I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Laid-Back Dinner Party

I love having people over for dinner. It is such a relaxing way to enjoy one anothers' company and a great excuse to try out some recipes that are too big for just Joe and I. We have recently had some of our old college friends move to town and I figured it would be the perfect excuse to celebrate. I wanted to have some good food, but I didn't want it too be too intense or overwhelming because I really wanted us to just be able to feel relaxed and not like we had to be prim or proper (not that any of us really would be--or are). So I fell back on an old stand-by for an appetizer: buffalo chicken dip. So easy and so delicious. Then I decided to try out a new recipe I came up with for a White Pizza--which was a risky move with people coming over, but ended up a complete success. Then I had to try out the McGuires's Soda Bread pudding recipe that my friend Beth gave to me. It's intimidated me for a while now, but was actually pretty easy (especially since I made the bread a few days before and didn't have to do it before or during the party). It was a great meal and a truly great evening.


Buffalo Chicken Dip
(from multiple sources)
2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce, such as Franks® Red Hot®
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
(I use more hot sauce and cheddar cheese than called for)
Combine all ingredients until well blended. Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or celery sticks.

White Pizza
1 TB Olive oil
1 t. Italian Seasoning
Sauce:
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 t. garlic salt
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. cooked spinach
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. sliced mushrooms
1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast, cooked and cubed

To make the sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add cream and garlic salt and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until thickens, about 8 minutes. Add the parmesan cheese and stir. Remove from heat and use as sauce on dough.
Roll out pizza dough onto a baking sheet. Spread with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Top crust with desired amount of alfredo sauce. Drop on spinach, then top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle pizza with mushrooms and chicken cubes. Bake in 500 degree oven until crust is browned and cheese is bubbly, about 12-15 minutes.

McGuires' Soda Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce

Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for kneading
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tblsp. melted unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
Stir slightly cooled, melted butter into the buttermilk. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients until a dough forms and comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently for a few mins. Sprinkle some flour evenly over a baking sheet. Place the dough on the sheet and form it into a round cake shape about 9” in diameter. Cut an X into the top (this is very important - it keeps the dough from splitting when it bakes!) Bake until the bread is lightly browned, about 30 - 40 mins. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Pudding
1 loaf Irish Soda Bread
4 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tblsps. pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
3 tblsps. melted, unsalted butter
Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey (we used Jack Daniels instead because that is the whiskey of choice in our house)
Tear the soda bread into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Pour the milk over the bread and allow it to soak until the milk has been completely absorbed (about 30 mins). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Beat well.
Fold in the egg mixture thoroughly into the soaked bread. Stir in the raisins.
Grease a 9” x 13” baking pan with the melted butter. Pour the bread mixture, spreading it evenly. Bake until the pudding is brown and firm, about 30 mins.
While pudding is baking, make the sauce. Combine the sugar, butter, and cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 mins. Stir in the whiskey and cook until some of the alcohol has cooked off, about 4 mins. Remove from heat. Serve warm with sauce poured over top of each portion.

The Delta Grill

We try to see a lot of theatre and Joe works by Times Square, so we spend a lot of time near this tourist packed, bright, crazy part of town. To be honest, I will avoid Times Square at all costs unless absolutely necessary, but I will stay even farther away from most of the restaurants in this area. I have no desire to spend way too much money for bad food, bad service, and a loud, packed restaurant with no personality. So anytime we are near the area and need something to eat, we generally head over to 9th Ave. and Hell's Kitchen.
Multiple times I have walked by The Delta Grill and have always been drawn to eat and eager to try it out. Finally last night we got the opportunity. The Delta Grill (www.thedeltagrill.com) has Louisiana style cooking and an interior that makes you feel as if you are dining on a New Orleans street corner (at least it seemed like it could be--this coming from a girl who has yet to visit Louisiana, but imagines this is what it would feel like).
We started off with a couple of beers (because wine just doesn't feel quite right in here somehow) and the Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer. The tomatoes are fried in slices, stacked up, and then topped off with an amazing black pepper cream sauce with diced chicken and shitake mushrooms. I love fried green tomatoes and these were some of the best that I have had, and the sauce really made the dish even better.
For our main courses Joe decided on the Chicken Fried Steak (sorry for the blurry pic). The gravy for the chicken fried steak was creamy with great flavor and the portion was huge. I went with the Blackened Yellowfin Tuna served with a cheese grits cake (yum!) and portabella mushrooms in a pernod sauce.

