Today we have guest blogger Naomi back with us. She brings with her a great recipe for White Sauce Spinach Lasagna. I really like the variation she makes with matzo and think I may need to try it. Take a look…
April 19, 2013
April 18, 2013
I shop at a very regular kind of grocery store. It is a large place, so there is a wide variety of products, but I cannot say that anything about it is special. The produce is generally fresh and the cans are not dented, so it meets many of my basic requirements.
Like many grocery stores, they have a wide display of pre-cut meats. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey and seafood occupy quite a bit of refrigerated displays and generally you find just about any cut pre-wrapped in plastic sitting on a styrofoam tray. In addition to the sea of protein, the store has a butcher counter and unlike many stores, actually cut their own meat on site.
I find that I rarely go to the counter. Much of what is sitting in the counter display can easily be found in other cases and the prices seem to be identical. Why stand and wait for the butcher to serve me when I can just grab and go? Plus, since I usually shop for a whole week, the plastic-wrapped meat freezes better than the paper wrapped items I’d get at the counter. I have two common exceptions. The first is when I want a big ole brisket. For some weird reason, the only brisket out for the masses is pre-marinated to become corned beef.
The second reason is to get a quantity of bulk Italian sausage. I don’t need the links. I don’t need the patties. Just load me up with either hot or mild (or a mixture of both) and let me roll. I am a big fan of the hot while my kids prefer the mild, so I tend to mix the two in recipes.
As you would expect, this is a very flavorful dish.
The original recipe called for sausage links. While this would have given a different texture to the meal, I preferred the bulk sausage spreading throughout the entire dish.
I fried up the sausage and removed it from the pan.
The peppers went in next.
Putting it all back in the pan.
Adding the pasta.
I liked how this recipe took the next step and went for the jugular by adding melted cheese on top.
Baked Ziti with Sausage and Peppers
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr | Makes: 6 | Difficulty: Easy
- 1 1/2 lbs hot or sweet Italian style pork sausage
- 2 medium red bell peppers or 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 (28 ounce ) can diced tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 ounces whole wheat ziti or low carb penne
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning, until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Prick sausage with a fork as it cooks to release juices. Remove sausage and let cool slightly; cut into 1/2 ” slices.
2) pour off all but 1 tbsp fat. Add peppers and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Return sausage to pan; add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook until thickened, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
3) meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, then stir into sausage and pepper mixture. Heat oven to 375°.
4) Spread half of the sausage and pepper mixture in a 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Cover with half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Spread remaining sausage and peppers over cheeses. Cover with remaining cheeses. Bake until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
To freeze: if freezing, do not bake ahead. Assemble in baking dish as instructed in recipe. Cool completely. Wrap well with heavy duty foil.
T reheat: bake at 375° until bubbly, about 15 minutes. Slide under broiler for 2 minutes if a crunch top is desired. Or remove from freezer, unwrap, and bake in a 375° oven until hot and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes.
April 15, 2013
Today we have an entrant for the second course of the Diced! competition. Contestants were instructed to create or find a recipe for a main dish containing the following ingredients: Ground Turkey, Gingersnap Cookies, Greek Yogurt and Fresh Jalapeños. They were instructed to make their dish and create a blog post about it, including pictures. You can help determine who advances to the next round. On Friday, after the last post, I will post a poll where you can vote for up to two of the contestants to move on. Vote for the post you like the best. You can vote because of the inventiveness, the yummyness, the use of ingredients, the quality of the writing and pictures or for any other reason. The poll will be active for one week only. Check back and vote. In the event of a tie, the Ranting Chef will choose who advances. More information about Diced! can be found here.
We started with five contestants and have three remaining (in alphabetical order): Ajax, Jenna and Maggie. Ellie had the fewest amount of votes after the first round and Mikaela had to drop out of the competition.
Today’s contestant, Maggie is no stranger to The Rantings of an Amateur Chef. As the author of the popular Maggie Monday series, she has brought us quite a few great dishes. Now it is time for Maggie to go toe-to-toe with our other contestants.
When I read the ingredients for this round of Diced, I had to think about them for a few days. I considered tacos, enchiladas, meatballs, and stroganoff. Then I remembered my sister in law’s yummy Pastitsio. Done.
