weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Gourmet Magazine’

A Taste of Greece: Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt

Greek yogurt has become a staple in our house.  Charlotte has a bowl of FAGE with fruit every morning.  She loves the taste and I love that it does not contain the added sugar so many of the kid yogurts have.

But Greek yogurt is not only for breakfast!  Use it to help make dinner more interesting.  It’s a great marinade for grilled chicken.  And, I can never get enough tzatziki which is a delicious accompaniment to Mediterranean Turkey Burgers or Chicken Gyros.

The other afternoon when I was trying to decide what to cook for dinner, I saw the container of FAGE in our fridge.  I decided to look up recipes using Greek yogurt and came across this halibut recipe.  It looked light and flavorful — perfect for the week after Thanksgiving!

This recipe was so delicious!  The cornmeal and pistachio crust on the halibut gave it a great crispy flavor.  The spicy yogurt sauce was basically a spiced-up tzatziki.  It was delicious!  I loved it on the fish and only wish there had been pita to eat with the extra sauce.  I served the fish with roasted asparagus and artichokes but a Greek salad would have also been a great addition to the meal.

Tim and I were momentarily transported back to Greece as we enjoyed our dinner and reminded of the amazing time we had on Corfu five (!) years ago.  I’ll never forget the island’s breathtaking coastline and vistas.  And, of course, I’ll always remember the delicious food and hospitality of the Greek people!

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt

For Halibut:

  • 4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces skinless halibut fillet (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios (preferably Turkish), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For Spicy yogurt:

  • 1 cup thick Turkish or Greek yogurt (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced (3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried maras pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Put fish in a shallow baking dish, pour milk over it, and chill, covered, turning over once, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together pistachios and cornmeal in a shallow bowl.

Remove fish from milk, letting excess drip off. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in cornmeal-pistachio mixture. Transfer to a clean plate as coated.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté fish, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.

While fish cooks, stir together all ingredients for spicy yogurt.

Serve fish with spicy yogurt on the side.

Serves 4.

As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here: http://www.fageusa.com/community/fage-greek-getaway

Skirt Steak with Haricots Verts, Corn and Pesto

Here is a delicious and easy dinner that you can make with either store-bought or homemade pesto. I used some pesto that my mother-in-law Pam made with the fresh basil from their glorious vegetable garden.

The corn – haricots verts combo with pesto was unexpectedly delicious.  It was sweet, salty, and very flavorful!  Fresh corn is obviously preferable but frozen corn works quite well.

I love skirt steak and it cooks up so quickly for an easy weeknight dinner.  But even if you don’t want to cook up the skirt steak, the haricots verts, corn, and pesto make a wonderful summer side dish!

Skirt Steak with Haricots Verts, Corn, and Pesto

  • 1 1/2 lb skirt steak
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ear corn, kernels cut off
  • 3/4 lb haricots verts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
Pat steak dry and cut into 4 pieces, then sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté corn, stirring, until just starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté steaks, in batches if necessary, turning over once, 3 to 5 minutes per batch for thin pieces and 5 to 7 minutes per batch for thicker pieces (for medium-rare). Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

While steaks rest, cook haricots verts in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, uncovered, until just tender, about 4 minutes, and drain well in a colander. Add beans to corn then add pesto, stirring to coat. Serve corn and beans topped with sliced steak.

Simple Spinach Salad

Happy New Year!

The first post of the year is a quick one.  Last night, I made this simple spinach salad.  The recipe reminds me of my mom’s spinach salad which I have always loved!  I used baby spinach because that’s what we had but I am sure it would be delicious with curly spinach.  Substitute red onion if you don’t have shallots.


Spinach Salad

* 6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (3/4 cup)
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 6 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
* Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 lb curly spinach (about 20 cups), coarse stems discarded
* 4 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped

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Cook bacon in a 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add shallots and oil to bacon fat in skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add vinegar, stirring and scraping up any brown bits.

Stir in salt and pepper and immediately pour dressing over spinach, tossing to coat. Serve sprinkled with egg and bacon.

Comfort Food Classic: Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes. But until this weekend, I never made a legitimate eggplant parmesan. The dish isn’t difficult to make but I have always been daunted by the mess and many steps involved in the recipe.

Given the 2.5 hours needed to make the dish, I deemed this a “Weekend Gourmet” dish and decided to make it on Sunday.

