Monthly Archives: August 2013

Red & Green Grape Salsa

Some people stock up on pantry essentials when they’re on sale. I stock up on produce when it’s in season. Berries get made into jams and canned for later use. Veggies get pureed and added to sauces. Grapes get juiced or frozen for warm-weather treats…. or they get diced up into a sweet and savory salsa. 

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

This salsa isn’t just for chips. We’ve been eating this salsa with everything! Grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled steaks, plain couscous… really, it’s amazing with pretty much everything else that has come our way. The sweet and vinegary flavor will brighten any dish. 

Enjoy!

Finely dice red and green seedless grapes

Finely dice red and green seedless grapes

Add cilantro

Add cilantro

Add scallions

Add scallions

Grate in one garlic clove (two pictured because one looked lonely)

Grate in one garlic clove (two pictured because one looked lonely)

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa!
Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa!

Red & Green Grape Salsa

Makes 3 1/2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups finely diced red seedless grapes
1 cup finely diced green seedless grapes
2 large scallions (green onions), finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss to coat.
2. Taste and adjust for salt & garlic.
3. Enjoy immediately or let stand for a few hours to let the flavors develop.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Artichoke & Garlic Cream

Recently, Fairway Market opened a few blocks from our apartment. This meant that we were in the middle of four very fantastic corners of food: walking distance from Fairway, Trader Joe’s, the Union Square Farmers Market and Whole Foods. Having immediate access to all four are what foodie fantasies are made of.

Really... it goes with everything.

Artichoke & Garlic Cream. Really… it goes with everything.

At Fairway’s olive oil tasting station, there was a small bottle of Italian Artichoke and Garlic Cream. Strange. In all of the times that my kids made a bee-line for the olive oil tasting station, I’d never seen this product. And then I tasted it. And then I fell in love. And then I looked at the price tag.  ($8 for a small container – 4.5 ounces. My version comes in at about $3 for 8 ounces)

It’s rich and creamy without being too heavy. The version that I made is a bit thicker than the original, but I didn’t feel that it needed any more olive oil. Serve it instead of butter. Enjoy it with a baguette. Set out the Artichoke and Garlic Cream when you put out tapenade and dips, vegetables or crackers. Enjoy it on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise. You’ll find so many ways to enjoy it… including straight out of the jar with a spoon!

Enjoy!

Fairway's Cara Cucina - Della Tradizione Italiana - Crema di Carciofi e Aglio - Artichoke and Garlic Cream

Fairway’s Cara Cucina – Della Tradizione Italiana – Crema di Carciofi e Aglio – Artichoke and Garlic Cream

Canned artichokes, olive oil, crushed garlic & kosher salt (pepper optional)

Canned artichokes, olive oil, crushed garlic & kosher salt (pepper optional)

Sadly, my garlic clove dried out

Sadly, my garlic clove dried out… glad I had the backup crushed garlic on hand!

1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients

Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients

Slowly pour in the olive oil

Slowly pour in the olive oil

Puree until incorporated and smooth

Puree until incorporated and smooth

Artichoke & Garlic Cream!

Artichoke & Garlic Cream!

Saving some Artichoke & Garlic Cream for later ;)

Saving some Artichoke & Garlic Cream for later 😉

Artichoke & Garlic Cream

Artichoke & Garlic Cream

Artichoke and Garlic Cream

Makes 1/2 pint, 8 ounces

Ingredients

1 14 ounce can artichokes (about 8.5 ounces drained)
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (I used Trader Joe’s crushed garlic because my garlic clove dried out)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Optional: Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Drain artichokes.
2. Place the drained artichokes, crushed garlic and salt into the cup of an immersion blender.
3. Pulse through the ingredients for about 30 seconds, until well minced. 
4. Add olive oil and puree until well blended.
5. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two weeks.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Many, many moons ago my husband and I went to Paris. Before there were careers and children and mortgages and with very few cares in the world, we explored and ate until we were exhausted. Almost 13 years later, I have fantastic memories, some grainy digital pictures (remember when it was cool to own a 1 megapixel camera?!) and my favorite grilled cheese sandwich.

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes on sourdough

I know you’re doubtful. I can’t blame you. When someone mentions French food, they’re usually referring to a tried and true culinary technique or a perfect sauce. No one’s shouting rave reviews about a random grilled cheese sandwich that they ate in a tiny cafe at the turn of the millennium. Until now.

Something about the combination of these ingredients come together to make magic. The crunch of the corn, the saltiness of the gorgonzola, the texture of the bread. It all works together. This is one instance of a food memory living up to the actual taste of the food each and every time I make the sandwich.

Enjoy!

