Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whole Wheat Bow-tie Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce

I have seen really similar recipes for this type of dish all over the interwebs but this one was inspired by something I saw in the AJC. It was quite delicious. Even though it's a creamy sauce, it actually felt kind of light or maybe I was just light-handed with the sauce. Also, if you make this, don't base it off of my picture. I only had half the amount of mushrooms in my package so ideally it would normally have a lot more mushrooms in it.

Whole Wheat Bow-Ties with Mushroom Cream Sauce
Makes 4 servings

8 oz. uncooked whole wheat bow-tie pasta
1/2 tablespoon butter
6 oz. wild mushroom blend
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8ish cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Gris)
1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook pasta according to directions on the package.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat the butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook until liquid evaporates.

3. Add wine and stir until liquid evaporates. Remove from heat.

4. Toss veggies with cream, pasta, cheese, remaining salt and parsley. Serve warm.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Simple Salad Doesn't Have To Be Boring + Pork

The following two recipes will both serve two people and are really easy to make on a weeknight since they don't require a lot of materials or time. The salad looks really simple since there are essentially no toppings. However, Arugula is really flavorful in itself and the dressing adds a good punch. I may have even heard "this might be the best salad dressing that I've ever had" uttered last night. The pork chops were tasty as well and satisfied my craving for some traditional comfort food.

Dressing for Arugula

dijon mustard
extra-virgin olive oil


In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of finely chopped shallots, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, and 1/4 tsp of each salt and pepper. Next, add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and whisk until blended.  Pour over a few cups of arugula. Enjoy!

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops


2 Center-cut boneless pork chops
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup Panko crumbs (Japanese section)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp and 1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Canola Oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil


Pound pork chops to about 1/2 inch thick. (Think cutlets). Season with the 1/4 tsp sea salt.

In a shallow dish, mix thyme, crumbs, pepper, and 1 tsp salt.

Coat the pork chops in the egg and dredge through the mixture making sure to press the crumbs into the chops in order to coat completely.

Heat both the oils over medium high heat and then add the meat.  Cook about 6 minutes on each side or until they turn golden and reach 160 degrees.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Easy Tex Mex

These are the perfect dish when you are craving something unhealthy but don't want to actually be too unhealthy. Since I found the recipe through I figured it couldn't be too bad. (And they were tasty!) Excuse the nasty picture of the plate but I wanted you to see how it looks on the inside.

Tex Mex Calzones
Makes 4 calzones


1 pound ground turkey, extra lean
1/2 c onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dark chili powder
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped fine
3/4 c salsa verde

1 c Mexican blend cheese, shredded
1 egg white, beaten

11 0z. can of pizza dough, refrigerated 


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic; continue to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add spices and cook for 1 minute to bring out the flavors in the spices. Add chopped pepper; continue to cook 1 minute. Remove mixture from heat and stir in salsa.

Unroll dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Working with one rectangle at a time place, 1/2 cup of turkey mixture on half of the dough then top with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Using a pastry brush or fingers, brush the egg mixture on the border of the dough. Fold dough over turkey mixture and press with a fork to seal. Brush some additional egg wash over the top of the calzone.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Top with additional salsa verde. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Peachy Grilling

It's officially summer! Though I'm pretty sure Georgia would be surprised to hear that because she seemed to think it has been for some time now with all the plus 90 degree weather since May...

I found a recipe that I think is perfect for summer since it combines both grilling and peaches. My husband wasn't so sure that he liked it. But try mentioning that you will be adding peaches, pineapples or the like in the meal, and it won't really excite him.  I liked it and thought it would be perfect for summer get togethers. Others, well, they may not agree.

We also tried a new wine that I picked up at Total Wine, Nobilis Vinho Verde. It's a white wine from Portugal. I liked that it was a tad sweet (but not overly so) and had a hint of carbonation to it - perfect for a 95 degree day! It was a random find but I may or may not have picked this one based on the pretty bottle. It was also less than $8!

Peach-Glazed Chops
Source: Better Homes and Gardens


2 medium peaches, coarsely chopped
1 medium lime, juiced (2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
2 cloves garlic
4 center-cut pork chops about 1 inch thick
4 peaches, halved and pitted
1 red sweet pepper, quartered
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 bunch basil, chopped


1. In blender, combine the chopped peaches, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha sauce. Blend until nearly smooth. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Smash garlic with the side of a wide knife or the bottom of a skillet. Add garlic and pork to bag; seal and turn to coat. Let stand up to 30 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade. For a charcoal grill, grill chops on rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until chops are slightly pink in center and juices run clear (160 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling and adding the peach halves and pepper quarters for the last 7 minutes of grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place meat on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)

3. Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small saucepan. Add honey and bring to a simmer. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened (discard garlic cloves). Remove pork, peaches, and peppers from grill and brush with reduced marinade. Chop peaches and peppers as desired for serving. Pass remaining marinade. Sprinkle with basil. Makes 4 servings.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Not My Cooking

A few of you Atlantans may have heard the name, Peter Chang. If not, you know how to use Google or Wikipedia but I'll save you some time, Peter Chang. He used to cook at a little known restaurant in Marietta called, Tasty China. They serve spicy Szechwan cuisine and people would line up to get it. Once upon a time, I worked right near this place. I can remember coworkers running there for lunch and inviting me. But at the time, I was a college student and not so adventurous in my tastes so I never made it there. I think I may have missed out. Apparently, there are blogs out there for people who follow this guy to various cities to see what kitchen he will pop up in next. Luckily, he decided to open his own restaurant in Atlanta very recently,

I finally got a chance to dine there last night after anxiously waiting for a visit. And I was not disappointed! There were so many different things on the menu that I want to try. I will have to make my next visit with a meat-eater because I definitely cannot wait to try some of his non-vegetarian friendly dishes like: Steam Pork Soup Buns, the infamous "Duck", Hot and Numbing Beef, and the Steamed Chili Spare Ribs. But here is what I did try:

Scallion Bubble Pancake with Curry Sauce
This was soooo good. With the flavors of the sauce, I almost felt like I was sneaking dessert before my dinner.

