Friday, March 30, 2012

Surf Sans Turf

Lemony Shrimp Linguini With Poblano Cream Sauce
Weeknight entertaining can be fast, easy, and classy! I love having people over for dinner- sharing a meal, some wine, and stories with friends is a great way to unwind after a long day at work. Entertaining does not have to be stressful with a little planning and the right recipes. I served this elegant pasta dish with a side a roasted vegetables and a loaf of delicious bakery bread. Some Orange Pecan Cake for dessert and the evening was a hit. Try this one out then next time you have company- or just for a great weeknight meal.

- 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1 lb. linguini
- 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 poblano chili peppers
- juice from one lemon
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes and their juices
- 1/4 c. crème fraîche
- 1/4 c. chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- salt and pepper

Start by roasting the poblano chili peppers to remove the skin and seeds. Heat the broiler on the oven and line a baking sheet with foil. Place peppers on the baking sheet and broil in oven, turning ever 3-5 minutes so that all sides of the chili are bubbled and blackening. When the skin is all bubbly, place the softened peppers in a resealable container with the lid on and allow to cool before handling. When the peppers have cooled remove the stem and seeds. Then carefully peel the bubbly outer skin from the pepper and discard. Slice pepper into small bite-sized pieces and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil over medium. Add half the garlic and cook for about 1 minute so that it becomes soft and fragrant. Add white wine, tomatoes, and poblano chili peppers. Bring to a boil and season with a tsp. of salt, a sprinkle of black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and tomatoes have softened. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguini and cook to just before al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking liquid.

While the sauce simmers, heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, lemon juice, and shrimp. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add shrimp and their cooking liquid to the tomato sauce and cook over law heat. Add crème fraîche, whipping cream, and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine all ingredients. Toss cooked linguini noodles into the sauce and combine thoroughly with tongs. Add a little of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce, season with additional salt and pepper and sprinkle with Italian parsley. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and good company!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Soba Into You!

Soba Noodle Soup With Salmon
It seems as if wet, cold winter is hanging on forever around here. We keep getting glimpses of spring- colorful crocuses peeking through the mud, the occasional sunny afternoon, and longer days! But then . . . WHAM! Snow! Grey skies! And rain, rain, rain! Soup season is certainly not over in Oregon, but I'm no longer craving winter's heavy, creamy concoctions. Tonight, with spring-time hopefulness, I opted for something much lighter and came up with this fast and tasty soba noodle soup. Full of springy veggies and heart-healthy salmon it's perfect for these transitional days as we move into warmer weather (even if winter isn't quite ready to let go.)

- 1 qt. chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 small bunches of baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed and chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and slices into thin disks
- 1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tsp. grated ginger
- 9 oz. soba noodles
- 1/4 c. sake
- 1/4 c. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 6-7 oz. salmon fillet, diced into 1" chunks
- 4 poached eggs
- Sriracha hot sauce to taste for serving

In a medium sauce pan, bring broth to a boil with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sake, sugar, salt, and a few grinds of pepper.  Add peas, scallions, carrot, and bok choy, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes for vegetables to cook and soften. While the vegetables are cooking, bring a small pan of water to a boil and poach begin to poach eggs so that the whites are cooked, but the yolk is still runny.

Add soba noodles to the boiling vegetables and cook about 1-2 minutes until they are softened. Add salmon chunks and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until cooked through. To serve, divide soup among four bowls and top each with a poached egg and a drizzle of Sriracha if desired. Yum!