27 February 2012

Roasted Mushrooms Escargot-Style

Doug's Second Valentine's Appetizer:

"I know it is February and the Farmer's Market is still a couple months away... but mushrooms were on sale, so I had to get them! Our love affair with mushrooms began when my parents visited us in Chicago last fall and we went to the Green City Market. My dad purchased a huge bag of various mushrooms from a local vendor. You may recall the dishes that Becky made with all of these different mushrooms (here, here, here and here). I found this recipe on Gourmet and thought it would pair nicely with the crostini (never thought I would say something like this). I roasted the mushrooms in the oven; however, I will use the grill this summer."

-Doug


Roasted Mushrooms Escargot-Style
(Adapted from Gourmet)
Yield: 4 Servings

1 lb. Mushrooms (your favorite or whatever is on sale)
2 Tbsp. Capers, rinsed and chopped
2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 C. Italian Parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 450F degrees with rack in the middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil and salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish. Top with cubes of butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from oven and stir in lemon juice. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

26 February 2012

Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini

Doug's First Valentine's Appetizer:

"Last weekend, Becky went with some of her friends to Dose Market - an indoor market of the best local artisanal food, fashion and design. While she was there, she picked up some Matiz Fig Bread. We haven't tried it before, but I knew I wanted to do something with it and incorporate a little goat cheese. Fig bread is basically a Spanish blend of figs, walnuts, honey and spices. I found a very simple and tasty recipe and just swapped out the fresh figs for a thin slice of the fig bread."

-Doug


Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Prosciutto and a Balsamic Reduction
(Inspired by Sally)
Yield: 4 Servings

3/4 C. Balsamic Vinegar (for the reduction)
1 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar (for the reduction)
1 Medium Baguette, cut into about 12-16 thin slices
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Granulated Garlic, to taste
4 oz. Goat Cheese, room temperature for easier spreading
4 oz. Prosciutto, thinly sliced
Fresh Figs or Fig Bread, sliced

First, make the balsamic reduction: In a small saucepan, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil and immediately turn the heat down to a low simmer. Add the brown sugar, stir and reduce by about half. The syrup will thicken as it cools. When cooled, place in a plastic squeeze bottle and store in the pantry. This will keep for days, so you can prepare it in advance.

Next, make the crostini: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Thinly slice the baguette (about 1/3'' thick) and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the bread and sprinkle with granulated garlic. Bake the crostini for 8-10 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from oven and place it on your serving platter.

To assemble: Spread each crostini with a little soft goat cheese, top with prosciutto and a slice of fresh fig or fig bread. Before serving, drizzle with your prepared balsamic reduction.

20 February 2012

Doug's 2012 Valentine's Day Review

Hello Thyme for Wine Readers,

Are you ready for my annual Valentine's Day recap? I feel very blessed to spend another Valentine's Day with Becky. This one was special because it was our first as a married couple. A lot of pressure goes into making a meal for a food blogger. I searched various websites and came up with a menu that I thought would be nice for Becky. You be the judge.

2012 Valentine's Day Menu

Appetizers
Roasted Mushrooms Escargot-Style

Main
Green Bean and Tomato Salad

Dessert
Chocolate Mocha Mousse with Sliced Strawberries

Drink
A little bubbly, of course!

What Valentine's would be complete without a little chocolate? For dessert, I went to my trusty resource, Thyme for Wine, and made Chocolate Mocha Mousse. It is light, delicious and can be made in advance. My Valentine's Day menu was a success. It was a very nice meal, not only because the dishes tasted great, but more importantly because of the company I was with - my favorite Valentine in the world! Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone!

Until next year,

Doug

17 February 2012

Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad

Doug and I discovered a great little Thai restaurant in our neighborhood on one of the very first nights in our new place. It was a wonderful summer evening, so we sat outside on this restaurant's flower-covered terrace and chowed down on spicy noodle with chicken dishes. While dining out is certainly fun, sometimes we just want to make dinner at home. This spicy peanut chicken salad sure hits the spot when we have cravings for "take out food" at home.


Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad
(Adapted from Pinch of Yum)
Yield: 6 Servings

2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 Red Bell Pepper, julienne
1 Green Bell Pepper, julienne
1 C. Carrots, shredded or julienne
1/2 C. Broccoli, bite-size pieces
1/2 C. Snow Peas
8 oz. Soba or Udon Noodles, cooked
1/2 C. Green Onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish

Dressing:
5 Tbsp. Soy Sauce - Reduced Sodium
2 Tbsp. Water
2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp. Sesame or Canola Oil
1 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, roughly chopped
1 Clove Garlic
1 tsp. Sugar
1 Red Thai Chili Pepper or Jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
1/3 C. Peanuts


First, make the peanut dressing. To do so, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth (except peanuts). Then, add the peanuts last minute and process until just finely chopped. Set aside.

Heat canola oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add cubed chicken and cook until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and set aside onto a plate. In the same wok, add the bell peppers, carrots, broccoli and snow peas. Sauté until just tender (about 3-5 minutes). Add the cooked noodles, peanut sauce and chicken into the wok pan; gently mix with the veggies. Top each serving with green onions and cilantro.

15 February 2012

Classic French Toast

Did you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day? Lucky for me, I get to celebrate Valentine's today (one day late). Hubby MD was on call last night, so he is preparing his annual Valentine's dinner for me as I type this! Eekkk! I haven't seen Doug's menu, but watching him mince garlic and slice shallots makes this girl's heart melt! Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be posting his menu and recipes within the next day or two! Stay tuned...

