Sunday, August 30, 2015

Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Cherry Tomato Panzanella

From Bon Appétit we had Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Cherry Tomato Panzanella for dinner tonight. Delicious crispy cutlets and the Panzanella was perfectly seasoned. A nice way to end a weekend.

From Bon Appétit,  Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Cherry Tomato Panzanella

¼ small onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup torn country-style bread, (from about ¼ small loaf)
1 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
¾ cup parsley leaves with tender stems

Combine onion and 2 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add bread; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe out skillet.

Using a thin, sharp knife, cut bones and cartilage from chicken breasts. Pound chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to ¼" thick; season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook 1 chicken breast, skin side down, until golden brown and nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until cooked through, about 1 minute more; second side will not brown. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with remaining cutlet and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (no need to wipe out skillet).

Cut half of tomatoes in half. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add whole tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until lightly blistered and starting to burst, about 5 minutes. Toss in sugar and remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Transfer to bowl with croutons. Add pickled onion with pickling liquid, halved tomatoes, parsley, and remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and toss. Serve chicken with panzanella spooned over.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Zucchini Farro Cakes and Focaccio di Recco

Not sure which side dish to start with. Both were stars. We'll start with the Zucchini Farro Cakes. I have had this on a Pinterest board for while. This recipe is from Cooking Light. I did not make the slow roasted tomatoes. I made half of the recipe and ended up with enough to freeze for either lunches or to use as a side dish again.
My version of Zucchini Farro Cakes:
1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cups cooked farro
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2  tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1.25 ounces goat cheese (at room temperature)
1 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a cheesecloth-lined bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Gather edges of cheesecloth; squeeze zucchini in cloth until barely moist. Combine zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon salt, farro, and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Shape mixture into patties, about 3/4 inch thick.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat in two more batches with remaining oil and patties.  Sprinkle the patties with salt when you remove them from the oil. Keep warm.

To prepare cheese, combine cheese and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well combined.

Arrange 2 zucchini cakes on each plates. Top with cheese mixture.

The Focaccio di Recco was a recent addition to my Pinterest board for Recipes I Would Like to Try.

Focaccio di Recco, by Emiko on Food 52. Makes 3-4 focacce

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for sprinkling
3 cups bread flour
1 pound stracchino or Crescenza cheese or marscapone cheese

Using a wooden spoon, mix the water, olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of flour in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour little by little, mixing with the spoon until thoroughly combined. Knead by hand in the bowl for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic (poke it; it should bounce back easily). Let rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 480º F, and grease a baking sheet or a round pizza tray with olive oil.

Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and keep them under a tea towel or wrapped in plastic wrap when not in use. Roll out the dough ball initially with a rolling pin on a floured work surface, then begin stretching it carefully with your hands, using the weight of the dough to help stretch it. Get the dough as thin as you can, then transfer it to the prepared baking tray. Lay spoonfuls of the cheese over the dough. Take another piece of dough and roll and stretch again as before. Lay this layer over the cheese. With a knife, a rolling pin, or your hands, tap the edges of the dough together all along the border of the tray to trim the dough to exactly the size of the tray (see pictures for reference). Go over the edges of the focaccia again with your thumb, pressing down to seal the edges of the two layers of dough (again, see the pictures on this link). Gather the excess dough, and roll into a ball to use for the next focaccia.

Pinch the top of the dough in 5 or 6 places to create holes for steam to escape. Drizzle the top of the focaccia with a bit of oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for 7 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.

While the first focaccia is in the oven, prepare the second with the remaining dough (adding the scraps from the first to the balls of dough) and bake when the first is out of the oven; it is recommended to only baking one at a time as the distribution of heat will be compromised with more than one in the oven.

The dough can also be frozen (wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and then freeze.) Before using the dough, defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter. The dough will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

And there was also a sirloin steak to go along with the side dishes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Polpette Di Pane

When you have the world's best tomato sauce and then add fried bread meatballs you end up with an amazingly delicious dinner. Being the day before pay day this could be classified under cucina prover, "cuisine of the poor." The bread was from leftover loaves that I had frozen. No waste in this kitchen!

Polpette Di Pane (Bread Balls in Tomato Sauce)

2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. grated pecorino
1 tbsp Basil
About 6 oz. stale bread (not too soft, not too hard: about 2 days old, grated)
1/2 cup olive oil

Put the tomatoes in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.

Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.

Taste and correct for salt. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce and onion. Season to taste.

Mix the eggs in a bowl with salt, cheese and the basil. Add the bread and work together to form a soft dough. Make the dough into balls, then flatten them. Heat the olive in a pan and saute the bread balls until golden. Drain on paper towels then add them to the tomato sauce. Cook for 10 minutes at low heat.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

6 Grain Salad

I had two opened bags of grains in the pantry. I wanted to use them up, so I combined the bags and ended up with a very nice salad. Bulgur & Red Quinoa and Basmati, Oats and Red and Yellow Lentils. They were bags of Full Circle All Natural products. I cooked both bags according to the package. I chopped up peppers, celery, radishes and scallions. And added the vegetables to the cooked grains.  The dressing was our new "house" dressing. Olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Lemon Juice, Parm Cheese, Salt & Pepper.
I am very happy to have leftovers for lunch!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday Traffic?? Thank God I Made Quiche on Sunday!

Way too much traffic for a Tuesday night so this will be a short post. 
The salad with roasted beets and goat cheese and our "house" dressing.
The quiche. Wow. Really good.
Ham and red and yellow peppers and an heirloom tomato. 

Excuse me but I need another glass of wine. Must numb myself after that commute! 
But seriously, I see no solution to the back up in traffic. 
Okay it will be a six lane bridge. It still leads into a 2 lane highway. 
It is enough to make someone crazy!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"The Works" Pizza

It has been a while since we have had our Sunday night Pizza. Today I sauteed onions and peppers. There was the leftover steak and some grilled zucchini. There was a meatball. And there was a little smoked Gouda. I cleaned up bits and pieces from the fridge. Damn, what a good pie. It was a definite fork and knife pie. You could not fold this crust because of the amount of toppings. But, I heard no complaints.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Steak Pizzaiola with Basil Pasta

Steakhouse Cut Sirloins from Robert's. Almost the last of the meat from my large purchase back in July. Chris grilled the steaks perfectly.
I then topped the steaks with our favorite sauce, Marcella Hazan's Butter, Tomato and Onion Sauce.
Chris also grilled some zucchini.

The star of tonight's dinner was the pasta Basil Pasta from Borgattis Ravioli. I purchased it when I visited Arthur Avenue with the Book Club. Delicious! Especially with the sauce.

And on the subject of Borgatti's they now have online shopping! And a couple of weeks ago they had a a challenge and see who can submit the most unique recipe. Well guess who won? Me! I won a 25% coupon for an online purchase. Yeah!!! The win came with this dinner - Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe Sausage in Tomato, Butter and Onion Sauce. I am thinking of ordering more Basil Pasta.

Tonight I was washing some dishes while Chris was grilling and I turned around and saw my Sous Chef was keeping an eye on things.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Eight Ball Squash

Yes ,this has been a Squash heavy week. But it is summer and there's a lot of squash out there. I love the Eight Ball Squash just because it is a different shape. Easy prep for this dinner.  I cut the tops off the squash and scraped out the seeds. For this I used a grapefruit spoon I had from my parent's house. Do people still use grapefruit spoons? Next I stuffed the squash with sausage and pasta. Nothing fancy. But wonderful flavors. The stuffing was seasoned with the usual suspects - salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, Pecorino Romano cheese. Put the squash in a baking dish and into 400 degree oven until the squash was cooked. Sorry I do not remember how long it took...... The squash can then be topped with a nice Tomato Sauce.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Green Bean Salad

This recipe was my mom's recipe. It is simple and delicious. Steam Green Beans. Toss with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, basil and oregano. You can also add some Pecorino Romano cheese. Eating this salad brings me back to eating dinner on my parent's back porch. Good memories.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spaghetti Squash, Zucchini and Sausage Pie

A pasta pie made with Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini and Al Fresco Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage.

First, I microwaved the Spaghetti Squash. (Click Here for KitchenTreaty's easy to the follow instructions on preparing Spaghetti Squash.)

Next use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to slice the zucchini. Saute the zucchini in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Mix the zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with 2 beaten eggs. Add chopped fresh basil, parsley and thyme and Pecorino Romano Cheese. Set aside.

