• Green Bean Salad with Feta and Almonds

    Green beans are in season, and this is such a  yummy summer salad — I’ve eaten three days in a row! INGREDIENTS ⅓ cup sliced almonds 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3” long pieces ¼ cup water ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon […]

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    Green Bean Salad with Feta and Almonds

  • Avocado and Shrimp Chopped Summer Salad

    I’m 25 lbs lighter than I was in December, and shooting for 20 more lbs., and I’m still eating deliciously — like this: Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad 5 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill […]

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    Avocado and Shrimp Chopped Summer Salad

  • Baja Shrimp Tacos

    School vacations give me serious time to think about anything OTHER than school.  I did some serious soul searching recently recently when I went to the VERY seriously delicious Cala restaurant on Fell Street in SF with a group of friends.  I’ve been wanting to eat there for the longest time  — and once there, […]

    Read More

    Baja Shrimp Tacos

  • Shrimp in Madeira Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes and Crispy Shallots

    I’ve made this for my mom, and two sets of friends and the verdict is that this is DUH-LICIOUS.  Easy to make and wonderful flavors — I added a big pinch of Aleppo pepper because I’m in love with it.  It’s so good, it’ll help you forget (for a few minutes) the mess that our […]

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    Shrimp in Madeira Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes and Crispy Shallots

  • Cauliflower, Apple and Walnut Salad

      Dinner last night — mmmmmm! all my favorite flavors — fresh veggies, walnuts, lemon and manchego cheese! Serves: 4 Cauliflower and Walnut Salad 1/2 head of cauliflower – cored and cut into florets 2 celery stalks – trimmed 3 radishes – tops removed 1/2 small green apple – cored 1/4 small red onion 3 […]

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    Cauliflower, Apple and Walnut Salad

  • Mexican Street Corn Salad

    The flavors of summer. A delicious and quick summer salad. The original recipe calls for raw corn — super fast!  I grilled my corn because I preferred that flavor. INGREDIENTS 1 cup cooked red quinoa, use package directions 3 cups corn (about 4 ears), cut from the cob (I prefer to roast the corn on […]

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    Mexican Street Corn Salad

  • Little Gem Salad with Buttermilk Vinaigrette

    I am addicted to little gem lettuce — it’s kind of like a miniature romaine.  Lunardi’s, a grocery store near my house, carries it, and it’s the only place I can find it except for the farmer’s market occasionally.   This is a pretty and delicious salad —  my new fave. Dressing 1 small shallot […]

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    Little Gem Salad with Buttermilk Vinaigrette

  • Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Rice Noodle “Salad”

    I am in love with Asian Box, a small chain takeout restaurant in downtown Mountain View.  You HAVE to check this out:  http://www.asianbox.com/menu Everything on that menu (except maybe the caramel egg) is so delicious, but it took just a couple visits to find my favorite:  Lemongrass pork with chilled rice noodles, bean sprouts,crispy shallots, […]

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    Grilled Lemongrass Pork and Rice Noodle “Salad”

Watermelon and Berry Frosé

The best part about summer for me is watermelon and berries.  And even better, drinking them!  I saw this recipe on Half-Baked Harvest not very long ago, and I’m a little embarrassed about how much Rosé I’ve gone through since June! Freeze the fruit in advance, and then just kick back with a slush sangria […]

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Summer Strawberry Lime “Spa” Water

I don’t really go to spas, so I have no idea if something like this would be served at something like that.  But this is pretty, refreshing, easy to make and it has no calories . . . plus, once you’ve served the first “tank” of water, you can refill it and the fruit keeps […]

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Raspberry Clementini

and for dessert . . . I saw this on a cooking show recently and quickly scrawled the recipe on a piece of paper.  I can remember the bartender who made it — but I can’t remember the name of the drink or the show it was on . . . so I renamed it. […]

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Raspberry Champagne Cocktail

This is a ridiculous name for a yummy cocktail — a Flirtini. I found it on my current addiction, Pinterest. But, I think people won’t drink it if it has such a silly name. So, I hereby change the name to Raspberry Champagne Cocktail . . . BUT that is just temporary. Please send more […]

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Mark and Tony’s Peach Jalapeno Martinis

