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Tag Archive for cooking for two

::cooking for two:: Apple Tartlets

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What was I saying about Fall? How it is awesome? Here’s my problem. Autumn makes me want to make apple pie. There are two of us. Now, normally if I bake a pie, I will try and get another couple to come hang out with us (It is really hard when you are offering homemade pie). But who am I kidding, that is still only half the pie eaten. I recognize that my sharing abilities are lacking as my appetite (belly) is growing. Maybe a whole pie isn’t the way to go right now. A tartlet however… Ok so it is still probably as much butter as I would have consumed eating half the pie, but think of all the sugar I am saving. And far less flour. Give yourself some extra planning time for this recipe as you need to chill the dough for an hour.

What You Need
Dough
Step One

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Step Two
5 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter (cut into 1/4″ pieces)
2-3 Tbsp ice water
Filling
Step Three

1 tart apple (I used a Granny Smith)
1 sweet apple (I used a Fuji)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
pinches cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Step Four
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (cut into 1/4″ pieces)

In a small food processor combine the flour and salt. Sprinkle the cut up butter pieces on top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Continue to pulse as you slowly add the water until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough into two and flatten each into a 3″ disc on plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and leave in the fridge for an hour.

I started the apples while the dough was in the fridge, but I like to let them sit in the seasoning for a while, so maybe it is just me. You’ll need the oven preheated to 400F, and mine takes FOREVER, so by the time I am done slicing apples, I need to set that as well.

Slice the apples into 1/4″ slices. Combine all step three ingredients in a bowl.

Before rolling out the dough, let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes. Roll onto parchment paper to about 7″ in diameter. TIP: Rolling between two sheets of parchment makes things a bit easier. Stack the apples in the center of the dough (about 1.5″ from the edge) building an apple tower. Fill the centers with extra apple pieces.

Fold the outer 1″ of dough up around the apples, pleating about every inch or so (see image). Brush the dough with egg white and dot the tops with butter.

Bake (on the parchment paper) for about 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

I would highly recommend some home made whipped cream to go on top. Not too sweet, and it will be a perfect dessert for two. One more evening helped out by America’s Test Kitchen’s Cooking for Two Annual.

::summer love:: Happy Anniversary

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I am taking the day off today.  I’m hoping I won’t be cooking.  Today I celebrate 5 years of being married to PTB.  That means five years of cooking more than just spaghetti with sauce from a jar.  Five years of owning more than 2 pans.  Five years of wanting to cook.  Five years of being mrs ptb.

Thank you for encouraging me to do anything I want!  It has been so much fun and I can’t wait for more 🙂

::summer love:: Red Pepper Pesto for Two

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You would think in the Summertime when it is super hot out, the last thing someone would want to be doing is working in the kitchen. I don’t quite get this though.  Summer is one of the best times to be in the kitchen. Think of all the fresh produce! You have to have that oven up pretty high to bake fresh fruit pies!

It’s odd though, I do understand it when it comes to dinner.  I am willing to spend hours in the kitchen for a fresh baked pie.  Slaving away in the heat, sun shining in.  It makes that summer night so much better!  Oh!  Speaking of pies!  Cherries are a one day deal today at Whole Foods for Cherryfest!  $1.99/lb!! I am on my way there right after this is finished!  Yummm!  So yes, I will let my oven sit on for an hour to have a perfect cherry pie…. but dinner time… that’s a different story.  For some reason, by dinner time, the kitchen is the last place I want to be.  This may explain my recent Summer slump.  I need a grill slash a place to live where we can have a grill. Oh! And a nice place to eat dinner outside while we’re at it. 🙂

This meal is perfect for those nights. It only takes as long as the pasta takes to boil, and the rest of the time you are pulling ingredients out of the fridge. Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two.

What You Need
Step One
1/2lb pasta (I like using a pasta that will hold the sauce)
Step Two
3 cloves of toasted garlic, minced
2-3 large jarred roasted red peppers, patted dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme (stems discarded)

This is going to go really fast.  Pay attention.  Start the pasta in salted water.  Blend all step two ingredients in a small food processor until smooth.

Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.  Stir sauce into pasta, using cooking water to adjust consistency.

Yup.  You are already done.  Homemade sauce, in less time than the pasta took.

::savory supper:: Chicken with Prosciutto and Tomatoes

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With my love of pasta, it’s no surprise I have another sauce to add to my list. I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for Cooking Light ideas. I have been loving the new Cooking Through the Seasons book I got, but needed some other recipes as well.  And now, I have a package of prosciutto I need to cook my way through.

This meal ended up being the highlight of my week earlier in the month.  Everything kept highjacking my plans and prevented me from making dinner.  I had a menu planned, and kept having to shift everything.  This was the only home-cooked meal the entire week!  It completely through me off and I am just starting to get back on track.  Last week wasn’t much better, but at least I have some restaurant posts to write up because of it.

As (almost) always, a recipe that calls for thighs, I must immediately change to use breasts. Why not?  It is the taste we prefer. If you want to use thighs, use two for each of you.

What You Need:
Step One

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
Step Two
2 tsp Olive oil
Step Three
1/2 cup dry white wine
Step Four
1 cup chopped, seeded & peeled tomato
Step Five
1 tsp lemon juice
2 slices of prosciutto
Step Six
Cheesy Polenta for Two

Pat the chicken dry and coat with sage, salt and pepper.  Dredge (see above) through the flour shaking off excess.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken on each side (~4 min), add the wine, and cover to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Since you have some time, this would e a good point to star the polenta and chop up your tomato and prosciutto.

Remove the chicken from pan once it is cooked through (should register 160F) and add tomato.  Allow to cook for 1 minute and then ad lemon juice and prosciutto.

Spoon sauce over chicken and polenta, and enjoy!

Serves: 2  Cost: $4/serving

::cooking for two:: Harissa Spiced Chickpeas

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One of my favorite things about learning to cook is that I am no longer afraid to screw things up.  If it goes too badly, we’ll just order something.  It isn’t the end of the world.  This of course is made easier by only cooking for the two of us.  There is less wasted if I mess up, and less people to worry about pleasing.  I was so excite about this recipe since my Long Nights and Log Fires is mostly recipes for crowds and this one is simply for two.  It was a great easy meal (one pot!) during the cold winter in Philadelphia since I adapted it to fit what I had on hand, but I don’t think I would be opposed to it now that it is warmer out.

Really, it is just a new mixture of the same base ingredients I know and love.  Onion, garlic, beans, tomato, spinach.  Anything “spiced” falls into the category of “things we think we would like”.  Harissa and Haloumi, however, were two items neither of us had ever heard of.  Among the many different searches, I was told Harissa was anything from Greek to African.  Haloumi is a Greek cheese.  This dish is supposed to be Moroccan.  I’ll go with overall it is a Mediterranean dinner.  And based on this, how could you not enjoy it during the summer months?  I just imagine the Mediterranean to always be blue seas and bluer skies.  Ahhhhh…. Summer.  I watch too much TV.

What You Need
Step One
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Step Two
1 Tbsp harissa
1 can of chickpeas, drained (garbanzo beans)
1 can diced tomatoes
Step Three
5 oz. Halloumi cheese, cubed
big handful of spinach leaves (~8-10oz)
Step Four
salt & pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
fresh grated Parmesan

In a medium saucepan heat the oil over low heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened.

Stir in all step two ingredients and increase heat to medium/medium-high.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add in step three ingredients and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes.  Season to taste and stir in the lemon juice.  Serve immediately topped with fresh grated Parmesan.  Naan would go great with this dish as well to help soak up any bits of sauce leftover.

Serves: 2  Cost: $4/serving