Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto

So I realize I just did an extensive post on corn, but maybe you didn't know just how much I love corn. When I opened the August issue of Bon Appetit to find that they had a whole section devoted to corn, I turned into a giddy little girl. You will too (I don't care who you are) after you make this recipe.

I took a few small liberties, but the credit all goes to Bon Appetit. I can already tell this will be a favorite in my house for many summers to come!

Tagliatelle with Fresh Corn Pesto
*includes a few tiny tweaks from yours truly :)

4 bacon slices, chopped
5 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and divided
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces tagliatelle
3/4 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, divided

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown, stirring often. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet. Add corn, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to drippings in skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer 2 cups corn kernels to small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn mixture into processor. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan, 1/3 cup pine nuts and 1/4 cup basil leaves. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn pesto, reserved corn kernels, and 1/2 cup basil leaves. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer pasta to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil leaves, 3 tablespoons pine nuts and reserved bacon. Serve pasta, passing additional grated Parmesan alongside.

Chicken Salad with Plums and Blue Cheese

This simple salad started as an excuse to use the remainder of some delicious blue cheese I had, but quickly escalated into a real punch of flavors that was so good! It's funny how that often seems the case - you make a meal simply to use up an ingredient but the results far exceed expectations.

Chicken Salad with Plums and Blue Cheese

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste

2 plums
5 ounces mixed greens
3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used some fancy date balsamic vinegar)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat a grill pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Pound chicken breasts to 1-inch thickness and season well with salt and pepper. Grill about 8 minutes on both sides, or until juices run clear. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes, then slice.

Meanwhile, slice the plums then toss with greens and blue cheese. Whisk balsamic vinegar and olive oil together then toss with salad. Top with chicken and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gettin Figgy with It

Ok, super cheesy I know. However, I spent the weekend sampling figs at Central Market for a client of our California office's, the California Fig Advisory Board. Now, I'm already a HUGE fig fan. I discovered fig jam several years ago and put it on just about anything. Later on I found out just how delicious and succulent fresh figs are. So after a weekend of sampling them, of course I picked up some to take home for cooking!

Since Luke is out this week, I'm taking it a bit easy on the cooking (because of cooking for one and the fact that it's 100+ degrees out, and who wants to be burning up the kitchen?!). So, it's paninis for me. I love paninis because they're so simple to make, require only a few quality ingredients, but are such a TREAT!

Fig and Prosciutto Paninis

1/2 loaf ciabatta bread
2 ounces brie, at room temperature
4-6 thin slices prosciutto
4 ripe figs, any variety (I used calimyrna and black mission)

Slice the bread horizontally, then remove excess bread from the middle if it's too thick. Spead brie over top and bottom layers, then top with prosciutto. Slice the figs and layer over the prosciutto, then top with arugula. Then either place in toaster oven (which I did because I was at work) or press on a panini grill until the bread is toasted and cheese is melting. Note the before and after pictures and that ooey gooey goodness!

I forgot the arugula on my panini today, so it's no in the picture. But know that it adds a bit more veggie appeal and lovely green color!

Please note that this post is my own and is in no way associated with my agency or the California Fig Advisory board. I just love figs! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Roast Chicken and Pickled Blueberries

Pickled blueberries. I wish I could say I was clever enough to think up - or create them- myself. Sadly, I am not. Luckily, I know people who are! The Cosmic Cowgirl was kind enough to share a jar of her pickled blueberries with me while chatting at the opening of La Sombra (was extremely pleased with their opening, and their pisco sours were delicious!).

Several weeks went by and I couldn't think of how to do these blueberries justice. Finally, I let them adorn a simple roast chicken breast and paired with delicious veggies which turned out to be just th
e right way to let these little berries shine. Not all of you will be lucky enough to enjoy these pickled blueberries yourself (unless she's kind enough to post the recipe on her blog - hint hint :) ), so perhaps try your favorite jam whisked with a bit of vinegar to add your own bit of zing to your favorite fruit.

Roast Chicken with Pickled Blueberries

3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons honey

Juice of one lime
1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/3 cup pickled blueberries

Combine garlic, honey, lime, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Transfer to a large ziplock bag and add chicken. Seal and toss to coat chicken. Marinade for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shake excess marinade off of chicken and place in a baking dish. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes, or until chicken is 165 degrees. Let chicken rest 5 minutes and serve with blueberries on top.

Rosemary Roasted Vegetables

4 carrots

2 zucchini

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 sprig rosemary (optional)

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Peel carrots and cut into 1/2 inch thick sticks. Cut zucchini into 1/2 in sticks. Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place extra sprig rosemary on sheet and roast 30 minutes. Toss with fresh chopped rosemary and serve.

Rosemary Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
(adapted from Claire Robinson's 5 Ingredient Fix recipe)

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
3 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

Cut potatoes into 1 inch pieces and place in cool water. Bring to a boil in salted water and reduce to a simmer.
Cook until fork tender, about 35 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.

In the same pot, melt butter and gook garlic one minute. Add half and half and stir to combine. Add potatoes back in and mash to desired consistency. Stir in blue cheese and rosemary and serve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet Iowa Corn

If I'm going to take a month off of blogging without telling anyone, I better come back with one heck of a post, right? Well, what better way to start off a new cooking adventure in a new kitchen (that's right folks, Apron has adventured to a new - blue - kitchen!), than with fresh Iowa corn?

Smuggled in my suitcase across the country after a relaxing trip to visit family in Des Moines, I was the proud owner of 6 ears of corn that I dec
ided to use in 2 days. See this tasty take on a soup and salad dinner.

Fresh Corn Chowder

2 pieces bacon, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

3 cups chicken broth

1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped

3 ears corn, kernels removed
4 small red potatoes, cubed

1 cup half and half

Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped tomato

Heat a 3 quart cast iron on medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve drippings in pot.

Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, stir in pepper, corn kernels and potatoes. Cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in half and half and season with salt and pepper. Use an immersion bl
ender to break up larger pieces of vegetables, maintaining some smaller chunks. If you don't have an immersion blender, either transfer to a blender in batches, or keep chunky.

Serve topped with bacon pieces, cilantro and tomato.

Shrimp and Roasted Corn Salad

2 ears corn, husks removed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups romaine, shredded
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup cotija cheese

Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Rub corn with 1 tablespoon oil and cook on cast iron until corn begins browning on all sides. Remove and let cool slightly, then remove kernels.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. Add pepper, cilantro, cumin and salt to a food presser and pulse. Add in sour cream and honey and pulse.

Toss dressing with roasted corn, romaine, tomato and cheese.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet on high heat. Toss shrimp with salt and pepper and saute in skillet 2-3 minutes until done.

What a delicious meal for me and my sweetie!