Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ratatouille with Goat Cheese

A summer staple in our house is Ratatouille. This recipe is from Food and Wine. Of course the the Goat Cheese was a nice addition.

Ratatouille with Goat Cheese, a variation of Food and Wine recipe

Ingredients -
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed shredded basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese

Method -
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the casserole along with the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the basil and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pasta Pie, The Big Salad, Why I Blog and A Happy Birthday Wish

Do you remember Friday night's dinner? The pasta with the roasted vegetables. Fortunately we had leftovers. So I made my favorite thing to make with leftover pasta. The Pasta Pie. The recipe is from Chef Silvio's book, Cooking With Chef Silvio: Stores and Authentic Recipes from Campania. His recipe calls for heavy cream. Well I did not have any but I had plain Greek Yogurt. Wow it was amazing. Before I finished my first slice I saw someone go back for seconds.

Here is the recipe with my variation noted.

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup pecorino romano cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream (or 1/3 cup Plain Greek Yogurt)
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.

In addition to the Pasta Pie we had the ever popular Big Salad. I got 2 heads of lettuce, one green leaf and the other Romaine, from Jake's Farm Stand for $2.00 each. They are huge! I have enough lettuce for all week. And after the dessert I had today that Becky brought in I need to eat nothing but lettuce. It was something her sister made. A log of dark chocolate with cookies inside. Dear God it was quite good.

Now on to the Why I Blog portion of tonight's post...
This is our God Daughter Elenora eating Baked Quiona and Chicken Parmesan.
And that is why I post what we had for dinner.

And Happy 40th Birthday to my nephew Carlo!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Porterhouse Steak

If I am going to eat meat this is the cut of meat I prefer. The Porterhouse Steak. It is like 2 steaks wrapped in one.

 The Porterhouse is kind of a composite steak coming from the point where the tenderloin and top loin meet. Basically an over-sized T-Bone steak the porterhouse is thicker cut and has much more of the tenderloin relative to the loin portion. If you remove the bone and cut out the two steaks that basically make up this steak you will get a tenderloin steak and a top loin (or New York Strip Steak). So if you are ordering a Porterhouse, I hope you're hungry.

Chris used a dry rub consisting of coriander seed,salt, ground mustard, fennel seed, paprika, black pepper and chili powder.
    The steaks were grilled perfectly.

    For side dishes we had grilled potatoes and new zucchini recipe, always need new zucchini recipes!

    I found this on Cookstr. It is from Sarah Leah Chase's book, Nantucket Open-House Cookbook.

    Summer Squash Casserole, adapted from Sarah Leah Chase's recipe.

    Ingredients -
    1 tablespoons olive oil
    5 medium zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
    1 medium red onions, thinly sliced
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Thyme and Pasley
    5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
    4 ounces Swiss cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick

    Method -
    Preheat the oven to 375°F.

    Brush a 7-inch round soufflé dish with the oil. Arrange a layer of summer squash slices evenly in the bottom of the casserole. Top with a layer of onion and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Dot with Cheddar cheese and Swiss Cheese. Repeat the layers. Finish with a layer of cheese. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil.

    Bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the squash is tender and the cheese is bubbly and browned, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    And I made a new appetizer recipe.  Balsamic Glazed Mortadella Bites, which I found on Italian Food Forever. I have always liked Mortadella. This is a super easy appetizer.

    Balsamic Glazed Mortadella Bites, from Italian Food Forever.

    Ingredients -
    1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    1/3 Pound Mortadella Salami, Rind Removed & Cut Into 1 1/2 Inch Cubes
    2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

    Method -
    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until smoking. Add the mortadella cubes, and cook, tossing the cubes often, until they are lightly browned on all sides. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Cook for another minute or two until the vinegar thickens and coats the meat. Serve immediately.

    Friday, July 26, 2013

    Cooking Like My Dad

    I am not sure why my Dad was on my mind today but tonight's dinner was an homage to my Father. My Dad use to make stews and sauces starting off by using just a few things from the garden. Then little by little he would add this and that and he would end up with a large pot of food that would last him a week. I would stop by the house and he would say, "Lucia you have to try this. It tastes pretty good! But I've got too much. I can't cook without adding more and more to the pan." And I would always take some home.

