File these under “Super Easy, Still Impressive” - palmiers (light, sweet puff pastry cookies) are criminally cinchy to make and an impressive and tasty way to end a meal on a high (and not too heavy) note. I love to eat these with chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and every once in a while I get a little crazy and add some cinnamon to the sugar.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 425.
Sprinkle half of the sugar on a cutting board. Unfold the puff pastry and press it down into the sugar. Sprinkle the other half of the sugar on top of the puff pastry and spread it around with your fingers, brushing off the sugar that doesn’t stick to the pastry.
Fold the sides of the puff pastry in to the center. Fold the pastry again so there are four layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry across the short side into 1 inch slices. For the best results cut straight down, not back-and-forth like with bread or steak.
The very best baking results will be achieved using a silicone baking mat like a Silpat, but parchment paper will work in a pinch. To bake, take the sliced pieces and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Unfold them slightly and twist the edges down, so that the cookies make a V (this part is not the easiest thing to explain, I know - basically you’ll have one end standing up on the cut side, and it will be the point on the V that’s formed with the two ends lying flat on the the non-cut side). Bake until the tops are slightly golden (about 7 minutes) and remove from the oven. Flip them over and put back in the oven another 4 or 5 minutes or so - until the tops and sides are nicely browed and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and let cool, then eat!
At home one night with plenty of nicely marinated chicken but no pita to be found, I had an epiphany - if souvlaki is basically an undressed Greek salad with chicken on a pita, why couldn’t I eat it as a DRESSED Greek salad with chicken without a pita? And thus my new summer standby meal was born - the chicken souvlaki salad. This recipe will feed two very well and leave four wanting more (I suggest getting some baklava for dessert).
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce or 2 hearts of Romaine
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 2 Tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
Mix the marinade. Reserve half to dress the salad, and combine the other half in a zipper bag with the chicken. Marinate the chicken for 4 to 24 hours.
Grill (or saute) the marinated chicken breasts. Slice thinly. Prepare the salad vegetables. Top with the chicken and cheese, then the reserved vinaigrette. If you’re feeling really saucy, you can use tzaziki as a dressing instead of the reserved half of the vinaigrette. Or you could just use both.
How’s the weather, everyone? Summer made its debut in my neighborhood over the weekend, which means one thing: GRILLING. And lots of it. And one of the very best condiments for a nicely grilled piece of meat is definitely chimichurri. Originating in Argentina, chimichurri is a vibrantly hued sauce that is packed full of flavor, and as a bonus in the warm weather, it doesn’t require an iota of heat to make!
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
- 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add the red pepper, parsley and cilantro and process until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the cumin, salt, olive oil and vinegar. Pulse until the mixture has emulsified and the sauce is bright green. Serve immediately on whatever you just took off the grill.
Yesterday in Chicago the weather was sunny and 65… in the middle of February! It was spectacular. I was inspired by the warm weather to create something that reminded me of summer or my favorite warm weather place, the Caribbean.
The first time I ever tried coconut shrimp was at a restaurant I worked at in college. They fried them up and served with a sweet plum sauce. I absolutely loved them and ordered them almost every shift I worked. My version requires no frying and it so easy and quick to make. I also borrowed a great broiling technique from Ellie Krieger from the Foodnetwork, which works every time.
Some people say they are not fans of the texture of coconut, which I can kind of understand. A great tip for flaky coconut is to throw it in the blender or food processor before using, this helps the coconut blend in well with the breading. I did not do this as me and Husband love coconut in any form.
Prep Time : About 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (this just makes life easier)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut, I used sweetened and used a heaping 1/2 cup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 egg whites
3/4 panko crumbs (japanes style breadcrumbs, found in almost every grocery store in the Asian section)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (which is a milder chili powder)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray
One of my favorite, recent creations is a light, alternative to fried fish that is easy but still packs a ton of flavor. Panko Crusted Salmon is a great go-to meal during the week that literally takes maybe 20 minutes to prepare and broil. In this recipe, I used Norwegian Salmon, mostly because it always looks so great at the seafood counter but also because the flavor is amazing. Most fish would work with this recipe but it is perfectly matched with Salmon.
