39 posts tagged dinner
A short history lesson and a recipe
I wasn’t about to post a dish with an unusual name like Red snapper Livornese without first getting a clue of its origin. The nutshell version is that this Jewish dish was created in the Tuscan area of Italy called Livorno during the end of the 16th century. The period was a time of growth, networking and prosperity. People, goods, culture, music, languages and ingredients and recipes circulated through this network.
Livorno’s most famous fish dishes all boast Jewish origins. Many highlight tomatoes, a New World fruit, first introduced to the city and to Italy by Sephardic merchants in the 16th century.
I was surprised to find so many recipes for this healthy dish. The sauce is similar in all of them but there seem to be two different ways to cook it. Some prefer baking the fish with the sauce, while other recipes say to fry the fish and then top it with the sauce. I decided on the baked method because I’m not keen on frying fish in my house unless the weather is so nice I can open up all the windows. Plus, I figured why add calories if I didn’t need to?
Our house smelled divine last night as it baked and it tasted delicious. I served it with pappardelle pasta which was perfect. I’ll definitely be making this again.
A few notes: I like using whole tomatoes even if the recipe calls for chopped tomatoes. San Marzano whole tomatoes are the best and I try to always have them on hand. Also, I really think this dish needs some salt and I added it. However capers are super-salty, so be careful how much salt you add.
Red snapper Livornese. Serves 4
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), chopped or blended with an immersion blender
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 pound red snapper fillets
- 1 small lemon
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large skillet heat olive oil and sauté the onion until it is tender and beginning to golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté for 1 more minute. Stir in tomatoes, wine, capers, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. (You can simmer it covered but I covered the sauce with a spatter screen so that it could reduce a little.)
Spread 1/2 of the sauce in a large baking dish and arrange the snapper fillets in a single layer on top of the sauce. Lightly salt and pepper them and then squeeze lemon juice over the fillets. Spoon the remaining sauce over all.
Bake for 15 minutes for 1/2 inch thick fillets, or 30 minutes for 1 inch thick fillets. Snapper is done when it flakes easily with a fork.
Add some coleslaw and a couple of icy beers. In my book, it doesn’t get much better than that. These hit the table last night to a handful of happy people. They were juicy and falling-off the bone tender. I went to the trouble to make my favorite barbecue sauce the day before, so cooking the ribs took some hovering but not a lot of work. Lucky for somebody that there are a few of these spicy pork ribs left, which will make for one outrageous sandwich tomorrow, along with a little extra sauce. (Maybe you’ll see it.)
If you cook ribs you probably have your own favorite way to do it. There are many views on what’s best and I’m not going to argue with anyone. I offer you this method for your consideration, and I can testify it’s a darn-good way to do it. The barbecue sauce recipe is a time-tested favorite of mine. You could always buy your own favorite brand if you want.
Barbeque sauce Ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2/3 cup chili sauce
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 - 2 racks (depending on how many you’re feeding) St. Louis style pork ribs
- Cider vinegar
To cook barbeque sauce, heat oil in large sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are golden and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. In the meantime, measure out all other sauce ingredients in a bowl. After onions are golden, add other sauce ingredients. Stir and bring to simmer on low heat. Cover, stirring occasionally and let cook for an hour. If you don’t like pieces of onions in your sauce, puree cooked sauce until smooth using either a blender or an emersion blender.
To cook ribs, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place ribs in one or two (depending on how many you’re making) 10x15 inch roasting pans. Into each pan pour 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup vinegar. Cover ribs with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
Preheat grill for medium heat. Lightly oil preheated grill. Transfer ribs from the oven to the grill, discarding cooking liquid. Grill over medium heat for 15 minutes, turning ribs once. Baste ribs generously with barbeque sauce, and grill 8 minutes. Turn ribs, baste again with barbeque sauce, and grill another 8 minutes. Ribs should have some char.
I was asked the other day if I had a particular meal that I turn to time and time again, when I’m either out of ideas or need something in a hurry. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, versatile breaded chicken cutlets might be the item. They’re my starting point for chicken Parmesan, they are great served simply with a squeeze of fresh lemon, you can easily top them with marinara sauce, and they’re the perfect filling for a sandwich.
I made these last night and the leftovers were used in sublime sandwiches today. This recipe serves 4.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour (approximate) spread on a flat dish or plate
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten and poured into flat dish or plate
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, spread on a flat dish or plate
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
To create cutlets, lay each chicken breast flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, carefully cut each breast in half, parallel to the surface. Pat cutlets dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Arrange work area. Line up plates starting with flour, put the eggs in the middle and position the Panko crumbs last. One at a time dredge cutlets in flour and shake off excess. Dip cutlets in egg and let excess drip off, and then press in bread crumbs to adhere. Set aside briefly (without stacking) until oil heats.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet until oil is very hot. Add chicken cutlets. Turn cutlets when they’re a deep, golden brown and cook other side. (About 2 minutes per side, depending on thickness of chicken.) Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
Cooking with Mimi – making fresh udon noodles
Mimi should have known the answer to her question when she asked me last week if I wanted to come over and watch her make fresh, homemade udon noodles. I had made a few plans for the afternoon but all was whisked aside for the chance to learn something so completely different than what typically happens in my kitchen. I was barely more than an observer, but was enthralled by the process. Towels were spread on the floor and I was instructed to get on my hands and knees and hold the bowl as she vigorously kneaded together rice flour, tapioca flour and boiling water. The hot dough was extruded with a ricer into boiling water. After the noodles had cooked a few minutes she drained them and rinsed them with cold water.
