Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Helllllloooooooo…..

What’s up guys? It’s been forever, I know. This holiday season was a crazy one! I believe I mentioned it, but my boyfriend and I moved over the holiday… so much hard work, packing, moving boxes and furniture, and then cleaning. I am so thankful all that is over! The last time I moved, it was out of my parent’s house and so this is the first real move I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how much stuff one can accumulate in 6.5 years.  Anyway, that is over now so hopefully, fingers crossed, I can now commence regular blogging. I miss it so much!

I thought I’d come back with one of my favorite recipes to share. I first made this shrimp scampi years ago, and have made it probably a dozen or so times since, which is a lot for me since I am forever wanting to try new recipes, rather than repeat them. I have yet to try an Ina Garten recipe that I haven’t liked, and this is one of my favorites of hers. I really must try some more of her recipes- but first I need to locate my cookbooks!

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 lb linguine

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.

3. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat.

Source: barely adapted from Ina Garten via foodnetwork.com

Pan-Roasted Swordfish Steaks with Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood took place on Cape Cod where my family and I vacationed for more than a decade of my life. We always rented a house, called “The Manor House” with my mom’s family- my grandparents, her brothers and their families, and of course my mom, dad and my brothers. The house we stayed on was located on a small bay- Lewis Bay- in West Yarmouth. We spent a week there every summer playing on the beach, digging for clams on what we dubbed “clam island”, catching sea squirts, going on whale watches, having an annual lobster night (my favorite!!!), going to our favorite pottery place (Scargo) and doing many, many other exciting things. In addition to our lobster night, one of the things I remember eating on Cape Cod was swordfish. I don’t remember having it many other times I my life other than on Cape Cod. When I saw that it was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend I just knew I had to buy some. I found a super simple recipe for it on Epicurious, and it turned out fantastic…. And it brought back those wonderful memories of Cape Cod. I should definitely cook swordfish more often!

Pan-Roasted Swordfish Steaks with Mixed-Peppercorn Butter

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp freshly ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest, packed

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 1-inch thick swordfish fillets (about 6-oz each)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl mix together the butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 tsp ground peppercorns, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

3. Place a large heavy (ovenproof) skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. Season swordfish on both sides with salt, and ground mixed peppercorns. Place in skillet, and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. Flip over, and transfer to oven. Cook 10 minutes longer, or until cooked through.

4. Remove swordfish to a plate, and place skillet back over medium-high heat. Add butter mixture and cook until melted and bubbling, scraping up the fond (the brown bits) on the bottom of the pan. Pour over swordfish and serve.

Source: Epicurious.com

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Happy happy Friday everyone! I am so glad it’s the weekend, and this weekend is super-special because it if my boyfriend Ron’s birthday! He is turning the big 3-1.  Now he can officially say he’s in his 30’s. He doesn’t care at all- it seems to me that guys just don’t care as much about their age as women do. We are going to have a low-key birthday, as he’s not a big party person. I told him that I would cook him whatever he wanted, and so far the menu that he has chosen includes wings, quesadillas and pizza! I fully expect to gain about 50 pounds this weekend 🙂 This dinner was the opposite of pizza and wings! Although it is somewhat rich due to the butter and olive oil, the fish and mushrooms are so good for you that I think it evens out. I loved the combination of the buttery-lemony sauce with the mild flaky cod and earthy mushrooms! Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so that combined with the seafood made this dish a winner in my book… and even though I didn’t have the proper spatula to flip my fish and it ended up breaking up a but, I still think this dish was really pretty and impressive looking… and it only used one skillet, and you all know how I feel about that!

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb mushrooms (I used a combination of shiitake, oyster and cremini)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of dried red chile flakes

2 skinless fillets of cod, about 1 lb (You can substitute other firm white fish such as snapper or hake)

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbsp cold butter

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Place a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the mushrooms, salt, peppers, and a pinch of red chili flakes, and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mushrooms to a warmed serving dish.

2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Wipe down the skillet, and add remaining oil. Place again over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering add the fish. Cook about 3 minutes on first side without moving. Flip carefully, and cook until fish is done, about 2 more minutes. Remove to the serving dish with the mushrooms.

