Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cauliflower Puree

Sometimes I don't always tell the young one what he is eating. He likes this, although he knows something is getting by him (hint: it is a vegetable)
1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut up into 1-2 inch pieces
3 cups of water
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 Tablespoons goat cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
Heat the water and salt over medium high heat until boiling. Add cut up cauliflower and garlic and cook until tender, about 15- 20 minutes.
Drain cauliflower and put into a food processor. Add goat cheese and 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan, process until smooth. A tablespoon of olive oil, butter, cream or milk can be added if mixture is too thick.
Put in serving dish, top with remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, serve immediately.
Note: Substitute sour cream or butter for goat cheese, Blue cheese for other cheeses.
Use this as a base for a grilled steak or salmon. Or top with grilled onions.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blue Cheese Dressing on Heirloom Tomatoes

1/3 cup mayo or Vegenaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup good blue cheese
2 Tablespoons buttermilk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 small minced garlic
Blend all ingredients together and mix well. Refrigerate to meld flavors.
Slice Heirloom tomatoes, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, drizzle with Blue Cheese Dressing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lemongrass Granita

This was made at a dinner we attended at Cooking with Class. The recipe is also available in their most requested recipes book. I have made this with a variety of flavors and juices and in the heat of summer, it is so refreshing, reminds me of a snow cone!
4 cups of water
6 stalks of lemongrass, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vodka

In a small pot combine the lemongrass, ginger, sugar and water and bring to a boil. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat, cover and cool. Strain liquid into measuring cup and stir in vodka,
Pour into wide metal baking pan, cover and freeze until almost solid, about 1-2 hours.
Use a fork to rake into granules, repeat every 30 minutes or so until it is completely broken down. Re rake before serving.
Note: the vodka is used to prevent the granita from freezing solid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Curried Carrot Bisque

2 Tablespoon Butter
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
3 leeks, washed and sliced
2 Tablespoons uncooked long grain rice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable)
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: 1/4 cup grated carrot or sour cream

In a heavy pot over medium heat, heat the butter. Stir in the carrots, leeks, rice, ginger, garlic, and curry powder. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until leeks soften slightly.
Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Puree in a blender. Return to the heat, add the whipping cream, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.
Garnish with grated carrot.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lacquered Bacon

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Line a baking sheet with foil and cut most of the fat off the bacon.
Arrange the bacon in a single layer and brush with maple syrup and top with a sprinkle of brown sugar.
Bake 10-12 minutes, flip over and do the other side, baking 3-5 minutes more or until well browned.

Variations: Black pepper could be used. A mango or other fruit chutney

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Favorite Summer Salad

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 large walla-walla onion (or other sweet onion) cut into thick rounds
3 small zucchini, each cut lengthwise into 4 slices
3 small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 4 slices
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into quarters
Whisk together oil and vinegar and brush on both sides of sliced vegetables.
Preheat barbecue to med-high heat. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper or Alfie's seasoning. Grill vegetables until just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side for onion and 4 minutes for zucchini and peppers. Let stand at room temp.

10 cups mixed baby greens
4 large tomato, sliced
3 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3 ounces fresh, crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated, Romano cheese
3/4 cup Kalamata olives

Arrange greens on a large platter slightly toss with some of the vinaigrette. Overlap tomatoes on top of greens, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange grilled vegetables around edge of platter., cutting into smaller pieces if desired. Drizzle more vinaigrette over tomatoes and grilled vegetables. Sprinkle tomatoes and vegetables with herbs, goat cheese and Romano cheese.
Garnish with olives.
Note: I added roasted red beets,sliced, to this salad.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Compound Butters

Compound butters are softened butter with additional ingredients to make them flavorful. There are many, from savory garlic and herb to sweet ginger and honey. Here are 2 savory:
Herb and Garlic Compound Butter:
1/2 cup softened butter
3 cloves finely minced garlic
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon oregano
Mix all ingredients together, spoon onto wax paper and roll, twisting the ends. Store in the fridge or freeze for future use.
Note: This butter was the one used on the steak.
Blue cheese and Dijon mustard would also be great on steak.

Basil Pesto Butter:
6 Tablespoons softened butter
3 teaspoons basil pesto
Mix ingredients together, spoon onto wax paper and roll, twisting the ends. Store in the fridge or freeze for future use.
Use on pasta or fresh vegetables.

Smoked Paprika Compound Butter:
4 Tablespoons softened butter
1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Mix all ingredients together, good with brown rice, squash soup or hearty bread.

Note: Butter with lemon zest and dill would be a great addition to fish.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fresh Mushroom Soup

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 boxes brown crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon Alfie's seasoning
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
24-32 ounces of chicken stock
1 Tablespoons sherry (optional)
1/4 cup cream
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan heat butter and olive oil. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring 5-7 minutes. Add Alfie's seasoning, thyme, lemon juice, and stock, boil about 20 minutes.
Take off heat and put soup in blender. Add sherry and cream. Blend well. Season to taste.

Note: Top with creme fraiche or sour cream, garlic croutons, sauteed mushrooms

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fresh Crab Cocktail with Sauce

Fresh cooked Dungeness crab
1 cup mayo or Vegenaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup bottled red chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or horseradish
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoon finely chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vodka or sherry (optional)

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Cover and refrigerate several hours for the flavors to blend.
Note: this is also great with cooked shrimp or as a salad dressing.
for a snack, a little crab and sauce wrapped in nori.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Breakfast Ideas (gluten free)

These are both made using Udi's gluten free bread but any bread can be used.

1: Truffle mushroom
3-4 brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
truffle salt and a few drops of truffle oil, to taste

Saute mushrooms in butter and olive oil until soft. Put on toast and top with truffle salt and oil.

2: Avocado and Lime
1/2 ripe avocado
spritz of lime
dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Mash avocado on toast, spritz with lime, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Zucchini Fettuccine with Bruschetta Sauce

I have been making this zucchini "noodle" dish in various forms for several months. It is a great substitute for wheat pasta or for getting more vegetables in your diet. I have tried slicing the zucchini with a knife, shredding it like angel hair but today tried a vegetable peeler. Allow at least 1 zucchini per serving and slice lengthwise after cutting the ends off. Boil zucchini in lightly salted water for about 1 minute while gently heating the bruschetta sauce in another pan over low heat.
Place cooked zucchini in bowl and top with bruschetta sauce (see yesterdays post) and top with fresh basil and shaved Parmesan cheese.
Note: Try with your favorite marinara sauce, fresh pesto, or Alfredo sauce.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Top 10 Aisle Favs

1: Applewood Bacon

2: Mirepoix (Ready starter for soups)

3: Nuts, especially Candied Pecans (salads) and Marcona Almonds

4: Premium Peeled Garlic (Time saved peeling)

5 :Steamed and Peeled Baby Beets (saves time and mess, great for salads or sides)

6 :Bruschetta Sauce (great for a quick pasta sauce or with a baguette, bruschetta)

7: Orange Flavored Cranberries (salads, trail mix, or snacks)

8: Ginger Snaps (gluten free)

9: Grilled Marinated Artichokes and Mediterranean Hummus

10: Creme Fraiche

Sunday, August 7, 2011

All Purpose BarBQ Sauce

This is a little bit Carolina, a little Southwest, a little Oriental with some Texas thrown in.
I have used it on chicken and here on Prime Rib bones that have been baked at 400F for about 45 minutes with a little Alfie's seasoning and the bbq sauce spooned on the last 15 minutes of cooking.
1 large sweet onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup canola oil
1 can Muir Glen Organic tomato paste
1/3 cup ketchup
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
3/4 cup hoisin sauce (Premier Japan is gluten free)
2 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon Cholula sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
Saute onions and garlic in canola oil over medium heat in a large pot until onions are soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
This sauce freezes well.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

8 slices of applewood bacon
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
6 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
4 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts, for garnish

Cook the bacon, cool then crumble. Discard all but 4 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Put the bacon fat and the remaining dressing ingredients in a 2 cup microwave container (measuring cup).
Microwave on high 2-3 minutes until dressing comes to a boil.
Put chilled spinach in a bowl, add the bacon and chopped eggs. Pour on desired amount of boiling dressing. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately, top with toasted pine nuts.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Smoked Salmon Lox on Potato

2 thinly sliced potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces smoked salmon lox
2-4 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons shallots or onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon capers
dill and lemon slice to garnish

Preheat oven to 375F.
Thinly slice potatoes, preferably with a mandoline and soak in cold water about 30 minutes.
Take potato slices out of water and dry well on paper towels.
On a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment, lightly brush with olive oil. Brush each of the potato slices with olive oil and season with Alfie's seasoning. Overlap the slices in 6-8 inch circles. This should make about 4 "pizzas."
Bake for about 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and put each circle on a plate. Spread a tablespoon of sour cream over the each, top with and ounce of smoked salmon, 1/2 tablespoon of shallots and 1 teaspoon of capers. Garnish with dill and lemon slices.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Pie (gluten free)

For Pie Crust:
1 cup frozen Pecans
2 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoon melted butter
In a food processor, combine pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter and pulse until pecans are the size of pearls.
Put mixture in a 9 inch pie pan and press into bottom and sides.

Pie filling:
1 bag- 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1- 14 ounce can of coconut milk
optional: 1/8 teaspoon ground Chipotle Chile
In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips. Put coconut milk in a blender and add melted chocolate chips and Chipotle Chile, if desired, and blend. Pour into Pecan pie crust and chill several hours.
Note: Top with fresh fruit, toasted coconut or whipped cream

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts

4 boneless chicken breasts, boned, skinned, halved, and pounded to same thickness
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
optional: 1/4 cup fresh herbs

Combine marinade and pour over single layer of chicken breasts in a glass dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Grill the chicken breasts about 6-8 minutes on each side, season with Alfie's seasoning.
Note: Lemon juice acts as a tenderizer to the chicken. Grilled chicken breast in a sandwich with pesto or herb mayonnaise or on top of a Caesar Salad is a quick main course.