Because sometimes you just gotta keep simple. If you love tuna like I love tuna then you’re gonna love this.
SPAGHETTI WITH TUNA AND CAPER SAUCE serves 4
|One 16 ounce package spaghetti
Two-4.5 ounce cans of tuna in oil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons capers
2 cups spinach
|Boil salted water and cook the spaghetti.
In a large bowl mix tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice and capers in a bowl.
Add the spinach and cooked hot spaghetti to the tuna and stir to combine. The hot spaghetti will wilt the spinach a bit.
This broccoli, chicken and cheese tortellini recipe is delicious and pretty quick to get on the dinner table, even on a weeknight.
A little cream and Parmesan cheese make a thick, savory sauce that clings to the pasta, chicken and vegetables. This dish is a family favorite that gets ‘em to the table in a hurry. This is NOT a sponsored post, I use Barilla Tortellini because its tasty and shelf stable.
Broccoli and Chicken with Cheese Tortellini Recipe
Serves 4-6 people
|1 package of Cheese tortellini (dried. Refrigerated or frozen) I used a 12 ounce bag of Barilla dried 3 cheese tortellini found in the pasta aisle12 ounces of fresh or frozen broccoli florets1 pound of chicken breast
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
|Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and boil the tortellini for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets to the pasta water and continue to boil for 5 additional minutes. Drain and set aside. (You may have to adjust cooking time according to the type of tortellini used.)While waiting for the pasta water to boil start working on the chicken. Slice chicken breasts into strips about 2 inches long by ½ inch wide.
Put flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into a plastic bag, add the chicken strips and toss to coat.
Shake off excess flour and sauté the chicken in oil over medium heat.
Lightly brown the chicken on each side, cooking for 5 minutes. If the chicken isn’t completely done it will finish cooking in the sauce. You may have to cook the chicken in batches.
Remove the chicken from the pan and sauté the garlic over low heat for about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and cream into the pan and boil to reduce until thick, about 7 minutes.
Stir in the chicken, tortellini broccoli and Parmesan cheese, simmer for 2-3 minutes. (The flour we tossed the chicken in earlier will help to thicken the sauce). Add salt to taste.
My family and I took a quick trip to New York over the long weekend. We were only there for two and a half days and yet we saw so many gourmet markets. How gourmet are they? I really can’t say, I didn’t sample the food in any of them. I just rest better at night knowing they’re there.
so much gourmet I could capture it all
The Headliner for the night was Comedian Ron Funches but the sushi stole the show. Now, you might think twice about ordering sushi from a a comedy club (I certainly did) but the sushi at The Atlanta Improv is provided by Master Sushi chef Saito Saito of Czar Ice Bar a restaurant just next door to the comedy club. The Atlanta Improv calls on several of its neighboring restaurant to provide meals for it’s hungry patrons. The Improv Atlanta is part of the East Andrews Entertainment District that boasts 9 different venues and is host to loads of special events. I just bought my tickets to the Andrews Moonshine Festival-10/18/14 and on Halloween they are hosting Fright Night, a costume party for Adults (I’m sure that’s gonna be scandalous).
Our show started at 8pm but the doors open at 7 and the line starts forming early. If you want a seat in the area in front of the stage, get there closer to 7pm. As the room starts to fill a few walls to the left and right of the stage are moved (banquet hall style) to accommodate more guests. My husband and I got there early so I could order a few menu items and get some good pictures of them, the lights go down at 8 when the show begins and flash photography is not allowed.
I jumped the gun a bit (great sushi gets me excited) we actually started with an order of Improv Nachos which were quite tasty. The chips were still crunchy when the mountain of nachos arrived at the table and that’s a very good sign. The chicken in these nachos was well seasoned and the veggies were fresh and crisp. Another win for the Improv.
The lights went down and the show began just as our appetizer combo, called The Headliner, arrived along with an entree of short ribs and risotto. My husband stepped out into the lit hallway with the plates to take a few quick pics for the blog (we were seated in the back of the room near the exit so we wouldn’t be disruptive).
