November 30, 2012

"Food" for Thought

The Washingtonian published a very 'scientific' study on eating habits around the DC metro area. What do you think?

November 29, 2012

Shrimp & Ragout

Cilantro Shrimp & Garbanzo Ragout

I like to keep frozen shrimp on hand for healthy, easy to pull together weeknight dinners. The leftover ragout pairs beautifully with a fried egg & 1 tbsp grated aged cheddar cheese for a satisfying breakfast in the morning. 

2 dozen medium sized shrimp (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 sweet white onion
1/2 orange or red bell pepper
canned diced tomatoes
canned garbanzo beans (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
worcestirshire sauce
black pepper to taste
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 heaping cups of cilantro
1 garlic clove
1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
yield: 3 servings

1. bring 4 cups water to slow boil, salt generously

2. meanwhile thinly slice onion and pepper

3. warm olive oil in pan over low heat, add onion & pepper, salt the vegetables & saute until onion turns opaque about 5-7 minutes, then add canned tomatoes, simmer & stir occasionally

4. boil shrimp until cooked through & then pour shrimp in colander to drain water, add slash of cold water to stop them from cooking, if necessary, peel and de-vein shrimp

5. add garbanzo beans to the tomato sauce (the garbanzo beans are optional, i like the texture they lend to the dish, but if that is not your thing the dish is just as good without them)

6. taste sauce and adjust to liking - tomatoes usually need to be brought down a notch in terms of acidity --  I added 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 4 dashes of worcestirshire sauce & a couple grinds of black pepper. a few flakes of crushed red peppers for some heat would be great as well.

7. coarsely chop the cilantro & fold a generous handful into the tomato mixture

8. toss cooked shrimp in a medium sized bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, juice from lemon & salt and black pepper to taste

9. serve shrimp over ragout & enjoy

Honey & Sriracha

Peanut-Lime Chicken with Broccoli & Three Onions

This is essentially an "everything but the kitchen sink" type recipe, one of those evenings when the contents of the fridge have long since developed a sense of loneliness. On this particular evening, I encountered a broccoli crown, 1/2 a package of chicken tenderloins, and some leftover peanuts from a recent tailgate. Three different types of onions and a lime complete the meal. 


handful of shelled peanuts
6 chicken breast tenderloins
1 tbsp oil (vegetable works best here, but olive oil works fine too)
1 tsp seasame oil
1/2 red onion
1 shallot
1 bunch green onions
1 crown broccoli
1 bunch cilantro
one garlic clove
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
1 tbsp honey
1 lime
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
yield: 2 servings

1. crush the peanuts with a mortar & pestle (or a food processor - alternatively a plastic sandwich bag and a rolling pin does the trick)

2. cut chicken breast into cubes

3. pour oil into the pan, warm to a low temperature, once oil warms a bit, add seasame oil

4. generously salt chicken, add a dash of black pepper, add chicken to pan and cook through until opaque

5. while chicken is cooking, chop vegetables & greens, reserve chopped cilantro

6. put aside cooked chicken with a slotted spoon

7. add chopped red onion, shallots and broccoli crowns into the pan with the chicken liquids, press garlic clove into the pan, stir over low heat

8. add soy sauce & ginger, continue to stir, add peanuts, honey & sriracha, continue to stir

9. as vegetables cook, they will release liquid, however if your pan looks dry, add a dash of worcestershire sauce and 1 tsp water

10. add green onions & cooked chicken

11. cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, add squeezed lime juice 1/2 through and continue to simmer

12. serve with rice, chopped cilantro & lime wedge 

13. pair with Titos Homemade Vodka from Austin, TX with a squeeze of lime & a soda water

November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Soup

Thai Red Curry Pumpkin Soup

This recipe is perfect for clearing your house of late fall pumpkins. It is easy to make and adaptable to suit your needs. Make a batch and freeze the leftovers for later use. Below I suggest some optional ways to experiment with the base soup.

