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Archive for August, 2008

Ok, I admit it. I’m hooked on Martha Stewart. I can’t help myself – her recipes refuse to disappoint me. Take this escarole pizza I made today. On second thought, don’t take it. We ate the whole thing already. Boy was that good. I used my new pizza stone, and it made the crust perfect. I highly recommend investing in one – it makes all the difference. The original recipe called for gruyere cheese, which, as we all know, is dairy and not a good choice for me. So instead I used soy mozzarella, and it came out fabulous. Enjoy!

Escarole pizza (another Martha Stewart adaptation)

yellow cornmeal for dusting

pizza dough

2 tablespoons currants

2 tablespoons golden raisins

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 head escarole, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup coarsely grated soy mozzarella

sprinkling of nutmeg

2 tablespoons grated soy parmesan

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Place a pizza stone (if using) in the oven on the lowest shelf, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Dust a baking sheet or wooden peel with cornmeal; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dought into a 12″ circle. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet or peel; cover with plastic wrap. 

Place the currants and raisins in a small bowl, and cover with 1/4 cup warm water; set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the escarole and vinegar, and cook until the escarole has wilted. Drain the currants and raisins, and add to the escarole mixture. Remove from the heat.

Remove the plastic wrap from the dough, and sprinkle the soy mozzarella over the dough, leaving a 1″ border. Sprinkle nutmeg over the cheese, and cover with the escarole mixture. Top with the soy parmesan and the almonds.

Transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven, or onto a rack if using a baking sheet. Cook until the crust is golden and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Makes a twelve inch pizza.

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A healthy and light dinner for tonight. Tofu, when done right, can be a great source of protein and the ideal vehicle for the sauce or flavoring that you introduce to it. The best tofu to use for pan-frying is extra-firm. Before cooking your tofu, always drain it first, then press it for at least 15-20 minutes, to get all the water that is still trapped within it out. I like to slice mine in half, place the halves between two paper towels, then place in a rimmed pan. Place another pan on top, and load it with heavy cans. This is the weight you need to press out all of the tofu liquid. It works!

Anyway, this recipe is courtesy of your girlfriend and mine, Martha Stewart. She has some really great recipes. Enjoy!

Sesame tofu with vegetables (modified from The New Classics)

for the tofu

16 ounces extra-firm tofu

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

for the vegetables

3 1/2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

10-12 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered

1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips

12 ounces Chinese broccoli, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces

2 scallions, slices crosswise into 2″ pieces

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

freshly ground pepper

Press the tofu, then slice into 1″ strips. 

In a large shallow dish, combine the mustard, sesame seeds, garlic, and soy sauce. Place the tofu in the dish and coat all the pieces by turning gently. Set aside to marinate.

Heat a large skillet or wok and add 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil. Add the tofu and cook until golden. Transfer to a plate. 

In the same pan, heat the rest of the canola oil (2 teaspoons), then add the ginger and garlic. Cook and stir constantly, about 1 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, Chinese broccoli, and scallions. Cook and stir continuously until the veggies are crisp-tender – about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil; stir to combine. Season with pepper and plate the vegetables. Lay the tofu gently across the top and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Another scrumptious edition, #78, is up and at ’em at Once Upon A Feast. Not one but two of my recipes are featured there. I feel honored to be amongst such great looking entries. Stop by and be prepared to get hungry!

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I’ve always been a big fan of Vietnamese cooking, and when I saw this recipe, well, I had to give it a try. Talk about instant gratification! The combination of flavors of the fresh vegetables with the seasoned pasta and the chicken in spicy peanut sauce worked sooo well together. This dish really rocked. And another easy put-together recipe. Enjoy, and be ready for some compliments!

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Salad (modified from Martha Stewart)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 4 lime wedges for garnish

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, plus sprigs for garnish

1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, diced

1 pound capellini pasta, or rice vermicelli

1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 3″ long matchsticks

1 red bell pepper (I only had yellow), seeded and cut into 3″ long matchsticks

2 carrots cut into 3″ long matchsticks

Place peanut butter, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, 1 tablespoon lime juice, garlic, and ginger in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Pour over the diced chicken and toss together.

Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar, remaining tablespoon lime juice, peanut oil, and mint in a small bowl, and set aside.

Boil a large pot of water, and cook the pasta according to box instructions, until al dente. Drain, then toss with the reserved vinaigrette.

Divide the noodles, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, and chicken among four bowls, and garnish with the mint sprigs and lime wedges. Makes 4 servings.

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I have always equated succotash with lima beans, which is one vegetable that I have no fondness for in my heart. So when I found this recipe, my interest was piqued. I tweaked it into a main dish instead of a side, as it was originally presented. For some reason, I could find no okra in the markets, so I did without. Instead of medium tomatoes, I subbed halved grape tomatoes. And I used a whole package of turkey bacon for this dish, to help turn it into a full and South Beach-friendly meal. I used frozen veggies instead of fresh ones – this was so easy and quick to make, high on flavor. Enjoy!

Holy sufferin’ succotash

1 package of sliced turkey bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved

1 package of frozen peas, thawed

1 package of frozen corn, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s roasted corn)

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons margarine

1/4 cup slivered basil leaves

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Remove from pan and crumble into bite-sized pieces. Add the oil to the skillet and cook the onion until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes break down. Add the peas and corn, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring, for about another 2 minutes. Add the bacon back into the pan, along with the margarine and basil. Stir to fully incorporate all the ingredients and the margarine has melted and blended with everything. Makes 4 servings.

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I’ve been waiting. Waiting for figs. They have just begun showing up in the markets around here. I couldn’t be happier, as I’ve been waiting to try this recipe from Baroness Tapuzina. I used calimyrna figs, and it came out heavenly. It makes a beautiful presentation, and an even more delicious dessert. Enjoy!

Fig Galette

For the dough:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons cold margarine, cut into cubes

3 tablespoons very cold orange juice or water

For the filling:

1 1/2 pounds ripe figs, stemmed and quartered lengthwise

1/3 up firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

egg wash

1/4 cup sliced almonds

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the shortening and pulse until reduced to pea-sized pieces. Add the water a little at a time and pulse until the dough just begins to come together in a rough mass. Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly dust a work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough into a round circle, slightly larger than 13 inches and about 1/8 inch thick. Lift and turn the dough several times as you roll to prevent sticking, and dust the surface and rolling pin with additional flour as needed. Trim off any ragged edges to make an even 13″ round. Cover with plastic and set aside.

To make the filling, gently toss the figs together with the brown sugar, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl until all the ingredients are nicely mingled.

Uncover the dough and transfer to a baking sheet. The edges of the dough hang over the pan edges. Arrange the figs in a pile in the center of the dough, leaving a 2″ border uncovered. Fold the dough up and over the filling, pleating loosely all around the circle and leaving the galette open in the center.

Brush the pleated dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle almonds on top of the dough and press on them lightly to make them stick.

Bake until the crust is golden and the figs are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40 minutes. Transfer the galette to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Many thanks to 101 Cookbooks blog for this winning recipe. It sounded really good when I read it, looked even better when I saw it and tasted amazing when I made it. This one’s a keeper. Enjoy!

Caramelized Tofu

8 ounces any baked savory tofu, or just extra-firm tofu will do, cut into thin strips

a couple pinches coarse salt

a couples splashes olive oil or peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 pound brussel sprouts, cut into 1/8″ wide ribbons

Cook the tofu strips in a large hot skillet with a little salt and splash of oil. Saute until lightly golden, then add the garlic and pecans and cook for another minute. Stir in the sugar and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. Scrape the mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussel sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt and heat up the pan over medium high heat. Add the shredded brussel sprouts and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring infrequently, until it starts to get bright and little bits golden up.

