27 Jun 2017

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15 Recipes for a Summer Cookout with California Ripe Olives

This round-up is brought to you in partnership with the California Olive Committee.

Dreaming up a menu for your next summer cookout? Look no further than one of our favorite pantry staples, olives.

The buttery, mild flavor of both California green and black ripe olives are a fantastic contrast to all of the smoky flavors coming off the grill this summer. You can chop them up into a quick tapenade to serve with chips, make a quick relish to spoon on top of burgers, or toss them with fresh summer vegetables in a pasta salad.

Here are fifteen recipes that put a can of olives to work, guaranteed to make your next cookout a memorable one!

Continue reading "15 Recipes for a Summer Cookout with California Ripe Olives" »

27 Jun 2017 4:35pm GMT

Memphis-Style Pork Ribs

Memphis-style Pork Ribs

There are wet ribs, sticky with a succulent, spicy barbecue sauce, and there are dry ribs, where the flavor is all in the dried mixture of herbs and spices, melded into something greater than the sum of their parts by time, smoke and pork fat.

This is what they do in Memphis, Tennessee, and it's why Memphis-style ribs are some of the best in the world.

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27 Jun 2017 11:52am GMT

26 Jun 2017

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Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls

My husband is a big fan of chipotle - both the spicy, smoky peppers themselves and the restaurant chain. He declared this dish to be better than Chipotle's fast-casual burrito bowls, so I'm calling it a win!

This is certainly more budget-friendly than ordering take-out for four people. It also cooks in about the same time that it would take us to drive over and pick up dinner!

Continue reading "Pressure Cooker Chipotle Chicken and Rice Bowls" »

26 Jun 2017 4:30pm GMT

22 Jun 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Easy Shrimp Curry Recipe

Here's one of my strategies for dinner in a hurry--tweak a classic dish by loading it up with vegetables and creating a one pot meal. Recently I worked on a shrimp and feta recipe, it started out very much the same as many other recipes, but I added lots of fresh fennel. Basically this shrimp curry recipe started with a simple coconut curry recipe to which I added sugar snap peas, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I happened to have some sugar snap peas from Mann's produce (another great time saver because they are stringless and don't need any prep), but I could have added broccoli or sweet potatoes or some other study vegetables. Just add rice or noodles and dinner is done!

This recipe comes courtesy of American Shrimp Company, they kindly sent me some more of their fresh wild gulf shrimp. The shrimp are bursting with flavor and can be used in so many dishes. They arrive clean, deveined, peeled, fresh, not frozen, perfect for when you don't have much time for meal prep since they really don't need marinating and cook in just minutes. I don't use all the shrimp at once so some of them go in the freezer to use at a later date.

The benefit of making a one pot meal is that you don't have to bother cooking multiple side dishes and in this case, the vegetables swim along with the shrimp in a delicious curry sauce. I'm going to continue to experiment with more dishes like this. What classic shrimp dishes would you add vegetables to in order to make it a meal? Shrimp and grits? Scampi? Shrimp gumbo? The possibilities are endless.

Easy Shrimp Curry
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced
3/4 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 cup sugar snap peas
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro, optional

Instructions

Heat a large deep skillet or wok over medium high heat and add the coconut oil. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds then add the onion and peppers. Stiry fry until the vegetables have slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the curry powder and the snap peas and stir for a minute then add the coconut milk and soy sauce. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook just until they shrimp are cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. You can add more soy sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like. Serve with rice (or rice noodles) and garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: My thanks to The American Shrimp Company and Mann's for providing me with shrimp and sugar snap peas. I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

22 Jun 2017 3:10pm GMT

20 Jun 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pecorino Toscano & Pecorino Sardo

Yesterday I wrote about Pecorino Romano, today Pecorino Toscano and Pecorino Sardo, two other kinds of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Pecorino you are likely to find in the US.

Pecorino Toscano
I ate the fresh version of Pecorino Toscano practically daily when I lived in Tuscany. In Florence, fresh Pecorino Toscano was like the Italian version of Monterey Jack, the cheese I grew up eating in California.It's mild, slightly herbal, sweet, approachable, easy to love. It's really great in a sandwich--either cold or grilled.

