Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
10 ounces fresh crabmeat
1 tomato, seeded, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups clam-tomato juice (such as Clamato)
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup bottled clam juice
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add 3/4 of crabmeat, tomato, 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; stir 2 minutes. Whisk in clam-tomato juice and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool soup slightly.

Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in 3/4 cup water and lemon juice; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining crab and 3 tablespoons basil and serve.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spinach pasta chicken salad

12 oz box campanelle pasta (cooked) (you can also use bowtie pasta if you prefer)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (toasted)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (toasted)
6 cups shredded cooked white meat chicken (I usually just bake up a bunch of chicken breasts for this then cube them)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 cups torn fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spicy Shrimp and Fettucine (from Cooking Light)

Another one from Cooking Light that Brandon and I tried. Very good!

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine (I actually used whole wheat linguine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes (about 5)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta. Drain.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through salt); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pasta; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Place pasta mixture on plates; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Caramel Sea Salt Icecream

We made this for Thanksgiving -it was delicious!!

For the caramel praline (mix-in)
½ cup (100 gr) sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the ice cream custard
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. To make the caramel praline, spread the ½ cup (100 gr) of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, unlined heavy duty saucepan: I use a 6 quart/liter pan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or brush it sparingly with unflavored oil.

2. Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved. (Or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later.)

Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it's just about to burn. It won't take long.

3. Without hesitation, sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring (don't even pause to scratch your nose), then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it almost vertically to encourage the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.

4. To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they're floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.

5. Spread 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until caramelized, using the same method described in Step #2.

6. Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.

The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk.

7. Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F (71-77 C).

8. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.

9. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

10. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little bits, about the size of very large confetti (about ½-inch, or 1 cm). I use a mortar and pestle, although you can make your own kind of music using your hands or a rolling pin.

11. Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.

Note: As the ice cream sits, the little bits of caramel may liquefy and get runny and gooey, which is what they're intended to do.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 (3-inch) fresh thyme sprigs plus 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 Turkish or 1/4 California bay leaf
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 lb dried Black Mission figs, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup Port
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
12 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonally cut baguette slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz soft mild honey goat cheese at room temperature
2 fresh ripe figs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Garnish: fresh thyme leaves

Make savory fig jam:
Cook shallot, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf in butter in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add dried figs, Port, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until figs are soft, about 10 minutes. If there is still liquid in saucepan, remove lid and simmer, stirring, until most of liquid is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes more. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs and transfer jam to a bowl. Cool, then stir in minced thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Make toasts while jam cools:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush tops lightly with oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack.

Assemble crostini:
Spread each toast with 1 teaspoon fig jam and top with about 1 1/2 teaspoons goat cheese and 2 pieces fresh fig.

•Fig jam can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
•Toasts can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.