3 or 4 ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons neutral oil like corn or canola
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup minced scallions, optional
1. Start a gas or a charcoal grill; fire should be moderately hot and the rack about 4 inches from heat source. Core tomatoes and cut each into 3 or 4 thick slices. Brush them with one tablespoon sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Grill tomatoes, turning once, until they are soft but not mushy. As they cook, use tongs to remove and discard their skins. You should be able to lift them from grill with a spatula without their falling apart.
3. While tomatoes cool, put oil in a 10-inch skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and cook just until they sizzle. In a bowl, beat together tomatoes and eggs.
4. Add tomato-egg mixture to skillet and cook, stirring almost constantly, until mixture forms soft curds, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Garnish, if you like, with scallions, and serve.
Shrimp Cocktail Exotique
2 navel oranges
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp (32 total), shelled and deveined
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon minced and mashed garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Cognac
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
a pinch of cayenne
3 firm-ripe California avocados
6 canned hearts of palm, drained, rinsed, patted dry, and
cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
With a sharp knife cut a slice from top and bottom of each orange, exposing flesh, and arrange with a cut side down on a cutting board. Cutting from top to bottom, remove peel and pith. Working over a bowl, cut orange sections free from membranes, letting sections drop into bowl, and squeeze in excess juice from membranes.
Into a large saucepan of boiling salted water plunge shrimp and poach at a bare simmer just until firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain shrimp in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. While shrimp are still warm add oil, garlic, and 1 tablespoon juice from orange sections, stirring to coat shrimp. Let shrimp cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl whisk together sauce ingredients until smooth. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Quarter avocados lengthwise, removing pit and peel, and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Transfer orange sections with a slotted spoon to shrimp mixture and add hearts of palm and avocado, folding ingredients together gently. Divide salad among 4 plates, mounding it, and spoon sauce over salad.
Pizzeria Uno's Rattlesnake Pasta
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
4 oz. jar jalapeno peppers (in juice), sliced
In a large skillet over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes; drain.
Meanwhile, start making a roux: Melt 4 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add garlic. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes stirring constantly. Slowly add milk and half-and-half, continue to stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in Parmesan and Colby-Monterey Jack cheeses; stir until cheese is melted. Add jalapeno peppers and stir in chicken. Add alfredo mixture to cooked penne pasta and serve.
Filet Mignon with Merlot Sauce
1 (750 ml) bottle Merlot
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans low-salt chicken broth
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can beef broth
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 (6-ounce) filet mignon steaks (each about 1 inch thick)
Freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Boil wine, chicken broth and beef broth in heavy large saucepan over high heat until mixture is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Mix butter and flour in small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with salt and cracked pepper. Saute steaks until medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Add shallots, garlic and thyme to skillet; stir 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups reduced wine mixture to skillet (reserve remainder for another use). Bring mixture to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Boil sauce until thick enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes. Serve steaks with sauce.
Southwest Turkey Burgers
10 ounces ground turkey
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 (9 to 10 inch) flour tortillas
4 tablespoons purchased guacamole
Purchased fresh salsa
Gently mix turkey, 1/2 cup green onions, 4 tablespoons cilantro, chipotle chilies, and cumin in medium bowl. Form into two 7-inch-long by 2 1/2-inch-wide patties. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill burgers until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Wrap tortillas in foil; grill until heated through. Unwrap tortillas; transfer to 2 plates. Spread 2 tablespoons guacamole down center of each tortilla. Place burgers atop guacamole. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons green onions and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Fold each tortilla to partially enclose burger. Serve with salsa.
2 pounds medium-size shrimp, shells and heads on if possible
6 cups water
1 medium-size yellow onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and finely chopped
Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells and heads. Refrigerate the shrimp and put the shells and heads in a large saucepan. Add the water, quartered onions, bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the peelings and set aside the shrimp stock.
Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron pot or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly, make a roux the color of peanut butter, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, and celery, and cook, stirring until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the shrimp stock and whisk to blend with the roux. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 1-1/2 hours.
Add the shrimp, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the cayenne, and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Ladle into individual soup bowls, garnish with the chopped eggs, and serve hot. The stew can also be served over white rice.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato and Herbs
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, room temperature
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/2 cup coarsely chopped soft-leafed herbs, such as basil, tarragon, marjoram, and spearmint
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
12 ounces dried spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra for the table
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the tomatoes, cook for 15 seconds, and then transfer them to a large bowl of cool water. Slip off the skins and cut them in half through the middle. Poke out the seeds with your finger, and roughly dice the flesh. Warm a large ceramic or glass mixing bowl by rinsing it with hot water. Toss the tomatoes in the bowl with the olive oil, mixed herbs, parsley, and ricotta cheese.
Bring the large pot of water back to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti, and cook until tender but still firm. Drain and add it immediately to the tomato mixture in the bowl. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano. Toss with tongs or two wooden spoons until the pasta is evenly coated. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pass extra Parmigiano cheese at the table.
Summer Squash Bake
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoons butter
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
3 summer squash, diced, about 3 cups
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup soft bread crumbs tossed with 1 tablespoons melted butter
In a saucepan, saute onion in butter. In a large bowl, combine onions and butter with summer squash and chopped hard cooked eggs. Place squash mixture in a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole. Mix beaten eggs with half-and-half; pour over squash in casserole. Sprinkle top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Blue Cheese Coleslaw
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
12 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1 large head)
Place first 4 ingredients in processor; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Place cabbage in large bowl. Add dressing; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; chill at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead; chill. Toss before serving.)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)
For brown sugar topping:
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, extending foil over sides. Stir unsweetened chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Continue to whisk until batter is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add flour and whisk just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing surface. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
Whisk sugar, cream and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until mixture is smooth and comes to boil. Remove from heat; mix in vanilla. Cool 10 minutes. Whisk until thick enough to spread. Spread over brownie. Sprinkle with almonds. Let stand until topping sets, about 1 hour. Using foil as aid, lift brownie from pan. Cut brownie into 16 squares.