Thursday, August 25, 2011

Watermelon Cooler

My wife's subway ride brainstorm come to life; this is a great way to finish out the summer.  I have always loved watermelon juice and the addition of ginger, mint and lime take it over the top.  Enjoy!

1 10 lbs watermelon
2 TBSP Ginger syrup (I use Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup)
1/2 Cup Simple syrup
4 Large Mint leaves
4 TBSP Fresh lime juice

Cut up the watermelon into chunks and discard the rind.  Working in batches put a little of each ingredient into your blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer the liquid to a mixing bowl and repeat with the next batch.  Once everything is blended and together in the mixing bowl, stir to make sure everything is well mixed and transfer to your serving pitchers.  Chill for at least one hour and serve.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crab Cakes that I made!

Growing up in Baltimore, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are kind of a religion.  I still remember the feeling of waking up at the crack of dawn on every beach vacation to go crabbing under the bridge with my dad, uncle, grandfather and brother.  We would bring the spoils back to the beach house and steam them up in a huge pot for the entire family to enjoy.  Any leftovers would go to making either crab cakes or crab soup for the following day.  This recipe is from my mom who knows her crab cakes (thanks mom!) and the crab meat is from a crab feast this past weekend (thanks dad!).
A note about crab meat.  Don't even bother to try this recipe unless you can find fresh lump crab meat.  The recipe relies on the flavor of the crab itself which is sweet and fantastic, and pasteurized crab meat doesn't have that same flavor at all.  It probably shouldn't even be called crab. 

Crab cakes with asparagus and Vino Verde from Portugal.

What they should look like after mixing and forming but before cooking.

The finished product.

1 lbs of FRESH Crab meat (not pasteurized! trust me)
6 Saltine crackers crushed
1 Egg
2 TBSP Pancake mix
1/4 Cup Mayo
1 tsp Ground dry mustard
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Fresh Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dry parsley

Start by gently picking out all the shells from the crab meat.  Take care not to handle it too much and to let the large lumps of crab stay together.  This is very important.
Next place the oven rack towards the top of the oven and preheat the broiler to 500 degrees.
Combine the egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay, mustard, pancake mix, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl.  Very gently mix in the crab meat and crackers with you hands and form into cakes.  I prefer a lump shape to mine about 3 inches in diameter but you can do yours however you like.  Pan fry in about a TBSP of butter for 1-2 minutes then finish in the oven until golden brown.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crab Cakes

I didn't make these but this is how crab cakes should be done.  They were our welcome home dinner with my family when we moved back from Portugal.  A perfect way to be welcomed back to the states.  If you happen to be in Baltimore you can pick these up at By the Docks on Eastern Ave by Bengies Drive-In.  You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where have I been?

I have not abandoned my blog.  I swear.  It may seem like that but rest assured, I am coming back. We just moved back to New York from Portugal and it is taking a bit of time to get settled and get our kitchen sorted.  I am working on a couple of new posts and I have a couple of older posts that never went up so stay tuned!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is something that was always a bit of a mystery to me.  There are all these layers.  Well that part seems simple enough, but what order do you put them in?  Could it really be as simple as sauce, noodles, cheese, repeat?  The answer is basically yes.  What about the noodles?  They come in sheets.  Do you boil them first and then put everything together or do you just stack them in dry?  Guess what?  Both are right depending on what kind of noodles you get.  Lucky for me I found some fresh pasta sheets at the supermarket so no need to boil before baking.  This recipe is for a small pan (6x9 inches) so expand the recipe accordingly. 

