It’s the season of tubers and root vegetables. Parsnips, with their unique rustic flavor, tend to be an under appreciated vegetable. Combining this ivory-colored root veggie with celery, onion, and garlic creates a savory, creamy and slightly sweet soup. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phyto-nutrients, this soup delivers added health benefits as we head into the chilly months ahead.
Creamy Parsnip Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons thyme, minced
2 1/2 pounds of parsnips, peeled and cut into 2 chunks
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk (if needed)
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Thyme sprigs, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large pot, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and celery cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add butter, garlic and parsnips cook for about 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper and thyme. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the parsnips are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the prosciutto and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until crisp, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the prosciutto to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Or alternatively, place on a baking sheet and broil for approximately 2 minute until slightly crisp, about 2 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a saucepan. Stir in the cream (and milk, if needed), bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring a few times. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Serve. Garnish with the prosciutto and thyme leaves.
Adapted from: Food and Wine
A Hearty White Chicken Chili with a spicy kick! You can never have too many chili recipes in your arsenal when the temps start to drop. This comforting one-pot meal cooks in under an hour and you have a chili that tastes like it’s been cooking all day. The beauty of a chili, soup or stew is that you can improvise with whatever you have in your pantry. Corn, chopped green chilies and avocados are just a few extras you can add to make it your own.
White Chicken Chili
2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans
1 tablespoon canola oil or olive oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 limes, juiced, plus lime wedges, for serving
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sour cream, for topping
Tortilla chips, coarsely crushed, for topping
Drain and rinse the canned white beans. In a medium bowl, mash half of the beans with a potato masher until chunky. Reserve.
Add the canola oil to a large Dutch oven and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the peppers, onions, and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt, and pepper, to taste. Add the cumin, coriander, and chili powder and continue to saute for 1 more minute to toast the spices. Stir in the chicken stock, and lime juice and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and continue to simmer for 20 more minutes.
After 20 minutes of simmering, taste for seasoning. (I added more cumin and chili powder for more of a kick). Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and cilantro and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes. Serve the chili in individual bowls topped with a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and lime wedges.
Adapted from The Neelys
Pumpkin Creme Brulee
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
8 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin or canned pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Arrange 8 (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups on a large metal baking pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the cups.
Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 45 minutes to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
Sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Or preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.) DO NOT refrigerate after the tops have been caramelized. Garnish with spiced walnuts or whip creme.
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse
This hearty vegetarian dish pairs rich, creamy polenta with a luscious topping of sautéed mushrooms. The Taleggio cheese adds a nutty layer of flavor that marries the earthiness of the mushrooms perfectly. For an entrée, we paired this with a crisp green salad, some crusty bread and an earthy red wine.
Bacon jam. Sweet, savory, slightly smokey and a bit crunchy. This condiment is a game changer for a multitude of dishes. While I’m posting this to accompany greens ( Thanksgiving??) think of the possibilities…..ultimate grilled cheese, hamburgers, over brie, rosemary focaccia crostini, stuffed dates, quesadillas and on and on and on. While there are lots of versions of this jam out there, I chose this recipe for ease of ingredients. Other additions include coffee, maple syrup, paprika, garlic, etc…This version is quick and easy.
Holly Hill Inn’s Bacon Jam
Makes about 2 cups
1 lb. good-quality bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1/8 cup bourbon
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar (original recipe called for 1 cup)
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
Cook bacon in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a good amount of fat has rendered and bacon just starts to turn golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove bacon, set aside and leave only about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan. Add diced onion, turn the heat down to low, and cook together until onion is tender. Add the bacon, bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Simmer until thick, (stirring occasionally) about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until liquid is evaporated. (You may choose to use a food processor at this point…pulse only a few times) Refrigerate until ready to use. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or freeze.