Love the slow burn! 4 oz peach vodka 2 oz white cranberry juice 1 oz Triple Sec Juice of one lime 1 tsp. sugar one jalapeno   Add ice to shaker and two slices of jalapeno (take out the seeds). Muddle the ice and jalapeno a bit – not too much as it will make […]

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Sylvia’s Champagne Cocktail

Pretty and packs a punch! 1 1/4 cup southern comfort ¼ cup sweet vermouth ¼ – ½ cup grenadine 5 cup chilled sparkling wine Chill first three ingredients 2-6 hours. Into flutes, top with sparkling wine. (For each bottle of champagne, I think I got about 8 servings) Sylvia Valdez

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Watermelon and Berry Frosé

The best part about summer for me is watermelon and berries.  And even better, drinking them!  I saw this recipe on Half-Baked Harvest not very long ago, and I’m a little embarrassed about how much Rosé I’ve gone through since June! Freeze the fruit in advance, and then just kick back with a slush sangria cooler.

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle Rosé wine, I like Sophia Coppola’s 
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 2 cups frozen watermelon chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • ice, if needed
  • raspberries, watermelon, and cherries, for topping

Instructions

  1. 1. In a blender, combine the Rosé, vodka, lime juice, honey, frozen watermelon and raspberries and pulse until it’s smooth. If needed, add ice to get a slushie constancy.

    2. Pour into glasses and garnish with fruit.

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Green Bean Salad with Feta and Almonds

Green beans are in season, and this is such a  yummy summer salad — I’ve eaten three days in a row!

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 to 3” long pieces
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 small-to-medium clove garlic
  • Several twists of freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, I’m an Aleppo pepper fanatic — you can get them at Savory Spice store online or in Sonoma or Santa Rosa
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 3 to 4 large basil leaves, torn or chopped, for garnish
  • Lemon zest from about ½ lemon, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Start with a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently (careful, they burn quickly). After 3 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue stirring until they are fragrant and turning golden on the edges, about 1 to 3 more minutes. Transfer the almonds to a bowl to cool.
  2. Make sure the heat is set to medium-low and place the skillet back on the heat. Immediately add the green beans, water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are nearly tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid, raise heat to medium-high, and cook until the liquid evaporates, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  4. Once the green beans are done cooking, whisk the olive oil mixture once more, then pour it into the skillet. Pour the almonds back into the skillet, and add about half of the feta, reserving the other half for garnish. Toss to combine, then taste and add more lemon juice or black pepper if necessary.
  5. Transfer the green beans to a serving bowl or platter. Sprinkle the remaining feta and the torn basil leaves on top. Lightly grate some lemon zest on top, and serve promptly.

From Cookie and Kate — such delicious vegetarian recipes!

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Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup

I know — it’s summer, but I’ve been craving soup, and this one is perfect!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Yields: 4–6 servings

Ingredients:

  •  1 large head cauliflower (2½–3 pounds), cut into florets
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups leeks (pale green and white parts only, 2 large), chopped
  • 1 cup (approximately 2–3 ribs) celery, chopped
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, either homemade or low sodium
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ cup whole milk (and more as needed)
  • Optional: fresh chives for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss the cauliflower florets with approximately 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the cauliflower until golden brown and tender, tossing once midway through, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside 1½–2 cups of florets for garnishing the soup.

While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep a small cup of water nearby. Add the leeks and celery to the pan with a pinch of salt and sweat the vegetables for several minutes. A brown glaze will eventually begin forming on the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of water to deglaze the pan, stirring the brown bits back into the vegetables. Repeat this process for approximately 5 minutes until the leeks are lightly caramelized, then deglaze with the white wine. Add the smashed garlic, stock and thyme leaves and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot until the cauliflower has finished roasting.

Carefully ladle the infused stock mixture and roasted cauliflower into a blender and purée, in batches if necessary, until silky. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, garnish each bowl of soup with roasted cauliflower and chives, if using.

from Edible DC

Avocado and Shrimp Chopped Summer Salad

I’m 25 lbs lighter than I was in December, and shooting for 20 more lbs., and I’m still eating deliciously — like this:

Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad

5 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound raw shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
2 ears corn, husked
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
¾ cup finely chopped red cabbage
¾ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced red onion
½ cup assorted cherry tomatoes, chopped
½ fennel bulb, halved again, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced

To prepare dressing: Puree the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

To prepare shrimp & salad: Preheat grill to medium or heat a grill pan over medium heat.