My sister-in-law can cook, and she is adventurous in trying recipes. She had shared this recipe with me, but I had never made it. I knew the turkey could easily replace the lamb this recipe typically calls for, and the yogurt was already in the Bechamel. Since this is a greek dish, I thought the ginger snaps would compliment the cinnamon and nutmeg. The jalapenos were my worry… the recipe called for cayenne, so I figured in this case, heat is heat! There are so many layers of flavor going on in this dish, I figured it wouldn’t matter!
It turned out really well. Even with ginger snaps and jalapenos, the dish stayed true to the Mediterranean roots. It was great- family loved it, and I’ll probably make it again, with the ginger snaps!
Tomato Meat Sauce
4 Tb Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb lean ground beef
2/3 cup red wine, dry
2/3 cup ground ginger snaps- reserve 2Tbs
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced
1Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 28 ox can crushed tomatoes, in puree
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 box small pasta shells
What you do:
Place ginger snap cookies ( about a dozen or so) in food processor and pulse until they are finely crumbled. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes, Add the turkey and beef, and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes, until fully cooked, breaking the meat with a spoon so it is finely crumbled. You don’t want big chunks Drain off liquid. Add the wine and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and jalapenos, and cook for another 5 minutes. Incorporate the ground ginger snaps into the meat mixture. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 minutes, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the Bechamel, heat the milk in and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. In a larger sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking for about 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk mixture into the butter/flour mixtures, whisking continually. Continue cooking for another 7 minutes or so, until smooth and thick. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in ¾ cup of parmesan cheese, and measure out ½ cup of the tomato meat sauce add this to the Bechamel. Remove from heat, and after it has cooled for 10 minutes, stir in the eggs and yogurt, and set aside.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Don’t overcook as you will bake the pasta later, Drain and set aside.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Stir the pasta into the meat sauce, then pour the pasta and meat mixture into the baking dish. Spread the Bechamel evenly all over the pasta/meat mixture, then sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese and reserved ginger snap crumbs.
Remember – check back after the last post to vote on who advances in the Diced! competition.
March 16, 2013
Once again we have guest blogger Terri from Dear Martini. I love that she creates videos on certain cooking steps to help readers through. Take a look at the great recipe below and make sure you spend some time over at Dear Martini…
Pasta a la Puttanesca is literally named “pasta in the style of a whore.” Why it’s called the pasta for puttanas, I’ll leave it up to your imagination; however, I choose to ignore its impolite connotations and keep all of the ingredients for this dish at my fingertips in my pantry at all times. The important ingredients for this sauce are crushed tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes, shallots or onions, garlic and olive oil. For the piquant briny/salty notes, you can add anchovy paste or chopped capers (if you wish to make it vegetarian).
This recipe falls under my personal category: PVD (“preparazione veloce e delicioza” or for our vernacular, Quick and Yummy!). Quick, because if you’ve got decent knife skills, it can be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta! Yummy, because this sauce is savory, sweet, spicy and satisfying. Add a side salad and a glass of wine, and it’s an excellent weeknight supper.
Just for you from Dear Martini: I’ve added some helpful video links from our Dear Martini YouTube Channel. We’ve got a nice library of cooking technique videos to help you along in the kitchen. Please take a look and subscribe to our channel! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter – we’d be glad to see you!
Pasta alla Puttanesca
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
½ pound linguine pasta
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
Set a large (2- gallon) stockpot filled with water over high flame and bring to a boil. While the water is heating up, prepare your sauce ingredients.
Mince the shallots, thinly slice the garlic and make the anchovy paste by mashing three filets with a fork.
Once the water boils, add ¼ cup of kosher salt to the water and cook the pasta to al dente, about 10 -11 minutes. In the time it takes to cook the pasta, you can make the sauce!
Set a medium-sized skillet or sauté pan over medium-high flame and add the olive oil, shallot, garlic, anchovy paste and red pepper flakes. Allow the aromatics to infuse the oil as it heats up, about 2 minutes. Add the olives and sauté until the olives are heated through, about 2 minutes.
