Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lunch: Pita Roast Beef and Onions with Tahini Cocktail Spread

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time 15 min

Serves (1)

Cocktail sauce and tahini? Don't be alarmed. The best meals are born out of inventiveness. Tahini (a sesame seed paste) provides a beautiful richness to this sandwich. Combined with cocktail sauce, mayo, and mustard, the tahini transforms into a spicy spread similar to horseradish, yet with a depth and clarity all its own.

Ingredients: Sandwich 1 pita, 5 slices thin-sliced roast beef, 1/4 onion, oil, butter Tahini Spread 5 tsp tahini, 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp cocktail sauce, 1 tsp mustard

Thin slice onion. Slice roast beef into strips. Slice pita in half. Set aside.

Sauté onion in oiled pan over medium heat. While onions are sautéing, combine tahini, mayo, cocktail sauce and mustard in small bowl. Generously spread tahini mixture on inside of pita pockets (reserving a little for the outside of the pita). When onions are brown, add roast beef strips to pan. Cook for 2 min.

Remove roast beef and onions from pan and place in pita pockets. Spread remaining tahini mixture on one side of outside of pitas. Place dollop of butter in pan, place pitas in pan, tahini side down. Cook 1-2 min. Flip pitas. Cook additional minute. Remove from pan.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Entrée: Chicken Soup with Hungarian Nokedli

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Serves (4-6)

Please, please, please put away your bouillon cubes and over salted chicken stock. This recipe requires no fillers. By purchasing a good quality chicken, the main ingredient you'll need is time, not salt. I'm not convinced that chicken soup cures a cold, but it does make for a great meal.

Ingredients: Soup 4 chicken thighs (preferably organic or free range), 4 celery stalks, 4 medium carrot sticks, 2 small onions, 3 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper (more salt and pepper can be added to taste) Nokedli 1 cup flour, 1 egg, 1/3 cup water, 1 tbsp parsley flakes, 1/4 tsp salt

Place thighs in large pot over medium heat with a little oil. Evenly sprinkle tops of thighs with 2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.

As chicken is beginning to cook, dice celery, peeled carrots, and onions. Add vegetables to pot. Drizzle chicken and vegetables with olive oil. Add water to pot until chicken is completely covered. Stir in 1 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cover pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer with lid cracked until chicken is cooked--about 45 min.

When chicken is almost done, fill 2 qt saucepan with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to boil. Combine flour, egg, water, parsley and salt in bowl. Mix together with a fork. (Batter will be sticky.) Transfer batter to flat surface--something that is easy to handle, like a plate or small cutting board. Using a teaspoon, quickly scrap batter into boiling water. Boil nokedli until they begin to float--about 2-3 min. Drain. Set aside.

Remove chicken from pot, peel off skin. Pull apart chicken (chicken will be hot!) and add back to pot. Serve with Hungarian nokedli.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Entrée: Tomato Pumpkin Soup with Goat Cheese and Basil

Difficulty: Easy

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves (2)

Great as an entrée or an appetizer--this dish caters to the strengths of each ingredient--the acidity of the tomatoes, the mellow sweetness from pumpkin, and the bright pop of basil. Stir in soft and tangy goat cheese, and bring tomato soup into the realm of fine dining.

Ingredients: 1 cup strained tomatoes*, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup pumpkin, 1-2 oz goat cheese, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, goat cheese for topping

*If available, I recommend Pomi strained tomatoes. Packed and produced in Italy, the only tomatoes more fresh would be from your garden.

Who says amazing meals have to be complicated? Combine all ingredients in 1 qt saucepan. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally (15 min). Serve with crumbled goat cheese and a dash of dried basil. Voilà!

Side: Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Vanilla and Raisins

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Serves (2)

I admit I'm not the biggest fan of plain sweet potatoes. I do, however, love sweet potatoes with sugar, butter, and marshmallows! But such concoctions tend to be over sweetened. With plump raisins and a little bit of powdered sugar, this recipe satisfies your "healthy" sweet tooth without making you feel like you've just robbed a candy store.

Ingredients: 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, 1 egg, 2/3 cup raisins, 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp powdered sugar, 3 tbsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Peel sweet potatoes. Dice. Place potatoes in 2 qt pot, cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium heat until potatoes are soft and a fork easily pierces them (about 15 min). The last 5 min of simmering, place raisins in the water with potatoes. Drain.

Immediately transfer potatoes and raisin to mixing bowl. Add the egg and beat with electric beater (15 seconds). Add in butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and vinegar. Beat with electric beater until potatoes are whipped, scraping bowl constantly. (Mixing the egg with the hot potatoes will effectively cook the egg, so you'll want to mix them rather quickly to ensure the potatoes are still hot.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sauce: Classic BBQ

Difficulty: Easy

Prep/Cook Time: 15 min

Serves (4)

Only five simple ingredients combine for this classic bbq sauce. Simple, however, does not mean un-amazing. With a backbone of molasses and a zingy tang from apple cider vinegar, your chicken, pork or beef will be begging for more.

Ingredients: 2/3 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients in 1 qt saucepan and allow to simmer for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally. You may wish to cover the pan, as splattering may occur.