Picnic Time! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 28 August 2014 13:44

082814fNo matter where you spend the last long weekend of summer, one thing is certain: Labor Day is best when celebrated outside!

Whether you’re hauling the family to a favorite picnic spot or having a cookout in the back yard, all of us have our own idea of what makes a picnic.

The food doesn’t have to be perfect, just wholesome and good, and most important — quick and easy to prepare.

So here are our suggestions for a great outdoor meal this weekend that won’t mean long hours in the kitchen the day before.

CLASSIC GRILLED CHEESEBURGERS

Safflower oil, for grill
1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
4 large hamburger buns
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
4 lettuce leaves (green-leaf, Boston, romaine, etc.)

Preheat grill to medium-high; brush grates with oil.

Gently form beef into four 1-inch-thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Make an indentation in the top of each patty. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill burgers 3 minutes. Flip, top with cheese, and grill 4 minutes for medium-rare. Toast buns face-down on grill until just lightly charred, about 30 seconds. Spread them with mayonnaise.

Place burgers in buns with tomato, onion, and lettuce. Yields 4 burgers.

OLD-FASHIONED POTATO SALAD

5 potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, onion, relish, garlic salt, celery salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix together well and refrigerate until chilled. Serves 8.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

Peel husks back, but do not remove. Using your fingers, remove silk from corn and pull husks back up around corn. In a large pan, cover corn (husks on) with cold water. Soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, shaking corn to remove excess water. Cover corn as much as possible with husks. If necessary, tie the tips of the husks together with wet kitchen string.

Grill corn (with husks) on an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals about 25 minutes or until tender, turning several times. Carefully remove the husks and strings.

Meanwhile, melt some margarine or butter with a little lemon juice, and thyme. Brush mixture over the corn before serving.

EASY BAKED BEANS

6 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 onions, peeled, chopped
3 (28-ounce) cans Boston-style baked beans
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard

Over medium-high heat, stir fry bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1-1/2 tablespoons fat in pan.

Add onions to pan and stir often until they begin to brown and stick to bottom of pan, 7 to 9 minutes. Add beans and their liquid, catsup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and cooked bacon; mix well. Pour into a shallow 3-quart casserole.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F  oven until beans are bubbling in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

PICNIC FRIED CHICKEN

1 quart buttermilk
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, divided
2 (2-1/2-pound) fryer chickens, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, for frying

Stir together the buttermilk and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a large bowl; add chicken, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

In a large brown paper bag, combine flour with remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper; shake to combine. One at a time, place chicken pieces in the bag; shake to coat. Place coated pieces on a clean plate or tray.

In a large skillet, heat 2 inches oil to 350°F. Using tongs, add chicken one piece at a time, being careful to not overcrowd pan. Fry, turning every 3 to 4 minutes, until deep mahogany in color, about 18 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet, and drain on paper towels.

082814f2The Devil is in the Details

Deviled eggs are a must for any picnic, but there’s more than one way to do your devilish work.

“Deviled” is used to describe highly-seasoned food and when making deviled eggs, the added ingredients and spiciness may be varied. But the basic preparation is the same:

Use large eggs that are at least a week old ( fresh eggs are difficult to peel after cooking). Place the eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and add cold water to cover them by an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes. (Cold eggs take slightly longer.)

Plunge the eggs into iced water and cool until just warm. Tap the eggs all over against a hard surface and remove shells and inner membrane.

After peeling, slice the eggs in half lengthwise with a sharp knife that has been dipped in water and carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact. Lightly mash the yolks, then blend with other recipe ingredients and heap the mixture into the whites with a spoon or a pastry bag. Garnish as desired and refrigerate.

CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: paprika
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

 

 
If Your Garden Has You Seeing Red... | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:12

082114fThe last few weeks of summer are quickly turning all those green tomatoes in patio pots and backyard gardens into brilliant red masterpieces.

That abundance is great because fresh tomatoes can be used every day in a variety of dishes.

Remember to avoid cooking them in aluminum pots because they can give tomatoes a bitter flavor. Add a little sugar when cooking tomatoes that aren’t very sweet.

When slicing, try cutting slices vertically, rather than crosswise. They’ll hold together better.

