk in a separate saucepan over low heat only until it becomes warm; do not let it boil. Gradually stir the flour into the warm oil, stirring constantly. Let cook for about 1 minute to make a brownish roux. Slowly add ¼ c of the warm milk and whisk it to blend it in. Pour in the remaining milk, continuing to whisk. Allow the sauce to simmer about 2 minutes just to thicken slightly, then turn off the heat. Mix in the cheese, spices, and salt. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375F. To assemble the lasagna: cover the bottom of a deep baking dish with ½ c marinara sauce. Lay 4 sheets of the oven-ready noodles on top. Spoon the spinach filling over the noodles and spread it around until all of them are covered. Pour the white sauce on top, covering all the noodles. Lay 4 more sheets of noodles on top of the white sauce. Lay the eggplant slices lengthwise over the noodles. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top. Pour 1 c of marinara sauce over the cheese. Lay another 4 sheets of noodles over the sauce. Slowly pour the water over the lasagna stack. Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the noodles. Sprinkle the top with remaining mozzarella cheese and the olives. Cover with foil and cook for 1/12 hours in the oven. When it is completely cooked, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into squares.
*Recipe from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley

Baked Curried Sea Bass with Lentils (we used cod)
3 ¼ c water
1 bay leaf
1 c lentils
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1 c sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 c sliced shiitake or button mushrooms
½ c broccoli florets
½ c yellow or red bell pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 c nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ water
½ c almond meal
1 tsp salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp curry powder
Four 6-pz sea bass steaks, cut in half
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf and the lentils and cook for 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat when completely cooked and let cool briefly. Drain off any liquid and stir in the Cajun seasoning.

Sauté the onions, garlic, mushrooms, broccoli, and bell peppers in the olive oil until the onions are transparent and limp, about 4 minutes. Add the yeast, salt, and curry powder and stir until everything is blended in. Add to the cooked lentils. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir it into the lentils and vegetables. Continue to cook for 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens, Remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the almond meal, salt, cayenne pepper, and curry powder on a plate and flip both sides of the fish steaks on it until they are coated with the mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and lay the fish in. Sauté over medium heat, turning once, for 5 minutes on each side. Drizzle the lemon juice over the fish. If you aren’t using an ovenproof Dutch oven or pan, transfer the fish to a baking dish. Put the lentil and vegetable mixture around the fish, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes to cook the steak through; when you cut into one, the flesh should be a pale white color, no translucent.
*Recipe from The Healthy Kitchen by Andrew Weil, M.D., and Rosie Daley

Sirloin Pasta Portobello
1-1/4 lbs. boneless beef top sirloin steak, 1-inch thick
8 ounces uncooked linguine
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 ounces portobello mushroom caps
1 medium red, yellow or green bell pepper cut in 1/8-inch strips
2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile trim fat from beef steak. Cut steak lengthwise in half and then crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips. Remove and discard the dark gills from the underside of the mushrooms by scraping with a spoon. Slice the mushroom caps into 1/4-inch wide strips. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the beef and garlic and stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink. Remove and season with half of the salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic. Remove and season with remaining salt and pepper. In same skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil until hot. Add mushrooms and bell pepper strips. Stir-fry 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Return beef to pan. Add sliced basil and toss. Place pasta on platter and spoon beef mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese.
* Recipe from the Texas Beef Council’s website.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Serves 4
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree (I’ve used canned pumpkin – just as good, but then skip 10-15 min on baking sheet)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp dark molasses
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
wonton wrappers
4 Tbsp butter
6 diced sage leaves
4 large whole sage leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread squash puree on a baking sheet and place in oven to dry, 10-15 minutes. You want your puree to be at a mashed-potato consistency. Scrape into a large mixing bowl. Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove from heat, swirl in balsamic vinegar and molasses. Add to the pumpkin along with the ricotta, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Season to taste with the salt and pepper, chill for a couple of hours. At this point the filling can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. Lay out your wonton wrappers. Put a small mound (heaping teaspoon) of the chilled pumpkin filling in the center of a wonton. Using a small pastry brush or your finger, moisten all of the edges with a little cold water. Fold the wonton in half, firmly pressing the seam, forming either a triangle or a rectangle. Repeat until you run out of wrappers or filling. You can freeze these uncooked raviolis, in a single layer, for 1 month. Cook the raviolis in gently boiling water for 2 minutes – do not cook too long. While the raviolis are cooking, melt the remaining butter with the sage and a pinch of salt until it foams and begins to brown. Remove whole sage leaves and drain on a paper towel (they will be a crispy, pretty garnish). Continue to swirl the butter sauce until it turns a rich chestnut brown. Add pasta to saucepan and sauté. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and a couple of fried sage leaves.
*Recipe from The Unemployed Cook (

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