Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins and Rock Star Newfoundlands

I love my two Newfy boys, and they sure enjoy our morning walk. They're such ROCK STARS around Coronado and literally stop people driving down the street. When we sit in front of Starbucks, a small crowd gathers and we proudly respond to the typical questions about the breed, what they eat, how much they weigh, whether they sleep with us, names and ages, grooming routine, etc.

But what I've noticed lately is how Dooley and Diver have helped people associate me with There's a Newf in My Soup.  Just the other morning, Coronado Mayor, Casey Tanaka, called over as he walked into Starbucks, "Hey, are you Denise?" When I replied yes, he said, "I read your blog!"  I also met Steve, the man behind eCoronado, Coronado's #1 community website and online newspaper, when he recognized the boys as we walked past his house one morning.

Diver, age 3, 150 lbs, on the left, and Dooley, age 11, 130 lbs., on the right...No, they don't sleep with us, and yes, they shed and drool!


While enjoying my second cup of coffee, which is usually at the office, I like to nibble on a muffin with my yogurt. I made the P90X Plum Bran Muffins, which were good and very healthy, but then came across these Morning Glory Muffins, from Cooking Light. They're not quite as healthy, but are rated outstanding based on five out of five stars by the majority of reviewers. They're also very accommodating if you want to make substitutions in the type of dried fruit and/or nuts to suit your fancy. Some reviewers used Splenda Brown Sugar Blend in place of regular brown sugar.

Morning Glory Muffins
Adapted from Cooking Light
(Makes 18 muffins)


1 cup whole wheat flour (about 4 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (or 6 tablespoons Splenda Brown Sugar Blend)
1 tablespoon wheat bran (I used oat bran)
3 tablespoons ground flax seed (about 2 tablespoons whole)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain or vanilla fat-free yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pitted dates (I used prunes)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple


Preheat oven to 350°.

Place 18 muffin cup liners in muffin cups and spray lightly with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, oats, brown sugar, wheat bran, flax seed, baking soda and salt. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the egg and then add the yogurt and banana. Combine well, and add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Fold in the dates, walnuts, and pineapple. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Information:  Each muffin contains 186 calories (21% from fat); 4.4 g fat; 4.2 g protein, 35.2 g carbohydrates, 3.4 g fiber and 190 g sodium.

The Newfs also give these muffins 5 Stars!

Next time you see me and my goofy boys walking down the street in Coronado, stop and introduce yourself!  But please...don't ask me if they're Bouviers!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Smoked Salmon Savory Cheesecake - The Ultimate Crowd-Pleasing Appetizer...

I've lost track of how many times I've made Emeril's Savory Appetizer Cheesecakes - either the Crab & Wild Mushroom, Smoked Salmon featured below, or my own variation.  If there are any savvy investors out there who want to invest in a new career for me, I think Coronado would love having Newf in My Soup Savory SeaCakes in town.  I envision so many wonderful seafood combinations!

Yes, using a pound of quality seafood, smoked Gouda, cream cheese, and fresh vegetables is a bit costly, but you can make a smaller version if you aren't feeding a large crowd. Emeril garnishes his original version with caviar, but capers are perfectly fine with me.

Try one out for your next party or Concert in the Park picnic.  It truly makes a stunning presentation and your guests will be raving after every bite.

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Emeril's New New Orleans
Serves a large crowd (20-25) as an appetizer

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Emeril's Original Bam! Essence Seasoning! 3 oz Jar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 cup red bell peppers
3/4 cup yellow bell peppers
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 pound smoked salmon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 cup capers
2 hard boiled eggs, whites and yolks finely chopped
Lemon slices, for garnish
Whole chives and/or parsley sprigs, for garnish
Crackers or baguettes to serve on the side

A few of the fresh ingredients...


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and melted butter together. Blend thoroughly and season the mixture with Essence.

Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

In a saute pan, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the onions and peppers. Season the mixture with Essence and saute the vegetables for 2 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, saute for 30 seconds.

