Friday, July 9, 2010

Bowtie Pasta with Tomatoes, Onions, and Spinach. Giving this a try tonight. Will report back.

White Gazpacho

White Gazpacho Recipe
The recipe calls for stale bread because this soup is an excellent use of old bread that is too hard to eat. Sometimes when we buy freshly baked bread we don't eat it all, and the leftovers get dry and hard within days. We keep the bread to make bread crumbs. So, this is what you would typically use. If you don't have any old bread lying around, you can use white bread, with the crusts removed. Use a good quality white bread, such as a French or Italian loaf.
2 cups of crustless stale bread, broken into pieces
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup slivered blanched almonds (must be blanched, the skins are bitter)
2 cups green seedless grapes, sliced in half
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-3 chopped garlic cloves (depending on how garlicky you want the result to be)
2-3 Tbsp sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Chives for garnish
1 Heat the stock until it's steamy. Turn off the heat and add to the stock the broken up pieces of stale bread. Let cool.
2 Put the almonds, salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the almonds are pulverized. Add the soaked bread and any stock that was not absorbed by the bread into the food processor, then add the grapes and cucumbers. Pulse until the mixture is a rough purée.
3 Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and pulse a few seconds to combine. Taste and add the other tablespoon if it needs it – grapes can sometimes be acidic enough to leave out the final tablespoon of vinegar.
4 With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Turn off the motor and taste the gazpacho. Add more salt if needed.
Chill before serving, garnish with chopped chives.
Serves 6-8.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Tomato Fresh Pasta Sauce

Courtesy of my friend Faylynn Owen. I bought some beautiful local tomatoes yesterday. I'm gonna give this a try tonight.

Subject: tomato sauce
3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch pieces,
1 clove garlic minced fine
1 small onion minced fine
8 large basil leaves chopped fine or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 dried
11/2 tsp salt, black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
Place tomatoes in a bowl, add everything else and mix well. Serve sauce at room temp
I usually blanch the tomatoes in the water that I'm going to cook the pasta to make them easier to peel. This sauce can also be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Grilled Romaine Hearts

Saw this in a mag a couple of years ago. Sort of like grilled Ceaesar if you use parmesan cheese.

!/2 Romaine head per diner

Shredded Parmesan cheese or crumbled blue cheese, whatever fits your mood

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

your home-made vinagrette (or something like Newman's oil and vinegar)
just keep the vinagrette simple.

fresh tarragon...this is key to spicing up your simple vinagrette

1. Make your vinagrette, add some chopped fresh tarragon. Set aside
2. Wash heads of Romaine, dry thoroughly, then slice in half lengthwise (discard any tough outer leaves)
3. brush cut side of the romaine head with olive oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper
4. heat grill to medium, an place the heads cut side down on the grill.
5. heat for approx 1 to 2 mins, or until the oil leaves a light scorching on the cut side of the romaine (lines of the grill show.)
6. remove from grill, serve cut side up. sprinkle a little lemon juice on the romaine. add your vinagrette and then the cheese of your choice. (if we use balsamic vinagrette blue cheese seems to taste a little better.

yummy. good with a Sauvignon Blanc from Napa or a nice Cotes du Rhone Blanc from southern France.

Romaine, Asparagus Tips, Tomato, Blue Cheese, Vinegarette

Romaine leaves pulled off one by one and washed, don't tear or chop.

Lay on plate, 3 or 4 leaves with 3 or 4 asparagus tips.

Find the best tomatoes you can find. It should be easy this time of year, slice and put on salad. A tablespoon of so of blue cheese per plate.

Cover with your favorite vinegarette dressing.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best Turkey Burger I've Come Across

I'm not a huge fan of turkey burgers but a friend of mine showed me this method.

It's simple. Saute finely chopped celery, (a stick of so) for about 3 minutes in a tablespoon or so in olive oil, add some chopped mushrooms, (about a cup for 2 burgers), another 5 minutes or until they are soft. Add to ground turkey. Spice how you like, pepper, salt, Worcester sauce etc. Grill.

I've found these organic, panko crusted, non trans fat onion rings, (baked), that goes great with the burgers


Looks Like A Keeper, trying this tonight.

Here's the Link, from WHOLE FOODS site.

Serves 2
Fresh spring fruits and veggies deserve respect and good company. This simple salad takes care of both and can add a wow factor to any meal. Feeling fancy? Drop the raw sliced asparagus into ice water for a minute or two and it will curl into ribbons. In a hurry? Cut the asparagus into thin coins instead. In the dressing, the avocado provides its natural healthy fats for smooth and creamy results. Nobody will know it's a health-promoting, no-oil-added dressing!

3 green onions, trimmed
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup orange juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces spring greens or mesclun mix
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler

Puree green onions, avocado, juice, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor until smooth to make a dressing. In a large bowl, toss greens, strawberries and asparagus together. Transfer to plates, drizzle with half the dressing and serve. Extra dressing will keep one day refrigerated.

Bulgarian Shokska Salad

FROM MY FRIEND DEAN. Gonna try this soon. Thanks Dean

Subject: Dinner!
Hey there, Jamie! Love the idea for summer food. My Bulgarian boyfriend and I have this salad a lot. It's a traditional Bulgarian salad called Shopska Salad. It is probably the most common salad in Bulgaria and is served at the beginning of a meal with a small glass of rakia, which is a sort of Bulgarian grappa.