2 cans of stewed tomatoes
1TBSP olive oil
1/2 onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp Brown sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1 tsp butter

lasagna sheets
1 zucchini
1 cup of ricotta
1 + 1/2 cup mozzarella
1/8 cup fresh shredded Parmesan
bunch of fresh basil chopped
1 TBSP olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Start with your sauce.   Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions.  Saute the onions for 2 minutes, moving them around the pan constantly. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir.  Add everything else, stir until combined and turn the heat to low.  Let cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
Cut your zucchini into thin rounds, 1/16 - 1/8 inch thick.  I use a mandolin to get uniformly thick rounds so they cook evenly.
Now it's stacking time!
Start by coating your baking dish with olive oil.  The first layer should be 1/3 of your sauce.  Then a pasta sheet.  Spread 1/2 cup of ricotta on the pasta sheet.  Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Place a layer of zucchini rounds on top of that, then another pasta sheet.  Now the second 1/3 of your sauce. Next a layer of chopped fresh basil.  Spread 1/2 cup of ricotta over that and another 1/2 cup of mozzarella over that.  Now another layer of zucchini and another pasta sheet.  Spread out your final 1/3 of sauce.  Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/8 cup of shredded parmesan. 
Cover you baking pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Attempted Pizza

I have also been working on a pizza dough recipe.  One major problem is that my oven just doesn't get hot enough.  I have been playing around a little to make up for it but the heat of the oven is a really important factor.   I am, however, pretty close so keep a look out for my recipe!  Here are some pics from my last few attempts.  I should note that I have finally found a source for fresh mozzarella so no more shredded on future pies.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sausage and Cheddar Biscuits

I have been trying to make biscuits lately.  Some batches worked out pretty good, some not as great.  I will post a recipe as soon as I get it right but in the mean time here is a pic of a nice little snack I made with one of the batches.  Italian sausage and aged cheddar cheese on mini biscuits.  Even if the biscuits weren't perfect, adding sausage and cheddar made this an awesome snack.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Eggplant with Ginger and Honey Carrots

Personally, I have never been a huge fan of eggplant.  I always found it to be kind of strange in flavor and or texture.  Well, this is no longer the case.  After doing some research I figured out how to cook it so it is flavorful and melts in your mouth.  The key is the salting process which removes excess water and doesn't allow the eggplant to take in as much oil.  Brilliant! 

1 small Eggplant
1 TBSP olive oil
1 garlic clove minced

2 Carrots cut on a diagonal
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp ginger grated

Cut eggplant in half and make deep diagonal slices in the flesh in both directions.  Rub salt on the flesh and in the cuts.  Let rest for 1/2 hour on a paper towel then squeeze out the water from the eggplant and rinse.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Dry the eggplant and season with garlic, thyme, pepper and brush on olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the fresh of the eggplant is nice and soft (if you use a bigger eggplant it is going to take a bit longer).  Squeeze a little lemon over it after plating.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 5 minutes.  Add ginger, honey and butter and reduce the heat until the carrots can be pierce with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Curry Chicken and Chips

Curry chicken and chips!  One of my favorite chip shop staples.  This is a comfort food that I crave in the winter so I set out to create my own version of it.  A perfect mix of sweet and savory.  It is loosely base on my memory of the curry chicken and chips from Chip Shop in Brooklyn. 

2 tsp veg oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 TBSP curry powder
2 tsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 apple cut up
1 TBSP brown sugar
1/4 cup tomatoes
1 chicken breast chopped up

Heat oil over medium heat and add onion.  Saute for 2 minutes and chicken.  Brown chicken and add garlic, tomatoes and apples.  Saute for 30 seconds and stir in curry powder, salt and flour.  Add water and brown sugar and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 - 20 minutes. 
Serve over your favorite french fries.  I really love seasoned curly fries so that's what I usually go with.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli in White Wine over Penne

I have had variations of this dish over the years but I had never tried to make it myself until last summer.  It was after a trip to Paris to hang out with a friend of mine.  I didn't actually have this anywhere but we happened to wander past a restaurant with the smell of wine and butter wafting out and I was immediately transported to this dish.  I tried to search for a recipe that could replicate what I was craving but couldn't find one.  Maybe I was searching for the wrong terms but it led me to work it out on my own.