To peel them, drop tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds, then into ice water for a few minutes. The skin should slip off easily.

One pound of whole tomatoes yields about 1-1/2 cups peeled and seeded tomatoes.

Although ripe tomatoes may be refrigerated, they will lose some of their flavor stored that way.

HERB-ROASTED TOMATOES

Extra-virgin olive oil
4 large tomatoes, cored, each cut into 3 thick slices
4 large leaves fresh basil
1 stem fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1 clove garlic
1 cup coarse bread crumbs, made from 4 slices day-old Italian bread
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Lightly brush some olive oil on a large baking pan. Arrange tomato slices, cut side up, in single layer.

Finely chop together basil, parsley, thyme, oregano and garlic. Combine bread crumbs and half of herb and garlic mixture in bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to blend. Sprinkle tops of tomatoes with crumb mixture, distributing evenly. Bake at 375°F until crumbs are lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Transfer tomatoes to a large platter, sprinkle with remaining herb and garlic mixture and drizzle lightly with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

thickened, about 30 minutes.

TOMATO & ONION QUICHE

1/2 of a 15-ounce package of rolled refrigerated piecrust
12 ounces assorted tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half, light cream or milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup shredded Swiss, Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Paprika

Let piecrust stand at room temperature according to package directions. Unroll piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edge as desired. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of foil. Bake in a 425°F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Meanwhile, place tomato slices on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion. Cook until onion is tender but not brown, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, flour, basil, salt, dry mustard and black pepper.

To assemble, sprinkle cheese onto bottom of the hot, baked pastry shell. Spoon onion mixture over cheese. Arrange a single layer of tomato slices over cheese, overlapping slightly. Slowly pour egg mixture over tomatoes. Sprinkle paprika over egg mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until egg mixture is set in center. If necessary, cover edge of pie with foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

GREEN TOMATO CAKE WITH BROWNED BUTTER ICING

1 cup butter, softened
2-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup golden raisins
2-1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. (Batter will be soft.) Stir in tomatoes, raisins, and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 75 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely. Spoon Browned Butter Icing over cake.

Browned Butter Icing

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until butter is lightly browned. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Yields 1 cup.

TOMATOES PROVENCAL

1-1/2 cups fresh plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
Leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground pepper
4 large tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 2-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups fresh plain breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, leaves from a few sprigs fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; season with salt and ground pepper.

Arrange 4 large tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch slices, in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly; season with salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until tomatoes are tender and crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 4.

 

 
Make the Most of the Annual Zucchini Harvest | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:01

Cooking demonstrations at this weekend’s Festival will show you how

081414fIn case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a population explosion in your zucchini patch. But not to worry. Whether for breakfast, salads, soups, main courses, desserts or snacks, there are thousands of ways to serve zucchini.

This weekend’s Hayward Zucchini Festival would be a great place to discover new ways to dispatch those dozens of summer squash taking over your back yard.

The festival, sponsored by the South Hayward Lions Club, runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16-17 at Kennedy Park, 19501 Hesperian Blvd., with cooking demonstrations from 2-4 p.m., live bands and a Kids’ Town. For information, visit www.zucchinifest.org.

BEST ZUCCHINI BREAD

3 cups flour, plus extra for preparing pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, melted
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded raw zucchini (about 3 zucchini)
2 cups chopped walnuts
Butter for greasing pan

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and set aside.

Place milk, eggs, shortening, sugar and zucchini in large mixing bowl. Add combined dry ingredients and beat until batter is just blended. Stir in walnuts.

Grease and flour two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Divide evenly between pans and bake at 350°F until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans about 5 minutes. Turn onto rack and cool completely. Makes 2 loaves, about 32 servings.

CRISP ZUCCHINI SALAD

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 medium unpeeled apples, cored and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 small zucchini, diced
2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
6 radishes, sliced

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar in small bowl. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Toss with dressing. Serves 8.

ZUCCHINI CREOLE

1-1/2 to 2 pounds sliced zucchini
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried leaf basil, crumbled
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped

Combine zucchini, mushrooms, green pepper, garlic, basil, butter, salt, pepper, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce in a large skillet over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until tender. Yields 8 servings.