    Tonight's dinner started as Pasta with Zucchini and Eggplant. I worked from home today so at lunch I was able to roast the zucchini and eggplant. I tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano & crushed red pepper. About 20 minutes at 425 stirring and rotating the pans half way through the cooking time. I had peppers, onions and sausage left over from the other night. So while the pasta water was coming to a boil I heated up some olive oil and a knob of butter in a saute pan. I added the peppers, onions and sausage and some sliced grape tomatoes. I let that saute for about 10 minutes and then I added the the roasted zucchini and eggplant. A little seasoning and a little white wine were added to the pan. Just before the the pasta was done I remembered I had arugula. I quickly added that to the saute pan and when it had wilted I added the pasta and a little of the pasta water. The timing was perfect. The plates were garnished with chopped parsley and Parmesan Cheese.
    And how was dinner? Amazing! The peppery arugula and the roasted vegetables kept it quite light for a pasta dish. And just as my Dad had too much food we will be seeing our leftovers probably in a Pasta Pie later in the week.

    Sunday, July 21, 2013

    Cold Antipasto

    When we were visiting my nephew for the Baptism a couple of weeks ago we had a dinner which was a big antipasto. It never occurred to me to do that for dinner. Tonight that is what I put on the table. Fantastic.

    I had seen a recipe using Patty Pan Squash on the Proud Italian blog a couple of nights ago and had to try it. I used the leftover Zucchini Salad from last night, adding the Patty Pan Squash. I adjusted the dressing, olive oil and lemon juice. Nice!

    I had some Capicola, Olives, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil. I just added a little olive oil and salt over the Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

    Then there was so steak leftover from last night's dinner. Some lettuce, olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. The steak sliced on top. A little vinaigrette dressing. Perfect meal for a hot summer night.

    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Grilled Steak and Radishes with Black Pepper Butter

    Right out of the new Bon Appetit! Grilled Steak and Radishes with Black Pepper Butter. Okay my favorite part was the radishes. I just love them grilled. I also made a Shaved Zucchini Salad. It was a perfect match for the meat and radishes. As much as I liked this steak recipe I think I still like the dry rub better!
    And for dessert I picked up something new at the store. Roba Dolce Ocean Spray Lemon Blueberry Sorbet. I love the lemon blueberry combination. Heck I made Lemon Blueberry Scones today for tomorrow's breakfast! This sorbet is wonderful.  It is 110 calories for half a cup so I did not eat the whole carton but I do believe I could have! I  also picked up the Hazelnut Truffle Gelato (they were on sale 2 for $6), but I have not tried that on yet... stay tuned...

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    Grilled Pizza! Amazing!

    I just love grilling pizza. The crust is so crisp. We brush one side of the crust with olive oil and put the oiled side down on the grill. Once it is done we remove the crust, brush oil on the uncooked side and put our toppings on the cooked side. Back on the grill until the underside is crisp and the cheese on top is melted. The aroma of the grilling dough is wonderful. It reminds me of the school carnival when I was in grade school. Zuppardi's use to run the fried dough stand. Talk about food memories!

    For toppings we cleaned out the fridge. The grilled eggplant and grilled yellow squash were from the other night. I did not do a post for that dinner. And the zucchini flowers I picked up at Bishop's Orchards. Goat cheese, shredded Mozzarella and of course Parmesan.

    And speaking of the school carnival, I found a photo of my Mom at the St. Lawrence School Carnival with my brother's three children. The year was 1979!

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Grilled Pork Tenderloin

    I came home and Chris had dinner well under way. He cubed a pork tenderloin. He marinated the pork in olive oil, cholula hot sauce, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and fresh sage. Then he skewered the meat and grilled it along with some zucchini spears. The pork was delicious. The flavors were perfect.

    Happy Wednesday!

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    Grilled Meatball Subs & Barley Salad with Tomato & Herbs

    That was one tasty meatball! I started out with a pound of grass feed ground beef. To that I added 2 slices of Italian bread that was soaked in milk, 1/4 cup of minced yellow onion, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoons of salt and pepper. I combined all the ingredients and shaped them into 1 inch meatballs. They were refrigerated over night. Chris grilled them and the rolls and we heated up some sauce. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese (was sure I had mozzarella!!). Fantastic. The flavors were perfect.

