February 19, 2011

Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips

While we all know chips aren’t healthy, these green crispy things stand up to the challenge. I guess by the time the olive oil and salt are added, it may not be as healthy as we may wish, but all things in moderation, right?

Kale chips, you will find, are great substitutes for fries or regular chips and can be served with (almost) any meal or be saved in an air-tight container for some midday snackage.

I owe the credit for the idea to my big little sister, Jen; she is my “big little sister” because she is 8 1/2 years older than me, but has been shorter than me for a good majority of our lives. We’re best pals. Every time that I go visit her and her husband, Josh, we end up cruising to TJ’s stocking up on a good bottle of wine (which takes us forever to pick out), a new type of cheese we want to try out, and ingredients for a dinner feast.

Little Yellow Note: TJ’s doesn’t sell kale, so make plans to find it elsewhere. Jen normally has some on hand from the CSA veggie box she gets from the local Ventura farms. If this program is an option near you, you should definitely look into it for great organic produce and the support of local farmers.

Jen’s kale chips are simple and delicious: kale, olive oil or grape seed oil, sea salt and fresh shredded parmesan cheese. We added a little fresh rosemary and garlic to zest it up.

Here’s the scoop on the Rosemary Parmesan Kale Chips:

Ingredients:
1 bunch organic green kale, washed
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, preferably freshly shredded
sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Wash kale leaves and pat dry.
2. Strip kale leave from the middle stem part (see video clip), and tear into big pieces.
3. Put leaves in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add minced garlic and mix well with hands. You want to distribute the garlic and oil evenly.
4. Arrange kale in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with foil. (we filled up 3 sheets of kale). Sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.

5. Pop in the oven for 12 minutes, until nice and crispy. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over kale, and let cook for the remaining 3 minutes (15 minutes total).

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Chrissy

February 18, 2011

Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry

Yesterday we had a surprise visit from our favorite neighbor and ultimate LYK fan, Russell. He waltzed into the Little Yellow Kitchen with a gigantic smile exclaiming that he held in his hand what was soon to be our new favorite evening activity, Julia. No, not the recent film Julie and Julia, but the real Julia — The French Chef with Julia Child: Disc 1. Never have I ever been a fan of black and white films, but Julia my friends, can entertain with the best of them.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
Julia Child

We immediately began watching Julia create her classic Bouillabaisse Marseillaise with the head of a giant cod sitting front and center on the screen the entire time. This woman has no fear. She chops hacks fish in half like it’s an everyday activity – maybe it was? She is so much more real than what we see today on cooking shows. She cooks on a electric stove with switches for goodness sake! Needless to say, if you get the chance watch some of her infamous episodes, do it, and take copious notes.

julia

Onto the stir fry…

We cheated a little on this recipe because of time constraints but it gives me the chance to tell you about more great products from Trader Joe’s – I promise they don’t pay us to use their name so much, we just basically live there grocery shopping and love it.

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If you want a quick and delicious stir fry then this is the way to do it. Use Trader Joe’s Ginger Soy Marinade and their bag of fresh stir fry vegetables. If you can’t get to a Trader Joes, then use the vegetables listed in the ingredients of our recipe below.

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Stir Fry

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast

8-10 shrimp

1 bag of Trader Joe’s stir fry vegetables (snow peas, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, celery, broccoli)

1/2 cup ginger soy marinade

1 zucchini, thick slices

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Marinate the chicken and shrimp in the ginger soy marinade for 30 minutes. Pour oil into a fry pan with fresh ginger and add the vegetables, sauté about 15 minutes or until cooked down. Add the chicken and shrimp with the marinade and cook through.

Remove from heat and mix in the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

Serve with brown rice.

Buon Appetit!

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From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 17, 2011

Enoteca Adriano: the Burrata and the Pope’s Pillow

Pope's Pillow dessert

I know that we probably cannot rave about this place enough, but Enoteca Adriano, never ceases to amaze; which is why we swooped up the last 7 o’clock reservation on Valentine’s night at this adorably romantic Italian spot. It’s really too bad that the boys were preoccupied that night, but fear not, we just took each other out for the occasion!

