Sunday, September 30, 2012

Roasted Pears with Honey and Nuts

Saturday was all about food for us.  We took off for the Dekalb Farmers Market
to go grocery shopping.  The traffic on the highway was terrible but we were determined.
After arriving home and unpacking we sat down to a delicious pulled pork and carmelized onions sandwich - YUM!  The fresh market rolls made it even better. 

A little reading, errands and chores and then on to more cooking.
We made homemade fettucine and pesto for dinner which I will write about soon.
For dessert I made roasted pears with honey and nuts.  I had a few recipes for roasted
pears marked and after looking through them I decided to combine them together to come
up with this recipe.

Roasted Pears with Honey and Nuts
4 pears, peeled, sliced in half and cored
1-2 Tbs. butter
1 cup sweet white wine
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup cashews
1/4 cup cranraisins

Start by peeling the pears, slicing them in half and coring them.  Take a medium glass
baking dish and rub the sides and bottom of the dish with butter.  Place the pears
in the baking dish face cored side down. Drizzle honey over the pears (about 1/4 cup).  Pour a cup of sweet white wine over the pears.   Bake the pears in the oven for about 40 -45 minutes on 375 turning the pears over half way through the baking ( cook until tender). For the last five minutes I turned up the heat to 450 to carmelized the edges of the pears a little.   While the pears bake I toasted my sliced almonds and cashews in pan with a small amount of butter.  I sprinkled a little sugar over the nuts and then took them out of the pan and set them aside for later.   Once the pears were tender I placed them in serving dishes, reserving the juices in the baking dish.  I place the juices in small sauce pan on the stove.  I added just a little more honey and a pinch of nutmeg and sugar to the juices.  I cooked this on high until it thickened a little.  I poured this over the pears and then topped them with the nuts and cranraisins.

This dessert is delicious and beautiful.  The flavors are amazing !

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roasted Shimp and Orzo

I am feeling extremely grateful right now because my husband cooked dinner several times this week.  I left out the recipes, went to work and came home to a prepared meal.  It was so great!

Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
adapted from Food Network

Kosher salt

Good olive oil

3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

Freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts

1 cup chopped fresh dill

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced

1/2 cup small-diced red onion

3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Be very careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

* We did not have Orzo so we used a very small pasta which worked just as well in my opinion.
I really enjoyed this dish.  Love, love the lemon, dill and shrimp combination.    

Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Lemon-Chive Cream

I hope you are not judging me because you noticed that it has been weeks since my last post.  :(
We have been very busy but with good things.  You never need to worry though because cooking and eating is always happening here at our house.

This recipe for Corn Cakes with Smoked Salmon came from
Cooking Light.
1/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
 1 1/4 cups fresh corn kernels, divided (about 3 ears)
 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
12 thin slices cold-smoked salmon (about 6 ounces)


1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl; chill.

2. Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a medium bowl. Combine 1 cup corn kernels, buttermilk, butter, and egg in a blender; process until coarsely pureed. Add pureed corn mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in remaining 1/4 cup corn.

3. Pour about 2-3 tablespoons batter per pancake onto a hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet; spread gently with a spatula. Cook 3 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Arrange 2 pancakes on each of 6 plates; top each pancake with 1 slice salmon and 1 teaspoon lemon-chive cream.    
I have to admit that I liked this dish more than I thought I would. I did not have fresh corn when I started to make this recipe.  I used frozen white, sweet corn.  This is a savory with a wonderful blend of flavors.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Broiled Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes

I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Labor Day.
We have spent the weekend catching up with old
friends which was so nice!

We did our market shop this weekend and so
I have so many good choices to make for dinner.
This one is a new recipe that came out of
an Italian Step by Step cookbook.  I changed a few
of the ingredients and added the roasted tomatoes to
top of the dish.   

Broiled Polenta wtih Fennel Seeds
4 cups water
1 2/3 cup instant cornmeal ( I used half cornmeal , half polenta)
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp fennel seeds ( I decided to put them in my nut grinder instead of leaving them whole)
1/2 cup toasted almonds ( I added this ingredient and also put it in the nut grinder)
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
olive oil
salt and pepper

*Cheese is optional

Heat the water, add salt and bring to a boil.  Sprinkle in the cornmeal, stirring .
Stir the cornmeal for about 10-15 minutes over a medium heat.  The cornmeal will
begin to thicken and come away from the sides of the pan.  Take the pan off the heat
and add the butter, fennel, nuts and parsley.  Season with a little salt and pepper.
Brush or spray a rectangular dish with oil (medium - small dish).
Spoon the polenta in the dish and smooth out the surface.

 Let sit a few minutes until the polenta sets.
Flip the polenta over onto a cutting board (carefully).  Turn your broiler on high. 
Cut the polenta into slices.  Place the slices on a baking dish and brush with oil.
Put them in the oven on broil until the tops become lightly brown and crispy.

I also made roasted cherry tomatoes to put over the top.
I take cleaned cherry tomatoes and put them in dish with 
olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic.
I put them in the oven on 400 degrees for about 35 minutes. 
At the end, when they are done cooking I add fresh basil.   

My polenta was served with a little Asiago cheese and
roasted tomatoes.