One of the ingredients we brought back from our New Orleans trip was Steen’s Cane Vinegar. We’ve used it in a few dishes and it makes a huge flavor difference from any other vinegar. This is the salad dressing that converted me from dry rabbit food to a salad with dressing.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Steen’s cane vinegar
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil (we used olive oil)
In a medium nonreactive mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, shallot, garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes, then little by little whisk in the canola oil until completely incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
This dressing is just the right amount sweet and tangy. It’s lovely on a chicken breast and a bacon salad. There’s almost always a jar of this in our refrigerator.
Our garden seems to choose every year what it will do well and what it won’t. One year, it was zucchini. Another year, basil. This year seems to be tomatoes. So with the overabundance of tomatoes and a few small basil leaves, we wanted to make something that would be quick and easy and not super hot, since of course it’s late August in Missouri.
Luckily, J found this super simple recipe on the Food Network. We’ve talked about how we love lots of Emeril Lagasse’s dishes before (here, here and here) and he did not disappoint this time either.
Penne with garden Fresh Tomatoes and Basil plus Mozzarella
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 5 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- 1 pound penne pasta we used whole wheat
- 1/2 cup shredded basil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound fresh salted mozzarella sliced or cubed (I don't know if we used the whole 3/4 of a pound. We did just get a fresh mozzarella log from our favorite grocer)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (J added this to his I left it out)
- Balsamic vinegar to taste
Put a large pot of salted water on for the pasta. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce.
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil.
Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute or less.
Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, just until they begin to release some of their juice.
Cook the pasta in the pot of salted boiling water for 12 to 13 minutes until al dente (you're best bet is to follow the package directions).
Drain the pasta. Add the pasta and basil to the pan with the tomatoes and toss.
Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the pasta in bowls, equally distribute the fresh mozzarella between the bowls. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the bowls of pasta and serve immediately.
We reserved some mozzarella to top the pasta and then drizzled it with Balsamic vinegar.
So very tasty and perfect for a hot summer evening. Next time we might add additional veggies like onions or zucchini.
The best tortilla soup is either at Luby’s in San Antonio or Magnolia’s in Austin. Seeing as how I no longer live in Texas, it was high time I learned to make this amazingly tasty, wonderful, cold winter night meal.
Copycat Luby's Tortilla Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves we were out, it is winter after all!
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 avocado diced
- tortilla chips broken
In a large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cilantro and lime juice, and stir well. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
We modified and put everything in the crockpot minus the tortilla chips and avocado. Let it cook on medium for about 6 hours. In the future, we’ll up the spices and use more jalapenos. It was very close to Luby’s version.
Don’t forget! #cookchat
this Thursday, January 20 at noon! Hope to see you there!
Shrimp and Angel Hair Fra Diavolo
We were watching the Cooking Channel the other day and just happened to find an Emeril Lagasse show with a recipe that didn’t look impossible to recreate. We halved the recipe and had more than enough for three people (or two and a leftovers for lunch).
- 1 pound angel hair pasta
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic about 9 cloves
- 2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more for the pasta water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese optional
Boil water for pasta. Add pasta. Cook until pasta is just bendy, but very al dente. Pull pasta from water and place in a boil. If you choose to drain the pasta, make sure to reserve at least one cup of the pasta water.
Put saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions. Cook about 4 minutes until golden. TURN DOWN the heat to about medium. Wait about a minute and then add the garlic.
We didn’t wait and browned the garlic too soon. Some of it burned (not Good Eats). Then cook about 30 seconds to a minute. Then add the red pepper flakes and saute for about 30 seconds. We accidentally used chili flakes because they looked the same, this made for more heat but less flavor. Now add the tomato paste and the tomato sauce. Cook about 3 minutes until the sauce is reduced by about half. This happened pretty quickly for us.
Add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are pink. Do not overcook the shrimp or they will be tough.
Add the pasta and the pasta water to the pan and coat with sauce. If you have Emeril’s essence, feel free to sprinkle a bit at this point. Plate and add parsley and/or Parmigiano cheese.
This was delicious! We will absolutely be adding this to the regular dish rotation. It was spicy and very filling. Next time we won’t overcook the pasta and will add some more seasonings to the sauce. It was by no means bland, but a little Italian seasoning or basil would go a long way.
The original recipe can be found here