Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Simple Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

I love making a roasted chicken - nothing is simpler and it is always a family favorite.  I generally buy the small (3lb.) chickens, simply add a whole sliced lemon and some fresh thyme to the cavity, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 until cooked through.   Delicious! 

Well, this week I bought a larger chicken (about 7lbs.) and wanted to make something different than my old standby of late.  I went with an old favorite, a one pan chicken with vegetables.  I seasoned the chicken with salt, and freshly ground pepper.  I added fresh thyme and a couple of bay leaves to the cavity and roasted at 375.  When the chicken was half done, I added peeled, sliced red potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery.  I would have added some parsnips if I had any.  Turnip would also be great.  I tossed the vegetables every so often so that they did not burn. 

Well, let me tell you how delicious the veggies are!  They get caramelized and are just heavenly!  They are the star in this dish.  I could just eat a plate of the vegetables for dinner!    So quick to throw together on a weeknight and I love only one pan to clean!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Visit to Eastern Connecticut

Pizza from the famous Frank Pepe's          New Haven, CT
Falafel from The Pita Spot            Mystic, CT
Captain Scott's Lobster Dock           New London, CT
Lobster Roll and French Fries from Captain Scott's Lobster Dock       New London, CT

Scene from Conn. College

Scene from Conn. College
Scene from Conn. College

Scene from Conn. College

This weekend my husband, daughter, and I visited Eastern Connecticut to attend Admitted Students' Day at the college that she will be attending in the fall.  On the way up, we detoured into New Haven to enjoy one of Frank Pepe's famous tomato pies - delicious!  You know that it will be good when there is a line outside of the place at 3pm! 

We stayed in the picture perfect town of Old Saybrook, CT and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at the hotel's waterfront restaurant.  We also ventured into Mystic, CT and enjoyed fabulous falafels from The Pita Spot.  The restaurant was adorable, spotless, and everything sounded so good.  We will definitely return to sample more from the menu. 

It was perfect weather for touring the beautiful campus.   My daughter is now officially a member of the Class of 2014.  We enjoyed a celebratory lobster roll at Captain Scott's in New London before heading home to the Jersey Shore.  I love what I know of Eastern Connecticut and look forward to getting more familiar with the area. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops and Arugula

We are fortunate here at the Jersey Shore to have the sweetest, most delicious day boat scallops available locally.  They bear no resemblance to the water added scallop products found in most grocery stores.  The scallops are so fresh and sweet that I am tempted to eat them raw!  They are also a bargain at $10.99 per pound from my favorite seafood store, Point Lobster Company in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.  I have been a loyal customer for years and I absolutely love the place.  I highly recommend them for fresh lobsters, scallops, flounder, and fluke. 

I was looking for a nice light preparation for the scallops and came across this recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.  I loved the combination of the shallots, peppery arugula, briny capers, and the crunch from the pine nuts.  The flavors complimented the fresh scallops without overwhelming them.  This is a  great light meal to eat on the patio with a glass of wine. 

Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops and Arugula


1 1/2 lb. large sea scallops, side muscle
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from 2 or 3 large fresh thyme sprigs,
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
5 shallots, minced
1 lb. angel hair pasta
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup capers, preferably salt-packed, rinsed
and drained
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 large bunch arugula, preferably small
leaved, stems removed


Rinse the scallops and dry well with paper towels. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil until it shimmers. In batches without crowding, add the scallops and sear until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the scallops over and brown the other side, about 1 minute more. Return all the scallops to the pan, add the lemon zest and thyme, and cook for a moment. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter and shallots to the pan. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 3 to 4 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, add the lemon juice and stock to the fry pan and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.Drain the pasta well and add it to the fry pan. Add the scallops and any juices that have accumulated, then add the capers and pine nuts. Toss over low heat to finish cooking the scallops and mix the ingredients, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a warmed large, shallow bowl, add the arugula leaves and toss gently. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quickest Dessert Ever!

Fresh strawberries are abundant and inexpensive in the supermarkets right now.  I, of course, love local strawberries and can't wait until June to have some fresh picked but I couldn't resist picking some up now.  I could smell sweet strawberries as soon as I walked in the door of the supermarket! 

I have been very busy and have not been devoting my usual amount of time to preparing meals and have been pulling out lots of short cuts.  I decided to make pound cake, with strawberries and whipped cream for dessert with the berries.  My first shortcut was to pick up an already baked butter pound cake from - yes - the supermarket!  Honestly, I don't think that a homemade cake would have been that much better and was a huge timesaver.  I washed and sliced the berries which took all of about two minutes.  Now for the secret that I have turned to many times...I added 1/4 cup of raspberry preserves to a microwave safe bowl and microwaved for thirty seconds.  I gave it a quick stir.  I let it cool for a minute and then tossed the sliced strawberries into the melted preserves.  The melted preserves add the perfect sweetness to the berries and I love the strawberry/raspberry combination.  I am not sure where I picked up this trick but I think that it is great for those times when you need a quick dessert that is impossible to mess up!  I served the strawberries on the pound cake and topped with fresh whipped cream.  I did make the whipped cream which took only minutes.  Quick and delicious! 

Thank you all for the kind comments about my daughter.  They were much appreciated!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Warm Lobster Roll

Easter blessings to all! 

Warm Lobster Rolls
Serves 4

3   1 1/2 pound lobsters
4 New England style hot dog rolls
Melted butter

Bring an extra large stock pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the lobsters once the water has come to a full rolling boil.  Make sure that the lobsters are fully submerged.  Cook uncovered for 11-12 minutes after adding to the pot of boiling water.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove the tail and claw meat from the shells.  Chop the meat into bite size pieces (1-2"). 

Brush the flat outsides of the rolls with melted butter and toast on a griddle pan until lightly browned.  Fill the buttered rolls with the lobster meat.  Serve with melted butter, coleslaw, and French fries.  Enjoy!

Favorite Coleslaw

1 head shredded cabbage
2 shredded carrots

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tablespoons grated onion

Shred the carrots and cabbage.  Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients.   Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots with the dressing.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.