3. Place the skillet back on the heat, increasing the heat to high. Add the vegetable broth and cook about 2 minutes, until it is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and mushrooms. Garnish with cilantro, parsley or chives if desired, and serve with lemon wedges if you’d like.

Source: Serious Eats

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Oh, how I love banana bread. It’s such a comfort food. It’s one of the things my mom would bake regularly for us growing up, and she was always, and still is always trying out new banana bread recipes. There are just so many out there to try… you could probably make a new one every week for a year or a few, and still not run out, and based on the amount of bananas I have in my freezer, I might just be able to do that 🙂 I love to try new recipes as well, but my favorite banana bread will always be the simple one- unadorned with chocolate chips, or candied ginger, or seeds, or nuts. This classic banana bread recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook is just my cup of tea. I did make a couple of adjustments (leaving out the sesame seed coating, opting out of the addition of nuts and orange zest, reducing the sugar slightly, and adding a bit of espresso powder), but I stayed pretty true to the classic. The addition of coffee adds a little depth, but not overwhelming coffee flavor, and also adds to the moisture level. I love that half the flour is whole wheat (I used white whole wheat for a subtler flavor), so that I can feel a little better about eating this… that said, this is definitely a treat- I mean, look at the amount of butter! This is certainly not a health food 🙂 This does make an excellent breakfast treat every once in a while though, a great mid-day snack, and even a great dessert. I’m sure this won’t be my first and last banana bread recipe on this blog, because I have inherited my mom’s desire to try out every banana bread recipe known to man, but this is a great one that I will come back to again and again.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp espresso powder

1 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 2 bananas)

1/2 cup strong, black coffee

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a loaf pan.

2. In a small bowl, combine the mashed banana and coffee.

3.  Add the melted butter and brown sugar to a large bowl, and whisk together. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Add the vanilla, and whisk together. Beat until a little lightened in color.

4. In another bowl, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, spices and espresso powder. Mix or sift together until well blended.

5. Alternate adding the banana mixture, and the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. I added about a third of each mixture at a time. Mix gently after each addition, until all is added, and the mixture is combined. Don’t mix too aggressively, or the bread will toughen.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, pop in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove from oven, let rest in pan for 10 minutes, the remove from pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Source: barely adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook

Here are some other banana bread recipes I would love to try out:

Banana Oatmeal Bread from Serious Eats

Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen

Jacked-Up Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping from Orangette

Banana-Coconut Bread from Orangette

 

Fresh Corn Pancakes

These are my favorite pancakes in the whole world. Decadent, buttery and bursting with the flavor of corn, they are perfect for the summer as a breakfast, or a side dish. You can serve them with maple syrup, sour cream and salsa, topped with more butter, or just plain (which is how I like them). They are definitely a treat, and I do want to find a healthier version of corn pancakes or fritters that I can eat more often, but every once in a while, you need some decadence in your life. These do use quite a few dishes, but they are quite easy to make, and other than the corn, which you’ll want to pick up fresh, the remaining ingredients are probably already in your pantry and refrigerator.

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Serves 4 (Makes about 12 pancakes)

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

3-4 ears of corn (enough to measure 2 cups of kernels)

3/4 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

1. Add the flour, baking powder and sugar to a large bowl and whisk together.

2. Cut off kernels from corn, until you have 2 cups. Scrape the pulp from the corn cobs with the back of your knife, and add it to your blender. Add the milk and 1/2 cup of the corn kernels to the blender with the pulp, and blend until smooth. Strain the corn/milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a separate medium bowl. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, and cooled butter to the corn/milk mixture and whisk together.

3. Add the corn/milk mixture to the bowl with the flour and add the remaining corn kernels as well. Whisk together, just until combined.

4. Heat a large heavy pan, nonstick skillet, or griddle over medium-heat until hot. Grease with oil, and cook pancakes in batches, using 1/3-cup batter per pancake. Cook about 2 minutes on first side (until bubbles appear on the surface, and the bottom is golden-brown). Flip and cook another minute on the other side. Grease between batches if needed. Serve with desired accompaniments.