SCALLOPED ZUCCHINI

4 medium zucchini
4 slices of bacon
1/3 cup of onions, sliced thin
1 pint canned tomatoes
1/3 cup celery
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash zucchini, cut off ends, and cut in 1-inch slices. Cook until tender, drain. Fry bacon until crisp, remove from pan. Add onions, and cook until tender. Add tomatoes, celery, peppers, salt and pepper and mix in the vegetable. Add crumbled bacon and place in greased casserole. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.  Serves 2.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CUPCAKES

1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
2 cups chocolate frosting

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini and carrots.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost cupcakes. Yield: 21 cupcakes.

 

 
Don’t Call It Pasta or Penne, This is Macaroni & Cheese! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:14

080714fNearly all of us grew up with macaroni and cheese in some form or another.

This politically incorrect comfort food was a regular in most homes during a good part of the last century, whether it was your grandmother’s special recipe served for Sunday supper, or the scores of Kraft Dinners (“cooks in 7-1/2 minutes”) that sustained you through college.

But then in the ’60s, home cooking entered a new glamorous phase. Magazines and newspapers printed exciting French recipes with names like potage, brioche and roulade. So, what self-respecting restaurant would dare put something like Macaroni and Cheese on its menu?

The truth is, the cheesy casserole of our childhood is still with us today and is still going strong. What accounts for its popularity in today’s fat-free climate?

At frozen-food seminars, they’re talking about the growth in comfort foods, and that’s where mac and cheese fit right in. Kraft still sells more than 1 million boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese every day. Add to that the sales of frozen macaroni dinners and the sales figures go up to more than a billion dollars a year.

Macaroni and cheese has truly passed the test of time and competition, and qualifies as a true classic food.

CLASSIC MACARONI & CHEESE

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus
1 tablespoon melted butter for topping
5 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, plus additional for topping
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
8 ounces (uncooked) elbow macaroni
8 ounces milk
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

In a 2-to-3-quart saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking to combine. Bring to a simmer, add salt and white pepper to taste, and add cayenne and dry mustard. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer slowly for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. On the stove top, cook the macaroni according to the package directions, drain and place in a large bowl.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Add the cheese and stir until it melts. Combine the sauce with the drained macaroni. Pour the macaroni mixture into a baking dish of about 11x8x2-inches.

Combine the bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6 generously.

DELUXE MACARONI & CHEESE

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup unsifted flour
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2-1/2 cups milk
3 cups coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated yellow onion
1/2 pound elbow macaroni

Cook macaroni according to package directions.

Melt butter in a saucepan over moderate heat; blend in flour and mustard, slowly stir in milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened.

Mix in 2 cups grated cheese and remaining ingredients except macaroni. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat; mix in macaroni. Turn mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350°F oven about 1/2 hour until bubbly and lightly browned. Serves 6.

EMERIL’S 3-CHEESE MACARONI & CHEESE

Coarse salt
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 large eggs
1 (12-ounce) can  evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 475°F.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 6 minutes (it will be undercooked). Drain.

Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a medium bowl. Add macaroni and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and evaporated milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cheeses; mix well. Add macaroni mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or 2-quart gratin dish. With a spoon, gently spread mixture to form an even layer. Bake just until sauce is bubbling at edges, 12 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Yields 6 servings.

 

 
Meals in Minutes: Fast Food That’s Really Fast! | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2014 13:57

073114fOn these warm summer evenings, most of us want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. Most of these recipes take no more than 20 minutes to fix. But the one that takes the cake is the microwave treat pictured at right. Here’s how to make it:

ONE-MINUTE CHOCOLATE CAKE

For each serving:
1/4 cup flour
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Dash of vanilla extract
Dash of salt

Whisk ingredients together in a large coffee mug until smooth. Microwave until puffed, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.

SPEEDY SPAGHETTI

1 pound ground lamb
1 medium onion, minced
2 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon allspice
Dash of Salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
12 ounces spaghetti
Grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, brown lamb in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Stir often to break up lamb. When the lamb has browned, drain it. Add onion and garlic to skillet. Add oregano, allspice, salt and pepper and stir. Cook until onion softens, then add tomatoes and simmer until sauce reaches desired texture.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in boiling water until just tender. Serve sauce over cooked and drained pasta. Top with cheese. Serves 4 to 6.