Equal amounts of:
Tomatoes, chopped
Cucumbers, chopped (peel, if desired)
Green peppers, chopped (or red, orange, yellow, cubanelle, or whatever you like)

1 red onion chopped
Fresh parsley, chopped
Sunflower oil, enough to moisten
Red-wine vinegar to taste
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled or shredded

Chop vegetables into bite-sized chunks. Slice the onion in as small or large pieces as you like. Same with the parsley. Throw all of these into a bowl and add the oil and vinegar. You don't need too much dressing. Shred the cheese on top, toss, and add salt and pepper to taste.

If you don't have sunflower oil, use any mild-tasting oil. Olive oil is probably too strong-tasting for this salad. Canola, safflower, whatever you have on-hand.

Bulgarian feta is pretty commonly available in the US and is less sharp than the more common Greek. However,feel free to use whatever feta you prefer.

Feta tip: store feta in a tight container in water. Some of the salt will leech out of the cheese into the water, and the flavor of the cheese will be less sharp and the cheese will be softer as well.

Stone Fruit Salad with Toasted Almonds

Submitted my Melinda Mosely from Cooking Light

Almond oil adds subtle nutty flavor to the dressing. You can use olive oil, if you prefer.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups salad, 2 teaspoons cheese, and 1 teaspoon almonds)
1 cup riesling or other sweet white wine
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon almond oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups mixed salad greens
3 plums, sliced
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 nectarines, peeled and sliced
2 apricots, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup pitted fresh cherries, halved
1/4 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
Heat wine in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.

To serve salad, toss salad greens and fruit with dressing. Sprinkle with goat cheese and sliced almonds. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomato Avocado Blue Cheese Salad

I made this one up last night for Jill and Jerry. They invited me up for dinner and Jill said bring a tomato salad. Here it goes.

Serves 4

3 to 4 ripe tomatoes

2 ripe avocados

1 small Vidalia onion.

Blue cheese crumbles

Our vinegarette dressing posted on this blog or any dressing you prefer. Newmans Oil and Vinegar would work well with this salad


Slice tomatoes thick. Cut Avocado in half with a large spoon scoop each half out whole. Place flat side down and slice. Slice onion very thin.

Place 2 to 3 slice of tomato on a salad plate, lay 2 to 3 slice of avocado on top of the tomato.

Flash fry the onion in very hot oil, vegetable is best. About one minute

With a slotted spoon pull out the onion and place on top of the salad.

Add a tablespoon of the cheese.

Cover with dressing, about a tablespoon or two.

Caesar Salad Supreme

I've been making this Caesar for years. Doug and I will grill a chicken breast marinated in this dressing, slice it and half it for the top of the salad. Another one dish meal/salad.


6 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon of anchovy paste
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups day-old bread, cubed
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

Mince 3 cloves of garlic, and combine in a small bowl with mayonnaise, anchovies, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the remaining 3 cloves of garlic into quarters, and add to hot oil. Cook and stir until brown, and then remove garlic from pan. Add bread cubes to the hot oil. Cook, turning frequently, until lightly browned. Remove bread cubes from oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, remaining Parmesan cheese, and seasoned bread cubes.

Warm Spinach Salad with a Fire-Roasted Corn and Crispy Pancetta Dressing and Crumbled Goat's Cheese

We really love this one. Excellent when corn is in season. It's a main dish for us a lot of the times in the summer

2 ears of fresh sweet corn

drizzle of olive oil


freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

6 ounces chopped pancetta or bacon

2 cups thinly sliced onions

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry

2 ounces crumbled Goat's cheese


Preheat the grill. Season the corn with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the corn on the grill (you can also use either an open gas burner or roast the corn in the oven) Grill the corn for 10 minutes, turning the corn every 2 minutes. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta and render until crispy, about 6 minutes. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the corn from the grill. Scrape the kernels from the cob. Add the corn to the pancetta and onion mixture. Continue to saute for 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and vinegar. Continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the bowl and toss the salad completely. To serve, mound the greens in the center of each plate. Crumble the cheese over the top of the salad and serve.

Vinegar Dressing

This is our nightly house dressing. It leaves lots of room for interpretation. The trick here is to use the vinegar, lemon juice and oil to taste. Use the recipe below. Then add one of the three until you get the taste your after.

2 Tbs of Olive Oil

2 Tbs of White Wine, Red Wine, or Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tps of Dijon Mustard

1 small clove of garlic, minced

1 Tbs of lemon juice

1 Tps of mayonnaise, more or less, I use a little less

Pepper to taste

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. I use a small food processor or mixing wand to blend completely.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Salad Lyonnaise

This is Mark Bittman's traditional Salad Lyonnaise. He is a constant source of all sorts of recipes for me.

This is traditional salad Lyonnaise. Lyonnaise in Burgandy, France is a combination of bitter greens and a warmed dressing topped with a poached egg. Doug's has been looking for a salad that has a poached egg on it for I don't know how long. We added a teaspoon of lemon juice to the dressing. After we finished, as we always do, we broke it down to determine what could be added, taken away, accompaniments etc. We came up with this.

A drop of Tabasco put on the table might be an option for some. Also, we thought a side of 3 or so raw oysters on the half shell would be a great side.

We're usually red drinkers at dinner so a Pinot Noir is a good accompaniment as it's from the Burgandy region. I think a Macon Village, (chardonnay) would be a nice pairing as well. Cheers and enjoy. Let me know your results, tweeks, accompaniments etc. Cheers.