Saturday, July 18, 2009

watermelon gazpacho
- adapted from Kitchen Sense

1 6-pound 'icebox' watermelon, red-fleshed
2 Kirby cucumbers or 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled (seeded, if necessary) and chopped
1 fresno chile or other medium-hot red chile, chopped
1/4 large red pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2/3 cup tomato juice
1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
fresh-ground black pepper
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
3 T finely chopped Kalamata olives
your best olive oil, for drizzling

Remove the rind from the watermelon. Cut the flesh into chunks and remove the seeds, if necessary; you should have about 6 cups of melon. Using a stick blender, traditional blender, or food processor, blend all soup ingredients (except the garnishes) until well liquified — about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the puree through a large-mesh strainer to remove any lingering seeds or other bits, pushing the pulp through with a spatula. Adjust seasonings as needed, and chill for at least an hour. Serve garnished with the feta and olives, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 6 as an appetizer

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

bistro shrimp pasta

'Parts' List

Battered and fried rock shrimp (optional, see note below)
Sauteed mushrooms quarters
Chopped tomatoes, seeded
Cooked Spaghettini
Lemon Basil Cream Sauce

Step 1:
Quarter the mushrooms
Chop tomatoes into small cubes
Saute mushrooms in a bit of olive oil. When almost cooked, add tomatoes to heat through.
Set aside and keep warm.

Step 2:
Cook the shrimp

The Shrimp:

Rock Shrimp (as much or as little as you'd like - calculate per person)
Eggs, scrambled
Corn Starch or flour (mix with the bread crumbs)
Bread crumbs, seasoned
Butter for frying
Oil for frying

Take the shrimp and coat with egg mixture, then dip into the bread crumb and corn starch mixture. Fry in a butter/oil mix for just a few minutes until done. Set aside and keep warm with paper towels on a dish (try not to cover completely or they will turn into a soggy mess).

If you will notice, there are no quantities here. That's because I simply can't get the shrimp exactly like the Cheesecake Factory. I am still trying to figure this out.

I have used regular shrimp before and it turns out similar, but not the same. Play around with the shrimp. This part of the recipe is a 'wild card'.

Step 3:
Cook the pasta and make the sauce at the same time. (note: DO NOT add sauce to the pasta until ready to serve. The pasta will soak up all the sauce if it sits and the pasta will be fairly dry).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add salt - this is your only opportunity to season your pasta.
Add 1lb. of spaghettini
Cook until done.

Lemon Basil Cream Sauce (double the sauce recipe if you'd like):
2 TB. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup half and half
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 TB. corn starch
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 TB. chopped fresh basil

*Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic, and saute 1-2 minutes.
*Add half and half and chicken broth.
*Bring to a boil, and cook about 8 minutes or until reduced by half.
*Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch until smooth in a bowl.
*Whisk lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. pepper into butter mixture and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until thickened.
*Remove from heat.
*DO NOT add basil until ready to serve.

Step 4: Put it together
In each bowl/dish add pasta, sauce, some of the mushroom/tomato mixture, some fresh arugula (let the heat of the pasta and sauce wilt the arugula) and toss until combined. Add shrimp and toss lightly. Top will a sprinkling of basil and grate some fresh Parmesan cheese on top of the dish and serve.

The quantities of the final product are a bit ambiguous for a reason. You can add as much or as little as you'd like. Copy the Cheesecake Factory if you have ordered this dish before. If not, you have nothing to compare it with, so get creative and make it to your specific taste.

Note: You do not have to batter and fry the shrimp - sometimes I don't so I can save some time. Frying the shrimp is the longest step in the process, and a hassle. I simply add some cooked shrimp to the final product. You can also substitute chicken cubes if you'd like.

Friday, July 03, 2009

chicken enchiladas
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each), cut into strips
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 jar (12 oz) salsa
  • 1 cup shredded lowfat cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded lowfat Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 can (16 oz) traditional enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
  • Mexican hot sauce
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 inches across)

Heat oven to 425°. In a medium pot, boil stock, chicken, jalapeño and garlic 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Strain chicken, run cold water over it and shred into a bowl. Mix in salsa and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cheddar, 1/4 cup Monterey Jack, cilantro and olives; set aside. In a large pot over medium heat, combine enchilada sauces and add Mexican hot sauce and cayenne to taste. Stir until simmering. Set aside. Coat an 11" x 13" casserole pan with nonstick spray. Microwave tortillas 20 seconds. Place small handfuls of cheese mixture and chicken in center of each tortilla, roll up and place in pan, seam side down. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Ladle on sauce, then add remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack. Bake 20 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

garden vegetable enchiladas
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped zucchini and/or yellow crookneck squash
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels or frozen, thawed
  • 1 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups (packed) grated Monterey Jack and/or sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 8 8-inch warm flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onion and sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes. Mix in 1 cup corn, canned chilies and 1/4 cup cilantro; season filling with salt and pepper.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in chili powder, flour and cumin; stir 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook until sauce is thick and bubbling, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix 3/4 cup sauce into filling. Place generous 1/3 cup filling in center of 1 tortilla; roll up to enclose filling. Place enchilada in baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Cover enchiladas with remaining sauce, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup corn and 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake vegetable enchiladas until heated through, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cilantro and serve.

turkey chili with white beans
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 15-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed, drained

  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before continuing.)

Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt separately.

corn and tomato scramble

active time: 25 min

total time: 30 min

Summer corn and vine-ripened tomatoes are already close to perfection, and they taste best when prepared simply. Here, the corn is sautéed with... more


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, keeping white parts and greens separate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels (from about 8 ears)


Whisk together oil, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss tomatoes with dressing.

While tomatoes marinate, cook white parts of scallions in butter with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add corn and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Stir together corn, tomatoes, and scallion greens.

tomatoes provencal

from beyond recipes:

The prep for this dish is very quick; once it's assembled, just bake them for thirty minutes and they are ready! Personally, I'd serve this as a side item for steak or rack of lamb, or something equally robust.

Tomatoes Provencal
Makes twelve servings

6 on the vine tomatoes
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 clove of garlic
good extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a deep, oven safe baking dish with foil (helps with the cleanup at the end!).

Take out the top core of the tomatoes, cut them in half and place them in the baking dish.

Remove the stalks from the parsley. Finely chop the parsley and clove of garlic. Combine the parsley and garlic with the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture generously over the tomatoes.

Then, drizzle olive oil over the top.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown on the top. The tomatoes can be served warm or cold.