Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta, Pesto & Peas


This was my first Barefoot Bloggers post. How exciting!! Barefoot Bloggers is an event dedicated to Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. This group is perfect for me because Matt & I both love Ina.

This recipe was chosen by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food. The pasta turned out delicious. I halved the recipe, as it makes a TON. I didn't end up making my own pesto, but I will next time for sure. My recipe, with changes, is below. Be sure to check out Barefoot Bloggers to see the results and check out Food Network for Ina's original recipe!


3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil (I omitted)
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I omitted)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

Yield: 4 cups

Monday, June 2, 2008

Shish Taouk


Thanks to Katie for this great recipe. I made dinner for the family yesterday and these kabobs were perfect. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I has to take a de-skewered picture after I got home. Regardless, YUM! They were a big hit! I tripled the recipe!

I served these with salad, hummus, pita bread, kibbee and rice pilaf. Stay tuned for kibbee recipe. It was soooo good!

Recipe from: Good Things Catered ~ Katie

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded evenly and cut into 2 in pieces
1 large red pepper
1 large yellow pepper (I used green instead)
1 large sweet onion (I used a combo of red and sweet onion)
2 large zucchini (I omitted)
1/3 c. olive oil, divided
1 lemon, juiced
1 can (6oz) tomato paste
1 c. yogurt
3 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 Tbsp za'atar
1 Tbsp paprika
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 teaspoons black pepper, divided

In large bowl combine 1/4 c. oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, yogurt, garlic, za'atar, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp pepper.

Stir to combine thoroughly and add chicken pieces.

Coat chicken pieces evenly with marinade and place into fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 10.

Preheat grill on high while you make skewers.

Wash, prep and cut peppers, onion and zucchini into 1 1/2 - 2 inch pieces.

Place cut vegetables in a large bowl and coat with remaining olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Take chicken out of fridge and out of marinade onto paper towel lined plate.

Pat some excess marinade off chicken (not all) and thread onto skewer.

Thread peppers, onion, and zucchini between pieces of chicken.

Repeat until all ingredients are made into skewers.

Turn grill down to medium and place skewers on grill racks.

Cook until nice grill marks are obtained and flip.

Repeat on other side and turn the heat down to low to finish cooking.

When chicken has reached proper internal temperature (no longer pink) remove from grill and place on plate tented with foil for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal.