Fall’s Greatest

October 12, 2011

Kabocha Squash Soup Leftovers for Lunch

I think regardless of which squash had won last week’s poll, I would have lied and said it was the kabocha. While the others all have their place in fall cuisine, there is something about the kabocha squash or japanese pumpkin that makes it better than all the rest. The color is unbelievable and the creaminess that can be created using the kabocha is mind-blowing. Honestly, try this soup or any other version utilizing kabocha squash and you will be hooked!

I would take this recipe as more of a guideline. The name of the game is balancing the sweetness with a bit of spice but have fun with it. Add different spices (like cinnamon) or different vegetables (like fennel) to make it your own!

Also check out my perfect fall cocktail at the Nobler…

Kabocha Squash and Hot Pepper Soup

1 kabocha squash, trimmed and rough chopped

2 long hot green peppers

2 poblano peppers

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 large red onion

3 tbsp curry powder

2 tbsp chili powder

2 cups apple cider

3 cups water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a sheet tray, toss the chopped squash and peppers with olive oil, 1 tbsp curry powder and 1 tbsp of chili powder. Season with salt and pepper and roast until slightly caramelized (25-30 minutes). Meanwhile in a large stock pot saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the remaining curry powder and chili powder and stir to coat. Add the squash and peppers and de-glaze the stock pot with the apple cider. Add the water, season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds and some crusty french bread.


Addictive Dip

October 11, 2011

White Bean and Broccoli Rabe Dip

I’ve been obsessed with our friend Kelly’s white bean dip for some time now. In fact, I love it so much, I asked her to bring it to Em’s surprise birthday party…at a tiki bar…and she did. And while I’m not sure the rest of the patrons enjoyed the smell of roasted garlic with their cocktails, that dip was the perfect snack while drinking out of a pineapple!

So when I was cooking up some food for a few other friends this weekend, I thought I’d give a shot at making something similar. Similar because, there’s no way I could make the same dip as good. Who do you trust making your white bean dip…a Silver or a Polignano?!

I decided to add another one of my favorite ingredients to this dip…broccoli rabe. Still my number one weakness, broccoli rabe paired with any type of sausage and garlic, I knew that this green would add something delicious to the white beans. And it’s really simple to put together! I served it with some homemade baked corn tortilla chips but this would be good with bread or straight off of a spoon. Enjoy!

White Bean and Broccoli Rabe Dip:

1 large can of white beans

1 bunch of broccoli rabe

1/2 head of garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1 tsp crushed red pepper

In a large stock pot, blanch the trimmed broccoli rabe in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Shock the broccoli rabe in an ice bath and let dry on paper towels. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, simmer the chopped garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper in the olive oil over med/low heat. You do not want to burn the garlic. It should be a slow process where the garlic infuses the oil and becomes nice and golden. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, run the dried broccoli rabe through a food processor to form a rough paste. After the garlic has become golden, add the can of white beans, the broccoli rabe and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes and smash with the back of a wooden spoon to break up some of the beans. Serve warm!

Lemon Thyme Recipe Winner….Finally!

July 14, 2011

Lemon Thyme Shrimp with Arugula Grits

I’ve owed you this one for a while now, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Because when Lemon Thyme won the “herbcentric” poll, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. If you haven’t used fresh lemon thyme before, you should start. It’s great in so many things: from dishes like this one to garnishes in summer drinks, and even in the pie crust for your lemon tarts. It’s flavor is exactly how it sounds and therefore you don’t need much to make it shine.

Take for example the lemon thyme shrimp. Using the fresh herb as the major seasoning of sweet shrimp makes for a bright and light meal that is best served with something a bit peppery. Which is exactly why I decided to pair them with these cheese grits loaded with sautéed arugula. While you’ve probably only used arugula for salads, I really encourage you to start sauteing it. Much like spinach, the greens wilt tremendously, but their peppery punch is just delicious!

Enjoy the recipe!

Lemon Thyme Shrimp:

1 lb cleaned and deveined shrimp

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 tbsp hot sauce

2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme

2 tbsp honey

1 small red bell pepper (diced)

3 scallions (chopped)

1 garlic clove (minced)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, hot sauce, and honey. In a pan or skillet over med/high heat saute the chopped bell pepper, the scallions, the garlic, and the lemon thyme in a little extra virgin olive oil. After 3 minutes add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. After 2 minute, add the sauce and saute further until the shrimp are cooked and the sauce has reduced just slightly. Serve over rice, or in this case arugula grits!


Anchovy Vinaigrette…Better than a Birdie

July 11, 2011

Chickpea, Potato and Romaine with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

I’m in full blown summer mode these days. The more time I can spend outside the better! So along with a few of my close friends, I’ve stumbled into the wonderful game of golf. I’ve definitely been having a blast, but thank god my food is a hell of a lot better than my golf game. But as my buddy just said, “it’s all about that one great shot”.

