Sunday, July 29, 2012

Baked Polenta Fries

I went to the pantry to get some cornmeal and was out, so I used the ready made organic polenta from Trader Joe's.
1 tube ready made polenta
olive oil
smoked paprika
sea salt
Preheat oven to 425F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with olive oil.
Cut the tube of polenta in half and then each half lengthwise and then cut lengthwise again. Cut into fingers and lightly brush with olive oil ( a mister would be great). Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Bake in the oven about 20 minutes, turn fries and sprinkle with more paprika. Bake another 15-20 minutes, the fries will be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.
2 Tablespoon Veganaise
2 Tablespoon Ketchup
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
dash of hot sauce
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Mix all together well and refrigerate until used.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Mojito

For a classic summer cocktail you can't beat the citrus and mint=Mojito.
15 fresh mint leaves, torn, and a sprig for garnish
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus slice for garnish
1 Tablespoon Agave (or simple syrup or sugar)
3 Tablespoons white rum
2 Tablespoons+ S.Pellegrino or club soda
crushed ice
In a tall, chilled glass combine the mint, lime and agave and muddle until oil from the mint is released and if using sugar, it is incorporated.
Fill the glass half full with crushed ice and add the rum. Stir. Add more ice and Pellegrino. Garnish with slice of lime and sprig of fresh mint.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gluten Free Granola with Almond Pulp

The Bakes breakfast of choice is yogurt and granola topped with fresh berries. Here is his new favorite.
3 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almond pulp (leftover from almond milk)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup orange flavored dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300F.
In a bowl combine the first 12 ingredients together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour in granola mixture and top with maple syrup. Bake for about 35 minutes, stirring the granola after 10 minutes. Remove when it is golden brown. Store in an airtight container.

Almond Milk

1 pound raw almonds, covered with water
4-5 cups of fresh water
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or 2 pitted dates, if desired for sweetness
 In a large pitcher or bowl, cover almonds with water and let sit over night.
Drain the almonds and put in blender.
Add 4-5 cups of fresh water to blender and blend on high until smooth. Add pinch of salt and maple syrup, if desired.
 Pour into a bowl through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and squeeze out all the milk.
Makes roughly 1 quart of milk.
-muslin produce bags can be used instead of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag can be purchased
-left over almond pulp can be used, almond meal or almond flour

Monday, July 16, 2012

Parmesan Cheese Crackers

I purchased a nice little cracker recently that we really enjoyed, but at $7.00 for 18 crisps I am hesitant to buy them again. So a little experimenting at home and a new addiction was born.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese ( I used a bag from TJs)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Combine cheese and seasoning and place about a tablespoon on a sil pat (silicone lined baking sheet) and bake for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove and place crackers on a plate to cool (or paper towel to take off some oil)

These little crackers would be a great addition along side soup or salad or broken up and used as a crouton on Caesar salad. I made some with sprinkled smoked paprika on top and it was great as a dipper for hummus. They can also be used as a base for canapes.

Note: When these are taken out of the oven and still warm, they are pliable. If put over the handle of a wooden spoon or dowel, they form a taco shell shape that could be stuffed with Caesar salad (cute little bite size party idea).
-Warm and draped over small, upside down, muffin tin they make a little cup to hold a filling.
-Made larger and draped over the bottom of a salad bowl, allow to cool and you have created the base to hold a salad.
-The seasonings can be added or omitted to compliment what they are served with.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chimichurri Sauce

Glistening, emerald, almost pesto like Chimichurri sauce, is originally from Argentina but has been adapted to include other herbs besides parsley. I keep reading about it used on steaks but what else? Tonight we marinated chicken breasts in the Chimichurri,  grilled them on the barbecue, and poured fresh sauce on top. Someday we will try it on a grilled steak, a fresh halibut, roasted vegetables, oh yeah, and since I would like it again sooner, how about a little crostini? Toasted french bread slices with a little melted goat cheese on top and a drizzle of the Argentine pesto?

