A Fig Tree Grows in Madison, Hopefully!!!


Grilled Sausage and Fennel Salad

From Real Simple comes this amazing recipe. I like fennel. But grilled fennel is a whole other subject. The anise flavor grilled is sweet but not sugary sweet. Very licorice in flavor. It was perfect with the onion and sausage. I liked the salad, very simple. Spinach with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I had to make some cookie dough for an event this weekend. This was a perfect dinner to quickly prep and hand off to Chris, who does all the grilling!



10:30AM-

6PM - (and who's starting to climb on the right!)











Roasted Cod & Scallions with Spiced Potatoes

Friday night dinner. Something relaxing about it.
 I worked from home so there was no traffic stress. 
I had time to make an appetizer...
Cannellini Bean Dip
I found this on Chow. It was nice and light and 
perfect with a cocktail while dinner was in the oven.

Dinner was quite good. The recipe was from RealSimple.com.
 
The first thing that attracted me to the recipe were the Spiced Potatoes. 
Oh they were soooooo good. Both the Cod and potatoes were cooked perfectly!

Do you think you had a busy day?
Well take a look at this.
11 AM -

6PM -

Archie was patiently waiting for dinner!














Salade Niçoise

 
Another hot day so another salad for dinner. Salads can be time-consuming to prepare. That is why I did all of the prep last night. I boiled the potatoes and eggs and beets. Tonight all I had to do was put everything on the plate and wash some lettuce. I made the dressing and had Chris adjust the seasoning while I snapped the photos.

This could become one of my favorite salads. There are so many flavors that work perfectly together. And what is it with Tuna packed in oil? I had 2 cats at my feet when I opened the can. Cute but not that cute!
 

This is my version of the Salade Niçoise.

For the Dressing -
1/3 cup olive oil 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Salad -
1 lb. small new potatoes, boiled until tender
6 oz. yellow baby beets, boiled until tender, peeled
8 oz. sugar snap, blanched
12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup black Niçoise olives
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
1 (4-oz.) cans high-quality oil-packed tuna, drained
Boston Bibb Lettuce
Arugula

Method -
The dressing: Whisk in oil, juice, mustard, and salt and pepper; set aside.

The salad: Arrange all ingredients in separate rows on a large serving platter. Place washed and dried lettuce and arugula in a serving bowl. Serve dressing on side.

Grilled Chicken, Green Onion and Radish Salad

 
I found tonight's recipe on the Whole Foods site. We have never had grilled radishes before tonight. Wow. They taste like a peppery beet. A very nice surprise! The original recipe called for a dressing of lime juice. I decided to use olive oil and lemon juice because I was putting everything on a bed of Arugula. This was a perfect salad for a hot day.

Ingredients -
1 large chicken breast (about 3/4 pound)
2 bunches green onions
2 bunches radishes, halved
1/2 cup toasted and crumbled sliced almonds
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
Baby Arugula
Lemon juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

       
Method -
Prepare a grill for medium-heat cooking. Grill chicken until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes. Place onions and radishes in a grill basket or on a vegetable grilling screen to prevent them from falling though the grill grates. Grill, turning frequently, until browned and softened, about 4 minutes for green onions and 8 minutes for radishes.

Allow chicken and vegetables to cool slightly, then dice the chicken and coarsely chop the onions and radishes. Place in a large bowl with the Arugula and top with almonds, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame and New Pizza Place!

Today Chris and I went to Yankee Stadium for Old Timer's Day! We had the most incredible seats! The Yankees lost the game but we got to see Paul O'Neil, Molly's brother, Bernie William, and a lot of other legends. But my favorite was Yogi Beara. He is so cute! 
We did eat at the stadium. Only problem was the heat. It really was not conducive to eating. Consuming liquid was more important. I had an amazing 300 calorie, yeah the calories are posted, Fresh Lemonade. Talk about refreshing! And only $5.25. We each had a Philly Cheese Steak but that was it. So needless to say we were hungry by the time we got home.

A new pizza place opened not too far from us, New Haven Appiza and Bakery.  I ordered 2 subs when we were driving home from the train station. Chris got the Chicken Parmesan, the Wooster Street. I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan, the Trumbull Street. 