Remove from the heat.  Set aside and let cool completely.

Using a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, add the cream cheese. Process the cheese until smooth.

With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the cream, salt and black pepper. Process the mixture until smooth.  Scrape the sides to make sure all the lumps have been incorporated. Remove the mixture from the machine and turn into a mixing bowl. Fold in the vegetable mixture, Gouda cheese, smoked salmon and parsley.  Pour the cheese mixture into the prepared springform pan.

Place the pan, on a baking sheet, on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is set in the center. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the creme fraiche and lemon juice together. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Fold in the chives.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

Gently release the springform pan and slide the cheesecake onto a serving platter.  Garish with the red onions, capers, egg whites, egg yolks, lemon slices, and additional chopped chives.

If you want to plate individual servings, place a small pool of the creme fraiche and lemon-chive sauce in the center of each plate.  Place a slice of cheesecake in the center of the sauce and add the garnish.

The cheesecake is very rich.  Serve a small slice and accompany with crackers or toasted baguette slices. You can also present the whole cheesecake on a platter, with a basket of bread and/or crackers, and a small serving terrine for the sauce.

Again, investors are free to contact me directly...Coronado SeaCakes...



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Simple, but Sophisticated - Grilled Fontina, Mushroom and Sage Sandwiches

We just returned from our weekend in the mountains at CampBlogAway, touted as the Premier Boot Camp for Food Bloggers.  Although we did meet some fantastic people...

and came home with a few tidbits of useful information, we were hoping for more in-depth coverage of relevant food blogging topics, i.e., food writing, photography and styling, and information on creating and maintaining a successful blog. Instead, in my opinion, valuable time was lost with Wilton's 101 cookie decorating exercise, an onion-cutting demonstration, sponsor skits, camp songs, etc., and mostly superficial coverage of information I've already learned during my short time in the blogging world.

We did escape from our bunkroom in the co-ed cabin early one morning for a hike to the lake and some nature photography...

Tonight, I decided it was time to put my camp experience to rest, back in those awful bunk beds, and "grow up" with Food & Wine's simple, but sophisticated version of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, prepared with fresh and crusty bread, nutty and smooth-melting Fontina cheese, and a layer of sage-accented sautéed mushrooms.

Grilled Fontina, Mushroom and Sage Sandwiches
Adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 4


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound Crimini mushrooms, cut into thin slices
1/2 oz. dried Porcini mushrooms (reconstituted in a splash of white wine), optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
4 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
8 slices from a large round loaf of country-style bread, or other bread
1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated (about 2 cups)


In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, the reconstituted mushrooms and wine (if using), salt, and pepper.  Saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the fresh sage and saute another 30 seconds. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl and wipe out the pan.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small glass dish in the microwave. With a pastry brush, coat one side of 4 slices of the bread with half of the melted butter and turn the slices over, buttered-side down, onto a work surface. Top the bread with the grated cheese and then the mushrooms.

Cover with the remaining 4 slices of bread and brush the tops with the remaining melted butter

Heat the frying pan over medium heat. Add the sandwiches and cook, turning once, until golden, about two minutes per side.

Food & Wine recommends a crisp, dry, Italian white.  We enjoyed Pinot Grigio.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crab Enchiladas con Chile Amarillo, for Mother's Day and the May Daring Cooks' Challenge

The May 2010 Daring Cooks' Challenge was to create enchiladas. Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food chose a delicious Stacked Green Chile and Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on and written by Robb Walsh.

For this challenge, we were not required to use the chosen recipe.  We were encouraged, but not required, to make homemade tortillas, and we were free to make any homemade Mexican-style sauce, as long as it was challenging and daring, such as mole or a tomato-based sauce.  We were also given the liberty of using something other than chicken in the enchilada filling.

During the first week in May, I prefer celebrating the Kentucky Derby over Cinco de Mayo.  However, in celebration of Mother's Day I offered to prepare my Daring Cooks' Challenge for mom. My inspiration was New Mexico, via MARK MILLER'S INDIAN MARKET COOKBOOK, Recipes from Santa Fe's Coyota Cafe.