Source: Gourmet Magazine, July 2009

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

The tacos strike once again! Seriously, I think I could eat tacos every day for the rest of my life and never tire of them. There are just so many ways to make them, and so many wonderful combinations to explore. Did I ever tell you how my brother used to hate tacos, thinking they were not enough for a meal?! Taco night was one of my favorite family dinners growing up. I would get so excited, and be thinking about dinner all day long. My brother, on the other hand, would endlessly moan and groan about it, saying they were basically just sandwiches, and thus, boring…. ummm.. okay?! Obviously, he was crazy. Luckily he has changed his tune, and now understands the wonderfulness that is the taco. When Ron told me he had never had fish tacos, it became my mission in life to make some. This gave me an excuse to put tacos on the menu again, and also gave me a use for some of the tilapia in my freezer. I also had half a head of cabbage in my refrigerator begging to be made into a slaw, so it was definitely meant to be. These tacos were awesome! A little spicy from the Cajun seasoning and the chipotle aioli, and balanced out by the refreshing and light cilantro lime slaw. So so good!

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw and Chipotle Aioli

Blackened Fish Tacos 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb flaky white fish (I used tilapia)

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning (store-bought or homemade- I used this recipe)

2 Tbsp olive oil

8 corn tortillas

Cilantro lime slaw (recipe follows)

Chipotle Aioli (recipe follows)

Directions:

1. Brush fish with melted butter, and sprinkle on both sides with seasoning.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add fish and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until fish is cooked through. Remove from pan, and flake with a fork.

3. To assemble tacos- warm corn tortillas in a a skillet, or in the microwave. Put some fish in the tortilla, add some slaw, and top with chipotle aioli.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Cilantro Lime Slaw

Ingredients:

4 cups cabbage, finely shredded

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

4 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl, and toss to combine. Chill for at least an hour before serving, to allow flavors to meld.

Source: Muy Bueno Cookbook

Chipotle Aioli

Ingredients:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp sour cream

3 Tbsp chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1/2 a lime

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl, and mix together to combine. If you’d like the aioli to be a smoother consistency, you can blend all the ingredients together in a food processor.

Source: Tide and Thyme

Oreo Cheesecake Squares

Oreo Cheesecake Squares

Cheesecake is my favorite dessert ever! It’s what I always request for my birthday cake, and I’ve never had one I haven’t enjoyed. I think the classic New York cheesecake (which I’ve never made myself) will always be my favorite, but I love all variations that I’ve tried. I’ve been wanting to make this Oreo version for a long time now (probably a couple of years at least), and I finally decided to go for it, when I brought dessert over to my parent’s house for Memorial day. I brought these, along with the Whole Lemon Squares, because I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t eat the Lemon Squares, and because one can never have too many desserts, right?  These were rich, and delicious, and were a big hit. I told Ron to bring the leftovers to work, but he loved them so much that he hoarded most of them for himself. Mine did crack on the top a bit, but that’s just a normal characteristic of cheesecake, and honestly that doesn’t bother me, as long as it tastes good!

Oreo Cheesecake Squares

Oreo Cheesecake Squares

Makes 9-16 squares, depending on how large you want yours!

Ingredients:

For the crust:

23 Oreo cookies

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

6 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp sour cream, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk

12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil.

2. For the crust: Put the Oreo cookies in a food processor, and process until finely ground. Add the melted butter, and pulse a few times until the crumbs are moistened. Pour into your prepared baking dish, and press down firmly to create an even crust layer. Bake for 10 minutes, and then remove pan from oven, and set aside, leaving the oven on.

3. For the filling: Fit your electric mixture with the paddle attachment, and add the cream cheese. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and smooth. Add the sugar, and mix until well-combined. Add the sour cream, vanilla and salt, and mix until combined. Add the egg and egg yolk, and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the chopped Oreos, and mix together with a rubber spatula.

4. Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared baking pan (on top of the crust), and smooth the top to make it even. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until set around the edges, but slightly wobbly in the center. Let cool on a wire rack (in pan), for about an hour, and then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until well-chilled.

5. To cut, use tinfoil to help remove bars from baking dish, and cut into desired amount of pieces. (Refrigerate until ready to serve, and also refrigerate any leftovers.)

Source: Annie’s Eats