Sunday, May 31, 2009

Baked Lemon Pasta

I made this Baked Lemon Pasta on a weeknight for a friend and I. It turned out to be the best summer dish for us to share on the patio along with a crisp and cold glass of Chardonnay.

Here is what you need for this easy and simple recipe:

1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

Start by setting a large pot of water to boil, toss in some salt, then throw in the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Preheat the oven to 375.

In a skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter with 2 T olive oil over low heat.

When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.

Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Shower generously with Parmesan cheese. You can see I am NOT afraid of cheese!

Then chop fresh parsley and sprinkle on top. Dive in and enjoy! Thanks P-Dub for another easy weeknight recipe. My friend and I really enjoyed this dish, but Jim thought it "needed more chicken." Okay, I get the hint. Maybe next time I will add some diced or shredded chicken. I also want to note that this did not reheat well. I may half the recipe in the future if I was just cooking for Jim and I...and add chicken of course.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pork Dumplings with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Here we are again, this is Dacia and I trying our hand at more Asian recipes. For our appetizer we made Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo - AMAZING and simple, click the link to read that post.

For our entree we made some delish Pork Dumplings with a Ginger Dipping Sauce. Recipe courtesy of Dining with the Duchess.

For the dumplings you will need 1/2 lb lean ground pork, 1 scallion, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil, 1 t cornstarch, 1 t dry sherry, 1 t grated peeled ginger root, 1 garlic clove and wonton skins.

For the Ginger Dipping Sauce you will need 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 T sugar, 1 T sesame oil, 1 scallion, thinly sliced, 2 t grated peeled ginger root, 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes.

Here is the "superior" soy sauce we purchased at the Asian food market.

Simply combine all the ingredients for the sauce, stir until the sugar dissolves and set aside.

Picture of Dacia grating the ginger on a micro-plane zester.

For the dumplings, we begin by placing 1/2 pound lean pork in a large bowl.

Add 1 T soy sauce.

Finely mince 1 scallion and add to bowl.

Add 1 T Asian sesame oil.

Add 1 t cornstarch.

Add 1 t dry sherry.

1 minced garlic clove and 1 t grated ginger root.

Mix with your hands until well combined. This next part is super easy, but a little time consuming and it was extra nice to have a friend in the kitchen to help put together the dumplings.

We made a slurry of cornstarch and water in a little bowl.

Using you fingers, dip into the slurry and then wipe the outsides of the wonton skins to moisten.

Add a very small amount of the pork mixture to the center of the wonton. This is maybe 1 t.

Fold corner to corner, pressing out any air bubbles and seal. Next place completed dumplings on a plate covered with plastic wrap so they don't dry out before you boil them.

We made lots and lots of dumplings from just a 1/2 lb of ground pork.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the wontons in batches - note that if you add too many at once they may stick together, so work with small batches. Stir gently with a wooden spoon and bring back to a boil; boil for five minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the wontons to a platter. Serve with the dipping sauce.

We all loved these. The pork was flavorful and cooked through (important) and the sauce that we made was just perfect for this dish. I will be making these again, but may always insist on having a friend in the kitchen with me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo

My friend Dacia and I went on a little adventure to the local Asian market. Boy was I in for a shocker, I didn't even know what half the items in the grocery were. It was awesome!

Here are some of the items we picked up. Edamame which we boiled and sprinkled with course salt to snack on while we made Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Mayo. Recipe from Simply Recipes.

You will need mayo, sweet chili sauce, chili-garlic hot sauce, 1 lb tail on shrimp, flour, egg, coconut milk, salt, pepper, panko bread crumbs, sweetened coconut flakes, oil for frying.

For this amazing dipping sauce begin by combining 1/4 cup mayonnaise,

with 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, 1 teaspoon chili-garlic hot sauce. Set aside.

Here is Dacia prepping our shallow bowls.

The first one has flour and the second bowl has one egg and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Combine with a fork.

The last bowl has 1/2 cup panko and 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes.

If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost by placing in a bowl of ice water. Raw shrimp should always be kept chilled. With a paring knife, slice down deep at the middle of the back of the shrimp, but do not cut all the way through. Discard the black vein/tract.

Bread the shrimp by dipping the shrimp on both sides in the flour and shaking excess off. Next dip in the egg/coconut milk mixture and then in the panko/coconut flakes, patting to ensue the coating sticks well.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a saute pan over moderate heat until thermometer registers 350 degrees. Fry the shrimp in small batches for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with sweet chili mayo for dipping.

You will not be disappointed, these are easy and fantastic!!
Our main entree for the evening was pork dumplings with ginger dipping sauce - that recipe to come!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lemon Garlic Tilapia

This is one of those recipes without measurements and you could really substitute any ingredients you have on hand. I created this Lemon Garlic Tilapia because these were the ingredients I had on hand.

If you had capers, those would be great thrown in here.

Enough with all the possibilities here - you could do anything. Okay, so this is what I did with what I had on hand. I first marinated the tilapia fillets in olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and garlic chunks.

I used these cute gratin dishes to bake the tilapia. Drizzled on a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, parsley and chunky garlic.
My secret weapon is a buttery chardonnay from Geyser Peak - I added a tablespoon to each gratin dish.

Then bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Bake until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
Once it was cooked through I sprinkled with a little bit of parmesan cheese, turned the oven off and let the cheese melt on top.

Our side dish was sauteed spinach with a pinch of parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Yum! Simple and fresh dinner in less than 30 minutes.