Toss shrimp with 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Grill corn, turning occasionally, until slightly charred, 6 to 10 minutes. Grill the shrimp, turning once, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer corn and shrimp to a cutting board. Cut the kernels off the cob. Chop the shrimp into bite-size pieces.

Combine lettuce, cabbage, bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, fennel, avocado and bacon in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, corn and dressing; toss to coat. Season with pepper.

Fontina, Prosciutto Panini with Arugula Pesto and Pickled Shallots

Probably the best grilled cheese sandwich of my  ENTIRE life — hits all the notes: cheesy and creamy (fontina), salty (prosciutto), herby (arugula pesto), and pickle-y (pickled shallots). YUM!

For the Sandwich

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/3 pound prosciutto (about 10 slices)
  • 1/3 pound fontina, thinly sliced
For the pesto

  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Make the pickled shallots: bring the cider, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over a medium flame. Simmer for a minute, until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the hot liquid over the shallots in a small bowl or jar so they are fully submerged. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then place in an airtight container until ready for use. This can be done up to a week before.
  2. Make the pesto: in a small food processor, pulse the pine nuts and garlic until coarsely chopped. Add the arugula, lemon juice, and salt and pulse to combine. Stream in olive oil and continue to blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped and the pesto is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Place the two slices of bread crust side down on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to crisp but not totally browned. Slather the bottom half of bread evenly with pesto and arrange the cheese slices in a single layer. Return just this slice of bread to the oven and continue to toast until the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Slather the other slice of bread with the remaining pesto and arrange the pickled shallots on top, followed by the prosciutto. Sandwich the halves together.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of the ciabatta, you may have to cut the sandwich in half. Set the sandwich top side down in the pan and weight it with a smaller skillet and/or a heavy bowl so the bread is crushed and flattened as it toasts. When the bread has browned, repeat on the other side. When finished, the panini should be browned, crisped, and flattened, and should have cheese oozing from it. Toast the remaining half (if necessary), and then cut it again to create four sandwiches.

An Incredibly Simple and Delicious Cauliflower Soup

 

I’m an ingredient junky.  I can happily spend hours searching out the perfect ingredient at high end grocery stores.  It IS my habit.

But this exquisite recipe requires only 3 ingredients:  cauliflower, onion, olive oil, water and salt and pepper (water, salt and pepper do not count as ingredients).   I know, I know — I was skeptical too.  But the soup’s success hinges on a very delicious olive oil.  I have been obsessed with Sagra olive oil since La Pergola restaurant opened on Chestnut street a couple of years before the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.  It closed shortly after that.

They served it with their delicious bread, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  It’s herby and grassy and aggressive, but buttery at the same time.  I know. I’m sorry  It’s another obsession.

The soup is humble and comforting.  And it’s a Paul Bertoli (superstar from Chez Panisse and Oliveto for many years).  Enough said.

 

 

Serves 8

  • tablespoons of a very delicious olive oil, my recommendation:  Sagra.
  • medium onion (6 ounces), sliced thin
  • head very fresh cauliflower (about 1-1/2 pounds), broken into florets
  • Salt, to taste
  • 5 1/2 cups water, divided
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Warm the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan — I used my dutch oven. Sweat the onion in the olive oil over low heat without letting it brown for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup water. Raise the heat slightly, cover the pot tightly and stew the cauliflower for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Then add another 4 1/2 cups hot water, bring to a low simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
  3. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let the soup stand for 20 minutes. In this time it will thicken slightly.
  4. Thin the soup with 1/2 cup hot water. Reheat the soup. Serve hot, drizzled with a thin stream of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. And . . . I can’t help it — I sprinkled it with Aleppo pepper because once again — I am obsessed that too!

Wotta Chicken Salad!

This is the oldest recipe I have — I think it dates back to 1981.   I used to pore over my mom’s Gourmet magazines long ago, salivating over food I had never even heard of.   After some pretty gruesome recipe experiments at 19 and 20, I started to seriously read cookbooks from the Santa Rosa public library — and a passion was born.  I kept it simple as I lived on a meager budget at the time, but by age 24, I was a decent cook.  I subscribed to Bon Appetit magazine, and began my paper recipe collection — a box of torn out pages.

