Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Unrecipe of the Week: Zucchini Pasta with Shrimp

July 30, 2014

On a summer evening, we’re looking for a meal that has it all: bountiful seasonal produce, great flavors and textures, and one that won’t leave us feeling overly full. When it doesn’t involve too much slaving over a hot stove, or heating up the house with the oven, it’s an added bonus.

Saturday night’s dinner fit the bill. Using zucchini as a base, with ripe tomatoes and fresh basil blanketing fresh Florida shrimp, it was as tasty as it was easy to prepare.

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Zucchini Pasta and Shrimp with Tomato Sauce and Basil Oil

For the “pasta”:

Using a spiralizer, cut 2 zucchini into noodles and set aside.

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Saute 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil. Add fresh tomatoes ( I prefer them peeled, but it isn’t necessary) cut into chunks, and a few fresh basil leaves. Season with salt and black pepper, and cook on a low heat until the tomatoes start to melt. Stir often until it is the consistency of a thick, chunky sauce. Add the zucchini noodles, and cook, tossing, for just a couple of minutes until the zucchini is cooked, but still crisp, and completely covered in the tomato sauce.

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For the shrimp:

Peel and devein the shrimp. Spread out on towels after rinsing to eliminate any extra moisture.

In the meantime, place a clove or two of garlic and a large handful of basil leaves into the work bowl of a food processor or blender and process until it is finely minced. With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil until the mixture emulsifies.

Place the shrimp on a cookie sheet, and brush them with the basil mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil or grill them for a couple of minutes until pink and opaque. Conversely, they can be sautéed in olive oil, adding the basil mixture at the end and coating the shrimp thoroughly.
Add them to the zucchini noodle mixture and toss. Serve in shallow bowls and enjoy!

photos: Indigo Jones

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Thanksgiving Menu

November 25, 2013

We are on the home stretch of Thanksgiving planning, and after a whirlwind month of working, I finally got around to taking my own advice and made my Thanksgiving game plan. Using mostly tried and true recipes, which are contemporary twists on traditional fare, here is my menu:Many of these recipes have been posted before, so just click on the link to take you there!

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Thanksgiving Dinner 2013:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche

Cheddar Corn Muffins with Jalapeno Butter

Arugula, Radicchio and Fennel Salad with Toasted Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette

Garlic and Herb Roasted Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

Bread and Vegetable Stuffing, Cooked 2 Ways

Hot Cranberry and Apple Compote ( we call it Cranberry Jones!)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Banana Puree with Pecan Crumble

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Chocolate Marscapone Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

For a tutorial on making the perfect pie crust, click here.

Stay tuned this week, as we countdown the days until Thanksgiving, with cooking tips and recipes for the big day.

Photo: Glasshouse Images ( that’s actually our turkey made last Thanksgiving!)

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fish Tacos

August 21, 2013

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Here is a light, summery variation on tacos. They are simple and healthy, and rely on fresh, zesty flavors, rather than the heavy beans, sour cream and cheese often found in the meat variety. The fish is marinated, and they are served with a simple slaw and diced vegetables. A typical “unrecipe”, they are easily customizable to suit your tastes.

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For the fish:

Marinate any white fish (Cod, flounder or tilapia for example. I used tilapia ) in the juice of 2-3 limes, a tablespoon or two of oil, a clove of garlic finely chopped, and cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.  Coat the fish and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour or two. If you try to marinate it too long, the citrus may cause it fall apart.

Grill or broil the fish until cooked through. Set aside.

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For the slaw:

Finely shred 1 napa cabbage and chop a big handful of cilantro. Toss with a little lime juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

You can add a bit of chopped red onion to the slaw, but I chose to serve them on the side, since I dislike raw onions so much!

Dice avocado, and fresh tomatoes for additional fillings, or use guacamole and salsa if you prefer.

