Posts Tagged PEAS

Summer Veggie Pasta Sauce

raw-zucchiniI spent my childhood eating traditional tomato-based pasta sauce. When I finally moved out of my family home and started to enjoy cooking, I decided I wanted to explore a bigger variety of sauces for my pasta. This sauce is especially nice in the summer, using zucchini, pancetta, and peas. Combine these delicious vegetables with butter, dry white wine and parmesan cheese, and it’s a real feast.

 

Ingredients

1 lb. cooked pasta

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 oz. pancetta

1 cup zucchini, chopped

1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. olive oil

5 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tbsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried basil

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)

Juice of one lemon

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for serving (I like to use the grated in the sauce and the shaved for serving)

Directions

The first order of business is to bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, cook until al denté (most of the time this runs from 7-10 minutes after the rolling boil has started). Then drain and set aside. While this process is going on, you can work on your sauce.

Add the chopped pancetta to a large sauté pan and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Then add the chopped zucchini, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until it begins to soften. Add the thawed peas at the very end of this process and sauté for about 3 additional minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the same pan, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, and sauté for 1-2 minutes until it turns golden and becomes fragrant. Then add the white wine, lemon juice, butter, thyme and basil. Cook for another two minutes or until the butter is completely melted.

Return the vegetables to the pan with the sauce and sauté for an additional minute or two. Then, add the pasta and toss with the Parmesan cheese to heat through.

This is a good time to give it a taste test for saltiness (the pancetta is salted and the cheese will also add a bit of saltiness to the dish). Add salt and pepper to taste.

You are ready to enjoy!

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Slow Cooker Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb vindaloo with Basmati RiceAnother amazing Indian food here, this time made in a slow cooker. I have to tell you that I think a slow cooker (or crock pot or whatever you want to call it) is an essential kitchen item, and I have just posted this in my Kitchen Essentials section.

Vindaloo, whether it be with lamb, pork, chicken or beef, is one of the hottest dishes in all of Indian cooking. Not only does this recipe call for cayenne pepper, but it also calls for six Chipotle chili peppers. These are essentially Jalapenos that have been smoked. This dish is not for the weak willed, but it is so delicious. It should be served over Basmati rice.

For those who may not have an adventurous palate where “heat” is concerned, I am also providing a recipe at the end for a yogurt sauce that can be used to “cool” the dish when serving. The combination of the rice and the yogurt sauce should make it tolerable for even the weakest palate.

Ingredients

1 boneless leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs, trimmed of fat and cut in bite-sized pieces

3 medium red potatoes, washed and cut in bite-sized pieces

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 large Vidalia onions, chopped and divided

1.5 cups of frozen petite peas, defrosted

10 garlic cloves, crushed

6 Chipotle chili peppers, reconstituted and scraped (see Directions)

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 tbsp cornstarch plus 1 tbsp water

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled, trimmed and seeds removed

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste; for the yogurt-cucumber sauce)

Directions

The first order of business is to prepare the Chipotle chili peppers. Reconstitute the peppers by soaking them in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once they have cooled, cut them open and scrape the chili meat from the skin and set aside.

In a food processor, take half the onion, the garlic, the Chipotle chili peppers, the cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, paprika, ginger paste and two tablespoons of the olive oil and pureé into a paste. Put it into a bowl and add the lamb pieces. Stir to coat the lamb thoroughly and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day heat the balance of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the marinated lamb. You may need to do this in batches, but you do not need to cook the lamb through. Place in a slow cooker along with the beef broth, the salt, the sugar, the tomatoes, the potatoes, and the bay leaves. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before the vindaloo is done, add the peas, then mix the tablespoon of cornstarch and the tablespoon of water and add it to the slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. The cornstarch-water mix will help to thicken the stew.

Serve over Basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.

Turning Down the Heat

Yogurt is a great way to temper the heat of this dish. Take the cup of plain Greek yogurt and the cucumber and put it in a food processor. Pureé until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Put in bowl and refrigerate until you serve the Lamb Vindaloo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Paella Mixta

Paella MixtaI just perfected my recipe over the weekend. We had a celebration dinner for my sister, who just finished up a grueling schedule of straight chemo and chemo/radiation, so I wanted to make something very special for her and those who have helped her get through this. Paella is the perfect dish because it combines both meat and fish. It originated in the fields of a region of Spain called Valencia, which is on the east coast.

When I went tooling around the web way back when I first started to think about putting this together, I found one person who complained about a recipe being nothing more than “rice with stuff in it.” I started thinking about this and determined that it’s a perfect description for Paella. So, frankly, I don’t know what his problem was. It’s also a great description for Jambalaya (which I promise to add very soon, since I have a great recipe in my head for that).

I would recommend you purchase a Paella pan. You could, of course, use a large all-purpose skillet, but a Paella pan is just perfect and can be used for other things…like Jambalaya!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs. cut in 1-inch pieces

1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz chorizo cut into 1/4-inch slices and peeled

8 oz Serrano ham, diced

1/2 lb squid rings

1/2 lb langostinos (Chilean lobster tails)

20 mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 cup red. yellow and orange bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1.5 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

2.5 cups short-grained rice (Valencia preferred)

1/2 cup dry white wine

6-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 dried bay leaves

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

30 strands of saffron threads

2 tbsp minced garlic

Directions

Place the saffron threads and 1/4 cup of hot water in a bowl and all it it to sit for about 15-20 minutes to steep. Heat oil in a 15-18″ Paella pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, shrimp, ham, squid rings, and chorizo to he pan and cook until brown, remembering to turn occasionally. You don’t want it to burn. Remove the shrimp and squid rings to a plate, leaving the meats in the pan.

