Thursday, April 28, 2011

QUICHE


Quiche is my go to, easy to make, clean out the fridge meal. I always have frozen pie shells in the freezer and I never use a recipe. I just throw anything lying around in the shell and bake.

I decided to record the basics for this post, so I measured everything out and I don't know what happened but this was the best clean out the fridge quiche that I have made to date. Ron said it was the best quiche he has ever had in his life.

                                       GRILLED VEGETABLE AND SAUSAGE QUICHE

5 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup grated cheese, any kind  you like
1 cup grilled vegetables, diced
1/2 cup diced sausage (cooked, I used a spicy turkey sausage)
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence (I used a fresh mix from the Farmer's Market)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

One frozen pie shell (I like Mrs. Smiths. You need a deep one for this recipe)

Pre-heat oven to 375~

Mix the beaten eggs with the milk and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour mixture into a frozen quiche shell (or be a show off and make your own)

Place quiche on a baking sheet pan and bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes.

Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

I served it with sauteed greens and Truffled Tater Tots.









Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GRILLED SWORDFISH WITH PESTO


The fish  market down at the harbor has the most incredible fish. I headed down there yesterday to buy some fish to blacken. I was in the mood for something spicy to go along with a fennel and lemon slaw that I was planning on making. The fish was amazing yesterday. The Scottish salmon caught my eye, but I didn't want to coat it with strong spices. Then I saw the swordfish. They just got it in. You could tell. It was pure white and glistening with freshness.

Menu change......I had to have swordfish. There was a big container of pesto in the fridge that Ron made. Perfect.

We grilled the swordfish and basted it with the pesto. If you don't feel like making pesto just buy some at Trader Joes.

The oil in the pesto kept the swordfish nice and moist. Ron and I agreed that this was the best swordfish either of us have ever had.....in our entire lives! We took it off the grill when it was cooked but still a little pink. It melted in our mouths.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

HAPPY EASTER


Hope everyone had a nice Easter. We had our usual family spread with everyone contributing something delicious.

Mom has a collection of hand painted and decorated Easter eggs from our family. She brings them out every Easter and we have a great time reminiscing. Four generations of hand made eggs.

Our meal was scrumptious as usual.

Mom cooked the delicious ham.



Brittany made the lovely fruit salad.


Lynn made the yummy scalloped potatoes, rich, cheesy, and creamy. She also baked the croissants, regular and chocolate. Ashley made the delicious quiche.


Ron and Lexi made the grilled vegetables with herb vinaigrette. Ron spent one hour cooking the veggies on the grill and discovered that slow and low is the best way to go.






For dessert I bought a cheese cake from Lazy Acres.  They make one of the best in town.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

PARMESAN AND TRUFFLE TATER TOTS


If you like truffles then make these. I bet you can't eat just one!

I saw them on the menu at Arch Rock Fish a couple of weeks ago. I thought they would be some kind of sophisticated potato dish that might resemble tater tots in some form, but no....they were just jazzed up tater tots. But these are tater tots all grown up. They were so good I couldn't stop eating them. I googled Tater Tots to see how to make them myself. You grate the potatoes with some seasonings, then pipe it into a long tube shape and freeze. Once it is frozen you cut it into tater tots and cook them. And guess what? You spend hours making exactly what you can buy at the store.

So, I bought a bag of Ore Ida Extra Crispy Tater Tots. I put 1/2 bag of the frozen tater tots in a bowl  and tossed them with  two tsp. Truffle Oil. Cooked them according to the package directions. When they were nice and crispy I pulled them out of the oven and tossed them with a little more truffle oil and sprinkled some grated Parmesan cheese on top. Woo  Hoo!

Ron was quite impressed with my culinary prowess.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

FLAT IRON STEAK WITH HERB SAUCE



Ron made this for dinner last night. The flat iron steak was so tender and the herb sauce was such a nice addition. This is approximately what Ron did.

He melted 2 TBSP. butter and 1 clove of minced garlic in a small pan. Then he stirred in 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, 1 TBSP. fresh parsley, finely chopped, 1 tsp. fresh oregano, finely chopped, and 1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt. Warmed it for 5 minutes and served it over the grilled Flat Iron Steak.

It was delish!

Thanks Ron :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BLUE CHEESE, PECAN, AND PEAR SALAD WITH BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE



We loved this salad. The blueberry vinaigrette went so well with the creamy tang of the blue cheese and the crunch of the toasted pecans.

  BLUE CHEESE, PECAN, AND PEAR SALAD WITH A BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE


3 cups lettuce greens
2-3 TBSP. crumbled Blue Cheese
2-3 TBSP. toasted and chopped Pecans
1/2 cup Pear, cubed. You can use fresh or canned.