    Now about that Barley Salad with Tomato and Herbs, it was suppose to be made with Farro. But I did not have Farro in the house so I substituted Pearl Barley. Another hit! The Farro Salad recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis.
    The tomato was our first tomato from our plant on the deck! 

    Barley Salad with Tomato and Herbs, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

    Ingredients -
    3 cups water *
    1 cup Pearl Barley
    1 pound tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    1/2 sweet onion (recommended: Walla Walla) chopped
    1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Method -
    Combine the water and barley in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat; cook 50-60 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool. Freeze or refrigerate half of the barley for another time.

    Add the tomatoes, onion, chives, and parsley to the barley, and toss to combine.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat.

    The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Note - * This amount of water and barley make double what you need for this salad,  but the barley freezes perfectly.

    Sunday, July 14, 2013

    New Haven Apizza & Bakery

    I had a lot of little things going on today so I opted for getting dinner to go. I called New Haven Apizza & Bakery and ordered 2 Daily Specials. Broccoli over Rigatoni for me and Braciole with Meatball & Sausage over Rigatoni for Chris. We had not had pasta since June 8! Our dinners were delicious. I requested light on the garlic and glad I did. I tasted the Meatball and Braciole. So good! Loved it and really needed a dish of pasta.... Now if I could just get my hands on an Almond Joy....

    Friday, July 12, 2013

    Grilled Shrimp Panzanella

    Again we have a recipe from Better Homes and Garden. An amazing recipe. A delicious recipe. A dish that I can't wait to share the leftovers with my sister and brother tomorrow as we spend one of our last Saturdays cleaning out my parent's house. Grilled Shrimp Panzanella. Panzanella is a bread salad. I love bread so of course I would love a bread salad. The dressing was spot on. Just the right taste of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. 
    And we skewered the shrimp using 2 skewers so flipping them was a lot easier. We served the Grilled Shrimp Panzanella on a bed of lettuce, we had some leftover from this week. Definitely a meal we will make again.

    Ingredients -
    1 1/2 pound large fresh or frozen shrimp with tails, peeled and deveined
    3/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 larger and/or yellow sweet peppers, halved and seeded
    2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
    1 1 pound loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
    4 roma tomatoes, halved
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (optional)
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
    1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved (optional)

    Method -
    Thaw shrimp, if frozen. In a medium bowl combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Brush shrimp with about 3 tablespoons of the oil mixture, reserving the remaining mixture.

    For a charcoal or gas grill, grease grill rack. Place skewers on the grill rack directly over medium heat. Cover and grill for 4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once halfway through grilling. Remove from grill; set aside on a large baking sheet.

    Brush sweet peppers and zucchini with oil mixture. Add to grill. Cover and grill about 8 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly charred, turning once halfway through grilling. Remove from grill; set aside on a large baking sheet.

    Brush bread slices and tomatoes with some of the reserved oil mixture. Add to grill. Cover and grill about 2 minutes or until bread is lightly toasted and tomatoes are softened, turning once halfway through grilling.

    Remove shrimp from skewers and transfer to a very large bowl. Cut sweet peppers, zucchini, and bread into 1-inch pieces; add to bowl. Drizzle with any remaining oil mixture. If desired, add basil, parsley, and olives; toss to combine.

    Serve salad immediately or chill for up to 2 hours.

    Thursday, July 11, 2013

    Spinach, Bacon, Onion, Goat Cheese and Feta Pizza

    Wow! Best Pizza Ever!
    I sauteed sliced onions, added pre-cooked bacon to the pan (yeah I know it is not the best thing to eat but I was in traffic for an hour and 20 minutes) and some spinach until it was wilted. A bit of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Chris took care of the crust on the grill. He grilled one side. Then we added the tomatoes and the toppings and the cheeses and some mozzarella to the grilled side of the pizza. Back on the grill, un-grilled side down. The crust was so thin and crisp. We brushed the crust with olive oil so it would not stick to the grill. We loved it! It was so good I forgot how bad the drive home was...
    Where did the crust come from? The freezer! I had made the Jim Lahey recipe a couple of weeks ago and froze half of the dough. Perfect!