Although I do have several pounds of roasted Hatch green chiles in my freezer, and absolutely love their flavor, Mark's recipe for Crab Enchiladas with a blackened yellow tomato sauce was too intriguing to pass up. It also appeared to be a lighter, healthier, version of enchiladas - better for those of us who are frantically trying to get "summer ready."  The succulent crab filling, with lump crab, red and yellow bell peppers, roasted corn, serrano chile, and fresh herbs, is gently rolled inside delicate homemade crepes flavored with fresh corn kernels and green chile powder. The enchiladas are baked briefly, placed on top of a pool of blackened yellow tomato sauce, and garnished with a small mound of pickled carrot, jicama and pineapple slaw. For our first course, I served Yellow Summer Squash Soup with Red Chile Crema, also from Mark's cookbook. The colors in this dish are so vibrant!

Crab Enchiladas con Chile Amarillo
Crab Rolled in Green Chile Corn Crepes with Blackened Yellow Tomato Sauce and Pickled Carrot-Jicama Slaw
Adapted ever so slightly from Mark Miller's Indian Market Cookbook

Crab Filling
1 cup lump crab meat
1 Tablespoon seeded and minced red bell pepper
1 Tablespoon seeded and minced yellow bell pepper
1 cup fresh corn kernels, roasted (on a grill or over your stove's gas flame)
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • Thoroughly combine all Crab Filling ingredients in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pickled Carrot-Jicama Slaw
1 cup finely julienned carrot
1/2 cup finely julienned jicama
1/2 cup finely julienned pineapple
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
  • Thoroughly combine all Slaw ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup fresh corn kernals
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons green chile powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup softened, unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon for buttering baking dish
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Puree the milk and corn together in a blender and strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, chile powder, and salt. Cream in the butter and mix in the egg. Add the water and the corn-milk mixture and mix until all lumps are eliminated.
  • Heat a crepe pan and brush pan with vegetable oil.  Ladle in enough batter to make a thin crepe and cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side, until lightly browned.  Repeat for remaining batter (8 crepes), stacking the cooked crepes between parchment or waxed paper to keep them from sticking together.
Blackened Yellow Tomato Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tablespoon minced ginger
2 Yellow tomatoes (about 1 lb.), skin blackened over gas flame or under broiler
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bottled Habanero Chile Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon fresh basil
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan and saute the garlic and ginger over high heat for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the mixture.
  • Yransfer to a blender and add the tomatoes, water, salt, and hot sauce. Blend until just combined and textured, rather than smooth. Add the basil and pulse to incorporate.
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
  • Warm before serving.

Assembly, Baking and Plating
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Butter a baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • Divide the crab filling between the crepes, roll up, and place in baking dish.
  • Bake for about 8 minutes.
  • To serve, ladle about 1/2 cup of the rewarmed, roasted yellow tomato sauce onto each plate.  Place two crepes on top of the sauce, and garnish with a small mound of slaw.

While writing this post, I started craving the wonderful heat and flavor of New Mexico Hatch green chiles and decided to go for Round Two. I stopped for some tomatillos and chicken breasts, defrosted a package of those roasted Hatch chiles I mentioned earlier, and whipped up Fine Cooking's Stacked Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas.  You can find the recipe, here.

Many of the Daring Cooks were unable to find fresh tomatillos, but it wasn't a problem here in San Diego.

I used Queso Anejo Enchilado cheese, one of John's favorites, instead of Monterey Jack, and garnished the stack with a little leftover Carrot-Jicama Slaw.

Oh my, memories of Santa Fe! These chiles pack the heat and flavor like no other!

Thank you, Barbara and Anna, for hosting this month's Challenge!  Please visit The Daring Kitchen for all of the Challenge recipes, and take a stroll through the Daring Cooks' Blogroll to see what some of the other daring members created this month!

You may be interested in these recipes from Mark Miller's Tacos and Indian Market Cookbooks...

