Friday, July 31, 2009

Maryland Crab Cakes

I am so discombobulated. I missed my Tuesday recipe posting, sorry. I also haven't posted on our baby blog in about 3 weeks. Why does it seem like my to-do list never gets any shorter?

We're moved into our lovely new house, but clothes are on the floor, dishes are haphazardly put away (I want to get drawer liner before I truly put them away and organize, another to-do!), and we keep missing the basics when we go to the grocery store (like dishwasher pellets, grrr).

The recipe today is fitting, because I forgot to take a picture of the final product. But rest assured, they were de-licious. I wish I could show you how pretty they were too. Everyone raved about them and they were very, very easy. The perfect food to make after moving. You probably have most items on hand (despite having unpacked only half your boxes), minimal ingredients to get at the store, and not a lot of time required.

This was my second recipe attempt from my sister's food blog. You picked another winner C!

Lump crab meat... I'm drooling.

Mama Gs Crab Cakes
from Pennies on a Platter

2 pounds lump crab meat
1/2 stack of crackers (about 10 Ritz crackers)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Several drops of Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons ground Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (plus more for sprinkling)

Makin' the cakes

Mix the crab meat (after making sure there are no shells) with the crackers

Mix the remaining ingredients then pour over the crab mixture and mix together

Drop about 2 tbsp. worth of mixture on a baking sheet for each crab cake and flatten (leave about a 2 in. space between each crab cake)

Broil on low for 15 - 20 minutes (or until golden brown) - mine were done around 13 minutes and if left in longer would have burned - so make sure to watch! **You only broil on one side. No need to flip them.

Guten appetit!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Crunchy Asian Noodle Salad, with Peanut Sauce

Our household container from Germany has finally arrived and is being delivered and unloaded at our new house today! Just imagine the chaos... What I wouldn't give for a quick easy dinner tonight. Alas, I refuse to cook on days like this, so we'll be getting take-out or pizza or something from one of our new neighborhood joints. The below dish would certainly hit the spot though!

This was the first recipe I tried from my sister's cooking blog. She's got some great recipes posted, but I'm a sucker for peanut butter and 'fast/easy dinners'. Add some tofu, and I'm over the moon about the dish!

And this dish is delish... (say that 5 times fast - wa, ha, ha)

Very similar sauce to the Soba Noodle recipe, but I suppose there are only so many variations to a peanut sauce. Plus, when a recipe does it well, why mess with it? And this is a good sauce! Other than a few ingredients for the sauce, you probably have most items in your pantry. I love that it uses spaghetti noodles.

As promised by my rascal of a sister, it was fast and easy. And very flexible... I completely changed up the veggies, to use what I had on hand.

With an almost 6 month old bambino, who just started rolling (yay!), this quick and tasty meal will be a regular staple around our house (just as soon as I unpack the pots and pans). Thanks for the great recipe sista!

Note: Half the recipe will make enough for 3-4 people. We got our dinners and lunch the next day out of it.

Steam some gyoza/pot stickers as a side dish. Or maybe serve edamame (one of my favs).

Crunchy Asian Noodle Salad, with Peanut Sauce
from my sister, Christine

1/2 lb. thin spaghetti
1 lb. sugar snap peas
2 red bell peppers - thinly sliced
4 scallions - sliced dragonfly
3 tbsp. chopping parsley

(I halved this recipe and used: 2/3 box of spaghetti, 2 handfuls of green beans, 1 red pepper, 2 scallions, and 1 package of extra firm tofu)

1 cup veggie oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter

Cook pasta, drain and set aside.

Boil a large pot of water, add the snap peas, return to boil for 3-5 minutes. Drain and put in ice water. (I simply cut and sauted my veggies in a tablespoon of vegetable oil until crisp-tender, along with the tofu so it would brown up a bit)

Whisk vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and peanut butter together.

Combine spaghetti and veggies. Pour dressing, add parsley (I did not use), and mix. (Don't forget to sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top for a pretty presentation!)

More! More! More! Peanut Sauce! Peanut Sauce! Peanut Sauce!:
- Satay Peanut Sauce, from Rasa Malaysia
- Roasted Asparagus with Creamy Tahini-Peanut Dipping Sauce, from Kayln's Kitchen
- Vietnamese Shrimp Pops with Peanut Sauce, from Al Dente

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Roasted White Fish with Onions, Peppers, Olives and Feta

Whew! That recipe title is a mouthful. As is this recipe.

I served this last month (yes, I know. I'm cheating again with 'timely' posts) while staying at Tim's parent's house. But, it gave me 4 taste testers to sample the cuisine and tell me what they thought.