This recipe is from Craig Claiborne, a food critic, and cookbook writer — and I joined the book of the month club just to get cookbooks,and his was the first one I received.   I didn’t make his chicken salad recipe right away — I think I had it a couple of years before I did — and I served it if I had a friend over for lunch — or if we went to play cards somewhere because someone once mentioned to me it’s a great bridge dish.   Thirty years later I finally learned to play bridge, and in an old fashioned style, I bring these little tea sandwiches wherever I play.  I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years — but this is the one I most recently made for Cindy, Konne, and Cindy’s 100 year old bridge playing mom, Marion.  I think it has a significant yum factor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  half chicken breast, skin on 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped apple (I love Pink Ladys)
  • cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup drained and chopped capers
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, lightens the mayo and provides a nice tang
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade (but if not, Hellman’s if you can find it)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste, I usually add a little more (a good quality wine-y tasting brand is important — I like Kimberly Cabernet) 
  •  salt to taste
  •  freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 8 to 12 slices of a tight crumbed white or rye bread, crusts removed and cut into fingers (3 per slice)

PREPARATION

Place the chicken breast on a small parchment covered baking sheet (easier cleanup), season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.  Allow to cool, then slice into 1/2 slices, then chop into small pieces.

Put the chicken into a medium sized bowl and add the celery, apple, onion and capers.

Blend together the mayonnaise and vinegar, parsley, scallions and salt and pepper and gently stir to blend.

Allow a heaping tablespoon for each finger sandwich and garnish with finely chopped chives.

Baja Shrimp Tacos

School vacations give me serious time to think about anything OTHER than school.  I did some serious soul searching recently recently when I went to the VERY seriously delicious Cala restaurant on Fell Street in SF with a group of friends.  I’ve been wanting to eat there for the longest time  — and once there, I couldn’t decide what to order! We debated the merits of every menu item.  Ruthie claims carne asada,  Sarah is a Jimboy’s aficionado, and Janie will only do beer battered fish.  I’m a carnitas girl from WAYYYYY back, and that’s usually my measure of greatness in a restaurant — but . . . it IS a seafood restaurant, and I had to have at least one seafood taco — so, I went with shrimp — my NEW measure of greatness.  If you haven’t been to Cala — don’t wait for others — just go.  I’m planning my second trip for next week!  Here’s my version of the a super delicious shrimp taco.

Ingredients

For the pickled onion and jalapeno:

½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1.5 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 red onion, sliced thinly
5 jalapenos, de-seeded and sliced thinly

For the cabbage:

4 cups sliced green cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
squeeze of lime

For the avocado sauce:

1 avocado
juice of half a lime
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped finely
dash of garlic powder
salt

For the shrimp:

1 pound small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6-8 tortillas, corn or flour
queso fresco
cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

For the pickled onion and jalapeno:

Whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Add the sliced onion and jalapeno and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. You can also make this ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight.

For the cabbage:

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the cabbage and fry over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until cabbage has softened and started to brown slightly. Season with cumin, salt and pepper and remove from heat. Squeeze a bit of lime over the top.

For the avocado sauce:

Mash all ingredients together with a fork until very smooth.

For the shrimp:

Rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and pepper and add the shrimp. Toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet you used to fry the cabbage over medium heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, toss the shrimp in the flour mixture (reserve the excess flour) and lay them out in the pan in a single layer—avoid overcrowding the pan (you may have to fry the shrimp in several batches. Add more oil to additional batches if necessary.). Increase the heat to medium high and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove cooked shrimp and set on a paper towel to drain while you fry the rest of the shrimp. To double-fry the shrimp, toss the cooked shrimp in the leftover flour mixture and cook over medium-high heat in another tablespoon of oil.

To assemble:

Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet if desired. Sprinkle a handful of shrimp and cabbage on top of a tortilla. Add some pickled vegetables and a dollop of avocado sauce. Top with queso fresco, chopped cilantro and an additional squeeze of lime.

