Friday, August 30, 2013

Picante Shrimp and Grits

This filling, spicy, southern dish comes together quickly, so the ingredients need to be in place before starting to cook.
This is on the spicy side, if it is too hot for your liking, trim back on the chili flakes and Cholula sauce.
Picante Shrimp and Grits

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup half and half
a few grinds of pepper
1 cup uncooked corn grits
(I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Polenta Corn Grits)
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
4 ounces Pancetta
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
sprinkle of Alfie's seasoning
1 shallot, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, halved plus some for garnish
1 teaspoon Cholula Hot Sauce, Chili Garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground Chipotle Chile
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 green onions, sliced

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken stock, half and half, and pepper to a simmer.
Slowly add grits, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.
While the grits are cooking, cook Pancetta over medium heat in a non stick pan until done. Remove Pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add shrimp to pan and season with Alfie's seasoning. Cook about 2 minutes per side, until almost cooked. Remove shrimp from pan, set aside with Pancetta.
To the pan, add shallot and onion and saute about a minute until softened. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, Chipotle, and red pepper flakes, stir until combined. Add shrimp until heated (about 1 minute).
Place a ladle of grits in a dish and top with a ladle of the shrimp mixture.
Sprinkle with green onion and extra tomato halves.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Wild Salmon, Mashed Potatoes on Tortilla Chips

New potatoes have been at the farmers market and I am always trying to find another way to use them. Yesterday, after a trip to Costco, picking up wild Alaskan peppered salmon and spotting my favorite tortilla chip, this is what came together.
I used the little red skinned potatoes and did not peel them, as I like the "rustic" texture. But, in this case it would have been better with peeled potatoes, preferably the little golds.
This recipe would also work well with hot salmon off the grill.
Wild Salmon, Mashed Potatoes on Tortilla Chips

6 little red potatoes, cleaned and halved
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons half and half
2 small cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, thinly sliced

6 slices Wild Alaskan smoked Sockeye Salmon, peppered
Tortilla Chips, (Food Should Taste Good multi grain stands up well to this)

In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes and garlic with salted water and cook over a high heat until potatoes are tender.
Drain water and let dry.
In a small saucepan, heat butter and half and half (alternately use 2 cup glass measuring cup and microwave)
Add to potatoes and mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, mix in chives.
Spread the mashed potatoes over a tortilla chip and top with sliced salmon.
Serve while potatoes are still warm.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mixed Greens with Grilled Peaches

A perfect summer salad made with just ripe, grilled peaches. I went to put some of the warm, sweet, grilled peaches aside for another salad but Bake already had them on top of a dish of ice cream.
Mixed Greens with Grilled Peaches

4 cups mixed baby greens
1 peach, halved, and pitted
olive oil
2 Tablespoons goat cheese, crumpled
2 Tablespoons walnuts, toasted
1 Tablespoon Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt and fresh pepper
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
handful of fresh blackberries, optional

Brush peach halves with olive oil on both sides. Grill over medium heat about 4 minutes on each side. When cooled, cut peaches into slices.
In a large bowl, combine baby greens, goat cheese, walnuts and peaches.
In a small bowl, whisk together, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, mix well.
Pour salad dressing over salad and toss.
Sprinkle with blackberries, if desired

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chicken, Fresh Tomato, Basil over Pasta

Fresh garden tomatoes and basil with chicken set over pasta, and dinner can be ready in about 15 minutes!

6 ounces of fettuccine (cook following package directions)

2 chicken breasts, lightly flattened to same thickness, and brought to room temperature
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
Chicken, Fresh Tomato, Basil over Pasta
1 Tablespoon Alfie's seasoning

2 Tablespoons white wine
1 Tablespoon butter, if needed
1 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 green olives, finely diced (optional)
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced and a few leaves set aside for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tablespoons Parmesan, grated

To a heated, medium size non-stick pan, add olive oil and seasoned chicken breasts. Cook about 4-5 minutes a side, remove from pan and set on cutting board.

Add wine to pan, deglaze and reduce. 
Add butter if needed, stir in tomatoes, garlic, olives and basil.
Season with salt and pepper.

Slice chicken breasts.
Drain pasta, top with tomato-basil sauce, sliced chicken and Parmesan.
Garnish with additional torn basil leaves.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Kale, Cranberry, and Feta Salad

We have been eating so many different kale salads, that I thought I would begin to post some of them, please share one of your favorites!