We had to pull ourselves away before dessert because we were so full, but it was one of those almost impossible things to do. How can you turn away from Sweet Potato Pecan Pie or Bananas Foster? Next time (because I can't wait to go back) I will definitely save some room.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Coconut Rice, and Carving Pumkins

Last night we were able to do something incredibly rare in our house: cook dinner together. I work a lot of evening shifts and when I'm not Joe typically gets home later so I will cook so we can eat as soon as he gets home. But last night I was off and Joe got off of work early, so we could spend the whole evening hanging out.
As soon as he got home, we popped open a bottle of wine (an amazing Chateauneuf du Pape from Domaine des Senechaux) and nibbled on some appetizers while preparing chicken lettuce wraps, coconut rice, and steaming some frozen shu mai from Trader Joe's. It was great being able to really enjoy one another and take our time preparing dinner. I think food always tastes better when you make it together, too.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 lb. boneless chicken breast, chopped into small cubes
1 c. chopped cabbage
1 c. sliced mushrooms
4-5 green onions, chopped
2 TB cooking oil
1 t. sesame oil

Sauce:
2 TB peanut butter
1 TB coconut milk
1 TB oyster and shrimp sauce (or any spicy/sweet sauce)
4 TB soy sauce
1 t. season salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. pepper
2 TB hot sauce
2 TB vegetable oil

Mix together all ingredients for sauce and set aside. Heat 2 TB cooking oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until mostly cooked through (about 4 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook for about 1 minute, then add cabbage and green onions. Cook until vegetables are ready, about 5 more minutes. Add sauce mixture and cook for another 3-4 minutes. This can be served over rice or served wrapped in lettuce leaves.

Coconut Rice
1 1/4 c. coconut milk
1 1/4 c. instant rice
Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add rice, stir, cover, and turn off heat. Allow to sit 3-4 minutes or until rice is tender.




After cleaning up dinner, we finally carved our first pumpkin together. It's been years since either of us have done this, so I think it turned out pretty well!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkin Bread

I think I may be the last food blogger to make a pumpkin related post this fall. I love how the cool weather has brought out all of these yummy recipes and was excited to jump on the bandwagon. I went with an old standby, pumpkin bread, instead of some of the more creative dishes out there just to get me going (and because I was out of my banana bread to eat for breakfast!). For the recipe I searched around and found one on all recipes that got great reviews and had ingredients that I had in the house. I halved the recipe because I only have one loaf pan and I didn't have time before work to do two batches! This recipe turns out a slightly sweet bread with excellent spices and the pumpkin flavor actually shines through. This recipe is a keeper.

Pumpkin Bread (allrecipes)


1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 (16 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin



In a mixing bowl, dream butter and sugar. Add eggs; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Stir in pumpkin. Pour into two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or until bread tests done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Ugliest Gourmet Contest

While surfing around the foodie blogiverse, I came across a new blog that I love: Not Eating Out in New York. Cathy is a New Yorker who, after several years of eating out all the time (as New Yorkers tend to do), got bored. Through her project she is now able to really enjoy her food and her time spent in the kitchen, and is also able to save some money (and who doesn't want to do that?). I love her blog because it is great to see someone else in the city that actually loves to cook that doesn't do it for a living. In a city where eating out is a massive part of the culture (and a fun part, don't get me wrong), it is refreshing to see someone taking the time to enjoy using all of the ingredients and flavors the city has to offer in their own home.
In her days of eating at home Cathy has realized that often times food cooked at home is not at all pretty, as delicious as it may taste. And therefore she is hosting The Ugliest Gourmet Contest on her blog. She is taking submissions for the ugliest, but tastiest, foods, and then she will prepare the winning entry for Thanksgiving. The info about the contest can be found here: http://noteatingoutinny.com/2007/10/15/the-ugliest-gourmet/. I think it is a great way to celebrate those meals at home that you love so much, but are a little ashamed to post on your blog because they may not be oh-so pretty. I am entering my Blueberry Chipotle Enchiladas: http://chompdown.blogspot.com/2007/06/wc-platinum-chef-challenge-2.html. So be proud of those ugly, tasty dishes! Put them out there, because we all have them and it is time for them to shine!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall in the City