Recipe from Ouita Michel
Wilted Greens with Bacon Jam
2 lbs. mixed young greens, such as mustard, chard, kale, and spinach
1/4 cup bacon jam
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Optional garnishes: red onion, sliced boiled egg
Submerge greens in standing water, remove any large stems, and rip leaves into bite-size pieces if necessary. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high, add bacon jam, and melt. Add greens, turn heat to high, and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
Recipe from Ouita Michel
Eat like a Mediterranean and live longer. OR…I would just like to live longer IN the Mediterranean!! After returning from a visit to Italy, it is clear that the Mediterranean diet is working on those people!! The diet is varied containing nuts, legumes, olives, olive oil, fish, whole grains and red wine. Most of the diet came out of necessity… eating what’s in your backyard and the unaffordability of meat and cheese. The classic diet includes eating olives…..every day!! The benefits of consuming olives or olive oil everyday are huge… they contain valuable amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflamatory nutrients benefiting high blood pressure, cancer and arthritis. Randy and I consumed our fair share of olives over the last few weeks…from olive oil, marinated olives… ohhh and perhaps a martini or two. So….. upon my re-entry I am starting out slowly and while we still have visions of olive and lemon groves on the mind, here is an easy and healthy appetizer to share. Add some fresh parmesan cheese drizzled with aged balsamic and of course a glass of red wine! Godere!!
Makes 1 pint jar
2 cups brine-cured olives
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated *orange zest
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
Drain olive and tumble into a bowl. Pour in warm water to cover. Soak 15 minutes. Drain. Pat dry.
Roll olives into a medium skillet along with oil, thyme, zest, garlic, and fennel seeds. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic turns fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar. Serve warm or cold.
* I originally made these with lemon zest….in keeping with the lemon groves we visited. While tasty, I found the orange zest flavor was a better marriage.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
While I’m gathering my thoughts, unpacking our bags and getting my camera repaired (ughhh) enjoy these pictures taken on a trip to beautiful Italy. A country known to the world as a “living art gallery” filled with art and architectural masterpieces, it’s a visit that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Ahh…but let’s talk Italian cuisine; it’s simple, vibrant, subtle, delicious and diverse. There are many regional variations of cooking throughout Italy, but in general grain foods such as pasta, bread, rice, and polenta are mixed in a variety of interesting ways with vegetables, beans, fish, poultry, nuts, cheeses and meat. AND the wine…..with vineyards dotting the Tuscan landscape, we enjoyed Chianti Classico, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and many other varietals in a region where Chianti was born. Days filled with touring and ending with a beautiful meal will be forever etched in our memories of traveling to this breathtaking country.
As I get back into the swing of cooking, I will be mindful of my experience and hope to share a few culinary highlights on Shreddedsprout.
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian comfort food. Cooking this rustic style, hearty dish makes for a perfect meal transitioning into the cooler months. Cacciatore means hunter in Italian. Hunt for your favorite version of this dish by adding cremini mushrooms, olives, red wine or other tasty ingredients. I am following the Northern Italian style by adding red pepper, onion, capers and white wine. This recipe is a simple combinations of flavors and perfect for casual entertaining. Serve over polenta or your favorite pasta. Godetevi questo gustoso pasto!
4 chicken thighs
2 chicken breasts with skin and backbone, halved crosswise
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup all purpose flour, for dredging
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons drained capers
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
*This recipe freezes well…think of doubling and storing in freezer bags.
Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour to coat lightly. In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, capers and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes for the breast pieces, and 20 minutes for the thighs.
Transfer the chicken to a platter. If necessary, boil the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Spoon off any excess fat from atop the sauce. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with basil and serve.
Adapted from Giada Laurentiis
Make this soup! A simple, delicious, fresh corn soup with a touch of southwest flavors. The Avocado Salsa has the perfect mix of sweet and savory, with the poblano’s giving it a nice kick. This comfy soup has a creamy texture and is loaded with fiber, antioxidants and minerals. Thanks to Barb, my Canadian girlfriend for the inspiration!
The Original Plum Torte
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoon
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
12 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Honey-Ginger Chicken with Lime
This is a light and refreshingly cool summer drink. The clean, crisp flavor of garden fresh cucumbers standout, while the mint adds a sweet herbal note and the lime adds just enough zing. Add Vodka or Gin and you’ve got yourself a summer stunner.