Spicy Pacific Tartares - Salmon with Smoked Chiles and Ahi Tuna with Serrano-Cilantro Mayonnaise

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons - Winner of Bon Appetit's Facebook Fan Photo of the Week!

I subscribe to Bon Appetit, and recently became a "Fan" of their Facebook Page.  To thank their Facebook Fans, every week for the past month, Bon Appetit has chosen their favorite fan-submitted photo of a Bon Appetit recipe and featured it on Facebook, and on their web site's BA Daily Blogs.  My photo of Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons was chosen as the Fan Photo of Week #3.  I'm so honored!

When preparing the recipe, I substituted Galletti pasta, which has a little different shape, and used a combination of yellow and green summer squash.  This is a wonderful pasta dish, allowing you to take advantage of the fresh summer vegetables at the Farmers' Market.

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Fried Croutons
From Bon Appetit, May 2010
Recipe by Donatella Arpaia
Serves 6


1 large head of cauliflower (28 to 30 ounces), trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta) or medium-size shell pasta
1 1/2 cups 1/3-inch cubes crusty country-style bread
3 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/3-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
7 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until cauliflower florets are tender and beginning to brown in spots, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling generously salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, reserving 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking liquid. Set pasta and cooking liquid aside separately.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large deep nonstick skillet or large pot over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and saute until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool. Reserve skillet or pot.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to same skillet or pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and garlic and saute until zucchini is golden brown and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cauliflower and anchovies and saute until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add drained pasta, reserved 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking liquid, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/3 cup parsley, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano cheese and toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide pasta among 6 bowls; sprinkle with fried croutons, remaining parsley, and additional Parmesan cheese and serve.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grab the Captain and Run for the Roses - Country Captain on Derby Day!

Country Captain is a chicken curry dish which, in its basic form, is a mild stew made with browned chicken pieces, onions, and curry powder. Golden raisins and almonds are usually added. Many versions also call for tomatoes, garlic, and bell peppers. The dish is served over white rice.  Country Captain may have originated in India as a simple poultry or game recipe involving onions and curry and possibly enjoyed by British officers. One theory is that an early 19th-century British sea captain working in the spice trade introduced it to the American South via the port of Savannah.  Wikipedia

The dish was featured on an episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, guest-starring Matt and Ted Lee. The Lee brothers took victory.

Read an interesting New York Times' article, by Sam Sifton, here.

I made Saveur's Country Captain almost a year ago, a version featured on the the menu of Watershed, Atlanta.  The recipe I made last Sunday is from Bon Appetit. We enjoyed it after watching the Kentucky Derby, and a disappointing 2nd place finish for Icebox (I had $10 on him to win).  I chose him because he was caked in mud after winning the Florida Derby, so I figured he would run well on a wet and muddy track, the conditions on Derby Day!  That's my logic, and I'm stickin' to it!  He was in the back of the pack most of the race, but had an amazing, nail biting, final stretch run, powering around the outside and passing the entire field...with the exception of Super Saver, who took home the roses!

Ice Box, #8, with a late run to win the Florida Derby

Sorry for going off on that tangent, but I LOVE watching the horses run our Del Mar track during the summer season, and I always tune in to see The Run for the Roses the first weekend in May!

OK, back to Country Captain...or Country Colonel in honor of the Derby...

Saveur's recipe uses a whole cut up chicken with bacon, green peppers and tomatoes nestled in a thick curry sauce and baked, garnished with currants and peanuts (see my post and photos, here).  Bon Appetit's recipe uses bite size pieces of boneless chicken thighs simmered with cauliflower, tomatoes, dried cherries and peas, seasoned with a mix of freshly toasted and ground spices, garnished with green onion tops and toasted coconut shavings.  Bobby Flay's Throwdown recipe, here, features a little of both, and sounds amazing.  Bobby prepares his Mesa Curry Mix, which incorporates two chili powders, and he also adds half of a fresh Serrano Chile to the stew....hummm, just might have to try Bobby's version next!

