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Archive for January, 2012

Happy Sunday friends. It’s a lazy day here. But I did get to cook a little bit!

Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper. What does that equal? A super simple and delicious tomato sauce. Heat olive oil and butter. Brown some garlic, add a can of tomatoes. Simmer, crush, season, done. That’s it.

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add can of tomatoes and let cook for around 8 minutes. Using a fork or other utensil, crush the tomatoes and let cook down for another 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste

A few other things: Feel free to use crushed tomatoes, but I like using the whole ones; crushing them is fun! I also added around a teaspoon of red pepper flakes because I like everything spicy!

This sauce can really be turned into anything you like: add more garlic, add some fresh herbs, add cream, whatever your little heart desires.

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at the moment

time: 5:15 p.m.
location: my desk at work
weather: cold, 36 degrees. and it plans on snowing later
eating: nothing. too full from department lunch at Mourayo
drinking: water
loving: Fridays; everyone is always happier
wondering: if it really will snow tonight
enjoying: the fact that I have dinner with a few of my best friends later at Rustico
accomplishing: a blog entry. there’s no work left to do today
thinking: about having a lovely weekend. and why I am still at the office at this ungodly hour on a Friday

Bye friends!!

inspired by Tina at lifelovepaper; i love her currents entries, along with the rest of her blog. I like this because then I have something to say when not much is happening at the moment.

20120120-174423.jpg

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To go along with our coconut shrimp appetizer last weekend, we decided to attempt a seafood risotto. I love making risottos, and this risotto turned out great. I love how creamy it gets, with no cream or cheese or anything; it’s like magic! It was still delicious left over as well: more flavor and creaminess.

We used shrimp and bay scallops, both frozen, but you could use any type of seafood you like: scallops, clams, lobster, squid. And a squeeze of lemon right on top is necessary.

Seafood Risotto

About an hour, serves 4-6

  • 6 cups seafood stock
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots or onion (I used shallots and yellow onion)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 14 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb peeled raw shrimp
  • 3/4 lb bay scallops
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested

Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep warm on stovetop. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and saute shallots until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the rice and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the can of stewed tomatoes and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add Italian seasoning and stir to combine.

Add the heated stock about 1/2 cup at a time and left absorb into the rice; keep the rice moving so it doesn’t burn or stick. Continue to add stock until the rice is tender: taste testing is necessary! This will probably take around 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining olive oil in another pan and add shrimp, scallops and garlic. Cook together until opaque. Mix seafood and lemon zest into the rice. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Adapted from Epicurious

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Happy Wine Wednesday friends! This is a little later than my usual Wine Wednesday posts, but I’ve had a busy day of work and gym time (need to get serious about training for my upcoming half marathon).

Today’s pick is a delicious Viognier from Tarara Winery in Leesburg, VA. Gotta love those Virginia wines! I’ve actually been to Tarara before, and it was a great experience. If you need a good winery to visit this weekend, it’s a winner.

Anyways, once a month I get together with a group of girls to play bunco! We eat, drink and roll some dice. Before heading over to Jessie’s apartment, I went with Lauren and Elizabeth to Veritas Wine Bar across the street from the office. Their happy hour is 20% off any bottle, so we chose the 2010 Tarara Winery Viognier.

It was a great bottle and so nice and cold. (And 20% doesn’t hurt either)

Since we had some time to kill before bunco night, we ordered a cheese and charcuterie plate. Two choices of meat and three cheeses, along with some crackers, mustard and cornichons. We had sopressata and prosciutto, along with a few cheese whose names I forget. The marbled one there are the bottom was marbled in Guinness!

It was a nice snack, especially with the wine, but clearly we needed a little more sustenance to get us through the night. Thankfully, Jessie had lots of delightful treats for us at her house!

Delicious mac and cheese bites, ham and swiss biscuits, cupcakes, and multiple bottles of wine. After filling ourselves with yummy treats, we let the dice rolling begin. Bunco might sound like an old ladies game, but let me tell you, we always have a blast!

Enjoy a glass of wine and get your dice on! Cheers!

