Tag Archives: arugula

Back to Reality: Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, and Goat Cheese

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a grand day indeed complete with soaking up sunshine, ice cubes clinking against margarita filled glasses, and a seemingly never-ending stream of great friends, great food, and great fun.

TrufflePopcorn

The ever addictive Truffle Popcorn.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

Fresh Spring Rolls, Sesame Noodle Boxes, and Goat Cheese Crostini.

As an “adult” (whatever that means) I think I am supposed to have reached a state of general maturity and evolution so as to not feel disappointed when my birthday is over. But alas, between you and me, I’m not there yet. I love the anticipation and the excitement and the planning. And then I love the day…and then it is over, with simply a mysterious bruise or two and a full recycle bin as evidence.

Agave Margarita Bar

CJ’s Agave Margarita Bar.

Never one to pout and pity party for (too) long, I inevitably find myself back in the kitchen, slowly stirring, and chopping, and whisking the lurking gray clouds away.

This salad screams Summer! And Fun! And Self-Righteously-Healthy! It is literally impossible to be grumpy while eating this salad, as the spicy arugula is paired with the burst in your mouth pomegranate seeds, countered by the smooth taste of goat cheese, and punctuated with a bite of a pine nut. Make this when reality has returned, but you’re not quite willing to give into it yet.

GIVEAWAY WINNER: Many thanks to all who shared the Eggplant Carpacio recipe. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and more were buzzing…but despite my wish that everyone win a bottle of Olive Oil, there could only be one winner. And that winner is…Bonnie K who shared via Twitter!

Arugula Salad with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Pine Nuts, and Goat Cheese
Serves 2

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

Arugula Salad topped with Grilled Shrimp, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and Pine Nuts

  • 12 jumbo shrimp, tail on, shell off, thawed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 TB
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 cups baby arugula, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds (Trader Joes sells them ready to go if you like)
  • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  1. Preheat grill until 500 degrees
  2. In a small bowl combine the shrimp, 3 of the cloves of garlic, and 2 TB of olive oil. Let marinade at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the dressing combine the remaining olive oil, garlic, balsamic, honey, and egg yolk. With a whisk or immersion blender, blend until well combined and slightly emulsified.
  4. Reduce grill to half heat, and cook until pink, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Note: Most people over cook their shrimp…it takes hardly any time and you want then to stay juicy.
  5. To serve, plate the arugula, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and goat cheese. Top with shrimp and drizzle with dressing.

Plating the Salad…so pretty.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Giveaways, Health Conscious, Salads, Seafood, Uncategorized

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina and a *Free* Bottle of Olive Oil

Living in the city, I find that I’m often on guard. This is especially true in my neighborhood, which proudly boasts the most diverse zip code in the USA, but also has the (not so) occasional high-speed car race / gun fight. It’s not really that bad…this is Seattle we’re talking about after all, not Detroit or St. Louis, but it’s also not leave your windows open, drop your bikes in the front yard, walk alone at midnight, small town Americana.

One of my favorite Summer Salads: Mozzarella, Basil, and Heirloom Tomatoes, Drizzled with Olive Oil and Finished with Salt and Pepper

This is why the friendships that we’ve built with the people in our neighborhood are so extraordinary. Perhaps it takes a certain type of person to live in a transitional neighborhood, so there’s some kind of natural pre-selection, but in our little microcosm of the city we’ve managed to create a small town feel, where keys to each other’s homes are shared, dog walks are traded, and calling the neighbor for a cup of sugar is welcomed and often completed with a glass of wine to boot.

In the summer this results in impromptu BBQs, days at the lake, and of course the inevitable doggy play dates. All the gals have made a pact that they won’t fuss about cleaning their house before others come over (though this goes against every bone in my body and occasionally results in an eye twitch), and we’ve all become comfortable enough in each other’s kitchens that taking over a quick salad production or setting the table is second nature.

Getting ready for our most recent feast…three hours of eating, drinking, and laughing.

Perhaps somewhere deep, deep inside me I’ve got some Italian grandmother or something, because I love nothing more than feeding a crowd. Sitting outside with finally snoring puppies at our feet, as evening sets in, and the fire begins to crackle, feels like near perfection.