Combine all ingredient in a salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.

                                                          BLUEBERRY VINAIGRETTE

1 1/4 cup fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TBSP. Agave Syrup
1 tsp. coarsely ground Black Pepper
3 TBSP. Balsamic Vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until completely mixed. If desired strain through a sieve to remove skins. Toss with the greens.



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GRILLED VEGETABLES





Spring, Summer, and Farmers Markets. They just go together. As I perused the aisles these vegetables were screaming "grill me". What makes this special is the herbaceous vinaigrette that is drizzled on top. You can serve the vegetables right off the grill or at room temperature which makes it great for entertaining.

                                                                GRILLED VEGETABLES

3 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced lengthwise into 2" strips
3 yellow squash (about 1 lb.), sliced  lengthwise into 1/2 " thick rectangles
3 zucchini (about 12oz.), sliced lengthwise into 1/2" thick rectangles
3 Japanese eggplants (about 12oz), sliced lengthwise into 1/2" thick rectangles
12 cremini mushrooms
1 bunch(1 pound) asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 TBSP. balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Prepare the barbecue to medium high heat. Brush the vegetables with 1/2 cup of olive oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 TBSP. of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the grilled vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TOASTED ALMOND



This after dinner drink is one of my favorite desserts. I'm not a big dessert eater but I do like to serve dessert when I entertain. How many times have you been served a great meal and then the dessert is served, it is delicious, but when you get home you are wiped out? That won't happen with this little treat.
It was Father's Day and I spent all day cooking a delicious meal. I just wanted something sweet, but not too heavy to serve for dessert. This was what I made. Quick, easy and to die for tasty. I won't mention any names here, but the guest of honor, (who will never read this because he doesn't know how to use a computer) came into my office the next day and said "Honey, that was a great dinner but what was REALLY good was the dessert". So...that was a great compliment but it made me wonder if next time I skip the 8 hours of cooking and get right to the dessert, all 2 minutes of it.

                                                              TOASTED ALMOND

1 part Kahlua
1 part amaretto
2 parts cream

In a small glass combine the Kahlua, Amaretto and the cream. Drop in a ice cube, give it a swirl and serve.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PALAK PANEER


Yes, this is Indian. I made it to go along with my Indian meal. Palak Paneer is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It's fresh spinach with garlic, in a creamy curry sauce. The cheese is a delicate Indian ricotta like cottage cheese.

 Well, many years ago I made paneer (the cheese) but since my favorite Indian cook book is in storage I decided to buy pre-package paneer. It came in a block form and I cut it in cubes.  Then I broiled it on high for a few minutes until it was golden brown. Uggg.....not good, Ron said I made dry, tasteless cheese croutons, and he was right. NEVER AGAIN will I buy packaged paneer.

So why  post about something less than desirable? This recipe morphed into a spinach dish I love! The original recipe had hot chilies in it and a lot of ginger. I simplified this dish and now have a recipe that is not very Indian but a delicious way to make spinach that tastes like creamed spinach without the cream. Give it a try, I think it is really good .

I'm not sure what to name it. Any ideas???

For now I'll call it......

                                                     CREAMY SPINACH WITH GINGER

1/2 lb. baby spinach, washed
1-2 TBSP. oil
2 tsp. grated ginger ( I used the micro plane)
1 TBSP. lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add grated ginger and stir fry for a minute on medium heat. Add the spinach and allow it to just wilt, stirring every so often. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Puree the spinach in the blender, adding water only if needed. Add the spinach puree back to the pan and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Stir to mix well and serve.


So, it's not Indian, but it does go well with Indian food. I just love spinach this way. Here is how it looked while I was cooking it and then on the plate.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SMOKED SALMON, NEUFCHATEL AND MORE.....

Claudia and Erik made these for dinner.

Smoked salmon, neufchatel, dill, on toasted pumpernickel bread.






Smoked salmon, neufchatel, orange bell pepper, and dill on toasted everything bagels.

Thanks Claudia and Erik for sharing your meal!

Monday, April 11, 2011

SPICED CAULIFLOWER AND POTATOES




I've been craving comfort food lately. I think it might be the changing of the season. Spring is here, yet it still feels like winter is trying to hang on. Maybe it's because in a few weeks the crock pot will return to the closet and my plate will be filled with all the loveliness of spring. In winter I crave stews, soups, roasts, casseroles, and Indian food. The fragrant Indian spices always warm me up.

Aloo Gobi is a hearty dish of cauliflower, potatoes and aromatic spices. When I saw this recipe from "The Indian Slow Cooker" book I knew it was written for me. I have two more crock pot recipes (or I guess they call them slow cookers now) to make and then I'm jumping into Spring!