SPUR-OF-THE-MOMENT STROGANOFF

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup canned tomato paste
1 (10.5-oz) can condensed beef consommé
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup sour cream
Salt

Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon, lift out the mushrooms and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and sauté onion until golden, push to sides of pan.

Quickly shape meat into bite-sized balls and drop into pan. Sauté, shaking pan to turn until browned on all sides. Sprinkle with tarragon, pepper, basil and flour. Stir in the tomato paste, consommé, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms to meat. Stir in sour cream and salt to taste. Heat through, but do not boil. Makes 6 servings.

GLAZED SALMON WITH SPICED CARROTS

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 pound carrots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges
4 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets (about 1-1/2 inches thick)
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil the broiler pan. Toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl, then spread out on one side of the pan. Broil until the carrots begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, the honey, mustard and 1 tablespoon lime juice in a small bowl. Brush the tops and sides of the salmon with the glaze. Put the salmon, skin-side down, on the other side of the broiler pan next to the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the salmon is golden brown and just cooked through and the carrots are crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lime juice, the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, mint and almonds in a bowl. Add the carrots and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve the salmon with the carrots and lime wedges. Serves 4.

CHILE PEPPER POTATOES

2 cups red potato chunks
1/4 of a red onion, sliced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 poblano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper

Place potatoes in medium saucepan and cover with water. Cover pan and boil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add onion to pan, then drain all but about 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Add olive oil and poblano pepper. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

QUICK CORN & WHITE BEAN SOUP

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup sliced green onions
3/4 cup chopped cooked ham
3 cups corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
28 ounces chicken broth
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, undrained

Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and ham, and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in corn and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

 

 
Mince Garlic, Not Words | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 14:16

072414fGarlic is one of the oldest crops grown worldwide and long considered to be a giver of health.

Today, California harvests more than 150,000 tons of the fragrant bulbs each year, making it the main garlic-producing state in the country.

A big part of that harvest comes from the South Bay city of Gilroy, which will celebrate its self-proclaimed status as the “Garlic Capital of the World” this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the 36th Annual Garlic Festival (visit gilroygarlicfestival.com/).

When you cook with garlic, you don’t have to purchase sliced or minced garlic in a jar. Using fresh garlic really is worth the couple of extra minutes of prep time. The flavor of fresh garlic is superior to the stuff that comes pre-chopped.

Buy firm heads (bulbs) of garlic that are heavy for their size with large cloves so that peeling them is not a painstaking chore.

To prepare garlic for cooking, first break it up into cloves. You’ll generally get 10 to 20 from a head.

To peel, slightly crush the clove with the flat side of a knife. The skins slip right off.

Depending on the recipe, the peeled garlic cloves can be used whole, minced, or crushed. You can also thinly slice garlic if your recipe calls for sliced versus minced garlic.

One raw garlic clove, finely minced or pressed releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves.

Garlic, slowly roasted in the oven, loses its sharp bite and turns remarkably soft and mellow.

ROASTED GARLIC

12 to 16 heads fresh garlic
Olive oil to cover
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh
thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
12 black peppercorns

Cut tips off garlic heads and peel off the outer papery skin. Arrange the head, root side down, in a pan large enough to hold them, fitting them snugly side-by-side.

Pour oil over garlic and scatter the herbs into the oil Add the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 300°F for 30 minutes.

Take the foil off, baste the heads and replace the foil. Lower the temperature to 275°F and bake 30 minutes more, testing for doneness by piercing with a thin knife. Roast garlic should be soft but not falling apart. Remove pan from oven; take off foil.

With tongs, take heads out of oil and put in a bowl or pan to cool. Strain off the oil (reserve for sautéing meat and vegetables).

Gently squeeze out the roasted cloves of garlic and reserve for later. Use them for seasoning casseroles or just as a tasty spread for French bread.

GARLIC-LEMON BUTTER

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Spread on hot corn on the cob or dab on any cooked vegetables. Yields 8 servings.