1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
2-3 cups Broccoli spears
1 Chicken breast cup up
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter (maybe a little more)
Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
Penne Pasta (a little more than 1 cup dry)

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat Olive oil over medium heat and add onions.  Saute for 2 minutes and add chicken.  Brown the chicken and add the garlic and broccoli.  Add chicken stock and wine and cover.  After 2 minutes reduce the heat to low.
Cook pasta until al dente and drain water.
When the broccoli can be pierced with a fork add butter and pasta and toss.
Serve with grated parmigiano and a squeeze of lemon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Salmon, Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Salmon fillets
2 TBSP Vegetable oil

2 cups Brussels Spouts
1/2 apple chopped
1/4 cup Pancetta diced
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Olive oil 

2 cups Sweet Potatoes chopped
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP honey
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Coat salmon fillets with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sear over high heat for a few minutes on both sides.

Brussels Spouts:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Cut stems off brussels sprouts and cut them in half.  Remove and discard the loose leaves.  Coat with olive oil, mix in pancetta, apples and brown sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  Place in roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes or until the edges of the brussels spouts are nice and crispy. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
Cube the sweet potatoes and boil in salted water until soft.  Drain the water and place back in the pot.  Add the butter, honey and cayenne pepper and puree with an immersion blender or a fork if you like it chunkier.  Salt to taste. 


Thursday, March 3, 2011


I have been eating a lot of oatmeal lately for breakfast.  It is one of the best things you can eat for breakfast, it's really good and easy to make.  It's also easy to alter the recipe below.  Add whatever you like.  Use different things to sweeten it.  Substitute some milk for some of the water, or all of the water if you want.  I change it up all the time so it doesn't get boring but here is the basic recipe I use.

1/2 cup Oats
1 cup water - OR 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of milk
pinch of salt
1 TBSP brown sugar - OR 1 TBSP of Honey (my preference)
2 TBSP of golden raisins

Heat 1 cup of water over medium heat.  Add a pinch of salt and the oats.  Stir and add the sugar and raisins.  Turn down the heat to low and keep stirring until the oatmeal thickens up a bit.  That's it.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Today I burned myself for the first time since starting the blog.  OUCH!  I even had a mitt on, but it was a little damp and as soon as I grabbed the handle of the pan that was in the oven...sizzle.  Remember, always use DRY cloths and mitts to pick up hot pans.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mexi Soup

This is a hybrid of a tortilla soup and a chili.  It's one of those ultimate comfort foods that warms you up and is full of flavor.  Right now it's one of the favorite things I make.  Perfect for the cold rainy days we are having here in Porto.  The recipe is for 2 - 4, like all my recipes, but easily doubles or triples for more guests!

Sophie wants a taste.

4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro + a little more to garnish
3 garlic gloves minced
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 cup of zucchini cut up into chunks
1 can white beans rinsed
1 can black beans rinsed
1 small can of corn rinsed
1 tsp Sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 jalapeno
1/2 TBSP fish sauce
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 limes  (one juiced and one for serving)
1/2 chicken breast (or more if you want more chicken)
1 TBSP olive oil
Crema (optional)

Start with the chicken stock, water, garlic, 1/2 the cilantro (1 cup), onion and fish sauce over medium heat.  When that starts to get hot add the salt, pepper, jalapeno, sugar and cumin, and let simmer for a few minutes.
Add the carrots, tomatoes, and corn, and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Add beans, zucchini, and bell pepper.  Cover and let simmer for another 20 minutes.  Stir in lime juice and the other half (1 cup) of cilantro.
Cut up chicken into strips and mix with 1 TBSP of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Saute the chicken strips and use to top the soup.
Top with a bit of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.  You can also top with a little crema if you want.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I finally found some Sriracha in an Asian food market so you can bet this will be in some up coming recipes!  In case you don't know it's a spicy and sweet Thai chili pepper sauce.  It's powerful so you don't need much, but it's not all about the heat.   It's also really tasty. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thai Green Curry

Thai food is something that does not exist at all in Porto (at least I haven't found it).  That's a real bummer for me because I love it and it used to be so easy to get when we lived in Brooklyn.  There were at least 5 Thai places in our old neighborhood.  This recipe is actually pretty easy to make.  It's basically curry paste, coconut milk and what ever else you want to through in there.  The fish sauce and sugar add a lot of depth to the flavors so you should really make an effort to include them.  Green curry sauce can be found at most supermarkets and I even read somewhere that people in Thailand use pre-made curry sauce so don't feel like your cheating.

