Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Greek orzo pasta salad

With these hot days of summer upon us, it's nice to have a light, cool meal that doesn't require too much preparation.  It's easy to throw any veggies you have in the fridge into this pasta salad.

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Makes 4-6 servings

1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cucumbers, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 lb box orzo pasta

4 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons basalmic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to box instructions.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.  Combine pasta and diced vegetables in a large bowl.  
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and mustard and whisk until well-incorporated.  Stir dressing into the pasta.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chocolate espresso roll-out cookies

I'm almost not too sure how to describe these cookies.  They are buttery like shortbread but not quite as crumbly and almost cracker-like.  The sweetness is subtle and nicely offset by the addition of sea salt.  It was hard to stop munching on these as I baked them and before I knew it I had eaten quite a handful without even feeling any cookie-overdose!  Someone suggested that these would be great for ice cream sandwiches and I think they would hold up quite well for that.  

Chocolate Espresso Roll-out Cookies
Adapted from smitten kitchen
Makes about 4-5 dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, room temperature (or one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso powder
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
Sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and mix thoroughly.  In a small bowl, dissolve espresso powder in the vanilla.  Add espresso mixture to the large bowl and mix to combine.  Add cocoa and mix until combined.  Slowly add flour mixture and continue mixing until the dough is smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap (or place into a gallon-sized ziplock bag) and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  
  4. Roll out cookie dough to 1/8" thickness on a well-floured surface.  Cut dough into desired shapes and set on cookie sheet.  These cookies only spread a little bit so cookies can be placed 1/2" apart.  Sprinkle cookies with a pinch of sea salt.  Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly puffy.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicken paprikash

Looking for a way to use up paprika (somehow I ended up with an excess of paprika from the bulk spices section), I came upon this recipe for Chicken Paprikash, a traditional Hungarian dish.  The sauce from this dish is slightly creamy and slightly smokey from the paprika.  It was great over rice and would be just as wonderful over pasta.  Though I used chicken tenders instead of skin-on chicken pieces per the original recipe, the chicken remained moist and flavorful.

Chicken Paprikash
adapted from Simply Recipes
serves 4-6

2 lbs of chicken tenders
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Let the chicken come to room temperature and salt well.  Meanwhile, slice the onions lengthwise.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  When pan is hot, add the butter.  Pat chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and place them into the pan.  Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until well browned.  Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add sliced onions to the saute pan and cook until lightly browned.  Be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add paprika, cayenne pepper and black pepper to the onions and stir to combine.  Add 1 cup of chicken broth.  Return chicken to the pan and nestle down into the onions.  Add more chicken broth if it seems like the liquid is not enough.  Cover pan and cook on a low simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and the juices run clear when you pierce the thickest piece.
  5. When chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and remove the pan from the heat.  Slowly stir in the sour cream and add salt to taste.  Add chicken back into the pan and cover with the sauce.  Serve over rice or pasta or starch of your choice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oven roasted corn on the cob

This is an easy way to prepare corn on the cob if you don't want to fire up the grill.  Roasting the corn makes it easy to shuck and de-silk afterwards.  You can add whatever toppings you like.  In this case I added parmesan cheese, chili pepper, and fresh ground pepper.

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob
Serves 4

4 ears of fresh corn with husks on
Salt, pepper, and other condiments
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place corn directly on the oven rack and roast for 35-45 minutes or until corn is soft.  
  2. Remove from oven and let cool until easy to handle by hand.  Peel down corn husks and use as a handle for eating.  Top corn with condiments of your choice.