Monday, June 30, 2014

Corn Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Crema

If you like Mexican food, fresh vegetables, and peppers, you are going to really enjoy this!
Fresh corn is now in the market but frozen will work well also.
The avocado crema is also good as a tortilla dip or slathered on a sandwich. I just saw Bake using it as a dip for grilled shrimp.
Corn Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Crema

Avocado Cilantro Crema
1 bunch of cilantro, washed
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 large avocado, pitted and cubed
1 large lime, juiced
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Combine cilantro, garlic, green onion, and sugar in a food processor until finely chopped.
Add sour cream, vinegar, avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper, blend until smooth.
Adjust seasoning to taste, more sugar, lime juice, salt or pepper, as desired.

Corn Tacos
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cups corn
1 cup zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1red chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
6-8 corn tortillas

In a large saute pan over medium heat olive oil and add onion, cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Add corn and zucchini, cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add peppers and cook about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 1/2 of tomatoes.
In a large non-stick pan or over gas burner, heat corn tortillas until warm. Remove and spoon in vegetable mixture, top with avocado crema, and tomatoes.
Serve with additional avocado crema and lime on the side.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberry Burrata Basil Salad

The local strawberries are everywhere; sweet and juicy. Pair them with fresh summer basil, right out of the garden, and you know I am always on the lookout for dishes where I can use burrata.
A good quality olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and sea salt finish the dish.

Strawberry Burrata Basil Salad
8 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
4-8 ounce ball of burrata
3 basil leaves, sliced
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons reduced balsamic (balsamic syrup)
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch of sea salt

Place the burrata cheese in the middle of a serving bowl.
In another bowl, toss strawberries with basil, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper.
Spoon the strawberries around the burrata cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar over the strawberries.
Top with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt over cheese.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Caramelized Onion Hummus

So many of my faves in one dish, caramelized onion, garlic, lemon, and cayenne pepper!
Lydele served a similar, commercial hummus with an appetizer before dinner one night. I had so much of it, she sent me home with some.

In a future post, I will describe Lydele's kitchen in Provence. The amazing food that comes out of a 2 foot kitchen with something that looks like a microwave but is some kind of oven. There are a lot of balls in the air to make meals work but Lydele does it flawlessly and the outcome is simply fabulous food.

Ok, back to the hummus recipe that the appetizer inspired.

Caramelized Onion Hummus
2 sweet onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Tahini (ground sesame)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

In a saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil and onion. Cook until browned but not burned, about 20 minutes. Take off heat and add garlic, and stir to warm garlic.
Combine chickpeas, Tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt and peppers in a food processor. Add onion and garlic olive oil mixture to food processor and mix until smooth.
Spoon into serving dish.
Note: a handful of sauteed chickpeas and extra caramelized onions can be used to garnish.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

I served these over rice with coconut cream, but could be used as an appetizer at a barbecue.
This recipe was found on Epicurious, some of the measurements were adjusted. It is a spicy, hot dish due to the combination of hot sauces.
Grilled Sambal Chicken Skewers

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sambal oelek (or other hot chili paste)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup siriacha sauce
2 teaspoons peeled ginger, finely grated
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2- 2 inch pieces
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
8 bamboo skewers soaked in water, for at least an hour.

Whisk together sugar, vinegar, sambal oelek, fish sauce, siriacha, and ginger in a bowl.
Toss in chicken thighs and marinade until ready to grill.

Put 4-5 pieces of chicken on a skewer. Transfer marinade to a small saucepan and heat to boiling, continue to boil until marinade is reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.
Grill chicken over medium-high heat until cooked, about 10 minutes, basting with reduced marinade.
Transfer chicken skewers to serving platter and top with sesame seeds.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Grilled Zucchini-Two Dishes

Zucchini is abundant during the summer months. I like to use the small, tender ones before they become large and seedy. The first post is like a warm zucchini salad and the second, could be served as a vegetarian main course, with that delicious sun dried tomato basil butter.

Grilled Zucchini Mozzarella Salad:
Grilled Zucchini Mozzarella Salad
2-3 zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced 1/4 inches lengthwise
1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 Mozzarella, sliced
6 oven dried tomatoes, halved
1 Tablespoon reduced balsamic
basil leaves to garnish

In a glass pan, toss the sliced zucchini with 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.
Preheat grill pan and lay the zucchini across in a single layer. Cook about 5 minutes on each side and return to glass pan. Add the remaining 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil and sherry vinegar, lightly toss.
Place the zucchini on a platter, top with mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with any remaining oil from glass pan and spoon balsamic over all. Garnish with basil leaves.

