Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Crab and Chutney Rangoons

By Paul Briand

I subscribe to a number of email feeds about food. No surprise there, really. One is particular, Taste of the Seacoast, gives me valuable insights into the food-related happenings in the Seacoast area of New Hampshire where I live.

One happy surprise in the May online newsletter was a recipe for Crab Rangoons, always a favorite for me and wife Jane when we're out for Asian food. The fact that she's a Maryland girl who loves her crab also plays into the love of Crab Rangoons.

The recipe, drawn from chief Ming Tsai (featured on the "Simply Ming" cooking show on PBS) looked simple enough for me to try at home. Originally the recipe called for Sour Cranberry Chutney, which I substituted with Major Grey's Chutney.

1 pound crab meat
1?4 pound cream cheese, softened
1 cup Major Grey's Chutney, plus some for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped chives, save 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 package thin square wonton skins
1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Canola oil for cooking
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tast

1. In a large bowl, mix the crab, cream cheese, chutney, and chives. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and check for flavor;
2. Lay out 4 to 6 skins, lightly brush the edges with egg wash and place a small mound of the mix in the middle. Top with second skin and press firmly to seal. This is very important so the rangoons do not burst and leak. Repeat until the filling is gone;
3. Preheat a large sauté pan coated with 1?4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Add as many rangoons as the pan can hold in one layer. Shallow fry until golden brown, flip and fry other side until golden brown;
4. Transfer rangoons to a plate lined with paper towels;
5. Place a small mound of chutney on a plate, surround with 3 rangoons, garnish with chives and serve hot.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Enchilada Bake

By Paul Briand

My favorite food group is salsa and chips.

I'm finding, however, that I should learn to live with fewer chips in my diet. But I'm loath to give up on salsa. What to do? Find recipes that incorporate salsa into the meal.

I've already offered in this space a recipe for Easy Chili that incorporates salsa.

But I don't want to be a one-hit wonder. So I found a good source of salsa recipes here from the makers of the Spike's salsas I often buy at my local supermarket.

This is the Enchilada Bake, picture courtesy of the web site. (It goes without saying that if you have a favorite salsa in can easily substitute for the Spike's.)

Half cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
8 ounce package of shredded cheddar cheese
Half cup milk
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
Half cup black olives, sliced
8 flour tortillas (6 inch)
1 jar Spike’s Santa Fe Medium Salsa
Green onion, sliced for garnish

1. Melt butter in large saucepan and add onion, heat until onion is tender, or begins to turn translucent;
2. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese and milk to onion mixture, stir;
3. Add cooked chicken and olives; mix well;
4. Remove from heat and set aside;
5. Add enough oil to a large skillet to 1/4" depth and heat to medium high;
6. Add tortillas one at a time and cook until softened, turning once;
7. Remove and drain on paper towels;
8. Place 1/4 cup of the chicken cheese mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up;
9. Place seam-side down in a 12-by-8 inch baking dish. Top with salsa;
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, top with remaining cheese and more olives if desired;
11. Sprinkle with green onion and serve.
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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Skillet Lasagna

By Paul Briand

In keeping with last week's theme, I was looking again at leftover ingredients that I should try to use up. Last week it was horseradish; this week's it was lasagna noodles.

The noodles were leftover from the Unbelievable Lasagna recipe posted March 18.

And I just happened upon a recipe for this Skillet Lasagna in my Shaw's supermarket. It is much more simple than the oven-baked lasagna -- it takes less than an hour from start to finish -- and it's equally as tasty.

28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
Tablespoon of olive oil
Medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound of ground beef
10 lasagna noodles, broken into two-inch strips
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Black pepper, salt
1 cup Ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped basil

1. Pour tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart measuring cup, add water so that mixture equals 1 quart (I used equal parts water and red wine for this);
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook onion until it begins to brown;
3. Add salt, pepper flakes and garlic;
4. Add ground beef, break apart and cook through until no longer pink, distribute evenly over bottom of skillet;
5. Add the lasagna noodle strips over the meat, but do not stir;
6. Pour diced tomatoes, juices and water, plus the tomato sauce over pasta. Do not stir. Cover and bring to simmer;
7. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stir occasionally until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes;
8. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan;
9. Season with salt and pepper;
10. Dot with dollops of Ricotta, cover and let stand for five minutes;
11. Sprinkle with basil and remaining two tablespoons of Parmesan.

Serves four to six.
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