Friday, May 31, 2013

Italian Breakfast Strata

What makes this strata different, is it is not made with bread. The recipe calls for the strata to be cooked 13x9 inch dish but would like to try it individual ramekins.

1 pound Italian sweet (or hot) sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup chopped shallots
Italian Breakfast Strata
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped, drained, oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
5 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup half and half
1 cup whipping cream
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375F.
Butter a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish.
Saute sausage in medium non stick skillet over medium heat until brown and cooked through, breaking up into small pieces, about 10 minutes.
Add shallots and garlic and saute 3 minutes.
Add sun-dried tomatoes and 2 Tablespoons parsley, stir 1 minute.
Spread sausage mixture in prepared dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, half and half, whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups cheese, and salt in a large bowl to blend well.
Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture in dish.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese and 2 Tablespoons parsley over top. Bake until top of casserole is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella on Polenta

I was looking for a first course to a dinner but this turned out to be lunch, best eaten with a knife and fork. The Bake thinks it is better with the reduced balsamic on the side.

Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella on Polenta
1 log of polenta
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 whole milk ball of fresh mozzarella
1 1/2 cups baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters
1 Tablespoon sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and cut
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
4 green olive, quartered (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
6 shavings of fresh Parmesan
reduced Balsamic vinegar, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Slice polenta into 1 inch slices, brush with olive oil and bake about 10 minutes, turning at halfway time. Alternately, these could be grilled.
Slice mozzarella into 6 rounds.

Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella on Polenta with Balsamic
In a bowl, combine baby tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil and salt and pepper and olives (if using).

Put heated polenta rounds on a plate and top each with a slice of fresh mozzarella.
Spoon the tomato mixture over top of each round.
Top with pine nuts and basil. Lay the shaved Parmesan over top.
Serve with Balsamic syrup, if desired

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dilled Baby Potato Salad

There are so many options when making potato salad, serving it warm or cold, with pickles and bacon or not. Here is the one we are making today.

Dilled Baby Potato Salad
3 dozen baby new potatoes
3 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup mayo or Vegenaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon apple cider
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon French's mustard
1 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 heaping teaspoon dried dill, or 1/4 cup fresh dill

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until soft but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together mayo, sour cream, mustard's, celery salt, onion, and celery stalk.
Lightly chop potatoes and add to bowl. Add chopped eggs and salt and pepper to combine.
Check and adjust seasonings.
Add dill and stir well.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is kind of the unofficial kick off to summer. It is the time to bring out the barbecues and plan picnics and outings. It is the eagerly anticipated opening of many community pools and in our town it means the local Ski to Sea race.
But please take a moment to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. It is time to honor and reflect on the over 1 million service men and woman who have given their lives for our freedom, our very existence.
So during the festivities of this holiday weekend, take a moment to raise a glass and toast them and thank them for their ultimate sacrifice.
To our fallen heroes, who have made it possible to enjoy the freedoms that we cherish.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Shrimp Scampi

This classic restaurant dish can be prepared in minutes.
To make this gluten-free, I used an organic brown rice spaghetti pasta instead of the angel hair.

1/4 cup olive oil
Shrimp Scampi
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, raw
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 pound of angel hair pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
zest of 1 lemon, grated

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add shrimp and saute, turning once, until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, wine, salt and pepper and cook stirring for a minute. Add butter to skillet, stirring until melted and stir in shrimp. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander.
Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in bowl, adding reserved cooking water, if needed to keep moist.
Top with lemon zest.
A light dusting of Parmesan, if desired.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roasted Beet Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad

If you pat the roasted beets dry, the goat cheese will stay whiter for a red and white contrast.
To roast the beets, wash them, rub with olive oil and roast on a baking sheet for about an hour in a 400F. oven or until beets are softened throughout. Cool and wash to remove skins.
I happened to pick up already prepared beets from Trader Joe's. The amounts used will depend on the size of the beets.
Roasted Beet Goat Cheese and Arugula Salad

4-6 roasted beets, cooled
4 ounces goat cheese
2 cups fresh Arugula
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon reduced Balsamic vinegar, plus extra to drizzle over top
sea salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Slice the beets 1/4 inch thick. Spread the goat cheese over each slice, put the beets back together and wrap each in saran wrap. Chill in the refrigerator about 1 hour. Remove the saran wrap and cut beets in half or quarters.
Combine the olive oil and reduced Balsamic vinegar. Toss with the Arugula and arrange on a platter.
Top with slice beets. Sprinkle pine nuts over top and drizzle with more reduced Balsamic vinegar, if desired.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato and Walnut Butter

I served this butter as a sauce over pasta, but it would be great over fish, especially Halibut. Mmm, maybe even over a chicken breast that has been stuffed with basil pesto.
To thin the butter if needed, add a little of the pasta water.

