Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn has arrived- well sort of...

I know that I have been terribly neglecting my blog as of lately- and I feel like a bad mother. I have many recipes to add to the collection- but unfortunately- have not had time. I will post them soon and hope to have oodles of new dishes to come.

Autumn is such a wonderful time of year and my favorite season for many reasons. I long to be in New England- experiencing the change in season and all the natural splendor that goes with it. With it comes the comforts of fall spices, sweater weather, and all things pumpkin.  Although I am in South Carolina -where it is still hot and sticky- I am committed to enjoying all that is fall for as long as I can. (It just isn't quite the same driving around with a Pumpkin Spice Latte and your air conditioning on full blast, instead of your windows down and the crisp air giving you a little blush in your cheeks.--Let's hope the heat breaks soon!)

Please let me know if you have any requests- I will do my best to get them to you promptly.

Hope you are all doing well! Happy Dishing!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with a Goat Cheese, Chives and Honey Blend



This recipe came to be last week while helping the owner of a cafe fill a catering order. I liked the heat and sweet mixture of the pepper and honey with the tangy bite of the goat cheese and chives. 


Peppadew Peppers are a South African pepper discovered in the early 90's and are now making their rounds in many markets and restaurants. I like the slight heat and mild sweetness that you can't get from other more potent peppers. There are different strengths - I chose to use mild.




Ingredients: 

2 Cups Goat Cheese (softened)
2 Tablespoons Chives (finely chopped) 
2 Teaspoons Honey 
Salt & Pepper
2 Jars Peppadew Peppers (or sliced baguette pieces) 



Let the goat cheese sit at room temperature until soft and creamy. 
In a mixing bowl add goat cheese and other ingredients-- mix well. 

The best way to get the blend into the peppers is to use a zip-lock baggie with the end cut off. You can spoon the mixture in- but it is messier and not quite as pretty.


Be sure that they peppers are well drained, rinsed and dried. I let them sit on a paper towel for a bit to help absorb any extra moisture- after you have let them sit in a colander to drain. 



Fill the peppers and space evenly on plate. Can be made and refrigerated in advance.


You can also serve the goat cheese mixture on crostini if you or your guests do not like peppers. It is delicious either way.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cointreau Grilled Peaches


Ingredients:

Peaches
Cointreau
Raw Sugar
Butter
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Whipped Cream
Reynold's Wrap Non Stick Foil

The amount you will need depends on how many you are serving. 1/2 a peach is more filling than it looks. 

Halve and core the peaches. Lay face down in a flat container with at least 1/4"  Cointreau. Soak for at least an hr. (The longer the better)


Before grilling:

Fill a shallow bowl with raw sugar. 

Dip each half in the sugar and coat well. 
Set aside.







On a grill set at medium heat- place a large piece of the non-stick foil. Melt a small amount of butter across the surface.

Place the peaches skin side down for 5 minutes. Close grill cover. 




Turn the peaches over- so they are face down. Cook for 5 minutes.


Reduce the heat to low.
Remove the peaches from the foil and place on the grill directly.
Leave on until caramelized. 


Top with your favorite Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and whipped cream.  Enjoy!
I used Hagan Daz Five Ingredient Vanilla Bean. It was deelish!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Salmon with Feta and Greek Yogurt Topping and Grilled Bread with Feta Crumbles


(For 4 servings)

Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Topping

8oz. Greek Yogurt
Juice from 1/2 of a Large Lemon
1 Clove Garlic (grated over a micro-plane)
1Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/2 Finely Chopped Cucumber (make sure to peel and seed the cucumber)
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Chives
Salt and Pepper to taste



 Combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside at least 15 minutes before eating.

SALMON

You will need 4 large pieces of Salmon drizzled with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I chose to grill the salmon using Reynold's Wrap Non Stick Foil. It makes grilling the fish a good bit easier and helps brown the edges with out the char marks. Cook at least 5 min per side. Make sure the salmon is cooked thoroughly and remove from grill. 

Top with heaping spoonful of Yogurt mixture. 



GRILLED BREAD

You will need a loaf of hearty bread- I used a crusty Italian bread. 
Cut the bread in 1/2 inch slices. 
Place them on the grill on low/medium heat. Let toast for at least 2 min. a side. Check to make sure they aren't burning. Remove from the grill and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with feta cheese. 
Replace on the grill on top tier or over low heat. Let the feta melt slightly. (You can close the top of the grill.)
Remove from heat.




ASPARAGUS

For an accompanying  vegetable dish-I served grilled asparagus. To prepare the asparagus- I snapped the ends off and placed them on a plate and drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice- toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste and grill on med/low heat  until you can see grill marks. Then move to the top tier or remove from the grill.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blueberry-Lemon Poppyseed Muffins


The basic recipe came from the Food Network site- but, I changed it a bit to make it my own. 


