Saturday, February 20, 2010

Langostino Scampi Pasta

The other night my roommate Morgen and I wanted to make shrimp scampi for dinner, so after we picked up FREE cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes (yes, you should be jealous). We stopped by Marvelous Market to get sourdough bread and then Trader Joe's to get the rest of the things we needed.
While we were looking around TJ's we saw frozen cooked langostino, and they looked good, so we decided why not just try that. Then, I became curious about what a langostino is exactly so I consulted the ever-useful Wikipedia when we got back to the room. They are small lobster or crawfish like animals and apparently what the original scampi was made with- Perfect!

Langostino Scampi Pasta
1 pound brown rice linguini or spaghetti
4 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, sliced
pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 pound cooked langostino tails (can easily be found pre-cooked and frozen)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves

To start the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil then add salt and pasta. Stir the pasta to separate then cover the pot. Once the water comes back to a boil, cook for about 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Then add the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute until shallots are translucent (about 3-4 minutes). Season the tails with salt and pepper and add to the sauce to heat and absorb the flavors (about 2 minutes). Remove the tails then add in the lemon juice and wine. Bring to a boil then add the remaining butter and oil. Once the butter has melted, add the tails back in as well as the parsley, pasta, and pasta water. Stir well and season with additional salt and pepper.

**This post was edited on 12/12/10 to make it gluten and dairy free.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

4 (or 3) ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

It's no secret that I have a ridiculous sweet tooth or an even more ridiculous obsession with peanut butter. These cookies satisfy both. The only bad thing about them is I could eat them until I'm sick- not so good.
Peanut butter cookies have always reminded me of my friend Meredith because she would bring them to our Girl Scout Cookie Swap every year when we were younger. We re-found this recipe when she came over to bake cookies to ship to her friend for her birthday.

This is a perfect recipe for college students or young professionals, etc. with no time and an ill-equipped pantry. There are only 4 ingredients (1 being somewhat optional), take no time at all to prep and bake super quickly.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda (I have seen it done without this and apparently it still works, making it a 3 ingredient cookie)

Blend together the peanut butter and sugar. Add the baking soda and blend again. Add the egg and blend again. Now, roll the dough into balls about an inch in diameter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and press down with fork in a criss-cross pattern (press down one way then the other way perpendicular to those lines). Sprinkle each cookie with additional sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until the cookie is a little cracked and slightly golden. Let cool to harden. Be careful when removing the cookies from the baking sheet because they can be quite crumbly.
Another way to make these cookies, and the way Meredith always made them for our cookie swaps, is to roll the dough into balls and roll the balls into additional sugar. Place the dough balls onto a greased baking sheet and bake until they start to crack. Press an unwrapped Hershey's kiss into the center of each cookie. Place the cookies back in the oven for 1 more minute. Then remove and let cool completely.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Inspired by Italy: Mediterranean Salmon and Herbed Polenta

My friend Nathan came over for dinner tonight and since D.C. looks more like the north pole than the mid-atlantic right now I thought that a mediterranean meal would be a nice escape from the cold. The salmon recipe was given to me by my mom and polenta has been something I have wanted to try. I had never made polenta before, in fact I had never even eaten it, but I saw this recipe from Giada and thought I'd give it a try. I have now decided that Polenta may be one of my new favorite foods. It reminds me of a mix between mashed potatoes and grits- two of the most comforting foods. Both recipes are pretty quick and easy as well, and cooking the salmon in foil means easy clean-up after!

Mediterranean Salmon
4 salmon fillets
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
2 oz reduced-fat basil and tomato feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place each fillet on a greased piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle each with lemon pepper, dill, and salt. Top with the remaining ingredients. Fold the aluminum foil into packets and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. For a more rustic dinner you can serve straight from the foil or you can remove onto a plate.

Parmesan and Herb Polenta
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt. Gradually whisk in cornmeal, then reduce to low and cook until thick and tender (about 15 min). Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan, milk, butter, herbs, and pepper.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pseudo Gourmet: Salmon Croquettes

Here's a recipe that can be served as fancy (at least in my definition of the word) appetizer or if you make them a little bigger a nice entree. The best part about these croquettes is that they are made out of common and cheap ingredients. I can also confirm that they refrigerate well and taste good as leftovers. So whether you want a casual dinner for yourself or something to serve as cute party food this recipe works well.

Salmon Croquettes
1 (7 oz) can salmon
2 green onions, chopped fine
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup corn meal breading or gluten free bread crumbs
olive oil, for sauteing

In a large bowl, combine the salmon, onions, dijon mustard, eggs, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup gluten free crumbs. When adding the salmon, drain the juice and flake with a fork.

Form the mixture into 10 rounds and set on a plate or baking sheet to rest for 15 minutes.

Heat up enough olive oil to cover a pan over medium-low heat to a simmer. Add the salmon croquettes a few at a time, frying on each side for about 3 minutes.

Once fried, remove onto a plate covered in paper towels to drain some of the grease.

**This post was edited on 12/12/10 to make it gluten and dairy free