Archive for May, 2012

May 20, 2012

Spicy Orange Salad

by cillefish

This is awesome: simple, awesome, and summery. And awesome. It’s based on a salad common in Morocco, Spain, and places between.

Sweet oranges give a tang that enhances the spiciness of green onion and chili pepper, and pepitas add a bit of crunch. This is ased on the recipe here, plus some tweaks based on 2 orange salad recipes in the NY Times.

We made this for Mother’s Day along with the gouda-red-onion quesadillas and garlicky black beans.

Ingredients:

  • 5 blood oranges or navel oranges, peeled thoroughly, quartered, and sliced 1/4″ width-wise
  • 2 green onions, chopped up to about 1/4″ or thinner using kitchen scissors (for the white parts, first remove and discard oot nubbin and halve the white part lengthwise)
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red chili pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp etra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c pepitas (uncooked pumpkin seeds) or other toasted nuts such as walnuts
  • 1/4 to 1/2 c dried raisins

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss thoroughly.
  • Cover and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 30min (also delicious the day after).
  • Serve chilled.
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May 20, 2012

Mother’s Day Quesadillas

by cillefish

We made these for Mother’s Day along with the Spicy Orange Salad and Garlicky Black Beans. I like this recipe because it is easy, involves caramelized onions, and has lots of flavor while still being mellow enough to allow for a bolder side dish.

I’m used to Gouda being a mild, smoky, buttery cheese with a texture close to Monterey Jack’s, but for this recipe I used some “1000-day Gouda” from Trader Joe’s, and this stuff was really good — a bit more smoky and tangy, with a texture closer to good Parmesan, but still soft enough to cut easily.

You can use normal oil, but the tortillas will want to soak it up, and in this situation you may want to preheat the oven to 300 and toast the quesadillas up a bit after you make them so the outsides are a bit more crispy than floppy.

To make them all together, start the black beans, then get the onions going. Make the salad and set aside. Finish the onions and tortillas, keeping an eye on the beans. Serve it all.

Dutch Cheese, Barbecue, and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas
Recipe adapted from the <a href=”http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bbq-Onion-and-Smoked-Gouda-Quesadillas-with-Pea-Shoot-Mini-Salad-242488&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bon Appetit recipe here</a>.

Makes: about 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound yellow onions (about 2 large), peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup purchased barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • ~6 ounces coarsely grated smoked Gouda cheese (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups loose) I used about 1 c lowfat “soft dutch” smoked cheese from Trader Joe’s, and about 1/2 c “1000 Day Gouda”
  • ~3oz Parmesan Reggiano, grated (optional)
  • 8 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
  • Atomizer full of oil, or cooking-oil spray

Method:

  • Slice onions and put in nonstick pan with oil in skillet. Saute on med about 10min, or until very soft and brownish (some of them should be completely caramelized). If they are getting black on the edges before then, you have the heat too high. Meanwhile, grate the cheeses
  • Add BBQ sauce, water, and hot sauce. Stir until sauce coats onions. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro now for a milder flavor (or, for a stronger cilantro flavor, wait on the cilantro and add it with the cheese to the individual quesadillas).
  • Bring a large skillet or saucepan to medium heat and spray with oil. Place 1 tortilla on the skillet, top with 1/4 cheese, 1/4 onion mixture, and 1/4 cilantro (if that’s not already in the onions). Focus on 1/3 of the way in, rather than dumping it all in the middle; leave about 1/2″ around edge. Use a spatula to press down. When bottom tortilla develops dark brown toasted spots, turn over. Put on serving plate. Repeat with the other tortillas
  • As the next tortilla is done, use kitchen scissors to cut the previous one into 6. Alternatively, you can make folded-over calzone style half-quesadillas, each using 1/8 of the mix each (results in more tortilla per quesadilla).
  • Serve
May 20, 2012

Black Beans with Garlic, Cumin and Cilantro

by cillefish

I love black beans, but mainly when I cook them, since sometimes other people don’t cook them well enough and they annoy my stomach, and horseradishsauce tells me if they’re cooked incorrectly on too low a heat, the toxin levels in them go nuts and they make you sick. Wikipedia agrees.

