Boursin-Style Cheese Dip

I used the Boursin Cheese recipe from Food.com, and added a few more ingredients to make a slightly softer cheese spread.  This is great with crackers, flat bread or fresh veggies.

Ingredients:

8 oz butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (unsweetened, full-fat)
3 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried dill weed
1⁄2 tsp dried marjoram
1⁄2 tsp basil
1⁄2 tsp chives
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or 1 heaping Tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions:

Blend the butter, cream cheese, mayo, yogurt and parmesan cheese until smooth. Dump in all spices and mix well.

Can use immediately, but tastes better if it sits for a half hour or so.

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce over Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rice

Our friend Sharon recently served us this incredibly delicious Vegeterian/Vegan dish and was kind enough to share the original recipe with me, from CookieandKate.com. I made it almost exactly as shown, and then a couple nights later used the leftover peanut sauce as a dipping sauce for oven-roasted sweet potatoes. It is so delicious and uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry already.

INGREDIENTS

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce (Can use Tamari to be gluten-free)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 and 1/2  Tbsp honey (or agave nectar, to taste)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp water

Roasted vegetables

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch long, ½ inch wide chunks
1 red bell pepper, cored, deseeded, and sliced into bite-sized strips
about 2 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 tsp cumin powder (I used more than original recipe.)
1 tsp Sea salt (to taste)

Rice and garnishes

1 1/2 cup jasmine rice (could use any rice, really)
3 green onions sliced into thin rounds (green and white parts)
Handful cilantro, chopped
Handful peanuts, crushed

Sriracha sauce on the side (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and cumin. Put the sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with about 2/3 of the oil. Drop the peppers in the remaining oil and toss them. You’ll add them to the pan a bit later.

Spread the sweet potatoes out, but leave about 1/4 of the pan empty. Bake for 15 minutes and toss. Then add the peppers in the empty space and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.  Check to be sure the potatoes are cooked and the peppers are soft and starting to caramelize.

In the meantime, cook the rice. Add 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tsp kosher salt to a pot. Add a bit less than three cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Make the sauce: in a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. If the sauce is too thick whisk in a little more water.

To serve: Spoon rice onto a large serving dish, and top with sweet potatoes, then peppers, a nice heavy drizzle of sauce, and sprinkle chopped green onions, cilantro and peanuts. Serve any extra sauce in a little pitcher.

To serve it as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, just gently stir in the onions, cilantro and peanuts. So good!

Spicy Garlic & Lime Shrimp

We made these last week on vacation and they were so delicious! I found the recipe on Food.com and we had them with rice and some other vegetables. (Can’t remember which vegetables, I can only remember the flavor of the shrimp!)

2 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, crushed or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
24 large shrimp (about 1 pound) peeled with tails on. (Can use fresh or frozen.)
1 lime, halved

Seasoning Mix:

3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp onion powder

Blend seasoning mix in a small bowl. If shrimp are frozen, wash them in cool water until they’ve thawed fairly well and you can peel them.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir well, then immediately add the shrimp.

Squeeze the juice of the lime over the shrimp, and dump all the seasoning in and blend quickly to coat all sides of the shrimp. Cook shrimp 5-8 minutes stirring from time to time until they start to brown. Cook both sides.

Serve with fresh lime wedges.

Thai Green Curry with Eggplant, Peppers and chicken

Made this for Kumy’s birthday last week while we were away from home. We had kind of limited supplies, but I’d brought a couple of Tbsp of Thai Green Curry Paste, which made it crazy easy. We were all starved and this was the perfect dish!

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Eggplant, not peeled – cut into 1″ cubes
1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, cut into fat slivers
1 carrot, julienned
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into small bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp Mae Ploy Green Curry Paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (optional – I didn’t have any and it was still good)
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch red pepper flakes (totally optional – the paste is already very spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Thai Basil Leaves, julienned (optional – I didn’t have any and still good)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet until it’s quite hot. Add eggplant and cook, flipping the eggplant to sear it. Cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the onion, peppers and carrot and saute for another 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and the peppers are softened. Add the chicken and continue cooking 3-4 more minutes.

Shift veggies to the edges, and add a little more oil, and the green curry paste. Cook the green curry paste for a couple of minutes and add 1/2 cup water, the juice of 1/2 a lime and the salt and red pepper flakes. Stir everything together well and add the coconut milk. Cook for just another 30 seconds to warm the coconut milk and serve over rice.

Would probably be great with chopped peanuts, too.

Update:  Last night Maya and the gals made amazing vegan egg rolls, which Samir fried.  Since we had a lot of folks home for supper,  I made this dish without chicken, and realized it really doesn’t need the red pepper flakes!  Taylor made Sherry Trifle, so it was fine dining all around.