2 TBSP green curry paste
1 Can coconut milk
1/2 onion chopped
1 cup potatoes chopped
1 carrot chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper chopped
1 chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
2 tsp Olive oil
1/4 cup Fresh cilantro chopped plus a little more set aside
1 Lime
1/2 TBSP Fish sauce
1 TBSP brown sugar
Jasmine rice Cooked as normal

Over medium heat, stir fry curry paste in 2 tsp of olive oil for 30 seconds and add onions.  Continue to cook for another 30 seconds constantly stirring and add potatoes and carrots.
Pour in coconut milk and stir. 
Add fish sauce and brown sugar and stir.
Cook for 2 minutes and add the chicken and red bell peppers.  Stir and cover.
Turn the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.
Stir in 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro and serve over rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zucchini and bismatti rice

This is a quick and easy vegetarian meal that I make when I don't feel like cooking.  Zucchini is something that they almost always have at the market here so you may end up seeing it quite often on the blog.

1 Medium zucchini cut into rounds then quartered
5-6 grape tomatoes quartered
2 Garlic cloves minced
1/2 Red onion
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
Bismatti Rice

Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan and toss in the onions.  Keep the onions moving around the pan and when they start to become a little translucent add the zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic to the pan.  Toss every couple minutes so nothing burns.  After about 5 minutes add the butter and toss to coat everything.  Season with salt and pepper.  The vegetables are done when you can easily pierce them with a fork.
Rinse the rice for about a minute and place in a medium size pot with water (It's 1 cup rice and 1-1/3 cups of water for the rice I use but check your bag of rice for it's directions).  Boil the water and rice and as soon as it begins boiling stir, cover and reduce heat to low.  When the rice is done cooking fluff with a fork.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pork chops and Broccoli

This broccoli was inspired by my favorite broccoli at Ki Sushi in Brooklyn.  I'm not really sure what they do to it but this is my nearest approximation of it.  Sometimes I will toast some pine nuts and throw those in with the broccoli too.

2 Pork chops about 1 inch thick
1 head of broccoli
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP of butter
2 Garlic cloves minced
Olive oil

In a large steamer pot fill with 1-2 inches of water, keeping the water level below the steamer basket.  Turn the heat on high and salt the water.  Cut your broccoli up into smaller florets and place in the steamer basket.  Steam the broccoli with the lid on until you can pierce the florets with a fork, taking care not to overcook the broccoli.  The broccoli should still be a little firm.  Transfer the broccoli to a mixing bowl with the chicken stock, butter and minced garlic and toss to coat everything.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pork Chops:
Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and season them with salt and pepper.
Heat a pan on high with 2-3 TBSPs of olive oil.  When the oil starts to smoke add the pork chops.  Pan fry for about 4 minutes per side.  Make sure you turn on your stove vent because this can get a little smokey.  It also helps to use a splatter shield over your pan to catch the oil.

Ki Sushi
122 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mexi chicken and black beans

This is sort of a combination of a few different food loves of mine.  One being Mexican food and the other being Puerto Rican and Cuban food.  The beans have a little sweetness to them which perfectly compliments the zest of the chicken.  It's one of my favorite things to make and the apartment smells amazing while it's cooking!  Just as a heads up, this one does take a little bit of planning.