While all this was going on a chicken was happily cooking away in pho broth. Her beautiful kitchen smelled amazing. Later, I left with a bag she filled with everything I needed for dinner, including: fresh udon noodles, chicken, pho broth, cilantro, green onions, crispy scallions, and instructions of how it should all be put together.
Let’s eat pasta!
Or in this case, let’s eat manicotti stuffed with spinach, chicken, ricotta and mozzarella and baked with a homemade marinara sauce. It’s not hard to make and it does a soul good to snuggle in every once in awhile with a nice plate of cheesy pasta.
You can prepare most steps of this meal ahead of time and then just pop the casserole in the oven an hour before dinner.
To create this, I made my cheese and spinach filling and added 2 cups of diced, cooked chicken from last night’s rotisserie chicken. I covered the filling and set it in the refrigerator. As I prepared the marinara sauce I got a big pot of salted water to boil and cooked a package of manicotti to al dente. After the pasta had drained and cooled I filled it with the prepared filling and set aside the filled tubes on a sheet pan. To assemble, I spooned some marinara sauce into several casserole dishes and add filled pasta. The remaining marinara was spooned over the pasta and grated cheese was sprinkled over the tops. I covered the dishes with foil and put two in the freezer and the third in my refrigerator. After I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen I felt smug the rest of the day knowing that my dinner for just the two of us was ready to be popped into the oven an hour before it was time to eat.
Bake the casserole in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for another 15 or until cheese is melted and beginning to bubble. Turn oven to broil and broil until cheese gets golden. Let casserole sit for 10 minutes before eating.
I’ll drink to that!
Homemade tomato soup with pizza croutons
Listen carefully. You know that rind you end up with after you’ve grated most of the cheese from your beautiful, expensive wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano? Don’t throw it away. I’ve accumulated a nice plastic bag of them in my freezer over the past year and they’re great to add to minestrone and other soups. Last night one of them made its way into some homemade tomato soup. After simmering with the other ingredients for 45 minutes it was soft and melty and added a lovely taste and texture to a soup that would have been pretty ass-kicking good to begin with.
While the soup was happy on the stove, a Costco cheese pizza was baking in the oven. I got an idea. Rather than bread sticks or crackers for the soup, how about pizza croutons? Genius! Forget the grilled cheese, this may be the best way to eat tomato soup ever.
I’ve posted a great tomato soup on tango mango before. This one’s different but just as good.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 (3-inch by 1 1/2-inch) Parmigiano Reggiano rind
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cheese pizza for croutons (optional)
In a Dutch oven or other large pan, sauté the onion and carrot in the oil over medium heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sherry, and cheese rind. Bring to gentle boil. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
Using and immersion blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pan. Add butter and salt and pepper to taste. Top with pizza croutons.
This recipe’s been bookmarked for a long time, and I literally mean bookmarked with a sticky note in a tangible book. Today as I was looking for something to fix for dinner I decided maybe tonight was the night to finally give it a go. Jasmine rice is simmering on the stove and this soup is hot in my Dutch oven. It’s good food for a cold, winter night in Portland, Oregon.
Thai Shrimp Bisque from Cooking Light
- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lime rind
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon grated lime rind
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
To prepare marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and next 8 ingredients (shrimp though garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and 1 tablespoon tomato paste in a large Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup (about 10 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.
To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup shrimp stock, coconut milk, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and reduced-fat milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 5 minutes). Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime rind, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt. Yield: 6 (1 1/2-cup) servings.
Fiore rigatoni with browned butter, crispy garlic and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
I wish I had the same kind of love affair with green vegetables that I have with pasta, because after a weekend of cooking up a storm, the veggies would have been the wiser choice. However this unusual pasta’s been waiting patiently in my pantry for the past couple of weeks and I was dying to see how it cooked up. The answer is perfectly.
I melted a couple (generous) tablespoons of salted butter in a small skillet and cooked it until the foam resided. Just before it began to brown I added 3 minced garlic cloves and sautéed the garlic in the butter for about 30 seconds. The garlic got crisp, the butter turned golden and my kitchen smelled heavenly. I stirred the garlic butter into hot, al dente pasta and poured the pasta into a pre-heated bowl. Shaved Parmesan cheese and a light sprinkling of parsley finished it off. Serving size: Just for me!
These are hot out of the oven and ready to dress up with sour cream, fresh pico de gallo and diced avocados. It’s smelling good at our house! Check out my recipe.