The recipes on this blog are a combination of things I've learned over the years and meals inherited through generations of adoration for good food. They are a cherished property, so please be good to them.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rub it Down

I've never done this on my blog but I wanted to share with you what I found at the farmer's market (along with my squash) last week.

If you live in Baltimore and have a chance to go to the 32nd Street Waverly Farmer's Market, you should stop by the spices and products at the stand for Whiskey Island. I purchased there espresso rub made from Zeke's Coffee (another fabulous Baltimore vendor) for my husband's birthday dinner and let some rib eye steaks sit in this incredible rub for about 14 hours.

Pure delight.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

When summer begins to turn into fall, I start craving the flavors and food of the season. I consulted my mother on the preparation of this type of squash (as I've never cooked them myself). I found these beautiful squash at the farmer's market and they were perfect and full of flavor.

For the squash:
2 small acorn squash
4 tbsp butter
2/3 c water

Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Prepare the squash by cutting in half and scooping out the seeds from the center of each half. ***Cooks note: Slice a small piece of the bottom off each half to keep squash from moving while cooking.***Place squash in a baking dish, and add water to the bottom of the dish. Add 1 tbsp of butter to each cavity of the squash. Cover pan with dish with aluminium foil and bake for about 1 hour or until squash is tender but still firm.
Meanwhile prepare the stuffing:
1/2 fennel bulb, diced
1/4 c vidalia onion, diced
2 links, sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1/2 c long grain white rice, cooked
1/4 c vegetable broth
Over medium high heat, saute the sausage, breaking it up with a spatula, until browned. Add fennel and onions and cook soft and translucent. Add vegetable broth and spices and cook for about 5 minutes until the broth is absorbed and the sausage is cooked through. Combine with white rice and set aside.

Once squash is has cooked for the hour, remove from oven and drain water from the dish. Fill each cavity with the stuffing, and place back in the oven for 10 minutes. The stuffing should have a crisp feel to it and the squash should be done.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Balsamic Onions and Goat Cheese Quesadilla

This was an easy and tasty lunch last weekend in the middle of cleaning the house up. I could dive, face first into a vat of goat cheese, do a backstroke and float for hours in its lovely tangy creaminess. Can you tell I love it?

2 corn tortillas
1 small onion, sliced thin
3 tbsp (or more to your liking) soft goat cheese
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 springs thyme, leaves removed

Saute the onion slices and thyme leaves in 1 tbsp olive oil, over medium high about 7-10 minutes, or until caramelized and brown. Add the balsamic to the pan and continue to cook on medium heat, until the vinegar has reduced and the mixture is thick and glossy.

Meanwhile, shmeer (you know this method, don't you?) the goat cheese on both sides of the tortillas. Add the balsamic onion mixture to one tortilla and top with the other tortilla.

Cook on a griddle pan over medium heat, flipping once to brown both sides of the quesadilla and to melt the goat cheese.
Serve immediately.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grilled Citrus Chicken

I got this idea from a William Sonoma cookbook and have used it several times over the summer. This is a great way to use the last of the citrus you might have lying around at the end of a week.

4 chicken breasts
1 orange
2 limes
4 tbsp fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 c olive oil
For the marinade:
Grate 2 tsp zest from the orange and squeeze 1/3 c juice.
Grate 1 tsp zest from the limes and squeeze 1/4 c juice.
In a shallow dish, stir together the orange and lime zests and juices, parsley, the oregano, thyme, garlic and cumin. Stir in the oil, gradually. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and add to marinade (turn to coat). Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

I grilled this over direct heat for about 10-14 minutes, turning once. I also served it with grilled sweet potato wedges, which complimented the chicken very well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lime Shrimp with Coconut Rice

The flavors of this dish are mild and light. The coconut milk makes the rice creamy but is understated compared to the other flavors in the dish. It's the perfect background for the lime and garlic.
1lb large shrimp
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup large grain white rice
1 1/4 c water
1 1/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 lime (1 tsp zest, 2tbsp juice)
6 cloves of garlic, minced
8 spring onions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
small bunch cilantro

For the rice:
Melt 1 tbsp butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add the rice and stir constantly, allowing it to cook and the grains are coated in butter, about one minute. Stir in water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
For the shrimp (prepare about 5 minutes before rice is ready):
Melt 4tbsp butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the lime juice and zest and the garlic and stir for about1 minute. Add shrimp and green onions and saute until the shrimp are opaque about 4 minutes. Stir in half of the cilantro.
Fluff the rice and stir in remaining cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cuban Black Beans

These are a favorite as a side to any Latin flavored dishes I make. It's so simple and so easy. If you want to make it harder, buy the black beans raw, and soak/cook for the duration of a weekend! Black beans are also just a staple in my pantry, and sometimes you just need a little dressing up of an old favorite.
2 cans black beans
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small Spanish onion, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
Salt and Pepper to taste

Over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper until softened, about 3 -5 minutes. Add black beans and cook over med-low heat until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cilantro and remove from heat. Serve and enjoy!