Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage

I don't recall ever trying one of Emeril's recipes before. I could be wrong, but I know I don't have any of his cookbooks, and I just can't think of one that I've tried. This recipe came from Everyday Food magazine, which you know I love.

Anyway, it's a great, easy recipe, and you likely have almost everything you need in your pantry. All I had to buy was fresh broccoli and I happened to be out of sausage. That's it! I will be looking more closely at Emeril's recipes too after this one...

It has a secret ingredient, which I haven't told anyone about, because people have such strong feelings about it. We've made it two or three times already! I took a batch of this pasta to a Boy Scout banquet last week, and more than one person liked it. A friend of ours even asked for the recipe, which I planned on posting here regardless.

We LOVE it. At least Number One and I do. H-Bomb picks out the sausage, Sawed Off picks out the broccoli, they trade and everyone is happy!

The text in the magazine says, "Anchovies are the secret ingredient in this dish. They give it a deep, savory flavor without a bit of fishiness, so if you're tempted to skip them, don't." I agree, DON'T. I have actually used an entire tin in one batch of the pasta, although for the banquet I stuck to the 4 fillets. The first time you make this, unless you're a huge fan of those little fishes, you should probably use 4 fillets. But a whole tin is delicious too!

On to the recipe. Enjoy!

Pasta with Broccoli and Sausage
Serves 6
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound pasta (Emeril uses rigatoni, we've used penne, farfalle, etc.)
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 anchovy fillets, minced
1 pound Italian sausage (I just use a package of Jimmy Dean's Italian)
Parmesan, grated, for serving

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. In last 2 minutes of cooking, add broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp-tender. (just cook for the 2 minutes) Carefully reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and broccoli.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, anchovies, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Add sausage to empty pasta pot and cook over medium-high, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and coked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, return pasta and broccoli to pot, and add oil mixture. Toss well to combine, adding enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta (I usually end up using about 1/2 cup water). Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taste & Create Partner List

It's that time again! Here is the T&C partner list for February! Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by February 24th, 2012!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post.

If you'd would like to sign up for the NEXT event, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

Taste & Create: Shrimp Laksa


*Taste & Create is an amazing monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are paired up randomly, and each create a recipe from their partner's blog! It is so fun! Please join us. The deadline to sign up is the 8th day of each month, email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested!

My partner this time was Vicky from Avocado Pesto. I'm sorry to say this recipe is embarrassingly late, but better late than never, I suppose.

So initially I was intrigued by these pork/dough things on Vicky's blog, called Cha Sui Bao, don't they look fabulous, and Vicky even emailed me the recipe! I decided I didn't have the ambition, let alone the ingredients, to prepare that dish now. But I WILL. Some day.

After some more searching, I decided to make Vicky's Almond Macaroons. And then that just didn't happen. Am I glad that I didn't settle for making some cookies with which Vicky herself wasn't thrilled.

I was searching again, in desperation now, when I found it. A recipe that sounded so delicious, I just had to make it that night. It is called Shrimp Laksa, and it is heavenly. A fairly simple Malaysian shrimp soup, with coconut milk and curry paste and a dollop of peanut butter, shrimp and lightly crunchy fresh vegetables. It was so good. I will definitely be making it again!

My pictures look different than Vicky's, perhaps because her cilantro appeared to be used whole, as more of a garnish, while I just chopped mine and tossed it in the pot. You can see what a colorful, flavorful soup this is! Did I mention, I'm making this again? ;-)

I do have two young boys, and although one of them eats Cholula sauce by the spoonful, he doesn't like his regular food to be spicy, so I modified a bit. Also couldn't find lemongrass (no surprise) in my teeny tiny grocery. But hey, we even had a box of rice noodles in the pantry! It was destined. You'll find my modifications below in parenthesis. Follow the link to check out more of Vicky's creations!

So the verdict from the boys: the 8-year-old loved it, the almost-6-year-old did not. We also loved it, so the 6 year old is out of luck, I'm making it again!!

a very bad, poorly lit iPod photo, but here it is served up with the noodles!

Shrimp Laksa
Serves about 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh lemongrass, finely diced (I used a few long strands of fresh lime peel, knowing that cilantro would be added at the end, I read online that citrus peel + cilantro is a fair substitute although not exactly the same)

1-2 teaspoons red chili, chopped (I wasn't sure which type of chile, so I didn't use any)

2 teaspoon ginger, grated, DIVIDED

10-12 oz raw shrimp, halved lengthwise (we left them whole)

1 can coconut milk (400 ml)

1 liter chicken stock

1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter

4 teaspoons lime juice (I used juice from one half a lime)

3 teaspoons red curry paste (I used 2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons fish sauce

4 oz sugar snap peas, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

4 green onion, sliced into 4 pieces lengthwise and then into long strings (this was hard, I did it the first time but next time I'll probably just chop them up)

handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

8 oz vermicelli thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions and rinsed with cold water

sriracha, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and cook onions over medium heat for 3 minutes and then add lemongrass, red chili and 1 teaspoon ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. (I didn't read this, and just added everything together. It still turned out)

2. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste and peanut butter to pan, whisking until smooth.

3. Add the fish sauce, chicken stock, ginger, shrimp, sugar snap peas and red pepper. Cook until shrimp is pink and vegetables have cooked a little but are still crunchy.

4. Add lime juice, green onions and cilantro.

5. Serve with vermicelli noodles and add sriracha to taste.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

C-3PO Pancakes

Santa brought my boys the A Star Wars Cookbook last year, and they have been having a blast with it! So far every recipe we've tried has been good, but I think our favorite has to be the C-3PO Pancakes. Yum. I think they would eat these almost every morning, alternating only with Princess Leia Danish Dos (that's right, they are rolls shaped like Leia's hair).

Not only does the cookbook have good recipes, the photos are particularly inspired. Princess Leia shooting her gun over a pile of Danish Dos, Han Solo squirting ketchup out of the Millennium Falcon onto one of his Han-Burgers. Fun! Buy the book for the pictures, keep it for the recipes! Your Star Wars fans will be ecstatic.

The boys think these look like C-3PO's eyes...

C-3PO Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cans (8 1/4-ounces each) pineapple rings
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
butter and maple syrup for serving

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Put the butter in a small saucepan and switch on the heat to low. When the butter has melted, turn off the heat. Let the butter cool slightly (5 minutes).

Meanwhile, open the cans of pineapple. Drain off the juice from the cans into the sink. Set aside.

Put the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well mixed.

Break the eggs into a medium bowl. Add the milk and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter. Whisk until well mixed. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture until well blended.

With a pastry brush, lightly brush some of the remaining melted butter in a large skillet. Set the skillet on the stove and switch on the heat to medium-high.

Fill a 1/3-cup measuring cup with batter. When the skillet is hot, after 1 minute or so, pour in the batter. Cook the pancake until golden underneath and bubbles burst on the top, about 3 minutes.

Place 1 pineapple ring in the center of each pancake. Using a spatula, carefully flip the pancake. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the pancake to a baking sheet. Using pot holders, put the sheet in the oven. Repeat until all pancakes are cooked, then serve warm with butter and maple syrup.
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