February 2008


Hello!

Apologies for the brief hiatus. I’ve been trying to update the blog as regularly as possible. If you’re interested in what I made for the first meeting of our D.C. supper club, you can find it on my blog.

I’m back into cooking mode and I hope to have some new and healthy recipes to share in the coming months. No more hunks of brie; this food-lover needs to fit into a wedding gown!

That said, the majority of my go-to recipes are, as you know, from Cooking Light. The one I’m providing today is one of the best potato soups I’ve eaten! (Don’t forget to clean the leeks well!)

For all you readers out there, I’m currently reading “The Apprentice” by the famous chef Jacques Pepin. It tells the story of his upbringing in France, working in various kitchens, including the kitchen of France’s prime minister, and then moving to the States and learning about American cooking. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good read.

Enjoy!

GOLDEN POTATO-LEEK SOUP – Courtesy Cooking Light

Yukon Gold potatoes are really buttery and make the perfect addition to this lovely soup. Serve on a cold early-March night.

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups thinly sliced leek (about 3 medium)
6 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (14-ounce) cans organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
2 thyme sprigs
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Thyme sprigs (optional)

To prepare soup, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally (do not brown).

Add potatoes, water, salt, broth, and 2 thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.

Remove pan from heat; discard thyme sprigs. Partially mash potatoes with a potato masher (or immersion blender); stir in cream. Sprinkle with black pepper. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

I hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings! Happy Birthday A.A.!

Sincerely,

Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

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This meal isn’t for those who want a quick dinner. I decided to try it because I’d never made risotto before (but had always wanted to) and I thought it was decatent enough for a special meal. I couldnt find truffle oil, so I just used EVOO. It was surprisingly easy to make!

For 2 entree-sized portions, I just added a few scallops. I also added some fresh baby spinach (after the risotto had soaked up all the broth) to give it some color.

Enjoy!

Makes 6 appetizer servings.
chef Alan Wong

3 8-ounce bottles clam juice
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 large sea scallops
Truffle oil*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Bring clam juice and broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm. Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Add onion to pan; sauté until translucent, about 1 minute. Add garlic; sauté 15 seconds. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine; simmer until absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup clam juice mixture to rice; simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding liquid 1 cup at a time and stirring often, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender but still firm to bite, about 20 minutes. Stir in butter and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in heavy medium skillet over high heat. Sear scallops until golden brown and just opaque in center, about 1 minute per side. Divide risotto among 6 plates. Place 1 scallop atop risotto on each plate, drizzle lightly with truffle oil, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

As I said in my last issue of Hillman’s Helpings, the theme of the first meeting of the supper club was “red.” Below is the recipe I made – it was really tasty! It’s from my favorite celebrity cook, Rachael Ray!

Ingredients
6 plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, half of the sees removed, then finely chopped
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon honey
4 6oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Directions
Heat in a medium-size skillet over high heat with a tablespoon of the EVOO.
Add quartered tomatoes, cumin, coriander, peppers, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper
Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes
Add vinegar, brown sugar and 1 cup of water
Turn down heat to medium low and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until water has evaporated and the tomatoes have broken down and are slightly thickened
In a bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO, cilantro, scallions, parsley, honey and a little salt and pepper
Add chicken breasts and toss to coat
Heat nonstick skillet over medium high heat
Add chicken, cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
Top each chicken with chutney

Hello!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s recipe doesn’t have anything to do with love or romance, but it does incorporate a red ingredient.

My friends and I started a supper club (ok, it doesn’t technically start until NEXT week) and the theme for our first dinner is RED. So everyone has to bring something that incorporates a red ingredient. Cute, right? I’m not saying what I’m making – want it to be a surprise – but it’s going to be good.

Anyway, the recipe below is fun and easy to make.

Enjoy!

SHRIMP FAJITAS WITH ONIONS AND RED PEPPERS

I LOVE this shrimp fajita recipe! It’s so easy and fun and you can make it in just a few minutes!

Preheat a large skillet with extra virgin olive oil. Add raw, peeled, shrimp to the pan (8-9 per person) and saute until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add one sliced onion and red pepper to the pan. Saute 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add 1/2 packet taco seasoning and the cooked shrimp back to the pan.

Serve with warm flour tortillas and all the fixings you want! (lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream etc…)

Bon Appetit!

Hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sincerely,

Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

February 13, 2008

-Eating more mono- and polyunsaturated fats and less saturated fat, and avoiding trans fats

-Eating plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables

-Eating more whole-grain carbohydrates and fewer refined-grain carbohydrates

-Choosing healthier sources of protein by trading red meat for chicken or turkey, fish, legumes or nuts

-Using alcohol in moderation, or not at all…

-Taking a daily multivitamin supplement for nutritional insurance

-Maintaining a stable, healthy weight

-Exercising regularly

My good friend Allison gave me a Joy of Cooking calendar for 2008 – one of my favorite things to do each morning is rip off the page and see what the tip of the day is – I’ll be sharing some of these with you this year 🙂

February 8, 2008

-switch to olive, canola, peanut or another healthful vegetable oil, instead of sauteeing with butter

-make cookies, cakes and quick breads with healthful oils or trans-fat-free shortening

-use extra-lean ground meat in place of regular gound beef, and pork tenderloin in place of pork loin or other fatty cuts of pork

-try skim or 1-percent milk in recipes calling for whole milk, and nonfat plain yogurt in those calling for sour cream