The finished product

3 gave it a thumbs up, while I gave it a 'thumbs up, if there's a fish change'. I used tilapia, as the recipe called for, and didn't like it AS MUCH as I would halibut. I thought it was ok, but not great. Halibut would have made this a great dish. I loved, loved, loved the olive/feta topping. Could have eaten that directly out of the pan (ok, you caught me. I DID eat some out of the pan!!).

The topping

The dish went really well with some red potatoes I zapped in the microwave. Although I originally had brown rice planned as the side dish. I'm sure both would be tasty.

So, overall review: Definitely a recipe for the rotation, with halibut.

Using tilapia filets - good, but not great

OH, I almost forgot to mention how easy it was! Dinner in 30 minutes. Doesn't get much better than that, when you're making something fresh and delicious.

Roasted White Fish with Onions, Peppers, Olives and Feta
from Kalyn's Kitchen

2 or 3 medium-sized Tilapia or Halibut filets (for best results, use fish that is uniformly thick)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (light mayo is OK, but do not use fat free)

Preheat oven to 425. Spray small glass or ceramic casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Heat olive oil in nonstick frying pan and saute red pepper and onion about 3 minutes. Add olives and saute about 2 minutes more. Turn off heat.

Put fish in casserole dish and season with salt and pepper. Spread a small amount of mayo evenly over the surface of each piece of fish. Stir feta into red pepper/onion/olive mixture and spread that over the top of fish. (Pile it on so all the mixture is used. It doesn't matter if some falls off while it's cooking.)

Bake until fish is opaque and white throughout and topping is barely starting to brown, 10-
15 minutes. The mayo and the topping will keep the fish moist. Serve hot. (Serves 2-3 people)

Guten appetit!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lasanga Rollups, with Tofu!

Interesting combinations... Pickles and ice cream (I said 'interesting', not necessarily 'good'). Pretzels and chocolate (This was an experiment gone very, very right! Many thanks go to whoever discovered it). Cheese and jalapeno sandwiches (This comes from my sister, yuck). French fries dipped in a milk shake (Mmmm, one of my favorite weaknesses). And today, lasagna and tofu.

Truth be told, I've seen tofu in lasagna recipes before. Tofu doesn't have much (if any) flavor on it's own, so why not? It adds a kick in the pants for protein, and no-one will even notice they're eating tofu (particularly good if you have a non-tofu liking person over for dinner).

Tastes just like a regular lasagna (without tofu) and it's delicious!

Timing seemed perfect to try the lasagna-tofu combination, as I found this recipe the night after a party. Why is that so perfect? First, after a party, I'm usually a bit tired of cooking. This recipe is very easy. Second, I had leftover uncooked mushrooms, including a lot of stems, from serving Happy Hour Mushrooms at the party. Perfect filling, score.

On top of the other two great reasons to make this recipe, it's not your average lasagna. Oh no. They're roll-ups. Fun! Great for portioning too.

As you can see above, I did have a bit of trouble with my lasanga rolls... they caved into themselves and flattened. Didn't take away from the flavor though, just presentation.

I believe my problem was that I had no-cook noodles. Be careful buying your noodles at the store! Ay, yay, yay. To solve that problem, I heated a bowl of water to simmering, and stuck 2-3 noodles in the water at a time. I would remove 1 to use when it seemed soft enough to roll. I didn't cook the noodles all the way, they cooked in the oven. Regular noodles should hold their shape better. While it didn't make for the prettiest presentation, it didn't ruin the dish. Tim has already asked for the lasagna again.

Lasagna Rollups with Tofu
from Allrecipes

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked lasagna noodles
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1 pound firm tofu
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed dry (I used 3/4 cup sauted mushrooms instead)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 5 to 8 minutes, or until just slightly underdone; drain and rinse.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together grated cheese, ricotta cheese, tofu, frozen spinach, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

Lay out a noodle. Spread a layer of the cheese mixture on the noodle, then add a thin layer of sauce. Roll the noodle up, and place seam side down in a 13x9 pan.

Repeat for other noodles. Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degree C) oven for 30 min, or until hot and bubbly.

Lasagna here, lasagna there, lasagna everywhere:
- Black Bean and Spinach Lasagna
- Vegetable Lasagna, from Kath Eats Real Food
- Pesto Lasagna, from over a Tuscan Stove

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Edamame

We're back! Live! Well, almost live. But real-time recipes, no more rewinds.

