Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 23 - PHILADELPHIA - More fun with Wonton Wrappers plus Zucchini Muffins

So as many of you have been re-directed from my Mom's blog, I report here to post the recipes from Monday night's dinner with the fam.

First up:


Arugula Salad with Marinated Artichokes, Curried Olives, and Toasted Walnuts in a Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette
serves 6 plus leftover artichoke hearts

1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and halved
Pinch (or 2 or 3) of red pepper flakes
A hearty pinch of dried oregano, rubbed between fingers to release essential oils
A few strips of lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
Salt and pepper, to taste

Purchased curried olives (from your favorite olive bar)

8-9 oz Arugula (or other crisp-tender lettuce, such as spinach)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-5 minutes
Lemon agave vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Heat a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat, and add olive oil.  When the oil starts to shimmer and slide around the pan easily, add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  When the garlic starts to turn pale brown, turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, oregano, salt, and pepper. 
Place the artichoke hearts in a mason jar or medium sized bowl and pour pan-roasted garlic mixture over.  Toss to combine.  Bring to room temperature and refrigerate a few hours (and up to a couple days) to blend flavors.

When ready to serve, in a salad bowl add 1/2 - 3/4 batch of the marinated artichokes to the dressing, followed by olives and arugula.  Sprinkle walnuts over the top and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

Lemon-Agave Vinaigrette

1 medium shallot, minced
Juice of one lemon (or more if it's stingy)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons (or more) agave syrup, to taste*
4-6 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil

Combine shallot, lemon, and vinegar in your salad serving bowl and let stand 5-10 minutes.  This "cooks" the shallot perfumes the acidic components.  Add salt, pepper, mustard and agave, stirring to combine.  Making sure that your bowl is stable and won't slide around, slowly drizzle olive oil into the mixture and whisk rapidly with your other hand.  Stop adding the oil once the dressing has thickened and reached your desired consistency.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

*If agave syrup is not easily attained, honey may be substituted, but keep in my mind that you'll have to use more (as agave is intrinsically sweeter).


Roasted Corn, Shallot, Mascarpone, and Cashew Agnolotti
with Blood Orange-Parmesan Broth and Shaved Beemster
serves 8-10 as a light main course

4 tablespoons butter
1 lb shallots, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8-10 oz frozen corn kernels, defrosted
4-6 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup toasted cashews
48 wonton wrappers
Blood-Orange Parmesan Broth (recipe follows)
roasted, lightly salted cashews (optional; for garnish)
1/2 cup shaved Beemster (or other aged Gouda - Parmesan can also be used)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large, straight-sided, oven proof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, and sugar, stirring to coat.  After 5 minutes, add the corn.  Cook 5 minutes longer, then add the vinegar, salt and pepper, again stirring to coat the veggies.  Throw the pan into the oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the shallots are tender.


Place 3/4 of this mixture into the food processor and add cheeses, herbs and cashews.  Reserve the rest for the sauce.  Pulse until well combined.  *Note that the recipe doesn't call for it, but I threw in some arugula that I feared would go bad before I had the time to eat it. 


Place 1 teaspoon mixture into each wonton wrapper and shape as I did in my previous ravioli/agnolotti recipe.

Refrigerate at least one hour and boil 2-4 minutes in pot of salted water or freeze until ready to cook.

Serve with Blood-Orange Parmesan Broth and top with a sprinkling of cashews and shaved Beemster.  *I highly recommend using Beemster, a 2-year aged Gouda with notes of caramel which I find reflects the sweetness of the Agnolotti beautifully.

Blood Orange-Parmesan Broth
*Truth be told, I had some leftover blood orange compound butter from some Cod en Papilotte I made the week prior, so really, you could use regular butter and avoid making what would result in a terribly fussy recipe.  I should note, however, that the blood orange zest really brightened the dish, elevating to something really special.

2x3 inch piece of rind from a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Riesling, or other white wine
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole 
Reserved roasted corn shallot mixture, or 1/4 cup carmelized onions + 1/4 cup corn kernels
1 recipe Blood orange compound butter, diced and chilled

Bring rind, vegetable broth, wine, and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Turn back heat and a simmer on medium-low, uncovered, until reduced by half  (about 2 cups).  Set aside until ready to serve.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Heat reserved corn/shallot mixture in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat.  Add strained parmesan broth and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the agnolotti and a large pinch of salt to the large pot of boiling water.  Meanwhile, slowly add the diced compound butter to the sauce, whisking with the other hand to emulsify.  After all of the butter is added, keep warm over a low heat and pour sauce over cooked agnolotti.  Garnish with cashews and Beemster, as Agnolotti recipe dictates.

Blood Orange Compound Butter
*This recipe can easily be doubled for use in other dishes or even just to smear on some good bread.

4 tablespoons room-temperature butter
1 tsp blood orange zest
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 tsp salt
a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh tarragon or basil (or really, whatever herbs you have on hand), chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.



Healthier Zucchini Bread Muffins
far from diet food, but made a little more guilt-free, this recipe makes 12-14 muffins

3 cups grated zucchini
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup agave syrup
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup toasted walnuts
raw sugar for sprinkling over the top, optional

Adjust rack to middle of oven and preheat to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, agave, eggs, and vanilla.
Mix in the zucchini, butter, and applesauce.
In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and 3 cups flour.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Toss walnuts with 1/4 cup flour and stir into batter. 
*This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of each muffin.
Add the batter into buttered muffin pans and top each with a sprinkling of raw sugar.
Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.






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