GARLIC POTATO PIE

1 pound boiling potatoes, scrubbed
6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
1⁄4 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 380°F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.

Slice potatoes thinly. Arrange a layer of potatoes, garlic slices, Parmesan and slices of butter.

Repeat using the rest of the ingredients (other than the milk), saving some of the cheese and the butter.

Heat the milk and pour over top of the potatoes. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese and butter.

Bake for 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender and top has turned golden brown. Makes 4 servings.

GARLIC PENNE

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 (28-ounce) can Italian tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped, juice reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 bouillon cube (optional)
1 pound uncooked penne
Grated Parmesan cheese

Place olive oil and garlic cloves in a medium sauté pan. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic is soft and a light golden-brown. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add the tomatoes and their juices, salt and pepper and the bouillon cube. Cook until a sauce forms.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and place in a serving bowl. Add the sauce and toss well. Serve with grated cheese on the side. Serves 4.

GARLIC MAHI FILETS

1 cup white Zinfandel wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon black, or to taste
4 (8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.

Stir the white Zinfandel wine, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a bowl.

Place the mahi mahi fillets in the bowl and turn to coat with the wine mixture; allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Remove the fillets from the marinade, shaking off any excess moisture from the fish. Discard the marinade.

Grill the fillets on the preheated oven until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Yields 4 servings.

 
Passion for Peaches | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 15:23

071714fWith their irresistible aroma, tempting colors and sweet flavor, there’s nothing like juicy, tender peaches for the best homemade summer desserts.

Of course, peaches are great to eat out of hand if you don’t mind the juice dribbling down your chin and arms. But in desserts, peaches are spectacular.

FRESH PEACH PIE

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon mace or grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
Pie dough for double-crust 8- or 9-inch pie

Mix sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add peaches, lemon juice and mace, the toss well to combine.

Roll out 1/2 chilled pie dough into circle about 12 inches in diameter, then roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and unroll it over the pan, letting about 1-1/2 inches of dough hang over the outer edge.

Pile peach filling onto dough. Put bits of butter over fruit, Roll out remaining dough and drape over pie, trimming away excess dough, but leaving enough to tuck under the top of the pan edge. Crimp edges with your fingers and cut several vents in the top.

Bake 10 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake until juices bubble and crust is lightly browned. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

2 pounds of peaches, sliced
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons minced candied ginger
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix peaches, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the flour and the ginger in a large frying pan. Heat, stirring, until juices start to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a 9-inch square glass casserole 2 inches deep. Set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together. Add butter and mix with a pastry knife until a granular texture, about the size of small peas, is formed. Add buttermilk and mix only long enough to incorporate the liquid. Overmixing will toughen the pastry. Turn onto a flour board and  gently press out to the shape of your casserole or baking pan. Lift carefully onto the sliced peaches and bake for 20-25 minutes until a golden brown color on top.

NAPA VALLEY PEACH CAKE

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Nut Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In mixer, beat together sugar and shortening until creamy. Blend in buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peaches.

Pour batter into greased 11-by- 7-inch baking dish.

In small bowl, combine nut topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, cut and serve.

PEACH MOUSSE

4 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1-1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups heavy cream
Fresh peach slices for garnish

Purée peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Combine the purée, sugar and gelatin in a medium saucepan. Let stand 5 minutes. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 20 minutes.

Add orange juice, almond extract, nutmeg and orange zest to the peach mixture; stir well. Whisk in sour cream.

Beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Fold peach mixture into cream. Spoon into dessert glasses or 2-quart souffle dish. Refrigerate several hours. Serve garnished with fresh peach slices. Serves 8 to 10.

PEACH & ALMOND CRISP

Topping:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Peach Filling:
6cups California peaches (4-6), peeled and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together all topping ingredients except almonds in a small bowl with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. Stir together all filling ingredient in a medium bowl and transfer to an 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Crumble topping over the peach mixture and sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 30 minutes or until peach mixture is hot and bubbly and topping is golden brown. Makes 8 Servings.

PEACH MUFFINS

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled, pitted, and chopped peaches

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 16 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs and sugar. Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture just until moist. Fold in the peaches. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Yields 16 muffins.

