Sunday, March 28, 2010

Herb Panko Crusted Fish

I love Luby's. It seems to be one of those polarizing places that people either love or hate. I grew up with almost weekly family meals at Luby's, and I still lament the fact that I don't go there more often even though it's changed over the years. This fish is a nod to my favorite dish there, the almondine fish. It's simple, delicious and easy :)

Herb Panko Crusted Fish

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup oregano, chopped

4-5 large basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups panko (or plain bread crumbs)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs, whisked

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds cod (or other firm white fish)

1 lemon, sliced into wedges

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large cast
iron skillet on medium high heat with the olive oil. Combine the oregano, basil, cheese, panko and salt and pepper in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the flour in a shallow dish.

Season cod with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, then dunk in egg so that all of the fish is coated. Dredge in panko mixture so it is thoroughly coated. Place in cast iron skillet and cook 3-4 minutes, then flip. Place skillet in oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fish is flaky and 145 degrees internally.

Serve with lemon wedges and with roasted potatoes and Lemon Oregano Asparagus (recipe below).

Lemon Oregano Asparagus

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus, woodsy ends removed and then sliced into 1-2 inch pieces

Zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon oregano, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a medium nonstick skillet on medium heat and warm oil. Place asparagus in skillet and saute 8 to 10 minutes. Add lemon zest, oregano and salt and pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Serve!

Spicy Sausage Vegetable Pasta

I got this delicious jalapeno cream cheese at the farmer's market and knew that it needed a special purpose. Paired with spicy Italian sausage, then tempered with a creamy sauce, this was a great contrast of flavors and textures. If you can't find jalapeno cream cheese, simply dice a jalapeno and add it with the mushrooms, then use plain cream cheese.

Spicy Sausage Vegetable Pasta

1 pound whole wheat pasta
1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups marinara sauce
4 ounces jalapeno goat cheese
1/3 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Place a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook 5 minutes. Add asparagus to pasta pot and cook additional 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, breaking up into small pieces. Drain fat and set aside in a bowl. Warm the skillet again on medium and heat up the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook additional 3-4 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and cream cheese and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer another 3-4 minutes. Add sausage back to skillet, and then pour entire skillet mixture into the large pasta bowl. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Serve with additional Parmesan on the table for sprinkling.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Antonelli's Cheese Shop - Good Neighborhood Cheese

Last weekend I wandered down to Hyde Park to check out Antonelli's, Austin's newest cheese shop. I'd met owners Kendall and John Antonelli at a cheese and beer pairing workshop put on by Tasty Touring last December at Independence Brewery. These newly weds have a great story that Addie Broyles captured in the Austin American-Statesman.

Walking in, the store was somewhat crowded with three customers, so I had to wait about 5 minutes to be served. No problem there, however, since John remembered me from the cheese and beer pairing workshop and greeted me - so nice to be remembered!

I told him I was looking for a good melting cheese to use on a panini, and he let me sample the Prefere de nos, which had the consistency of brie but the taste was stronger - delicious! I also mentioned I wanted a good snacking cheese, and after a few samples, I walked away with a Clothbound Cheddar from The Cellards at Jasper Hill. I think next time I'll be a bit more vaguAdd Imagee about what I'm looking for so I can sneak more samples :)

Since the shop is small, their selection isn't the largest in town. But the service they offer and the constant update of their cheese selection is well worth the visit. Go check it out next time you're near Hyde Park!

Of course I had to try out the melting cheese immediately, so here's the panini recipe that was DELICIOUS:

Turkey, Bacon and Pesto Panini with Melting Cheese

1 loaf ciabatta, sliced in half horizontally and sliced into fourths
4 ounces Prefere de nos (or brie cheese), sliced
8 ounces turkey
8 slices cooked bacon
4 ounces pesto
4 ounces lettuce

Preheat a grill pan or panini press on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

Place a few cheese slices on the bottom pieces of the ciabatta loaf, then top with turkey, bacon and lettuce. Spread about 1 ounce on the inside of the pieces of the top loaf and place on top of sandwiches.

Grill sandwiches about 4 minutes, then turn (if cooking on a grill pan) and cook addition 3 minutes or so, until nice grill marks appear on bread and cheese is melting.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun at Cannoli Joe's

I was invited to a free cooking class at Cannoli Joe's a few weeks ago, which is an Italian buffet restaurant in South Austin. Seeing as I rarely eat Italian food out (not a whole lot of options here in town!), I was excited to give it a shot, especially since there was a chef demo by chef Bob Hauser. Bob was engaging and informative, balancing tips and techniques with the actual cooking method, and peppering in stories from his days at the Culinary Institute of America and top New York restaurants.

There was a three course menu and plenty of wine to go around. One complaint I had was that the wine paired for each course was white. I'm a red drinker myself, however the whites they paired were tasty, so I made sure to enjoy some anyway :)

The first course we sampled was a Bruschetta al Pomodoro. This was my favorite since it combined the tasty bright flavors of bruschetta with a zing of pesto. I never thought to pair the two before, but the punch of flavor was delicious!

Next chef Hauser showed us Agnolotti con Gamberi (or shrimp in ravioli) using fresh pasta stuffed with a shrimp potato stuffing with a creamy pesto sauce.

We finished things off with a smooth Frangelico Bread Pudding, which was surprisingly easy to make.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro (courtesy of Cannoli Joe's)
*sorry, didn't get a picture of this one!
Toasted baguette slices
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups diced tomato
6 cloves roasted garlic, shopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons basil pesto
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Slice baguette on a diagonal, brush with olive oil and toast until golden brown.

In a bowl, combine diced tomato, chopped roasted garlic cloves, balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat. Place half of leaf of fresh basil on top of each baguette slice. Spoon one tablespoon of dressed tomatoes onto each baguette slice. Garnish be squeezing two teaspoons of fresh basil pesto on top, then top with a slice of freshly-shaved Parmesan cheese.

For those of us who stuck around too late chatting (you know who you are @misohungry and @hungryengineer :) ) - chef Hauser was kind enough to give us a tour of the kitchen! I snuck a quick pic :)
Cannoli Joe's is looking to start offering classes to the public soon, so if you're interested in learning more about Italian cooking, be sure to check it out!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Apple and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

With pork tenderloin and asparagus on sale, this meal was a no-brainer. Simple for weeknights with go-to ingredients apples, blue cheese and mustard. Enjoy!

Apple and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/2 apple, cut into thin slices
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butterfly your pork tenderloin with a sharp knife. Spread mustard on inside of the pork and then layer with apple slices and blue cheese. Fasten the pork tenderloin closed with kitchen twine or toothpicks and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the pork is 150 degrees, about 30 to 35 minutes. I served with roasted asparagus, which was seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.