 
The eggplant was perfect and I am pretty sure Chris liked his Chicken Parmesan. 
Unlike the Yankees today neither one of us left anything on the plate!

Giordano's Deep Dish Pizza

One of the women I work with, Wendy, has been raving about Giordano's Deep Dish Pizza. I think she kept saying "The cheese, oh the cheese..." She has been suggesting that we place an order online for quite some time. Finally 4 of us ordered some pies. The pizzas arrived on Wednesday. The excitement was building.
The next day the reviews were in and another order was going to be placed. I still had not had our pizza. I ordered the Stuffed Sausage Pizza and the Stuffed Spinach Pizza.

 
Tonight we tried the Stuffed Sausage Pizza. 

It was my first time eating a Deep Dish Pizza.

 
What the? How much cheese is in this? This sauce is sooooo good! And the crust! Any regular visitor to this blog knows how I love crust. This crust was so perfectly crisp and light. And this was a frozen pizza! Amazing. Delicious. Fresh tasting. Can't wait to try the Spinach Pizza!

I had 2 pieces of this pizza and then a tiny slice from another piece. Could I have eaten 3 pieces? Yes but then there would be less for tomorrow!

And yes I will be ordering this again!

Fried Chickpeas, Chorizo and Spinach

It has been a while since we have had this Mark Bittman classic recipe. Traffic was not too bad for a Thursday night and I was able to make this when I got home. I did cut up the Chorizo before leaving for work this morning.

I heated some olive oil in a saute pan and added the rinsed and drained Chickpeas. I fried them up a bit before adding the sausage. The Chorizo was sauteed with the Chickpeas for about 5 minutes. Then I added some thyme and about 2 cups of fresh chopped spinach. I also added some leftover roasted peppers. Sauteed all that until the spinach wilted and served with Italian bread.

Fresh Summer Minestrone

 From La Cucina Italiana we have Fresh Summer Minestrone.
Let's make this a "not too many words Wednesday."
But this soup was fantastic!




Leeks, Bacon, Smoked Gouda Quiche & Arugula Salad

What is up with the weather? It took me 2 hours to drive home tonight in pouring rain! Luckily I made a quiche on Sunday. So tonight all Chris had to do was heat up the quiche and make the Arugula Salad.
For the quiche I sauteed leeks and bacon, seasoning it with some thyme. I pre-baked the crust. Spread some ricotta on the bottom of the crust and spread out the leeks and bacon. Topped it all with shredded smoked Gouda. Two eggs, some milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
One of my favorite new salads is Arugula with olive oil and lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper and some Ricotta Salata, if you have it in the fridge. That is all there is to it. The Arugula, with it peppery taste, and the light dressing of the oil and lemon juice just scream summer dining. Light and easy!



My Favorite Psychedelic Furs Song...

Back in the 80's I had a couple of favorite bands. The Ramones were number one but close on their heels were the Psychedelic Furs. I had every album, yes I said albums! I got to see them at Toad's and at the Palace Theater back then. Tonight I got to see them again at the Infinity Hall. Wow! Front row no less! They sounded great. Richard Butler's voice is the same as it was when I first heard the band.
Now about dinner. We ate at the Infinity Hall Bistro. We tried new dishes this time. There was a special Scallop Appetizer. Amazing. Pineapple, Tangerine, Jalapeno Oil and perfectly seared Sea Scallops.
Grilled Flatbread with Tasso ham, pineapple, spinach, feta & pablano puree.

 
Chris had the Lobster Risotto. It was prepared with sweet corn, Tasso Ham, aged Gouda & green onions. It was really good!

 
I had the Grilled Salmon which was served with sweet potato spring rolls, tangerine soy glaze, vegetable noodles. Soooo good!

And for dessert, well I had a Raspberry Stoli Gimlet! Cheers!

Happy Father's Day

 My father had the greenest thumb of anyone I knew. 
If a plant was dying he could bring it back to life.
In his yard he had a pear tree, it is still there, which he
grafted a different type of pear to the tree. It know produces
2 different kind of pears! 

I am attempting to grow green beans on my deck this year. 
I can not tell you how sad I am that I will not have my Dad's garden to raid this year!
My plants, which I started from seed, are coming along nicely. 
Today I built a couple of trellises for them to climb.
 

I do have high hopes for these plants...