Shrimp in Madeira Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes and Crispy Shallots

I’ve made this for my mom, and two sets of friends and the verdict is that this is DUH-LICIOUS.  Easy to make and wonderful flavors — I added a big pinch of Aleppo pepper because I’m in love with it.  It’s so good, it’ll help you forget (for a few minutes) the mess that our government has become.

  • 5 medium shallots, 2 sliced crosswise into rings, 3 sliced lengthwise into strips
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 7 Tbs. olive oil; more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 lb. extra-jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per lb.), shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup Madeira, preferably Rainwater
  • 1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (sorry — but consider you’re probably only consuming 2 tablespoons of this)
  • 10 oz. campanelle pasta (or similar–you need a pasta that will catch the sauce in little pockets)
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained but not rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives

In a small bowl, toss the shallot rings in the flour until coated. In a 10-inch skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in two batches, cook the shallot rings until golden brown, adding more oil if necessary, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.

In a 2-quart saucepan, boil the shrimp shells in 2 cups of well-salted water until the water is reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

Season the shrimp with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the shrimp and cook until just cooked through, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the garlic, and shallot strips to the skillet and cook, stirring, until golden brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Madeira and cook until almost fully evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until most have burst and their liquid is reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cream and 1/2 cup of the shrimp broth; cook until the sauce thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until just heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a 6-quart pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta and capers to the sauce and toss, adding some of the remaining shrimp broth to loosen the sauce, if necessary. Divide the pasta among four shallow bowls, garnish with the chives and fried shallots, and serve.

From Fine Cooking, February 2017

Cider Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

I know balsamic glazed brussel sprouts with bacon are the rage these days, but don’t you think the balsamic vinegar can take over the flavor of the sprouts at times?  I found this new recipe on the Kitchn blog, and modified it a bit, and have had these for dinner the past three nights.  I know, but they’re great!

 

The original recipe called for baking sheets — and I would probably use them if I were making a lot.  I used an oven proof skillet (cast iron is awesome), and it worked super well.   There are two recipes below — the first one is when I make a double serving of the brussel sprouts — the second is bruised sprouts for a crowd (8 to 10 servings).  Here’s how I made them:

Cider Glazed Brussel Sprouts for 1 or 2

Heat your oven proof skillet in the oven as you’re preheating the oven at 400 degrees.  BE SURE TO USE A POTHOLDER FROM HERE TO THE END!

  • 1/2 lb. brussel sprouts, cut in half through the stem.
  • 4 – 6 fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 3 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider.  The original recipe called for unfiltered apple cider — but I could only find that in giant containers.  I bought a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, and it made a delicious glaze.
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the original recipe called for brown sugar)
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • aleppo pepper (optional — I love the flavor and it provides just the a tinge of heat

 

Toss the potatoes with a teaspoon or two of olive oil — and toss the potatoes into the hot skillet and bake those in the oven for 5 minutes.   Then add the bacon to the skillet — stir potatoes, and cook until bacon begins to crisp — about 10   more minutes.   Then toss the Brussel sprouts in a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and toss those into the skillet, stirring the contents, and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Then take the skillet out of the oven — pour the glaze over the veggies and toss well.  Let the veggies sit in the glaze for a couple of minutes before serving.   Taste — and add salt, pepper and aleppo pepper to taste.  Eat ’em up!

Cider Glaze

Meanwhile put the apple cider, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup into a small pot, and simmer on the the stove top until it is reduced by half.  It won’t look thick at this point because it’s so hot.  Remove from the heat — and if it is super sticky, you’re on the right track — you can warm it before you pour it over the Brussel sprouts.

 

Here’s the original recipe from the Kitchn Blog.

Serves 8 to 10

1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Divide the bacon between 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl or pot (something large enough to easily toss them), drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven. Stir the bacon. Divide the sprouts between the 2 sheets, and arrange them cut-side down into an even layer.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching them between racks and rotating them from front to back. Roast until browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes more, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Heat the apple cider, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until it’s reduced by about half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are ready, remove the baking sheets from the oven. Turn the oven off. Combine the Brussels sprouts onto one baking sheet, drizzle the glaze over the sprouts, and stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven and let sit until the Brussels sprouts absorb some of the glaze, about 2 minutes more.