Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tonight's dinner - in 30 minutes or less

Tonight's dinner is one of my husband's favorite, which is fortunate for me because it's easy! Fresh parsley makes it taste the best, but use dried if it's all you have. During the summer (like today) I cut it fresh from my herb garden...

Chicken with garlic, parsley, and white wine over angel hair

2-3 chicken breasts
¼ c. olive oil
1Tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
1 c. white wine
½ c. fresh parsley, chopped
Flour to coat cutlets
Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta, preferably angel hair
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Put flour in plastic bag and add some salt and fresh ground pepper. Shake chicken to coat. Heat oil and butter in a skillet and sauté cutlets on each side until lightly browned. Remove from pan.

Add garlic and shallots and saute until softened. Add wine and stir. Add cutlets and parsley and cover.

Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes. Serve over angel hair and top with fresh grated parmesan!

Monday, June 23, 2008

This week's menu

  • Sunday
    Grilled fresh monkfish wrapped in prosciutto (from Mario Batali's new grilling cookbook)
    Grilled zucchini and red peppers
    Roasted potatoes with a spring herb pesto
    Salad fo tomato, basil, and mozzerella
  • Monday
    Chinese marinated chicken and mushroom kabobs with bok choy
    (find the recipe in the June issue of Gourmet or on epicurious.
    Home-fried rice
  • Tuesday
    Chipotle rubbed pork chops
    Corn on the cob
  • Wednesday
    Take-out before Pearl Jam!
  • Thursday
    Angel hair pasta with chicken in parsley white wine sauce
  • Friday
    Going out - maybe a new Portuguese place, so LOTS of garlic!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Saturday

During the summer, we love to spend Saturday evenings cooking at home and enjoying a nice bottle of wine. Yesterday, I made and appetizer of Vietnamese summer rolls (which we enjoyed with mojitos). For dinner, we had an out-of-this-world Porterhouse with Spinach Ravioli Nudi and a red pepper sauce. I also seved an arugula and radichhio salad with fresh mozzerella, simply drizzled with aged balsamic that my brother brought me from Italy.


The summer rolls are easy to make and are a light, fresh-tasting appetizer. To make them, you'll need:
  • Rice papers (I use round ones)
  • Vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
  • Carrot, julienned
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • 2 sprigs cilantro per roll
  • 2 fresh mint leaves per roll
  • Cooked cleaned shrimp, sliced in half horizontally (I use 3 pieces per roll)
  • chopped chives to taste
  • Hoisin dipping sauce

To make the rolls, moisten 1 paper in a shallow dish of water for a few seconds. then lay it on your work surface. Place 3 pieces of shrimp, pink side down, on the paper, top the shrimp with a sprinkling of chives, a few pieces of carrot and cucumber, 2 mint leaves, 2 sprigs cilantro and a handful of cooked vermicelli. wrap one side of the rice paper over, then fold in the ends and finish it by rolling up the other end. Keep covered with a damp paper towel until you serve them.




To make the sauce, combine a couple tablespoons of rice vinegar with a couple tablespoons or hoisin sauce. Add about 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger and chili garlic paste to taste. Whisk well and chill.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Meeting Mario!!!

On Friday, Mario Batali signed copies of his new grilling cookbook at none other than Crate and Barrel at Short Hills. Mom (in the middle here) was working and we paused for a quick photo op with the chef!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's in store this week?

  • Sunday
    Vietnamese beef and fried potatoes (from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen)
    Braised baby bok choy
  • Monday
    Chicken fajitas with homemade guacamole
  • Tuesday
    Green lightning shrimp
    Whole grain pilaf
    Sauteed broccoli
  • Wednesday
    Leftover beef!
  • Thursday
    Sauteed chicken cutlets with garlic, white wine and parsley over angel hair
  • Friday
    We're going out!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lobsterfest!