Kale, Cranberry, and Feta Salad
4 cups kale, washed, stem removed, and sliced
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried cranberries (I love the Trader Joe's orange flavored cranberries) (Tanya has me hooked on those)
2 Tablespoons walnuts, lightly toasted
salt and pepper, if desired

Put the prepared kale in a salad bowl.
Pour the olive oil over top and massage the kale
a little with your hands
Add the lemon juice, toss and set aside in the fridge until ready to serve.
Add the feta and cranberries and toss well.
Sprinkle walnuts over top and serve.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smoked Salmon and Avocado Roll-ups

The addition of avocado is a little twist on our usual roll-ups.
Smoked Salmon and Avocado Roll-ups

6-8 slices of smoked salmon lox
2 avocados 
6 ounces cream cheese
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons horseradish
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon fresh chives, sliced
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

In a bowl, mash together avocados, cream cheese, lemon juice, horseradish, salt and pepper, set aside.
On a sheet of wax paper, lay out salmon slices next to each other, overlapping slightly to form a salmon sheet.
Spread cream cheese mixture over top of salmon, leaving room around the edges.
Roll up salmon as one piece, wrapping wax paper around tightly, forming a log. 
Chill well for at least 1 hour.
When ready to serve, unwrap wax paper and slice salmon about an inch thick. Turn sideways on to a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Goat Cheese and Chive Scrambled Eggs

For breakfast, a little snack or even dinner, scrambled eggs with creamy goat cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chives, right out of the garden. The only thing missing in this photo may be a few slices of apple smoked bacon!
Goat Cheese and Chive Scrambled Eggs

4 large eggs, brought to room temp
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon goat cheese, crumbled
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh sliced chives

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk well.

Put the butter in a non stick pan over medium- medium low heat and melt completely.
Pour eggs into pan and stir, until almost cooked.
Dot the eggs with goat cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Stir and remove when finished.
Plate and top with chives.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mango Passionfruit Margarita

This is our summer of 2013 go to cocktail.
Mango Passionfruit Margarita
The icy, bright yellow mango drink with red rim, is tasty and goes down a little too easy, but then again, it's summertime and the livin is...

4 Tablespoons tequila
2 Tablespoons Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/3 cup passion fruit juice
1/2 cup mango
1 whole lime, juiced
1/2 cup chopped ice
Garnish, slice of lime

1 Tablespoon Tajin or Mexican candy
1 teaspoon kosher salt
(alternately use a mixture of salt-cayenne-ginger powder)

To make the drink, chill all ingredients and mix tequila, Cointreau, passion fruit, mango, lime and ice in the blender and blend well.
Mix the Tajin and salt together on a small plate.
Line rim of chilled glasses with lime and dip into Tajin mixture.
Pour blended drink into glass and garnish with lime wedge.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cauliflower in Brown Butter

So this week I have had broccoli with brown butter, brown butter ice cream from Mallards Ice Cream shop and now cauliflower with brown butter. My Mom had mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce, but I watched her indulge, so that doesn't count.
Cauliflower in Brown Butter
Try... so good and so easy.

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
kosher salt
2 Tablespoons butter
squeeze of fresh lemon (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add cauliflower. Cook until tender, then drain.
 In a large non stick pan over medium heat, melt butter and swirl the pan until butter solids turn brown. Turn off heat, add cauliflower to pan to coat. Squeeze a little lemon juice over top, if desired, and serve.

Note: Cauliflower can also be roasted in the oven at 400F. instead of cooking in water.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Steph sent me one of her favorite vegan recipes and it was delicious. The author of the recipe is Chloe Coscarelli. A beautiful emerald green dish, then we topped it with baby heirloom tomatoes.

1 pound linguine (I used brown rice)
Avocado Pest Pasta
1 large bunch of fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 avocados, pitted and peeled
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1 cup halved baby tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes, (optional)
a few fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add linguine and cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.

Make pesto by combining the basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss pasta with pesto. Top with baby tomatoes. Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with fresh basil leaf.
Makes 4-6 servings

Note: walnuts could be used instead of pine nuts

Friday, August 2, 2013

Blood Orange Infused Brownies

Dear family friend Len, sent us several bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Chacewater, in Lake County, California which is just north of the bay area.
We have been using it for salads and over fish but knowing how Len enjoys a little chocolate, I decided to try it in a brownie. The blood orange brings out the sweetness of the chocolate, we loved it and I think Len will too.
What makes this olive oil even more special, is that Len's brother asked him to come and spend some time with him. So Len flew over 3000 miles to meet up and together they went on a road trip sampling olive oils from around the area. Len says his brother declared this one the best!
Upon Lens return home, his little brother unexpectedly passed away.
So I am reminded each time I use this olive oil, of the brothers precious last moments together, pursuing joy.

Blood Orange Infused Brownies
1/4 cup Blood Orange Infused Olive Oil
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease 9x9 inch baking pan.
In a bowl, mix together olive oil, sugar, and vanilla.
Beat in eggs.
In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients and stir until blended well.
Stir in pecans.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool, then cut into squares.