Food


Well, he might be. But not the kind you are thinking. The food kind. Sauces!! This week’s IHCC theme!

There are five MOTHER sauces we could chose from:

    Béchamel
    Hollandaise
    Velouté
    Espagnole
    Tomato

I have made all of these at some point over the last 10 years or so and they are delicious – the creaminess of the Hollandaise and the Béchamel. The heartiness of the Espagnole and the Velouté. But I wanted something simple and light. AND I still have tons of tomatoes coming in so a nice tomato sauce seemed the best idea. Coupled with meatballs and served over pasta it was a delicious dinner.

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THE SAUCE:

    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup minced onion
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their liquid
    1/3 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, thyme, and oregano and cook over moderate heat until softened.
Add the tomatoes, cover and cook over moderate heat for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the sauce until slightly chunky using an immersion blender. You can also use a blender or processor for this.
While the sauce is simmering chop the olives and place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat, and drain well. Add the olives to the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the meatballs and cook until meatballs are heated through.

Pepin also had a meatball recipe with the sauce which called for left over meat shredded and mixed with eggs, herbs, milk, etc. I followed his recipe for the meatballs but used some fresh ground pork and sirloin. You can find HIS meatball recipe HERE.

Which sauce did the other cooks use? Check them out at IHCC – Sauces and see.

Well, that’s NOT what Pepin calls it but that is exactly what this quick dish is. We were challenged this week at IHCC to come up with a dish that was fast – 30 minutes or less. Simple and ready for the table is perfect for this time of the year so when I came across this recipe for Coquillettes au Gruyere(aka Pasta Shells with Swiss Cheese) I figured it would be perfect.

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And it was! Creamy. And different than our every day mac and cheese.

    8 cups water
    10 ounces medium-size pasta shells, preferably imported
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh
    1 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated swiss cheese (3 ounces), preferable Gruyere

Cook pasta until tender (about 15 minutes)
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking liquid, and set aside.
Drain the pasta in a colander.
Put the cooking water into a stainless steel bowl large enough to mix the pasta and the rest of the ingredients in. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and mix well.
Add in the pasta and chives tossing to mix well and then add in the cheese.
Serve immediately.

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I loved the mix of the Gruyere and the chives in this simple and quick side. It came together in 26 minutes. FAST!! Just as requested!

The original recipe came from Jacques Pepin’s Table page 338.

How fast were the other’s dishes? Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs

One of the reasons I learned to cook was to be able to enjoy different dishes I have had in restaurants or heard about from friends. But I am also trying to eat healthier. Those two often don’t go together. Unless you cook with Ellie Krieger. I have often wanted to make shrimp pad thai but haven’t gotten around to it yet. While this ISN’T the pad thai I had in mind it is not bad. Regular pad thai is served hot after stir-frying most of the ingredients together. THIS, however, is a SALAD and served cold. All the same ingredients: fish sauce, sugar, sriracha, rice noodles, shrimp, bean sprouts, peanuts, etc but cold.

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While it was tasty it just wasn’t what I was expecting and I really don’t like it enough to make it again. Sorry, Glennis {her pick this week}, but just not a fave here.

You can find the recipe on page 48 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders.

ANd see if the others liked the pad thai salad by visiting our ‘meeting place‘.

If you would like to join us cooking through Ellie’s book just leave a comment with one of us. The recipe picks are on the right side of the page and the dates we are blogging about them. Come join in the fun!

The Mystery Box this month for IHCC was challenging. Very Challenging. I mean:

    Chicken
    Seaweed Interesting!
    Sesame Seeds
    Parsley
    Mozzarella Cheese
    Pasta
    Mango
    Brown Sugar
    Zucchini
    Mint

One could go with an Asian Flair.

    A Sweet Treat.
      Or a Pasta.

I took the easy way out – PASTA! But easy wasn’t really EASY!! Because then I had to actually find a recipe with at least THREE of the ingredients which is what the CHALLENGE is all about. At least three ingredients in a recipe from one of our past or present chef.

    Jacques Pepin
    Nigella Lawson
    Mark Bittman
    Giada de Laurentiis
    Jamie Oliver
    Tessa Kiros
    Rick Bayless
    Madjur Jaffrey
    Yotam Ottolenghi
    Donna Hay
    Nigel Slater
    Diana Henry

I was thinking Italian so I was thinking Giada de Laurentiis and after about an hour of cookbook and internet research found this recipe. Four Ingredients!!

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    Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

I knew it would be good!!

    1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) {I used a Whole Wheat Penne}
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
    1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup bread crumbs {I found some whole Wheat Panko – worked greatt.}
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

Put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the chicken is completely cooked and the onions are tender.
Mix the chicken in with the pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley, salt and pepper.Stir to combine.
Pour the pasta/chicken mix in a greased 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. Mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on to the pasta mixture.
Dot the top with small bits of butter.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.{Original Recipe}

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Okay. This was good. But not great. It needed to be more…well, more Italian. I would have liked it more if there had been more seasonings. Maybe some oregano. Even some Italian seasoning. I would also add more cheese to the dish and a little more liquid. It wasn’t real dry but it was borderline. We liked it enough to make it again but with more seasoning.

Ready for more Mystery. Check out the I Heart Cooking Clubs website and see the rest of the Challenge dishes.