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish

    Tonight's recipe is from Better Homes and Garden. My Mom use to subscribe to the magazine and couple of years ago my Dad got me a subscription for Christmas.

    The chicken was delicious. And the relish was excellent. Not our usual dinner fare. It was perfect for a hot day like today. The cumin was the perfect rub for the chicken, just enough spice. And the relish cooled it down perfectly.

    We had a green salad as the side dish.

    From Better Homes and Garden, Grilled Chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish -

    Ingredients -
    4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
    1 medium seedless cucumber, chopped (2 1/2 cups)
    1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
    1/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 tablespoon milk

    Method -
    Brush chicken breast halves with olive oil; sprinkle with ground cumin, salt, and pepper. Grill on a covered grill directly over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until done (170 degrees F), turning once.

    Meanwhile, for Lemon-Cucumber Relish, in a medium bowl combine cucumber, tomato, onion, lemon peel, lemon juice, and garlic; stir to combine. In a small bowl combine yogurt, honey, and milk; stir to combine.

    To serve, top chicken with Lemon-Cucumber Relish. Drizzle with yogurt sauce. Makes 4 servings.

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    Grilled Chicken Sausages and Not Really Roasted Vegetable Salad

    Funny how things work out...
    I had Monday off and as I was resting from the long drive home, Chris drove but I was exhausted, I found this recipe online - Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Salad. I went to the store and got everything except, because I was so sure I had them at home, Chickpeas.

    After my total amazement of not knowing what I have and do not have in the pantry I proceeded with the recipe, planning on just omitting the Chickpeas. I turned the oven on and set it to 375 degrees. I popped the pan in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes, planning on stirring at the 10 minute mark. The timer goes off. I open the oven and thought to myself that the oven did not seem that hot. But I stir the veggies. 10 minutes later I open the oven and darn the oven still did not seem hot. Sigh... The top burners are working, I had made a double batch of brown rice to freeze. Obviously something was wrong. But I baked cookies on Wednesday night and they came out perfect.

    I tried the broiler and that worked. I put the Not Roasted Vegetable No Chickpea Salad in a dish and waited until today to deal with it.

    We put the Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Salad without Chickpeas in the grill basket and Chris took over. He grilled up some Chicken Sausages and some Italian bread. A perfect meal. Thank you Chris!

    Sunday, July 7, 2013

    The Baptism

    Let me start out by saying I am not a fan of flying. 
    But I will fly as long as I can prep for the flight...

    This weekend Chris and I traveled to visit my nephew Nicholas and his family. 
    We were asked to be Elenora's Godparents.

    For dinner on Friday night we had a fantastic Antipasto at my nephew's house. There were so many things on the table I am sure I will not remember all of them. Stuffed Grape Leaves, Tomato Bruschetta, Cheeses, Prosciutto, Soppressata, Olives, Tuna, Italian Bread, Artichoke Hummus, Hot Peppers, Sweet Peppers, Fresh Mozzarella... it went on forever.

    Then there was the Baptism.

    Chris and I and my nephew's children.

    Check out the shoes!

    We had brunch after the ceremony at Matchbox. I had the Veggie Frittatta. It was so good, and I know my frittattas. The mushrooms were something I do not usually add but they were the perfect texture and the pesto was nice addition. Chris had the Bloody Mary Burger. It had a fried egg on top. I have seen burgers with fried eggs in magazines and online. I have been wanting to try it. Chris gave it two thumbs up... perhaps we can try it at home!

    We spent Saturday playing with the kids and we had a cook-out Saturday night, sorry no photos but the turkey burger was grilled perfectly (Ralph was on the grill!). But I took some photos of the hydrangea plants at my nephew's house. There are so many of them!
    We flew, oh wait we drove home. Our flight was cancelled!!!! So for dinner on Sunday we had MacDonald's Coffee and Bagel Chips. Sorry but I was not going to break down and eat reststop food. I am sure reststop food is good but I could not bring my self to order anything.