Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quick Pasta Bolognese

Sometimes, panic is a good thing. And by that, I mean when I'm frazzled from studying and figure it's time to take a break by doing some cooking to get out of the academic funk. I have always had a fondness for Pasta  Bolognese and somewhere in my collection of dusty, unused cookbooks is a different recipe (one that takes twice as long as this new version) which I always trot out when I want to impress .  But I also have a fondness for simplification especially when I have a paper to write and a test to study for. Given how simple this was to make, and how good it tasted, this might be my new favorite Bolognese recipe. Overall grade: A

Quick Pasta Bolognese 
Adapted slightly from The Best Simple Recipes by America's Test Kitchen

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion chopped fine
1 carrot, diced into small chunks
16 oz meatloaf mix (pork and beef)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound gluten free spaghetti
salt and pepper

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in large pot. Place 1 tbsp oil in large skillet turn heat to medium high until oil starts to smoke slightly. Add onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add meat and cook, using potato masher to break apart meat until it is no longer pink for about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened, approximately 2 minutes. Add cream and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Cook pasta and drain. Return to pot and add sauce, tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roasted Halibut with Asian Cilantro Sauce

Thanks in part to a long weekend and some extra free time, I finally ran out of excuses and followed the trail of  imaginary bread crumbs back into the kitchen. As I've been relying way too much on prepackaged food and/or using ice cream for my dinners as of late, I'd had my eye on this for awhile in the hope of kick starting a healthier lifestyle. Sadly, this was cooked only because I was growing irritated with watching a baseball game but I'd like to think that getting this made at all is still a battle won. Overall, given my tendency to overcook fish, the green bean and mushroom blend was the biggest hit but this was still a quick, light Sunday lunch that I would make again as long as I had a kitchen timer on hand. Although the recipe calls for adding additional salt and pepper to taste to the vegetable medley and the cilantro sauce, I omitted it without any taste lost as a result. Overall grade B+.

Roasted Halibut with Asian Cilantro Sauce 
slightly adapted from Bon Appetit - Fast Easy Fresh 

2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (1 large bunch)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp ginger paste
5 tbsp olive oil (recipe calls for safflower oil)
2 tsp Asian sesame oil, divided
3 tsp soy sauce, divided

2 8 oz halibut fillets, each 1 inch thick
4 oz green beans
10 oz fresh stemmed shiitake mushrooms

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cilanto, lemon juice, green onion and ginger in food processor along with 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp soy sauce and puree.

Place fish fillets, green beans, and mushrooms in single layer on baking sheet. Whisk remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, sesame oil and soy sauce in bowl to blend. Poor over fish, green beans and mushrooms. Toss green beans and mushrooms to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fish is opaque in center and green beans are crisp-tender, approximately 8 minutes. Divide among two plates and serve with cilantro sauce.