In the meantime, I thought I would fill your minds with thoughts of something you can make this weekend. You should make this classic French toast ASAP! Holy buckets. Can you believe this was my very first attempt at making French toast? I have fond memories of walking next door to my grandpa's cabin on summer days and he would make French toast to order. Dang, I miss him! Well, do me a favor - make this French toast soon and think of my gramps! I think he would be pretty proud of my efforts on this dish.


Classic French Toast
(Adapted from W&S)
Yield: 4 Servings

1 Loaf Challah Bread, cut into 3/4'' slices
6 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 C. Skim Milk (or half-and-half if you dare...)!
1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly grated
2 Tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
Unsalted Butter, for cooking
Confectioners' Sugar, for dusting
Blueberries or other berries, for garnish
Pure Maple Syrup, for serving


In a shallow baking dish, arrange the bread slices in a single layer. In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar; whisk until blended. Pour the mixture over the bread and let stand for 1-2 minutes. Turn the slices over and let the bread absorb the remaining liquid, about 1-2 minutes longer.

Preheat a griddle and coat generously with butter. When the griddle is hot, cook the bread in batches (you don't want to overcrowd it) until golden and crisp (3-4 minutes per side, depending on your griddle). Transfer the French toast to a warmed platter (I kept the finished toast in a warmed oven until all of it was ready to eat), dust with confectioners' sugar, drizzle with maple syrup and garnish with berries. Enjoy!

14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you all a very happy Valentine's Day! xoxo


If you are still in the mood to bake a special treat, make these Peanut Butter M&M Blondies that I made last year. Mmmm... so good and so festive!

13 February 2012

Chicken "Panini" with Mozzarella

For all of you out there who might still be planning your Valentine's dinner, you might want to consider this recipe! Although seafood is a Valentine's tradition in our house, perhaps a wonderful chicken dish would fit your lover's dinner desires. This dish is easy enough to prepare. You can make the salsa rossa in advance and grill your chicken "panini's" right before you want to sit down for a nice candle-lit dinner.


Chicken "Panini" with Mozzarella
(From The Newlyweds' Cookbook)
Yield: 4 Servings

8 oz. Mozzarella Cheese
4 large, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 Large Fresh Basil leaves, plus extra to serve
2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salsa Rossa (see recipe here), for serving
Mixed Salad Leaves, for serving


Cut the mozzarella into 8 thick slices and set aside. Put the chicken breasts onto a board and, using a sharp knife, cut horizontally through the breast without cutting all the way through. Open out flat and season the insides with a little salt and pepper. Put 2 basil leaves, a few garlic slices and 2 slices of cheese in each breast, then fold back over, pressing firmly together. Secure with toothpicks. Brush the chicken with a little oil and cook on a preheated outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan for about 8 minutes on each side. Serve hot with the salsa rossa, a few basil leaves and mixed salad leaves.

Salsa Rossa

Here is the recipe that you'll want to use on top of the chicken "panini" with basil and mozzarella. From what I remember, it was delicious (made it months ago...)! Yes, it was a lot of work. Yes, it was time-consuming. Yes, my kitchen smelled delicious. Yes, it was worth it! Since I knew how much work went into making this sauce, I seemed to enjoy each bite just that much more.


Salsa Rossa
(From The Newlyweds' Cookbook)
Yield: 4 Servings

1 Large Red Bell Pepper
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Large Ripe Tomatoes, skinned & coarsely chopped
Small Pinch of Hot Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper


Broil the red pepper until charred all over, then put it in a plastic bag and let cool. Remove and discard the skin and seeds, reserving any juices. Chop the flesh coarsely. Then, heat the oil gently in a skillet; add garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes and oregano; simmer gently for 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped pepper and the vinegar and simmer for another 5 minutes to evaporate any excess liquid. Transfer to a blender and puree until fairly smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and let cool.

12 February 2012

Potato Wedges with Garlic + Paprika

Man, oh man... I've had this picture since June! I made a whole meal from a cookbook that Doug's aunt gave us for our wedding. On one of our first nights as a newlywed couple, I made a chicken "panini" of basil and mozzarella with salsa rossa and these potato wedges. Holy buckets! I was sure ambitious that evening. I'll post all of those recipes this week so that you can make everything if you are feeling extra ambitious too! I have great memories of us unpacking all of our kitchen items into our super tiny Chicago kitchen, yet I was so excited to use all of our new things and make meals with my new hubby! Don't kid... I still feel giddy every time I make dinner for the love of my life.


Oohhhh also, this week is Valentine's Day.... which means that Doug will be doing his annual Valentine's dinner post! I have no clue what he is going to make, but I am sure excited!

Potato Wedges with Garlic and Paprika
(From The Newlyweds' Cookbook)
Yield: 4 Servings

3 lb. Potatoes, unpeeled, well-scrubbed
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
1 tsp. Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika
Handful of flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
Coarse Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

If the potatoes are large, cut in half lengthwise, otherwise leave them whole. Put them in a large saucepan of water with the bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, add a heaping tablespoon of coarse salt, and cook until just tender, but not completely soft. Drain and let cool slightly. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into wedges. Put in a large dish and add the oil, garlic, oregano, paprika and salt; mix well with your hands until evenly coated. Arrange the wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 450F degrees until browned, 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper and parsley and serve hot.