Cooking

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open-Faced Hawaiian Roll Sandwich

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches www.luc.edu

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

It has been an intense few months.  How do I explain such a long absence?  I have one class left to finish my MBA!  I am working full-time and have spent nights and weekends in class or doing homework and projects.

As a quick break, I decided to experiment with shrimp skewers.  Then, I decided to use up a bunch of odds and ends in my kitchen.  I did open-faced sandwiches because I only had 2 “Jumbo” Hawaiian rolls left from a previous meal.  The shrimp were full of lemon-garlic flavor and the bright acidity of the lemon was balanced by the sweetness of the Hawaiian roll.  Lemon aioli is optional.  (I did not use it for my first batch and they were still delicious).

You can serve these shrimp skewers on their own, as a main course or remove the shrimp from the skewers and serve them atop a hawaiian roll & lettuce for an easy, delicious dinner!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches www.morewinelesswhines.com

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open Face Sandwiches

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Open-Faced Hawaiian Roll Sandwich

1 lb shrimp (any size), peeled & deveined
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/4 c white wine (i.e. Pinot Grigio)
3 cloves garlic, minced
dash of sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 T parsley, minced

1 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme
sea salt & pepper

Butter or Bibb Lettuce
2-4 large Hawaiian Rolls, Split
Lemon aioli (optional)
Skewers

Make marinade.

Whisk together olive oil through parsley and pour into a large bowl or Ziplock bag. Add shrimp and turn to coat in marinade. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes- 1 hour.

Place skewers in a shallow dish of water while the shrimp marinade.

Make the mushrooms.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, add mushrooms (working in 2 batches if necessary). Stir mushrooms occasionally, seasoning with salt and pepper as you stir. After 5 minutes, stir in thyme. Continue sautéing until mushrooms are light brown. Remove from heat.

Skewer the shrimp & grill.
Grill over medium heat, a few minutes per side, until no longer opaque. Do not overcook!
Remove shrimp from skewers.

Optional:  Grill or toast split Hawaiian rolls, about 1-2 minutes.

To Serve:
– Place half of a Hawaiian roll on a plate. Top with lemon aioli (if using), lettuce, sautéed mushrooms and shrimp.
– Serve alongside a salad. Enjoy!

Marinade the Shrimp     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Marinade the Shrimp

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Cooking

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Assembling Ingredients for Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

This weekend, we were in the middle of the first real snowstorm in Chicago’s 2014-2015 winter season!  So far, we have received about 19″ of snow.  Yesterday and again this morning, my husband and I went outside to finish shoveling the driveway and sidewalks.  The snow is the heavy, “packing” kind,  perfect for kids wanting to make snowmen and forts, but really irritating for adults trying to clear footpaths!  Stella was jumping around like a kangaroo in the snow!  This was before it got too deep for her.  After a few more hours, we ended up clearing a path in the backyard so she could walk without having the snow reach up past her   fluffy tail!

Stella Bear Braving Chicago's Big Winter Snow       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Stella Bear Braving Chicago’s Big Winter Snow

When we got inside from shoveling, I wanted something quick, simple and a lot like buttered noodles.  I made this ridiculously simple dish that does not even need a recipe once you make it a few times.   I put 1/2 a box of orzo in a pot of salted, boiling water.  I drained the orzo and made my butter-olive oil blend fancy by flavoring it with lemon peel and sliced garlic cloves.  Then, I stirred in some lemon juice, Romano cheese and parsley to finish the dish.  Easy!

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

serves 2

1 c. orzo
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 2″ lemon peel
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 c. parsley, minced
1/3 c. Romano cheese + extra for serving
sea salt & pepper to taste

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add Orzo. Cook according to package directions until ‘al dente.’ You are better off undercooking the orzo at this point. Drain into a colander and transfer to a medium glass or heat-safe bowl*. Return pot to medium heat. Melt butter in pan and add olive oil. Gently place the sliced garlic and lemon peel in the butter/oil and stir a little bit. BE CAREFUL! Let bubble until garlic just barely starts to turn golden, ~30-60 seconds.  (It will go from golden to burned quickly) Remove garlic and lemon peel from pan with slotted spoon. Let cool on a plate before discarding.

Pour flavored butter/olive oil over the orzo. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and Romano cheese. Season to taste with sea and freshly ground black pepper.  Enjoy!