Ingredients

  • 2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/2 Sticks of   butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
  •  Finely grated  zest from one med/large lemon 
  • The juice from the lemon
  • 3/4 Cup granulated Sugar
  • Raw Sugar for topping the muffins
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 Teaspoons Poppy Seeds
  • 3/4 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup milk (you may need more- add sparingly if the batter seems too dense)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin with butter or shortening and set aside. 

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a  mixer, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the lemon juice and vanilla.   Stir in the poppy seeds.

Combine the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.  Take care not to overmix the batter. Fold in the blueberries. 
Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. 
Kitchen Tip: Poppy seeds can go rancid easily and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.





Friday, July 16, 2010

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Mustard Grilled Chicken


Ingredients:

Romaine Lettuce
1 Large Tomato
1 Cucumber
1 Avocado
2 Ears of Corn
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper




Cut the Avocado in half and make sure to leave the skin on. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place skin side down-on hot grill. Flip after 5 minutes. Be careful not to move them too much after they are face down. Use a spatula to flip them back over after 5 min.


For the corn- I suggest removing the husk. I did not and it would have worked better without. Make sure to lightly coat with olive oil. Let cook until all sides have browned. 


Remove avocado and corn from grill and let cool.




Peel the cucumber and cut length wise, in half. Scoop out the seeds and cut into tiny cubes as shown.



For the tomatoes- make sure to remove the pulp and seeds from the inside. You only want the meaty part. Chop into similar size cubes.



Do the same with the red and yellow peppers. 



After the avocado and corn have cooled- 

Scoop the avocado from th skin and chop. 

Cut the corn off the cob.

Combine ingredients and toss. 

Use the Romaine Lettuce leaves as boats to hold your chopped salad.


For this salad- I made a dressing of chives, olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt and salt and pepper. Just combine in a blender. If you like cilantro you could substitute it for the chives. 

OR- you can use a ranch or balsamic vinaigrette.



For the Mustard Grilled Chicken marinade-

Combine in a blender-

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper.

You can change these amounts according to taste.

Soak the chicken in the marinade for at least 1/2 hour and up to 8 hours.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Salmon Stuffed with Artichoke Pate


Ingredients:

1 Cup Chopped Marinated Artichoke Hearts 
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Cloves of Garlic
Butter
Salmon Portions
Champagne Vinegar (if you can't find it white wine vinegar is ok)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Remove the artichokes from the oil and drain. Chop the leaves off and use only the meat of the heart.

Cut the cloves of garlic in half and sauté lightly in butter.

Place garlic and artichokes in a food processor (or blender if you don't have one) and blend. Add a splash of olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the salmon in a baking dish lightly covered with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and splash the champagne vinegar in the pan.

Half an inch in- make a slit about an inch deep (depending on the thickness of the portion) and leave about 1/2" at the opposite end so the stuffing won't fall out. Spoon in the pate until there is enough stuffing for you.

Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and let broil on low.



***If you have leftover pate-- it goes nicely spread on toast points as an appetizer.

Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onions and Gorgonzola Crostini


Ingredients:

One baguette
3/4 cup  Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
2 Heads of Garlic
2 Sweet Vadalia Onions
1 Tablespoon Butter
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

The amounts listed were used to make 12 crostini.

Most of this can be done ahead of time if you need it for a dinner party and such. 

Roast the garlic first(this takes about 1 1/2 hr)-Preheat the oven to 350. Collect as many heads of garlic as you would like to roast. Cut the tops off so all bulbs are exposed. Lay in a foiled and greased baking dish and drizzle bulbs with olive oil. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt. Cover pan with foil. Cook until golden brown and soft. The garlic should squeeze right out of the shell, like soft butter.

When cool to the touch, remove the cloves of garlic and place in a bowl. Mash into a paste.

While the garlic is baking, sauté on medium, 2 large onions with 1 tablespoon butter and a splash of olive oil. The onions should be less thinly sliced. 
When translucent and beginning to brown, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Cook until browned.

Cut the baguette on an angle in 1/2" slices. Place on a cookie sheet with a very thin layer of olive oil. Drizzle a thin amount on the top of the bread as well and place in the oven. I set the oven broiler to low and flip the toast after 5 min. As all ovens are different make sure to keep an eye that the toast doesn't burn. Let the other side brown lightly and remove from the oven.

Spread the roasted garlic paste on the toast- then layer the sautéed onions.


