July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

The Lean Green Bean
I joined an online group called Foodie Pen Pals. You will see the link above and in the sidebar. Each month you get a name and send that person a food package worth $15. This was my first month to be a part of this. I signed up and I fell, sidelining me from just about everything. When I first got my Foodie Pen Pal's name I emailed her and explained my "situation." She was very understanding and said that any time I can get my package to her would be fine. Packages are supposed to be mailed by the 15th of the month. I missed the deadline by about a week. Sigh...

I received my package from Debbie of the Accidently Delish blog. She is from Arizona, somewhere I have never been. In my intro letter to her I mentioned my love of carbs. What a great food gift. Cookies, and pasta (vegetable pasta), bagel chips (yum!) and chow mein noodles. The bagel chips perfected my adding a crunchy layer to my lunch salads. The Rotini will be used in a soon to be made pasta salad. And I think I may try the Chow Mein Noodles with chicken. Stay tuned for that dinner. Thank you Debbie! And thank you for being so understanding about my foot situation!

Pancetta Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Rolls And I Finally Made Ricotta


The past 2 nights I have gone out. At one time going out on both a Friday and Saturday night was not a big deal. But I stayed awake past 10pm two nights in a row! Tonight I wanted to make a nice dinner. I found the recipe for  Pancetta Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Rolls on the Italian Food Forever blog. This was so good. My sauce did have a couple of lumps, but I am sure no one noticed. It tasted amazing! Click here for the Recipe.

Now the side dish. I hear people talking about their "Bucket Lists" all the time. I don't really have a list. But making ricotta would be on it if the list existed. I did it. I made homemade ricotta. Why have I not made it before now. I have no idea. It is really delicious. It was scary how easy it was. The hardest part was not letting the milk/cream boil over. I found the recipe on What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine. Love the results.
So I have this homemade Ricotta and I need to use it. I found the recipe for Zucchini and Ricotta on Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome blog. Wow, wow, wow. Perfect for the summer. The lemon and olive oil, also known as my favorite dressing. And the Ricotta was such a treat!

Salad Niçoise

I love this salad. Salad Niçoise. I love the eggs, the tuna, the potatoes and the green beans. I have been thinking for sometime it would be perfect for dinner. Tonight I finally made it. The tuna was canned. The green beans, potatoes and lettuce were from Jake's Farm Stand. The tomatoes were from our plant on the deck. Wow. It was the best tomato we have had all season. The dressing was a quick vinaigrette, cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

National Hot Dog Day

Honestly, I did not know that today was National Hot Dog Day when I planned dinner. I had picked up Bison Dogs at Roberts and thought we would give them a try. Well, they did not taste bad. The flavor was much better than other hot dogs I have tried. No after taste or processed flavor. Only thing is they were a little dry. Why? No fat! Chris said there was no sizzle on the grill. A healthy hot dog, perhaps.
Now about the side dish. Remember the Linguine and Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese from the other night? That's right, I made a Pasta Pie with the leftovers. I think the Goat Cheese made all the difference in this one. It was delicious!

Flank Steak with Italian Salsa Verde

One of the cookbooks I received from Chris for Christmas was Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss. Today I was looking through it and came upon tonight's recipe. I had picked up a Flank Steak yesterday at Robert's using the 20% off your entire meat purchase coupon. This is the a coupon that comes out 3 or 4 times a year. And this is when I stock up the freezer. I did not go overboard, but I brought home some good buys.

Anyway, back to dinner. Chris out did himself on the grill tonight. He is the Grill King. This steak was spot on. For the Salsa Verde I used parsley, sage and thyme for the plants on the deck. I omitted the garlic and the anchovies. I love just about anything with fresh parsley. I could have eaten just the Salsa Verde with the grilled bread.



From Family Celebrations with the Cake Boss Flank Steak with Italian Salsa Verde.

Ingredients-
1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steak
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped flat leaf parsley (about 1/2 bunch)
2 large cloves of garlic
Leaves from 6 to 8 sprigs of fresh oregano (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice plus finely grated zest of 1 lemon (2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 anchovies, in oil, coarsely chopped (optional)

Method-
Season the steak with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature30 minutes before grilling. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Grill the steak over direct heat, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium-rare, a bit longer for more well done. Remove and transfer to a platter or cutting; tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Salsa Verde: Put the parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and anchovies (if using) in a food processor. Pulse until well-chopped, about 30 seconds. Slice the flank steak thinly against the grain, arrange on plates or a platter, and dollop with the Salsa Verde.