Dry Fried Eggplant
There are no words for this one. If you like eggplant and spicy food, you must try this. There were so many great flavors in this, I think I had tears in my eyes.

Mixed Seafood in Clay Pot (shrimp, squid, scallops, fish slices, asparagus, dried tomatoes) 
Sorry for the crappy picture. But it was delicious!

They do have an Americanized section of the menu where you can find your favorites like Sesame Chicken but don't you go ordering from that side of the menu! Trust!

I also visited Wisteria in Inman Park over the weekend. Yes, I ate well this weekend. Wisteria serves contemporary cuisine with a southern flair. This place is great to take out of town guests for a nice meal to show off local dishes. For an appetizer, I had the Pimento Deviled Eggs with pickled okra and spiced pecans. I've been noticing these popping up on menus all over the south. They must be coming back as a new trend. I've never been a fan but recently I can't stop eating them (especially at restaurants where they tweak the traditional recipe a bit.) For my entree, I had the All Natural Iron Skillet Fried Chicken with bacon braised collard greens and sweet corn pudding with mushroom herb broth. The portions were generous and the food mouthwatering. The chicken was crisp, juicy, and didn't have much bone. And I ate every last bit of that corn pudding that was more like a dessert pudding than corn. So, somebody direct me to the nearest treadmill STAT. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Steaks and Smoky Wine Sauce

This sauce sounds kind of fancy...okay, it IS fancy. I made it earlier this week to pour over steaks. We grilled NY Strips but it would also be delicious with a good rib-eye.

Steak Wine Sauce
makes enough to dress four steaks

1/2 cup port wine
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 canned chiles (Adobo Chipotle)
1 tsp. thyme
2 cups beef broth
2 Tbsp butter
kosher salt


In a large saucepan, combine wines, mushrooms, onion, garlic, chiles and thyme.  Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add the broth and repeat first step. 
Strain the liquid and throw away everything else in the pan. Return the liquid to the pan.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Whisk in butter and season with salt. Remove from heat and serve over steaks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

Don't be turned off by the title of this post. (I know I probably would be.) I mean who really gets excited about cabbage or the effects it has on people...

But if you like thai food, this side dish is a must! I wasn't totally excited about making it because again it's cabbage but it was SO delicious. I actually could have eaten this as my meal. But, I love Thai food and this incorporated so many Thai-like flavors. If I hadn't made it myself and someone asked me what I thought was in this, I probably would have said things like lemongrass, curry, or coconut milk. I would have been wrong since it doesn't even use any of those ingredients. Give it a try!

Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage with Garlic, Fresh Chile & Basil
 Source: Fine Cooking


1 head of napa cabbage
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (found with the asian foods in the grocery store)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 medium serrano chile, chopped but not seeded
1/4 cup freshly torn basil leaves
2 to 3 tsp fresh lime juice
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


Slice the cabbage in half lengthwise. Position one half cut side up and slice it across the middle at the point where the leafy top gives way to the white stem. Remove the core. Slice the stem end lengthwise into 1 1/2 in wedges and cut the wedges crosswise. Cut the leafy half in the same way. Keep leaves and stems separate.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add oil to coat pan.

Cook the garlic and stems for about 2 minutes.  Add the fish sauce, salt, chile, and sugar. Toss. Stir-fry another 2-3 minutes.

Add the leaves stirring quickly until barely wilted.  Remove wok from heat and add the basil and lime juice. Season with salt and garnish with scallions.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grilled Rosemary Chicken with Sweet & Sour Sauce

I'm trying to incorporate more chicken in my life to get over my fear of handling raw chicken. I think I've done other rosemary recipes before that were good. This one was no exception. It was delicious. While I really liked the dipping sauce, the chicken is also good without it.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. dark brown sugar 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp canola oil


Toss the chicken in oil to lightly coat.
Combine rosemary, pepper, salt, brown sugar, and red pepper.
Rub chicken with the mixture.
Grill chicken on medium-high on a gas or charcoal grill.
Cook until done and grill marks appear on both sides. The timing will vary per grill.
Dip chicken in sauce. 

Sweet & Sour Sauce


1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/2 fresh chopped rosemary 


Heat marmalade, vinegar, and rosemary in a saucepan over medium heat until warm.  Whisk the marmalade and vinegar together and let sit on low heat until chicken is ready to be served.


Monday, June 6, 2011


Once again, I was absent for a few days. This time it was because I got the privilege of traveling to Charleston with my mother. Charleston is a great place to visit for the history, shopping, and culinary delights. But it's definitely not a place I would want to go to for more than a couple of days which was perfect since that's all we were there for. We were lucky enough to find some great places to eat southern food. One such place was the famed Jestine's Kitchen as seen on the Travel Channel and Food Network. I won't bore you with all the details of my trip but I will share some food pictures from Jestine's. If you are ever in the area, be sure to check it out for lunch.

Jestine's Table Wine (Sweet Tea)

Fresh Cornbread with Honey Butter

Fried Green Tomatoes

Collard Greens, Green Beans, Fried Okra, Macaroni and Cheese

If you need any food recommendations for this area let me know. Some other great places to eat are 82 Queen, Poogan's Porch, and Anson.