                                         SPICED CAULIFLOWER AND POTATOES

2 large cauliflowers, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 8 cups)
2 large potatoes (russet or yellow), peeled and diced
1 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
3-4 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chilies, cored and chopped
1 TBSP. whole cumin seeds
1 TBSP. red chili powder
1 TBSP. garam masala
1 TBSP. salt
1 tsp. turmeric powder
3 TBSP. vegetable oil or canola oil
1 heaping TBSP. chopped fresh cilantro

In a 4-5 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except the cilantro. Mix well.

Cook on low for 3 hours (mine was not done at 3 hours, I recommend 5-6 hours but it might be my crock pot). Mix once or twice during cooking, especially in the beginning. Eventually the cauliflower will release enough liquid to prevent anything from sticking to the sides of the cooker.

 Add the cilantro (I sprinkled mine on top) and mix well but gently so as not to break up the cauliflower.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from Anupy Singla's "The Indian Slow Cooker"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

CHILI CORNBREAD PIE


My friend Bart sent me this recipe to try. It was really good and so versatile. You could do almost anything thing with this basic recipe to make it your own. Add some cheese or some onions or garlic. I liked the meat mixture so much that I was full before I put the topping on and put it in the oven. The meat mixture would work really well for tacos or tostadas.

I used Trader Joe's corn bread mix. It was a little sweet for me but I think Jiffy brand might be less sweet and I'll use that next time.

Thanks Bart for sending me the recipe!


                                                      CHILI CORNBREAD PIE

1 lb. ground turkey or lean ground beef
1 packet (4 oz.) chili seasoning or taco seasoning mix (I used spicy taco seasoning)
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 1/4 oz.) no salt added, whole kernel corn, drained ( I used Trade Joe's Fire Roasted Corn)
1 can (15oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (12 oz.) Nestle Carnation evaporated milk, divided in half
1 can (4 oz.) green chilies, drained (optional)
2 boxes (8.5 oz. each) dry corn muffin mix
2 large eggs
Sliced avocado, salsa and/or sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400~. Grease a 13x9" baking dish.

Cook turkey in large skillet over medium high heat until turkey is no longer pink; drain. Stir in chili seasoning, tomato sauce, corn, beans, evaporated milk and chilies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Combine corn muffin mix, remaining 3/4 cup reserved evaporated milk and eggs in a medium bowl.; stir until just moistened. Spread mixture over meat filling.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with chopped avocado, sour cream and salsa.

Serves 10-12

Thursday, April 7, 2011

STRAWBERRY BASIL SNACKS





I'm trying to find some creative ways to get more fruit in my diet. I grabbed some strawberries at Tri-County market this week. They were organic from Driscoll's in Watsonville, CA. It's only April but if the sweetness of these berries are just a hint of what's to come this year then we are in for a great berry eatin' summer.

I made this quick, savory, sweet, and creamy snack. I had it for lunch but I could see myself having one of these for breakfast too.

First you marinate the strawberries in some balsamic vinegar (use a good one) and add a pinch of salt and sugar.

Let the strawberries sit while you toast an English muffin. Smear some cream cheese on the toasted muffin, top with the strawberries and then sprinkle some chopped basil on top. Serve, and eat before the marinade makes the muffins soggy (which shouldn't be a problem unless you are trying to take a picture of it).

                                                      STRAWBERRY BASIL SNACK

2 English muffins, toasted
8-10 sliced or chopped strawberries
2 TBSP. fresh basil, chopped
2 TBSP. balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
4 oz. cream cheese

Chop off the stems of the strawberries and cut them into slices or chop them. Mix them with the balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and sugar.

Toast or broil your English muffins. Spread some cream cheese on each muffing half, top with some strawberries and sprinkle some basil on top.

That's it!

Recipe from http://www.macheesmo.com/

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

BLUEBERRY MINT LEMONADE WITH A KICK


This is a great way to get more fruit in your diet. This drink has a cup of fresh blueberries in it. BLUEBERRIES????  Who knew when blended they would turn this beautiful color?

This drink is sure to perk you up on a warm summer day. I know, it's Spring, but I have so many Meyer lemons, my mint is growing like crazy, and I needed to prepare for summer :)


                                                     BLUEBERRY MINT LEMONADE

1 cup of freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
3/4 cup of super fine sugar
4 cups water
1 cup fresh blueberries, stems removed
1/3 cup fresh mint
3/4 cup vodka (optional)

Juice the lemons and transfer the juice to a blender.

Make a simple syrup by bringing 4 cups water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.

