Monday, March 26, 2012

Grilled Asparagus with Parsley Butter

It's grillin' weather. While you're cooking up some chicken or burgers, why not throw some tasty buttery vegetables on the grill? Make sure you don't use skinny stalks of asparagus; they will char up too quickly. Look for stalks about 1/2-inch thick.

I use a smaller grill grate laid perpendicular to the one on the grill so I don't worry about the asparagus falling through into the flames. It's definitely worth spending another $8 or so on an extra grate; they're handy for things like this, but you can also use it as an extra cooling rack, or on top of a baking sheet in the oven for making things like biscotti, chicken wings, etc.

This recipe will make extra herb butter. See my other note under the instructions for a suggestion of how to finish it (as if you needed ideas for using up butter).



Serves 2
Total Time: about 25-35 minutes (depending on how long it takes to heat your grill)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch kosher salt

Procedure:
Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate.

Combine the butter, parsley, and salt in a bowl. Put the asparagus on the grill (see note above regarding the grates). Brush with a bit of the parsley butter and cook for about 2 minutes. Flip the spears over and brush with more butter; cook for another 2 minutes. Continue turning and basting with butter until the asparagus has browned a bit. Remove from the grill and serve!

BONUS: You might have some extra butter leftover. I did and used it up by brushing it over and grilling a few biscuits I had made that morning. I'm pretty sure that was one of the best ideas I've ever had. I'm sure the butter would also be heavenly over some grilled cornbread.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Linguine with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Garlic Sauce

This pasta would be a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or turkey, or serve as a vegetarian main dish with a side green salad.


Serves 4-6
Total Time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried linguine
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, stems and outer leaves removed, halved
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 C low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Procedure:
Heat the oven to 400F (200C) with two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Cut the head of garlic in half across its equator, place on a sheet of aluminum foil, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt over it. Wrap the foil around the garlic head and roast in the oven on the lower rack for about 45 minutes, or until the cloves are extremely tender. Squeeze the cloves out of the papery skin and mash with a fork until you form a smooth paste. Set aside.

About 10 minutes before you take the garlic out, toss the brussels sprout halves with the two tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the leaves begin to brown. Set aside while you finish the pasta.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and salt generously. Add the linguine and cook until just al dente. Drain and keep warm while you make the sauce. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the pasta pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, as the shallot becomes translucent. Add the roasted garlic paste and stir to combine. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until it forms a peanut-butter colored roux. Add the broth or stock and whisk until smooth. Cook until the sauce has thickened, then add the pasta and brussels sprouts, tossing to combine. Divide between bowls and serve.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oatmeal Pancakes

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Whip up some of these hearty, oaty pancakes for your Saturday brunch and serve with an Irish coffee.


Makes 8-10 pancakes
Total Time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C oats
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • Butter for griddle or pan
  • Syrup, butter, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever you'd like to top your pancakes

Procedure:

In a 2-cup measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds, or until hot. Add the oats and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled milk/oat mixture the egg, melted butter, molasses, and food coloring (if using) and stir to combine. Add the liquids to the flour mixture and fold together, gently. 

Preheat a griddle over medium-high heat and brush with a bit of butter. Drop small ladles, about 2 tablespoons each, onto the griddle and let cook until the tops of the pancakes bubble up. You will most likely have to cook to pancakes in batches. Flip over and cook the other side, transfer the cooked pancakes to a warm plate, and cover while you cook the next batch. Top as desired and enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Springy Sparkling Wine

A very refreshing drink for spring and summer. A perfect accompaniment for evenings on the porch and grilling.

Makes 1-ish drink (see proportions below)
Total Time: 1 minute


Ingredients:

  • 1 part sparkling wine
  • 1 part sauvignon blanc
  • 4-5 thin slices cucumber
  • 1 small lime wedge
  • a few ice cubes

Procedure:

Pour equal parts sparkling wine into glass. Top with the cucumber slices, lime, and ice cubes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sticky Spicy Chicken Wings

Remember Sticky Spicy Sesame Chicken? I created a version for chicken wings. And they're amazing. I left out the sesame seeds because I thought they'd end up stuck to your face (but if you like that sort of thing, feel free to toss them on).


Makes 12 wing pieces
Total Time: about 40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 6 whole chicken wings
  • vegetable or canola oil for pan
  • 1/4 C low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3-4 Thai bird chiles, stemmed and minced, or to taste

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C) Rinse and pat the chicken wings dry and separate the wing tips, flats, and drumettes. Lightly oil a cookie sheet with the oil and place the wings on it. Roast for 17 minutes, flip the wings over, and cook for another 15-17 minutes, or until the wings are nicely browned and cooked through.

While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin, vinegar, and chiles. A few minutes before the wings come out of the oven, heat a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Transfer the wings to the dry wok, immediately coat with the sauce, and toss to coat. The sauce will begin to bubble and reduce; keep tossing the wings around as it becomes a beautiful sticky sauce and just a bit is left in the pan. Enjoy with plenty of napkins!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cranberry-Thyme Mascarpone Dip

I made this for a little party we hosted and was shocked at how fast it was consumed. You can serve the dip as soon as you whip it up but if you have some time, chill it in the fridge for an hour before serving so the flavors can meld a bit. Serve with crackers or baguette slices. Once made it will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days (if you don't eat it all before then).


Makes about 2 cups
Total Time: 5 minutes (see note above)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz mascarpone
  • 3/4 C fat free sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C dried cranberries

Procedure:
Whip together the mascarpone and sour cream with the salt. Stir in the thyme, honey, and cranberries. That's it! (Have I written a recipe shorter than this one?)