Friday, September 17, 2010

Cooking In Summer and Fall

Well it was inevitable...and it has happened every year of my life and still...I act shocked...I fight it...I go kicking and screaming into fall (kinda like the way I went to college..insert laughter here)

One week, it is hot and steamy and I am impressing my hubby with the gourmet ceviche I whipped up and served to him in a martini class.

The next week? I am warming up by the oven, as I stir my delicious butternut squash soup.

So one of the things I like about fall cooking is how many meals I can get out of my dishes...we had my butternut squash soup for dinner on Wednesday night and I have enjoyed it for lunch since :)

Roasted beets? Well, I have indulged (thanks to some pretty special gals who introduced me to micro biotic eating...I roasted my first beets and they were delish). None of the other Bretons would partake but that's ok

I also whipped up the white chicken chili that was such a hit last year and got a few meals out of that.

Though I am sad that my summer of weekly caprese salads is over and I am melancholy about the wonderful ceviche and the hot steamy night that accompanied it, I welcome Fall with open games....crunchy leaves...Halloween..cider and many many memories to be made. I am sharing these fun recipes with you...enjoy...Happy Fall!

• 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/2 pound bay scallops
• 2 lemons, juiced
• 2 limes, juiced
• 2 oranges, juiced
• 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
• 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
• 2 serrano chiles, seeded and finely chopped
• 1 cup seeded and diced tomatoes
• 1 Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus leaves for garnish
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Put a 4-quart stockpot over high heat and fill with 2 quarts of water. Season the water with 1/4 cup kosher salt and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add the shrimp to the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let the shrimp sit until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the water and spread out on a sheet pan to cool.
Once the shrimp are completely cooled, chop into 1/2-inch pieces and put in a medium-sized nonreactive bowl. Add the scallops, lemon, lime and orange juices and stir in the cucumber, red onion and chiles. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Stir the tomatoes, avocado, chopped cilantro, and olive oil into the shrimp and scallop mixture. Allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then season to taste with kosher salt.
To serve, divide the ceviche between 6 chilled martini glasses, garnish with cilantro leaves.

Butternut Squash Soup
• 1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 6 cups chicken stock
• Nutmeg
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve.

White Chicken Chili

16 oz or so of canned white beans
2 large onions, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c chicken broth
2 cups half and half (I use nonfat, non-dairy creamer)
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin (I usually put in more)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I usually put in more)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I put in more)
two 4-oz cans whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
5 boneless, skinless chiken breasts (about 2 pounds)
some extra butter and oil to cook them in
1 1/2 c grated Monterey Jack
1/2 c sour cream (I eliminate this)
1. Heat a large skillet (I like cast-iron) over moderately high heat and put in some butter and oil. Meanwhile coat your chicken with salt and pepper and maybe some chili powder. Throw them in the skillet and resist the urge to turn them over. Leave them for five minutes, or until nicely browned, then flip them. Leave it there until browned and then flip them every few minutes until they are done (which you can tell by poking a knife into the thickest part and seeing if it's white instead of pink).
2. Remove the chicken from the pan. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.
3. While waiting for chicken to cool, cook the onion in the same pan with 2 Tbs of butter until softened.
4. In a heavy pot, large enough to hold all the ingredients, melt remaining 6 Tbs of butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, for three minutes. Stir in the oinoin and gradually add the broth and half and half, whisking the whole time. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes, or until thickened. (It will be nicely and obviously thick.) Stir in Tabasco, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add sour cream. May be served immediately -- though like all chilis this tastes awesome the next day.
5. Serve with the usual chili garnishes--cilantro, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, etc.

Roasted Beets and Beet Greens

• 1 bunch beets with
• greens
• 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
2. Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
3. When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.


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