1 can of black beans
2 TBSP of cilantro minced
2 TBSP of onion minced
1/4 cup of red pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 TBSP of brown sugar

2 chicken breasts
1/2 onion minced
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp white vinegar
1 Lime (Juiced)
1 TBSP cumin

Bismatti Rice
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro chopped
Creme Fresh

This is the planning ahead part - 
Chop up the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a tupperware container with all the other ingredients for the chicken listed above.  Mix it all up and let this marinate for at least 1 hour before cooking (I usually marinate the chicken for 2 hours).
When it comes time to get cooking, start with the beans (they should simmer for at least and hour so maybe start these while your chicken is marinating).  Place all the ingredients for the beans in a pot over a low heat.  Stir everything together and put the lid on to hold in all moisture.
Rinse the rice for about a minute and place in a medium size pot with water (1 cup rice and 1-1/3 cups of water is what I use for the rice I have but your rice may be different).  Boil the water and rice and as soon as it begins boiling stir, cover and reduce heat to low.  When the rice is done cooking stir in 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro. 
Heat a sauté pan and sauté the chicken over medium heat.  Since they are chopped into bit size pieces it doesn't take long.
Plate everything and top with creme fresh and a squirt of lime.

Monday, February 7, 2011


So, sometimes I am even lazier than normal.  But not too lazy to jazz up a 99cent ramen packet. 

Ramen noodles with seasoning packet of your choice (i went with chili lime)
1/2 cup frozen veggie mix
1tsp fish sauce
Fresh cilantro

Use as much water as you normally would for the Ramen and stir in frozen veggies over a medium heat.  Stir in the seasoning packet and fish sauce.  Let boil for a few minutes and add the ramen noddles.  Cook until the noodles are soft and serve in a bowl topped with a little fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pan Fried Pork Chops with Apple Compote

Pork Chops are cheap and easy but for some reason they were something that I didn't bother trying to cook until recently.  I love all things pork so I figured I would give them a try.  I made a little apple compote with some pancetta to top the chops and finished out the plate with bismatti rice and zucchini. 

Pork chops about 1 inch thick
1/2 apple chopped up
1/4 onion diced
1/4 cup pancetta chopped in small pieces
1/2 Cup grape tomatoes halved
1 medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces
2 Garlic cloves minced
Bismatti rice
Olive Oil

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a small pot heat a little olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and pancetta.  After a few minutes add the apples, stir, reduce the heat to low and cover.
Rinse the rice for about a minute and place in a medium size pot with water (1 cup rice and 1-1/3 cups of water).  Boil the water and rice and as soon as it begins boiling stir, cover and reduce heat to low.
Heat a pan on high with 2-3 TBSPs of olive oil.  When the oil starts to smoke add the pork chops.  Pan fry for about 4 minutes per side.  Make sure you turn on your stove vent because this can get a little smokey.  It also helps to use a splatter shield over your pan to catch the oil.
Put the zucchini, tomatoes and garlic in a bowl and mix together with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything and season with salt and pepper.  Heat another sauté pan on medium-high heat and add the zucchini and tomato mix.  Sauté for a few minutes, add 1 TBSP of butter and continue to sauté until the zucchini is easily pierced with a fork. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Variation

Here is a variation on the potato, string bean, chicken that I posted earlier. 

Hand full of String Beans
1 Chicken Breast cut into bite size chunks
2 cups of New Potatoes quartered
1/2 cup Grape Tomatoes
1/4 Onion chopped
2 cloves of Garlic minced
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Olive oil

Mashed Potatoes:  Boil a pot of water large enough for the potatoes.  Salt the water and add the potatoes.  Let them cook until they are fully cooked and soft.  Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Add 1 TBSP of butter, 1 TBSP of milk and 1 TBSP of chicken stock and mash your potatoes.  Add more milk, chicken stock, and butter until you get the consistency you want and add salt and pepper to taste.
Mash potato topping:  In a small pot heat a little olive oil over medium heat and toss in the onion. Stir and cook for 1 minute and add the garlic and tomatoes and let simmer on low heat.  After a few minutes add 1 TBSP of butter stir and cover pot.
Chicken:  Coat the chicken with about 1 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper.  Heat a pan on high.  Toss in the chicken and brown on all sides.
String Beans:  Boil a pot of water large enough for your string beans to have room to cook.  Salt the water and throw the beans in there for 3 minutes.  After the 3 minutes strain them and place in a bowl with a lump of butter and salt and pepper to taste.
When everything is finished plate and enjoy!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Infused Water

On a recent trip to Paris we stopped in at this amazing design shop called Merci.  They have all sorts of well designed things from furniture to vintage clothing to cups and light bulbs.  And, all the profits go to charity which is pretty amazing.  The front of the shop is a really great used book store and cafe.  You can always use a refreshing glass of water and infusing it with a sprig of mint leaves is such a nice touch.  I'm always a fan.