Grilled Zucchini with Sun Dried Tomato Basil Butter
Prepare the zucchini as in the previous post with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Grill and then top with 2 Tablespoons Sun Dried Tomato Butter.
Grilled Zucchini with Sun Dried Tomato Basil Butter

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chilled Carrot Soup with Herb Float

Perfect for a warm summer day. Remember to chill the soup bowls also.

Chilled Carrot Soup with Herb Float
4 carrots
2 cups fresh carrot juice
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon honey
pinch of curry powder
pinch of sea salt

In a saucepan place carrots, carrot juice, water, butter, honey, curry powder, and salt.
Heat to a boil and lower heat to simmer; continue to simmer until carrots are tender.
Transfer carrot mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.
Place blender in refrigerator until chilled, at least an hour.

Herb Float:
1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
2 chives, finely chopped
2 sprigs of tarragon leaves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Whip sour cream and stir in chives, tarragon, and parsley

To serve, put chilled carrot soup in chilled bowls and top with a teaspoon of herb float.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Whipped Coconut Cream with Almonds

Joy, Joy, Joy!
For those of you who are vegan or avoiding dairy, but missing your whipped cream, here it is!
The coconut cream is spooned over top of chocolate pudding held in a graham cracker crust.
But the real star of this post is the Whipped Coconut Cream.
I am already planning this on top of flour less chocolate cake or fresh raspberries.

1 can coconut cream ( I used Trader Joe's) well chilled
pinch of sea salt
Whipped Coconut Cream with Almonds
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon organic maple syrup

Whisk all ingredient together until well combined and fluffy.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour to combine flavors.
Top with toasted almond slices, if desired.

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed finely (I used gluten free)
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
Combine all ingredients and mix well, spoon into cups or pie plate and press bottom and sides.
Chill for an hour to set.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Almond Pudding:
1 can coconut cream
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, combine chocolate chips with almond and vanilla extracts.
Pour the can of coconut cream in a saucepan over medium heat and heat to boiling. Remove and add coconut cream to chocolate chips. Whisk well until combined and smooth.
Pour into prepared graham cracker crust cups and refrigerate for several hours.

Serve with whipped coconut cream.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Green Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi Cheese

Halloumi cheese is a grilling cheese from Cyprus. It doesn't melt but browns beautifully. A feta cheese could be used in place, no need to grill.
The rest of the salad is a large bed of mixed greens, including baby lettuces, spinach, arugula and butter lettuce. Roasted baby plum tomatoes, roasted fingerling potatoes, and green beans makes this a complete meal.
Green Greek Salad with Grilled Halloumi Cheese

Salad Dressing:
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 Tablespoon shallots, finely diced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of dried thyme
pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside.

6-8 cups of salad greens
12 baby tomatoes oven dried, or fresh
12 fingerling potatoes, cut in half and roasted
12 green beans, cooked
12 Kalamata olives, cut in half
1 green onion, sliced finely
1 thick slice Halloumi cheese, brushed with olive oil and grilled
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

To make the oven dried tomatoes, heat an oven to 200F, slice to tomatoes and toss with a little olive oil and bake about 3 hours, or use fresh baby tomatoes.
Note: these oven dried tomatoes are like little sweet candies and can be made in large amounts and refrigerated for future use.

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut fingerling potatoes in half, toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper (use a foil lined baking sheet) and roast about 30 minutes.
Wash and stem the green beans and place in a saucepan of boiling water, cook until just tender (about 3-5 minutes.) Drain water and set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine salad greens with tomatoes, potatoes, beans, green onion, and olives. Toss with dressing to coat lightly and top with grilled cheese.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Roasted Cauliflower- Mushroom Soup

Roasting and blending the cauliflower makes the soup creamy and sweet. Sauteed mushrooms give the soup a hearty feeling and the crispy prosciutto gives it a smoky touch.

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
Roasted Cauliflower-Mushroom Soup
3 portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 onion, quartered
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon sherry
1 Tablespoon butter
6 small mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 slices prosciutto, diced
green onions, sliced (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.
Line a baking sheet with foil and toss together cauliflower, mushrooms, and onion with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put in the oven and roast until cauliflower is tender (about 30 minutes.)

In a blender, combine stock, thyme and the roasted cauliflower, mushroom, onion mixture. Add sherry and salt and pepper. Blend well. (may need to be done in batches) Pour into large saucepan and heat through.

While the soup is heating, combine the butter, mushrooms, and garlic in a small saute pan, over medium heat and saute until just browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same saute pan, add the prosciutto and cook until crisp.

Pour the soup into serving bowls, top with a few small mushroom and crispy prosciutto.
Sprinkle green onions over top, if desired.