Archive | July, 2009

Easy (and Healthy) Shrimp Salad

28 Jul

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When I started this blog, my intent was to post easy, healthy, and affordable recipes. Almost all of the recipes here are easy and affordable, but I feel like lately I’ve posted several not-so-healthy recipes (this and this, while delicious, are not exactly health foods!). But the truth is, the majority of the time, I do cook really healthy meals for myself and the Filthy Fowl. This is so much easier in the summer when I can go the farmer’s market and get beautiful produce like this:

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Summer squash, sauteed with a little olive oil and salt, is one of my favorite side dishes.

This is  a dish born from necessity. It was late, and I opened the refrigerator to see what we had. Lately I’ve been really into the chili/lime combination, and the corn, avocado and tomatoes pair nicely with these flavors. I always have shrimp in the freezer, and adding it made this into a good main dish. You could use it as a side dish too, with or without the shrimp.

Unfortunately I don’t have great measurements for this recipe, so definitely season to taste. And if you have a better name for this, leave me a comment! Enjoy!

Southwestern Shrimp Salad

from the CityGirl kitchen

Ingredients:

1 yellow summer squash, cubed
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
kernals from 2 ears fresh corn
1/2 lb raw shrimp, shells removed
1/2 avocado, diced
2 tsp chili powder (or mix of chili powder and cumin)
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp olive oil
salt to taste

Directions:

Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Add the summer squash and allow to soften slightly, 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and corn kernals and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Move the vegetables to the outside of the pan and lay the shrimp in the middle of the skillet. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes per side, until opaque. Be careful not to overcook! Remove from pan to serving dish.

Mix the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, and salt. Toss with shrimp mixture. Add the avocado and gently mix.

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Modified Muffaletta

22 Jul

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One thing I’ve learned as I cook more and more is not to be intimidated by a long list of ingredients. Now, lots of steps or long resting times are one thing…that I’m still not really into. But I’ve discovered that if a long list includes a lot of spices or staples, I usually have them (as was the case with the shrimp etouffee). If I don’t have them, or don’t like them all, improvising is a great way to go.

This muffaletta is the perfect example. The Filthy Fowl and I had plans for a dinner picnic in Riverside Park with friends, and I just didn’t know what to bring. I didn’t have a lot of time, and didn’t feel like grabbing bland sandwiches from the deli that would just end up getting soggy. Then I remembered this muffaletta. It’s delicious and just tastes better the longer it sits. I looked at the long list of ingredients and decided I could improvise. I don’t really love lots of sandwich meats, so I scaled back to two, and used two different kinds of cheeses. The olive salad, which called for many ingredients, ended up simply being mixed olives from Zabar’s olive bar.

I’m sure the original version is great. But you know what? My version took literally five minutes to prepare, and was delicious. Go figure.

Modified Muffaletta

adapted from Nola Cuisine

Ingredients

1 10″ round loaf of bread
1/2 lb mixed olives (include some green olives with pimentos, and kalamata)
1 tsp minced garlic (less or none if your olives have garlic)
Handful parsley
1/4 lb Genoa Salami
1/4 lb Ham
1/8 lb Sliced Mozzarella (I used fresh)
1/8 lb Provolone

Directions:

To make the olive salad, combine olives, garlic and parsley in food processor (the mini is perfect for this) and blend until coarse. Or, coarsely chop.

Cut the bread in half length wise.

Layer the meat and cheese on the bread, in any order (I alternate meat and cheese). Top this with the olive salad. Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Quarter it. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Heavens to Mergatroid!

16 Jul

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On our honeymoon in May (yes, 7 months after the wedding), the Filthy Fowl and I stashed some fruit and packaged crackers from our hotel to take on a day trip. We joked that my grandmother would be proud, because we were well-prepared with what she called “emergency rations.” My family traveled a lot with my grandparents when we were younger, and Grandma would dole out emergency rations to me, my sisters and my cousins when we got cranky.

When we returned from our honeymoon we got the sad news that we had lost Grandma. When we went home to be with my family, my mom made this pie, and I realized that besides “emergency rations,” this is the food I associate with Grandma. We all love it, and it’s even more special because the recipe came from her very good friend Florence.