1 garlic clove
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
Sun Dried Tomato and Walnut Butter over Pasta
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Transfer paste to a food processor and pulse with sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, coriander, cayenne, parsley, and 1/8th teaspoon black pepper until finely chopped.
Blend in butter and lemon juice, then season with salt.
Set aside at room temperature until pasta is cooked.

Toss the warm pasta with the butter mixture in a large bowl.
Check seasonings.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mango Coconut Lime Smoothie

I received this recipe from pure raw cafe. Spring seems to bring out the smoothies here!

Mango Coconut Lime Smoothie
2 cups frozen Mango
2 cups almond milk
2 frozen bananas, sliced
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
squeeze of lime
agave or honey, to taste
pinch of salt

Add all ingredients to blender.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Serve cold.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shepard's Pie

The Bake calls this the ultimate comfort food. Shepard's Pie with a green salad and dinner is complete.

slice of Shepard's Pie
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 pound ground beef
1 cup beef broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh or dry rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 cup frozen baby peas
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
Kosher salt, to taste
2-3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain the fat, and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes, stir in peas.

Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish, set aside.

Bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, drain.
Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk and salt.
Spread the potatoes over the meat mixture, smooth top with fork.

Bake 15 minutes, then top with cheese and bake an additional 15 minutes or longer until golden and bubbly on top. Rest several minutes.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Balsamic Strawberries

I put these strawberries over ice cream with a grind of black pepper on top.
These strawberries are also good on their own, with crepes or angel food cake. Often when I serve these, the rich, dark topping is mistaken for fudge sauce, I say nothing.

1 pound fresh ripe strawberries, washed and hulled
Balsamic Strawberries with Ice Cream
1 Tablespoon reduced balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper

Slice each strawberry and put in a glass bowl.

Add the vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and toss well with the strawberries.

Allow the berries to marinate for a few hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes on the counter, covered and stirring often.
Due to the acid in the recipe, these berries will not keep long.
A good quality balsamic vinegar can be used instead of a reduced balsamic.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

GlutenFree Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I was looking for a cookie that would satisfy vegans, children and adults. I came across this from Weelicious. These will work for anyone who has a nut, gluten, egg or dairy allergy.
Gluten-Free Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
3 Tablespoons water
2 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup earth balance (softened)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flax and water. Let sit for 2 minutes.

In another bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add the flax mixture and vanilla extract and stir until combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Add the raisins and stir to thoroughly combine.

Place cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Easiest Margaritas

Like a lime slushy, these go down way too easily.
Cheers to Cinco de Mayo
Easiest Margaritas 

1 cup good Tequila
1/2 cup of Cointreau
1 can of Minute Maid frozen limeade concentrate
crushed ice
Kosher salt for rim
lime slices for garnish and rim

Combine Tequila, Cointreau, and limeade to blender. Fill almost to top with crushed ice. Blend until smooth and slushy.

Line rim of glasses with a wedge of lime and dip into a plate of Kosher salt.
Pour blended drink into prepared glasses and garnish with lime slices.

Served along side chili lime popcorn and guacamole.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Hummus is generally made with tahini, not in the pantry, no problem, this recipe uses sun dried tomatoes.

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic, cloves
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon Vegenaise or Mayo
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, optional
fresh basil and chopped sun dried tomatoes, to garnish, optional

In a food processor combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, sun dried tomatoes, cumin, and cayenne process until smooth. Add olive oil and Vegenaise, salt and pepper and process again. Check seasonings.
Put into serving dish and garnish with pine nuts, basil and tomatoes, if desired.
Serve with crackers, chips, or fresh vegetables.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Broiled Grapefruit with Brown Sugar and Ginger

Adding a little zip of ginger changes up typical broiled grapefruit. For another layer of flavor top broiled grapefruit with fresh basil before serving.
1 grapefruit, halved and cut into segments
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
basil or mint for garnish, optional

Preheat broiler.
In a small bowl combine sugar and ginger.
Place grapefruit on a foil lined baking sheet and top with sugar mixture.
Broil a couple of minutes, remove from oven and top with basil leaves or mint if desired.