Linguine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese

Tonight's recipe is from RealSimple.com. So easy to prepare and just a saute pan, a pasta pot and colander to wash. The only changes I made to the recipe, which is at the bottom of this post, was to not use the garlic (surprise!) and I did not have walnuts. Also, I used dried oregano instead of the fresh leaves. The resulting dish was wonderful. The goat cheese made the sauce almost velvety. A note about the recipe, reserve more than 3/4 cups of pasta water. I used close to a cup of the pasta water for the sauce.

Here is the recipe as it appears on RealSimple.com.

Ingredients-
3/4 pound linguine
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups fresh corn (from 2 ears)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 small zucchini (about 1 pound), cut into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Method-
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¾ cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until the corn is tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the cooked corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and ½ cup of the cooking water to the pot with the pasta. Cook over medium heat, gently tossing, until the liquid is slightly thickened and coats the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes (adding more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce).
Serve sprinkled with the oregano, walnuts, and goat cheese.

What To Eat On A Rainy July Evening - A Frittatta

We were planning on Burgers on the grill, but Mother Nature was not going to cooperate. Not a problem. There is always the frittatta. Zucchini, yellow squash, onion, red and yellow pepper, fresh parsley, basil and thyme. A little salami. Eggs and Parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper. A cutting board and knife. One bowl. One pan. Not too bad for a rainy Tuesday.



Italian Chopped Salad With Couscous & Chickpeas


I found this recipe on the Italian Food Forever blog. The original recipe calls for Farro. Well, guess what I did not have. But I had Israeli Couscous. Not a bad substitution. We loved this salad. There are so many things in it. I liked the veggies chopped nice and small and the arugula added a nice peppery flavor. I did not add the radicchio, it is kind of expensive.

The dressing, lemon and olive oil, is my absolute favorite. Just those two ingredients with salt and pepper are all you need. Throw out your bottled salad dressings!

This recipe makes enough for at least 2 meals, and maybe a lunch too. Perfect for these hot summer days.

Chris grilled Chicken breast that we served along with the salad. They were marinated in olive oil, Cholula Sauce and salt and pepper.

1/2 Broccoli Rabe and Beans and 1/2 Bacon Pizza


I like Broccoli Rabe and Chris likes Bacon. If we were ordering a pie we would get half Broccoli Rabe and half Bacon. So that is what I did at home. There was some Broccoli Rabe that did not get used last night. I blanched it and chopped it up. I had made pinto beans, I was planning on making a soup, but then changed my mind. I had soaked the beans last night and cooked them off this morning. I froze most of them, but kept some out for the pizza. The pizza dough was the Jim Lahey recipe. I did have a piece of the bacon, quality control all that. And Chris tried the Rabe and liked it. 

Sirloin Steaks and Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Rabe and Summer Squash

Still not grocery shopping. But Chris is doing such a good job. Tonight he picked up two nice steaks and grilled them perfectly. The meat was so tender. I do love that Maker's Mark Gourmet Sauce.

Now about the side dish. Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Rabe and Summer Squash. Loved this dish. The recipe is on Food52. Click here for recipe. Yes the Broccoli Rabe was grilled. I loved the cumin in the marinade. It had a nice spicy taste to it. And you can never go wrong with grilled bread.

Pasta with Chard, Eggplant Balls and Quinoa-Bulgur Balls

I channeled my Dad as I was cooking dinner tonight. He would always say that he would make a pan of beans and start adding so many things he would end up with more food than he could eat. 

Tonight's dinner started as Ravioli with Vodka Sauce. I had a container of the sauce in the freezer, which I put in the fridge last night. This morning I realized that I had taken out the smaller of the two containers that I had frozen. Not a problem I had some Marinara Sauce in the freezer which I defrosted. While in the freezer getting the Marinara Sauce I notice a zip lock bag of Eggplant Balls and Red Quinoa and Bulgur Balls. I think, "Why not!" But wait there is more.

I had some Swiss Chard that I had picked up at Jake's Farm Stand. Yeah, you guessed it. I heated up the Vodka Sauce and the Marinara Sauce in a skillet. I added the Eggplant and Quinoa Balls. Then I sliced the chard and added it to the pan. Seasoned with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper and the sauce was complete. But wait there is more.

I went to get the ravioli out of the freezer and noticed I had two opened bags, of course there was not enough. Grrrrr. Into the pantry I went and pulled out a partial bag of linguine. This is when this meal reminded me of my Dad. All the pasta had the same cooking time.