Combine everything together and serve. Makes 3 servings.

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Wow, that’s a long name for a recipe. But it was just soooo good that I didn’t know how to abbreviate it. I picked up the sausage at Trader Joe’s, along with the roasted corn, which I buy frozen. As for the green tomatoes, I don’t find them too often in the markets around here. In fact, this was the first time I ever cooked with them – they were really good! I used shell pasta because it cupped some of the little pieces of the sauce inside them. This dish was a hit. Enjoy!

Grilled spicy Italian chicken sausage with roasted corn and fried green tomatoes over shell pasta (inspired by Martha Stewart)

1 package of your favorite spicy sausage (you know mine!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

3-4 green tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup frozen roasted corn (or non-roasted, if that’s all you can find), thawed

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 pound shell pasta (I used whole wheat here)

Fire up the grill and get that grate nice and hot. Slice your sausages in half length-wise, and grill on each side until done and nicely charred. Remove and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and then saute the onion until softened. Add the green tomatoes and the sugar, and stir frequently over medium heat until the tomatoes begin to become golden.

Season the saute with salt and pepper, and stir in the corn and the thyme. Stir until everything is combined. Removed from heat and combine with the pasta until everything is well mingled. Makes 4 servings.

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I am always on the prowl for new and delicious ways to enjoy dishes dairy free, so when I perused through David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop and found this recipe, I knew it had my name written all over it. I just bought a new ice cream machine, mainly for making sorbets, but this one came out so creamy that it almost tasted like ice cream. It’s a whole lot richer than this recipe that I made a few weeks ago, and that’s probably why I thoroughly enjoyed it. My taste testers approved, too. The ingredients are fresh pineapple, coconut milk, sugar, and a little rum. Doesn’t it look nice in my mother’s Royal Albert teacup, too?

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It is my privilege and honor to host this week’s PPN #77, and before I go any further, I would like to thank Ruth Daniels of Once Upon A Feast and Presto Pasta Nights fame for the unique opportunity to do this event. Every week, cooks and bloggers from all around the world come together to enjoy the pleasures of pasta and its many expressions and variations, all through Presto Pasta Nights. I must say how much fun this has been for me, and it’s been a great opportunity to meet so many of you and be inspired by your dishes.

Next, I would like to thank all of YOU who have submitted entries to this week’s edition. Your response was overwhelming, and I mean that in a good way. Your recipes are all inspirational to me.

So, without any further ado, here is the Roundup for this week, #77. I am presenting this week’s entries to you in the order that I received them in my emailbox. 

Argus, from ArgusWorld blog, has submitted his Perky Glass Noodle Salad. This looks like a keeper to me – easy to make and clean-looking flavors.

Check out some of the photos from Wales while you are there – beautiful blog and recipe, Argus!

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Hillary, of Chew On That blog fame, has a wonderful submission that is just perfect for Presto Pasta Nights – Homemade Pasta.

This is something I’ve never done, but after reading her instruction and easy step-by-step photos, I am most certainly going to give this a try. Thanks, Hillary!

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First-time PPN submitter Nicola, of Lemon And Cheese blog, has sent her twist on Macaroni Cheese, 

Although it’s been a while since I have enjoyed dairy products, I can really appreciate the unique flavoring of this recipe, with the addition of strong cheddar and Stilton cheeses, and the crumbled bacon. It really sounds yummy. Hope to see more of your recipes at future Presto Pasta Nights, Nicola. Welcome!

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I just love Erin’s Gourmet Italian Pasta Salad entry. She runs The Skinny Gourmet blog, and this recipe is a keeper.

It looks REALLY good, and comes together so easily. I’ve never tried a dry salad seasoning mix, but after seeing this yummy photo, I think I’ll be picking some up next shop. Thanks, Erin.

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I love to make dishes with what you happen to have on hand. Pam, of Sidewalk Shoes blog, did exactly that, and her Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes couldn’t possibly look more mouthwatering to me.

Don’t you just want some? Right now?

