Recipe roundup

Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata from Cooking Light.  Bitter-sweet wafers of lemon sliced thin and caramelized, briny capers, halved cloves of garlic, and finely diced shallots on top of chicken breasts in an easy, tangy, buttery sauce.  One pan and practically no time at all.  We had this over couscous and it was magnificent.

Braised Chicken in Sun-Dried Tomato Cream from Bon Appétit.  Like the Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata, this is another wildly flavorful one-pan weeknight chicken dinner.  This time the chicken breasts are cooked in the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and then smothered in a creamy sauce gull of garlic, more tomatoes, and fresh basil.  All this needs is a green salad and maybe some crusty bread to mop up after.

Lamb Chops with Farro, Arugula, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette from Cooking Light.  This was delicious and easy but I am afraid that it cannot be a frequent visitor to our dining room owing to the cost of lamb chops.  (About even with the high-end steaks at the place where I shop.) If you can’t find farro (or can’t be bothered) hard red wheat berries make a fine substitution though the farro has a more delicate flavor and isn’t quite as rubbery.  As with many recipes I made a note to double the vinaigrette next time.  It’s a lemony, herby, mustardy, pleasantly sweet-tart dressing that is just as tasty on the chops as it is on the farro.

— Amanda


Recipe roundup

Real Bagels from Cooking Light. I had been putting off trying this recipe forever and day because I thought, “Bagels? Those can’t be easy.” Oh, but they are! Make dough, let it sit half an hour, then form little rolls out of it and poke holes in them. (Make sure to make ludicrously big holes because when I made holes as big as I wanted them in the final product they disappeared when the bagels swelled in the oven.) Blanch in lightly sugared water for just 30 seconds and then bake for just seven minutes. Chewy perfection.

Toasted Millet and Confetti Vegetable Salad with Sesame and Soy Dressing from Cooking Light. There’s a lot going on in this salad! Sweet and crunchy carrots and bell peppers; fluffy, nutty millet; umami walnuts and soy sauce — and then POW! Raw garlic and POW! raw ginger. All this plus a generous serving size (almost 2 cups) will put this in permanent rotation in my lunchtime menu options.

Roasted Cauliflower with Dijon Vinaigrette from Cooking Light’s Simmer and Boil blog. This was a fantastic side for a nice ribeye. A piquant change from potatoes. I highly recommend this side but I also recommend simplifying the hell out of it: omit the stem puree and simply dress the roasted florets with the vinaigrette. Why complicate something as great as nutty roasted cauliflower plus the zing and punch of lemon zest and capers and the subtle burn of mustard?

— Amanda

Recipe roundup

We ate it, we loved it, we think you will, too. This time around, somehow, everything is Greek.

Chicken gyros on Greek pitas with “Greek fries.”  Steak fries for Matt and sweet potato fries for me.

Lamb Souvlaki Skewers from BBC’s Good Food. Did you see the recipe I posted for Froso’s potatoes? Well here’s a recipe that approximates their lamb souvlaki. They’re dynamite together. Marinated chunks of lamb kabob-style. Charred but tender. Marinate the lamb in wine, oregano, garlic, and lemon zest all day and then grill or dry fry for practically no time at all. You can serve them with rice or pitas instead of the potatoes and mushrooms. Just remember to convert all the quantities since this is a British recipe.

Easy Chicken Gyros from FoodiBank. Marinate chicken breasts in yogurt, garlic, and oregano and then saute and slice and fill pitas with this very moist chicken, tzatziki sauce (recipe included), red onions, and tomatoes. As the title promises it is very easy. And the flavor was very authentic. I made these with the pitas below and we snarfed it all down with “Greek fries.” (Fast food gyro places put oregano on French fries and feta on ketchup and call it “Greek fries.” Sounds silly but tastes great.)

Traditional Greek Pita Bread from Half Baked Harvest. I was worried about this recipe. It looked identical to the recipe I used for my beloved chapatis except that all the flour is white. How would this not result in white chapatis — chewy and dense? How could these turn out so different? I don’t know. Magic. Science. However it happened, it happened, and they were white and fluffy and pillowy and soft. Heaven. This is a great boon because Greek pitas are a lot harder to find in stores than pocket pitas and both are invariably stale by the time you get them home so they crack and leak their precious contents all over your hands. Not so these beautiful babies!

— Amanda

Recipe: Froso’s Potatoes (A knock-off)

There’s an unassuming restaurant in Marysville, Washington that I love dearly: Froso’s. (Thank you, Katharine, for taking me there the first time.) A (very literally) half Greek and half Italian family restaurant that is hard to beat. It was here that I formed a strong attachment to lamb souvlaki (for which I’ll be posting a recipe in the next recipe roundup).

Served alongside many of the Greek items on the menu, including the souvlaki and a sumptuous half a chicken marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, is what the menu calls simply “garlic potatoes.” Oh, but it’s such much more than that. They are potatoes roasted to perfection — creamy on the inside and browned on the outside — in lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and Parmesan cheese — and they aren’t alone. There’s an equal amount of halved crimini mushrooms and chopped zucchini in there, as well.

I was making lamb souvlaki for dinner last night and I couldn’t resist the urge to try to replicate Froso’s garlic potatoes for myself. The result was close enough to make us moan hyperbolic praise — but nothing will ever replace the real thing.

Note: this recipe was heavily adapted from My Kitchen Escapades’s Parmesan Garlic Roasted Mushrooms, and excludes the zucchini that Froso serves in the restaurant because Matt would just pick it out anyway.