Ok, not even real-time recipes, considering I took these pictures on Christmas. Yep, it's taken me that long to post it. Not because we didn't love it. We did! It's a recipe tasty enough for the grand poo-bah of dinners, aka: Christmas. And I've even made it a few times since then. My pictures are just old. What can I say, it's been a hectic half year and I've been a little backed-up in recipe posting/sharing. Forgive me for not offering you this tasty dish sooner!

Couple things about the recipe... it's delicious. Second, it's super fast and great for weeknight meals. Plus, thinking back to Christmas, because it's so fast and easy, it really helped me with getting everything ready on time, without slaving away longer than necessary in the kitchen. So if you have a big party to prepare for, this recipe could be a huge help to you.

For Christmas, I served the Couscous with an appetizer of Happy Hour Mushrooms, side dishes of green beans and bran muffins, and apple pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. De-licious!

Since I actually make this recipe quite often, there are some substitutions I regularly use. In the original recipe, it calls for two things we don't like: green onions and a lot of feta cheese. The green onions are very overpowering, and the dish tastes great without them (one less thing to buy!). We also omitted the feta, and substituted grated parmesan in the Christmas batch. Normally, I like feta (just not when it's over used), and would use half the amount they call for. But during the Christmas season, I was pregnant and a little wary of feta (probably a silly paranoia). The parmesan tasted great though, so it's a nice alternative to try off and on. Or to just use what you have in your fridge.

This dish is a fun mix of flavors and textures, and again, fast and delicious for any occasion!

Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Edamame
from Cooking Light

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3)
2 1/4 cups water, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I used 1 tablespoon dried basil)
1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 cups coarsely chopped green onions (I omit this)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (Substitute 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, or only use 1/2 cup feta)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add edamame, red pepper, and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup water, basil, chickpeas, and tomatoes; simmer 15 minutes. Add 1 3/4 cups water and salt; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in onions and feta; toss well.

Can't get enough couscous, try these:
- South of the Border Couscous Salad, from Albion Cooks
- Curried Couscous, from The Amateur Gourmet
- Spinach Couscous Salad, from Cookbook Catchall
- Red Lentil Soup with Couscous, from Almost Turkish Recipes

Guten appetit!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Recipe Rewind: Brussels Sprouts Pasta

This is the last 'recipe rewind'! We're back in Seattle this week, but still staying with family. We can't move into our lovely new home until our furniture arrives - I'll never think baggage at the airport takes a long time again. Not after waiting for the Port to pass our container through customs and loaded to a truck!

This recipe is sure to perk me up. One of my all-time favorites for years. I owe my friend Jamie a big, big, big thank you for introducing it to me: Brussels Sprouts Pasta.

As a quick way to prepare this recipe, I sometimes zap the brussels sprouts in the cuisinart to chop. I know it's cheating, and it wont give you the pretty presentation, but it's fast!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the past deliciousness posted on the blog. Sometimes I make things and forget them (pregnancy brain successfully transferred to new mommy brain), so this was a fun way to look back at some recipes we really liked and wanted to put into regular rotation.

If you'd like to make the brussels sprouts pasta, click here for the recipe. See you next week, I've got some new goodies to share!

Guten appetit!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recipe Rewind: Happy Hour Mushrooms

There are a few things I have been dying to make since being home... does that sound too dramatic? 'Dying to make'?! But it's true, I've thought about certain recipes every day for the past month. Here's one of the foods on my mind:

Happy Hour Mushrooms (aka: Stuffed Mushrooms).

These went from special occasion appetizers, to 'I feel like happy hour mushrooms tonight, random Wednesday that it is, even though it's just Tim and I'. I've made them for so many years, it's no problem to scale the recipe to just 10 mushrooms, satisfying my craving (the recipe is easy anyway, but it makes a lot more than 10 mushrooms).

I recommend you make these soon as well. Then, we can all be happy. Because they will make you happy.

Find the recipe here.

Guten appetit!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Recipe Rewind: Strawberry Shortcake

I am looking forward to our last weekend in Virginia with Tim's parents. It's been a while since we celebrated a 4th of July, and this will be our little chefs helper's first Independence Day. We have much to celebrate - family, friends, freedom and our wonderful country.

Something else I like to celebrate... strawberry season!

Picture from the foodchannel

We'll be making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert tomorrow. Mmm, mmm good. Strawberries with whip cream and a bisquick biscuit scream summer, joy and family parties to me.

Click here for the Strawberry Shortcake recipe.

Whatever you eat, I hope you have a very happy and safe 4th of July.

Happy Birthday America!