And even the one in a smaller planter -


I use to make my Dad something blueberry for Father's Day. I decided to continue the tradition in his memory. This morning we had Blueberry Muffins from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite cookbook. I only made half a batch, still ended up with 8 muffins! I also toasted some coconut and added that to the mix. Nice flavor.
Blueberry Muffins from Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite

Ingredients -
2 very ripe large bananas
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking sodea
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1/3 cup light olive oil
7 ounces blueberries, rinsed

Method -
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the bananas and mash in a bowl, using a fork.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 cup brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk, egg, olive oil and mashed bananas. Fold the ingredients together until just incorporated. Gently stir in blueberries.

Spoon the batter into 12 paper-lined muffin tins and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown on top; a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin should emerge clean. Cool in the pan for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.



So what did we have for dinner?
Grilled Sausage Patties with Roasted Peppers and Macaroni Salad.
The Macaroni Salad recipe was from RealSimple.com.
The Roasted Peppers were from Cooking With Chef Silvio: Stories and Authentic Recipes from Campania.


And in honor of Father's Day we had some of my Dad's Zinfandel 2007.

 Hope everyone had a relaxing Father's Day!



Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Bobby Flay's Dry Rub

"Why have we not used a dry rub before?" "Because you never wanted to."

Well let's just say that we have been missing out on amazing flavors. I like my steak grilled without any thing on it. If I am going to eat a steak I want to taste the steak.
That was then and this is now. This all started with an article in the paper this week about Mario Batali and his Grilled Rib-Eye recipe. He used a rub consisting of mushrooms. One of us is not a mushroom fan. But the article peaked our interest. My job was to find a rub that would work. Easy to do. I think the Bobby Flay recipe was maybe the third or fourth recipe I looked at. And happily I had all the spices it required in the house.
Let's talk about the flavor. Simply put - this was the most delicious steak Chris has ever grilled. The rub gave one side a nice crisp sear and the flavors were a perfect blend. I am tempted to try another rub next time but might just stick with this recipe.

For a side dish I made Sugar Snap Salad. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. Only change I made was not to use sumac(?). I have never seen it at the store. The recipe was very good without it. Click here to try the recipe.

Oh and to drink we had a very nice bottle of Francis Coppola Zinfandel 2011. Perfect choice!



The Frittatta Sandwich


Two perfect dishes in one week! The Pasta Pie, making use of leftover pasta and now the Frittatta making use of just about everything. Leftovers, not a problem. Make a frittatta. And then bring it to the next level by making sandwiches. No worries...

Burgers and Grilled Corn? It Must Be Summer!

Well for tonight it is summer. Tomorrow bring more rain.  But these are our first burgers on the grill this year! The first burgers always taste like summer. And the corn, well I thought it was too early but it was like butter. Best part of these meals is the clean up. Almost nothing to wash.

The salad was Farro with Roasted Beets, English Cucumber, Carrots, Celery and Ricotta Salata. The dressing was simply olive oil and lemon juice.

And Happy Birthday to my brother Stephen! This is a photo of Stephen and my sister, Lenore, taken way before I was on the scene! Cute bow tie!

Sausage and Barley Stuffed Peppers

This was suppose to be a completely different dish. It was suppose to be Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Peppers. I bought the sausage but did not get the spinach. Not a problem as I have made stuffed peppers quite often. But I did not want to use rice so I tried pearl barley. Excellent choice. The nutty texture of the barley was perfect. It seemed healthier too. The meat was seasoned with oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. A little parmesan cheese. The red peppers were on sale, thankfully! The sweetness of the peppers, the spice of the sausage and the barley made this the kind of meal that you want to go back for seconds.
 
And the sauce? I was going to use a Marinara but the I remembered last night's leftovers. The sauce is actually better on the second night!

Baked Chicken with Eggplant, Zucchini & Tomato Ragout

For a Monday let's just say this was a stressful day!
I neeeded something quick and Gordon Ramsay had just the recipe. And the recipe is online so I do not have to  type! This is the second time we have had this and it is easy and the flavors are perfect.
Click Here to view the recipe.

And on another note we need a garden update!!!
One week in and we have some exciting news...
The Tomato and White Eggplant
Sage and Basil
 Let's all welcome the green beans! Kentucky Wonder Garden Green Beans!