Monthly Archives: June 2012

One Fish, Two Fish

Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli

I’m not sure when I first stumbled upon Dom and Belleue’s Kitchen, but it was back before the amazing kitchen transformation.  Random Recipes was one of the first link-ups I thought about joining after discovering the fun of International Incident Party, yet it has taken a long long long time for me to actual join in.  The idea is rather simple, randomly select a cook book and a recipe and then COOK!  I’m coming in just under the wire this month and I’m thrilled that I finally got my act together so that I could finally participate.

To obtain a random cookbook I asked the husband to just grab me one, he assigned numbers to them and then I called out a number which gave me the Essential Pasta Cookbook.   This month Random Recipes had an extra “rule” to pick something from the middle of the cookbook.  Halfway thru the book, on page 152 to be exact, are two delicious pasta recipes: Pasta with Anchovies and Broccoli and Pasta with Creamy Mushroom sauce.  I have done variations of the mushroom sauce more times than I can count meaning that the time had come to cook some anchovies.  I did make one alteration to the recipe, switching the cream for half&half, but everything I everything else exactly as written.

Overall it was a great dish, the broccoli and anchovies really did go well together and it came together extremely quickly.  In the future I’ll probably add more pepper to balance out the salt of this dish, that or half the amount of Parmesan Cheese.  This cookbook is one that tends to stay on the shelf but I think I might need to bring it out more often and see what other goodies are hiding in it.

Make sure to check out Dom’s round-up page for the rest of the entries!

Our Little Tribe

Baingan Bhartha

I am especially privileged this month to get a third (3rd!!!) Secret Recipe Club post in order to help out an orphan from Group D.   As soon as I saw the recipe page from Enriching your kid! I knew that finding a recipe was going to be easy…and that settling on one was going to be a pain.  Once skipping over the baby recipes I noticed the large number of Indian dishes staring at me, including my favorite Palak Paneer.  I then noticed this delicious tofu dish followed by an International Incident recipe for Biryani, which was for the noodle theme that inspired me to join my first blogging link-up group.  Needless to say this match-up was meant to be!

After much debating back and forth I decided to go with Baingan Bhartha, which is one of Joe’s favorite go-to Indian dishes.  Joe had mentioned wanting to do Indian for lunch today, just more proof that this SRC feature was meant to be.  After a quick stop at the garden to get an eggplant and a few tomatoes, I was in business!  I did make two changes to the recipes, dropping the fresh coriander since I wasn’t sure how much to use and I also roasted the eggplant in half for 30minutes at 450, instead of grilling it for an hour.  I didn’t have the time to get our grill going once we got back from the vet and didn’t think any member of the household would appreciate the oven at such a high heat for an hour.  I didn’t notice any textural difference in the dish from how it’s served at our local Indian restaurant, but it’s possible they take the same short cut as well.   I plan to give this recipe another go using the grilling technique, once I hunt down some Paneer so that Joe and I can have a true Indian feast!

As a quick aside I have never seen or heard of a chayote but after seeing Shirley’s recipe for Chayote with grated coconut I’m going to be stalking the local Asian market until I find it.

Wish They All

California Enchiladas

The other week I was roaming around Pinterest and saw a pin for an awesome open-faced chicken enchilada that looked amazing.  While my first inclination was to just switch the chicken tofu or chickun, I decided to take the general concept and go with it.  After further “research” I found that these open faced creations are also called California Enchiladas and decided that the time had come for me to give them a whirl.  I decided to avoid the tofu and go with some squash and also decided to make my own salsa verde in order to have more control over the heat involved.   Everything came together in record time, probably because there was nothing to roll!

Wish They All



2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 lb tomatillos, husked and halved

1/2 cup cilantro, loosely chopped

1 jalapenos or 1 habanero pepper, halved and deseeded (optional)

1/2 sweet onion, diced

10 corn tortillas (6in)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 yellow squash, finely diced

2 zucchini, finely diced

1 beefsteak tomato, diced

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

sour cream (optional)

guacamole (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 475. Toss the tomatillos in the olive oil and then place on a roasting pan in a single layer. Cook for 30minutes or until outer edges are brown and the juices are bubbling. Allow to cool and then place in food processor. Add the cilantro and pepper and pulse until well blended. I like mine on the chunky side but the choice is yours. Set aside (should be around 1 1/2 cups) and turn oven to 350.
  2. Meanwhile heat the remaining olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper and cook for 5minutes. Add the squash and zucchini and cook for an additional 7-10minutes, or until the squash are soft and onion is transparent. Set aside
  3. Take 1/2 cup of salsa and spread on the bottom of a 10x10x4 (or more) pan. Place one layer of the tortillas (for mine this results in two rows of 2.5 tortillas).
  4. Spoon about 1 cup of the squash mixture and half of the tomatoes over the tortillas, as evenly as possible. Top with 1/2 cup of the salsa and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Add the remaining tortillas and then top with the rest of the squash, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese trying to be as even as possible.
  5. Bake for 35minutes, the cheese should be starting to brown around the edges. Serve topped with the sour cream and/or guacamole.