So, this recipe requires you to cook the shit out of these so they will be delicious and gentler on your tummy. Adapted (and doubled) from this recipe. We made these for Mother’s Day along with gouda-red-onion quesadillas and spicy orange salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 16-ounce cans black beans
  • 3 1/2 to 4 large garlic cloves, crushed thoroughly and minced, or pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 generous teaspoons ground cumin (I like cumin)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tomato juice or water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Method:

  • Put the beans from the can in a medium saucepan, with about 2 c of their beanwater, plus tomato juice if using. Bring to a boil, stirring about every 4 min to scrape the bottom.
  • Continue to keep beans at a low boil for 1 hours. Keep adding water as necessary.
  • Separately, fry the cumin and garlic in the oil over med-low in a pan until fragrant. Add into the beans.
  • Continue up to 3 hours at the low boil, adding water as necessary, until the beans get to be the mash-y texture of refried beans or slightly softer.
  • Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro and salt, top with extra cheese from the Quesadillas, and serve.
May 12, 2012

Simple Garlic Pasta & Garlic Bread

by cillefish

These are 2 recipes I don’t make together, but they’re similarly tasty and easy, and garlicky.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

Great flavor: sauteing the garlic slowly gives it a perfect balance of sweet and strong with a lot of character and flavor. More subtle and nuanced than you’d expect from the amount of garlic in this thing.

Tips: Good with breadcrumbs on top, but toast these before you start the recipe. Also, you’ll need to add extra oil if you’re using fettuccine or another pasta with a large surface area. It doesn’t hurt to put a cup or measuring cup in the colander as a reminder to collect some of the pasta water before draining the pasta.

Ingredients
(serves 4 people as a main / only course. Half-recipe measurements are in parentheses)

  • Salt
  • 1 lb spaghetti (1/2 lb)
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (4 Tbsp), DIVIDED into 3Tbsp & 3Tbsp (or 2 and 2)
  • 1/4 c cloves garlic, smashed thoroughly and minced – a garlic press is a good call here. 1/4 c is ~ 30 small, 20 med, or 10 large, or 5 extra-large cloves (1/8 c is about 6-8 medium-large cloves). Reserve about 3 garlic cloves, mashed, for the end (2 clove)
  • 3/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (1/4 + 1/8 tsp)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 3 tsp dried (1 1/2 Tbsp fresh or tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (1 tsp)
  • 1/2 c coarsely grated Parmesan Reggiano (I use about the same for the half recipe
  • Optional addition: 1-3 roasted red peppers, minced fine using kitchen scissors

Method:

  1. Mince the garlic before starting this.
  2. Heat small, heavy-bottomed nonstick saucepan over low heat.
  3. On another burner, put over high heat to bring to a boil: 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp oil, and water per pasta package directions. Pasta will be done right after or partway through the other ingredients, so keep an eye on it. If it’s done before, drain and toss every 5 min to prevent it from sticking. Let the cooking pot cool mostly.
  4. Meanwhile, in the saucepan, combine half the oil (3 or 2 Tbsp), all the garlic except the clove or 2 reserved, 1/4 tsp salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 8-12 minutes until the garlic gets very sticky and looks the color of straw. It may foam. Remove from heat.
  5. Add in and combine thoroughly: the red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, remaining garlic, roasted pepper (if using), and 2 Tbsp pasta cooking water. Add a little extra oil if it wants to stick.
  6. In cooking pot or heated serving bowl, thoroughly toss noodles and other stuff, and divide into dishes for serving. Top with Parm and / or breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.

Garlic Bread

This recipe is for a half a loaf of french bread – double it for a whole loaf
Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise (I use the olive oil mayonnaise for this, as the texture and flavor are much lighter and complement the seasonings well)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp garlic, crushed in garlic press (about 1 medium clove)
  • 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp dried parsley or Italian seasoning
  • Pepper (optional – I don’t add this)
  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1/2 loaf french or sourdough bread, sliced lengthwise.
  • foil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 475° F.
  2. Cream mayo and butter in a cup or small bowl. Add olive oil as necessary to get it to a texture slightly damper than cake frosting. Add spice & garlic.
  3. Butter the bread thoroughly with the mixture, making sure to get the edges. sprinkle with Parm, focusing mainly on middle. Sprinkle with pepper.
  4. Put bread, butter-up on cookie sheet and bake 8-12 min, until cheese looks melted and edges of bread just turned a toasty brown but are not overdone.
  5. Let cool 3-5 min, then slice while it’s still pretty hot.
  6. Serve hot.