Add the paprika, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes, chopped peppers and onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften. This should take about 6 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice, saffron broth and chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil over high heat.

Now, add the rice and distribute it evenly with a spoon. Add peas and return the squid rings to the concoction. Cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed a good portion of the liquid. This should take about 12 minutes. Your Paella pan will definitely be bigger than the burner, so it’s important that you turn the pan every couple of minutes to ensure that the rice cooks evenly. Do not worry if the rice “burns” a bit on the bottom. This is perfect. It’s one of the important things that happens with Paella. Adds to the incredible flavor.

Turn the heat down to “low” and add the reserved shrimp. Give the concoction one stir. Nestle the mussels into the liquid (hinge side down). Allow it to cook without stirring until the mussels have opened, the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is al dente. This should take about 5-10 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the burner and cover with aluminum foil. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This is crazy good stuff.

 

 

 

 

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Chicken Marengo

boneless-skinless-chicken-thighs1You know, there are always “stories” surrounding food. With this dish, rumor has it that Napoleon Bonaparte’s chef made this dish for him after the battle of Marengo. I don’t necessarily know if this story is true, because I’ve always thought of this as a Spanish dish. What I do know that this is utterly delicious. What makes it utterly delicious are the many layers of flavor.

Most of the Chicken Marengo recipes out there call for boneless breast of chicken. Again, I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs simply because the meat is so moist. However, you will see that I have given you the option when you get to the recipe portion of this post.

I have served this over white rice, and over noodles. However, I recommend you try it over Israeli Couscous. Aside from salting the couscous, there isn’t any flavor you really need to add to it. There is plenty of flavor in the Chicken Marengo itself.

Ingredients

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 3 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, drained (I love to use the Del Monte with mild chilis in this dish)

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced

1/2 large red pepper, seeds removed and cut in strips

1 cup Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and cut in strips

1 cup frozen petite peas

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh thyme, removed from stems

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp capers

Directions

Put the olive oil in a deep skillet and add the onion and red pepper strips, cooking until the onions are just translucent. Then add the chicken. If you’re using thighs, put them in whole. These will be easy to break up in to pieces a bit later in the cooking process. If using chicken breast, make sure you have cut them into bite-sized pieces. Cook the chicken on until slightly browned.

Once the chicken has browned, add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, wine, salt and pepper, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes.

While this is cooking, put the butter, lemon and mushrooms in a smaller skillet, and sauté the mushrooms until just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can also measure out the frozen petite peas and set them aside.

After about 45 minutes, break up the chicken thighs. Add the mushrooms, peas, cilantro and capers. Give it a stir. Cook for about another 12-15 minutes, or until the peas are just tender.

Remove the bay leaf, and serve over Israeli couscous (my preference), rice or wide noodles.

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Mattar Paneer

matter paneer2Moving onto Indian food here. Loosely translated, this is peas and cheese. It’s delicious and makes a great accompaniment to any curry dish. If you’re a vegetarian, this is great with Basmati rice.

If you’re a masochist, you can go to Whole Foods Market (or Whole Paycheck Market, as I like to call it) and spend crazy amounts of money to buy eight skimpy ounces of Paneer cheese. Or you can make it yourself for, literally, a fraction of the cost. It’s not brain surgery. It’s pretty simple. So, I suggest you check out this link and make it yourself!

The recipe also calls for Garam Masala, which is a combination of a bunch of different spices. Of course, you can always make it yourself but, frankly, you can also buy it all made. That’s what I do. I’m a purist…to a point.

Ingredients

20 oz of Paneer cheese, cubed

2 cups frozen peas

6 tbsp oil

1/2 tbsp mustard seed

1 tsp cumin seed

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 large onion, chopped

1/4 tsp ginger paste

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 large tomatoes, chopped

1/2 tsp sugar

sea salt (to taste)

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander

1/4 cup tomato sauce

4 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 tbsp water

Directions

The first thing you want to do is fry the cheese. Add 3 tbsp of oil to a skillet and fry the cheese in a single layer until browned on all sides. Remove and put on a paper towel-lined dish. Set aside. Then, mix the cornstarch and water and set aside.

In a separate pan, heat 3 tbsp oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until they turn color and begin to “pop.”

Now, add the onions, ginger and garlic. Cook until the onions soften (but do not brown). Then, add tomatoes, salt, and sugar and cook until tomatoes soften. Once the tomatoes have softened, add the garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and paprika. Stir to mix.

Add the tomato sauce and stir, then add the peas. Cook the mixture until the peas are just tender. Do not worry if it appears that the dish is “soupy” or “watery.” That is what the cornstarch mixture is for.

Add the paneer and cook over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until the paneer absorbs the flavor. Add the cornstarch mixture to thicken.

Move to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped cilantro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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