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Another drool-worthy recipe comes to the Roundup from Kittie of Kittens In The Kitchen blog. Check out Hot Pork and Shrimp Glass Noodles if you really want to see a treat.

Mmmm, what a wonderful looking dish.

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Tigerfish from Teczscape blog has sent over an amazing looking dish, her Herbal Chicken Vermicelli Soup. This is a soup made traditionally during birthdays in China, and I can see why.

OMG, it looks delicious. Beeayoutiful photography, too, Tigerfish.

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Ok, so how good does Ferdzy’s Pasta with Beans and Smoked Pork Chop Ends look? Seriously good, and it’s hard to believe this is another throw-together dish.

See all of her good recipes at Seasonal Ontario Food blog, and get some fabulous food ideas.

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Check out this yummy-looking Pasta with Sausage, Sage, and Avocado from Katie at Thyme For Cooking blog. I just love the combination of flavors that I would have never thought to put together.

I can’t wait to try this one.

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With Rita’s innovative recipe, you can have it three ways with Wontons Threesome. At her blog, Mochachocolata-Rita, she shows us three different ways of wrapping wontons, and three different ways to serve them, as an added bonus.

Not to mention a delicious-sounding filling, too. And with her step-by-step instructions and visuals, she has just convinced me to try these little bites.

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With Daphne’s uber-delicious and easy-peasy recipe, Fried Noodles are taken up to a whole new level.

I know this is an I-can’t-be-bothered type recipe, but in all honesty, I would love to order this at a restaurant, it LOOKS THAT GOOD. Check out her blog, More Than Words.

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Pork Chop Noodle Soup is on the menu at Heart and Hearth blog, run by Ning.

This is Ning’s first-time entry to Presto Pasta Nights, and all I can say is, bring it on, Ning! I can’t wait to see more of your dishes at this event. A great big welcome.

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Court, of Not Quite Vegan blog has submitted a lovely pasta dish she calls One Pot Wonder, made with whole grain pasta and little knobs (I just love that description) of goat cheese added.

Viva la difference – it looks delectable.

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Now here’s a sensational-looking dish from Haalo at Cook (almost) Anything blog. Black bean spaghetti with calamari looks like a real gift from the sea, and the pasta, which you may mistake for black squid ink spaghetti, is actually made entirely from black beans.

Now, does that look amazing, or what? The hunger pangs I’m getting from hosting this event!!!!

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Rock Cakes blog host, Serena, has submitted a dee-licious recipe that gets my totally jazzed for fall, which is just around the corner. Her Pumpkin, Caramelised Onion, and Feta pasta dish is the real thing.

Doesn’t that just make you think autumn comfort food?

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Speaking of comfort food, did you see the enticing pasta recipe submitted by Marye from Baking Delights? Hop on over and tell me you don’t get hungry just looking at her Chicken with Roasted Garlic Noodles.

Yep, I was right, huh? You know you want it. I know I do. Yum.

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And here’s a real winner from our Ruth Daniels, who made Presto Pasta Nights the best food blogging event on the internet. She share her Pasta with Aleppo Pepper Shrimp, Asparagus, Spicy Kalamata Olives & Sun-dried Tomatoes.

I just want to put my fork right through the screen and dig in. Another keeper, and one I’ll be trying, for sure.

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For my submission, I thought I would enter this Mediterranean Pasta dish, which for me was the perfect marriage of tuna, vegetables, and pasta.

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That ends this week’s Roundup. It sure was fun. And eye-opening – to so many new recipes and bloggers from every stretch of the blogosphere. I can really begin to appreciate the effort that Ruth puts in every week to publish this event, and she does it with total style and panache. I hope that I came even a little bit close, and that you have enjoyed perusing this edition. Thank you one and all.

Don’t miss next week PPN, #78, being hosted back at Ruth’s Once Upon A Feast. Please send your entries to her at Ruth AT 4everykitchen DOT com

Happy cooking!

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