This is a dinner that's always a hit - and all you have to do is boil water! A lobster - a 4 pounder!!! Boild about 2 inches of water in a (large) pot and then stick him in head first. Boil for about 19-20 minutes (11 minutes for the 1st pound and 3 minutes for each additional). Serve with melted butter. Perfect sides: corn on the cob (boil 1/2 inch of water in a pan, put the corn in and cook for 10 minutes, turning once.). And leftover potato salad. Delish!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ribs!

These ribs may seem time consuming, but since they're cooked long and slow, you can throw them in and forget about them. Here's my secret recipe...
  1. Rub 'em
    Take a rack of pork spare ribs (3-4 lbs.) and coat them with 1-2 Tbsp. of your favorite rub. I like Williams Sonoma Memphis Rib Rub
  2. Smoke 'em
    Use a heaping Tbsp of Hickory chips in a stovetop smoker. (What's a stovetop smoker? Check it out on amazon.com) Smoke them on medium heat for 1 hour.
  3. Low 'n' slow cook 'em
    As soon as they're done smoking, transfer them to a slow cooker. Slather them with about 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce and then slow cook them on Low ehat for 3.5 hours. You can leave them alone or baste them from time to time. If you have to head to work, leave them. Just let your slow cooker turn off after 3.5 hours. (If your slow cooker is like mine, it switches to a keep warm setting. If this is the case, reduce the cooking time to 2.5 hours, then let them keep warm until you get home)
  4. Char 'em
    Throw them on a hot grill and baste them with some more sauce to char. About 3 minutes per side on high usually does the trick. Be gentle, they'll be falling-off-the-bone tender!

Enjoy - Serve them with your favorite sides. This week I made potato salad, but cole slaw, corn, a can of baked beans all do the trick too!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This week's menu

Here's what's on the menu at our house this week. There's a lot of grilling with the heat wave that's hitting!

  • Sunday
    Grilled New York Strip seasoned with Keg Steakhouse seasoning
    Near East Wild Mushroom and Herb Couscous
    Grilled blue cheese topped tomatoes (find the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit)
    Caesar salad
  • Monday
    Penne with carmelized red onions, chicken and goat cheese over a bed of spinach (find the recipe on epicurious. I used grilled chicken breasts and I used only two vine ripened tomatoes. I also added some garlic to the white wine! DELISH!)
  • Tuesday
    Girls' night out! Jeff's having leftovers and I'm headed to Khun Thai in Millburn - check back tomorrow to find out what I had!
  • Wednesday
    My famous hick'ry smoked ribs
    Homemade potato salad
    Corn on the cob
  • Thursday
    Work dinner :(
  • Friday
    LOBSTERFEST!
    Steamed Maine lobsters with drawn butter
    Corn on the cob (can't get enough of it!!!)
    Greek salad

Are you hungry?

You may not be hungry, but it's safe to say my husband is! Married 8 months and he eats more all the time. Where he puts it I don't know - he doesn't appear to have an ounce of fat on his body. I work pretty long hours so putting a good meal on the table isn't always easy, but I've learned to plan ahead so that I can serve a well-balanced delicious meal every night of the week. I know plenty of other couples in the same situation, so this blog is my effort to help them out. I'll be posting my weekly menus and some recipes.

We do love to eat out on the weekends, so I'll tell you about some of our favorite places. Here's a start (and a good one!)

For some of the best pizza in New Jersey, Emma's Brick Oven pizza in Cranford is excellent. This little BYO is always bustling, but you get a great meal at a reasonable price. We went last Friday and brought a bottle of Spanish Jumilla. To start, we shared the fried calamari - SHARE - it's enough for more than two! Then I ordered the famous Vodka pie, a personal sized thin crust pie topped with their homemade vodka sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto, and mushrooms. There's a little garlic in this one, too! Jeff had his favorite - a margherita pie with pepperoni, mushrooms and onions. Located on North Union Place in downtown Cranford, this is one spot you don't want to miss!
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