I wound up being really bad at being even with my squash layering which resulted in some very cheesy end pieces and an insanely deep center.  Not that it stopped any of us

Salsa verde is probably my favorite salsa out there, followed by Texas Caviar (yum!), and one of these days I’m going to remember to save the seeds from some tomatillos so that I can attempt to grow my own.   I also need to remember to save the seeds from my other vegetables so that I can cut down on next year’s gardening costs.  If anyone has any tips for drying seeds please send them my way!

No Other Place

Balsamic Eggplant with Rosemary Polenta and Dill Sauce

I mentioned before that when Joe and I were in Austria for our honeymoon I was blown away by all the vegetarian restaurants and options available.  I had accepted that this trip would be filled with cheese sandwiches, potatoes, and garlic soup and was okay with that…more than okay with that in the case of the garlic soup.  However we were able to find plenty of places offering us an Austrian take on vegetarian food.  Our lunch at Nice Rice was one such occurrence, and I was sold the moment I saw polenta listed on the menu.  One of my earliest food memories is of my Grandma making her cabbage and polenta, stirring and stirring the polenta to make sure it was perfectly creamy.  There was a large polenta-free gap during my college years, until I finally had my own kitchen and set out to recreate this delicious side dish.  While I have experimented with garlic polenta and cheesy polenta, I hadn’t explored much in the way of adding herbs.  After this amazing lunch in Austria I can promise that will no longer be the case.

This recipe does have a fair amount of components, but the dill sauce can be made ahead of time as can the salad and salad dressing.  I also used my mandolin in order to speed up the eggplant cutting process tho there is no easy/quick way to make the polenta short of buying pre-made.  I prefer to use Indian Head brand for my polenta, their old fashioned corn meal has always come out perfectly for me.  The only change I make to their instructions is subbing in 1/2 cup of milk for some of the water in order to keep it more like Grandma use to make.

Balsamic Eggplant with Rosemary Polenta and Dill Sauce



1/2 cup plan Greek Yogurt

2 tbsp fresh dill

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup milk

1 cup old-fashioned corn meal

2 cups boiling water

2 tbsp fresh rosemary

3 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 lbs eggplant, washed and sliced lengthwise 1/4 in (prep this before starting the polenta)

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup goat cheese


  1. Blend the greek yogurt and dill until fully mixed. Set aside in fridge (can be done day in advance)
  2. In a large sauce pan whisk the corn meal with the cold water and milk over medium heat. Once well mixed slowly add the boiling water and rosemary, continuing to whisk the mixture as you add. Bring to a quick boil and then turn heat down to a low simmer. Cook for 20-25minutes, stirring as frequently as possible.
  3. In a large saute pan heat the olive oil, garlic, and onion over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook for an additional 10minutes before adding the tomatoes, balsamic, and white wine vinegar. Stir well to make sure eggplant is fully coated in the oil/vinegar mixture. Cook for an additional 7-10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.
  4. To Serve: Spoon about 1/3 cup of polenta on the bottom of half of a bowl. On the other side place fresh greens (spinach arugula mix in my case). Top the polenta with about 1 tbsp of the goat cheese before topping with the eggplant mixture. Spoon the dill yogurt sauce on top of the eggplant and serve the salad with balsamic vinaigrette.


Cut the vegetables before starting the polenta, unless you have an extra hand in the kitchen to help with stirring.

I serve this with the salad in the same bowl in order to keep it as close to the original meal as possible.  Sure enough as soon as I had the first bite I was flashing back to Vienna and remembering once again how amazing our honeymoon was.

Twice the Fun

Apple Salad

I’m writing this while enjoying the perfect salad on a HOT HOT HOT (almost) summer day.  When I went on Facebook to see what was going on in the SRC world I saw Angie’s post regarding two orphan blogs.  While one was claimed later in the day, Kate’s Kitchen was still alone.  Well, I’m a firm believer in no blogger left behind so jumped at the opportunity to check out another blog and some more delicious recipes.  I had a general idea of what I was going to do for dinner tonight, so I went looking for salads, breads, and desserts that would go with my main dish.  It didn’t take me very long to stumble upon Kate’s Apple Salad and realize the last apples in my fridge now had a calling.  I swung by the store on the way home to grab some extra spinach and I was set!  I did make two slight changes to the recipe, leaving out the almonds to make it nut-free and subbing some apple cider vinegar for the red wine.  The cider substitition made it closer to the original recipe but I have a feeling that either one will go great with this crisp winner.

Kate's Apple Salad


¼ c finely minced sweet onion

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar

2 tb sesame seeds

Pinch of paprika

2 T sugar

½ c extra virgin olive oil

2 cups spinach leaves

2 apples, sliced

2 tbsp blue cheese


  1. Mix all of the ingredients up to the spinach in a dressing jar, or a tupperware with a lid. Make sure they are mixed well and then pour over the spinach, apples, and cheese.

In order to get the most bite out of the salad I recommend going with tarter apples in order to get more of a contrast.  Mine happened to be Granny Smith but I have a feeling that Pink Ladies would also go perfectly.

I should note that my amazing photographer was not available for this photo so please forgive the quality of the above shot.