Finally add the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese- and place back in oven (with broiler on low) for just long enough to slightly melt the cheese.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake



Although the combination may seem a bit odd, I can promise you that this cake will not disappoint. I remember baking my first Chocolate Zucchini Cake when I was in France as a teenager. It has since been one of my favorites.
 The zucchini is undetectable as far as flavor goes- but lends its properties to create one of the moistest cakes you will ever try. If you have a veggiaphobe in your house, don't even tell them the Zucchini is in there. ;)


This recipe is originally from the Bon Appetit Cookbook however I have made some adjustments.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cup Sifted All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sifted Cake Flour
2/3 Cup Unsweetened  Sifted Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Stick Salted Butter
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Cups Grated Unpeeled Zucchini
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts


Preheat oven to 325



Butter and flour a 9x13x2 inch baking pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Beat the sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. 

Mix in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. 

Mix in grated zucchini. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts.  

Bake until tester comes out clean. About 55 min.


*** As added flavor and decadence you can mix in 1 cup of Nutella to the batter. When cake is done and mostly cool, drizzle Nutella over the top of the cake. The easiest way to do that is to put the Nutella into a sandwich or ziplock bag and cut a small piece out of the corner and use like a pastry bag. It gives you more control and looks nicer. ***

Zucchini Fritter Cakes


Ingredients:
2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Small Onion (Finely Grated)
3 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Buttermilk (regular milk is OK)
Salt & Pepper 
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Butter
Vegetable Oil

If available: Chives and Sour Cream for topping.


Preheat oven to 325





In a food processor or with a hand held grater, shred the zucchini with the skin on. Combine in a large bowl with the flour, eggs, buttermilk and grated onion. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. You should have a thick, pasty consistency. If you need to alter the measurements to get the consistency, that is fine. 



On medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 

Place a 1/4 scoop (more or less) of the batter into a the oil. Let brown 2-3 min on each side, until golden brown. You may need to adjust the heat if it gets too hot. You  may also need to add more butter along the way if the fritters are absorbing too much oil.

Remove from the pan and place on a plate covered with paper to absorb the oil.

Move to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. 

Top with grated cheese. 

**These would be fantastic with sour cream but, I didn't have any on hand. If you have sour cream availble put a dollop on top of the fritter after you have put the grated cheese on. You want the cheese to melt from the heat of the fritter. Garnish with chives if available.




Monday, May 17, 2010

Artichoke and Brown Rice Stuffed Zucchini


Ingredients (for 2 servings) :

1 Large Zucchini
1 1/2 Cups cooked Brown Rice
1 Shallot Finely Chopped
1 Artichoke Heart Chopped
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese Grated
1 Mozzarella Ball
Butter
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Preheat the oven to 350.

**For the artichoke heart- steam an artichoke prior to collecting the ingredients for this recipe. Remove all leaves and clean out the heart. Leave at least 2 inches of the stem. Chop into small cubes about the size of an almond.**

**Cook the rice in Chicken Broth for extra flavor. **


Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle baking dish with olive oil and place zucchini in the middle. Season with salt and pepper and more olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to fill. 



Sauté the shallots with butter adding the chopped  artichoke heart after shallots have begun to brown. Sauté until the shallots are golden.

In a medium bowl combine the rice and 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese.

Then add the artichoke and shallot mixture.


Stuff the zucchini evenly with the mixture.


Top with sliced mozzarella and freshly grated white cheddar. 


Bake for 20 minutes. Broil lightly at the end to brown the top.

Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Meatloaf

This is a twist on an old favorite. Hylton is not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes so I chopped them very small (smaller than a raisin) and hid them in the meatloaf. The taste of the tomatoes adds flavor but it is not overwhelming. After he tasted it, he said it was the best meatloaf I have ever made! So don't be weary if you aren't a fan of Sun-dried tomatoes- give it a try!! 



Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Sirloin
1/3 lb Ground Pork
1 Small Onion Finely Chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs (regular are fine to use)
3/4 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Butter
Salt & Pepper



Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the ground meats in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sautee the onions in butter until they are golden brown- let cool slightly.


Add the breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup and balsamic vinegar, then onions and sun-dried tomatoes and mix well ( I always use my hands as nothing else works as well)
Then add feta and distribute evenly. 
**If you think it looks too wet then add more breadcrumbs.
 If it looks too dry then add more vinegar and ketchup. **


Transfer to a loaf pan. Take 4 pieces of softened butter, about the size of a small grape and stick them into the meatloaf, evenly spaced.

Cook for one hour.






For a side dish I made Brown rice with Feta and Parmesan which accompanied the taste of the meatloaf very well. For the rice you will need:

1 cup (dry) Short Grain Brown Rice
2 Cups Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Crumbled Feta
1/2 Cup Parmesan 
3 Tablespoons Butter

Bring the rice, broth and 1 Tablespoon of butter to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 55 min.
When rice is tender add the rest of the butter and 2 cheeses. Don't add salt until after you have tasted it as they are salty cheeses.
You can add more or less cheese to your liking.