This might be a stretch but I’d like to say salad is a lot like my golf game. It’s good enough to be a part of your summer repertoire but 90% of the time it’s pretty uninspiring. Now I’ve always been a salad lover but even I will admit, the stuff can be pretty boring. It’s why most people have thirteen salad dressings in their fridge and why the salad dressing aisle in the grocery store is one of the more absurd things I’ve ever seen. It’s all about the homemade dressings folks! Trust me, it’s amazing how many varieties you can make as long as you have the basics. And who doesn’t have oil, vinegar, mustard, and some honey.

This anchovy dressing is like that one great putt I had on Saturday. Actually that’s not true. It’s much better! This is a great riff on a typical caesar dressing. As you’ll notice, the major difference here is in how light this dressing is compared to the caesar. It’s packed with flavor and worked perfectly with this potato, chickpea, and romaine salad! Enjoy!

Anchovy Salad Dressing:

5 Anchovy Filets

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsp of Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp Honey

1 Garlic Clove (minced)

1 tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary

Mince the rosemary, garlic, and anchovies into a fine paste. In a small mixing bowl, whisk all of the ingredients into the paste and keep chilled until serving!

Your New Favorite Summer Condiment

June 20, 2011

Seared Scallops with Strawberry Tomato Chutney

I had my trepidations about skipping out on a farm share this year in favor of more consistent green market shopping. I figured, despite my best intentions, I wouldn’t make it to the market enough, and I’d be discouraged by how much I was spending. But after Saturday’s trip, all of my concerns are gone! I managed to get a weeks worth of amazing produce, full of variety for just above what I was paying for the farm share; and that included these delicious strawberries!

I had promised a strawberry/asparagus recipe but unfortunately I was unable to find the latter. But after you try this strawberry tomato chutney, you will definitely forgive me. The idea came as I was picking up a handful of these delicious LI scallops from one of the two fish vendors at the farmers market. I love pairing seared scallops, rich and sweet, with something acidic and something crunchy. When I came across amazingly pungent mustard greens and was bombarded by the loads of market strawberries, this dish took form. Everything was in perfect balance and while the scallops and greens were delicious, the chutney was the real star.

The more I think about this, the more I’m sure this would be great on just about anything. I can’t wait to whip this up again for the next cook out because I think it would be absurd on a hot dog! It’s a perfect summer condiment!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – StrawberryTomatoChutney

Move Over Margarita

April 26, 2011

Cucumber Cilantro Cocktail

Move over Margarita! Because I may have just found a new favorite cocktail. And while this one may look like an ecto-cooler, I’m sure you’re going to love it also.

I know it has been some time, with the 10 day reset and my last week lapse in posting, but if you remember, I owed you a gin cocktail. It’s funny to me that gin was the winner in the cocktail poll because for most of my drinking life, I felt like one of the few who really loved the stuff. But more and more I’m seeing gin come to the forefront out at bars and in the homes of my friends. With cocktails it tends to be cyclical so who knows what the next push will be. I’ll just have to keep doing these boozey polls to find out!

But back to the drink: I’ve had a few cucumber based drinks recently but the real driver was the picture of the cucumber margarita Em sent me from Miami. So while I couldn’t replicate the sand and the ocean, it was the cucumber that took center stage. Blending cucumbers with lime juice, honey, and cilantro (the herbiness of the drink is not overpowering and 100% welcomed) makes a perfectly refreshing juice blend. And while you could just as easily drink this juice on its own, adding the gin really highlights the flavors fantastically. So give this one a shot and help me come up with a good name for it by leaving a comment below!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – CucumberCilantroCocktail

Breakfast for Dinner Winner!

March 31, 2011

Huevos Rancheros

I was torn about what to root for in this past week’s poll. Breakfast for dinner almost always equates to savory egg dishes for me, so I was secretly pulling for the pancakes to test my creativity! But how could I be bummed with huevos rancheros…

This is a dish that I love to eat! It’s got to be one of the most savory breakfast dishes out there and when the flavors are in balance, it’s got to be my favorite item to order; salty, crunchy goodness that begs for that creamy egg yolk. So for my version I wanted to really play up this characteristic and the addition of spicy chorizo really nailed it.

The recipe attached is for four servings (which I imagine you would have been able to figure that out) but this dish works just as well if you’re cooking for yourself; extra black beans and chorizo will definitely not be a burden. I chose to poach the eggs because I thought the texture of a fried egg white would get lost with all the other things going on. In this case, breaking into that runny yolk and getting a full bite including the crispy tortilla was just what I was looking for. And if the cured chorizo doesn’t add enough spice, serve this dish along your favorite hot sauce and maybe a jalapeno margarita (I’m working on the ultimate recipe, don’t worry) and you’ll be eating this at all times of the day!

SilverCaterersRecipeCards – HuevosRancheros

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