Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yiayia sauce

Okay, so I have to admit this is one of my all time favorite comfort foods, and I have debated whether or not to post this. I'm pretty sure there is no health benefit to this sauce at all, but boy is it delicious. My grandmother used to make this every time we had dinner at her house when I was younger. For a while it was the only way I ate pasta and it took my mom FOREVER to make this recipe successfully, which is funny because it's literally 2 ingredients but after my grandmother passed we were yiayia sauce-less for while. Come to find out, it is all about the cheese.

Butter (salted, stick form is the best)
grated Pecorino Romano cheese (and I mean it!, unless you want to be totally unsuccessful grated parmesan as my mom and I did for years, only to end up with a burnt disc of oily cheese bits)
Ziti with lines

For one pound of pasta, melt about 5 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted and a little bubbly add in about 4 tablespoons of grated Pecorino Romano cheese. I have never measured it out, but by eye the cheese should cover the bottom of the pot generously. Add as much or as little as you want, just make sure if that if you are going for cheesier that you do not add more cheese than butter so that it becomes a pasty goo.

Stir with a fork and let come to a simmer.. It will bubble and foam up, if it gets too foamy, lower the heat a bit. Stir every minute or so with a fork so the cheese doesn't stick and form a disc. Simmer until the cheese is deep dark brown and butter is browned.

Serve immediatly over pasta (ziti if you want to be classic). It's nostalgic, and super yummy but a "sometimes food" as Cookie Monster would say. Yiayia would say if it's what you want, who cares, eat it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I have finally discovered- FISH!

So last week , my lovely roommate cooked me tilapia- my first fish endeavor since my dad told me haddock was chicken when I was younger. Needless to say, I know my chicken well and haddock is NOT chicken. This completely turned me off from fish, and boy have I been missing out! I'm sticking to the white flaky fillets for now, but perhaps someone will soon introduce me to the wonders of a tuna steak, and maybe even one day.... sushi....

Until then, here is a recipe I made up tonight after watching my roomie make the tilapia. It's SUPER simple!

I also had my first fish market fiasco, basically getting ridiculed for asking for tilapia... I guess it's controversial in the fish world. I couldn't decipher pricing, and I didn't know how much would serve how many... I got about 3/4 of a pound of cod which will serve 2-3.

This is guaranteed to turn anyone into a fish "enjoyer" ( I won't say lover.. yet)

Spicy Baked Fish

1 pound white fish fillet(s) (ie. tilapia, cod, haddock)
10-12 Ritz crackers (crushed)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine (softened)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon.. set this aside to squeeze on top after its done baking

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine crushed crackers, softened (not melted) butter, chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper until the spices and butter have combined with the crackers to make a wet sand-like mixture. Place fillet(s) on a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Take cracker mixture and press it gently on the whole top surface of the fish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque and flaky.

Serve with lemon wedges, wild rice, and steamed vegetables

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kale Pesto

I had kale pesto last summer when I went to visit my sister in NJ, so props to you Cheryl!
This recipe lasts a long time! I freeze about 2/3 in ice cube trays, and use the remainder to toss with pasta, eggs or chicken.


1 big bunch of kale (it's ridiculously cheap!)
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil, whatever you can get your hands on- I've had it will just a few leaves and its still so good
5-6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts, or other nut like almond or walnuts
1/4 cup grated cheese, either parmesan or romano
Olive oil

Over low heat in a small frying pan, toast nuts for 3-5 minutes until they are fragrant and lightly brown (you'll need to toss them periodically), set aside.

In a food processor or blender, pulse kale and basil until it is finely chopped. Add peeled garlic pine nuts, and cheese. Pulse until well combined. Slowly add the olive oil at low speed until it holds together without being too thinned out or oily.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss with hot pasta and a drizzle of olive oil. It's also wicked good on eggs, chicken, or sandwiches.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Easy Oven Fries

Tonight, we had what I would consider the best oven fries I've made yet! This is a very basic and flexible recipe, use whatever you have on hand.

Potatoes (I've used both Yukon Gold and Baking)..
**Generally I do 1 potato per person, unless they are smaller then I will add in one or two extra
Olive Oil
Garlic (minced, 2 cloves per potato)
Dried Herbs and Spices
**Here are some suggestions, choose one or more:
Chili Powder (1 tablespoon)
Paprika (.5 - 1 tablesppon)
Italian Seasoning/Basil/Oregano (1 tablespoon)
Onion Powder (1 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Cut the potatoes lengthwise into thirds, then cut each one into thirds again to make 1/2 inch thick segments

In a microwave safe dish, toss the potatoes in a drizzling of olive oil and cover with plastic wrap

Microwave for about 6-8 minutes ( It's easier to do 3 minutes at a time and stir them in between.. I just hit "potato" on my microwave and did this about 3 times) To know when they are ready, use a fork to gently press into one, if it goes in easily, they are ready .. (this is called "fork tender")

While the potatoes are cooking, combine garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a bowl. Use about 1 tablespoon of olive oil per serving, but no more than 5.. otherwise you'll have soggy fries!

Toss the potatoes with the garlic/oil mixture.

Transfer to a cookie sheet so that the potatoes are in a single layer (it may take 2 separate pans!)

Cook in the oven at 450 for about 30 minutes or until they are brown and crispy. Turn the potatoes over halfway through so they cook evenly

If you feel REALLY daring- try adding some shredded cheese during the last 5 minutes of cooking