I don’t know why, but I can’t get enough fish lately. Just the other day in a post, I said I was not into frying fish … two days later – here I am doing just that, go figure! I dedicate this recipe to Tram Mai, the host of Valley Dish (weekdays at 4:30 on Channel 12). When I was on earlier in the month making sweet jalapeño mini corn muffins, Tram asked what could be done with the rest of the jalapeño jelly in the jar. I stammered and said something stupid about putting it on cream cheese and serving it with chips – hey that’s good stuff, but is was a totally lame answer! Since then, another guest has used jalapeño jelly on the show. So, Tram, here’s another one especially for you…
The recipe calls for self-rising flour. If you don’t have any handy and don’t feel the need to purchase a one pound bag and then only use the one cup needed here, you can make your own. I’m not sure if you know just how much valuable information is on this blog. Let me tell you, a lot! If you look over to the left, you’ll see a “Tip Index” and that puppy is loaded with good stuff…. including the very useful “conversion and equivalent charts” Check it out sometime, and if you want to make that self-rising flour now, CLICK THIS LINK and it will take you to the conversion chart… scroll down until you see “Flour” and there it is, easy as pie!
March 27, 2010 2 Comments
Two of the most “frequently asked questions” I get when I’m entertaining or teaching a cooking class, “Do you eat like this every night!?”… and… “What kind of things do you make for weeknight dinners?” The answers: “No, I only eat like this when I’m entertaining or teaching a class.” and “The sort of things I make for weeknight dinners are dishes that come together without having to make a special trip to the grocery store!”
This pasta is exactly that sort of dish. If you were to drop by my house and look in my fridge, you’d always find things like fresh spinach, romaine or mixed greens, basil, citrus, and bell peppers. And my freezer is never without IQF (individually quick frozen) shrimp, scallops, and chicken breasts. The pantry is stocked to the brim; a variety of pastas, jars of olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and the list goes on. When your kitchen is stocked in this way, the possibilities are endless and you’re always able to make a meal without the trip to the store.
I know exactly what you’re saying to yourself now…”Sure, the possibilities are endless… for you, because you can just ‘make up a recipe’ without a cookbook.” And that is true, but I’m going to turn you on to a website where you can just plug in the one or the ten ingredients you have on hand and magically dozens of recipes will appear so that you can make with what you have! In fact, I went there and put in all the ingredients from this pasta recipe and it came up with 88 different recipes for me! Sounds awesome, doesn’t it!?! CLICK HERE for that link. Next, be ready to cook that way, by going to my Basic Pantry (just CLICK HERE) and stock up, so you can create something new “at the drop of a dime” too.
P.S. This pasta is a great vegetarian dish, just leave out the shrimp!
P.S.S. The live TV shoot yesterday went swimmingly, if you would like to view it, go to the “In The News” page up at the top-left of this page and choose the Valley Dish - Ravioli Lasagna post.
January 21, 2010 2 Comments
The secret to managing the holidays? Just remember the two “P’s” – Preparation and Planning!
For a party or a big holiday meal, always make a game-plan. You need to know more than just what dishes you want to serve. Time management and prepping, as much as possible ahead of time, are the keys. Once you have a menu in mind, the first thing to figure out is what time you would like to serve the meal or what time the party is to start. Take that time and work backwards. If you need an example of what I’m talking about, look at my Thanksgiving timeline by clicking here.
Next, always look at your recipes and figure out what can be done in advance. I can’t think of even one occasion where I have cooked all the dishes for large meal or the food for a party on the day of the event. Of course, some an item needs to be made or finished at the very last minute, just be sure to create the menu so that there are only one or two (at the most!) such items, not three or four, or you will be a frazzled wreck before the first guest rings the bell.
Don’t pull a Martha and believe that every singe thing must be homemade. If you love the bread or pastries from the bakery around the corner or think that the butternut squash soup from the deli is the best you’ve ever had, purchase those items and serve them with pride, as they do in France! Speaking of soup, smooth and creamy soups make great hot or room temperature hors ‘doeuvres. Purchase inexpensive shoot glasses at a store such as Cost Plus World Market and garnish with a few minced chives – so easy, impressive, and fabulous!
Finally, and most importantly, Have Fun! People want to celebrate, spend time together, and relax. The best way for your party or meal to be a success is to be sure you do the same. Enjoy!
Easy Gift Guide
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December 9, 2009 6 Comments
I am saddened by news of the passing of Sheila Lukins on Sunday, August 30, 2009. That last time I saw Shelia was when she came to teach at Les Gourmettes Cooking School and promote her newest cookbook, Ten, in December, 2008. She was a dynamo and she will be sadly missed. Shelia’s most famous cookbook and still one of the best cookbooks 25 years later is The Silver Palate Cookbook she co-wrote with Julee Rosso. It came out in 1979, the same year I graduated from high school, and it was one of the first cookbooks I owned. A couple of my favorite recipes from it were, and still are, Strawberry Chocolate Tart and Tarragon Chicken Salad (recipe below). I love that book to this day and it reminds me that I wanted to put up my list of cookbooks you should own… please post comments about cookbooks that are on your “must have” list!
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August 30, 2009 2 Comments
Glossary of Basic Cooking Terms
AL DENTE: Slightly undercooked, to a chewy consistency, from the Italian phrase “to the tooth.”Usually refers to the cooking of pasta but also applies to vegetables that are blanched,left still slightly crisp.
ASPIC:A jelly made from clarified meat, poultry, fish or vegetable stock.
AU JUS:Roasted beef, lamb, or poultry served with natural pan juices that accumulate during their cooking.
July 27, 2009 No Comments
U.S./Metric Weights and Measures
1 pinch = less than 1/8 dry teaspoon
1 dash = 3 drops to 1/4 liquid teaspoon
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon = 1/2 liquid or dry ounce = 15 ml
2 tablespoons = 1 liquid or dry ounce = 30 ml
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup = 2 liquid or dry ounces = 60 ml
5 1/3 tablespoons = 1/3 cup = 80 ml
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup = 4 ounces = 120 ml
10 2/3 tablespoons = 2/3 cup = 160 ml
July 25, 2009 1 Comment
These are emergency substitutions: the recipe result will not be as good and will vary, these are some stand-ins for your staples… just in case.
1 cup light brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses
1 cup dark brown sugar = 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/2 cup molasses
1 cup granulated sugar = 1 cup honey plus 1/2 teaspoon baking soda -or- 1 cup maple syrup plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup corn syrup = 1 cup honey or 1 cup maple syrup
1 cup sifted cake flour = 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
July 24, 2009 No Comments
The Basic Kitchen — Small Electrics
1 heavy-duty blender
1 countertop toaster oven
1 small scale with reading for pounds and grams
1 electric hand mixer
1 food processor, 7 cup capacity
July 22, 2009 1 Comment
The Basic Kitchen — Baking Equipment
5 cake pans, with non-stick surfaces:
2 9-inch round
1 9-inch springform
2 8-inch round
July 21, 2009 1 Comment
The Basic Kitchen — Utensils, Measuring, Bowls
1 set of at least 4 nested mixing bowls, glass
1 set of at least 4 nested mixing bowls, metal
1 set stainless steel measuring spoons
1 set stainless steel measuring cups, for dry ingredients
July 19, 2009 1 Comment