1 cup packed mint leaves, just the leaves, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
3 unwaxed cucumbers
½ cup sugar
2 cups vodka or gin, preferably Hendrick’s gin
Adapted from The Kitchn
Thinly slice 3 limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest of the limes and add juice to the pitcher. Add mint leaves. Add two sliced cucumbers, then sugar. Muddle ingredients. Add vodka or gin. Place in refrigerator to steep 30 minutes or longer. Peel remaining cucumber and cut lengthwise into 6 spears.
Fill 6 large glasses with ice. Strain mixture from pitcher into each glass. Top with a splash of sparkling water, garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a cucumber spear, and serve.
A cobbler is simple. A homey, comfortable ending that typically shows up at a summer BBQ. In the height of your local farmer’s market harvest, peaches and our favorite berries are bountiful…perfect for this seasonal favorite. Top the sweet filling with a crisp, yet tender biscuit. As a perfect companion add a scoop of vanilla bourbon ice cream.
Peach Cobbler Adapted from Allrecipes
8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into thin wedges, 8-10 cups
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the peach filling. Stir to combine and then pour into a large 9×13 baking dish. Bake the peach mixture in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
While the peaches are baking, combine the dry topping ingredients and whisk to combine. Blend in the chilled butter, using a pastry blender or your fingertips. Stir in the boiling water, just until combined.
Remove the peaches from the oven and drop the topping over them in spoonfuls. (I like to use my smallest cookie scoop to do this.) Sprinkle the cobbler topping with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted into the crust comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whip cream.
FREEZER DIRECTIONS: The peach filling can be prepared and frozen in advance. Combine the peach filling ingredients in a large ziplock bag. When you are ready to bake the cobbler, thaw in the refrigerator and then pour into the baking dish and proceed with the recipe.
What’s your favorite way to eat freshly picked green beans? Mine is raw….. until now. Roasting these summer farm stand faves highlight their sweet flavor. The result turns these beans to a nutty, caramelized, crispy side dish.
The British Open and a festive breakfast was the start to a Funday Sunday. We decided to invite friends over early to watch golf, enjoy Huevos Rancheros, Bloodies…..and then play a round!!! (O.K. so this meal may have been more successful than my golf game!) Mexican fare is my go-to order for breakfast out, so I wanted to find an easy and delicious recipe for my fav…here it is!! The black bean and salsa components are as simple as adding a few ingredients into a processor. Lightly toast the corn tortillas, fry up your eggs and assemble. Serve with sour cream, guacamole, avocado and a few cilantro sprigs. A platter of watermelon lightly salted, a few lime wedges and cilantro, rounds out your meal.
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 corn tortillas
1 cup black beans (from a can, drained and rinsed)
2 clove garlic
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tablespoons sour cream or more
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a food processor, add the beans, garlic, cumin, chili powder, a teaspoon of oil (or until desired consistency), salt and pepper. Puree. Transfer to a small sauce pan and set it on a low heat. Heat through. Remove from heat.
Put a skillet over the burner and add a bit of oil. Lightly fry each tortilla until slightly browned and bubbly. (or toast over gas flame) Transfer to a plate.
Add a teaspoon of oil and a little butter to the skillet and crack your eggs. Continue to fry the eggs (medium-low heat) until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
In the meantime, spread the bean mixture over each tortilla, followed by the salsa. Then top each with an egg. Dollop with a little more salsa, fresh cilantro sprigs, salt and pepper.
Make ahead: You can make the salsa and bean mixture the day before. Warm up before assembling.
Adapted from Bev Wiedner
Dinner in 15 minutes! I think you will find the combination of fresh greens and a hearty flavorful steak spiced with an earthy dressing, the perfect weeknight meal. While the steak is cooking, assemble your salad and whip up this easy topping. Make it your own by adding additional ingredients….radishes and cherry tomatoes.
Steak Salad Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 (10-12 ounce) boneless strip steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 romaine lettuce hearts, torn into bite size pieces
1 beet, trimmed, peeled and grated (while this is a quick option, I will cook and cube the beets next time I make this…..or pick up a few from the salad bar at my local market! They have more flavor.)
