Seafood in saffron broth

I know ive been away awile. Sorry peeps! I've still been cooking just havent had time to post (ya know, with the little munchkin and all). I promise to rekindle the blog and continue to bring you test kitchen approved meals.

Here is a really good and simple one you can make any day of the week. I promise you will love it.

Seafood in Saffron Broth
Gourmet 1999

{excuse the celphone pic}

1/2 fennel bulb
1 small onion
1 large plum tomato
1 large garlic clove
1/2 pound mussels (preferably cultivated)
1/4 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/2-pound piece skinless halibut
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups low-salt chicken broth

Trim fennel stalks flush with bulb, discarding stalks. Finely chop fennel and onion. Seed tomato and finely chop. Mince garlic. Scrub mussels well and remove beards. Shell shrimp and devein. Cut halibut into 1-inch pieces. Stir saffron into wine.

In a 4-quart kettle cook fennel and onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add wine mixture and simmer until reduced to about 1 tablespoon, about 3 minutes. Add mussels with 1/2 cup stock and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until most mussels are opened, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp, halibut, tomato, and remaining 2 1/2 cups stock and cook at a bare simmer until fish is just cooked through, about 2 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Season mixture with salt and pepper.

** Optional: add artichoke hearts

Divide seafood between 2 bowls and ladle broth over it. Garnish seafood with lemon wedges and serve with crusty bread.


Baby Food: Chicken and barley

Making baby food is surprisingly easy. A few weeks ago I threw together this chicken and barley mash using a leftover precooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store plus a few other simple ingredients.

What's great about this is you can use it as a base for any of your baby's meals. I usually defrost 1 of the chicken cubes and mix with a pureed veg. You can use pretty much anything...carrot, sweet potato, green bean, peas, squash. It makes a complete meal your baby will love!

Leftover rotisserie chicken (bones and all)
1 cup dried barley (in your supermarket rice section)
1 container of Trader Joe's MirePoix (pre-diced celery, carrot,onions)
Low sodium chicken broth (at least 2 -4 cans depending on how thick you want end result to be)
Mini Food processor
2 ice cube trays

1. Sautee celery, carrot & onion until soft. I didn't use any oil but you can if you would like.
2. Add rotisserie chicken and pour in broth until it almost covers chicken. Bring to a slight boil.
3. Add barley and stir. Turn down heat to medium and cook until barley is very soft. About 30-40 min. You can add more broth if it becomes to thick. Don't make it to runny though, otherwise it will be watery when you puree.
4. Now that barley is soft you can pull out all the chicken bones and pick off the meat. It should fall right off.

5. Place small portions into mini food processor. Puree until desired consistency. I left it a bit chunky. You may need to add a bit of broth or water if the mixture is to thick.

6. Spoon pureed mixture into ice cube trays. Wrap with plastic and freeze. Once frozen you can transfer the cubes to a ziploc bag.

When its time to eat simply pop 1-2 cubes in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir then add a pureed veg and heat for another 15 seconds.

Next up...the best mini food processor and more baby food recipes!


Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc

I have been seriously neglecting my blog...sorry, STK readers!

I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you. I made it for our 2 year wedding anniversary in August (gulp!). It was super easy and really good. I ended up having a bunch of the tomato butter leftover so I kept it in freezer and was able to use it with a few other dishes (its great with fish & chicken)

Seared Scallops with Tomato Beurre Blanc
Gourmet : May 2002

For beurre blanc

  • 1/4 cup packed soft dried tomatoes (not packed in oil; 1 1/4 oz) or dried tomatoes soaked in hot water until soft.
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

For scallops

  • 2 lb large sea scallops (30), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary (rinse & pat dry with paper towel)
  • About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Make beurre blanc:

Soak tomatoes in warm water until softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and pat dry, then mince. Stir together tomatoes, butter, and salt, then form into an 8-inch log on a sheet of plastic wrap and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour. Cut tomato butter into 12 equal pieces.

Cook shallot in 1 piece of tomato butter (keep remaining butter chilled) in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in remaining cold tomato butter 1 piece at a time, adding each piece before previous one has completely melted and lifting pan from heat occasionally to cool mixture (sauce should not get hot enough to separate). Whisk in water and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper.

Transfer beurre blanc to a bowl and keep warm, covered, in a larger bowl of warm water.

Sauté scallops:

Pat scallops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sear 6 to 8 scallops, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter as cooked and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Sear remaining scallops in same manner, wiping out skillet and adding about 1 teaspoon oil between batches.

Spoon 3 tablespoons beurre blanc onto each of 6 plates, then top with scallops.

I served the scallops over a bed of spinach angel hair pasta with a side of sautéed rainbow chard.


Ice cream!

H got me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid last Christmas. I finally brought it out of hiding and used it for the first time. I must say, homemade ice cream is awesome and easy! I don't know why I would ever buy store bought again.