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To serve:
Heat flour or soft corn tortillas and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
Place a piece of the fish on the taco, add some slaw, and avocado, and tomatoes, sprinkle it with a little hot sauce, roll it up, and enjoy!!
If you are feeling ambitious, try our recipe for fresh flour tortillas here:

The highlight of our meal was someone seeing these shots on instagram, and running over to join us for dinner!

photos: indigo jones instagram

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fried Chicken

June 17, 2013

It was Father’s Day, and bandaged hand or not, I wanted to make a special dinner to celebrate. I usually shy away from fried foods…partially because of the health aspect, but more because of the mess. I have a commercial stove and even vigorously boiling water leaves spatters. The kitchen is open to the rest of our loft, and the thought of all of my guests hanging out in the kitchen while I hover over a pan of sizzling hot oil doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Tonight however, I persevered. I poked around on all of my favorite websites, looking for tips for the perfect fried chicken. Soaking overnight in buttermilk seemed to be a commonality. Many recommended adding a little baking powder to the flour mixture for a little extra crunch. Given my recent run of mishaps, most of my Facebook friends suggested ordering out, or baking it in the oven to avoid another trip to the burn unit. Instead, I donned gloves, put on an apron and some sleeves, and went for it.

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Fried Chicken:

Soak the chicken for several hours, or overnight in buttermilk, liberally seasoned with some salt and pepper.

Prior to frying, roll the chicken pieces, still coated in buttermilk, in a large bowl of flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, a tablespoon or so of baking powder, garlic powder,paprika and cayenne pepper to taste. Lay the chicken pieces out on a parchment or waxed paper covered baking sheet and return to the refrigerator until ready to be fried.

Place about 1” of vegetable oil in a large pan. The higher the sides of the pan, the less spattering there will be. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees and add the chicken, skin side down. Work in batches, and leave ample room between the pieces. Cook covered for about 7 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and cook uncovered for about 7 minutes. The time will vary depending on the size of the pieces. You want to cook it through, but avoid burning the outside. The drumsticks cooked faster than the breasts due to size, but generally dark meat takes a little longer than white.

Drain on paper towels. Transfer the cooked pieces to a rack placed on top of a baking sheet, and place it in the oven to keep warm. The rack allows air to circulate and keeps the chicken crispy. If you are unsure if the chicken is cooked through, leave it in the oven to finish cooking.

Serve and enjoy!!!

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I served ours with sweet and spicy corn salsa with pancetta, previously posted here.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Cod in Spicy Tomato Broth with Calamari

May 13, 2013

I haven’t been posting many (un) recipes lately. I have been busy with work and other commitments, and  I have been falling back on my old standbys rather than creating new ones. This weekend, I was committed to trying something different.

We had a violent storm rip through the city on Saturday afternoon, and when the thunder, lightening and torrential rains subsided, I headed out pick up some ingredients for dinner. I ran into a friend along the way, who decided to accompany me on a trip through Chelsea Market, making the journey much more fun.

Inspired by a recipe from Andrew Carmellini, I began foraging through the market.

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First stop, the newly renovated Lobster Place. Oh how I missed my fabulous seafood market during the several months they were closed! It has finally reopened, with an expanded space, immense selection and an attached restaurant.

It was there that I picked up fresh cod filets, cleaned squid and a small bottle of clam juice.

Next stop: The Manhattan Fruit Exchange for fresh produce. I added a red bell pepper, a bunch of basil and some baby arugula to my stash, and moved on.

My final stop was Rana, where I bought some homemade fettuccini to use as a base for my concoction.

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The result?

Oven Braised Cod in Spicy Tomato Broth with Calamari

In a large sauté pan, (with a lid) sauté some thinly sliced garlic in olive oil. Add a red bell pepper sliced into thin strips. Toss in some hot red pepper flakes, and add about a ½ cup of dry white wine. Bring it to a boil and add about a cup of clam juice and 2 cups of marinara sauce. At this point, it’s ok to use a simple marinara sauce from a jar if you don’t want to take the time to prepare your own.

Simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes, until the red pepper softens. If the sauce starts to get too thick, add a little more wine or clam juice. Pour it into the blender, and puree until smooth. *

Season the cod filets with salt and pepper and place them in the sauté pan. Pour the tomato broth over the fish, cover it, and cook it in a 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or so.

When the fish is done, carefully remove it from the pan, and set aside, covering it to keep warm.

Return the pan to the stove, and add the calamari (squid) cut into rings.. Simmer lightly for 2 or 3 minutes until they are fully cooked. Avoid boiling them, as they will get rubbery. Add some chopped basil and arugula to the pan and mix thoroughly.

To serve: Place the cooked fettuccini into pasta bowls. Place a fish filet on top of the pasta, and pour a generous amount of the sauce and calamari over the fish.

Make sure you have a spoon, or a big piece of crusty bread on hand, because you will want to lap up every last bit of that rich, spicy sauce!

Remember, this is an unrecipe. If you can’t find fresh calamari, try rock shrimp, bay scallops or clams instead. Or be adventurous, and use a little of each!
Even simpler, just cook the fish and use the flavorful sauce on it’s own, without the added seafood. It will still be delicious! If you choose to use a bottled sauce, you may need to adjust your seasonings a bit. If the sauce already has a lot of garlic, you may not want to add anymore at all.

Enjoy!

* Be careful when blending hot liquids! Place a kitchen towel over the top of the blender, and use a few cautious pulses to get started. You only need to experience the explosion of scalding hot liquids when the top blows off the blender once, to learn to practice caution.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Easter-over

March 30, 2013

Tonight we are celebrating “Easter-over” a hybrid of Easter, Passover and a celebration of spring. It’s an opportunity to indulge in the flavors and traditions of the holidays, and the diversity of the guests. The rules are simple: it’s my made up holiday,and  it’s appropriate to serve anything I feel like making, within the confines of the season and the holidays. That could mean matzoh balls and pork chops, or gefilte fish and fried chicken, but it’s not either one of those.
This year, I have mixed it up, and for those of you who follow us on Facebook, or Instagram, you have been getting hints of things to come.

Here are a few “works in progress”, as our Easter-over feast comes together:

A beautiful mess of food scraps. What were they from?

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Personally, I loathe raw, red onions, and will surgically remove them from my food if they are there. Sometimes, a recipe really needs a little jolt, and these do the job well. They look pretty, don’t they?

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Nothing says spring like daffodils and asparagus!

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Apples, walnuts, honey, cinnamon….what could this be?

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Yum,chocolate! That’s a little almond flour you see. This one just happens to be gluten free and passover approved!

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Maybe a little white chocolate bourbon cream to put on top would be nice…

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Spring lamb is synonymous with the season. This one has a rosemary,garlic coating to keep it moist and flavorful. The meat is sitting on a bed of baby fingerling potatoes, which should get crisp and tender as the lamb cooks.

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Did we get you hungry yet? If you’re in the neighborhood, dinner is at 7!

photos by indigo-jones.

The Actual Diet Riot Dinner Pary

December 30, 2012

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Last night I hosted a dinner for 25 adults and children. I think I nailed the “diet riot” pretty well. By dessert time, even the gluten frees and calorie counters succumbed to platters of yummy bar cookies! Everyone had their favorite dishes to eat, and a few people enjoyed sampling it all.

Everything but a couple of the desserts were made the day of the party, attesting to the fact that simple, fresh and flavorful is always better than overly complicated  heavy fare.

Almost all of the recipes came from my Indigo Jones Unrecipe Cookbook, and are previously posted on the site where *.

We started with small nibbles:

*Parmesan Shortbread Crisps

*White Bean Dip with a choice of pita chips or baby carrots

Assorted Olives

*Spiced Nuts

For dinner, we served:

*Baby Arugula, Radicchio and Fennel Salad with Toasted Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette

*Herb Roasted Salmon

*Sticky Asian Chicken Wings

Marinated Pork Loin

*Brown rice, with Corn, Shallots and Fresh Mint

Roasted Green Beans

Assorted Rolls

Dessert was an assortment of bar cookies:

Chocolate Marble Cheesecake Brownies, Chocolate Chip Blondies, Pecan Toffee Bars, and Lemon Bars.