Autumn is finally coming to New York. It is my first fall here in the city and so far I am in love with it. The cool air seems to have pushed out any of the strange smells that linger during the summer and brought with it a refreshing, invigorating scent. It also seems to help awaken the senses out of the summer grogginess and make me feel more alert and aware of everything around me. And my favorite part of all, it brings along the season for soups, hearty meals, and baking! Almost every day while walking in the crisp fall air I have the urge to run home and make some bread or cookies.
This weekend I was heading to a friends house for a house warming party and decided to bring them some banana nut bread alongside with some wine. For some reason it turned out a little more crumbly than usual. I don't know if it was because the bananas were not mushy enough or if I used too much flour, or if the recipe was just a little different than the one I usually use (I used the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, but while growing up I used Betty Crocker's). Either way, it still tasted just as good.

Banana Bread (BH & G)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 c. mashed bananas (3 medium)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8X4X2" loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 t. salt. make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar cooking oil. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; cool on rack. Wrap and store over night before slicing.



Last night I decided I would try my hand at one of my favorite recipes from my mom, her Crazy Quilt Crust Pie. It's a mexican casserole she would make when we were kids and it was one of my favorite dishes. A slightly crispy, very flaky crust filled with sour cream and hamburger, refried beans and cheese, it is hearty and perfect for a cool fall evening. After finishing up with dinner, I had to try out a cookie recipe I found for Cappuccino Crinkles.

Crazy Quilt Crust Pie (from my mom)

(for the Crust)

1/2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 c. shortening

1/2 c. sour cream

(filling)

1/2-3/4 lb ground beef, browned and drained

1/2 package taco seasoning

1/2 c. sour cream

3/4 c. refried beans

3/4 c. crushed tortilla chips

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease and flower bottom and sides of a 9X9 casserole dish. Combine all ingredients for the crust and stir until blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spread batter thinly on the bottom and thickly up the sides of the casserole dish. Spread refried beans for first layer on the dough. Next, mix together the hamburger, sour cream and taco seasoning and spread as the second layer on top of the refried beans. Top with cheese and then with the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 25 minutes.

Cappuccino Crinkles (BH&G)

1/3 c. butter

1 c. packed brown sugar

2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TB instant coffee granules

1 t. baking soda

1 t. ground cinnamon

2 egg whites

1/3 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg whites and yogurt till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by a teaspoon into sugar and roll into balls. Place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Thin Crust Pizza and Steamed Artichokes

If it hasn't already been stated, my husband and I are avid pizza lovers. We will eat it multiple times a week and it won't get old. Last night when I was trying to decide something to make for dinner I wanted something really easy and comforting, since it was a blustery, chilly day. I've made a lot of soup lately and decided that for us, you can't get more comforting than pizza.

I have tried a couple of crusts, but normally we like ones that are thin and crispy, so I hopped onto google and did a search for thin crust doughs. This is one of the first ones that popped up and was super easy and fast (no rising required!), plus it had a lot of great reviews, so I gave it a shot.

I made the dough and spread it into a very rustic (i.e. not very even or pretty) rectangle and placed it onto a cookie sheet lightly covered in olive oil. Then I spread the top of the dough with more olive oil, Italian seasoning, and a little parmesan cheese. Next came a simple homemade tomato sauce (tomato sauce with Italian seasonings and garlic powder), mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, bacon bits and mushrooms. The whole thing was popped into a 500 degree oven for about 14 minutes.