Pecorino Toscano is made from milk produced in Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. As with all cheeses, it gets harder and drier as it ages. In the US it used to be much easier to the find the aged versions than the really fresh soft ones. The fresher version is particularly mild and creamy. The aged version is buttery, sometimes nutty with a peppery finish It's just a great table cheese, perfect for an antipasto platter. Even aged it tends to be much milder than the Pecorinos from Lazio and Sardinia.
Pecorino Sardo Maturo & Pecorino Fiore Sardo
Pecorino Sardo
This is the Pecorino I know the least about, so I turned to cheesemonger and author Gordon Edgar to help me get a better understanding of it. Here's what he had to say:

"The tricky thing about Pecorino Sardo is the variation contained within the name. Whereas Pecorino Romano means hard, aged, grating cheese and "Fresco" means semi-soft and young, Pecorino Sardo just means sheep cheese from Sardinia which is where a lot of Italian sheep cheese comes from, labeled as Sardo or not.

There is a name-controlled version "Fiore Sardo DOP" which is raw milk and slightly smoked and one of the most amazingly complex sheep cheeses available anywhere. Rich, milky, nutty, mutli-layered, briney, and, yes, a touch smokey in a complimentary way, not the way smoke is often used to cover defects in cheese. Personally I mostly use this as a table cheese to eat with cold cuts or other cheeses. If you dislike "pecorino," this cheese may well change your mind. Make sure it says DOP though, because some importers and retailers can be a little loose with the American naming of their Italian cheese

Most Sardo sold in the US fits the middle-ground, age-wise between fresco (from whatever region) and the hard, crumbly Romano. If not name-controlled, the Sardo Maturo is my favorite one to buy. It can work as a less intense and salty alternative to grating than a Romano, but also works as a table cheese, often lending a grassy, potato-y flavor absent from many pecorinos. The aging (maturo) lets flavor develop and my favorite brand is Central Formaggi (though this is often not labeled at point of sale). You can kind of tell how strong Sardo will be based on the texture, so -- if you can -- try and squeeze it a little before purchase."

Curious about Pecorino Romano? Read about in yesterday's post.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

20 Jun 2017 2:10pm GMT

19 Jun 2017

feedCooking with Amy: A Food Blog

Pecorino Romano

Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Gran Cacio Etrusco
Knowing Italian is sometimes a help in the culinary realm. But not always. Pecora means sheep in Italian providing the clue that Pecorino refers to sheep's milk cheese. But after that it gets complicated. There are 6 kinds of Pecorino with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in Italy but only a few you are likely to find in the US. First up is the most commonly found Pecorino cheese, Pecorino Romano and tomorrow, Pecorino Toscano and Pecorino Sardo.

Pecorino Romano is the easiest to find Pecorino cheese in the US. The name is a bit confusing however. It's not just a cheese from Rome or even Lazio as you might assume, but is also produced in the province of Grosseto in Tuscany and in Cagliari, Nuoro, Oristano and Sassari on the island of Sardinia. In fact, Sardinia is the biggest producer of Pecorino Romano, go figure. It's an ancient cheese and it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder almost 2,000 years ago. It was such an important cheese, that it was part of the Roman legion's rations-hence "Romano" in the name. It's salty and dry, and has a wonderful sharp flavor that sets it apart from other dry cheeses. A good one will also have a bit of sweetness to it. You may recognize it from the black wax coating on the cheese. Fresher versions are aged for 5 months and the harder cheese used for grating is aged at least 8 months.

The more aged version is most often used in recipes, but the fresher version can be eaten on a cheese plate. It's traditional to eat Pecorino with fresh fava beans in Spring. Pecorino Romano's sharp bite makes it the ideal cheese with rich pasta dishes like bucatini all'amatriciana and spaghetti alla carbonara. It is also the cheese you must use for the pasta dish cacio e pepe. Cacio literally means Pecorino in the Roman dialect, so please, do not substitute Parmigiano Reggiano for Pecorino Romano in the recipe. The classic recipe calls for only spaghetti, freshly ground black pepper and Pecorino Romano, though I won't quibble if you want to add a bit of butter or olive oil. When the cheese combines with water it melts into a sauce, rather than gooey strings.

The brand of Pecorino Romano I'm most familar with is Fulvi made by I Buona Tavola. They make the only Pecorino Romano made in Lazio that's imported to the US. It's aged 10 months to a year and made from full fat sheep's milk, which means the cheese is not quite as hard as most Sardinian Pecorino. It's salty but not too salty with a pungency but also a sweet finish. In addition to Pecorino Romano you may find another cheese from Fulvi called Pecorino Romano Gran Cacio Etrusco. It's salted with Sicilian salt and rubbed with olive oil for several months. It's a bit softer in texture and sweeter, definitely more nuanced and in my opinion, worth the slightly higher price. You can read a post about a visit to the caseficio where they produce Fulvi Pecorino Romano cheeses on cheesemonger Gordon Edgar's blog, Gordonzola.
©2017 Cooking with Amy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

19 Jun 2017 3:51pm GMT