Tilapia DeJonghe

Tilapia DeJonghe
(a twist on the traditional Shrimp DeJonghe)
adapted from THIS recipe

2 lbs tilapia fillets
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cups fresh bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Lightly grease an 11x 13 inch casserole dish.
Place tilapia evenly in the casserole dish. Pour wine over the tilapia.
Mix together butter, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, parsley and bread crumbs.
Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over the shrimp. Refrigerate now if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until tilapia is firm and topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Seafood Paella

The following recipe was made and shared at my Tapas party. You can read about the event and view links to the other recipes shared HERE.

Seafood Paella
shared at the event by Joelen
recipe adapted from here

3 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

1 large head garlic (or 12 cloves), peeled and chopped
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup chopped roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup julienned carrots (matchstick)
2 cups frozen green peas, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 pound calamari rings
1/2 pound sea scallops, halved
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, to garnish

Ingredient Options: If you don’t care for mussels or any of the other seafood ingredients, simply substitute more of your favorite.

In a paella pan or large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add rice and sauté for about 4 minutes or until rice becomes translucent, stirring frequently. Add 3 cups of the broth and 1 cup wine, saffron, paprika, marjoram, red pepper flakes and flakes and salt. Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes. Check occasionally, keeping moist with broth if needed. Add all seafood, peas, red peppers, carrots, roasted tomatoes and the remaining broth and wine. Squeeze lemon over entire dish and sprinkle with parsley. Serve straight from the pan.

Just Grill It!

It’s a gorgeous Saturday here in Chicago and we’re taking advantage of our grill. For lunch, I made this Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken which used up some random ingredients I had on hand. I served this with a portabello mushroom & spinach pilaf too!
Here’s the recipe for Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken:

1/3 cup chopped fresh (or dried) tarragon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Chicken pieces or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine first 5 ingredients in processor. Process until smooth. Place chicken pieces in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Pour tarragon-mustard mixture over chicken; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place chicken on barbecue. Cover and grill until chicken is almost cooked through, turning every 5 minutes and basting with marinade, about 30 minutes. Grill without basting until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes longer. Serve chicken hot, warm, or at room temperature.

I’m also submitting this to the Eat Healthy: Protein Rich blogging event, hosted by Sangeeth. Check out her blog for some great recipes too!

The hubby is off to work this afternoon so I’m flying solo for dinner. Since it’s just me, rather than having a full meal I’m snacking. One of my favorite snacks are nachos… or anything crunchy & salty that I can dip into something preferably cheesy.

I had some leftover ingredients from yesterday’s corn & black bean salad, as well as a package of Trader Joe’s guacamole. In my pantry I had a tub of On The Border Cheese. My random snack/dinner? A five layer dip w/chips!

3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheese or prepared nacho cheese
1/4 cup pico de gallo salsa

In a pie plate, layer the above ingredients in order, with the sour cream on the bottom.
Enjoy with tortilla chips & a margarita!

Can you Carbonara?

Several years ago, I went to Europe (specifically, Paris and London) for my birthday. I’ve always treated myself to travel on my birthdays and its a great reason to get out and see the world. While in Paris, I remember having dinner with my friend, Jodi. I’ll never forget what I ordered – Spaghetti Alla Carbonara.

It was the very first time I ever had this dish and ever since, I was always hesitant to make it at home. Maybe it was the timing involved… I had to time it just right so I got the perfect consistency. Maybe it was the nervousness of using raw egg and leaving it to the mercy of the residual heat of my pasta to cook it enough. But I’ve overcome those concerns and have made Spaghetti Alla Carbonara confidently. How? With the help of my trusty America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. What we wanted: Restaurant carbonara is often an unctuous, congealed mass of cheese, eggs and bacon. We set out to make the sauce silky and smooth.

What we learned: Use a blend of cheeses for the right flavor, combine the cheeses and eggs in a small bowl and pour this mixture over the host pasta for even coverage. Use regular American bacon, white wine and raw garlic to balance the richness of the eggs and cheese. Also, add sea salt flakes to the pasta cooking water. We like the full flavor they bring to the carbonara.

