Welcome to my F-ing life!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cold Pasta Salad with Black Beans and Corn

I like a good, cold pasta salad. Especially in the summer. If it's good enough, I will pretty much eat it any time of the year.  As a general rule, the more a pasta salad "sits" it the fridge, the more the flavors meld and it tastes better over time.

This particular cold pasta salad was on our table for our New Year's Eve dinner. Easy to throw together, and easy to eat!

Boil some salted water for the pasta.

Drain and rinse the black beans, drain the corn kernels.

Dice up some red bell pepper, celery and green onion.

Chop up some fresh parsley.

By this time, the water is probably boiling, so add in the pasta.

While pasta cooks, put everything into a great big bowl.

Drain and cold rinse the pasta. Add it to the big bowl-o-stuff.

Pour out some balsamic vinaigrette.

Pour vinaigrette over everything in the big bowl.

Stir everything together. Cover and chill until ready to serve!

Cold Pasta with Black-Eyed Peas and Corn

Serves 10

1 box cavatappi (corkscrew) pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet white corn kernels
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 red bell pepper, cut into narrow 1-inch strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette, homemade or bottled
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water, then drain well again.
Combine the cooked pasta with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl, and toss together. Cover and refrigerate until needed, or serve at once.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Herb Crusted Petite Sirloin

So easy and so good...

You can do this method with any cut of steak; rib eye, filet mignon, sirloin...whatever you have.

Heat some butter and olive oil over high heat.

Swirl it together and keep cooking until butter starts to brown and oil starts to smoke.

Carefully toss in some finely minced garlic.

Keep swirling and stirring so it doesn't burn!

While your oil and garlic is cooling, combine your herbs.

Toss your herb mixture into the garlic and oil.

Stir everything together.

Pour mixture over steaks in a Ziploc or shallow bowl. Make sure every inch gets coated!

Add steaks to a super-hot pan when you're ready to cook.

Flip after about five minutes (or however you like them done).

Let 'em rest for a few minutes.

Dig in....

Herb Crusted Petite Sirloin

Serves 4

4 petite sirloins, about 1 1/2 inches thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat olive oil in a small fry pan. Just before it begins to smoke, add garlic; stir constantly and cook 1-2 minutes until garlic starts to brown. Remove pan from heat  and allow to cool. Add herbs and stir.

Place steaks into a shallow dish. Pour herb mixture over and turn steaks to coat. You can also do this in a Ziploc bag. Let marinate for 1-4 hours in refrigerator.

Preheat dry pan over high heat. Remove steaks, shake off excess oil. Place in hot pan and cook for 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and serve.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shrimp Firecrackers

I know you're gonna love this one!

A wee-bit time consuming, but really worth the effort...the Shrimp Firecracker! Perfect as an appetizer to celebrate a New Year! Or celebrate a Tuesday... Whatever floats your boat, I say!

Now, I say "firecracker" and one might assume "spicy". Not so, young padawan. You could make these spicy if you so desired, or leave them as is. The flavor combination here is excellent as they are, but I could seriously see some heat being added to the party. Maybe make a spicy dipping sauce?

If you wanted to make these for a different occasion, say one where a "firecracker" type theme doesn't really make much sense, you could make the filling into regular egg rolls or beggar's purses just as easily.

Dice up some water chestnuts.

Then green onion.

Then parsley.

Take a pound of these babies...

...and dice them into teeny pieces.

Put the shrimp, ginger paste and garlic in a bowl.

Stir and smoosh everything together. This could easily be done in a food processor, but I don't own one. And I like the filling kinda chunky.

Toss in the water chestnuts, green onion and parsley that you chopped up so nicely.

Make a slurry with soy sauce and cornstarch.

Add the slurry to the shrimp mixture.

Stir everything together and the filling is all done!

Boil some salted water.

Toss in the chives and blanch for about 45 seconds or so.

Remove from water and separate into strands on a paper towel.

Cut a package of egg roll wrappers in half.

Layout a few pieces at a time to work with.

Add filling to the center of each wrapper.

Use you fingers to wet the outer edges of each rectangle with your egg wash.

Now they are ready to roll. Try to roll as tightly as you can, leaving 1/2 inch or so on each side of the wrapper empty.

Twist and pinch the ends closed.

Tie each end with a chive.

All wrapped up and ready for frying!

Fry in batches and let drain on paper towel lined plate.

Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.

Shrimp Firecrackers

Makes about 20-25

1 pound cooked, shelled, and deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
8 water chestnuts, rinsed and finely chopped
Egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
Vegetable oil for frying
Fresh chives, blanched, at least 4 inches long

Finely chop shrimp and add to a large bowl with the ginger and garlic; stir and smash/smoosh together. Stir in scallions, parsley and water chestnuts. Combine soy sauce and cornstarch in small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour this mixture into the shrimp mixture and stir to combine.

Cut egg roll wrappers in half. Brush one rectangle lightly with egg. Spoon about 2-3 teaspoons of shrimp mixture into center and roll up. Gently twist the ends and pinch shut. Tie each pinched end with a chive. Place firecracker on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat with remaining filling and dough.

Heat oil to about 350 in a frying pan. Add firecrackers in batches and fry 3-5 minutes, turning once. When browned, remove to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any extra oil. Serve hot.