I was the delighted recipient of a bushel of garden grown tomatoes last week. I immediately ate two of the luscious orbs for lunch with some tuna salad, and then set to using the rest to their greatest advantage.
Raw tomatoes don’t require much, and I was determined to showcase them in a way that did them justice. A simple sauce of chopped tomatoes spoke to me, and best of all it was completely fuss-free and super quick. An added bonus: this can do double duty as bruschetta or to top grilled fish/meats. Here’s what I did:
The sauce, pre pasta
6 plum tomatoes (or 3 large heirlooms) coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
10 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lb pasta
Grated cheese for serving
In a large, shallow bowl, add tomatoes with their juice, along with oil, garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions; drain thoroughly and toss with sauce. Serve with grated cheese and enjoy.
Ever on the hunt for a crowd pleasing side, I came up with this treasure, which adds a zingy crunch to just about anything. I’ve served it with tacos as flavorful enhancement to the meat filling; with Indian food in place of a more traditional kichumber salad; with barbecue, as a side dish with a traditional steak dinner, as an accompaniment to Chinese stir fry, and even on deli sandwiches instead of mayo and mustard.
This spicy slaw kicks pretty much everything up a notch. It’s absolutely divine with green cabbage, but the red cabbage adds a beautiful color accent to your table. Here’s how I make it:
1 head cabbage, chopped finely or run through food processor
1 onion, chopped finely
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
juice of 2 limes
Sriracha, salt, and black pepper to taste–don’t be shy, this should have some kick!
splash of pickle juice
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover, chill, and let sit for several hours to allow flavors to blend. This keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
I’ve mentioned before that my husband takes over the kitchen on Sundays. His latest addition to the repertoire is “Chicken Under a Brick.” I’m not really sure that the whole brick thing is necessary; it seems like a bit of a gimmick to me, but if he’s willing to man the stove once a week and turn out delicious vittles, who am I to criticize the method? Here’s the Recipe, along with a pictorial journey through his steps:
First, he marinated the chicken pieces:
Then he seared them in an oven-proof skillet:
Then he covered the skillet with another heavy skillet laden with bricks, and roasted it in the oven.
They say that the additional weight spreads the heat more evenly and cooks the chicken more quickly and thoroughly. I’m skeptical, but again, the bird was delicious; well-seasoned, moist and flavorful. So if he wants to haul some masonry into the kitchen on occasion and produce such good results, I’m not complaining.
I know, the title sounds redundant, seeing as Caesar Salad was supposedly invented in Mexico. But it has evolved culinarily toward a more Italian palate. I decided to play around with the traditional Caesar last week when I was serving up a Mexican dinner. Given that it was a weeknight and time was of the essence, I took a short cut on the dressing which worked well. Here’s what I did:
1. Rinse, spin, and tear a head of Romaine.
2. Make dressing: mix 1 part adobo sauce from canned chipotles with 3 parts Cardini’s Caesar.
3. Instead of croutons, crumble up a handful of tortilla chips. Add some shaved Parmasan, cotija, jack or cheddar cheese. Squeeze a lime over the whole thing, add dressing, toss, and serve.
This is an experiment. I took a very basic Rachel Roy recipe called My Sister Maria’s Easy Apple Cake and Ice Cream (courtesy of the Food Network), and switched out the yellow cake mix for a gluten-free cake mix from Betty Crocker.
(As the queen of cakes, Betty Crocker surely MUST be able to get gluten-free right?).
My partner in crime Keri, kindly gave me a bag of apples picked fresh from a local orchard so I started googling every apple recipe under the sun. The caramel apple tartines looked amazing…but seemed to take hours to make. This Rachel Roy cake took 15 minutes. But will it taste any good.
I upped the ante on the recipe slightly by adding in my favorite spicy pecans crushed up into little pieces and just tossed these in with the apple cinnamon sugar topping to give it some more oomph.
Well what do you think?
Jury is out on this one: Cake texture is a little too rubbery.
Gotta give it a go.
Thanks to a recipe offered by this month’s Bon Appetit, we enjoyed a delicious, unique grilled dinner last night. The recipe in the mag was for slow roasted cod, which was interesting enough, but what really intrigued me was the relish topping. And, as the temperatures were soaring to 80 this week, I wasn’t eager to slow roast anything. Grill to the rescue.
I headed off to my favorite foodie mecca, Reading Terminal Market, in search of ingredients. Since I was using the grill, cod wasn’t my first choice, but Lydia of John Yi Seafood steered me toward the Ahi Tuna Steaks. After stops at Iovine’s for red onions, lemons and parsley; Salumeria for green olives, capers and olive oil, and Termini Brothers’ Bakery for the requisite chocolate cupcakes for my kids, I trundled home with my provisions.
I assembled the relish according the recipe, leaving out the parsley until almost dinner time. An hour before serving, I removed the tuna from the fridge to allow it to come to room temp. Thirty minutes before serving, I marinated the tuna in olive oil, white wine, a generous dusting of black pepper and salt. I grilled it on high for about a minute per side (for rare) and topped it with the delightful relish.
With grilled eggplant and an arugula salad, life was good.
One of the may joys of spending time at the shore during the summer means easy access to fresh seafood. We took advantage of this benefit last week with some locally caught, just-off-the-hook flounder.
When fish is this good, the simplest preparations work best. Here’s what I did:
Lemon Herb Flounder
Heat oven to 350.
4 flounder filets (this would work with any other mild white fish)
1 small onion sliced thinly
2 lemons; 1 sliced thinly and one for squeezing
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other mild flavored oil)
a handful of fresh herbs–I used sage, thyme, parsley and oregano
salt and pepper
a few pats of butter
1. Drizzle oil in bottom of baking dish and line with onion and lemon slices.
2. Lay fish on top and sprinkle with remaining ingredients. Squeeze lemon over fish.
3. Bake 30 minutes or less until fish flakes and is cooked through (it will look white and opaque.)
We served it with this quinoa dish and a simple green salad.
There’s nothing quite like fresh fish. We rambled into the fish market at the shore last weekend and asked the fishmonger for a recommendation. He suggested tilefish, which had just arrived off the boat that day. Tilefish is a local species commonly caught off the Jersey coast. If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s comparable to a mahi-mahi or grouper. It has a large flake and a mild, almost sweet flavor. We had a lovely dinner featuring this gorgeous catch.
Tilefish for 4
4 tilefish filets lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper
oil for pan
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 stick butter, softened, mixed with 3 cloves mashed garlic
fresh parsley or cilantro
1. In skillet, heat oil and saute seasoned fish til cooked, about 8 minutes total. Be sure fish is cooked through.
2. Remove fish from skillet, put on plate, cover it to keep warm.
3. Pour wine into skillet and deglaze pan, scraping bottom and allowing wine to boil and reduce, 2 minutes.
4. Add butter to wine and melt. Pour sauce over fish, garnish with fresh herbs, and enjoy.
Serving suggestion: The sauce on this is just glorious, so be sure to have some good bread to sop it up, or serve rice with the meal so you can pour the sauce on top.