Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Late Summer Supper

The Cookbook Junkie ( inspired this meal after asking her readers what their favorite vegetables are with pasta. Mine has always been zucchini. I was exhausted last night but wanted to cook and sit outside in my yard and enjoy the cool breeze as dusk arrived. I made Fettuccine with green and yellow squash - very simple and easy - and had it with a chardonnay. The sweetness of the squash and the saltiness of the pecorino cheese were great compliments to each other. No recipe borrowed...this one is my own.

Fettuccine with Summer Squash

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning (McCormick)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly shredded
1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked al dente

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic, onion, and squash until tender (about 15 minutes). As you saute, add salt and pepper to taste and the Italian seasoning. Cook the pasta according to directions for al dente. Toss the pasta in the skillet once its drained and then add the cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Stuffed with Love

The Prince came over for dinner last night - there is nothing I love more these days when it comes to food than cooking for him. He chose this recipe the day before, and his wish is my command. He loved it, and leftovers were sent home for his lunch today. The wine we drank was a Channing Daughers Mosaico (2006) which is a great blend of white grapes from a great winnery in the Hamptons. I served the dish with a garlicky rice, but the Prince and I agreed that next time some asparagus sauteed with garlic and lemon would also be a perfect pairing for the shrimp.


1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage (It can be expensive, so canned crabmeat worked just as well this time around - I used two cans from Starkist)
2 teaspoons Essence (I used his Bayou Essence found in the supermarket)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced yellow onions
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 minced green bell peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Franks)
1 1/2 cups crushed buttery, flaky crackers (Use Ritz!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
20 jumbo shrimp about 2 pounds), shelled, leaving tail and connecting shell segment, deveined, and butterflied lengthwise (The man at the fish counter was kind enough to do this for me - ask if you can, its a time saver if the market can do it for you)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish and set aside.
Place the crabmeat in a large bowl and season with the Essence. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley and the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add the cooled vegetables to the crabmeat and toss to combine. Add the mayonnaise, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire and hot sauce and stir gently with a large wooden spoon. Add 1 cup of the cracker crumbs, the salt, and pepper, and stir gently, being careful not to break up the crabmeat.
Mound about 2 tablespoons of the crabmeat stuffing into each shrimp, press gently to close, and place, stuffed sides up, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of the flaky, buttery cracker crumbs over the stuffed shrimp and drizzle with the remaining melted butter. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pizza Party!

Aunt Maimy and Jack made pizza together two weeks ago on a Friday night! We made plain pizza and an onion pizza for Grandpa and Mommy! It was perfect "pitzee"!

Gimme Gimme Smore!

Ladies and Gentleman, I present Smores Cupcakes!
Trust me, these are better than the original campfire treats!

Use the Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe I posted - the cupcake variation is there. Here is the Marshmallow Frosting recipe:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 lb. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. tub of marshmallow cream (I recommend Fluff)
Cream the butter on high until it's light and fluffy. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat until fluffy each time. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated. Then dump in the Fluff and mix it up 'til it's all creamy. Transfer to pastry bag (if desired) and pipe onto cupcakes!

Sprinkle with crushed graham cracker, add a small piece of Hershey's Chocolate, and you have the perfect Smores cupcake! I used chocolate pieces from the big Hershey bar, as you can see from above, but the Prince also recommended using chocolate chips so you get chocolate in each bite. Perhaps I will do that next time, but I love the way the chocolate piece looks on the cupcake!

The cupcakes above were made and eaten at a barbecue this past weekend at my sister's. It was the siblings and our significant others, and Jack, too, of course!

Speaking of cupcakes, how cool is this baking pan?!?

Love and Mangoes

On a weeknight this past June, around 7 o'clock in the evening, I sat in a bathtub drinking wine as the Prince was downstairs making a meal fit for royalty. We were away on the North Fork of Long Island in wine country, also home to a duck farm that produces the famous Long Island duck. The Prince was making us dinner that night, and I certainly enjoyed being indulgent in the tub as the smell of sauteed duck wafted upstairs. It reminded me of one of my favorite scenes from The Bridges of Madison County, when Francesca takes her beer to her bath as Robert is downstairs putting the final touches on dinner.

The Prince pan sauteed the duck rare - the duck breasts were perfectly crispy on the outside and nice and pink and soft in the middle. The chutney he made with it was the best pairing imaginable. He mixed mango, red onion, fresh mint, salt, pepper, and a little brown sugar. The potatoes were roasted with rosemary and olive oil, and the wine was a dry Merlot - Mirrasou.

I love watching the Prince cook - he does it effortlessly and perfectly. There is something about the way he moves in a kitchen that is as intense and exciting as the flavors in the meals he creates.

It's all about the CHAT!

Having an Indian boyfriend means that I am eating plenty of delectable Indian food, whether is eating out, tasting his mother's tasty cooking, and eating his own amazing cooking as well. An Indian appetizer that I just tried recently when the Prince ordered it at a restaurant called Diwan is called chat papri. If you live by an Indian grocer, its so easy to make! If you dont, I suggest that you shop online at the store I shop at in person: Patel Brothers!

Shopping at Patel Bros. for the ingredients with the Prince was just as fun as making it together. At one point I couldnt contain my excitement for eating kulfi and gobbled one pop down before we even reached the checkout line. I loved the shopping experience because it was also an education about ingredients for Indian food. The Prince got me all the ingredients I needed and showed me how to assemble it. The photo you see is what we made here, and he also made is amazing mango shake to go with it. Here is what you need:

1 bag of chat papdi
plain yogurt
mint chutney
chick peas (canned)
tamarind paste
garam masala
chaat masala
punjabi chhole masala
chili powder

Basically you place the chips in a bowl and then spread on the yogurt, some chutney, and the tamarind paste. After that top with chick peas (drain them from the sticky juice they are in and rinse once or twice) and add pinches of the spices on top. Sprinkle with scallions, grab a spoon, and enjoy! You may see this sometimes at an Indian buffet! It so delicious and quite addictive.