Panko is the Japanese term for bread crumbs and in my opinion creates a much crunchier, crispier crust on anything. If you are looking for a better alternative to bread crumbs, panko is by far the way to go. They are light and flaky and can be used for toppings on casseroles or even filler to crab cakes (it can really replace anything requiring bread crumbs). I love panko crusted seafood but have also used these delicious, airy crumbs to crust chicken and pork chops. Panko can absorb seasoning well (as they are rather bland alone) and don’t make foods heavy like bread crumbs usually do. Panko is perfect when you want a crunch without frying and can be found at most grocery stores and all Asian specialty stores.
Panko Crusted Salmon
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
4 Salmon Fillets (6 oz each)
Nonstick Cooking Spray
1 Tbs Rosemary chopped finely
1 Tbs Parsley chopped finely
3/4 cup panko crumbs
Salt and pepper
As a Foodnetwork addict I am constantly experimenting with great recipes from from my favorite shows. On Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello on an episode entitled “Pot luck challenge”, Jan Birnbaum, chef and restaurateur, caught my eye with an upscale, hearty mac n’ cheese.
The original recipe called for shrimp, which I was all about, but after visiting the seafood counter at Whole Foods, husband and I couldn’t resist the lobster meat (shrimp vs. lobster? no contest). So we splurged justifying that this would be our Superbowl Sunday feast.
Here is my adaptation of Jan’s recipe:
- 1 box medium shell pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tasso ham or bacon (I used bacon)
- 5 large shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, mined
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine (see review below)
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup grated fontina
- 1/2 cup grated Cheddar (I prefer mild but sharp would be great too)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 6-8 oz lobster meat cut up in good bite size chunks (we bought the precooked tub at the seafood counter)
- 2 cups gently packed spinach
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
- Hot pepper sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko, my new favorite thing)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leave
This pasta salad is one of my favorite potluck contributions. Because of the fact that the pasta has to be completely cool - at most room temperature - before assembling the salad, it’s a great dish to start at night and finish the next day. Here’s a recipe for a great Summer Pasta Salad:
- 1 Lb smallish, shaped pasta (rotini, farfalle, macaroni, anything small and easily fork-able)
- 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing (not creamy)
- 4 T Salad Supreme
- 1 12 to 14 inch cucumber or two smaller ones, peeled and seeded
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
- 4 ounces Provolone cheese (this is usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced cheese)
- 4 ounces salami (again, usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced meat, but this can also be 4 ounces from a whole salami)
I have a friend who requests one thing for his birthday every year - brownies. After a few trial and error batches with various recipes, I discovered this recipe two years ago and have never looked back - the combination of easy preparation and a texture that falls somewhere between a cake and a piece of fudge make this recipe a winner.
- 6 oz 70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
I prefer to have vegetables prepared with every dinner that I serve my family, so it is nice to come across a recipe that is easy to prepare while the entree is cooking away. True, the kids may pick and choose which veggie is their favorite, as my 4-year-old would, but I enjoy all three as I hope your family will. This recipe calls for frozen vegetables to save time, but I always love to use fresh when given the choice…up to your preference.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pkg. 10 oz. frozen corn kernels
- 1 pkg. 10 oz. frozen cut green beans
- 5 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- coarse salt and ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high, add corn and green beans, and cook about 4-6 minutes, until green beans are warmed through. Next add the thyme and spinach, seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until spinach is wilted, about 1-2 minutes, then stir in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a bright dish for added pizazz.
Seafood is not that big a thing around Gear Live’s virtual offices. And while I can’t speak for the other editors, I’ve been known to hit up the neighborhood Red Lobster solely for the biscuits. Unfortunately, the staff at the ol’ RL didn’t take kindly on a person who goes in alone and has nothing but biscuits, a side salad and water. That left me trying to recreate the little starchy wonders at home.
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups of baking mix (I use Bisquick)
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
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