Italian Wedding Soup with Spring Greens and Italian Herb Gremolata

April 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For chicken pesto meatballs

1 pound ground chicken
1 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ cup pine nuts, chopped
8-9 cloves garlic, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 egg

For the soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
6 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, chopped small
2 celery ribs, chopped small
1 fennel head, chopped small
Parmesan rind
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup Ditalini pasta, or other small-shaped pasta
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Italian Herb Gremolata, recipe follows

DIRECTIONS

For chicken pesto meatballs

In a large bowl, using your hands to combine ground chicken, basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes until mixed well. Add the egg, and gently bind together. Form into 1-inch balls. Roll about a tablespoon of the mixture into balls and set aside.

For the soup

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Cook onions until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and red chili flakes, cook 1 minute more. Add chicken stock, carrots, celery fennel, and parmesan rind. Increase heat and bring to a boil, drop in chicken meatballs, lower heat to a simmer and cook, 15 minutes. Add pasta and continue to cook till vegetables are tender, meatballs are cooked through, and pasta is cooked, about 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook, 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled with mixed herb gremolata.

Italian Herb Gremolata

Makes approximately ½ cup

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped superfine
3 tablespoons lemon zest

Classic Garlicky Caeser Salad

February 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

2 heads of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1½ teaspoons anchovy paste or 4 whole anchovies
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
13 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt
13 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

In a large serving bowl, place chopped romaine lettuce.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, place all ingredients except olive oil and Parmesan cheese in a blender and puree, slowly stream in olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Mix salad with dressing and Parmesan cheese and season with salt and more black pepper. Serve.

Herb crusted Chicken with Caramelized Onion Jam on Ciabatta

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

For herb crusted chicken

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups arugula leaves, for sandwich
Ciabatta, recipe follows

For caramelized onion jam

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 sweet onions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup water
Salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine herbs and lemon zest. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and coat in herb mixture. In a large sauté pan, add oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and sea on one side, flip breast and then place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes (depending on thickness of breast) or until cooked through. Once out of oven, let rest 10 minutes and then slice on breasts on the bias.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, add oil over medium low heat. Add onions and cook very slowly, 10 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar and water and season with salt. Cook until onions are deep golden brown and sauce is reduced to a syrupy sauce, 15 to 20 minutes more.

To assemble sandwich, spread onion jam on ciabatta loaf, top with arugula leaves and sliced chicken breast. Cut into individual sandwiches and serve.

For ciabatta

Makes 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS

For sponge

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (105°-115°F)
13 cup room-temperature water
1 cup bread flour

For bread

½ teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm milk (105°-115°F)
23 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups bread flour
1½ teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS

Make sponge

In a small bowl stir together yeast and warm water and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl, stir together yeast mixture, room-temperature water, and flour and stir 4 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sponge stand at cool room temperature at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.

Make bread

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and milk and let stand 5 minutes, or until creamy. In a bowl of a blender, blend together milk mixture, sponge, water, oil, and flour and combine with wooden spoon. Add salt and mix. Turn out dough from bowl on floured surface and knead until soft, about 10 minutes. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. (Dough will be sticky and full of air bubbles.)

Have ready a rimless baking sheet and 2 well-floured 12-by-6-inch sheets parchment paper. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface and cut in half. Transfer each half to a parchment sheet and form into an irregular oval about 9 inches long. Dimple loaves with floured fingers and dust tops with flour. Cover loaves with a dampened kitchen towel. Let loaves rise at room temperature until almost doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

At least 45 minutes before baking ciabatta, put a baking stone or 4 to 6 unglazed “quarry” tiles (see note, above) arranged close together on oven rack in lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Transfer 1 loaf on its parchment to baking sheet with a long side of loaf parallel to far edge of baking sheet. Line up for edge of baking sheet with far edge of stone or tiles, and tilt baking sheet to slide loaf with parchment onto back half of stone or tiles. Transfer remaining loaf to front half of stone or tiles in a similar manner. Bake ciabatta loaves 20 minutes, or until pale golden. With a large spatula transfer loaves to a rack to cool.

Lentil and Bulgur Salad (Green Lentils)

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, grated on microplane
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups French green lentils, cooked and cooled
1 cup bulgur wheat, cooked and cooled
1 small red onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
½ English cucumber, seeded and chopped fine
1 (15 ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
½ cup golden raisins
¾ cup walnut pieces, toasted
½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic. Stream in olive oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Set dressing aside. In a large bowl, add lentils, bulgur wheat, red onion, celery, cucumber, chick peas, golden raisins, walnuts and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Pour dressing evenly over the salad, and mix to combine. Serve at room temperature.

Herb Mashed Cannellini Beans

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

10 cloves garlic (skin on)
1 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1¾ cups chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F. In aluminum foil, add garlic cloves and herb sprigs and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and wrap. Bake in oven until cloves are soft, 30 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, remove garlic from skins and mash.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, over medium heat add olive oil. Add beans, mashed garlic, chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash beans with a potato masher until chunky. Add lemon juice and herbs and serve.

Fennel, Orange & Mint Salad

January 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Served 6

INGREDIENTS

2 fennel bulbs with fennel fronds
3 navel oranges
½ red onion, sliced thin
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Maldon salt
Freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

To prepare the fennel, cut off the top stalks and reserve ¼ cup of the fennel fronds and chop (set aside). Next, trim the root end and then quarter lengthwise. Remove the core and thinly slice the fennel on a mandolin or with a sharp knife crosswise. Place fennel in a large bowl and set aside.

To prepare the orange segments, using a serrated knife, slice off both ends of each orange and then stand upright on a cutting board. Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel and white pith. Working over a small bowl (to reserve any juices), still using your serrated knife cut into each orange segment avoiding the white pith to create clean orange segments and place in bowl with fennel. From what is left of oranges, squeeze juice (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) into bowl and set aside.

In the same bowl with the fennel and oranges, add red onion, mint, kalamata olives and reserved chopped fennel fronds. In the bowl with the leftover orange juice, add honey and olive oil and whisk. Add to salad and season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

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