The flavor of the dough was great and the outer edges were nice and perfectly crispy, but the middle was a little too soft for my taste. I think, however, that the next time I try this I will cook it part of the time on the cookie sheet to set the dough and then the remaining time directly on the rack so that the whole crust is just as crispy as the edges.

Here's the dough recipe (from Robbie's Recipe Collection):
.25 oz. pkt. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
3/4 cup 110 degree water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
pizza sauce - of your choice, as needed
shredded cheese - of your choice, as needed
toppings - of your choice, as needed

-Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; allow to rest for 8 minutes.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt.
-Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix well with a heavy spoon.
-Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.
-Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle.
-Place dough on a lightly greased pizza pan and stretch dough to edges.
-Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
-Bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, or until edges are golden.
Notes: To answer the most frequently-asked question I receive about this recipe: No, the dough does not have to rise - if it did, it wouldn't produce a thin crust.


Alongside of the pizza, I decided I was really in the mood for some artichokes (my favorite veggie). To make them, trim the stem of the artichoke close to the base, then cut off the top. Trim all of the outer leaves (cut off the pointy, sharp tips being careful not to stab yourself with them!). Wash thoroughly in water.
Fill a large pan with enough water to almost cover the artichokes then bring to a boil. Place in artichokes, cover and reduce heat and let steam for 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on size of artichoke. When ready the leaves should pull easily from the base.

I like to serve my artichokes with a mixture of butter, lemon juice and garlic powder to dip the leaves in (and make sure to drizzle a bunch over the top of the artichoke and into the leaves to help give a little extra flavor). To eat the artichoke, pull off a leaf and pull through your teeth to pull off the "meat". Once you reach the middle with the "choke" of the artichoke (the hairy part), take a spoon and scoop out this part. What is leftover after the "hair" is removed is the heart, all of which can be eaten (and is the best part!).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Moules Frites

Growing up in small town Kansas I never got much of an opportunity to eat really great seafood. As much as I've enjoyed the small amount of seafood that I've been able to eat, it just isn't nearly as fresh as you can get it on the coasts. Also, growing up in more of a steak and chicken world, I have not learned anything about how to prepare seafood. So I have to admit that when I decided to try out making mussels for the first time I was a little freaked out.

I asked around for some tips and did some research online on the best way to clean and debeard the mussels, which honestly was the scariest part, in my opinion. You are pulling parts off of mussels that are alive and kicking--or at least opening and closing. I kept imagining them biting me. I think I was being a little ridiculous.

Despite my fears, all went fairly well. There was one incident while cleaning the mussels where one moved in my hand and since the shell was broken it felt really strange so I jumped about 2 feet in the air and threw the mussel into the sink, but I quickly came to my senses and calmed down. The cleaning was much easier than I expected. Apparently most of the time when you buy mussels from the store they are cleaned fairly well and some have even already been debearded. So I scrubbed them in running water, patted them dry and threw them into the pot with my other ingredients. They were delicious--really better than any I have had at a restaurant. Very tender and the flavor was really nice and simple. I will probably throw in some more garlic next time I make them, though (but I love me some garlic).

I served the mussels along with some homemade oven fries in my own version of the Belgian moules frites. I cut up potatoes into about 2 1/2"X1/2"X 1/2" pieces and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and season salt. Then I cooked them in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, giving them a good stir every 7-10 minutes.

Mussels in White Wine Sauce
1 package mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 stick (8TB) butter
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 TB shallot, minced
2 medium roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup white wine

Melt butter in a stockpot or extra large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute until slightly browned. Then add tomatoes and cook approximately 2-3 minutes. Add white wine and mussels, stir once, then cover and let steam until mussels open, about 10 minutes. Serve mussels with the liquid for dipping with bread alongside.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chicken Tortilla Soup and Foccacia Bread

I'm so excited for the fall. It means that my kitchen is cooler and I can spend more time in it, plus it brings on the season for hearty, delicious soups. I love this slow cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup that I found on Allrecipes.com and decided it was time to try out a homemade Foccacia Bread for the first time--this recipe also from Allrecipes. I learned that next time I won't make the dough so thin before baking it because I like my foccacia a little thicker, but the flavor was wonderful and paired nicely with the slightly spicy soup.


Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Allrecipes)
1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, sprinkle tortilla strips over soup.

Focaccia Bread
(Allrecipes)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese (I only had about 1/8 c. of mozzarella cheese, but it tasted delicious anyway!).
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Pork with Creamy Curry Sauce and Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp

There are so many days when I have no recipes in mind and just wander around the store or market until something jumps out at me. I've never been very good at weekly menu planning and feel that it is virtually impossible in the city with no car and no little cart to push home a weeks worth of groceries. Sometimes I have a hard time just getting things home for one meal!
This meal is one of those that came from a day of wandering around The massive Whole Foods Market on Houston Street near my work. The shrimp sounded too good to pass up, but since Joe doesn't always love seafood, I needed something to accompany it. When I was looking through the meat counter, the pork cuts were just beautiful and calling my name. And the sauce I served them with was a happy accident: I really wanted something more strongly flavored with curry and just started digging around to see what ingredients I could use for a sauce and luckily I had a small container of heavy whipping cream in the fridge. The sauce was creamy and delicious with the lightly seasoned pork. I rounded out the meal with corn on the cob and a couple of types of cheese for a simple appetizer.


Pork with Creamy Curry Sauce
2 thick cut center cut pork chops (1.29 lbs total is what I used)
2 TB olive oil
1 t. curry powder
1/2 t. season salt
1/4 t. pepper

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle seasonings over the pork, then brown each side of the pork in skillet. Turn down heat to medium and continue to cook until cooked through. Remove pork from pan and allow to sit a few minutes before topping with curry sauce and serving.


Creamy Curry Sauce
1/2 stick butter
1 TB curry powder
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium high heat. Add seasonings and heavy cream and cook until sauce begins to bubble, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue to stir about 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Drizzle over pork chops to serve.


Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
1 lb shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1/3 lb. thinly sliced Prosciutto di parma
salt and pepper
Once shrimp is cleaned, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each with a piece of prosciutto (the fat in the prosciutto causes it to stick to itself so there is no need for toothpicks). Heat a grill pan to medium high heat and grill the shrimp until cooked through, but being careful not to overcook.

Eggplant and Tomato Ratatouille

I have been wanting to cook with the tiny eggplants from the greenmarkets for a long time. But the last time I bought them I let them sit too long and when I pulled them out, to my great disappointment, they had gone bad. This time I bought them with the intention to use them right away. I also picked up some fresh tomatoes and herbs.
One of the other things I love about the greenmarkets is that they will often have recipe sheets set out at the information booth with recipes for the products that are in season. This is where I found this recipe for Eggplant and Tomato Ratatouille. I served it alongside a pork that I seasoned with a Greek Seasoning and pita bread and store bought hummus (hey, a girl can't spend all her time in the kitchen!).

Eggplant and Tomato Ratatouille
(from the Greenmarket recipe series)
3 TB olive oil
2-3 large Cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium eggplant (or more small ones!), about 1 lb, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/2" cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Basil, oregano or other fresh herbs, chopped (optional)
In a medium skillet heat the olive oil and add the garlic. After about 30 seconds add the eggplant and tomato. Cook on high heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh herbs.
Turn the heat to low and cook for another 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the eggplant and tomato blend together, and the eggplant is cooked all the way through the dish is done. Serve warm or room temperature as a meal or an appetizer on bread, pasta or with a fork.

Greek Seasoning
(from RecipeSource)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon beef-flavored bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients; store in an airtight container. Serve with steaks, pork chops, chicken, or fish.Yield: 1/4 cup. Store herb containers in a dark, cool, dry place up to six months. Because heat weakens spice flavors, avoid displaying seasonings on open racks above or near cook tops or ovens. Store seldom-used seasonings in the freezer to maintain freshness.