Chicken and Herbed Biscuit Potpie

Made another great recipe from Ree Drummond’s blog last night. The original recipe calls for beef, but I had chicken meat and stock from a Costco roasted chicken. To make it with beef, just use shredded or diced cooked beef for the chicken, and beef stock instead of chicken. I also added mushrooms. This makes a big casserole of food. If cooking for a smaller group – you could halve this.

Ingredients for Pot Pie Filling:

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced (about 4 inches if you cut across the whole top of the stalk)
3 large carrots, scrubbed and thinly sliced
2-3 cups mushrooms, halved
3 cloves garlic, mashed
6 Tbsp flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper)
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 cups frozen peas
4 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

Melt butter in a stock pot. Toss in onions, and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add celery, carrots and garlic and saute a couple of more minutes. Finally stir in mushrooms, cover pan and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Stir in chicken stock and cook to thicken for a few minutes. Add the heavy whipping cream and bring just to a boil. Immediately add the parsley, peas and chicken meat and stir to coat everything. Turn off heat. Pour the filling into a 9×13 pan.

While filling is cooking make the Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits:

Ingedients:

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried parsley
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut up (1 stick)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse until they are well blended. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times until the butter and flour mixture is blended and a little crumbly. Add the buttermilk and pulse 10 times or so, until it clumps together on one side. It will be quite sticky.

Scoop out ice cream scoops of the biscuit and carefully arrange them on the filling. You just want to be sure that every serving has a nice biscuit on top of it.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven when the biscuits are starting to brown nicely, and brush the tops with butter.

Delish!!

Linguine with Shrimp and Lemon Oil

I love when dishes come about like this.  I looked at what we had in the fridge, entered those items into google and added “recipe” to the end.  Google brought me a lovely recipe from Giada de Laurentiis, which was close enough. The original is listed as above.  Below is what I actually made.

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 lb linguine pasta, cooked
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 giant cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup mushrooms, halved
1 lb. large shrimp, thawed in cool water if frozen
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest of one large lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 big handfuls arugula (probably 4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup shaved parmesan

Cook pasta in salted water if not already cooked. (We had leftover pasta we just dunked in hot water for a bit.

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook until somewhat softened, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or two. Add mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add shrimp, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and cook until shrimp is done – about 4-5 minutes. Drain pasta, saving some of the pasta water. Add pasta to the frying pan, along with the arugula. Toss to combine and wilt the arugula. If it seems too dry, add a couple of spoons of the pasta water.  Top with fresh parsley and shaved parmesan.

Serve. Come back for seconds. Bring bread to clean the frying pan out, then sigh wistfully because every golden drop is gone.

Rosemary Focaccia

Yesterday, Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) featured a simple Rosemary Focaccia bread.  It was a cold, dreary afternoon and the thought of warm bread baking for supper was just irresistible. Plus, I had everything I needed to make it, since I brought my herb pots into the sunroom for the winter.

I served it with Ina’s Eggplant Gratin and both were easy and delicious.  In fact, I’m munching on leftover Focaccia this morning, warmed in the toaster and smeared with a little butter.

I made the recipe exactly as directed – only pulled it out of the oven after 25 minutes since it was golden brown.  This recipe looks complicated but it’s actually pretty simple.

Dough Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp Olive Oil plus more for greasing the bowl and the pan
2 tsp dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup warm water

Dump all in a mixing bowl. If you have a mixer, use the paddle and switch to the dough hook once it’s mixed. Let the dough hook run for several minutes, watching it as the dough will want to creep up the hook.

Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead gently until it is smooth and not sticky. (I may have used more flour – my dough wasn’t too sticky.) Rinse out the mixing bowl, dry it and spread olive oil all around it. Pop the dough back in, wiggle it around a second and the flip it over so all surfaces are oiled.

Cover it with oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Prepare topping ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp chopped fresh Rosemary
Fleur de Sel (I used Maldon – but Kosher salt would be fine, too.)
Crushed Red Pepper to taste (couple of pinches)
Cornmeal as needed (a couple of Tbsp?)

After dough has risen, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan, and spread 1/4 cup of olive oil around on the pan. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly. Take dough and gently stretch it into a rectangle shape.

It’s a little easier if slide the parchment out of the pan and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough.  Just be sure to roll from the outside in so you don’t end up with a thick edge, and keep the size so it will fit back in the pan.

Then slide it all back into the backing pan, and cover it with an oiled piece of plastic. (I just flipped another roasting pan over it), and let rise for 20 minutes.

Remove the wrap (or pan), and poke holes every few inches. Pour the 3 Tbsp olive oil over the top, and sprinkle the rosemary, red pepper and Fleur de Sel over it.

Bake it for 25 minutes. It’s done when it’s golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.  (The original recipe called for baking 30-35 minutes.)  Yum.