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Start your grill or heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add steaks to the skillet and cook until well browned and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (medium- rare) 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk sour cream, lemon juice, chives and horseradish together in large bowl.
Slice steaks thin. Add lettuce, beet, and walnuts and dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide salad and slice of steak evenly among plates and serve.
In anticipation of a bumper crop of red peppers, I have been searching for recipes….and this is a beauty! The Mediterranean overtones of this simple relish pair perfectly with a hearty white fish or grilled chicken. Serve over a bed of nutrient packed micro-greens simply dressed with a touch of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Pepper Relish (Adapted from Fine Cooking)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, rough chopped
2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno, minced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus a squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper
Prepare grill. Place whole peppers on grill or cut the tops and bottoms from the peppers and cut the peppers into 3 or 4 flat pieces. Grill the pepper sides and bottoms skin side down until blistered and charred all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with a plate. Let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel the charred skin and discard. Cut the peppers into bite-size pieces or wide strips.
Put the pepper pieces in a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, stirring well and seasoning to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
The relish keeps well in the refrigerator in a sealed container for at least a week. It’s best to make it a couple of hours ahead to allow the flavors to develop.
A very special side dish or a decadent entree…you choose. I’m pairing this rich, indulgent dish with BBQ’d Ribs. The tender chunks of fresh lobster are king here mixing well with the combination of Gruyere and cheddar cheese. Like I said, this is a very special meal for the MVP of our family…Dad! We can talk healthy food tomorrow!! Today I feel we should spoil the man with comfort food…after all he has kept us all comfortable for years.
Lobster Mac N Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 cups milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Boil water in a large pot and generously salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes or a casserole dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Adapted from Food Network/Ina Garten
A match made in heaven. Strawberries and Rhubarb. Typically, this combination is seen on the dessert table. I like the idea of a savory dish and am pairing this seasonal side with pan seared pork tenderloin. The flavor components work well with pork (or chicken) and kumquats add a punch of citrus. This recipe yields about 2 plus cups of compote……leftovers…always a nice topping for vanilla ice cream.
2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 sprig of rosemary (optional)
1 cup kumquats (about 10), cut in half OR 1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (about 2 tenderloins)
Mix all ingredients (first 11) together in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer for approximately 15 minutes until thick. (Remove rosemary sprig) Using a “smasher”…smash away!
For the pork, cover with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, turning pork occasionally, about 8 minutes longer for medium tenderloins and 10 minutes for large.
Transfer pork to cutting board; let rest 5 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange on platter. Serve with Compote.
Adapted from Bon Apetit
Squash blossoms are the beautiful, yellow edible flowers that grow with zucchini and a variety of summer squash. They have a subtle flavor and make the perfect vessel for delicious fillings. Squash blossoms are a seasonal treat and sadly, hard to find in traditional grocery stores due to how incredibly perishable they are. Search for these blossoms at your farmers markets. These beauties came from my garden (yep, I have a garden!!!) that I’m sharing with friends, Sil and Courtney (@alifefromscratch). Courtney researched how to harvest the flowers and discovered you only pick the male flower as the female flower produces the fruit. (Who knew??) Once picked, they are best used within a few hours to a day or so. These delicacies not only make a pretty appetizer they are also high in calcium, iron, vitamin A and C. I filled the flowers with a combination of ricotta and goat cheese and paired them with a tomato dipping sauce. YUM!
Stir together ricotta, goat cheese, egg yolk, basil 1/3 cup parmesan, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Carefully open each blossom and fill with about 2 rounded teaspoon ricotta filling, gently twisting end of blossom to enclose filling.
Whisk together flour, remaining 1/3 cup parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and seltzer in a small bowl.
Heat 1/2 inch oil to 375°F in a 10-inch heavy skillet. Meanwhile, dip half of blossoms in batter to thinly coat. Fry coated blossoms, turning once, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining blossoms. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) Season with salt. Serve with tomato sauce.
