Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lamb Chops Puttenesca

When I was a child, we had a herd of goats.  Sometimes, one was used for the family food.  Goat meat is gamey but very similar to lamb.  My mother used to make this rustic dish of goat cubes on the bone, onions and tomatoes that was just delicious.  I have often craved that dish and have come up with many variations to satisfy that craving, but always using lamb.

Today's dish is so easy to make, you can have it ready in 30 minutes.  It's delicious and elegant enough for guests.

5 Lamb Leg chops, rinsed and sprinkled with salt and pepper on each side.

1/4 cup thin sliced red onions (or white, or brown, or yellow)

2 cups Puttenesca tomato sauce (you can make your own tomato sauce which will add to the prep time - see January 30ths posting of Turkey and Spinach Lasagne for the sauce recipe - or just buy a good jar version).

1/2 cup Pitted kalamata olives

3 Fresh basil leaves

1/8 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup cooked whole wheat cous cous (or any cous cous or rice or pasta) cooked to package instructions.

Heat a large pan and add the olive oil.  When hot, add the lamb chops and brown on each side, including the ends for about 3 minutes on the thick sides and until brown on the ends.  Remove from pan to a plate and cover with foil.  Discard excess oil from the pan except for 1 tablespoon.

Add the onions, stirring until they have picked up the brown fond from the lamb.  Add the puttenesca sauce and reduce for about 5 minutes.  Add 3 leaves shredded basil leaves.  Nestle the lamb chops back into the sauce.  Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous.

Serve cous cous on the serving platter and arrange the chops on top of the cous cous.  Place the sauce on the side of the lamb and sprinkle with the olive and the cheese.  Serve immediately.

Baked Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta

An option on the pasta salad, is to take the pasta salad, turn it into a baking dish and add some mozerella cheese on top and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and bake until brown and bubbly.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta

1 Basket cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 Cups Farfalle pasta uncooked
1/4 Cup fresh basil
3 Tablespoons pesto
1/4 Cup frozen petite peas
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes

Add cut tomatoes, pesto and peas to a bowl.

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.

Drain pasta, reserving some cooking water if needed.

Add to bowl.  Add cheese.  Roll basil leaves and cut across and add to bowl. Add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

Toss.  Taste. The juices from the tomatoes should help make a sauce.  If needed, add some pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce.

Serve with Pesto toasts (see February 2010) 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Corn tortillas cut in wedges 
Peanut Oil
Lime wedges

Heat about 1 cup of the oil in a pan until shimmering.  Add one layer of the tortilla wedges and cook on each side, turning over, until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Squeeze lime juice over and sprinkle with salt. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chipolte Linguine

I like to braise a beef tenderloin in a good chipolte sauce.  After browning all sides of the beef, I add the chipolte sauce and cover loosely with foil, then slowly cook in a low oven, about 250 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Then I let the beef totally cool down.  You can slice it thin for sandwiches, shred it for all sorts of dishes such as fajitas, quesidillas, BBQ beef sandwiches, just about anything.  This is so versatile, that it is not uncommon for me to buy the meat on a Saturday and finish the last of it on a Friday.  While beef tenderloin is a more expensive cut, I am so frugal to use it so many ways in so many dishes that I actually save money rather than buying meat several times a week.

You can use the same concept on chicken, just don't braise as long.

The question is, what to do with the leftover braising sauce?  It is delicious, reduced and full of meat flavor.  I have sometimes put it in freezer bags and in the freezer to deal with at another time.  Today, I used last week's sauce to make this delicious linguine.

I purchased a package of fresh linguine from my favorite store.  Heat a large pot of water with 2 tablespoons good sea salt or course salt until boiling.  Cook the pasta about 2 minutes until al dente (take a strand and taste it...you want a little bite back, but not raw, and definitely not overcooked.)

Heat a saucepan with the braising sauce (I kept my saucepan with the braising liquid covered in the refrigerator so one less pan to clean!).  Remove the pasta from the pot and place on top of the hot braising sauce.  Mix in until all incorporated.  Remove from heat and add about 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese (or Peccorino, or whatever you prefer - or use a Mexican cheese equivalent).

Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh minced cilantro leaves and more Parmesan cheese.  I would even suggest a squeeze of lime juice.  I had a little leftover cherry tomato pico de gallo salsa so I used that as a garnish and put the remaining salsa juice in the pasta.  It is a delicious change from Italian pasta and delicious hot or cold.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Steak Taquitos Rustica


1 Cup left over steak, cut into thin strips or wedges

2 Fresh corn tortillas (I bought mine at a local Farmer's Market)
1/4 Cup peanut oil

1/8 Cup sour cream mixed with 1/8 cup chipolte salsa
Lime wedges to garnish

In a large non-stick pan, heat the tortillas until soft.  Remove from the pan and add the oil to the pan.  Heat until shimmering.
Place half the steak in each tortilla and fold over on itself in a large roll.

When the oil is shimmering, use a spatula and place the tortillas seam side down in the hot oil.  Let cook about a minute or two until brown and crisp, and turn over and cook and brown the other side.  Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain.
Serve immediately with the salsa and lime.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roasted Duck Salad

2 Duck Breasts
1 Idaho Potato
1 Sweet Potato
2 cups Assorted Salad Greens
1/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup mixed raspberries and blackberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pecans
1/8 cup shaved Jicama
Raspberry Vinagarette

To roast the duck breasts:

Wash and pat dry the duck breasts.  With a knife, cut criss-cut lines through the fat side of the breasts, all the way through the fat.  Lightly salt.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the breasts fat side down.

Cook on the skin side as the skin renders the fat for about 8 minutes until the skin is brown and crisp.  Turn and cook on the other side about 4 minutes until slightly brown and the breast is firm to the touch.  Remove from the fat and pan and rest on a plate, slightly covered with foil.

For the potatoes:

Cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes in half length wise.  Using a melon baller, cut out half circles of potatoes from the flesh side and place in a large bowl with cold water and about 2 tablespoons salt.  While the duck breasts are cooling, remove from the water and towel dry.  Add to the duck fat and roast on the stove until tender and brown.  Remove and dry on paper towels and add a sprinkle of salt.


In a large bowl:

Add the lettuce, and sprinkle the tomatoes, berries, nuts, potatoes and cranberries around.  Add cooled sliced duck breast and the shaved jicama.  Add about 3 tablespoons of a good quality raspberry vinagarette and toss and serve.

This is great to prepare and serve cold as a Summer evening salad.