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Savory & sweet. Crispy & delicious. That pretty much sums up this coconut shrimp. While I was in Charlottesville this weekend, we did a ton of cooking as always. While Cainon was in the Virgin Islands for part of his holiday he had coconut shrimp and raved about how good it was.

Thus, cooking adventure #1 for the weekend: make coconut shrimp. We ended up using a spicier jerk seasoning in the flour mixture and sweetened coconut for a sweet and spicy nice balance. We both stood at the stove coating the shrimp, frying, and eating. They were just too delicious to wait!

Coconut Shrimp

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp Caribbean jerk seasoning
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • 3/4 cup coconut (I used sweetened, but feel free to use unsweetened)
  • Canola oil for frying

Heat about an inch of oil and a deep frying pan. I kept my oil around medium heat on the burner. Mix flour and jerk seasoning together on a small plate. Crack and scramble eggs in another bowl or deep plate. Mix bread crumbs and coconut together on a third plate.

Coat each shrimp and flour, egg and then crumb and coconut mixture; be sure to press the coconut onto the shrimp to make sure it sticks! Drop the shrimp into the oil and cook until golden. It should only take 2-3 minutes on both sides. Make sure not to crowd the pan or the oil temp will go down and they won’t crisp up as nicely. Enjoy!

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chicken stroganoff

Happy Friday the 13th friends! Yesterday for lunch (and then for dinner as leftovers), I made chicken stroganoff. I got this recipe inspiration simply from the fact that I absolutely loooove beef stroganoff: the classic stuff with sour cream and egg noodles. It seriously is just so comforting and delicious. When I make beef stroganoff, I sometimes ending up using some ground turkey to lighten it up a bit. But this time I decided to go even “healthier” with chicken and yogurt to replace the sour cream.

If I were to make this again, I think I would have to go with the sour cream. The yogurt just didn’t add the same creaminess and tang that sour cream does. I did enjoy the fact that there were lots of vegetables in this dish, with the addition of onions and green pepper, when I would traditionally would just use mushrooms.

Chicken Stroganoff

Time: about an hour, serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and saute onions until tender. Add green pepper, mushrooms, 1/a tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and continue cooking until mushrooms release their liquid. Remove veggies and place in a colander; reserving the liquid in a bowl underneath.

Return pan to heat and add the other tbsp of olive oil. Season the chicken with the remaining salt and pepper. Cook the chicken in batches until cooked through. Remove from pan and add to the vegetable bowl.

Turn burner on high and add wine, chicken broth, and the reserved vegetable liquid to the pan to deglaze. Make sure to scrape all of the good bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and whisk in the BBQ sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and hot sauce. Let reduce by about half. Reduce heat and whisk in yogurt or sour cream making sure to not let it boil. Return vegetables and chicken to the pan to heat through. Serve over rice or pasta.

Adapted from Real Simple.

For those that have MLK Day off, I was doing a little reading into the holiday, and learned that it’s a Day of Service.  Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?’ ”

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that all of our holidays actually have meaning. Monday should provide a chance to make a change, however big or small. For some ideas on how to make a change visit the MLK Day site.

Have a safe and wonderful weekend!

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Welcome to Wine Wednesday friends! Halfway done wit the work week. With all of my recent trips and the holidays, this is my first full week of work innnn forever. And I am of course looking forward to the three day weekend coming up! I will be making the trip down to Charlottesville for the weekend. Can’t wait to cook and perhaps go to a yummy restaurant or two.

Today’s pick for wine Wednesday is a red: Bricco dei Tati Barbera 2009.

I picked it up at Whole Foods last night while getting a few ingredients for a simple Italian meal I plan on making. This wine choice was pretty random. I wanted an Italian wine and at first picked out a Chianti, but then decided to go for this. It was on sale and something that I hadn’t had before. Barbera is an Italian grape variety and produces fruity wines.

This wine was pretty great. Easy to drink and has low tannins, so no super-dry feeling left in your mouth if that’s not your thing. I generally like pretty dry wines, so normally I would choose a different variety than this. The change was nice. What are you drinking tonight?

Cheers!

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