Since I was little, I can remember my mom making this pie. My grandmother called it mergatroid. We weren’t really sure what to call it. Sometimes we called it mergatroid. Or mergatoid. Sometimes it was merbatroid. Or merbatoid. No one really knew, but there were no complaints. This dessert has a deliciously buttery crust, sort of custard-y filling, and sweet Italian plums (or sometimes blueberries) to top it off. Yum.

The Filthy Fowl immediately requested this recipe when we got back to New York. I asked my mom and she sent me a recipe for “merbitude.” I asked her to confirm the spelling, and she said she would ask Florence.

Florence responded that the pie is actually called Muerber Teig – not exactly what we were expecting! And I got the background straight from Florence, who says this about Muerber Teig:

The word “muerber” in German means soft, and “teig” means dough.  But it is understood to mean butter dough, and of course it can be made with margarine, but unless someone can’t eat butter for health or other reasons,  margarine would be sacriligous. It can be filled with blueberries or peaches, but the most divine muerber teigs are made with small Italian blue prunes, which are usually available in late August.

I  made the acquaintance of this pie when Ed and I were first married and he was teaching chemistry in Mohawk College in Utica. NY, which was a junior college set up for returning veterans to prepare them for a 4 year college.  Most of the instructors were young married people such as we, and we made lots of good friends several of whom remain good friends to this day.  One couple (he taught history) came from Wisconsin, and Betty had a treasure trove of recipes from her grandmother that used pounds of butter, dozens of eggs, lots of cream.   What did we know about cholesterol in those days?

I love this dessert, and I love it more knowing the story behind it. I also think it is the easiest dessert I’ve ever made. I hope you enjoy it as much as Florence, Grandma, my family, and now the Filthy Fowl!

Muerber Teig

family recipe courtesy of Florence Levy

Ingredients:

For crust:
1 stick margarine
1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk

For filling:
Approx 1 pint blueberries (or fruit of your choice)
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. flour
Dash cinnamon
Few drops milk or cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend margarine, flour, sugar and egg yolk until it is the consistency of cornmeal. Pat into pie plate and layer with fruit.

Combine all filling ingredients. Pour on top of fruit.

Bake for one hour or until brown on top.

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Spring Chicken Roll-Ups

1 Jul

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I used to really love Rachael Ray. I used to watch her show, think how easy and good things looked, and promptly make some pasta or order take-out. Lately, although I’m capable of making pretty much anything on 30 Minute Meals, I have a difficult time watching her show because I find her so incredibly annoying. However, I do watch occasionally, and often see some really easy and good recipes.

This is one of them. It’s incredibly easy and packs a lot of flavor. I’d tried stuffed chicken before without much luck, but pounding the chicken really thin keeps the cooking time low and potential for success high. I used thin cutlets because they were on sale, and I still had to pound them a little.

I did have a bit of trouble with the pan sauce. I’m just not good at making gravies or pan sauces…but I attempted this one and the flavor was still good.

This is definitely something I’ll make again!

Spring Chicken Roll-Ups with Lemon Dijon Pan Sauce

adapted slightly from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 (6-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto cotto (I used baked Virginia ham)
  • 12 thin spears asparagus, trimmed of tough stems and blanched in salted water 2 minutes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley, a handful

Cook’s Note: Some markets sell “thin cut” chicken for a premium price. With a sharp knife, cutting the chicken breast yourself is easy. When chicken is on sale, stock up. Plastic storage bags can be stacked and frozen. Each portion will thaw in minutes and ready to use for dinner any night of the week. Plus, by halving and pounding out the breast meat, you’re stretching your dollar and the meat to provide twice as many portions.

Halve the chicken breasts horizontally separating each into 2 cutlets.

Place each halved cutlet in an individual freezer plastic storage bag (with slider tab). Add a tablespoon of water to each bag and pound into1/8-inch thick cutlets.

Arrange the 4 cutlets on work surface. Season cutlets with salt and pepper on the side facing up. Cover each piece of chicken with 1 slice cheese and 1 slice ham. Starting on 1 side of the breast, place a small bundle of 3 asparagus spears. Wrap and roll the chicken around the asparagus. Wash hands.

Heat about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When hot, using tongs, add the chicken roll-ups to skillet with seam side down. Season the roll-ups with salt and pepper. Cover the pan loosely with tin foil and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turn roll-ups over and cook and other 4 to 5 minutes. Remove cooked roll ups to a serving plate. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons flour Stir in the chicken stock and Dijon mustard, scraping up any drippings from the bottom of the pan, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and spoon over chicken.

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