Adapted from Epicurious
Here’s a variation of one of my latest posts. No cooking. No baking. Shop, slice, plate and go!!! We all have busy summers and last minute get-togethers…..this will make an impressive and delicious appetizer.
Watermelon Feta and Prosciutto Platter
Prosciutto slices, best quality (about 2 slices per person)
2 large slices feta (about 1″ thick, cut in about 1/2″ cubes)
Seedless watermelon cut into cubes
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pepper, or more
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Oregano sprigs for garnish
Place the feta slices in a zip lock bag. In a small bowl combine oregano, zest, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar. Whisk together and add to feta. Marinade for 1 hour or longer. Cut watermelon into cubes. Cut feta into cubes. Arrange prosciutto, feta and watermelon onto platter. Garnish with oregano sprigs. Serve with picks.
Looking for an alternative to a hamburger this grilling season? I think flank steak is a perfect and affordable lean option. Marinating in garlic, red chili peppers and “porcini dust”…and thinly slicing against the grain makes for a tender piece of meat. And fondue…just the mention brings a slew of great memories, not the least, our first date at Gejas’s. Topping this tasty sandwich with a combination of Parmesan and Fontina cheese sauce pretty much puts this over the top. This recipe pulls together quickly for a weeknight dinner or a casual evening with friends.
2 pounds Flank Steak
4 tablespoons Porcini Mushroom Powder (Dried Porcini finely ground)
3 Garlic Cloves (smashed into paste)
2 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
3 cups Baby Arugula
2 cups Frisee Lettuce (I used red leaf)
3/4 cups Heavy Cream (start with 1/4 cup at a time for desired consistency, add more if needed)
3/4 cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3/4 cup Grated Fontina Cheese
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
Season the Steak with salt. Stir together **Porcini Powder, Garlic, Chili Flakes and season with pepper. Drizzle in enough oil to form a loose paste. Rub on both sides of the steak and place in a resealable bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for a least one hour and up to overnight.
Remove Steak from refrigerator 20 minutes prior to cooking. Heat a grill to medium-high. Place the steak on the grill and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes and cook through more than halfway. Flip and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes. (Approximately 125 degrees for rare to medium rare). Remove from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Meanwhile, slice open the baguette and place on the grill, cut side down, and toast lightly.
For Fondue: Heat the cream over a double boiler. Stir in the Cheese until melted. Season with Nutmeg and Salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula and frisee with a few tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt to taste.
Slice the Steak and place on the baguette. Drizzle on the fondue and top with the dressed greens. Cut into sandwiches and serve warm or room temperature.
**Use any kind of dried mushrooms for the powder, if porcini can’t be found.
Adapted from Mario Batali
This is a fresh interpretation on a classic Italian antipasto using melon and prosciutto. Simple yet elegant…..refreshing with sweet and savory flavors. Don’t skimp on the cured ham….buy good quality. And as for the mozzarella, I found these tiny mozzarella balls which really were the inspiration for this appetizer. Use with picks and grab mozzarella, a melon ball, and then wrap with a slice of prosciutto. I have also served this on a bed of arugula as a family style salad drizzled with a basil vinaigrette.
Melon, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Appetizer
Serves 8 (Fills a large platter)
12 pieces prosciutto, good quality
1 cantaloupe, balled
1 container of mozzarella balls
2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade (or more)
1 tablespoon mint, chiffonade (optional)
Lemon zest from 1/2 lemon and 1 tablespoon juice
Salt and pepper
Drain mozzarella and place the balls in a plastic bag or container to marinade. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, mint and salt and pepper. Marinade for 30 minutes or longer. Cut cantaloupe in half, scoop out seeds and using a melon baller, make balls. Arrange prosciutto on platter, top with melon and mozzarella. Garnish with basil. (A drizzle of balsamic glaze would also be great)
Who’s bucket list doesn’t include Greece?? Those colors…cobalt blue seas and dove white buildings. Those flavors…salty, briny, and fresh herbs. This Big Fat Greek Burger contains cucumber, feta, onions, salt and pepper. Top with a tangy, creamy tzatziki sauce, the iconic Greek condiment, and you’ll have a little taste of the Mediterranean. (Randy, the trip is still on the list!)