2.5 cups fresh cooked pureed pumpkin (or canned pumpkin but be sure it is not pumpkin pie)
1 can coconut milk (I use lite)
1.5 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. if using a fresh pumpkin, pre-heat oven to 400 and bake the pumpkin until tender to the touch with a fork, allow to cool and remove the pumpkin flesh from the skin

2. on stovetop, combine cooked pumpkin, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, ginger & soy sauce

3. cook over low heat for about 20-25 minutes until ingredients have thoroughly blended, adjust by adding more red curry paste to desired heat level and salt and pepper to taste

optional upgrades:

Cilantro Pesto Garnish
in a food processor, pulse 2 heaping handfuls of cilantro + handful of almonds + 1/4 cup minced red onion + diced serrano chile. while blending ingredients, slowly pour 2 tbsp olive oil until pesto begins to form a smooth consistency. top each soup bowl with garnish.

Shrimp or Mussel Curry
over low heat, thin pumpkin soup with 1.5 cups seafood or vegetable stock, taste and adjust with salt or red curry paste as needed, then add 1 lb raw shrimp or mussels and cook until shrimp turn pink or mussels fully open (discard any unopened mussels). serve with steamed rice. garnish with fried shallots.

Chickpea, Leek Red Pepper Curry
heat olive oil over low heat on stove top, add minced garlic to soften, add sliced leek rings & coarsely chopped red peppers and saute until leeks appear translucent. meanwhile add 1 can of chickpeas to pumpkin soup. once ready, stir in sauteed vegetables and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

November 26, 2012

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Inspiration

Cranberry, Orange & Mint Chutney

As far as Thanksgiving leftovers go, I fall squarely on the leftover sandwich side in the soup versus sandwich debate. This year my leftover cranberry sauce far outlasted the turkey. So I turned to cheese, Aged Kerry Gold Irish Cheddar and Philadelphia Cream Cheese to be exact. This chutney recipe comes from Bon Appetit and represents a tangy, textured alternative to canned or molded cranberry sauce.

2 12 oz bags fresh cranberries
4 navel oranges
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp ginger, peeled & minced
2 tsp orange zest
yield: 6 cups

1. pulse two 12 oz bags fresh cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped

2. transfer chopped cranberries to a large bowl

3. zest 1 of the 4 oranges into a small bowl, set aside

4. with a paring knife, remove peel and white pith from oranges, working over a medium bowl to capture the juices, cut between orange membranes to release segments

5. coarsely chop orange segments and add to cranberries

6. stir in sugar, minced red onion, mint, ginger and zest into cranberry mixture

7. cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours  

And now begins the fun part - leftovers!

Turkey-Cranberry Salad
mix 2 tbsp cranberry chutney with several slices of turkey breast, chopped. stir in 1 tbsp mayo + 1 tsp whole grain mustard + salt and pepper to taste. serve open faced on multigrain bread or tucked into a cup of boston bibb lettuce.

Cranberry Cream Cheese
mix 2 tbsp cranberry chutney with 2 tbsp Philadelphia cream cheese. smear onto whole wheat toast. 

Cranberry and Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese 
melt 1 pat of butter on a non-stick pan. add one piece of multigrain or whole wheat bread and cover with slices of aged cheddar cheese, i prefer Kerry Gold. as cheese begins to melt, add 2 heaping tbsp cranberry chutney and second piece of bread on top. when ready, flip and grill on second side, add more butter into pan as necessary. serve with whole grain mustard on the side.
do you have any leftover Thanksgiving recipes to share?

November 25, 2012

Tequila, Lime & Cilantro Cocktail

Tequila, Lime & Cilantro Cocktail
Let's get started with a cocktail, if you will?
1. pour 4 ounces of tequila into a cocktail shaker (I prefer patron or don julio)

2. coarsely chop a generous handful of cilantro and add to shaker

3. squeeze 1/4 of a lime into shaker

4. vigorously shake all ingredients until the shaker is extremely cool to the touch

5. pour tequila mixture into 2 highball cocktail glasses

6. top with tonic or diet tonic water 

7.  garnish with an orange wedge and enjoy!

November 21, 2012

On Getting Started

Welcome to American Water.

This is a space to share notes and inspiration on food and drinks. 

Our cooking and eating style is driven by a seasonal philosophy combined with a healthy dose of experimentation. Recipes are a source of inspiration, sometimes a source of instruction. And we hold firm that s
imple, unexpected combinations make the everyday gourmet.

We approach this with a great sense of discovery and hope to learn and share a thing or two along the way.

Karibu kwetu.