Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mrs. Fritz resurfaces with lots of recipes

Several friends have emailed me, concerned that Mr. Fritz may be starving. I want to put those fears to rest: he continues to be well-fed despite my lack of posting here. That said, he and I have been trading colds and other various ailments for most of 2009 and thus I have slacked off on blogging. But I have tried some pretty good recipes in the past month and I don't want to keep them from everyone, so, below, you'll find six of the best:

Orecchiette with Sausage and Roasted Peppers

This recipe from Everyday Food took some effort -- roasting bell peppers in the oven under the broiler until blackened, then letting them sweat in a plastic bag before rubbing the skins off and chopping them up, but it was worth it in the end: a company-worthy dish that won raves from both me and Mr. Fritz in terms of flavor and overall lusciousness.

My only variation to the recipe as written is this: After the sausage was cooked, I added the peppers and the cooked pasta to the pan, mixed it all together, then added the reserved pasta water and the cheese and butter and mixed it all together. That way, I didn't have to dirty another mixing bowl and everything stayed nice and warm. I'll definitely make this again.


Mexican Shrimp and Rice

Ms. Haley came over for dinner a few weeks ago and I served this dish from Real Simple. Unfortunately, I can't find it on their web site, but I've typed it in below. The most notable thing about this meal is that I should have followed the directions more closely and added the dash of heat the recipe calls for instead of going with a milder, heat-free preparation. As a result, the meal was a little bit bland -- good for Mr. Fritz's palate, not so good for mine and Ms. Haley's. I'm confident that following the recipe would make this good dish great. One variation that I made that I would recommend: instead of transfering the shrimp and rice to a casserole, I baked the whole thing in a dutch oven -- makes for less cleanup and works just as well. Not sure why they even included the transfer as part of the recipe, actually.

Mexican Shrimp and Rice
source: Real Simple Food, page 101

Hands on time 25 minutes, total time: 1 hour
Serves 4

2 Tb. olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
3 Tbs. chipotles in adobo sauce, mashed (or substitute a splash of hot pepper sauce)
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice of one lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or oven-proof sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrots and rice and cook for five minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pan over medium heat, heat the chipotles, broth, oregano and salt until warm. Add the broth mixture to the rice and vegetables and transfer to a casserole. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Add the shrimp and lime juice. Recover and bake until the rice is tender, 10-12 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro if using and lime juice. Serve with lime wedges.


Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

I made this one night for me and Mr. Fritz and we ate it while watching Gosford Park, the Robert Altman movie from a few years ago about a weekend party at a manor house in England. The film follows the wealthy attendees of the the party as well as the goings-on down "below house" where the servants live and work. Great movie! And an equally good meal. (Although there's nothing "English" about it. Note to self: work on themed dinners to eat while watching future films...). Anyway, this came together quickly and offered all of the yumminess of Chinese food without the uncertainties of chemicals (MSG) or hidden fat from lots of oil. Will definitely make the next time we are craving Asian food. Oh, and my variation (because I always seem to have one): I substituted sugar snap peas for the called-for broccoli, since Mr. Fritz won't eat broccoli.

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry
Source: Everday Food, March 2008
Prep time: 35 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes. Serves 8

1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsps. red pepper flakes
coarse salt
1 Tb. vegetable oil
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb carrots (about 5), peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
cooked rice, for serving

Place cornstarch in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.

In a 5 quart, non-stick Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken on one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside (chicken will cook more later.)

Add broccoli, carrots, and 1/2 cup water to the pot. Cook, partially covered, until water has evaporated and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken and cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil. Cook until chicken is opaque throughout and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve stir-fry over rice.


Grilled Peanut-Butter and Banana Sandwiches

Mr. Fritz loves bananas. Mr. Fritz loves peanut butter. And Mr. Fritz loves French Toast. So imagine my delight when I came across this recipe for what is essentially a peanut butter sandwich filled with bananas and then dipped in an eggwash and fried in a pan on the stove like french toast. Perfection on a plate! This will definitely make another appearance in the future here at Chez Fritz...

Grilled Peanut-Butter and Banana Sandwiches
Source: Everyday Food Magazine, March 2008
Serves 4. Prep time: 15 minutes. Total time: 15 minutes

1 large egg
1/4 cup whole milk
1 Tb. light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
coarse salt
4 slices white sandwich bread
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 bananas, peeled and cut in half crosswise and then lengthwise
1 Tb. butter
confectioners sugar for dusting

In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg, milk, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Spread each slice of bread with 1 Tb. peanut butter. Dividing evenly, sandwich banana pieces between slices of bread.

In a medium, non-stick skillet, heat butter over medium. One at a time, dip both sides of sandwiches into egg mixture and place in skillet. Cook until golden brown, 1-3 minutes per side.

Transfer sandwiches to a work surface. Using a serrated knife, cut sandwiches into quarters. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately.


Creamy Carrot Soup

I made this Cooking Light soup last week and had it for lunch every day. And it was absolutely fabulous. The recipe made plenty of soup and the hardest part was chopping all of the carrots (it calls for 2 pounds of carrots chopped into 1/2-inch pieces). If you are in need of a filling, warming, inexpensive, incredibly tasty meal option, I can't recommend this soup highly enough!


New-Fashioned Pot Roast with Fresh Rosemary

Today, Mr. Fritz and I delivered dinner to Mr. and Mrs. Robertson to celebrate the birth of their first child. I wanted to make them something special, so I turned to a recipe from one of my favorite slow-cooker cookbooks: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker: Recipes for Entertaining. This recipe is super simple -- it mainly requires a bunch of chopping (carrots, onions, and potatoes), plus mixing up a quick marinade of red wine vinegar, ketchup, fresh rosemary, Worchester sauce and some boiling water. I was planning to make it in the slow cooker, but then I looked at the weather forecast and realized that it would be smarter to take the cooking down from 8-10 hours to more like 4. So instead of employing my crock pot, I pulled out an enormous Dutch oven, filled it first with the beef (a 4-lb boneless chuck roast) then added the vegetables, then poured the sauce over the whole thing, covered the pot and put it on the lowest rack of a 350 degree oven. I put it in at 9:30 a.m. and by 2:15 p.m. it was done -- it smelled heavenly and, if previous outings with this recipe are any indication, should taste heavenly as well. We can also report that Baby Robertson is absolutely gorgeous! Cheers to the new parents!


So there you have it -- a recap of most of my adventures in cooking over the past month. I will try to post more regularly from here on out. Thanks for reading the blog!


Jennifer said...

So glad to see the fast is over! : )

DavidandAmanda said...

And it DID taste heavenly! Thank you for feeding Mr. and Mrs. (and baby) Robertson!