I am an Air Force Brat! And proud of it! From the time I was 3 ’til I was 18 we never lived in one place longer than 6 – 10 months at a time. We did stay in one house for two years and it felt very odd. Wonderful, but odd!

During all that time we lived most of my childhood somewhere in Germany or England. And during that time we traveled everywhere we could: Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Scotland. And everywhere we went we tried new foods. Many of them completely new to us. The bread and Sausages of German. Bangers and Mash. Treacle Tart. I even remember trying tongue (once ONLY!!) and my Dad had Steak Tartar. We’ve had eels, seaweed, squid in it’s own juice (BLACK!), lamb, goat. Nothing escaped us! I was just a child for most of it but I do recall numerous delicious, and not so delicious, dishes. It wasn’t until I was grown, married, retired (and learning to actually cook) that I thought back to those days and wanted to replicate some of those meals. Usually Indian. Because I remember visiting Veraswami’s in London several times. I know they have changed since the 1950s but many of their menu items are still the same. Like

    ROGAN JOSH

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    2 1 inch cubes fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    8 cloves garlic, peeled
    1 1/2 cups) water
    10 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 lb lamb cut into 1 inch cubes
    10 cardamom pods
    2 bay leaves
    6 cloves
    10 peppercorns
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    4 teaspoons bright red paprika mixed with 1/4-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    6 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1/4 teaspoon garam masala
    Freshly ground black pepper

Put the ginger, garlic, and 4 tablespoons water into the container of an electric blender. Blend well until you have a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the meat cubes in several batches and set to one side. Put the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the same hot oil. Stir once and wait until the cloves swell and the bay leaves begin to take on color This just takes a few
seconds.
Add in the onions then stir and fry for about 5 minutes or until the onions turn a medium-brown color. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Then add the coriander, cumin, paprika-cayenne mix, and salt. Stir and fry for another 30 seconds. Add the fried meat cubes and juices. Stir for 30 seconds.
Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt. Stir and fry for about 30 seconds or until the yogurt is well blended. Add the remaining yogurt a tablespoon at a time as before. Stir and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add 275 ml (1’/4 cups) water if you are cooking lamb and 425 ml (2 cups) water if you are cooking beef. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil, scraping in all browned spices on the sides and bottom of the pot. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour for lamb and 2 hours for beef, or until the meat is
tender. (It could be baked, covered, in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for the
same length of time or until tender.)
Every 10 minutes or so, give the meat a good stir. When the meat is tender, take off the lid, turn the heat up to medium, and boil away some of the liquid. You should end up with tender meat in a thick, reddish brown sauce.
Spoon off the fat.
Sprinkle garam masala and black pepper over the meat before you serve and mix them in.

I served this over Basmati rice.

I am sure it isn’t as good as Veraswamy’s but as far as memories go, it brought back quite a few. I had a chance to go back in 2000 but you know what they say about best laid plans. One day. Until then I will dream of the little bowls of delicate licorice tidbits, the fragile crystal glasses (one of which I broke), the colorful regalia worn by the doorman and the wait staff.

I am pretty sure this recipe is from Madjur Jaffrey, but I’m not sure.


Let’s Lunch is a Twitter Based group. Please check out other Let’s Lunchers’ dishes from their travels below. And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch

Betty-Ann‘s Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler Cocktail at Asian in America

Linda‘s Hawaiian Island Panzanella (Bread Salad) with Sea Asparagus at Spicebox Travels

Lisa‘s Moroccan B’Stillas at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Cheryl’s Sardinian Seadas at Cheryl Lu Lien Tan

Annabelle’s Creamy Jalapeno Dip at Glass of Fancy

Of all the foods in all the world Seafood is my absolute favorite. And in Louisiana there is lots of seafood. Crabs. Crawfish. Redfish. Catfish. Just to name a few. There is also SHRIMP!! Lots of good shrimp. That means anytime I get a chance to cook shrimp I do. Like this dish from Hazan.

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    Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Capers

Simple, fresh, and delicious. The only ingredients missing form the title are onions and oregano. The onions are browned. The chopped tomatoes are added to the mix along with the rest of the ingredients. I may have added just a LITTLE extra shrimp! Then all quickly tossed with the pasta. I used Whole Grain since we are trying to eat healthier. Just a little olive oil so it is not only delicious but good for you as well.

Look on page 98 of Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pastas

Our little group of pasta makers is growing. Besides Glennis and Kayte we have added Chaya and Peggy to the Group. Pasta lovers all!

If you want to see what we have all cooked in the past:

I love fresh green beans. I mean, the canned ones are okay, but the fresh are just too good to pass up when they are available. When I used the cans they are usually cooked with onions, bacon, and small potatoes. Sometimes I throw in some tomatoes. But, while good, they just aren’t the best. When I saw some fresh at the store I remembered we had Gaye’s pick coming up this week and picked up a big bag. Good thing, as we have had them more than once over the last couple of weeks.

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Fresh beans simmered with fresh garlic, onions, basil, oregano, and tomatoes. How can you beat that? Lots of flavor here.

This was Gaye’s pick this week. Nice choice!

The recipe is on page 245 of Ellie Krieger’s Weeknight Wonders (the book we are all cooking from for now) but you can also find it HERE.

How did the other’s like it. Check our Website and see.

Want to join us? The recipes for several weeks are listed on the right. Just cook, blog, and leave a comment. We’d love to have you. Lots of good healthy recipes.

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