This combination of appetizers was fun to share (we were on a double date). The fried green tomatoes (topped with a Cilantro Pesto and Goat Cheese Crumbles) for me were the most successful part of the combo. Crispy on the outside and tangy /tender on the inside. The calamari were not quite as tender as I like calamari to be, but still they were crunchy and tasty. The BBQ Egg rolls, filled with zesty shredded pork in a tangy/sweet sauce, were good as well.
The biggest miss of the evening was the Guinness braised short rib dish with (not pictured) . Braised Short Ribs, Wild Mushroom Risotto served with Haricot Vert. The dish was not bad but the short ribs were a bit stringy, not meltingly tender like a short rib should be. The haricot vert were crisp and fresh and the Parmesan risotto was good and satisfying.
The true star of the night was comedian Ron Funches. He puts on a great show and had us in tears most of the evening. He has a unique style of delivery and the sweetest giggle from a grown man I’ve ever heard. He comes across as a gentle, nice guy stoner, sharing some odd thoughts about Muppet Babies among other things (yes, Muppet Babies, you read that right) and a bit of off color language. He puts on a great show and I’d love to see him again.
The Atlanta Improv has quite a few heavy hitters coming up in the next few weeks like Brian Callen (from Sex and the City as well as The Hangover 1&2 and a LOT of other stuff) on October 16th, 17th and 18th. Paul Reiser (who I LOVED in Mad About You) will perform on December 5th and 6th.
Our meal, compliments of the Atlanta Improv, was provided to share my honest opinions. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
You’re gonna want to pour this Browned Butter, Bourbon, Banana sauce on EVERYTHING…Ice cream, pancakes, FRENCH TOAST WAFFLES (here’s the recipe for that). I use raw, unrefined sugar in this recipe for it’s deep, rich flavor. You will get some crunchy bits from using raw sugar but I think this just adds to the deliciousness. If you can’t find raw sugar you can use light brown sugar.
I use slightly under-ripe bananas (not green, but not a lot of brown spots wither) in this recipe. These are firmer than very ripe bananas and won’t turn to mush during cooking.
BROWNED BUTTER, BOURBON AND BANANA SAUCE with Raw Sugar
Makes 1 ½ cups
|2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup raw sugar (brown sugar is a good substitute)
2 slightly under-ripe bananas
1 cinnamon stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
|In a 2 quart saucepan melt the butter and let it begin to brown a bit. Add corn syrup, raw sugar bananas, cinnamon and salt. Let this simmer until the sugar has mostly dissolved, about 2 minutes. The raw sugar won’t dissolve completely, leaving crunchy toffee bits (YUM!)
Turn off the heat and add the cream and bourbon (or vanilla)
The mixture will bubble up vigorously so use caution. Stir the mixture to blend and serve over waffles or ice cream or French Toast, or bread pudding…
A loaf of bread, a simple batter and your waffle iron are all you need to make these delicious French Toast Waffles. On Sunday morning I used an entire loaf of bread to make these French Toast Waffles, thinking that I was making enough to have some left over for breakfast one day during the week. I underestimated my family’s love of French Toast Waffles as there was only one left (and I only ate one myself)…in hindsight I should have taken some out and put them aside.
The waffle iron cooks the French Toast quickly and if you have a large one you can cook several pieces at a time so you can get it on the table fast. The sugar in the French Toast batter caramelizes where it pressed into the iron and gets crispy like creme brule.
I made browned butter, bourbon and banana sauce with raw sugar (here’s the recipe) to top the French Toast Waffles but you can use your favorite syrup.
French Toast Waffles makes 16 slices
|2 cups Half and Half
½ cup raw sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
16 slices of bread
2 tablespoons softened butter or cooking spray
|Heat your oven to 200°Heat your waffle iron.