As predicted the recipe was easy to make but it did require me to dirty several pots and dishes. The only change to the recipe is that I used 3-28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes instead of fresh plum tomatoes since they didn’t look very good at the market. Make sure to buy fresh mozzarella — makes big difference in the taste.

I thought the sauce was very tasty and I was impressed that the eggplant didn’t get soggy while baking. It retained a nice crispness. Overall this was a delicious eggplant parmesan. I think I will be making it again.


Eggplant Parmesan

• 2 1/2 lb medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
• 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 5 lb plum tomatoes
• 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
• 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs
• 3 1/2 cups panko * (Japanese bread crumbs)
• 2 ozfinely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup)
• 1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced

Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

While eggplant drains, cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes together in a 5-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

Gourmet to Shut Down!

Very sad and shocked that the nearly 70-year-old classic Gourmet Magazine is shutting down.  Here is the NY Times article.

Very surprised how frequently my former employer’s name is being mentioned with regard to the Conde Nast budget cuts.  Typically the Firm’s involvement with any company is kept quiet and not mentioned in the press.

Grilled Pizza with Eggplant, Green Olives and Provolone


I love pizza but no one loves pizza more than my mom!  We had pizza every Friday night growing up and my mom is always on the hunt for a yummy pizza pie.  So when I knew that she was going to be visiting, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try out pizza on the grill!  I had seen this recipe in August’s Gourmet and thought it looked delicious.

I had some pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in the freezer so I used that.  I am not very good at rolling dough of any sort so my pizza was a little oddly shaped.  I used some Sicilian green olives I had in the fridge, baby eggplant, and grated provolone.

I was terrified that the dough would stick to the grill.  But oiling the dough and the grates made it very easy to get the pizza off the grill.  Tongs and a large spatula are musts just given the awkward shape of the pizza.   The dough cooks up very quickly on the hot grill — really only a couple of minutes are needed!

The eggplant, olives and provolone were a great combo and the garlic oil used on the dough and the eggplant added some nice flavor as well.

Now that I know how easy it is to grill pizza, I’ll be doing this more often!

Eggplant, Green Olive, and Provolone Pizza
Gourmet Magazaine

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough at room temperature
  • 5 ounces sliced provolone, cut into short thin matchsticks (1 1/4 cups)
  • 18 pitted green olives, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat.

Stir together garlic and oil. Brush some of garlic oil on both sides of eggplant and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill, covered, turning once, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes total. Cut into roughly 1-inch pieces.

Stretch dough into about a 12- by 10-inch rectangle on a large baking sheet and lightly brush with garlic oil. Oil grill rack, then put dough, oiled side down, on grill. Brush top with more garlic oil. Grill, covered, until underside is golden-brown, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes.

Using tongs, return crust, grilled side up, to baking sheet. Scatter eggplant, cheese, olives, and parsley over crust. Slide pizza from sheet onto grill and grill, covered, until underside is golden-brown and cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.

Linguine with Mussels & Fresh Herbs (Courtesy of the High Line & Chelsea Market)

We live in a great neighborhood!  Yesterday afternoon Tim and I took advantage of the newly opened High Line as our means of walking to Chelsea Market.  What a civilized way to travel to buy groceries and wine!

Walking on the High Line is particularly rewarding for us because we spent 4 years looking across Gansevoort Street at the construction of the park from both our bedroom and living room windows.  So nice to finally enjoy this amazing elevated public space!  For those of you who are in NYC and haven’t checked it out, it’s an extraordinary use of urban space.  The height provides a unique vantage point from which to take in the new Standard Hotel, the Hudson River, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea.  My only hope is that they allow dogs to walk the High Line at some point.

We descended from the High Line at West 16th Street so that I could pick up some groceries for dinner and Tim could buy a case of assorted Spanish wines from the Chelsea Wine Vault to help “educate” him for our upcoming trip to Northern Spain (in honor of our 5 year wedding anniversary!).  Chelsea Market provides a really wonderful shopping experience where you can buy your ingredients from shops that specialize in those items — I bought my fresh herbs at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, my parmesan cheese at Buon Italia, and my mussels at the Lobster Place.

The recipe I was making — Linguine with Mussels and Fresh Herbs — only required a few ingredients.  I planned to buy fresh basil and Italian parsley for the fresh herbs but the basil had been picked over and only a couple of unhealthy bunches were left.  I opted for parsley and fresh oregano which were a great combo.