Fantastic Water Infusions To Try:

111 Boulevard Beaumarchais

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pancakes at Fiore

I was thinking about breakfast on this Sunday morning and thought I would post a pic of my favorite pancakes.  Banana and strawberry with ricotta cream topping and lemon zest.  The lemon zest is such a great addition this stack of already great pancakes.  They're just awesome! 

UPDATE: As of my last visit they no longer had these on the menu...super sad face...

284 Grand Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Friday, January 28, 2011

Soup and Roasted Cauliflower

This dish started out with good intentions but didn't turn out so well.  While shopping in the big supermarket across the river I came upon a box mix for Mulligatawny soup so I figured I'd give it a try.  Big mistake.  I love a good Mulligatawny and everyone makes it differently but I really should have know that out of a box was never going to work.  Following the instructions on the box it was thin and nearly flavorless.  I just started adding things to try to give it some life but it never really came together the way I wanted it to.  Next time I'll have to just start from scratch. 
The roasted cauliflower on the other hand came out perfectly.  

1 head of cauliflower
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Chop up the cauliflower into smaller pieces.  In a bowl mix together the cauliflower with enough olive oil to lightly coat the pieces and salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a baking dish and put on the top rack of your oven until fork tender (about 30 minutes).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken, Potatoes, String Beans

I usually go to the market and just pick up whatever veggie look good and base the meal on that.  This night I found some really good looking string beans and I already had some potatoes at home.  I figured a little roasted chicken would work nicely to finish it out.

2 cups of new potatoes cut into bite size peices
2 chicken breasts
Hand full of green beans with the stems snapped off
1/4 cup pancetta diced
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix together the potatoes, pancetta and a little olive oil together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.   Transfer to a baking dish and pop it in the oven (20-30 minutes).  
Bring pot of water to boil for the string beans.  
While you are waiting for your water to boil, rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme.  Heat up a frying pan on high and sear both sides of the chicken breasts.  Transfer the pan to the oven to finish the cooking (it doesn't take long).  
About 4 minutes before the potatoes and the chicken are done in the oven, cook the string beans.  Your water should be boiling at this point.  Salt the water and throw the beans in there for 3 minutes.  After the 3 minutes strain them and place in a bowl with a lump of butter and salt and pepper to taste.  
Pull the chicken and potatoes out of the oven and plate everything. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pasta Time

My first post is something that is a super easy meal that is both comforting and fresh.  Like Mark Bittman said "I'm lazy, I'm rushed, and I'm not all that skillful" so in that spirit I like to keep thing simple.  This only has a few ingredients that are readily available at any supermarket (even here in Portugal).  Of course like most of the things I make there is plenty of room for free styling and alteration.

Penne with fresh tomatos and basil


Penne Pasta (of course you could use any pasta you like)
1 Can of diced tomatoes (i like to get them with garlic if I can)
1 Cup of grape tomatoes cut into quarters
1/2 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic diced
Oil oil
bunch of fresh basil cup up
1/2 tsp sea salt
dash of pepper
dash of red pepper flakes (depending how spicy you like it)
Ricotta cheese

Over medium heat, heat up about a TBSP of olive oil in a pan and add the onions.   After about a minute or so toss in the garlic.  Wait about 30 seconds and add the canned tomato and fresh tomato.  Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir it all together.  As soon as it starts to bubble cover and reduce the heat to low.
Boil some water for the pasta.  Throw in a little sea salt and your pasta.  Don't over cook the pasta!  Huge pet peeve of mine.
Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce and fresh basil.
Plate it up and add a dollop of ricotta and a leaf of basil on top.