This recipe has never failed me and the result is a smooth, creamy sauce… perfectly balanced with the pasta and bacon. The hint of wine carries nicely into the bacon and throughout the dish. This is definitely a winner! Here is the recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, pages 17-19:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bacon (6-8 slices), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 pound spaghetti
sea salt
ground black pepper
basil, chiffonade for garnish

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set heatproof serving bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. (I just microwaved my serving/mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes to keep it nice and hot.) Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large stockpot.

2. While water is heating, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp. about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat eggs, cheeses, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.

3. When water comes to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon sea salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl;l if pasta appears dry, add some reserved cooking water and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or 3/4 teaspoon table salt; toss well to combine. Pour bacon mixture over pasta, season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

Fall Fondue Party!

Fondue has made its comeback as a hip and fun way to eat! Tonight we had folks come on over to dip and dunk their way through dinner & drinks. It was a great event and so much fun fondue-ing!Here is the garlic cheese fondue recipe a friend prepared for the event:

1 pound Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 Gruyère cheese, grated
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 2/3 cups (about) dry white wine
1/3 c Cognac
3 large garlic cloves, minced

Combine both cheeses, starch, nutmeg, and pepper in large bowl; toss to coat. Bring 1 1/2 cup wine and garlic to simmer in a heavy large saucepan over low heat. Add cheese mixture by handfuls, whisking until melted and smooth after each addition. Mix in cognac & more wine (if needed) by tablespoonfuls to reach desired consistency. Note: If mixture begins to separate, add 1 – 3 tsp cornstarch mixed with equal vol. cold wine to simmering mixture. Transfer to fondue pot.

Set fondue over hot plate on med-low heat.
Serve fondue with bread & veggies.
Servings: About 8 – 10
*modified by S. Kramer

Here are some pictures from the event:

Chicken Sausage, Chicken Breast, Sirloin & Ham

Par Boiled Potatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower (& Carrots)Breads!
Whole Wheat Beer Bread, Walnut Artisan Bread
Garlic Cheese, Chicken Broth, Beef Broth, (and hot oil)
Pound Cake, Strawberries, Bananas,
Marshmallows & Graham Crackers
to dip into Semi Sweet Chocolate,
White Chocolate & Caramel
Table Shots:

Peruvian Fish

Peruvian Fish
(adapted by Randy Nufer – exact measurements not provided)

1 lb tilapia, defrosted
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bag fresh spinach
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tomato, sliced thin
whole milk
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp nutmeg
fresh basil
1 spring rosemary
2 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
balsamic vinegar or white wine
1/2 lime juice

par boiled rice
clove of garlic
olive oil

Saute garlic & onions in butter.
Create white sauce by combining 2 oz cold water in a glass with 2 teaspoons flour.
Stir and add to pan with garlic & onions.
Add salt & pepper.
Slowly add milk to create sauce until smooth and creamy.
Add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, crushed pepper, rosemary, & sour cream.
Add vinegar or white wine.
Stir in parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a shallow baking pan, coat bottom with olive oil.
Place fish in one layer over oil.
Place blanched spinach over fish.
Pour white sauce over spinach.
Top with chopped red pepper.
Top with sliced tomatoes.
Sprinkle top with black pepper & fresh basil.
Cover dish with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
During the last 20 minutes of baking, remove foil to allow top to brown.

Prepare rice by placing olive oil in the bottom of a rice cooker.
Add minced onion and garlic.
For every 1/2 cup of par boiled rice, add just under 1 cup of water.
Cook rice as directed in your rice cooker.
To serve, spoon rice onto plate and place fish with sauce over rice.

Crisp & Perfectly Chilled… Out

Here’s to a day to relax and catch my breath. Nothing beats a perfectly chilled Chardonnay with a lovely plate of butter crackers, brie, sopressata salame and a sweet juicy nectarine. {sigh…}
This weekend I’m hosting the first of my Wine & Dine sessions where I will be facilitating a wine discussion and hosting a BBQ dinner. The wine focus will be Chardonnays. I’ve chosen Chards from California, France (Burgundy), Chile, Argentina, Italy and Australia. So it will be great to taste the differences, as most are of the 2006 vintage. Since BBQ goes well with Chards, we’ll be feasting on familar BBQ fare. Today’s wine treat was just a preview for me in preparation for the weekend 🙂