Saute the Chicken Sausage. Add the sausage to the vegetables and stir to blend. Place in pie dish that has been sprayed with a cooking spray.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until the custard is set.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Zucchini and Prosciutto Tart

When you have pie crust in the freezer 
and a lot of zucchini and 
some delicious Prosciutto in the fridge you make 
a Zucchini and Prosciutto Tart. 
This was so good.

Chris made an amazing salad to go along with the tart. Not a bad meal for a Monday!

Pappardelle with Zucchini and Chicken Pie

Yes, that leftover pasta from Pappardelle with Zucchini and Chicken on Friday night has been transformed into a pasta pie. It is the only logical thing to do with leftover pasta.

The recipe for the Pasta Pie is from Chef Silvio's book, Cooking With Chef Silvio: Stores and Authentic Recipes from Campania.

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper
12 oz cooked spaghetti, cold
2 tbsp butter

In a bowl, beat the eggs, grated cheese, cream, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Stir in the spaghetti, then set aside. Place the butter in a deep pie tin and melt the butter in a 425 degree oven, and spread over the pan bottom. Pour the spaghetti mixture into the buttered pan and spread evenly. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is firm and golden.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Friselle con Pomodoro

Friselle con Pomodoro.  I made this recipe last summer and have been looking forward to the perfect tomatoes so I could make it this year.

Friselle (store bought or homemade)
5 ripe tomatoes, chopped into small cubes
2 teaspoons capers
Black olives, chopped
A big glug of extra virgin olive oil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Fresh herbs – Parsley, Sage, Basil and Thyme


Place all the ingredients (except the friselle) in a large bowl. Add the herbs, olives, capers and salt and pepper to taste. If you let it all sit for a bit — even as little as 15 minutes — a nice amount of juice will form on the bottom of the bowl. When you’re almost ready to serve the Friselle arrange them on a serving tray (I think a cheese or cutting board works well). (If you have really big Friselle, you can break them into manageable pieces before soaking and topping them.)

Spoon some of the tomato juice onto each one; you want them to be soft enough to bite into. You will probably also want to give each friselle (or piece of friselle) a good dose of olive oil. If they’re not soft enough after you’ve used up all the tomato juices, add a small amount of cold water. Remember, though, that they will continue to soften a bit when the topping soaks in. Then spoon the tomato mixture evenly over each Friselle . Top with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some ripped fresh herbs.
We had grilled Chicken and Corn on the Cob to go along with the salad.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Infinity Hall, Norfolk

Tonight Chris and I went to see Delbert McClinton at the Infinity Hall in Norfolk. We were happy to find a new menu since the last time we were there. Everything we ordered we loved!
We started with a Lobster Flatbread. Lobster, melted Leeks and Corn, Ricotta and Lemon Butter. Every ingredient complimented each other. It was a perfect dish.
We also had the Buffalo Calamari. Think Chicken Wing sauce on Fried Calamari. Nothing wrong with that combo.
Dinner was sublime. Not sure if it was not yelling at Lucy to get off the counter but eating dinner out was delightful. I had the Scallops. Served with a Multigrain Risotto which was amazing. I ate just about the whole dish. Chris polished off the couple of scallops I left behind.
Chris had the Center Cut Ribeye. Wow!!! Melt in your mouth good. It was served with a Cauliflower-Cheddar Tart. It was something I have to see if I can get the recipe for.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Pappardelle with Zucchini and Chicken

Being a Friday I wanted to use up some things in the fridge. There was a little chicken left from Archie's birthday dinner and some zucchini. I used the Mandoline to slice the zucchini. First I sauteed some onions, also sliced on the Mandoline, in olive oil. I added the zucchini and the chicken, parsley, salt and pepper. When the Pappardelle was ready I added some of the pasta water to the veggies. I then tossed the pasta in the saute pan with the veggies and topped it with cheese.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Archie!

15 years old today! 
We adopted Archie when he was 7 weeks old and he was just a ball of fur. 
When Chris picked him up to bring him home they
told him not to worry, he would grow into his fur. 
So tonight's dinner was one of Archie's favorites. Rotisserie Chicken.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chickpeas and Chard with Poached Eggs

Chris said this was a delicious meal! Well it really was but I was not expecting that much praise. The broth was a hit. I used vegetable broth and then tonight while I was heating it up I added about a cup of chicken broth. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. I did make a couple of changes...