Add the blueberries, mint and cooled syrup to the blender. Blend until the mixture turns pink and the mint is finely chopped. Add vodka if desired.

Let the flavors sit for 1 hour and then pour the mixture into a pitcher through a strainer to remove the blueberry skins and mint leaves.

Pour in a glass with some ice cubes and garnish with a mint sprig.

Monday, April 4, 2011

CURRIED LENTIL SOUP



I had planned to make Seared Ahi on Asian Slaw this weekend. The Boat House restaurant at Hendry's Beach serves one that is to die for. I had been working on a recipe that would be as good as theirs, but then two things happened. The weather got cold and gloomy, so a salad didn't seem to fit the bill, and then Ron went shopping and came home with this.


So, I'm thinking Indian. This Curried Lentil Soup recipe came to mind and I had all the ingredients in the pantry. Great Start!

I found a box of beautiful French green lentils at C'est Cheese last month and have been dying to use them.

This soup did not disappoint. It was delicious and perfect with the Naan. The chickpea puree gave the broth a nice thick consistency.

This soup can be  made a day ahead and then re-heated. I liked it even better the day after. The flavors really developed overnight.

Curry powders vary in flavor and heat. I had a HOT Madras Curry powder so I added a little over 1 TBSP. The heat was perfect.


                                                            CURRIED LENTIL SOUP

Serves 6

3 TBSP. olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped, divided
2 TBSP. (or more) curry powder
1 cup French green lentils
4 1/4 cups (or more) water, divided
1  15 to 16oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo) beans, drained and rinsed
1 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP. (1/4 stick) butter
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lemon cut into 6 wedges

Heat 1 TBSP. olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of the chopped garlic, stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add 2 TBSP. curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 TBSP. olive oil, and remaining garlic in processor.

Add chickpea puree and butter to lentil soup. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional curry powder, if desired. Add more water if needed to thin to desired consistency.

Soup can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Rewarm before continuing. Add more water if needed to thin.

Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle with thinly sliced green onions and serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe from Epicurious.com

Sunday, April 3, 2011

POTATO SKINS




Potato Skins....what's the big deal? It's BAR food. It's NOT gourmet. It's really easy. So WHY here?

Well, I don't usually make them at home. I eat them when we go out and want some bar food. So why did I make them last night? We were planning on going out for some snacks but it was cold, I was tired, and we had a movie we wanted to watch.

BUT.......I was craving potato skins and then I remembered what I had done on St. Pat's Day.




I made some rustic garlic mashed potatoes and put the skins in the freezer. So, I thawed them out and cooked some bacon. Not just any Bacon.


I love this Bacon. Then I baked the Bacon for 30 minutes at 350~. BAKED IT??? Yes,
 that's the best way.


Throw it in the oven and fuh getta  bout it. No fuss....no splatter..and no mess.

Then I piled in some cheese (what ever was hanging around) crumbled some bacon on top and then some chopped green onions. Back in the oven until hot and bubbly. Served with Ranch Dressing.

We added a little bit of protein and some veggies.


It was a fun night in.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

DRESS-THE-BOARD STEAK


Craving a nice thick steak but want to zip it up a bit? Try this out and get ready for a party in your mouth.

First you stud the rib eye with rosemary.




Then you prepare a mix  of herbs, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil on your cutting board. Grill the steaks, let them rest, and then give them a bath in the herbs.





This was just what I needed for a kicked up rib eye.


                                                         DRESS-THE BOARD STEAK

2 pieces thick-cut rib-eye steaks (about 1 inch thick)
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
2-3 springs fresh rosemary
Olive Oil

FOR DRESSING THE BOARD

1 bunch fresh mint
1 fresh red chili
3 cloves garlic-peeled (I used a microplane)
1/2 lemon
2 TBSP. extra virgin olive oil

Heat a 10-12 inch cast-iron pan over high heat (or heat the barbecue)
Heat the skillet on high for about 15 minutes.

While the pan is heating, season the steak liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.

Pull the rosemary leaves off the stem and push them into the meat. Leave the meat aside while you dress the board.

Finely chop the mint, chili and garlic on a clean wooden cutting board. Squeeze the lemon juice and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil onto the chopped herbs. Mix.

Drizzle and rub olive oil on both sides of the meat just before searing. When the pan or grill is good and hot sear the meat. The room will get very smoky, that is why I do this outside on the grill.

Grill or sear the steak on one side without moving it for 2-3 minutes. The steak should release easily from the pan or grill. Flip it over and sear the other side for another 2-3 minutes. This should give you a nice rare piece. Cook a little longer in you like medium rare meat.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and coat with the dressing.

Let the meat rest for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.


Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver
and Pig Pig's Corner