Sunday, July 31, 2011

Squash Blossoms, part two ... and three ...

Yum. This time, I stuffed the blossoms with ricotta, parmesean, an egg, a little flour, and salt and pepper.

I poached them in 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken broth for about 6 minutes. Water only is fine.

While they are poaching, heat butter in a small pan and add fresh sage leaves.

When the blossoms are done, remove to a plate and top with sage butter.

part three ...

Made these again but this time before topping with sage butter, I fried them quickly to a crispy, golden brown. Then topped with sage butter ... heaven.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Emergency Comfort Food

I took a few pictures of this but they didn't look great. I weighed my options ...

A) keep styling food in order to get a good pic for the blog,

B) eat the food to fulfill the purpose for which it was made.

D'uh. No contest. No pics.

Exotic Grilled Cheese

White bread (I know, I know) is one of my requirements for grilled cheese. With no white bread on hand, I trimmed the "crust" off of a hot dog roll and slathered the outsides with butter.

Inside, I put down a layer each of gouda, brie, and cheddar cheese.

Warm a small fry pan at medium heat.

Place sandwich cheddar-side down and cover with a lid. Don't mess with it!

When the bottom is a crusty, medium brown, flip it over.

Top with lid again and let the now bottom side reach the same golden crunchiness.

Put on a plate and slice diagonally.

ENJOY. Then go to bed and sleep soundly without a care in the world.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ratatouille as Made in Ratatouille

1 small can San Marzano tomatoes
yellow squash

fresh thymes
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325.

Pour tomatoes into bottom of a round baking dish and gently squish them up with your hands. Watch out for shooting tomato juice!

Add some fresh thyme, oregano and salt and pepper to the tomatoes.
Cut the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. Cut one end off the onion and peel back first layer.

I used a mandoline to slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion into very thin slices. You can use a knife but be prepared to spend a lot of time cutting. The mandoline also ensures the slices are the same width.

Alternate overlapping slices of eggplant, zucchini, and squash along the outer rim. Every so often slip in an onion slice.

Make another circle inside and then fill in the middle with a few veggies.
Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and season again with salt and pepper. Top with more thyme.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. I just placed the dish on top of the parchment paper and drew around the dish. Makes it easy to cut to fit the inside of the dish.

I wanted to save this and reheat the next day so I only baked it for 40 minutes. If you want to serve immediately, bake for about 55 minutes. You want the veggies tender, not mushy.

I had a bunch of veggies left over and just threw them in a pot with a small can of diced tomatoes. Cooked for a bout 15 minutes and then let it cool.

I put that in a container and decided to freeze it for use later in minestrone soup or a pasta sauce.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Cow!

I planted cowhorn peppers this summer. The guide said that they were 'medium hot'. I LOVE hot food and was afraid I would be disappointed by the milder cowhorns. Oh man, was I wrong! The best hot sauce I've made:

8-10 pineapple sage leaves
¼ cup diced red onion

1 clove garlic
¾ cup diced tomatoes
2 cowhorn peppers
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
¾ t salt
¾ t white sugar

1. In a saucepan, heat EVOO. Add red onion, cowhorn peppers, and garlic. Let it go for about 3 or 4 minutes.
2. Reduce heat. Add vinegar, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Let that simmer for about 5 more minutes.
3. Add pineapple sage leaves and simmer another minute or two.
4. Put it all in a blender and whir until pureed.
5. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
6. Let cool and then pour into a small glass container.
7. Taste it and comment that it's not too hot.
8. Wait 20 seconds.
9. Comment on how it's got a little zing.
10. Wait 15 seconds.
11. Say, "Oh man, that's a nice burn!"
12. Cover and refrigerate.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Thanks to Elise at Simply Recipes for this fantastic twist on zucchini bread!

It's delicious!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Laura's Craving - Filet Mignon with Cherry Vanilla Sauce

I talked to my neice, Laura, on the way home from work today. She's about 32 weeks pregnant and was telling me about her food cravings. She said up until now, they were the typical ... REALLY want a steak, or REALLY want cherry pie filling ...

Now, however, she said she REALLY wants steak WITH cherry pie filling.

I did a little research and here's what I'm making for dinner. Wish you could be here, Laura!

Filet Mignon with Cherry Vanilla Sauce

Fire up the grill and crank some freshly ground pepper over filets.

For the sauce:

In a saucepan, combine just over a cup of Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon (I used the Noir) with:

A couple tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Half of a vanilla bean (that your co-worker brought you directly from Madagascar - or some other vanilla bean you can scrape up)
A couple whole cloves

A couple whole peppercorns
A bay leaf
About 20 cherries

A squirt of honey
Salt and pepper

Gorgonzola butter:

Mash together about 2 tablespoons of gorgonzola with a tablespoon of butter. Set aside.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced to a light syrupy consistency. Grill steaks, top with blue cheese butter, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Strain sauce through a seive. Put gorgonzola butter on the steak and drizzle over the steaks.

I also sauteed spinach and garlic in some EVOO, fried up some potato slices and made a radish, onion, cucumber salad (not shown).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spicy Eggplant

Don't go to the grocery store hungry! Do go to the local farm hungry!

I stopped by Spicknall's on the way home and loaded up my canvas bags with a bounty of brightly colored fruits and veggies. Here's what I did with a few of them ... (note that while it is contrary to my typical style, I will try to be more exact with ingredients as I have a sense that it matters in this dish).

(Mini Eggplant)

Roast 3 small eggplants with EVOO and S&P at 375 until soft. Scoop out innards and set aside.

Boil one small potato and set aside. I used a potato left over from another meal.

Heat about 2 TBL ghee in a saucepan.
Add about 6 peppercorns and about 6 corriander seeds.
After about four minutes, crush them with a heavy spoon or pestle.


(Cowhorn Pepper)

Add a medium piece of galangal and about an inch of cowhorn pepper.

Add one small onion and three small cloves of garlic - both diced.

Add three good shakes of fenugreek, five shakes of garam masala, and one shake of turmeric.

Cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute,

Dice half of a green tomato and add to the saucepan. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Run a knife through the eggplant and add to the saucepan.

Dice potato and add to saucepan.

Remove cowhorn pepper and galanga.

Add a little water if it looks dry.

Add a few shakes of salt - I used a very fine grey sea salt.

Heat through and enjoy alone or with rice or naan.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Final Category

Make a pesto of: Pineapple sage, walnuts, basil, garlic, S&P, and EVOO.

Roast: (in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes) Cherry tomatoes (green and red), zucchini (peeled, seeded, and chopped), garlic, S&P, and EVOO.

Boil: Bowtie pasta.

Combine: Ingredients above and toss in some capers. Top with grated parmesean.

Fight: Over the Final Category question on Kids Week Jeopardy.

The Answer: Of the 4 states that begin & end with the same vowel, the one that doesn’t begin & end with the same letter as the other 3 states.

The Question: What is ...

When the biggest problem in my day is the final category question on Kids Week Jeopardy ... life is good.