 

*Note: You can keep the cooked orzo in the colander and just stir it into the saucepan once the butter/oil has been flavored and the garlic/lemon peel is removed. I do this to minimize dirty dishes. The problem is the orzo can stick to the hot sides of the pan if you do not stir vigorously and immediately. The choice is yours.

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Orzo with Lemon Garlic Butter

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Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Bread Crumbs

One evening, while exploring a new grocery store, I came across a pre-chopped, ready-to-eat package of rainbow cauliflower.  I had previously only cooked with the white kind, so I thought I would give cauliflower’s orange, green and purple sisters a try!

Coincidentally, I had bookmarked a recipe in The Food 52 Cookbook Volume 2 for cauliflower that I have been patiently waiting to try out.

This is simply the best cauliflower recipe my husband and I have ever tasted.  For the original recipe, click HERE or see below.  I kept the panko breadcrumb topping amount the same, but halved the amount of cauliflower.

Enjoy!

Rainbow Colored Cauliflower   www.morewinelesswhines.com

Rainbow Colored Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs

Barely adapted from recipe posted to Food 52 by TheThinChef

  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 2 T + 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided
  •  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • Zest of 1 small organic lemon
  • cloves garlic, finely minced with sea salt
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place cauliflower  in a large bowl. Add 2 T extra virgin olive oil,  a little sea salt and pepper for flavor; toss to coat.
  3. Spread cauliflower out on 1 large, rimmed baking sheets. Roast until edges start to brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 T olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add panko and remaining sea salt and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, until bread crumbs are golden. Add lemon zest and garlic and toss until mixture is very fragrant and bread crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Place in a small bowl and add parsley, stirring to combine. Set aside.
  5. Remove cauliflower from oven and place on serving platter. Top with bread crumbs and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

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Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

I received an email from one of the local markets that they had just received some fiddlehead ferns and fresh morel mushrooms.  What would I do with the fronds and morels once I brought them home?  No clue, but I went in search of them regardless, knowing they would be part of the evening meal.

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns  www.morewinelesswhines.com

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns

I wanted to do something fresh, filling and delicious but without the addition of cream.  Enter my friend risotto.  I have a few favorite ways to make risotto, one of them being with a mix of dried and fresh mushrooms, pancetta and saffron.  Eventually, I will share that recipe.  For this dish, I started with my seasonal ingredients.

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushrooms with White Wine Butter Sauce

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern and Morel Mushrooms with White Wine Butter Sauce

You could almost just prepare the asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and morels in the white wine butter sauce and forget about the risotto if you are pressed for time.  I will leave that up to you!  No matter which direction you choose, you will have a great recipe base to sample some of spring’s fleeting delicacies.

This is how you know it is ok to add more broth to your risotto

This is how you know it is ok to add more broth to your risotto

Personally, I’m not a huge fiddlehead fern fan, but they are a fun, seasonal ingredient and “just work” in this dish.  The morels for this recipe cost $7.80.  They are not cheap, but are worth the once a year splurge.  Enjoy!

Asparagus, Fiddlehead Fern & Morel Mushroom Risotto

6 c. low sodium chicken broth

4 T. unsalted butter
1 bunch asparagus
16-18 fiddlehead ferns (optional)
18 small morel mushrooms (can substitute with other mushrooms)
1/2 c. dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)

1 T. Canola Oil
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. minced shallots
1.5 c. Arborio rice

1 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano + 1/4 c. for serving
2 T. Parsley, chopped (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.) Broth: Pour chicken broth into a large saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer. Reduce heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer.

2.) Asparagus, Fiddlehead Ferns & Morels: Heat a medium frying pan over low-medium heat. Add 4 T. butter. Gently melt and allow to turn a rich golden-tan, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Once the butter is browned (but not burned), add morels and asparagus. Sauté 2-3 minutes. Add fiddlehead ferns. Sauté additional 5 minutes. Turn heat to high. Pour in white wine. Sauté 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and set aside.*

3.) The Rice:Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Melt 2 T. butter & 1 T canola oil. Stir in minced shallots and sauté until golden. Stir Arborio rice into the shallots and continue stirring, 2 minutes longer until oil coats all of the rice. Begin adding broth, 1/2 c (4 oz) at a time, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Once most of broth is absorbed or you can run your spoon down the center of the pan without liquid immediately covering the space back up, add another ladle full of broth. Continue to do this 18-25 minutes, or until all of broth is gone.** Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper as you go, taking care not to add too much salt..