These appetizers are admittedly a bit of work, but are such a wonderfully unexpected combination of flavors I find myself craving them often. The combination of a mandolin and sliced fontina cuts down on the preparation time significantly, and with a few extra hands these can be quickly whipped together.

GIVEAWAY: The olive oil you use in these is key, which is why I’m very excited to be able to offer one reader a bottle of their choice from the spectacular California Olive Ranch. I’m partial to the Arbequina, which is what I used in this dish, but they have a wonderful selection pending on what you want to do with it. Will happily ship anywhere in the United States.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply share this post using whatever social media channel you prefer (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Messenger Pigeon) and then provide the link to your share in the comment section. Easy as that!

DEADLINE: Friday, August 24th. Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday the 27th.

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio Stuffed with Arugula and Fontina
Makes approximately 15 – 20 appetizers, pending on the size of the eggplant, but these things go like hot cakes, so plan accordingly

Grilled Eggplant Carpaccio, Stuffed with Fontina and Arugula and Drizzled with Arbequina Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

1 large eggplant, top and bottom chopped off

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, best you can afford, I used California Olive Ranch because I’m currently obsessed with their Arbequina variety

Coarse Salt & Pepper

Sliced fontina cheese (if pre-sliced size cut in half so doesn’t lay over the eggplant)

1/2 bag baby arugula

Balsamic vinegar

  1. Using a mandolin, cut the eggplant lengthwise into thin strips and place slices on a cookie sheet.
  2. Brush each side generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Heat BBQ and grill eggplant on both sides for about 4-6 minutes or until soft and nicely marked.
  5. Place cheese in center of each eggplant slice and keep on grill until cheese begins to melt.
  6. Remove from grill and return to cookie sheet.
  7. Place small bunch of arugula, perpendicularly, on top of each slice and roll up lengthwise.
  8. Drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic and serve warm or room temperature.

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Filed under Appetizers, Entertaining, Giveaways, Uncategorized

The Classics: Knife and Fork Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

I almost never make the same thing twice. Perhaps it is because the ever-growing pile of cookbooks and magazines in my kitchen creates a minor level of anxiety that “I don’t have time to make that again!!! Do you have any idea how many recipes there are in the world??”

And yet, as I look at the search terms that consistently drive people to Shut Up & Cook, it’s the same few items over and over again.

There are also the slightly ridiculous search terms. A few favorites include:

  • “shut up and cook chili”
  • “how to pronounce seared”
  • “big butt cupcakes” (isn’t that awesome?)

So yesterday when I was starving and thinking about what to make, what I really wanted was a good ‘ol fashioned Chicken Parmesan Sandwich. And without fail, the little voice in my head went off, “You can’t make that!! You just got a new Food & Wine. Do you have any idea how EASY and BORING that is?!?!”

Fortunately for me, sheer hunger took over as did our impending trip to Ikea and I threw my culinary snobbery to the wind, grabbed the bag of prepared Chicken Tenders from our freezer (yes, gasp, I know) and made a massively delicious sandwich.

To be fair, I dressed it up with slow roasted tomatoes and cilantro pesto, but it was still damn easy and damn good.

Sometimes we need to remember it’s okay to stick with the classics, and not always reinvent the wheel…remind me of that when I forget, would you please?

Knife and Fork Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

Knife and Fork Chicken Parmesan Sandwich

As the name implies, this is definitely a knife and fork sandwich. Delicious with a glass of red wine such as a Syrah.

Serves 2.

  • 4- 6 Breaded Chicken Tenders, pending on size. Costco has some good options here
  • 2 Ciabatta rolls, cut in half
  • Cilantro Pesto – Recipe coming soon or store-bought would be fine
  • Slow Roasted Tomatoes – Recipe coming soon or store-bought would be fine
  • 2 Slices Mozzarella
  • Handful of Arugula
  1. Preheat oven to 450. On a cookie sheet lined with foil place tenders and cook for 20 minutes until beginning to brown. Turn half-way through.
  2. Meanwhile, spread approximately 2 TB pesto on the top half of each ciabatta. Top with a slice of mozzarella. Spread approximately 1/4 cup slow roasted tomatoes on the bottom half of each ciabatta.

    Slow Roasting Tomatoes

  3. Pull the cookie sheet from the oven, and leaving the chicken tenders on there, add the bread next to the tenders, with the pesto/cheese and tomatoes facing up.
  4. Add back to the oven and cook until bread is toasted and cheese is bubbling. About 10 minutes.
  5. To assemble sandwiches take the bottoms, add the chicken tenders, add a handful of arugula, and top with the upper halves.
  6. Enjoy with a knife and fork!

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Filed under Comfort Foods

On Display: Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Grilled Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Pesto, Mozzarella, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Grilled Bruschetta with Prosciutto, Pesto, Mozzarella, and Sun Dried Tomatoes

We continue to lead more and more public lives. Between Facebook and Twitter, MySpace and FourSquare we are constantly and ultimately connected, sharing a running stream of our whereabouts, feelings, exercise routines, and meals.

So I suppose it should come as no surprise the institution of the chefs table has seen exponential popularity and growth in the last two or three years. For those of you not familiar with the concept, this is a bar or table that has been attached to open kitchens where patrons can watch their meals being made and chat with the chefs while they’re at it. Think of it like the wilderness safari of a restaurant.

Having worked in just enough restaurants to know there’s a whole lot going on back there you don’t want to know about I both adore the chefs table from a foodie diner’s perspective and yet am baffled so many chefs allow it. Gone are the days of joking about the “MILF at table seven with the bad boob job” or spitting on the steak that came back for a third time to be cooked more. Chefs and their staffs are on constant display and pressure to not only create an impressive meal, but to do it gracefully and look like they’re having fun to boot.

I recently stumbled upon Rioja in Denver’s trendy LoDo neighborhood. Sans reservation I walked in and thanks to my solo status was offered a sole seat at the chefs table. What followed for the next two hours was an absolute symphony of culinary excellence, innovation, and performance. The food was exceptional, the service flawless, and the kitchen, which was turning out plate after plate of Mediterranean inspired creations, literally humming. The lead chef, Jennifer Jasinski, was focused and no-nonsense, but finished each sentence with a ‘please’; Incongruous, if not unheard of in most kitchens.

The entire meal was spectacular, but the appetizer of hand-made mozzarella, wrapped in smoked prosciutto, grilled bread, oven-dried tomatoes, arugula, and green olive pistou was perhaps my favorite.

I’ve simplified it here to make it more doable for the home chef but if ever in Denver I highly recommend a trip to 14th and Larimer, where you can see the magic up close and personal.

Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Serves 4. Perfect as a first course to a fancy, dinner…or as a light lunch.

8 slices Rustic bread, brushed with olive oil

8 prosciutto slices

8 slices fresh mozzarella, approximately 1/4″ thick

Pesto (homemade is better…but store bought will do the trick)

8 large pieces Sun-Dried tomatoes, packed in oil

  1. Assemble sandwiches, starting with pesto, then adding prosciutto, adding tomatoes, and topping with mozzarella
    Pesto Prosciutto
    Sun Dried Tomatoes Mozzarella
  2. Using a stove top griddle or cast iron pan, heat the pan to medium heat. Add  the sandwiches and cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cheese is melting. If the cheese isn’t melting and you’re worried about them getting too brown, add a lid to the pan for about 60 seconds.
  3. Cut in half and serve.

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Filed under 15-Minute-Meals, Entertaining, Make ahead, Restaurant Reviews

Vote for the Underdogs: Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Beets and anchovies. The undeserving red-headed step children of the culinary world.

I’m not really sure why. Beets are delicious when done right, a beautiful red or gold, with a firm bite and an earthy, buttery flavor. Granted, I was never forced to eat canned beets as a child so perhaps no negative associations were formed.

And anchovies offer such wonderful depth and flavor to sauces and dressings, and yet people shudder at the thought.

So I realize that by making a beet salad with anchovy dressing I’m giving them slim chances of being voted Prom King & Queen (and I know my friends Henk and Angela are cringing in horror), but hopefully at least a few of you will try this because it really is quite good.

Because of the dye transfer of the beets this is best to plate individually, although all the components save for the soft-boiled egg could be made the night before making this an elegant start to a dinner party.

Serve with a dry bubbly.

Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a small starter

4 medium red and/or gold beets, washed and trimmed
2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp anchovy paste
salt and pepper
4 farm fresh eggs
4 cups baby arugula
4 baby anchovies (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.  Add scrubbed beets to a small baking dish such as a bread pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add 1 1/2 inches of water.  Cover tightly with foil and cook for 45 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce and the beets are started to release a yummy smell. Let cool enough to handle and slide off skins. This can easily be done by simply rubbing the beat with a paper towel to get off the skins, and minimize the red fingers.

Add to blender red wine vinegar, balsamic, oil, dijon mustard, and anchovies – blend for 30 seconds until the dressing emulsifies. Taste for salt, pepper and add more anchovy paste if you want a stronger flavor.

Boiling Eggs

Add four eggs to an empty pan and fill with water until the eggs are just about 2/3 covered. Remove the eggs from pan and bring to a soft boil. Add the eggs back in and cook uncovered for 7 minutes exactly. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath in a medium-sized bowl. After seven minutes remove the eggs and plunge into the bath until cold, about 3-4 minutes. Peel (running under cold water if shells are hesitant to come off) and set aside.

To assemble toss the arugula with half of the dressing in a large bowl. Add to plates.

Add the beets to the bowl you used for the arugula, add the remainder of the dressing, toss well, and add to plates.

Arugula_Beets

Carefully cut the eggs in half and top the salad.

If desired, put a small anchovy on each egg.

Finish with salt and pepper.

Voila


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Filed under Entertaining, Health Conscious, Lactose Free, Make ahead, Seafood, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Seared Black Cod served on Pommes Paillasson topped with Chanterelles

Seared Black Cod served on Pommes Paillasson topped with Chanterelles

Seared Black Cod served on Pommes Paillasson topped with Chanterelles

People are often surprised by how “well” Matt and I eat. Scoffing at posts on Shut Up and Cook or my Twitter feed, they seem generally surprised that most nights a week we cook a nice dinner consisting of (dare I say) an entrée, a side, and a veggie. Now…don’t get me wrong…we like bad Chinese food and Pizza Hut buffalo wings as much as the next guy but I find that by consistently putting together a meal plan and grocery shopping for nice ingredients I eat healthier, save money, and have more fun doing it.

This year’s Valentine’s Day dinner was no exception. Committed to avoiding the contrived, “romantic prix-fixe dinners for two” we decided to do one of our favorite dishes, Black Cod. For all you East Coasters, Black Cod isn’t actually cod at all but rather a Pacific sablefish, offering a rich flavor and lovely texture. I had a few potatoes in the fridge and the chanterelles at Pike Place Market had looked too good to pass up so what we ended up with was a lovely tower of deliciousness, starting with Pommes Paillasson (or grated potato pancake), then Black Cod Steak, and finally buttery chanterelles.

Don’t let the french name scare you. You can make this and it will be delicious. It’s actually very quick to prepare so would be perfect for a nice dinner party or special occasion meal. Serve with a bottle of red such as Walla Walla Vintners Sangiovese (a personal fave).

Seared Black Cod served on Pommes Paillasson topped with Chanterelles

Serves 2, but can easily be doubled

Pommes Paillasson (Grated Potato Pancake, adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

3/4 lb russet potatoes

2 TB butter (or margarine if making lactose free)

Dash salt and pepper

Peel potatoes. Grate in a food processor fitted with a course shredding disk or on large teardrop-shaped holes of a box grater. Working in small batches, wrap potatoes in a kitchen towel and twist and squeeze tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a bowl and toss with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 TB butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides and swirl to coat the pan. Reduce heat to moderate, then immediately spread potatoes in skillet and press down on top once with a spatula. Cook potato until underside is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Potatoes Frying

Potatoes Frying

Slide cake onto a large plate. Invert another large plate over it and invert cake onto it. Heating remaining 1 TB butter in skillet over medium heat and swirl. Slide cake back into skillet, browned side up, and cook until underside is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes more.