Only other changes to the recipe were that I used 5 cloves of garlic and just over 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

I really loved this dish!  So garlicky and delicious.  The mussels turned out perfectly and the sauce that they steamed in was delicious on the linguine.  You could definitely just serve the mussels with some good dipping bread if you weren’t in the mood for pasta.

A fun shopping experience, followed by a wonderful meal with a nice Spanish Albarino.  Great end to the weekend!

Linguine with Mussels and Fresh Herbs

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 pounds cultivated mussels, scrubbed
1 pound thin linguine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 1/2 cups chopped herbs such as basil, dill, flat-leaf parsley, and oregano

Heat oil and butter in a 5-to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides. Cook garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stirring, until garlic is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mussels and cook, covered, shaking pot occasionally, just until mussels open wide, 5 to 8 minutes. (Discard any that remain unopened after 8 minutes.) Remove from heat and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain linguine.

Toss linguine with mussels and any liquid from pot, cheese, and herbs. Thin with reserved cooking water if desired.

Pasta With Mussels on Foodista

Bridal Shower Luncheon: Summer Salads Galore!


On Saturday, my mom and I hosted a bridal shower for 25 in honor of Tricia — my oldest friend.  The shower was at the bride’s parents house in beautiful Spring Lake, NJ.

My mom and I cooked all the dishes — an array of summer salads — on Friday and brought them over on Saturday morning.

For dessert, we ordered cupcakes (I’ll provide a link to my red velvet cupcake recipe), filled store-bought chocolate shells with fruit, and bought chocolate-covered pretzels.

Everyone raved about the food.  I think people enjoyed the variety of dishes and that nothing was too hot or heavy for a summer afternoon.  My personal favorites were the Chinese Chicken Salad and the Roasted Shrimp & Orzo.

The Menu

Ranch Dip with Vegetables


White Bean & Olive Salad

Celery Salad with Walnuts, Dates & Pecorino

Chinese Chicken Salad

Roasted Shrimp with Orzo

Penne with Beef & Arugula


Red Velvet Cupcakes

Chocolate Tulips filled with Berries Marinated in Chambord

Bridal Shower Recipes: Ranch Dip with Vegetables

As people were arriving at the shower, we served a simple veggie platter with this ranch dip.

The dip was easy to make and worked well with low-fat sour cream and mayo.  To reduce the amount of slicing and chopping we needed to do, we served with snow peas, cherry tomatoes, and baby carrots.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the dip and I was impressed with how much flavor the garlic, chives and parsley imparted to this sour cream and mayo-based dip.

Ranch Dip with Vegetables
Gourmet Magazine

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 carrots, cut into sticks
  • 6 celery ribs, cut into sticks
  • 1 seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), cut into sticks
  • 1 small jicama, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into sticks
  • 1 1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes (9 ounces)

Stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined well.

Chill dip, covered, until slightly thickened, at least 1 hour (for flavors to develop). Serve dip with vegetables.

The Weeknight Gourmet's 100th Post!

I started this cooking blog one night in late January and really wasn’t sure how it would be received or if I’d enjoy writing it.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive reception from my readers and how much I enjoy communicating my culinary adventures.  I love when one of my posts inspires someone to cook a homemade meal.  I love noticing certain trends in what I cook and what ingredients I use.  I always knew I used a lot of garlic but never realized how many of my recipes rely on cumin!  I love checking my blog stats to see which recipes draw the most interest.  Based on my page views, people love curry and turkey burgers.

Most of all, I hope that, in some small way, the recipes I post can help create for others the special moments and conversations I experienced around the dinner table as a child with my mom, dad, and brother and as an adult with Tim, our friends, and extended family.

Here are my top 10 favorite posts (in no particular order). Would love to hear from you — please tell me your favorite recipes that you’ve cooked from the blog!

1) Summer Kickoff BBQ…RIBS

2) The Super Bowl Cake

3) Birthday Dinner for Angus

4) Black Bean Burgers with Guacamole Salad

5) A Must Make Dish: Mahi Mahi in Tomato Olive Sauce

6) My Gastronomical Discoveries in Northern CA

7) First BBQ of the Year: Grilled Herbed Baby Lamb Chops with Asparagus Salad

8) Dinner for Kaylin’s Parents: Turkey & Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

9) Tribute to Domino

10) Spice Rubbed Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Chipotle Cream