Without doing a side by side tasting, it's hard to chose a favorite.  My memory is a bit faded since cooking Saveur's recipe, but I think the spice blend in Bon Appetit's recipe is a little more complex and flavorful, and I liked the addition of cauliflower and peas.  It really comes down to personal preference, and whether you favor white and/or dark meat, chicken on the bone or boneless bite-size pieces, and what vegetables and garnishes float your boat.  This dish is all about the spices!  I do recommend serving any version you concoct over steamed, white rice (or coconut rice), and garnishing with with toasted almonds, peanuts or pistachios.

Country Captain with Cauliflower and Peas
from Bon Appetit, March 2010
Serves 6


1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds (from 3 whole green cardamom pods)
1 1/2-inch piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (scant) cayenne pepper

Place coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cloves, cardamom seeds, and cinnamon stick in small dry skillet. Stir over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darker in color, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. Finely grind spices in spice mill or in mortar with pestle. Transfer to small bowl; add turmeric and cayenne.


5 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
1 small head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
Coarse kosher salt
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces
1 bunch green onions, dark green and white parts chopped separately
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 2/3 cups crushed tomatoes with added puree (from 28-ounce can)
1/3 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas (9 to 10 ounces; do not thaw)
1/3 cup coconut shavings, lightly toasted

Toasted almonds, optional, for garnish
Steamed, white rice (John made coconut rice, substituting a small can of coconut milk for some of the water)

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower florets; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and sauté until beginning to soften and brown in spots, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and half of chicken to same pot; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and sauté until chicken is light brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to large bowl. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Add white parts of green onions, finely grated ginger, and minced garlic to same pot; reduce heat to medium and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground spice mixture; stir 15 seconds. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.

Add crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in dried cherries and peanut butter; return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add sautéed cauliflower to pot; cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and cauliflower is tender, adding more chicken broth by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry, about 10 minutes longer. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm over medium heat before continuing.

Add frozen peas to stew and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Ladle stew over white rice. Sprinkle each serving with green onion tops, toasted coconut shavings, and almonds, and serve.  Recommended wine:  Riesling

Ok Bobby, I'm ready for your Throwdown recipe next!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Calamari Piccata and Roasted Asparagus

I had been craving a nice calamari steak, so I made a quick run to the market Friday after work.  This is a very simple, inexpensive and tasty dinner.  The following recipes serve two, but you can adjust accordingly for additional servings.  You can also substitute the calamari for chicken breast scaloppine (cutlets).  Roasted asparagus or broccoli complements perfectly.

Calamari Piccata
Serves 2


1 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence (make your own, or also available in the spice aisle)
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup white wine (or low- sodium chicken stock)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Italian parsley, chopped


Rinse the calamari steaks in cold water and pat dry.  Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Prepare a breading station with flour in the first bowl, whisked egg in the second, and a mixture of bread crumbs and panko in the third.  Season the flour and bread crumbs with about 1 teaspoon each of Emeril's Original Essence..."I don't know where you buy your flour, but mine doesn't come seasoned."  -Emeril Lagasse.

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the calamari steaks in the flour, egg, and then bread crumbs, and add to the skillet.

Brown well on each side, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer calamari to a plate.  Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

Add white wine (or chicken stock), lemon juice, and capers to the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up the browned bits and reduce slightly. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Serve calamari with the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with parsley.

Roasted Asparagus
Slightly Adapted from Tyler Florence

1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated or shaved Parmesan, optional
Lemon zest, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Snap off the woody ends from the asparagus and lightly peel the bottom half of the remaining stalks with a vegetable peeler (not necessary, but makes for a prettier presentation).  Spread the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.

Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus. Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter and top with some Parmesan mixed with a little lemon zest.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Dinner for two!  This calamari pairs particularly well with beer (wheat), Champagne, Gewiirztraminer, and sparkling wine (Cava or Prosecco) - from What to Drink with What you Eat