Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Penne Pasta in Chipotle Cream Sauce

Quick, simple, delicious, bistro-restaurant-quality recipe.

Penne Pasta in Chipotle Cream Sauce
Serves 6

1 pound penne pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons chipotle sauce or to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or to taste
1 handful of cilantro, finely chopped

1.    Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions.
2.    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
3.    Add shallots and mushrooms, and cook slowly, stirring often, until tender.
4.    Turn down heat to low, and stir in cream and then milk.
5.    Stir in chipotle sauce.
6.    Simmer sauce to thicken, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7.    Drain pasta and then return to empty pasta-cooking pan. Add sauce to drained pasta and toss lightly to combine.
8.    Sprinkle each serving with a bit of cilantro.

NOTE: Bottles of chipotle sauce can be purchased cheaply at Mexican markets or in the Mexican section of well-stocked grocery stores.

Best way to finely "chop" cilantro is to put it in a cup and use one's kitchen shears to snip it finely.

Wonderfully simple and delicious dish. Great for company served with a green salad and apple juice and then lemon sorbet for dessert.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Easy Chicken Mole

Easy  Chicken  Mole
Serves 6

2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
1 ½ pounds chicken tenders or boneless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
¼ cup creamy peanut butter, ideally natural
1 ounce grated or chopped unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 to 2 teaspoons honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt to taste
Cooked rice
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add cubed chicken and sauté just until chicken ñis no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
3. Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to skillet and sauté the onions until softened.
4. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two.
5. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, peanut butter, chocolate, chili powder, honey, and cinnamon.
6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce may be puréed with an immersible blender at this point.
7. Add reserved chicken to the sauce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
8. Salt to taste. Serve over rice and top with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.

NOTE: You can use leftover cooked chicken and skip the first two steps.

Easy Black Bean Soup

My daughter and I liked this soup so much that we made it twice last week and have vowed to eat it once a week in perpetuity. Consider adding a couple of spashes of half-and-half to the soup shortly before serving.

Easy Black Bean Soup
Serves 6 to 8

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 large jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teapoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
7 to 8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
Juice of two limes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in heavy 5-quart pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and the garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture brown.
3. Add ground and whole cumin, coriander, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
4. Add rinsed beans, stirring to combine.
5. Add about 7 cups of vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
6. Stir in ½ cup of the cilantro and reduce heat to a simmer.
7. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
8. Puree with immersible blender to preferred consistency. Stir in additional broth if you want a thinner consistency.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro.

NOTE: Have a party by making a huge batch of this soup and asking folks to bring a topping. Consider having cooked rice to put on the bottom of the soup bowls. Topping ideas: fried tortilla strips, Greek plain yogurt, sour cream, grated cheese, sliced green onion, chopped red onion, chopped hard-boiled eggs, crumbled sausage, crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, avocado slices.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Haseelbackpoteter (Norwegian Roasted Potatoes)

Haseelbackpoteter (Norwegian Roasted Potatoes)

Serves 12

5 pounds oval, medium-sized baking potatoes

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Sea salt

¾ pound Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated


1. Lightly butter a nonmetal 9x13-inch baking pan.

2.  Peel each potato and then drop it into a large bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration.

3.  One at a time, fish out each potato and dry it with a clean terrycloth dishtowel. Place the potato lengthwise on a large wooden spoon and make 1/8-inch-thick slices, stopping about ½-inch from cutting all the way through the potato. Then place the potato, sliced side up, in the buttered baking pan.

4. Brush the potatoes with most of the melted butter, and then sprinkle with salt.

5.     Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and place in 425°F oven for 30 minutes.

6. Remove potatoes from oven and brush with remaining melted butter.

7. Bake potatoes 15 more minutes.

8. Remove potatoes from oven and top with grated cheese and then sprinkle with paprika.

9. Return to oven uncovered and bake 5 more minutes or until potatoes are done.

NOTE: I ground smoked black pepper over potatoes after salting them.

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