He also got me the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Cookbook. So far i've made Heath Bar Crunch, Chocolate and Cherry Garcia.

Ive added the cookbook and ice cream maker to my amazon store so if you cant resist, start shopping!!!!


Blue cheese stuffed chicken with buffalo sauce

Sorry for the SUPER long silence. Keeping up with a baby and the blog has been tough work.

I think you will really like this recipe. I adapted it from one I found in cooking light to make it a bit more user friendly. Enjoy!

4 chicken breast
Blue cheese crumbles (or, I like the new blue cheese slices from Trader Joe's)
1 egg (beaten)
Hot wing sauce
1 tbs melted butter

1. Make a slit in the fat part of chicken breast then use your finger to make a little pocket inside. Slip in blue cheese then secure flap shut with a small toothpick (if flap isn't closed the cheese will melt and leak out. I tried using cooking string to tie chicken closed but it didn't work because string got stuck to breading. A toothpick is a better option)

2. Toss stuffed chicken breast in flour, then dip in egg and roll in panko.

3. Place 1 tbs olive oil in heated skillet. Brown chicken on both sides then place in 350 degree oven to complete cooking. About 10 min.

Once chicken is done mix 1 tbs melted butter with 1/4 cup hot wing sauce.

Remove toothpick then slice chicken on bias and drizzle sauce over top.


Braised beef brisket

I made this brisket for Easter dinner. It was super tasty and surprisingly easy.

Recipe from here {Gourmet - 2009}

The Easter table. Yum!

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 (2-pounds) piece beef brisket
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used 1 can beef broth)
  • 1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes

  • Preheat oven to 350°F

    Heat oil in a wide 5-to 6-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season brisket with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, then brown brisket, turning once, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

    Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add vinegar, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Return brisket to pot, nestling it in braising liquid (liquid will not cover meat). Cover with a tight-fitting lid and braise in oven until fork-tender, about 3 hours.


    Pork tenderloin with roasted tomatoes, polenta and balsamic reduction

    I usually make this dish with skirt steak but this time I tried it with pork tenderloin and we loved it.

    For roasted tomatoes:

    1 Container of cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 Shallot, sliced
    Olive oil

    For Pork:
    1 Pork tenderloin
    Olive oil

    For polenta:
    2 cups milk
    3 cups chicken broth
    3/4 cup quick cooking polenta (yellow corn meal)
    2 tbs butter

    For Balsamic reduction:
    1 cup balsamic vinegar

    1. Place balsamic vinegar in small sauce pan over medium heat. Let simmer slowly until reduced to a thick syrup or coats the back of a spoon. Don't cook over a high flame or it will burn. Takes about 30min. Turn on your stove exhaust for this. When the vinegar evaporates it might make your eyes sting a bit.

    2. Preheat oven to 400. Toss tomatoes and shallot with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread in even layer on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20 min or until soft.

    3. Bring milk and broth to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta then reduce heat to low. Let simmer gently for about 20 min. Add butter and S&P at end to taste. (I like adding some grated parm too)

    4. Place 1 tbs olive oil in saute pan. Sear tenderloin over high heat until well browned on both sides. Place in oven ( with roasted tomatoes) to complete cooking. About 20 min. Once to desired doneness let rest for 10 min prior to cutting.

    To plate: Place tenderloin medallions over polenta. Top with roasted tomatoes and balsamic reduction.



    A shot a week....

    Keeps Mommy from going insane....more Patron please!


    Pulled pork

    I LOVE a good pulled pork sandwich. I consider myself quite the connoisseur.

    My favorite recipe is one I found years ago in Bon Appetit. Between the dry rub and the vinegary mop its tastylicious.

    Click here for recipe

    Cooks notes: Recipe calls for making it on a BBQ over slow heat. I prepare it in the slow cooker (low for 8-10 hours) and it turns out just as good.

    Serve on white bread with a drizzle of the carolina red sauce and your favorite BBQ sauce. Mine is Everett & Jones "Super Q"


    Sorry for the silence...

    But I kind of have a good excuse....I had a baby! She arrived on 11/14. 8 days early.

    I'm going to try to keep up with STK but for now I'm not doing a ton of cooking. We are pretty much eating the freezer meals I made a few weeks back. Which, I must say have been a Godsend. Also, many of our fantastic friends have brought over food which has been awesome too.

    You can check out my freezer meals here and here .

    To tide you over until I get back in the test kitchen here is a recipe for a great crockpot dinner from Sunset Magazine. It was really easy and tasty. The leftovers were good too.

    Serve with: sauteed carrots and asparagus risotto {from Trader Joe's}

    Cooks notes: I didn't have sage so used thyme. Also, I strained the sauce before serving to make it smooth. The milk makes it a little chunky.