Pour the entire contents of the canned tomatoes into the pan and stir to combine with the oil. Bring the entire sauce to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, for the remaining time it takes to cook the pasta. Taste, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and immediately toss together with the sauce in the same stockpot. The residual heat from the stockpot will keep everything warm.
Divide the pasta and sauce among your serving bowls and garnish with the parsley and cheese. Serve immediately.
Chef Terri (www.chefterridien) is a chef instructor-startup entrepreneur based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is currently working on her own startup, Dear Martini (www.dearmartini.net) while also serving the role of Social Media Gal for the San Mateo County Event Center. In between startup projects and event coverage, she also teaches cooking classes! Dear Martini, a media and technology startup based in the San Francisco Bay Area focusing on changing the way people learn to cook by using simple, effective, bite-sized videos. Bootstrapped and supported by generous friends and family, Dear Martini is on its way to developing a web-based application tool to help home cooks synchronize their cooking/searching/learning experience. Check out Dear Martini’s blog: dearmartini.wordpress.com
March 16th is National Artichoke Hearts Day
In honor of today’s food holiday, please revisit the following recipes that use or feature this ingredient:
March 13, 2013
Appetizer, Kosher, Low Carb, Lunch, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian Appetizer, cooking, dinner, food, Gourmet, Kosher, low carb, lunch, noodles, pasta, postaday, recipe, recipes, salad, side dish, tomato, Vegan, vegetable, vegetarian 2 Comments
I love to travel and I feel I don’t get the opportunity to travel to enough exotic locations. Lucky for me, I can travel vicariously through others. Today, for her second guest blog post is Cila Warncke. Her previous post Green Ginger Soup was great and it looks like the recipes she has below are fantastic too. Check out her writing at Cila Warncke and take a look below…….
After fifty years of repressive military dictatorship Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a land of mystery. Most of us Westerners know little about it apart from news images of Buddhist monks, pagodas, and Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi. Though tourism has increased since a democratic government took power in 2010 Myanmar is still the least-explored part of Southeast Asia. Like many first-time visitors I was bowled over by how large and geographically diverse it is.
Almost twice the land mass of Britain, it drives a slender wedge between Bangladesh and India on the west and China, Laos and Thailand on the east. In the space of 10 days my companion and I went from the heat and clamour of Yangon to lush mountains in the Mon state, the arid plains around Bagan, and the otherworldly beauty of Inle Lake in the Shan state.
Set some 3000 feet up in the mountains in the eastern part of the country, Inle Lake is Myanmar’s answer to Lake Tahoe – if Tahoe were populated by artisans, fishermen and farmers rather than frat boys and Valley girls. The inhabitants of this bucolic water world are the most gracious and self-sufficient people we encountered and we were fortunate to see some of the local craftspeople at work making the region’s renowned hand-woven cloth and cheroot cigarettes.
Inle Lake is also justifiably famous for the quality of its produce which is grown on floating island gardens. Their crops include cucumber, squash and tomato, which are the most flavoursome I’ve ever eaten. Shan rice noodles – the quintessential Myanmar fast food – were my favourite culinary find of the trip. The following recipes are my interpretation of two ubiquitous dishes: tomato salad and Shan rice noodle salad. Due to the language barrier I couldn’t ask many questions about preparation and ingredients, so they are based on observation and repeated tastings.
Myanmar Tomato Salad
As a starter or side for two
- 2 large ripe red tomatoes
- 1 large green tomato
- 1 small red onion
- 1/3 cup peanuts, coarsely crushed
- Slice the tomatoes, being sure to catch the juice
- Sliver the onion
- Mix the crushed peanuts with the tomato juice
- Thoroughly toss all ingredients. Season to taste.
Shan Noodle Salad
- 6oz of rice noodles
- 1 cup cress or other fresh green
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ¼ chopped green onion
- French-fried onion strips
- Crushed peanuts
- Dark soy sauce
- Fresh bird’s eye chilli
- Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions
- When cooked quickly toss with the cress, spouts and chopped onions till the greens begin to wilt
- Garnish with French-fried onions and crushed peanuts
- For the dressing add finely sliced chilli and garlic to the soy sauce and serve on the side
NB: Use tamari instead of soy sauce to make this gluten-free