Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not much of a menu this week

We are eating what is there this week.  Some is leftovers, some is just what we feel like at the moment and some is going out for the holidays.

Tonight, I am making one of my favorite short cut meals.  It is a ravioli bake.  Take a baking dish and cover the bottom liberally with your favorite tomato sauce; homemade or jarred is OK.  Layer frozen ravioli putting grated Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese and more sauce in between the layers.  End with more sauce and cheese and be sure that the edges of the ravs are covered with sauce.  Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 40 minutes or until bubbly.

I sometimes add spinach or kale in the layers or thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant works too.   If you want to add sliced cooked hot or sweet sausage or small already cooked meatballs, that would work too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Menu 12/19 - 12/26

Mon 12/19 - Pizza
Tue 12/20 - Spaghetti Moily **
Wed 12/21 - Chinese Take-Out
Thu 12/22 - Italian Antipasto Pasta Salad, homemade Focaccia
Fri 12/23 - Pastrami Paninis, Red Cabbage Slaw
Sat 12/24 - not sure
Sun 12/25 - Christmas out with the family

Spaghetti Moily
Spaghetti tossed in mildly spiced South Indian Curry

Ginger paste and garlic paste are available at Indian and Asian grocers.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves, plus more for garnish
2 medium onions, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
3 small green chiles, stemmed and slit lengthwise
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
9 ounces spaghetti
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Place a large pot of water over high heat to come to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.
3. Lower the heat, add the onions, and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the ginger and garlic pastes, chiles, and turmeric. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
5. Stir in the lemon juice and coconut milk. Add salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the sauce does not stick.
6. Stir in the tomato and cream, cover again, and keep warm over very low heat until the spaghetti is ready. 7. When the water boils, add salt and the spaghetti. Cook about 9 minutes or until al dente, stirring occasionally so the spaghetti doesn’t stick together.
8. Drain the spaghetti well. Add to the sauce and stir to coat.
9. Divide the spaghetti and sauce onto serving plates. Garnish with cilantro and curry leaves.

Menu 12/12 - 12/18

Mon 12/12 - Pizza
Tue 12/13 - Ranch Pork Chops, Asparagus, Rice Pilaf
Wed 12/14 - Take out Chinese
Thu 12/15 - Pasta Alfredo in Rice Cooker
Fri 12/16 - Buffalo Wings, Carrot and Celery Sticks
Sat 12/17 - out?
Sun 12/18 - Roast Chicken, Smashed Garlic Potatoes, String Beans

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jeweled Cranberry Chutney from Aarti Sequeira

I think this will be our cranberry sauce for Christmas dinner. It looks so good! and easy too!

Jeweled Cranberry Chutney from
Aarti Sequeira

Cranberry Chutney with Mango, Pomegranate and Black Peppercorns
1) Crush 1 teaspoon black peppercorns with 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
2) Warm some grape seed oil in a pot until shimmering. Add spices. Cook 20 seconds. Add 1/2 red onion, minced. Sauté until softened and slightly browned.
3) Add one bag fresh or frozen cranberries, pinch of salt, hefty pinch of cardamom, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water (might actually need 1 cup, I can’t remember). Bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes.
4) Off heat, add 1 diced mango and a handful of pomegranate seeds. Stir. Bring to room temperature. Chill and serve. So good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Tips for Leftovers

Leftover pumpkin pie has lots of uses (besides being eaten cold!). Remove and save the filling and discard the crust. The creamy pumpkin custard can now be used to make trifles or added to a custard mixture for bread pudding. Or if you are like me and rarely have leftover pumpkin pie, you might have leftover filling that didn't fit into the crust.

If a trifle is in your future, simply layer a store bought pound or sponge cake with the pumpkin custard and whipped cream. Crumble the crust in there too!

Or mix up the egg and milk mixture for a bread pudding and add the pumpkin filling. Be sure to use up that crust by including it in the torn bread base of the bread pudding.

Or, construct an ice cream sundae with caramel-swirl ice cream, pumpkin topping, and crushed ginger snaps.

Or even stir the leftover pumpkin custard into a steaming bowl of oatmeal.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potatoes are the most nutritious vegetable in the entire produce section of the super market. After I discovered that fact, I started cooking with them much more than with white potatoes. So, why not make dessert with this king of nutrition???

Sweet Potato Pie
makes 8 servings

1 pie shell - pre-baked until brown and set (make your own or use whatever store bought variety you like)

Preheat oven to 375F.

For the filling:

3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) - roasted fork tender
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use evaporated skim milk)
1/2 cup light brown sugar (I use Splenda brown sugar)
1/4 cup light corn syrup (I use grade B amber maple syrup)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves

Peel sweet potatoes and mash lightly with a fork. Transfer to food processor with butter and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, pulse to combine. Pour filling into pre-baked crust and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Serve with freshly whipped cream. For a special treat, when whipping the cream add a tablespoon of bourbon or rum for flavor in addition to the normal vanilla and sugar.