Here is my version of Chickpeas and Chard with Poached Eggs-

¼ cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed and thinly sliced, leaves torn into 1” pieces
1 14oz can of Chick Peas
1 cup of Vegetable Broth
4 large eggs
Freshly cracked black pepper

Add the ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion, season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes. Add Swiss chard ribs and stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5–8 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a simmer. Gradually add chard leaves, stirring until slightly wilted. Use a spoon to make 4 indentations. Crack an egg into each and simmer until whites are almost entirely opaque, about 10 minutes. Cover pan and cook just until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 2 minutes. Season eggs with salt and pepper.

I even made a change in this recipe. I made this recipe, up to the adding the eggs to the chard, on Sunday night. Last night I poached the eggs and put them in an ice bath. Tonight when I got home I heated the onions and chard, adding the chicken broth. Then I made the indentations in the chard and placed the poached eggs in each. I covered until it was heated, but not overcooking the eggs.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Grilled Sausage, Peppers and Onions

Tonight we had a simple dinner. I had a package of Kayem Sweet Pepper and Provolone Sausage. Bishop's had yellow and orange peppers on sale. The Sausage, Peppers and some Red Onion were all grilled. What a perfect blend of flavors. The peppers were just sweet enough. And this was the first time we tried Kayem Sausage. Just delicious!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

This Is Our House Potato Salad

I was planning on trying out a few Potato Salad recipes this summer to find the one we liked the best. Well, I did not get very far in my search. Caesar Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas is our winner. The dressing is so good. The salad is very photogenic, not that it should matter, but you do want your food to look appetizing. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. I of course did not add garlic.

1 1/2 pounds unpeeled assorted fingerling potatoes or baby potatoes (such as white-skinned, red-skinned, and purple), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 ounces trimmed sugar snap peas
1 bunch radishes, trimmed, sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Steam potatoes on steamer rack set in large pot over boiling water until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and steam until peas are crisp-tender and potatoes are just tender, about 1 minute longer. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool slightly. Add radishes and onion.

Whisk next 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Whisk in Parmesan. Season dressing with salt and generous amount of pepper. Add dressing to potato mixture; toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Grilled Flank Steak, Vegetable Tian and Pie

No I have not posted a single blog post this week. Let's just say between the heat and life in general, it did not happen. But we are at the start of a new week and a new month.
I took a half day on Friday and I have Monday off so let's get blogging!
Tonight we had Grilled Flank Steak with Chimmichuri Sauce, from the Bertolli Olive Oil site. Delicious. I brushed the steak with olive oil and salt. I used a Pepper that I got Chris for Christmas, Pirate's Bite Spice Blend. It has sea salt, black peppercorn, bird's eye chile pepper, coriander, fennel, chipotle peppers, cumin, cayenne pepper, Dahil pepper, habanero powder, and Scotch Bonnet pepper.
Chris took over at the grill. I had made the Chimmichuri Sauce earlier in the day.
I did not have fresh oregano and could not find it at the store (!!!) so I substituted some dried oregano and added in some fresh thyme and basil from the plants on the deck. Not bad. First time making Chimmichuri Sauce and I liked the results.

For a side dish I made a Summer Vegetable Tian. I found the recipe on 12 Tomatoes.
I loved this recipe. But of course I cut too many veggies and potatoes so I ended up making a frittatta for either later in the week or I could use it for a couple of lunches.

And just because it was a Saturday night we opened a bottle of wine. Montepulciano D'Abruzzo DOC 2012. I would say it was a nice wine pairing.

And than there was dessert. I went to Bishop's yesterday and the peaches were on sale. I could not resist. Blueberries were on sale at Stop & Shop so I made a Peach & Blueberry Thyme Galette. I found this recipe on Food 52. I added the blueberries because I love Blueberry Peach Pie. I use to bake pies and sold them to local restaurants. The Blueberry Peach was always my favorite. This pie was delicious. The Thyme and Honey was a nice addition. It was just a hint of Thyme. The crust was a little different from my usual recipe. I liked the dough. It was very easy to work with.
I always think of my Dad when I eat pie. He would have probably said it was not sweet enough and needed Vanilla Ice Cream. I would have to agree at least on the Vanilla Ice Cream.