Week of September 1, 2014

­Oh my goodness, it’s already September! Almost time to get out the autumn recipes… But not quite yet! You’ll see that the spirit of this week’s menu is still quite summery: tangy, spicy, and sour flavors.


Monday – Spicy lime chicken


Photo cred: All Recipes

I recently discovered this amazingly tasty, just-spicy-enough, incredibly easy (and FAST!) chicken breast recipe. The spices make a nice crust over the breasts while they cook, which locks in the juices so the meat doesn’t get dry. JW commented that this was “one of his favorite recipes I’d ever made”. Wow.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com.

Ingredients
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Olive oil
2 limes, quartered

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, mix together all the spices. Sprinkle generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. Serve with lime wedges and squeeze juice over the chicken. Serve over couscous or with steamed vegetables.


Tuesday – Teriyaki salmon with sautéed bok-choy


For a long time, bok-choy seemed to me to be essentially just spinach: slightly more exotic-sounding, but just as wet and soggy when cooked. Honestly, I didn’t care much for it — before I met JW. He has a way of sautéing it just so, leaving it crisp and fresh-tasting and just the perfect amount of salty. Now, I can’t get enough of it. With teriyaki salmon, it’s a delicious Asian-inspired meal.

Ingredients
1/2 teriyaki sauce
2 salmon filets
4 heads of bok-choy
Olive oil
3-4 tbsps soy sauce

Instructions
1. Cut several slits into the salmon. Place the filets in a Ziplock bag with the teriyaki sauce and let marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
2. Cook the salmon in a preheated oven set to broil for 10-15 minutes. Pour some of the marinade over the filets several times while cooking.
3. Just before the salmon is done, heat the olive oil in a large wok. Throw in the bok-choy; it will start to crackle. Fry for about 1 minute, then drizzle with soy sauce. Fry for about 1 more minute. Leaves should be only slightly wilted. Serve with the salmon.


Wednesday – Hmong beef stir fry


Photo cred: Blue Kitchen

This was one of the first recipes I ever made when I moved into my first apartment all by myself. It quickly became a favorite – the tang of the fish sauce, the bite of the jalapeños, and oh so much cilantro! I recently discovered not everyone likes cilantro, though – you may want to omit it.

Taken almost verbatim from Blue Kitchen.

Ingredients
Canola oil for frying
3/4 pound flank steak or other lean beef
2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced (reduce to 1 if you want less of a kick)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon each, cumin and dried thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 medium cabbage, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 green onions, green and white parts, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over a medium-high flame. Add oil. When it starts to shimmer, add meat, peppers, fish sauce, salt, cumin and thyme. Toss to combine and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add cabbage and green onions and stir fry for 2 to 3 minutes more.

2. Add cilantro, black pepper and tomatoes cook until tomatoes are just heated through and have released their juices. Serve over rice or Chinese noodles.


Thursday – Arugula salad with roasted beets & squash


Photo cred: Bare Beauty

A few months ago I bought a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. Typically, I’m not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s attitude towards food – she has a TON of restrictions that I simply can’t believe (“Everyone in my family is intolerant to gluten, cow dairy and chicken eggs”) – and extreme recommendations for losing weight (a glass of room temperature lemon water for breakfast, a kale smoothie for lunch, and watercress broth for dinner – omg!).  Nonetheless I tried about a dozen recipes from her book, and generally they were quite good. This salad takes the cake – the dressing is to die for.

Ingredients

Salad
2 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 cups)
6 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
6 oz. arugula
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Dressing
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Combine beets, squash, and shallots on the prepared pan and drizzle them with 3 tablespoons olive oil.  Sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt and roast, stirring halfway through, until cooked through and nicely caramelized, 30-35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, and maple syrup while slowly drizzling in the olive oil.  Season to taste.
3. Place the arugula in a large bowl. When the roasted vegetables are ready, toss them with the arugula and the dressing. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds, and serve immediately. For a heartier meal, add some roasted chicken strips. If you want to keep it veggie, add a scoop of quinoa instead – it will soak up all the delicious dressing.


Friday – Shrimp risotto

I honestly can’t remember where I found this recipe, but it’s been in my “Favorites” folder for years. The only down-side is that it’s a little long to make – it takes nearly an hour for the rice to absorb all the broth – and you can’t go too far, because the risotto needs to be stirred regularly. But personally, I think it’s the ideal recipe for a Friday night, especially if you have a cooking partner: put on some jazzy music, open a bottle of wine, and sit in the kitchen chatting away about your week while the risotto simmers on the stove.

Ingredients
5 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
6 tbsps butter
2 tsps minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto) or medium-grain white rice
2 tbsps plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired

Instructions
1. Bring broth and 1/4 cup wine to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat; keep hot.
2. Melt 2 tbsps butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and crushed red pepper, then shrimp. Sauté until shrimp begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine. Simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.
3. Melt remaining 4 tbsps butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and remaining garlic; sauté until onion is pale golden, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth mixture.
4. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth mixture 1 cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Cook until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes longer. If desired, add parmigiano reggiano cheese and stir until melted and creamy.
5. Remove from heat. Stir shrimp and 2 tbsps parsley into risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls. Sprinkle with 2 tsps parsley.

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