Welcome to my Food Blog!

Welcome! My name is Anne, aka ThePharmGirl. In 2010, I successfully made 100 recipes as a New Year's Resolution to expand my culinary repertoire and cooking skills beyond the frozen microwave dinner. This blog is a continuation of my culinary journey and serves as my personal virtual recipe box. Sometimes I like to have fun-- Check out my Muppet Mania Menu, The 12 Days of Christmas, and my Musical-themed recipes.

My current mission(s) for 2020:
* Make at least 20 recipes for the Instant Pot
* Use the Spiralizer more often

Friday, September 11, 2015

Lemon-Steamed Sole with Pea Puree over Pesto Risotto

A photo in my recipe book for lemon-steamed sole caught my eye awhile back, but I couldn't find sole in the local grocery stores at the time.  I could have substituted haddock or flounder, but I wanted to stay true to the recipe.  So when I was wandering the fresh meat/fish department yesterday and noticed the fresh-caught sole, I decided to give this recipe I try.  I don't own a Dutch Oven (it's totally going on my Christmas wish list this year!), but my regular ol' large pot fitted with a steamer basket seemed to work just fine.   I was a little leery of steaming fish.  Even Jeremy walked in and commented, "You're cooking the fish in a POT?!"  But it worked.  It was super fast and easy and steaming kept the fish really moist and the lemon imparted wonderful flavor.  The pea puree was fine, but I'd probably skip it next time because it was just unnecessary and added extra work.   The basil pesto risotto was really delicious.

Lemon-Steamed Sole with Pea Puree
from America's Test Kitchen Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
Serves 2

1-2 lemons, cut into eight 1/4" slices
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 (3-ounce) boneless, skinless sole or flounder fillets, 1/8"-1/4" thick
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Fit a dutch oven with a steamer basket and add water to pot until it just touches bottom of basket.  Line the basket with 4 lemon slices, cover, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, to make the pea puree, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.  Add shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.  Stir in the broth and wine and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the peas and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth.  Return sauce to the pan, stir in the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Pat sole dry and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange skinned side up with tail pointing away. Starting with the wider end, tightly roll fillets.  Place the bundles on top of the lemon slices in the steamer basket and top with the remaining lemon slices.  Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover and steam until fish flakes easily, about 4-6 minutes.  (If you had slightly larger 6 oz fillets, steam for 6-10 minutes.)  Gently transfer fish to a plate, remove top lemon, sauce with pea puree, and sprinkle with basil.

Basil Pesto Risotto 
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
Serves 2 (very large portions--we had leftovers)

2&1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Arborio Rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup frozen peas (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil pesto

Bring water and broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Remove and keep warm.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds.  Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until grains are translucent around the edges, about 1 minute.  Add wine and cook, stirring often, until fully absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 2 cups of the warm water-broth mixture.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.  Once that is absorbed, stir in another 1/2 cup of the water-broth and cook, stirring frequently, until it's absorbed again.  Stir in the peas.  Repeat steps with the remaining water-broth until it's all incorporated and absorbed.  Off the heat, stir in the pesto and Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Easy Basil Pesto:  (makes ~1/2 cup)
In a food processor, combine 1/4 cup pine nuts, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Process until smooth.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tomato-Basil Soup

I've been searching for ways to use my fresh basil.   Here's another good recipe, especially if you want dinner in a hurry.  It was fast and easy and it tasted pretty good too.   My grilled cheese sandwich had a mix of gruyère and sharp white cheddar. Yum.

Tomato-Basil Soup
Recipe from Cooking Light: One Dish Meals
Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
28-oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add basil and tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Stir in cream cheese.  

Place mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.  Return mixture to the pan and add milk; season with salt and pepper.  Return to medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes until heated through.  Serve.