Froso’s Potatoes at Home

Serves 4

8 oz crimini mushrooms, halved
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. In a casserole dish, combine all ingredients except for cheese and toss to combine. Bake 20 minutes. Stir, sprinkle with cheese, and bake another 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information (according to recipe calculator): 159.4 calories and 8.7g fat per serving.


— Amanda

Recipe roundup . . . again

Sorry to post yet another recipe roundup, but the weather has been dour and damp and depressing so I have been hiding indoors working on our Halloween costumes. Other than that and binge-watching New Girl I haven’t done much but cook. But I’ve tried out some new recipes that are worth sharing!

Orange Chicken from ABC. This recipe was created for a man who was featured on the TV show Extreme Weight Loss. (Which is way, way better than The Biggest Loser, btw.) This is so easy and so powerfully flavorful that I guarantee when you have this recipe on hand you won’t need to hit up the fake Chinese section of the deli at the grocery store. I made it even easier on myself by steaming the broccoli over my brown rice in my little rice cooker while I cooked the chicken. That done, you whisk together the sauce ingredients (fresh ginger and garlic, lots of OJ, a little brown sugar and vinegar and soy sauce) and it cooks for just a minute or two, until thick.

Rogan Josh from Cooking Light. While this dish takes time (about two hours on the stove top and at least 8 hours to marinate) it is super easy: marinate, braise, add yogurt and cilantro, snarf while making obscene yummy noises. It was torture to smell lamb cocooned in a heady mixture of half my spice cabinet cooking for hours and hours, but heaven to eat that tender lamb in a velvety, tangy sauce over rice. (With, as ever, chapatis.)

L.E.O. Scramble from Oxmoor House. I had to try this because it sounded so similar to something I ate when we went to Crescent Lake last year: eggs, cream cheese, green onions, smoked salmon. Unf. There’s that sweet-savory-tangy-umami combo again. Lower in calories and fat than you might think, and easy enough that I’m having this from breakfast on weekdays.

— Amanda

Recipe roundup

Pocket pitas self-inflating in the oven as I squeal with delight.  (Please excuse the dirty window.  I assure you the mess is in between the panes.)

Amanda tested.  Matt approved.

Beef Biryani from A Pinch of Yum. Beef stew meat is simmered until falling apart in a sauce of onion, cilantro, ginger, yogurt, and buttloads of all my favorite spices (including a whole tablespoon of cumin!). Then you dump rice, caramelized onions, and golden raisins on top and simmer it some more in the oven. I served this with my beloved chapatis and an overload of roasted veggies. It has all the features I look for in a recipe: cheapness, distinction from other recipes already in my collection, and flavor out the ass. This is definitely a snow-bound-nothing-better-to-do-all-day recipe, though: it’s not difficult and it’s only about 25% hands-on, but it did take me about 2 and 1/4 hours to make this.

Egg, Avocado, and Crispy Prosciutto Pitas from Sunset. The latest and greatest of my weekday lunches. So many tasty flavors that go together so well: bright red pepper, tangy yogurt, buttery avocado, salty prosciutto, umami egg, peppery arugula. If you blitz the roasted pepper and yogurt spread and hardboil the eggs ahead of time these go together quite quickly. (Which is great, because you’ll be thinking about them alllllll morning and when lunchtime finally comes you won’t want to dilly-dally.) This would also make a great breakfast.

Whole Wheat Pocket Pitas from Veg Recipes of India. The only problem with the delicious sandwiches above is the pitas. In theory they are the perfect bread for sandwiches. In practice they leak. Every time. Every. Time. So I decided to make my own. And, as I hoped, they are so much better than the stale ones in the back of the deli. Thick, tender, flavorful, and totally leakproof. You can really stuff these bad boys. Plus: wicked easy to make. They puff up like magic in the oven. Read the recipe carefully, though — not only are the temperatures in Celsius, but some of the directions are actually for a convection microwave, which is the big countertop oven they use to nuke your breakfast sandwich at Starbucks, not your typical electric/gas range.

— Amanda

Recipe roundup

A+ recipes we’ve tried lately.

The Best Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies from The Novice Chef. Matt likes ’em smooth and I like ’em chunky, but we both like ’em chewy, never crispy. These bad boys are melt-in-your-mouth soft when they’re warm and as they cool they become wonderfully chewy. A simple recipe (you don’t even have to roll balls and smash ’em with a fork!) and a definite keeper. I had some mini chocolate chips on hand that I dumped in. Oh, man. Even better!

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto from Sunset. Matt came home from his new jobsite with a tin hat full of chanterelles, so I went in search of a recipe. I found this one and subbed corn for the chard and voila! It was almost exactly like the risotto they had on the dinner menu at Lake Quinault on our anniversary. Smoky bacon, creamy arborio rice, sweet corn, nutty cheese, meaty mushrooms. Ugh. Yass. This recipe was intended to make 6 main-course servings so it makes an absolute buttload. If I prepare it again like I did this time — alongside sauteed chicken breasts — I’ll make half or less. Be sure you don’t miss the link for the Roasted Chanterelle Mushrooms that are an ingredient in the risotto.

Chicken Cutlets with Tarragon-Mustard Sauce from Cooking Light. Cheap, flavorful, quick. If you have fresh tarragon on hand (and mine is still trying to overthrow the herb bed) this is a great way to use it. I used inexpensive, quick-cooking chicken tenders, although I think you could also pound breast halves and use those. Just cook the chicken, sauté the shallots (or finely diced red onions if you, like me, never have shallots on hand), deglaze with wine, and stir in sour cream, mustard, and tarragon. Put chicken on a bed of noodles and top with the thick, creamy, tangy sauce.10 minutes. 15 tops. I thought this sauce would go well alongside a steak. Matt thought it would be good on pork chops.

— Amanda