Greek Feta Burger
6 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber DIVIDED (unpeeled), coarsely grated; (about 1/2 cup/ for sauce) plus (about 1/2 cup diced for burgers) more for slices on the burgers
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent)
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta
1/3 cup finely diced red onion; plus slices to top burger
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained (I grilled fresh)
4 sourdough rolls, split, grilled
Top burger with:
Sliced red onion
In a bowl, combine yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and juice; set aside. (Start with half the amount of yogurt and add all other ingredients and then add remaining yogurt til desired consistency; I like a chunkier sauce) In another bowl, mix beef, feta, onion, cucumber, marjoram, salt and pepper. Form beef mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties. Coat a grill pan or grill rack with cooking spray. Grill patties over medium-high heat, flipping once, about 5 minutes each side, until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Divide roasted peppers evenly among bottom roll halves; top with 1 burger, 1/4 yogurt sauce and lettuce and cucumber.
Lemon and Ricotta….fragrant and fluffy. Spring. Add poppy seeds and you have one of my favorite muffins. Ingredients like olive oil, ricotta, honey, and chia seeds make a lighter version. Chia seeds……another super-food on the block are rich in omega-3s, help reduce inflammation and cholesterol and are high in fiber and antioxidants. Give these tasty muffins a try and welcome Spring into your kitchen!!!
Apricots…this is the season for those small golden jewels with velvety skin. Packed with fiber and vitamin C, these smooth and sweet stone fruits pair beautifully with chicken. Add a few skewers and some creamy peanut sauce and you have yourself a lovely entree. I like the idea of using double skewers to make turning on the grill easier. Serve over brown rice.
Chicken-Apricots Skewers (Adapted from Bon Appetit)
3/4 cup canned light unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup cilantro leaves plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped jalapeño (about 1 large)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into twenty-four 1″ chunks
12 firm ripe small apricots, halved, pitted
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Purée first 6 ingredients and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth. Add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and jalapeño and blend briefly to combine. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to a small bowl; cover and chill for serving (return to room temperature before using). Place remaining marinade in a resealable plastic bag; add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Light grill to high. Holding 2 skewers parallel to each other and 1/2″ apart, thread 1 piece of chicken onto skewers, then 1 apricot half. Repeat with 1 more chicken piece and 1 more apricot half. Repeat with remaining skewers, chicken, and apricots for a total of 12, each holding 2 pieces of chicken and 2 apricot halves. Season with salt and pepper. Brush apricots with some marinade from bag; discard remaining marinade.
Grill skewers on one side until chicken is well browned, 3-4 minutes. Turn and grill until other side is well browned, 3-4 minutes longer. Move to a cooler part of grill. Cover grill and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving platter; sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and drizzle with reserved marinade. Serve with lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.
California dreaming! Last week while visiting my daughter in warm, sunny LA…I came across a refreshing, flavorful cocktail. I’m not a sweet drink kinda girl, however this liqueur paired with muddled cucumbers, lemon and vodka had me…curious. What was this flavor I could not decipher??? St. Germain is a French liqueur made of hand-picked elderberry flowers with a flavor profile of peach, pear, orange and grapefruit. Once our server gave us the “secret ingredient” I was off and running. I think the key to making this cocktail is to muddle the lemons and cucumbers in a martini shaker then add vodka (or gin) and strain into your glass. Next add ice and top with soda. *If you prefer gin ….I would use cucumber based Hendricks.
3 cucumber slices, without the rind
2 slices lemon, without the rind
1 teaspoon sugar ( I omitted the sugar)
1.5 ounces gin or vodka
.5 – 1 ounce St-Germain (or a bit more to taste)
In the bottom of a shaker or heavy glass, muddle (or crush) the cucumber and lemon with the sugar. Add the vodka and St-Germain and stir to combine. Fill the glass with ice and then stir again. Top with club soda. Taste and add more St-Germain to adjust the sweetness as desired.