Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10/23/12 ChefElla's Crispy Fall Squash Cakes

I like fall.  The colorful leaves and cool air make it nice to be outside after a hot summer.  What I do not like about fall are the vegetables.  I like sweet fresh vegetables and fall vegetables are heavy and sometimes bitter.  My parents give me try all sorts of fall vegetables to try including squash, but I just did not like them.  One night during a family dinner my parents gave me some orange ravioli.  They were so good, and then I found out they were butternut squash ravioli.  While I like the ravioli they take a lot of time to make.  My squash cakes are much faster and easier to make.  I would serve these cakes as an appetizer before dinner or as your vegetable with dinner.  For this recipe you will need to use the stove and the oven.  If you are not allowed to use the stove or oven by yourself you can have your mom or dad help.

1.  Wash your hands.
2.  For this recipe you will need a small sauté pan, a blender or food processor, a rubber spatula
     or wooden spoon, a large mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, a small scooper, a fork and
     spoon, aluminum foil, a cutting board, a knife and a sheet pan.

Ingredients: (This recipe will make about 36 pieces)
1 each         Butternut Squash
                   -You will need two cups roasted and mashed for the recipe.  2 cups is equals to around
                   1 medium sized squash.
1/4  Cup     Red Onion, small diced
2                 Large cloves of fresh garlic
                   -Garlic has a paper like coating.  Break off 2 large pieces (cloves) of garlic.  Put them on a 
                   cutting board and hit them with a rolling pin or mallet (kitchen hammer).  It is o.k. to smash
                   them for this recipe.  This will break the paper shell on the garlic.  Remove the cloves from
                   the paper.
4 leaves       Fresh Sage
                   -You can find fresh herbs at your local farmers market, or the produce section
                   at your local grocery store.
3 Tbl.           Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 each         Large Egg
1/4 Cup      Parmesan Cheese
1 Pkg.         Panko Bread Crumbs
                   -Panko bread crumbs are also known as Japanese bread crumbs, mie de pan (middle of the
                   bread), or white bread crumbs.  They are flakey and made from only the white part of the
1/4 Cup      Whole Wheat Pancake Mix        
1 tsp.           Salt, Kosher or Sea Salt
1/4 tsp.        Black Pepper
                   Pan Spray

3.  Pre-heat your oven to 425F.
4.  While your oven is heating cut your squash in half the long way.  Use your spoon to scoop out the.
     seeds, and throw the seeds away.  Line your sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Spray the inside of the
     squash with pan spray, and put the halves inside down on your sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 35-
     40 minutes.  When the squash is done put it on a plate and place it in the refrigerator for 20-30
     minutes.  When cool, use your spoon to scoop the squash out of the skin, and into your bowl.
5.  Heat your sauté pan on the stove on high and add your olive oil.  When the oil is hot add your
     onions, smashed garlic, and sage leaves.  Mix the ingredients and turn the pan to low.  Cook for
    5 minutes.  After 5 minutes remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
6.  When cool put the mixture in your blender, and add your egg, salt and pepper.  Blend the mixture
     until is is smooth.
     -Smooth means there are no lumps in your mixture it should look like milk with green specs.
     -Make sure you wash your hands after you crack your egg.
7.  Pour your liquid into the squash and mix well with your spatula.  When mixed add 1 cup of
     the Panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Save the rest of the bread crumbs for later.  When
     incorporated add the whole wheat pancake and mix gently until it is also incorporated into the
     -Incorporated means you cannot see the pancake mix anymore.
8.  Line your sheet pan with a new piece of foil, and spray with pan spray.  Pour some Panko bread
     crumbs on a plate.  Using your scooper, scoop some of your squash mixture, and put it on the bread
     crumbs.  Cover the squash with more bread crumbs from the plate and pat the mixture down into a
     patty shape.  As you pat the mixture down the bread crumbs will stick to the squash.  Add more
     bread crumbs as needed.
9.  Line your pan with the squash cakes and bake in your 425F oven for 12-15 minutes.

You can eat your squash cakes plain, or serve them with spinach artichoke or onion dip.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10/10/12 ChefElla's Chicken & Asparagus Pasta

I like spaghetti.  I would eat it everyday if my parents let me.  I like spaghetti with red sauce, cold spaghetti, spaghetti noodles with butter, or even spaghetti out of the refrigerator.  The problem with this is my parents do not love spaghetti as much as I do.  Lucky for me I have the perfect recipe.  This is a recipe that might not be your favorite, but your parents will love it.  It does have all of my favorite things in it, asparagus, parmesan cheese, olive oil, chicken and of course noodles, and I even added some tomatoes for my parents.  For this recipe you will need to use the stove and the oven.  If you are not allowed to use the stove or oven by yourself you can have your mom or dad help.

1.  Wash your hands.
2.  Get a stock pot, a pasta strainer, a large sauté pan, a blender or food processor, a heat proof spatula
     or wooden spoon, measuring spoons, aluminum foil, and
     measuring cups.

Ingredients: (This recipe will make four servings)
1 1/2 Cups    Dried Whole Wheat Pasta, Elbow, Penne, or Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta will all work for this
6                  Large cloves of fresh garlic.
                    -Garlic has a paper like coating.  Break off 6 large pieces (cloves) of garlic.  Put them on a 
                    cutting board and hit them with a rolling pin or mallet (kitchen hammer).  Do not smash
                    them.  This will break the paper shell on the garlic.  Remove the cloves from the paper.
4 oz              Asparagus spears, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
                   -Make sure you cut off the white part of the asparagus because it is too hard to eat.
1/2 Cup        Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1/4              Medium Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup       Parmesan Cheese
3 Tbl.           Lemon Juice     
1 Tbl.           Parsley Flakes         
1 tsp.           Salt, Kosher or Sea Salt
1/4 tsp.        Black Pepper
8 oz.            Roasted or Grilled Chicken, Medium Diced.         
                  -Medium dice is about the same size as a dice from one of your games.
1                 Medium Tomato, Small Diced.  If you want you could also use 1 cup of Grape Tomatoes
                   cut in half.
                  -Small diced is about half the size of your diced chicken.

3.  First, heat your oven to 400F. 
4.  While your oven is heating, take a medium sized piece of aluminum foil and put it on the counter.
     Put your garlic on the foil with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Fold up the foil so the garlic is enclosed in
     the foil pouch.  Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
5.  Fill your stock pot 3/4 full with cold water.   Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat on high.
    When the water comes to a boil add your pasta and cook for the recommended cook time on the
    box.  When your pasta is finished put your pasta strainer over the sink and pour the pasta into it.
    - Be careful because the water and the noodles will be very hot.  You might want to have your
      parents help you with this part.
    - If you are going to use your pasta right away let it sit until you are ready for it.  If you are making
    your pasta ahead of time run cold water over your pasta, let it drain,  cover it and put it in the
    refrigerator for later.
6.  When your garlic is finished (it will be soft), put it into your blender or food processor.  Add olive
     oil, red onion, cheese, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and parsley flakes to your blender and blend
     until smooth.
7.  Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat.  When hot add the asparagus pieces
     and cook for 5 minutes.  Make sure you stir the asparagus a few times while it is cooking.
8.  Add chicken and cook for 2-3 more minutes.  Add pasta and sauce from your blender to your pan
     and mix. 
9.  Heat for 2-3 more minutes, add tomatoes mix well and remove from heat.

Enjoy this alternative to plain spaghetti.