Monday, December 23, 2013

Seafood Stew (no potatoes)

Last week, over at my Red or Green? blog, I told the story of how my family serves Mexican food every Christmas eve. This has been going on for thirty years. Before that we always had Italian food. We are spending this Christmas at our home in Taos, New Mexico and...since I eat New Mexican food a couple times a week here...I am bringing back the Italian food tradition for just this year.

Italians traditionally eat seafood on Christmas eve. The Feast of the Seven Fishes, (festa dei sette pesci), as it is called is usually a huge celebration with multi-courses  featuring seafood. This is a tradition symbolizing the breaking of the fast where Roman Catholics used to "give up" meat prior to celebrations. This celebration commemorates the wait, the Vigilia di Natale, for the midnight birth of the baby Jesus. (wikipedia)

This stew contains 3 types of seafood; shrimp, cod and halibut or flounder. Feel free to add or substitute your favorite fish. Lobster, mussels, clams and any type firm white fish would work well. And, because I am not a fan of potatoes in a red sauce based fish stew, I used fennel and kale instead. I really like the result.

The rest of my Christmas eve menu will include mussels and clams in garlic broth, seafood salad (this will equal my "seven" types of fish) and a vegetarian pasta dish for the non-seafood eaters. I am really looking forward to this meal. Oh, FYI, this stew is delicious year round as a first course or main dish. Serve with the toasted bread (bruschetta) & a green salad and dinner is ready. Enjoy!

Seafood Stew (no potatoes)
(serves 4)

8 oz fresh shrimp (peeled & deveined)
8 oz fresh cod fillets
8 oz fresh skinless halibut or flounder fillets
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb (use the white bulb, the green stalks and the feathery ferny tops), chopped. Reserve 1 tbsp chopped ferny tops
4 garlic cloves, peeled. Chop 3 cloves, leave 1 whole
2 cups fish stock, homemade or excellent quality purchased
1 cup dry white wine
26.46 oz box Italian chopped plum tomatoes (I like the Pomi brand)
1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp sweet Spanish paprika
1/2-1 tsp dried red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you want)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
sourdough or whole wheat baguette, sliced

Place the fish and shrimp on a rimmed dish, like a pie plate. Season with 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt.

Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tbsp olive oil and the onion and fennel. Saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook an additional minute. Add fish stock, wine, tomatoes, kale, paprika, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Raise heat to medium. Add seafood to stockpot, stir and cook for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp turns pink and fish is just cooked through. Taste broth and adjust seasonings if desired.

Place bread on baking sheet and place under broiler. Cook on both sides. Remove from oven and immediately rub whole peeled garlic clove over each slice. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Serve stew in large soup/stew bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and top with a pinch of the chopped fennel tops. Pass the bread to dip in the flavorful broth.
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Merry Christmas everyone!
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes & Pesto

We are doing holiday side dishes this week at Food Network's Fall Fest and I think this dish fits the bill perfectly. Green Beans. Red Tomatoes. Green Pesto. White Onions. The dish looks like Christmas! And, more importantly, it tastes amazing. I love to serve alongside roasted beef tenderloin or a crown roast of pork and garlic smashed potatoes for an elegant and easy holiday meal.

These green beans are delicious year round. In winter I use best quality organic canned tomatoes. I make fresh basil pesto all summer and keep in the freezer. I also blanch fresh green beans to use throughout the year. Try this recipe in summer with fresh ingredients or use the suggestions I provided for winter. If you can't find local fresh pesto in winter in your area you can use your favorite pesto recipe and substitute spinach, kale or Italian parsley for the basil.
The pesto and tomato sauce is so good that I often serve these beans for lunch with a loaf of toasted sourdough bread made into bruschetta. The beans...the bread dipped into the sauce...wonderful...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes & Pesto
1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 white onion
2 cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
pinch dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil pesto, your favorite purchased brand or homemade
1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp shredded parmigiano reggiano
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tbsp salt and the beans. Cook until crisp tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain beans, add back to the pot and cover to keep warm.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and onions. Saute for 3 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, small pinch each salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the beans to the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Raise heat to medium and cook beans, uncovered,  for 3-4 minutes or until hot. Stir in the pesto. Mound beans on serving platter. Top with pine nuts and cheese and serve immediately.

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It is "Produce Related Holiday Side Dish" week at Food Network's Fall fest. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite holiday side dish recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this post. 
Feed Me Phoebe: Stir-Fried Collard Greens with Ginger and Jalapeno
The Heritage Cook: 
Sweet & Lightly Spicy Corn Pudding
The Lemon Bowl: 
Sweet Potato and Corn Hash
Jeanette's Healthy Living: 
Clean Eating Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Cranberry Apple Chutney
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Spices
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Cranberry-Pistachio Pilaf
Taste with the Eyes: 
Fresh Green Beans, Mexican-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Pesto
Red or Green? 
Green Chile Pork Stew (v2) and Tamales 
Virtually Homemade: 
Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate
Domesticate Me: 
Farro Risotto with Prosciutto, Parmesan and Brussels Sprouts
The Sensitive Epicure: 
Butter Dipped Radishes with Sea Salt
Best Holiday Dressing
FN Dish: 
No-Brainer Holiday Sides

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Italian Broccoli with Garlic, Chilies & Parmigiano Reggiano

Spicy, garlicky, buttery olive oil and a hint of sweetness from balsamic good does that sound added to crisp-tender steamed broccoli?  I love this as a side dish, tossed into pasta, topping a pizza or served with a poached egg & garlic toast for brunch.  Whichever you choose, I can promise you...this broccoli is delicious!