I had options for the gluten free, chicken averse, sauce avoiders, vegetable haters, and fish phobics. Weight watchers, cholesterol controllers, vegetarians, and the generally fussy were covered as well (I hope). Although some of the pickiest eaters found only 1 or 2 items to try, nobody went hungry; score!

The casual dinner went on until 2 a.m. so we can assume it was a success!

I hope all of your celebrations are happy ones. Enjoy!

Unrecipe of the Week: The Salvage Operation

December 17, 2012

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Last night, I finally got around to assessing the vegetable situation in my refrigerators. I tossed out an entire garbage bag filled with stalks of wilted Brussels sprouts, rotting greens and herbs; some too far gone to identify. I did manage to salvage some things, and set about using up what I could.

I roasted 2 large bunches of golden beets, and trimmed them up for salads.

I found 4 tiny heads of cauliflower, and a large head of garlic.
Inspired by a recipe I saw, I seized the opportunity to create a dish to put it good use. I pureed the cauliflower for a base on which to scatter sautéed bay scallops and roasted cauliflower florets. It was delicious, and surprisingly hearty.

Sautéed Bay Scallops with Cauliflower Two Ways:

For the cauliflower:
Separate cauliflower into florets and divide it in half.

For the roasted portion:

Toss the florets in olive oil, sea salt and a little black pepper and roast in a hot oven for about 20 -30 minutes until soft and golden brown. For the last 5-7 minutes of roasting, toss in some pignoli nuts.

For the pureed portion:

Boil the florets in water for about 20 minutes until soft. Add a little butter, salt and pepper, and puree until smooth.

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For the scallops:

Heat some olive oil and a little butter in a pan until the butter is melted. Add 2 cloves of diced garlic and stir. Add the scallops to the pan in a single row and let them start to caramelize before turning them. You can do this in batches if necessary. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Remove the scallops, and add a little white wine or lemon juice to deglaze the pan.

To assemble:

Place a large dollop of cauliflower puree on the plate.
Spoon the scallops over the puree. Sprinkle the roasted cauliflower and pignoli nuts around the scallops. Pour the remaining pan juices over the scallops. Garnish with finely chopped parsley or the fresh herbs of your choice.

Enjoy!

Now, what to do with the 2 heads of cabbage I have left…

Unrecipe of the Week

November 26, 2012

My produce bin was filled with an eclectic array of root vegetables. I had turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and radishes. I also had some fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving. As a much needed break from the sweetness and heaviness of holiday side dishes,this one was a winner. So easy, and so clean, I ended up eating this as my meal!

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Use any combination of root vegetables including: potatoes,sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, onions, garlic, shallots etc.

I used fresh thyme, but any herbs would work as well.

Cut root vegetables into chunks. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Stir once after about 25 minutes or so.

The vegetables will get a brown, slightly caramelized tinge to them.

Enjoy!!!

CSA Tuesday + Unrecipe Round-Up

November 21, 2012

Our weekly CSA provided lots of Thanksgiving ingredients. We got sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes, onions, a giant pumpkin and cilantro.

I have already started preparing our Thanksgiving meal!

Our weekly list from fresh from the farm:

Pumpkin pie,anyone?

The baskets of produce ready to be distributed:

Here are a  few of our previously published favorite Thanksgiving “unrecipes:” Search the site for even more ideas!

Pumpkin Pie:

http://indigo-jones.com/2011/11/23/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-5/

Roasted Garlic and Herb Paste for the Turkey:

http://indigo-jones.com/2010/11/22/unrecipe-of-the-week-thanksgiving-edition-2/

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes: no marshmallows for me!!

http://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/24/unrecipe-of-the-weekthanksgiving-edition/

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy!

Hot Cranberry Jones:

http://indigo-jones.com/2009/11/05/unrecipe-of-the-week-14/

 


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