History repeating

As mentioned in my post earlier today, I felt like I had been getting in a rut so I started looking through my piles looking for inspiration.  Sometimes inspiration starts with the entree but today, it started with the side dish.  I saw a recipe for zucchini fritters and thought it sounded good.  (The original recipe called for ricotta cheese but I changed to Parmesan.)  Once I had made that decision, I started looking for an entree that I thought would go well with the fritters.  I adapted the grilled lemon chicken from a recipe in The Barefoot Contessa.  I’m very happy to report that both were successful – definite repeats.  Of course, that is how I end up getting in ruts so it’s just history repeating.

Grilled Lemon Chicken

  • 1 bone in chicken breast per person
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 TB fresh rosemary, minced
  • fresh ground pepper
Whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and pepper.  Pour over chicken breasts and marinate for up to 4 minutes.  When ready to grill, preheat grill and grill chicken until done (my husband uses a meat thermometer and cooks until temperature registers 150.)  Boil remaining marinade for a few minutes and pour over chicken.
Zucchini Fritters
  • 2 zucchini, coarsely shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • olive oil
Combine zucchini, garlic, scallions, cheese, eggs, lemon zest and pepper.  Stir well and then stir in flour.
Over medium high heat, heat a saucepan.  Add olive oil and add zucchini batter ( about 1 1/2 TB at a time) and fry 2- 3 minutes per side until browned and crisp.  Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
Delicious!

The Tapas feast report

The tapas feast was really fun.  We cooked a few things, sat down and ate them and then repeated the process.  We had 4 waves of food and liked each of the 10 things we made.  (We made the executive decision to skp the spinach and mushroom tortilla as we were getting too full.)  I would definitely recommend this as a way to spend an evening with good friends who like to cook and eat. 

Christie and I split the food shopping and cooking.  One of the keys to success was planning.  We made a chart of each item and the prep time and cooking time and coordinated our “food waves” based on how things were fixed.  We are fortunate to have a small oven/broiler in addition to our big oven and we definitely used it.  We also tried to coordinate our waves to have a mix of things in each one.  Here are all of the recipes we fixed.  We had leftovers of a number of things – this could easily serve 6 people.

First Wave

  • Patatas Bravas
  • Moroccan Chicken Kabobs
  • Mussels Vinaigrette

Patatas Bravas

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp white wine finegar
  • 1 tsp crushed, dried chile pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add about 2 TB of olive oil.  Cook the onion until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add wine and bring mixture to a boil.  Add tomatoes, vinegar, pepper and paprika and simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Remove sauce and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth and return to pan.  Keep warm.

Cut potatoes into chunks (unpeeled).  Heat oil in a large skillet and cook poatotes over medium high heat until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Put potatoes in a dish and spoon sauce over potatoes.  Use toothpicks to spear the potatoes.

These are spicy and delicious.  This would make a good vegetable dish with chicken.

I blogged the chicken kabobs and mussels vinaigrette yesterday.  Both were excellent.  We all agreed that the chicken marinade would be great for whole chicken breasts on the grill and that the result would be delicous with cous cous as a dinner.

Wave 2

  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Paprika Spareribs
  • Baked clams

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 lb Zucchini
  • 3 TB flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TB milk
  • Vegetable oil

Cut zucchini on diagonal into thin slices.  Combine flour and paprika in a bag and mix.  Beat egg and milk together in a bowl.

Toss zucchini in flour mixture until well coated.  Shake off any excess.  Heat oil in a large heavy skillet.  (Oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.  Dip floured zucchini into egg mixture and fry in batches until crisp (about 2 minutes).  Remove as cooked and drain on paper towels. 

Our recipe called for a pine nut dipping sauce.  We all agreed that a garlicky mayonnaise sauce would have been better.  The zucchini fritters were excellent.

Spareribs

  •  1 rack of spareribs
  • 1/3 cup sherry or wine
  • 5 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 TB oregano

Preheat oven to 425.  Lightly oil a large roasting pan.  Cut ribs into individual ribs and spread in a single layer in pan.  Roast for 20 minutes.

Combine sherry, paprika, garlic, oregano with 2/3 cup water in a measuring cup and whisk together.  Remove from oven and pour off fat.  Reduce oven temperature to 350.  Coat ribs with sauce and roast for another 45 minutes.  Serve hot.

These were delicious – very tender and a definite repeat.

Baked Clams

  • 1 dozen medium clams
  • 4 TB butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TB minced onion
  • 2 TB minced parsley
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3 tsps Panko

Shuck clams and drain.  Loosen meat and leave in shell.  Melt butter and saute garlic, onion, parsley, paprika and thyme, stirring for about 2 minutes.  Cover clams with mixture and top with panko.  Broil clams 2-3 minutes until browned and bubbly.

These were excellent – our only challenge was that we had littleneck clams and my husband found that shucking them wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.  He got them shucked without any injuries but we would definitely try to find bigger clams next time.

Wave 3

  • Garlic mushrooms
  • Fried eggplant and cheese

Garlic Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 5 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • lemon juice
  • 4 TB chopped parsley

Clean mushrooms and remove stems.  Cut in half.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and cook until lightly browned (about 1 minute).  Add mushrooms and saute over high heat about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat and allow mushrooms to yield juices.  Then increase heat and saute for 4 – 5 minutes until juice evaporates.  Add lemon juice and stir in parsley.  Serve hot and spear with toothpicks.

These were delicious.  Our recipe suggested serving with bread for the juices but we were getting too full to eat any bread.  These would be a good side dish with steak or chicken.

Fried eggplant with cheese

  • 1 eggplant sliced thinly into 8 slices (recommend using a mandoline)
  • 4 thin slices of Port Salud cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • flour
  • olive oil

Place a slice of cheese between 2 slices of eggplant.  Dip eggplant sandwich in egg and then flour.  Fry in olive oil over medium heat until golden brown.  Serve hot.

The key to this is definitely having the eggplant sliced thinly and having it crispy.

4th and Final Wave

  • Shrimp with Garlic
  • Rosemary Fish Skewers with Bacon

Shrimp with Garlic

  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 TB minced parsley

Heat oil in a small saucepan.  Add garlic and pepper and when garlic turns golden, add shrimp.  Cook stirring until shrimp are done.  Sprinkle with paprika, parsley and salt to taste.  Serve hot.

These were very good although I let the garlic get too brown.  Again, our recipe called for bread with the sauce but we were too full for bread.

Rosemary Rockfish Skewers with Bacon

  • 8 oz rockfish
  • 12 fresh rosemary stems
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 6 thick strips of bacon

Cut fish into bite size chunks.  Strip leaves off of rosemary stems (leaving a few leaves at one end).  Finely chop leaves and whisk with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.  Marinate fish chunks in sauce for 1 – 2 hours, keeping refrigerated.

Cut bacon strips in half.  Cook in a microwave on paper towels for 2 minutes.  Roll bacon strips into rolls.

Thread fish cubes alternating with bacon onto rosemary skewers.  Broil for 8 – 10 minutes, turning frequently until cooked.  Serve hot.

These were delicious and a great ending to our feast.  We had a nice Spanish white wine and finished off the evening with leftover Christmas cookies.

Now we are all ready for the New Year’s Diet!  We are having dinner with my parents tonight and tomorrow I’ll be blogging a nice healthy menu plan for next week.  Happy New Year!