Slide cake onto a cutting board and cut in half.

Chanterelles

1/2 lb wild chanterelles, wiped clean of any dirt

2 TB butter (or margarine if making lactose free)

1/4 tsp salt

While the potato pancake is cooking, in a small non-stick pan add the butter over medium heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chanterelles tossing until all coated in butter. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until wilted and tender. Season with salt and keep warm on low.

Chanterelles

Sauteing Chanterelles

Seared Black Cod

2 thinly cut black cod steaks (about 3/4 lb total)

2 TB butter (or margarine if making lactose free)

Handful baby arugula for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Right after you’ve flipped the potato pancake to its second side it’s time to begin cooking the fish. In a cast-iron skillet melt the butter over moderately high heat until nearly smoking.

Steaks Searing

Steaks Searing

Brown the fish on each side until a nice brown crust forms, about 2-4 minutes per side, pending how hot you have your pan. Once you’ve browned the fish on both sides, put into the oven and finish cooking for 5 minutes.

**Assembly**

The trick with this is to time it right. The mushrooms are pretty forgiving, so you can just have those cooking while you do the potatoes. The fish should be coming out right as the second side of the potato is complete and then to assemble simply make your tower by plating the pancakes, adding an arugula garnish if you like, adding the fish, topping with the chanterelles, and spooning any juices from the fish pan over on top.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Lactose Free, Seafood, Uncategorized

Day 30: Gourmet Meatball Subs

I can be a bit of a snob sometimes.

I don’t mean to be, but there are moments when seemingly out of my control, my East Coast upbringing kicks in and up my nose turns. It might be the result of poor manners, tacky decorating, or bad food. You know what I mean…those meals they served in elementary school like Sloppy Joes or Tuna Casserole? Up until a short period of time ago I would have included Meatball Subs in the shun-worthy category. That is…until I tried the recipe from the “Tartine Bread” cookbook.

Tartine Bread

The book that changed it all

These things are amazing. Granted…the addition of pesto, fontina, and arugula definitely provide for a lift in status, but in addition to that they’re just really dang tasty.

Having reached Day 30 of my “Month of Exploration” these feel like the perfect culinary representation of what I’ve learned: Faster isn’t always better, glamorous isn’t always worth it, and sometimes it’s okay to admit you’re happy with just plain ‘ol good.

Serve these for a casual weeknight dinner with friends paired with a great bottle of red wine, such as a Malbec.

Gourmet Meatball Subs, adapted from Tartine Bread to make a bit easier to prepare and lactose free

Serves 6

3 TB Olive Oil

1 large white onion, chopped

1 lb ground beef with at least 20 percent fat

1 pound ground pork

4 large eggs

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, chopped

Two 16-ounce cans chopped tomatoes (splurge on the good, organic option)

6 crusty sub rolls, or one large crusty baguette cut, split in half lengthwise

Good pesto, store-bought (yes, homemade is better, but for a Wednesday, store-bought is just fine)

6 slices fontina

2 cups baby arugula

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×12 baking dish. To make the meatballs, in a large deep skillet over medium-low heat, warm 2 TB of the olive oil. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and beginning to color, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a large bowl combine the beef, pork, eggs, panko, parsley, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and cooled onions. Mix well to combine. Form the meat mixture into balls the size of golf balls. Add to the baking dish and bake until cooked through, but not overcooked, about 25 minutes.

Ingredients

Ingredients for the meatballs

Meanwhile, in the onion skillet add the remaining 1 TB olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned residue. Bring the tomatoes to boil and reduce the heat to very low. Add the cooked meatballs to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

Simmering meatballs

Simmering meatballs

Spread the top half of each roll with the pesto spread. Add the cheese to the bottom half (skipping if you’re making lactose free) and top with meatballs and sauce. Add the top back on and loosely wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the cheese has melted and the bread is crispy and toasted, about 25 minutes. To serve, unwrap from the foil, top with fresh arugula, and offer extra sauce for dipping.

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Filed under Comfort Foods, Lactose Free, Month of Exploration