Burrata Enoteca

Apparently, we were the only friends who faced this minor dilemma, because everyone else in the entire restaurant was happily coupled, romantically gazing at each other, comfortably positioned hand in hand. It might be an understatement to say that, yep, it was awkward and we sure felt out of place, but the food and service was nothing but the best.

Tonight, we decided to try the Burrata Enoteca as an appetizer, which is my new favorite thing. Basically, it is a big hunk of delicious creamy  fresh mozzarella. It’s more solid on the outside, but when you cut into the center, the consistency is soft and creamy. This hunk of glory was placed on top of a large slice of wonderfully cured prosciutto, accompanied by some roasted heirloom tomatoes and wilted garlic spinach, and tied together with a simple balsamic-olive oil drizzle.

We. nearly. died. It was THAT good.

Then we split the Spaghetti Polpette (translated: spaghetti and meatballs), which was just what we were looking for, after finishing such a rich and decadent appetizer.

Just as we were winding the evening down (and finishing the great bottle of wine we brought along…gotta love no-corkage Monday’s), Chef Franco came out to greet us! After expressing a mutual adoration for the Enoteca and the Little Yellow Kitchen, he came equipped with two glasses of the tastiest dessert wine, Lungarotti, and a much anticipated Pope’s Pillow. This dessert, presentation and flavor profile, is unparalleled. It is big enough to use as a pillow to catch a snooze on…and the mascarpone cream filling would sure be able to provide adequate neck support. YUM.

Needless to say, Enoteca Adriano is such a jewel in Pacific Beach (a place mostly known for its rowdy bars and influx of young college kids), quietly perched a few blocks away from the madness, on Cass Street. If you live in or ever visit San Diego, you must stop by. The amazing Chef Franco will surely greet you with open arms and will send you off with a happy tummy and a “Grazie Mille”. What more could you ask for.

This is the “neck support” I was talking about. That puff pastry square is jam-packed with mascarpone goodness.

This dessert wine brings me back to the time I  spent living in Siena.

Lungarotti, Vino Dolce from the Umbria Region, Italy

I think this is the point we had to stop eating, to prevent immediate food coma… we still had to ride our bikes a few blocks home.

Fresh berries, everywhere!

The End. We got home just in time to pass out to the Bachelor. Perfect.

FYI– Here is:  Enoteca Adriano’s Facebook fan page, and here is From The Little Yellow Kitchen’s Facebook fan page... we are friends you should be too!

 

From the Little Yellow Kitchen

-Chrissy

 

February 16, 2011

Mac n’ Cheese n’ Salami

Chris and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day together on Sunday by having a lovely picnic/Element tailgate at Cabrillo National Monument. The afternoon’s menu consisted of vintage cheddar cheese (by far my new fav Trader Joe’s  cheese), Sopressa salami, crackers and a breathtaking view of San Diego and beyond.

Later that evening I used the left over vintage cheddar cheese (I can’t say how good this was enough times) and Sopressa salami to make Mac & Cheese & Salami. Do I know the way to a man’s heart or what? They can never say no to mac n’ cheese — especially if you add meat to it.

The golden crispy top gets me every time. The creamy cheese and salty salami combo was slammin’! Slammin’? I haven’t used that word since 1997 or so…I should bring it back.

Want a bite?? Open up…

This recipe was much easier this time than it has been in the past. I usually complicate things by using 3-4 different cheeses. This was also my fifth or six time doing it so I guess it should be easier now, right?

Oh, and Chris shredded all the cheese for me. Be sure you hand a man the grater. If you let him watch TV at the same time he won’t even know he’s doing all the work for you.

First step is to make your cheese sauce and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Dump your heart shaped pasta into the sauce.

Top with a sprinkle of bread crumbs and bake until the top is golden and crispy.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb elbow macaroni (or heart shaped pasta)

1/2 cup Sopressa salami, diced — I recommend sauteing your salami a little bit before hand so that it can crisp up!

1 1/2 very sharp cheddar, shredded

1 1/2 cups white cheddar (or Gruyere), shredded

2 cups milk

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the macaroni (or heart shaped pasta) according to the directions on the package. Drain well. If they stick together, drizzle some oil into them and toss it around.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan, be careful not to let it boil. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large pot (you will be adding the pasta to it later on) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Continue whisking as you slowly add the hot milk. Cook until it becomes thick and all the clumps are smoothed. Stir in the nutmeg, salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and add the cheeses of your choice and the salami. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a medium sized baking dish or ramekins.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and mix in the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the mixture on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes if in a baking dish, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top. Ramekins only need 10 to 15 minutes.

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Lauren

February 14, 2011

Valentines Day Vanilla Bean Mini-cake

Valentine’s Day. It’s usually a lover’s holiday, right? Well this year, both of our men are studying too hard to celebrate so we decided to have our own party. Chrissy and I are going to Enoteca Adriano again to celebrate something a bit different. This year it isn’t just about the men in our lives, it’s a celebration of all the things we love in life. Mainly great Italian food and neon pink mini cakes with Nutella filling…

This isn’t just any mini cake. It is a vanilla bean mini cake with a Nutella filling and topped with a pink vanilla cream cheese frosting. Try coming up with a recipe title for that…

First you’ll want to mash together the sugar and butter with a spoon — mashing it prevents too much mixing which makes dense cakes.

Beat in the other ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into your giant cupcake holders (found at your local cooking store) filling them half way and bake!

Once they are done you will use a pastry bag and tip to squeeze some Nutella into each one:

Do us a huge favor and don’t use a Ziploc bag like we did. This WILL happen:

Major blowout on the side of the bag. There was no rescuing these poor little cakes. Good thing we love Nutella.

Oh, and we didn’t learn from our lesson the first time and tried yet another baggy. The decorating tip proceeded to shoot out of the bag and into the center of a cake.

They should look more like this:

Moving on to the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. Try not to to eat it all before you top your mini cakes. This sounds like an easy thing to do but trust me on this one. You will need to hide it from your significant other, the kids, your mom, brother and the dog or it won’t last 5 minutes.

Check out those vanilla bean seeds! MmmMmMm.

Don’t forget to check out the other ingredient challengers for something RED! Ya, I know. Our’s ended up neon pink. Apparently adding more food coloring doesn’t constitute a more red hue.

How to make a vanilla bean mini cake with a Nutella filling and topped with a pink vanilla cream cheese frosting:

Cupcake Ingredients: Makes 12-18 gigantic cupcakes

1 cup flour

1 3/4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

Nutella

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

**Little Yellow Note: Remember that it’s always best to sift the dry ingredients, to ensure there are no clumps!

3. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter together with a spoon. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla.

4. Beat in the dry ingredients with the creamed butter mixture.

5. Add milk and mix in by hand (you do not want to over-beat the batter!)

6. Spoon into gigantic cupcake holders, filling them up halfway (these holders are free-standing and do not require a muffin pan).

7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, testing with a toothpick.

8. While still warm, pipe the Nutella into the center of the cupcake. Let cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

**Little Yellow Note: we halved this recipe from the Cake Dutchess, and added a little extra cream cheese and substituted vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract.

  • ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
  • 6 oz of Philly cream cheese (3/4 of a package), softened
  • 1-2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • red food coloring (as much as needed)
  • colored sprinkles to top

Directions

1. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in the vanilla bean paste, along with desired amount of powdered sugar (to taste) and drops of red food coloring and beat until desired sweetness and color is reached.
2. Top cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting and lots of Valentine’s sprinkles!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,

Chrissy & Lauren