1 cup lightly packed, Italian parsley
3 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh Oregano leaves
1 large shallot, diced
2 green onions or chives, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
Lightly pulse all the ingredients in the food processor until combined but still has a course texture.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prosciutto Wrapped Avocado with Heirloom Tomato Vinaigrette

2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced into fourths
8 slices of prosciutto, cut in half
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper to taste
3 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon chives, finally cut
1 dozen Heirloom tomatoes, chopped

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together lemon juice, Dijon, pepper, and olive oil. Add chives.
After cutting avocados, dip them into vinaigrette and then wrap prosciutto around them. Put on platter.
Add tomatoes to vinaigrette and spoon over avocados.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Clams

We used to dig for clams at low tide, on west beach in the Sunshine Coast but currently we get them from Taylor Shellfish Farm. It is one of our summer favorites, clams and dinner outside even better at the beach.
2 pounds small clams, cleaned
1 cup dry white wine, ( or beer or bottled clam juice)
3 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped parsley, (or cilantro, basil, or combination)
extra chopped herbs to garnish

In a large pan combine the wine, butter, olive oil, garlic, shallots, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for 1 minute.
Add the clams and herbs to the pan. Cover and cook until clams open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that have not opened.
Spoon the clams and broth into serving bowls and sprinkle with herbs to garnish.

Note: This is also great over pasta. Also good on top of tomato sauce. Lots of good bread to sop up the flavorful broth is a must!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chai Spice Iced Tea

Do you want something refreshing? And maybe tastes a little like dessert?
6 bags chai tea ( I used a combo of chai spice decaf and Bengal spice)
8 cups of boiling water
sweetened condensed milk
cinnamon sticks or star anise to garnish

Pour boiling water over tea bags and allow to steep several hours. Remove tea bags.
Note: You want this to be strong enough to not dilute when adding ice cubes.
Pour into serving glass filled with ice and add 2 Tablespoons milk per glass, Stir well and garnish.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lemon Tea Brown Rice

This morning I was looking at all the varieties of tea in the cupboard and started to think of the possibilities, first up, Lemon Blossom herbal tea by Stash.

For dinner decided on artichoke and Brie stuffed organic chicken breasts with Bok Choy and brown rice.
For the brown rice:
6 bags of Lemon Blossom caffeine free herbal tea
4 cups of boiling water
2 cups of brown rice
1 Tablespoon butter
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Earlier in the day, boil water and pour over tea bags to steep for several hours. Remove tea bags.
Combine tea and brown rice in a pot and bring to a boil,  turn heat down to simmer, place lid on pot and cook for about 50 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add butter and salt and pepper and let sit for a few minutes.
Note: the ingredients in this tea are rosehips, lemongrass, orange peel, hibiscus, lemon flavor, safflower and grapefruit flavor.
What teas are in you cupboard that could be used to flavor your dishes?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July Pops

Happy 4th!
In most of the country it is scorching, on record to be the warmest July 4th ever. These will go fast!
On a tray filled with dixie cups, pour 1/3 of each dixie cup with cranberry cocktail and freeze. Once frozen, center a popsicle stick in each and fill 1/3 more with lemonade. Freeze again. Fill the last 1/3 with a bluish drink, used a sports drink and then freeze overnight. When ready to serve, peel off the dixie cups.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baked Bay Shrimp Stuffed Avocado

I often make this shrimp on a toasted English Muffin and broil it, but today looking for a quick first course, I thought of stuffing an avocado and baking it.
1 pound bay shrimp
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Vegenaise or mayo, to bind
1 Tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1/3 cup good quality white cheddar cheese, grated
2 medium size avocados, cut in half (peel left on)

Heat oven to 400F.
Combine shrimp, lemon juice, mayo, and chives.
Place avocados in baking dish and stuff each half with shrimp.
Top each with 1/4 of cheese.
Bake for about 10 minutes until heated and cheese has melted.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Caramelized Onions

It is barbecue season and while burgers and hot dogs on the grill are the feature, my heart sings when the caramelized onions start sizzling. This golden deliciousness enhances the main course, is a great topping on pizza or sandwiches and mixed with cream cheese, a little sour cream, worcestershire and bacon, onion dip is born. Come to think of it, caramelized onion, and Gruyere cheese is my favorite quiche.
In about 40 minutes this can be yours.
In a skillet over medium low heat, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 2 sliced sweet onions. The trick is to stir very occasionally and let the onions begin to brown and soften.
sliced sweet onions
after 40 minutes
the topping to any great burger
Notes: I often add a few sprigs fresh thyme, just be sure to take the sprigs out when finished. The onions can also be cooked using 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 butter. Also, for a variety add 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar.