Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato and Prosciutto Pasta

School is definitely getting harder, and the days are getting colder (except for this weird burst of warmth which I wish would continue for just a few more days....) which basically means the equivalent of carb, pasta, fried foods are all definitely my friends right now.  
I saw this recipe on a few blogs and have been dying to try it, but always forget about it when I'm actually in the grocery store, or when I do have the ingredients, I'm too tired to actually cook.  This time, I remembered to pick up the prosciutto and since I already had sage leftover from the Chicken Thighs recipe and a big cauliflower sitting in my fridge, I knew I had no excuse not to whip it up, even after a long day of studying and class.

Mmmm the pictures of this pasta are making me hungry all over again!  This pasta is an amazing, well rounded delicious and fairly healthy meal that is great for leftovers.  I am definitely glad I ended up making it.

What you'll need:
any type of pasta (I went with whole wheat spaghetti)
1 cauliflower
About 1/4 pound of prosciutto (try domestic prosciutto, it's cheaper)
Italian cheese (I used pecorino, but parmesan or mozzarella would be nice as well) 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and begin by boiling the pasta.  Set the pasta aside with a little bit of the pasta water.

Then, cut the cauliflower up into little pieces like this:

Put the cauliflower in the oven and stir occasionally, until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  This will take about 15 minutes.  
When the cauliflower is in the oven, put the tomatoes in a small pot with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and turn the heat on low.  While the cauliflower is in the oven, the tomatoes will get soft and sweet, a perfect light sauce for the pasta.
Chop up the garlic, sage and prosciutto and throw it on the cauliflower when the cauliflower is done.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Your kitchen will smell amazing by this point!
When everything is ready, toss it all together and sprinkle cheese on top.  

Delicious!  Save some leftovers for lunch the next day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fish Tacos

Recently, I've been on a Mexican food binge.  I can't seem to get enough of it, especially the real delicious kind of Mexican food with hot sauces, vibrant flavors and cheap bills.  What's caught my eye especially though are fish tacos.  I tried them for the first time a few weeks ago and they strike me as the perfect meal--softness, crunchiness, meaty and flexitarian-friendly goodness.  I am obsessed with them!  So, obviously, I tried to make my own version of them after visiting Fairway for the first time ever.  (Yes, I live within a 15 minute walk and I hadn't made it there since I moved in!)
The tacos I dreamed of had a few components:

small tortillas
carmelized onions (1 large white onion)
guacamole (2 avocados and a few cherry tomatoes)
a white flaky fish (2 Tilapia filets+salt, pepper, chili powder, lime)
Slaw (green cabbage+shaved carrots, sriracha, light mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper)
Cheese (your choice!)
I like to load up my tacos but feel free to leave any of those components out.
Slaw: cut the green cabbage very thinly and shave some carrots into a bowl.  Add in mayo, sriracha, salt, pepper and lime juice to your level of creaminess and spiciness.

Next, the easiest guac you'll ever make!  I bought 2 really ripe avocados and mashed them up with a fork.  I washed and cut up cherry tomatoes into fourths for "delicious treasures of juicy goodness in the guacamole."  Salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste!

I wasn't able to get a good pic of the caramelized onions but just cut a yellow onion into strips and let it simmer in a pot with a little olive oil and sugar while you're cooking everything else.  Stir occasionally so the onion doesn't burn.

Last but not least, FISH: I've been really afraid of cooking fish.  I'm not sure why--maybe because I didn't really eat cooked fish for a long time but regardless of the reason, I have never bought or cooked fish from a grocery store before.  This all changed with the sweet, flaky, CHEAP (2 fillets for $6!) Tilapia I bought from fairway.
I covered the fillets with salt, pepper, lime juice and chili powder and put them in a large skillet.  I cooked them until they were opaque and flipped them over once.

Assemble your tacos!!

Ahhh I forgot one thing--Oaxaca cheese.  I saw this at fairway and snatched it up.  It's a Mexican cheese that tastes kind of like mozzarella and is described as "melting cheese."  I put it on top of the tortillas as I heated them up in a pan and it added just the right touch of saltiness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hannah's Brownies

Another celebrity post by my fellow law student, Hannah...Enjoy!

Another Friday, another long week of first semester law school behind me. What better way to reward myself than with a quick and easy recipe for ooey, gooey brownies?! And here's all it took...

I picked up some brownie batter mix and chocolate frosting mix at my favorite supermarket on the UWS, Trader Joe's. The best thing about this brownie mix is that it is "reduced guilt." But seriously, one look at the nutrition facts and you know at 130 calories per brownie, you cannot go wrong.
Ingredients for the Brownies:

1 box of Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix
Skim Milk
3 tablespoons of Skippy's Reduced Fat Creamy Peanut Butter

I combined the pre-made dry mix with skim milk (instead of fat-free plain yogurt like the box instructions said). This is mainly because I did not have plain yogurt on hand, but also because I knew I was going to add some richness to the batter with peanut butter. I carefully stirred together all of the ingredients by hand. An electric mixer would have worked just as well, if not even better.
Once I had sprayed my baking pan, I poured in the rich brownie mixture and set it to bake  at 350 degrees. When I saw the brownie slowly rising and I was able to pull out a clean fork with no bits of batter, I knew I had achieved brownie heaven!

Ingredients for the Chocolate Frosting:

1 box of Trader Joe's Chocolate Frosting Mix
Hot Water
Unsalted Butter
(proportions are written out on the back of the frosting box)

I was super excited to whip up this frosting. Chocolate frosting would be the perfect, decadent topping to my brownies. This box mix was quick and easy to combine. All I had to do was soften the butter, heat up some water, and combine with the package mix. I stirred and stirred until everything was smooth and glossy.

When the brownie was starting to smell up my apartment with all kinds of deliciousness, I removed the pan from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. I then carefully frosted the brownie and let it sit for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frosting had hardened sufficiently to cut into it. Finally, using a clean knife, I cut small squares out of the pan and dusted my little brownie treats with powdered sugar. Bon appetite!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chicken Thighs and Polenta Fries

This dinner was somewhat of a departure from the past few meals I've made.  As it gets colder, I've been craving less "fresh" food and more comfort food.  This dinner hit the spot, and it was easy to make, too!

I stole the chicken recipe from The Wednesday Chef, and it came out beautifully.  All you need are some chicken legs with thighs attached, dijon mustard, panko crumbs and whatever herbs you like with your chicken (I like rosemary and sage-thyme would be good as well!)

Rub each leg with about a tablespoon of dijon mustard.  I used Grey Poupon, but you can use any brand.
Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper on top, and then then cover the leg in panko.  Drizzle each leg with a bit of butter and pop them into the oven for an hour at 325 degrees. 

The sides were delicious too.  I love french fries.  Like, lick the bowl clean kind of love for any type of fried potato.  Tonight I decided to try out making a variation from polenta.  I bought a pre-made package of polenta (it comes in a tube) and sliced it in the shape of fries.  I sprinkled them with olive oil and sea salt and put them in the oven for the last 20 minutes while the chicken cooked.  If the fries aren't crispy when the chicken is done, turn up the temp and keep them in for a few minutes longer.
Mine came out crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and sooo delicious!  I mixed some rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a touch of dijon mustard together with mayo for a creamy dipping sauce for the "fries."
I ate them all!

And last but not least, a little bit of greens.  I had some cherry tomatoes lying around so I cut them in half and sauteed them with a bit of balsamic vinegar and garlic.  I threw in some broccoli rabe (which I had blanched like the green beans while the chicken was cooking) and in under five minutes I had a great side dish.
Make this quick dinner in under an hour and enjoy!