Italian Broccoli with Garlic, Chilies & Parmigiano Reggiano
(serves 4)

1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1-2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt
black pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese

Add 2 inches of water to a large pot. Bring to a boil. Place broccoli in a steamer basket or metal colander, place on top of the boiling water, cover and steam for 4 minutes.  Broccoli should be crisp tender. Remove from heat and place steamer basket in large bowl of iced water. Allow broccoli to cool.

Meanwhile, warm large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and garlic slices to pan. Saute for 2 minutes until garlic is softened but not browned. Drain broccoli and add to skillet. Add pinch each salt and pepper, along with dried red pepper flakes (start with 1 tsp, add more if you like it very spicy). Saute broccoli 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot. Add balsamic vinegar, stir and remove from heat. Place on serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle cheese over top. Serve hot or warm.

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Other broccoli recipes you may enjoy:

It is "broccoli" week at Food Network's Fall fest. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite broccoli recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this post.  
The Lemon Bowl: Roasted Broccoli with Hoisin Dipping Sauce
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Garlicky Cheesy Broccoli Gratin
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Italian Broccoli with Garlic, Chiles and Parmigiano Reggiano
Red or Green: Szechuan Broccoli and Chicken
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon
Dishing: Broccoli Soup
Weelicious: Broccoli Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Broccoli and Bell Pepper Soup
The Sensitive Epicure: Pureed Broccoli with Garlic
Domesticate Me: Roasted Broccoli, Chicken and Cheddar Quinoa Bake
Dishin & Dishes: Broccoli Garlic Pancetta Quiche
FN Dish: When Broccoli Meets Cheddar

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Slices with Maple Syrup

My friend Shera gave me some small sugar pumpkins from her garden. My favorite way to prepare fresh pumpkin is not making pie (although I love pumpkin pie!) but roasting. I used to carefully peel the pumpkins before cooking but I recently learned that this is not necessary. The skin softens and kind of melts into the flesh after a good long roast. This saves a step...adds fiber to the dish...and adds a delicious earthiness to whatever else you are serving.

Today I roasted pumpkin with tart apples and added toasted walnuts and a spiced maple syrup sauce to the warm vegetables. Delicious! Perfect as a side dish with roast chicken or pork chops. Lovely served on top of greens or chopped and added to pizza or pasta with gorgonzola cheese. I think this dish would be a wonderful addition to Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner. Thoughts? Enjoy...

Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Slices with Maple Syrup
1 small sugar pumpkin, about 3 1/2 to 4 lbs
3 green apples (preferably Granny Smith), cored cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup unsalted walnut halves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half. Cut off the stem and discard. Scrape out the seeds and stringy fibers. (I use a heavy spoon or ice cream scoop for this). Reserve the seeds and roast later for pepitas. Place each half cut side down and carefully cut the pumpkin into wedges about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the wedges in half width wise. Place on prepared baking sheets and drizzle with about 2 tbsp olive oil for each pan. Sprinkle with a tsp each salt and pepper for each pan and roast in oven for 30 minutes. Add the apple slices to the pans and roast an additional 20-30 minutes. The pumpkin and apples should be soft and golden brown in spots. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the walnut halves to a dry skillet. Toast over medium high heat just until nuts start to turn golden brown, stirring frequently. (When you begin to smell the nuts, they are probably ready.) Remove from heat, cool slightly, and coarsely chop.

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, small pinch of salt, maple syrup and 1/4 cup olive oil to small skillet used for nuts. Warm over low heat, stirring to combine.  Set aside.

Place pumpkin and apples on large serving platter. Scatter nuts over top.  Pour maple syrup mixture over pumpkin mixture coating evenly.  Serve hot or warm.

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Other winter squash recipes you may enjoy:

It is "Winter Squash" week at Food Network's Fall fest. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite winter squash recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this post. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Baked Acorn Squash with Maple-Siracha Glaze
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Thai Red Curry Chicken with Winter Squash
The Lemon Bowl: Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Winter Squash
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Provencal Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Chickpeas
Weelicious: Cinnamon Roast Butternut Squash
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Squash Rigatoni
Blue Apron Blog: Acorn Squash Tempura Tacos
Taste With The Eyes: A Hearty Tomato Soup with Sausage and Spaghetti Squash
Devour: Winter Squash Macaroni and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Roasted Acorn Squash Crescents with Sage Pecan Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Pumpkin & Apple Slices with Maple Syrup
Red or Green: Butternut Squash Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Cayenne
Virtually Homemade: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Basil Walnut Pesto
Domesticate Me: Chipotle Pork Tenderloin and Butternut Squash Tacos
Daily*Dishin: Kahlua Baked Acorn Squash
FN Dish: Comforting Winter Squash Sides

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog"California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Smashed Potato Tacos with Guacamole & Pico di Gallo

Southern California is flooded with "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurants called Taquerias. Almost all have amazing, delicious, fresh food which is made to order for either eat in or take-away. Whenever I visit my family in So Cal I always need a "Mexican food fix".  One of my favorite dishes to order is potato tacos. (Tacos de Papa). 

