Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon Fusilli with Arugula

*This is not a low fat meal. But man, it is delicious. Of course, I have a thing for arugula. Ever since my friend Stacey introduced it to me a couple of years ago, I have been hooked.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream (I also think half and half would work if you want to cut out some fat and calories)
3 lemons (or one fresh lemon and some lemon juice from concentrate - adding by taste)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta (this is really only for looks and isn't necessary if you don't want to add it). Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

*I like it vegetarian as is, but you could add some chicken for protein.
*If you know you won't eat it all in one night, you can save some of the sauce separate from the salad and mix it together the next day when you are going to use it. Or just pour it all on and then reheat it the next day like I did. It was just as good as left overs.

[Recipe compliments of Barefoot Contessa]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cafe Rio Pork Salad

Any Cafe Rio fans out there? I love it and crave their salads. I was pretty disappointed to find that there aren't any here in Washington. My friend Eryn was nice enough to give me this recipe, which is supposed to be the actual pork salad recipe. The dressing is delicious. Make it tonight. [The picture above is actually not of this exact recipe, but of a similar chicken taco salad. I was so excited about the salad, I forgot to take a picture. I will replace this one when I make it again.]

About 1 1/2 lbs. Pork tenderloin (you can also use chicken if you prefer)
1 cup salsa
1-1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Cook in crock pot about 5 hours on low, cut fat off and shred.

Creamy Cilantro dressing:
Put the following in a blender and blend until smooth:
3 fresh tomatillos quartered
1 package Ranch buttermilk dressing mix (or regular Ranch mix if you can't find buttermilk)
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup buttermilk (or put 1 Tbsp of lemon juice in 1/2 cup of regular milk and let it sit for a minute before adding it to the other ingredients)
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 a jalapeno or Serrano pepper, no seeds

(If you have extra dressing, you can put it in a ziplock and freeze it for next time.)

Pico de Gallo recipe:
6-8 small tomatoes diced up
1 small onion diced up or half a medium onion
1 small jalapeno chopped as small as possible,
no seeds, start with half and add the second half after you've
tasted the salsa for hotness.
about 12 sprigs of cilantro chopped up finely
about a 1/2 tsp. salt
juice from 1/4 a lime or more
1 clove garlic minced (or about 1 tsp. if using minced garlic from a jar)
juice from half a lime. or about 2 -3 tsp.

Put everything together and taste to see if you need to add more of anything.

Mash up the following:
2 ripe avocados
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp. Tabasco or 1-2 Tbsp. salsa

While you're making everything, cook up some rice.

To serve, pile on a plate in the following order:
Romaine lettuce
beans and rice
a scoop of pico de gallo
a scoop of guacamole
crumbled tortilla chips

You can also serve these as burritos instead of a salad.