Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seafood Chowder

This is another recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties. I was trying to decide what to make one night and I remembered my friend Carrie had brought me over some of this delicious chowder. I thought I might have all the ingredients in my fridge or freezer..and I nearly did. It turned out delicious...the girls love seafood and this was a hit.

Seafood Chowder (makes 3 quarts)

1 pound large shrimp (32-36 per pound), peeled and deveined (save shells for stock) [so I thought I had raw shrimp from trader joe's... turns out they were cooked - but the shells worked just fine. The shrimp was less tender than I would have preferred...but it worked given I didn't want to run out and go shop]
1/2 pound scallops [I had this in the freezer also from trader joe's - very tender]
1/2 pound monkfish [I had tilapia in the freezer from I used it it worked fine - although monkfish is also delish]
1/2 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over to remove shells [this was the one of the ingredients I didn't have on hand]
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 cup peeled and medium-diced carrots (4 carrots)
1/2 cup medium-diced onion (1 onion)
1 cup medium-diced celery (3 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced small white or red potatoes
1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe Seafood Stock (recipe follows)
1 1/2 Tbs heavy cream (optional) [I used milk - didn't have cream]
2 Tbs minced parsley [didn't have this either - not even the dried seasoning]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut the shrimp, scallops, and monkfish into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl with the crabmeat.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter; add the carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, and corn and saute over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are barely cooked, stirring occasionally. Add the flour; reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the Seafood Stock and bring to a boil. Add the seafood; reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked. Add the heavy cream, if desired, and the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Seafood Stock (makes about 1 quart)

2 Tbs good olive oil
Shells from 1 pound large shrimp
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup good white wine
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme, including stems [I didn't have this when I made it]

Warm the oil in a stockpot over med heat. Add the shrimp shells, onions, carrots, and celery and saute for 15 min, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook 2 more min. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water, the white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a sieve, ssing the solids, You should have approx. 1 quart of stock.You can make up the difference with water or wine if you need to.

Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

Yesterday my parents dropped by on their way home to the Bay Area from Utah. I had lunch ready for them...and oh yeah... the grand babies too. ;-)

I love Ina Garten. Her recipes are easy and always delicious. These are from her Barefoot Contessa Parties cook book.

That morning before we left for violin I rolled out my mom's crescent butter rolls and left them to rise in time for lunch. Then when we arrived home from violin I started working on the fresh pesto and then a fresh fruit salad [strawberries, boysenberries, pineapple and blueberries - layered) and the Pasta, Pesto and Peas salad.

Pasta, Pesto and Peas (serves 12)

3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow-tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups homemade pesto
1 10oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 Tbl freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts), toasted (optional)
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 10-12 minutes, until each pasta is al dente. [I cooked them together] Drain and toss into a bowl with olive oil. Cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon jucie. Add the mayonnaise and continue to puree.

Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta, then add the parmesan cheese, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. [I added chopped ham and I didn't add add'l salt - didn't need it] Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Pesto (makes 4 cups)

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 Tbl diced garlic (9cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 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 finely pureed. Add the parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This is a perfect recipe for Mother's Day brunch.
It's so easy, you can hand it off to your hubby and kids to make while you relax!

4 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cups flour, unsifted
1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt

2-3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
sour cream
brown sugar

4 twelve fluid ounce crocks*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 Tbsp of butter in each crock and put in oven until the butter melts and bubbles. Be careful not to burn the butter.

While the butter is melting, mix the milk, flour, sugar, eggs and salt on medium speed in the blender until smooth. Remove crocks from the oven and pour 2/3 cup of mixture into each crock and return to oven.

Adjust the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.

While the hootenanny bakes, prepare the strawberries.

When done, the hootenanny will be puffed and browned. As it cools it will fall. Top with strawberries, sprinkle with brown sugar and add a dollop of sour cream. Yum!

* You can also make this in a 10 inch pie dish