Beat half and half, eggs, sugar and vanilla until sugar is dissolved.
Brush waffle iron with butter or spray with non stick cooking spray
Dip a slice of bread in batter for about 3 seconds and cook in the waffle iron according to its settings. (as many as can fit in your waffle iron at a time)
Cook according to the settings on your waffle iron. Place on a wire rack on a sheet pan as you cook the rest of the French Toast Waffles. Keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.
When I (along with other members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society) was invited by Ray and Luchi Palermo, creators of the QuadCooker, to check out a demonstration of their new creation the HexxCooker I was intrigued (they fed me well for my attendance and this is my honest opinion of the product). (here’s a link to the QuadCooker site for more details) I love my old grill but it never gets as hot as I would like it. The HexxCooker vows to solve that problem. Your normal backyard grill gets to about 550 degrees (maybe…probably not quite that hot) while the HexxCooker reaches up to 900 degrees or more. That high temperature is a result of the quad rock used to form the crucible of the cooker. The special concrete blend that forms the quadrock holds the heat inside and distributes it evenly while staying cool to the touch on the outside. Here’s a quick Instagram video of a demonstration Ray did to show the insulating power of the quadrock. The grates on the HexxCooker are made from laser cut, case hardened carbon steel (smoother than cast iron) to stand up extremely high heat. The grate isn’t non stick but when cooking oil spray is used food released easily from the grate. I was impressed with the product and I’m happy to share it with you.
After a trip to Spain, Ray and Luchi were inspired to develop the high heat cooking HexxCooker after dining on paella. Traditionally paella is cooked over an open wood fire so the rice can absorb the smoke. Once they returned from Spain they began development of a product that would help them recreate the paella they loved. Ray spent some time working on prototypes and came up with the original QuadCooker design. After the success of the original, the QuadCooker creators are now introducing a smaller, more portable version called the HexxCooker. Built from the same materials, the smaller HexxCooker is a powerhouse of heat as well. I must admit, when they said the HexxCooker was portable I gave them a bit of the ole’ side eye. It looks like it should weigh a ton but it really is light enough to bring tailgating or camping.
Our host grilled some steak and sausages for us as appetizers. The high heat of the HexxCooker gave the steak a caramelized crust normally only found in an expensive steakhouse and cooked the sausages quickly while retaining moisture, I was impressed with the results. I wish I’d had an opportunity to cook on the HexxCooker myself to get firsthand knowledge of the product, hopefully soon I can test it out myself. Ray also made fried shrimp in a wok on the HexxCooker, it really is a versatile tool.
Ray was nice enough to share his delicious paella with us and in turn I’m going to share his recipe (with his permission) with you.
Ray Palermo’s PAELLA MENENDEZ SERVINGS: 6
||Place the paella pan on top of the pre-warmedQUAD grill top. Add olive oil to the pan. Once oil is heated, add chicken and pork. Stir the meat with a wooden spoon until browned, approximately 4 minutes. Add Spanish chorizo and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add onions and green peppers and cook until the onions are translucent.Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add stock, bay leaf, salt,pepper, crushed red pepper, parsley and saffron. Let this mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes. As the mixture comes to a boil, stir in the rice, and then add wine. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, keep checking rice for
doneness. The rice will absorb most of the liquid, stir in additional wine or broth in ½-cup increments if necessary.
Once the rice not quite done but just a little crunchy to the taste (there should still be excess liquid in the pan), arrange the seafood on the surface of the rice. Sprinkle peas and
pimentos over the seafood. Cover the pan with the dome top and allow to steam-cook. Cooking will take approximately 5 minutes. Shellfish should open and shrimp will turn pink when cooked.
Let the paella rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to absorb any liquid.
Full chimney of coal. Hot fire. Quad with the grill and paella pan.
ACCOMPANIMENTS & SIDES
Paella is a meal unto itself; just set the pan in the middle of the table to serve. A mixed green salad would certainly complement the dish.