Seasoned potatoes stuffed in a fried corn tortilla with your favorite toppings, this simple and easy dish is surprisingly delicious.  You can make them using freshly prepared mashed potatoes or simply reheat leftovers. Some people fry the potato-filled tortillas to create what I am used to calling a taquito or flauta. My favorite restaurant fries the tortillas first and then fills with the mashed potato mixture. That is how I am preparing them today.

What a perfect way to use up leftover smashed or mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner. As a bonus, I have included recipes for smashed potatoes and for roasted garlic paste...just in case you are still planning your T-day menu.

A couple of tacos make a wonderful lunch. I serve with beans and posole for a hearty dinner.  Make extra salsa & guacamole...have plenty of corn tortilla chips, make a pitcher of margaritas and you have a party! Maybe a new tradition for the day after Thanksgiving? 

Smashed Potato Tacos with Guacamole & Pico di Gallo
(serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes ( cut in quarters) do not peel
1/2 cup milk (warmed either in pan on stovetop or in microwave)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp roasted garlic paste (see below)
grey salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

*8 organic taco shells, follow directions on package
guacamole recipe
pico di gallo recipe
shredded lettuce
diced white onions
shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Add potatoes to a large pot of salted water. (salt the water like you would for pasta). Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain the potatoes and add back to the now empty pot. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until potatoes and pot are dry (stir continuously to prevent potatoes from sticking). Turn heat to low and add warm milk and olive oil to potatoes and mash using a potato masher. The potatoes will be lumpy due to the skins, so check to ensure milk and olive oil are thoroughly incorporated into potatoes. Add garlic paste and salt/pepper to taste... additional milk may be added if potatoes are too dry. Serve immediately.

Roasted Garlic Paste
You can make this with as many heads of garlic as you wish...this no-recipe recipe is as follows:

With a sharp knife, cut off the very top of each head of should just see the very tip of the garlic cloves after cutting. Remove the first layer or two of papery garlic skin from the garlic head...not too much, you want the garlic cloves to remain attached. Place the garlic root side down in a small ovenproof pan or baking dish, you want the garlic to fit tightly in the pan, the pan size will depend on the number of garlic heads you are roasting. Make more than you need. This paste will last a few days and you will use it in everything! Drizzle cut side of garlic with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt (I like grey salt) and freshly ground pepper. Cover pan tightly with foil and roast in a 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Garlic should be very tender. Remove foil, drizzle with additional olive oil and continue roasting for 10 minutes more.

At this point you can squeeze the garlic from the cloves directly onto toasted french or sourdough bread which is lovely...or you can squeeze all the garlic into a small bowl, mash with a wooden spoon and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil to create a smooth paste. Taste and add additional salt/pepper if desired. Garlic paste can be stirred into your smashed potatoes, added to toasted bread, added to roasted or steamed vegetables, stirred into sauces...etc. Once you taste it you will be inspired to add it to almost everything!

*Freshly fried corn tortillas are wonderful, but to make this dish even easier, I often use organic packaged taco shells.  My favorite brand is  organic Bearitos and/or organic Whole Foods

It is "Favorite Thanksgiving leftovers" week at Food Network's Fall fest. Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends.  Have a favorite Thanksgiving leftovers recipe of your own? Please share in the comments section of this post.

Jeanette's Healthy Living: Layered Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole {30+ Healthy Leftover Turkey Recipes}
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Smashed Potato Tacos with Guacamole & Pico di Gallo
Red or Green: Spiced Winter Squash Muffins 
Virtually Homemade: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Homemade Applesauce
Feed Me Phoebe: Turkey Noodle Soup with Ginger and Cilantro
Weelicious: Turkey Shepherd's Pot Pie
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Cabbage Roll Stuffed Cabbage with Turkey
Domesticate Me: Mashed Potato Pancakes with Goat Cheese and Chives
The Sensitive Epicure: Cranberry Almond Pancakes with Maple Bourbon Cranberry Syrup (Gluten-Free)
Dishin & Dishes: Turkey Quesadillas with Spicy Cranberry Cream 
FN Dish: 10 Ways to Reinvent Thanksgiving Leftovers

This is my last post before Thanksgiving.  I want to take a minute to thank all of you for reading and supporting this blog.  What a terrific group. I am very grateful for all of you!
napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog"California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.