This was such a delicious meal. Pasta overload? Maybe, but I did not hear any complaints from my husband. And this was not the first time I cooked like my Dad. I found this post from a Friday in July last year.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

I Love Pie Crust

There is something wonderful about having pie dough in the freezer. When I made the crusts for the Meat Pies at Easter I guess I overestimated how many pies I would end up with. So making this quiche was a snap. I just sauteed the onion, zucchini and yellow squash. Put the veggies in the rolled out crust. Adding the filling of eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Topped with some grated Cheddar cheese, prosciutto and baked for about 45 minutes. The crust was perfect.
Chris made a huge salad with the lettuce I picked up at Jake's Farm Stand yesterday. He added grated cheese, carrots, tomatoes and salami. Guess what I am having for lunch tomorrow.

 And I could not resist sharing this photo.

Eggplant and Tomato Casserole

Another Vegetarian Epicure recipe! Eggplant and Tomato Casserole is my favorite recipe from the book. I love it. Chris loves it. Enough said.

Ingredients-
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 lb.) 
1 1/2 tsp. Salt (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs. Melted  butter
Ground pepper
2 to 3 tbspChopped onion 
1/2 tsp. Crushed oregano
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
2 oz. Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Paprika

Method-

Peel and slice the eggplant. Put the slices in a pan with the salt and about an inch of boiling water. Cover tightly and cook about 10 minutes. Drain. Mash the eggplant and mix in the eggs, melted butter, pepper, onion, oregano and bread crumbs.

Butter a shallow 1 1/2 qtbaking dish. Cover the bottom with half the tomato slices. Spoon in all of the eggplant mixture and spread evenly. Arrange the rest of the tomato slices on top. Mix together the cheeses and sprinkle over the top layer of tomatoes. Add a sprinkle of paprika and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.


I made a green salad and added the Double Nutty Farro Salad from last night. Nice flavor and texture.

Meat Pie and Double Nutty Farro Salad

I was so glad I had that half of a Meat Pie in the freezer. What a wonderful treat. Next year I have to make at least one more to freeze.

The Double Nutty Farro Salad was very good. The recipe was from Food and Wine.
I made a couple of changes as I did not have all the ingredients. 

Ingredients-
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mixed chopped nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
3 cups cooked farro
Kosher salt
Pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Chopped Parsley, Basil and Thyme

Method-
In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the nuts and toast over low heat, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the farro and 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the farro is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the farro to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, chopped herbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper.

And at work today we had a 3 layer chocolate cake! 

Baba Ghanoush and Rib Eye Steak

I decided to make Baba Ghanoush today. I had an eggplant and wanted to make something easy. The recipe I used was from the Vegetarian Epicure. You remember that book. It was one of the first books in my cookbook collection.

I found the recipe online, I think my copy of the book is in a still unpacked box in the garage. Of course, as usual, I did not bookmark the page and now can not find it. The internet is so large. I found a similar recipe for the ingredients, but a different technique which I may try the next time. Stay tuned for that one. 

For this batch I roasted a whole eggplant for an hour, skin on. I placed the roasted eggplant in a ziplock bag after removing it from the oven for 20 minutes. Then I removed the skin and placed the pulp in a bowl and mashed it up. I added 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of tahini, Salt and pepper. And I added some Cholula Sauce because I was not using garlic. I place the mixture in a serving dish and topped it with fresh chopped parsley. And the votes are in and they are favorable. It was perfect to enjoy while the steaks were on the grill.

The steaks were rib-eye, which Chris picked up on his grocery run. I am still not up for that trip. We marinated them in Maker's Mark Gourmet Sauce. They were grilled perfectly and melted in your mouth.

And tomorrow is back to work.

Zucchini, Onion, Pancetta and Pappardella


I'm back! I can not tell you how good it is to be back in the kitchen. Taking it kind of slow. The doctor gave me the okay to be on my foot, of course keeping the boot on. Today I took stock of what was in the fridge. There was zucchini and yellow squash that inspired tonight's dinner. This afternoon I made the Papardella noodles using the Tide and Thyme recipe.

I cooked up some pancetta and then sauteed sliced onions until tender. The zucchini and yellow squash were sliced with the a handheld slicer and then sliced to match the width of the pasta. The zucchini and squash were added to the pan along with a knob of butter and some salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. They were cooked until tender.

The pasta was cooked in salted water. I reserved 1/2 cup of the pasta water. When the noodles were just about done, I added them to the saute pan to finish cooking. Another knob of butter and chopped herbs from the deck, basil, parsley and lemon thyme were added to the pan along with the reserved water. I let it simmer for a couple of minutes and then it went to the table.

It was delicious. And it gave Chris a well deserved break from getting dinner on the table. 

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July! Today we ate at my sister's house. 
Burgers, Hot Dogs, Potato Salad and Bean Salad. What a feast. 
One of the appetizers we had was Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta Brushetta. 
The Rabe was grown from seed from the plants in my Dad's garden. This was delicious.

For dessert my niece Anna decorated a Four Egg Cake that my sister made. 
It was perfect for  today.