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread

Flip the bread over (butter side onto the cutting board) and spread the brie on both slices of bread

Flip the bread over (butter side onto the cutting board) and spread the brie on both slices of bread

Removing corn from the cob

Removing corn from the cob

Evenly spread corn (fresh or frozen-thawed) on both slices of bread

Evenly spread corn (fresh or frozen-thawed) on both slices of bread

Place a thin layer of gorgonzola on top of one slice

Place a thin layer of gorgonzola on top of one slice

Place thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the gorgonzola

Place thinly sliced tomatoes on top of the gorgonzola

Combine both sides of the sandwich. Place on a pre-heated non-stick skillet

Combine both sides of the sandwich. Place on a pre-heated non-stick skillet

Let cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. (If the cheese isn't melting, cover the skillet)

Let cook on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and let cook for another 3-4 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melting, cover the skillet)

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

My favorite grilled cheese sandwich with brie, gorgonzola, corn & tomatoes

Grilled Brie, Gorgonzola, Corn & Tomato

Grilled Brie, Gorgonzola, Corn & Tomato

Sp,etjomg

Sp,etjomg

Sp,etjomg

The dream state of grilled cheese….

My Favorite Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Makes 1 perfect sandwich

Ingredients

2 slices sourdough bread (or GF bread)
1 TBSP butter, divided
2 ounces brie, rind removed
4 TBSP corn kernels (removed from cob or frozen and thawed)
1.5 – 2 ounces gorgonzola (or bleu cheese)
3 slices tomato (thin)
NOTE: good quality, flavorful ingredients are really key here because you’re not doing much to them to mask their original state.

Directions

1. Using 1/2 tbsp butter for each slice, butter one side of each slice of sourdough. Place bread, butter side down, on cutting board (or plate).
2. Spread 1 ounce of brie on each slice of bread.
3. Top the brie with two tablespoons of corn, on each slice of bread. Gently press the corn into the brie. Gently. Just to make it stick a bit.
4. On just one slice, add thinly sliced gorgonzola. Top with tomato slices.
5. Gently combine the two parts of the sandwich (it might get messy and the corn might slip out. No worries… just stick the loose pieces back into the sandwich).
6. Heat a non-stick skillet. With the gas on medium heat, place the sandwich onto the skillet.
7. Let it warm through for 3-4 minutes, until the butter has turned the bread a golden brown toasted color.
8. Carefully flip the sandwich. If it’s not heating through, cover the skillet with a large lid. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
9. Remove from skillet and let cool for a few minutes. Cut in half and enjoy… (You might want to make two sandwiches because you’re not going to want to share!)
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Jam is my favorite way to hold onto the taste of summer. Incidentally, jam is also one of my favorite ways to give life to fruit that is on it’s way to going bad. Blueberries have been abundant in the area. We’ve purchased them at local farmers markets and picked our own at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT. After eating them plain, adding them to smoothies, to yogurt and cottage cheese, sweet and savory salads, and baking with them… it was time to make jam.

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (on spoon)

Four cups of blueberries (roughly 2 pints of berries) yielded almost 4 pints of jam.

Go ahead… save summer 🙂

Enjoy!

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (ingredients)

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (overhead)

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam

Blueberry & Lemon Jam (No Pectin)

Makes 3 1/2 pints

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries (about 2 pints)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 granny smith apple, finely diced

Directions

1. In a medium size heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar has dissolved. Turn down to medium (or medium/low) and let the blueberries gently bubble.
3. Place a small plate into the freezer (Just do it. Trust me, you’re going to need it)
4. Stir occasionally and let the blueberries reduce by about 1/3. This will take about an hour. Most will pop open, so there’s no need to mash them.
5. Perform a gel test: Remove the plate from the freezer. Place a spoonful of the jam on the plate and return to freezer. Wait 1 to 2 minutes; remove plate from freezer, and gently press jam with fingertip; it should not be runny, it should wrinkle slightly. Here’s a picture of the gel test from my other Off-Season Strawberry Jam recipe.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Orzo Salad with Red Grapes & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, my older kids went off to sleep-away camp and my husband went away on business. In a matter of seconds, I went from feeding a family of 5 to feeding myself and a 4 year old. The shock hit me emotionally about a week before it hit me mentally. I was still food shopping and cooking for a family of 5.

Orzo Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Orzo Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Over the course of a few days, the 4 year old and I had consumed more grapes than we cared to remember. We also shelled enough pistachios to make our fingers super salty and start to callous. Enter this ah-mazing pasta salad that was largely the result of individual items that didn’t have a better home. With some basil from a neighbors garden, a lemon, olive oil and pantry friendly orzo, we had a fantastic summer dish!

Enjoy!

Orzo Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Orzo Salad with Grapes and Pistachios

Orzo Salad with Red Grapes and Pistachios

Makes 12-15 as a side

Ingredients

1 pound orzo (or GF pasta) cooked per package instructions until al dente
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups red grapes, halved
zest of a whole lemon
juice of a whole lemon (3-4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup basil, finely chiffonade
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 cup pistachios, shelled (preferably roasted and salted)
 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine cooked and cooled pasta with olive oil, toss and set aside.
2. Add halved grapes, lemon zest and juice and cut basil to the large bowl. Mix well.
3. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (if you’re using salted pistachios, don’t over-salt the pasta). These ingredients can remain in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
4. Add pistachios and serve immediately. Tastes best at room temperature.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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