4.) Bringing it all together: Add the reserved spring asparagus, fiddlehead ferns & morels along with any sauce left in the saucepan to the rice. Stir. Slowly stir in the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with fresh parsley and extra parmesan cheese.

*You can forget about the risotto if you like and just prepare the asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and morels up to this point. Serve them as a side dish, mixed in with an omelet, atop grilled chicken or as part of an antipasto platter!

** I use a 4 oz ladle to scoop the broth out of the pot. A measuring cup will work, too.

 

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Cooking, Reflections, Traditions

Chicken and Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Chicken & Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Chicken & Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

If you listen to the stories of countless immigrants regardless of country of origin, you will hear different stories with very common threads:

  • The iron will to make a new, better life
  • The desire to assimilate and become successful in American culture
  • A careful preservation of heritage and traditions revolving around family, holidays and food

I am a 4th generation American.  America is my home and I am grateful to live here.  My ancestors hailed from Italy, Ireland and Germany.  I married a 3rd generation Italian American.  My husband and I have a passion for Italian American food.  This cuisine, above all others, comforts, nourishes, and brings back the old and welcomes new memories with our families as we cook.

One of my favorite comfort foods growing up, which was served only during holidays, is Braciole, (pronounced bra-zschOL).  If you have a thick Chicago accent, change the pronunciation to (bra-ZHALLL), accent on the “all” part of the word.  Braciole is a meat roll-up that has been browned in oil, then allowed to finish cooking in a tomato sauce.  As a little girl, my Papa would make braciole and meatballs and let them simmer in tomato sauce.  We would eat them over a heavy pasta we referred to as “sinkers.”

I took this memory, coupled with a recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane to make a variation of this dish using chicken and prosciutto.  This cookbook was also the inspiration behind another one of my recipes, Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini.

I hope you enjoy this updated version of braciole as much as we do!

Chicken & Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce Ingredients

Chicken & Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce Ingredients

Rolling up the Chicken &Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Rolling up the Chicken &Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

The rolled up the Chicken &Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

The rolled up the Chicken & Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Browning the Chicken &Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Browning the Chicken &Prosciutto Braciole with White Wine Mushroom Sauce

Chicken and Prosciutto Braciole with Whine Wine Mushroom Sauce

Original recipe from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large garlic clove, finely minced (optional)
1/4 c. freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. fresh parsley, (1 T. set aside for garnish)
4 thin slices prosciutto
2 T unsalted butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 c. white wine
8 oz.mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used white button mushrooms, but you can get creative)
1/4 c. chicken broth
2-3 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4″ thickness. Sprinkle each chicken breast with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now, place the smoothest side of each chicken breast down, facing the cutting board you are working on. Spread a little garlic over the “rough side” of each piece of chicken (if using). Then, sprinkle each chicken breast evenly with both cheeses and parsley. Place a single, thin slice of prosciutto over each chicken breast. Roll up each piece of chicken, tucking the filling as you go. Secure each chicken breast with 2-3 toothpicks.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 T unsalted butter & 2 T olive oil. Swirl in pan until butter is melted and oil is hot. Add chicken roll-ups, browning slightly on each side. Work in 2 batches if necessary to give each chicken enough space in the pan to brown.

Transfer browned chicken to a medium-sized baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

While chicken is baking, drain any excess fat from the skillet. Return the unwashed pan to the stove over medium heat. Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to high and add mushrooms. Continue to stir the mushrooms and wine, 5-8 minutes longer, over high heat. Stir in chicken broth and reduce heat to low once sauce begins to thicken. Just before serving, stir 2-3 T unsalted butter into the sauce to finish.

Once chicken comes out of oven, remove toothpicks if you are a nice cook,  transfer to serving dish and spoon white wine mushroom sauce on top. Sprinkle with reserved fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

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Let’s Talk Cookbooks and Soup – Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini (Spinach used in this photo)

Two summers ago, three generations of my family embarked on a road trip “out east.”  We stopped at Niagara Falls (New York), Erie (Pennsylvania) to visit family, Boston (Massachusetts), Cape Cod, Bar Harbor (Maine), Acadia National Park (Maine) and Sandusky (Ohio).  Oh, and we all piled into a single vehicle.  Why in the world would sane people subject themselves to that much ‘together’ time?  My grandmother does not like to fly.  We love my grandmother. Therefore, my uncle became the fearless captain and drove us several thousand miles to our destinations and back home.

