Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beef Stew

I think in my previous life I must have lived in a cold climate. All year long I wait until it is "soup weather." Unfortunately, that's about 15 days out of the year in Austin. That means that we end up eating soups and stews long before it is cold enough. That's okay though, I just put the air down to 65&deg and put on a sweatshirt. There's nothing wrong with pretending, right?

A few days ago it just so happened that I had everything on hand to make beef stew and I had been craving it for a week or two. I love when the stars align for me like that. I just hate going to the store. For the beef stew recipe go here.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crab Stuffed Dover Sole

Doesn't this sound so fancy? I think anything stuffed with crab sounds absolutely exquisite. Not only does this sound fancy, it sounds downright extravagant. But, never fear, this was as easy as 1-2-3.

I knew when I went to the store the other day that I wanted to have fish that night, I just wasn't sure what kind I wanted to make. The Dover sole was both fresh (not previously frozen) and wild caught (not farm raised), so I knew that would do just fine. Only problem was that I had never made that kind of fish before. Not to worry, the fish dude at Central Market was full of good ideas. He told me his favorite way to make Dover sole was to put some of their pre-made crab cakes in the middle of the fillet and wrap it up and bake it. Sold! That sounded delicious and totally easy. And it was. (Absolutely to die for, that is.)

Crab Stuffed Dover Sole

6 Dover sole fillets
1 pre-made crab cake (I imagine that lump crab meat would also be good)
seasoned or plain breadcrumbs
melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place fish fillets out on a flat surface and season the top with salt and pepper. Place a small amount (between 1 and 2 T) of the crab cake in the center of the fillet. Wrap the fish around the crab and cover the roll in breadcrumbs. Place the fish seam side down on a baking sheet and repeat. Drizzle all of the fish rolls with melted butter and bake for 15-20 minutes. Next, put the fish under the broiler for a minute or two just so the fish gets a bit more browned. That's it!

I guess that is more like easy as 1-2-3-4-5...

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chicken Pesto Panini

Mmmm... These were delicious! What's not to like about pesto, fresh mozzarella, and ciabatta bread? It is a winning combination. I love to make grilled panini because they are they are so easy to throw together for a quick weeknight meal. And you can stuff them with whatever you happen to have on hand. So, not only are they a breeze to make, but you also get to clean out your fridge. It's a win-win situation, really.

I had a red pepper that needed to be used so I roasted it for the sandwiches. You can roast red peppers in the oven if you'd like, but I am lazy and opt to roast mine on top of the stove. Then I don't have to worry about dirtying a baking sheet. (I really don't care for dishes, so the fewer the better.) And, fresh roasted red peppers are much tastier than the jarred variety. Trust me. So, just place the red pepper directly over the flame. Like so:
Once the pepper is totally black and charred, remove from the flame and place it in a paper bag. Roll the up tightly so that it is sealed. Leave it alone for about an hour. Don't open the bag. The steam from pepper will make the skin just slip right off. When the pepper has cooled off, take it out of the bag and remove the skin. Set your roasted red pepper aside until you are ready to use it.

Next, get the chicken ready. You want it to be thin so you can really smoosh the sandwich and have it be relatively compact. So, pound the chicken, season it with salt and pepper on both sides, and cook it in olive oil on top of the stove. Set it aside until you are ready to make your panini.

To assemble: I recommend ciabatta bread (cut in half horizontally, of course) with pesto generously slathered on each side. Top that with fresh mozzarella, the chicken, roasted red pepper slices, and more fresh mozzarella. Close the sandwich and grill. If you have a panini press then, by all means, use that. But, if you are like me, this is your panini maker. It's not as sad as it looks, I promise. It actually works really well.

And that's it. Pretty simple, very fast, and just plain heavenly.

Bon Appetit!