At each destination, we would stop and wander around the local shops.  While we were in Boston, I picked up a cookbook.  The North End Italian Cookbook is written by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane and features the kind of slow-cooked Italian food that has comforted Italian Americans for decades.  I have made several of her recipes, including Sunday Gravy, that have won over the taste buds of my friends and family.  One recipe that has gone on repeat for me is a humble chicken soup with little meatballs or ‘polpettini’, shreds of chicken and fresh greens.

Make this soup over two days.  The broth is best made on day 1 (usually Saturday for me) and the soup will quickly come together on day 2 (Sunday).  The secret here is the broth.  If you are feeling impatient, don’t make this recipe.  You will ruin a very good thing.  Take your time with the broth!

Making the broth for Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Making the broth for Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Vegetables, Aromatics and Sea Salt for Broth

Vegetables, Aromatics and Sea Salt for Broth

Straining the broth for Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Straining the broth for Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini

Making the little meatballs or 'polpettini'

Making the little meatballs or ‘polpettini’

Chicken Soup with Escarole and Polpettini
Recipe adapted from The North End Italian Cookbook by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane

1 whole chicken (Organic & Free Range)
2 celery stalks, with leaves, halved
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
4 fresh parsley sprigs
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, no salt added
20 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
sea salt
1 bunch Escarole or 8-12 oz baby spinach*
1/2 c. water
1 lb. ground beef
2 T freshly grated Romano Cheese
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lb. small shaped pasta (optional)

Day 1: The Broth

Remove giblets or giblet package from cavity of chicken.  Cut off any excess fat around cavity.  Place the whole chicken in a large soup pot.  Add water to pot, filling until chicken is covered by 2-3″.  Place over a burner on low-medium heat.   Let the broth slowly come to a simmer.  Skim the surface of the water often with a large spoon and discard.  Once water stays fairly clean, add celery, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, peppercorns, bay leaf and about 1.5 tsp. sea salt.   Return to a just barely bubbling simmer.  Cover pot tightly and simmer slowly over low heat, about 2.5 hours.

Using a wire ‘spider,’ scoop out vegetables that have started to float and any accumulated bits at the top of the pot.  Discard.  Using a ladle, scoop broth out of pot and pour into cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl.  Place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice to start immediately cooling the broth.  Repeat with several bowls.  When you get to the bottom inch or two of broth around the chicken, you may elect to stop scooping stock.  Carefully remove the chicken with the wire ‘spider’ scoop and transfer to a large plate or pan.  The chicken will be falling apart.  Pick the meat from the chicken.  Reserve 2 cups chicken meat for the soup, risotto, etc.

Once stock has cooled a bit and ice begins to melt, place broth in covered containers in the refrigerator.  Let sit in refrigerator several hours to overnight.   When ready to use, skim away fat that has solidified at the top of the broth containers.  Freeze any broth you do not use for soup for a later use.

Day 2: The Soup

Pour 12-14 cups broth into a large dutch oven or soup pot.  Bring to a slow simmer.  Meanwhile, combine escarole (or spinach) in a large skillet with 1/2 c. water.  Stir until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander, squeezing out excess water.  Once soup is simmering, stir in wilted greens.

Gently combine the ground beef, Romano cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined.  Form into small 1/2″ balls, the size of marbles.  Drop into simmering soup, being careful to space them so they do not stick.  You may need to add them in two batches.  Let simmer 15 minutes, stirring occassionally. Stir in 2 cups reserved shredded chicken (white and/or dark meat).  Simmer an additional 15 minutes.  While simmering, season to taste with sea salt. *  Serve soup topped with freshly grated Romano cheese and a sliced baguette.

* Note:  use whichever greens look better at the store or farmer’s market.  The escarole looked terrible this weekend, so I used spinach instead.

**Optional:  Bring a medium size stockpot filled with 6-8 c. water and 2 tsp. sea salt to a boil.  Add 1/2 lb small pasta and cook until al dente.  Add to soup just before serving.

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