 

 
Enjoy a Quick Dip on a Summer Evening | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 10 July 2014 14:32

071014fWarm summer evenings call for lighter munching, especially when the family gathers in front of the TV to watch the Giants or A’s. So instead of the usual fat-laden chips and crackers, try fresh veggies with your favorite dips. To reduce calories even more, make the dips with low-fat cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream.

HOT BEAN DIP

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 (16-ounce) cans refried beans
Half of a 1-ounce package of taco seasoning mix
5 drops Tabasco
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese and sour cream. Mix in the refried beans, taco seasoning, hot pepper sauce, parsley, green onions, half of the Cheddar cheese and half of the Monterey Jack cheese.

Transfer the mixture to an 8-by-12-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses.

Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned. Yields 7 cups of dip.

ONION DIP

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups diced onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a saute pan over medium heat add oil, heat and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients, and then add the cooled onions. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.

BACON & TOMATO DIP

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1 pound bacon, cooked crisp, cooled and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste

In medium bowl, with mixer, blend sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, chopped onion and green pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Crumble bacon into small pieces and add to mixture. Add chopped tomato and stir well. Yields 3 cups.

CLAM DIP

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
6-1/2 ounces chopped clams, canned, juice drained and reserved
4-1/2 tablespoons reserved clam juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix for a few seconds.

Add sour cream and mix well, until no chunks remain. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and mix well again.

Add clam juice and Worcestershire sauce, and mix slowly to avoid splashing, until fully incorporating. Dip will be on the thin side.

Add salt and black pepper, and mix well. Add clams and mix just to combine.

Store in a container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Dip will thicken in refrigerator. Yields 8 cups of dip.

FRESH TOMATILLO SALSA

1 pound tomatillos (husks removed), washed and quartered
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed), coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt

In a food processor, combine tomatillos, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro with lime juice. Pulse until finely chopped; season with salt. Yields 2-1/2 cups of salsa.

GUACAMOLE

3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.

Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

RANCH DIP

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  sour cream
1 tablespoon minced scallion Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, and scallion. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Serve with carrot sticks or other vegetables. Yields 2 servings.

HORSERADISH DIP

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup horseradish sauce
4 crisply-fried slices of bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and horseradish sauce, mixing until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill.

QUESO DIP

1 pound Kraft Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained

Combine ingredients in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minute or until Velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 minutes.

 

 
A Classic 4th of July Picnic | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 July 2014 15:43

070314fGathering with family and friends for the 4th of July has always been one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

So roll out your tablecloth, and start off with some simple but tasty appetizers made ahead of time. For main dishes, prepare American classics such as mouthwatering chicken and light summertime salads that are tasty and easy to transport. And, of course, no picnic would be complete without serving nostalgic apple pie.

SAVORY CHEESE SPREAD

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, crushed
Chopped fresh parsley or chopped nuts
Crackers

Blend cheeses, mustard, onion and garlic in medium bowl with mixer at medium speed. Divide mixture in half; form into 2 (8-inch) logs. Roll logs in parsley or nuts. Wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Slice and serve as a topper or spread on crackers. Makes 1-3/4 cups.

CLASSIC CHEESEBURGERS

Safflower oil, for grill
1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
4 large hamburger buns
1 beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch rings
4 teaspoons mayonnaise
4 lettuce leaves (green-leaf, Boston, romaine, etc.)

Preheat grill to medium-high; brush grates with oil.

Gently form beef into four 1-inch-thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter. Make an indentation in the top of each patty. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill burgers 3 minutes. Flip, top with cheese, and grill 4 minutes for medium-rare. Toast buns face-down on grill until just lightly charred, about 30 seconds. Spread them with mayonnaise.

Place burgers in buns with tomato, onion, and lettuce. Yields 4 burgers.

PICNIC BBQ CHICKEN

1/2 cup Grey Poupon yellow mustard
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 pound fresh boneless chicken breasts

Mix mustard, brown sugar, oil and vinegar. Divide mixture in half.

Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place chicken breasts on the grill, and baste with half of the mustard glaze. Cook until internal juices run clear and meat thermometer in thickest part of the chicken reads 170°F. Serve with remaining glaze. Makes 4 servings. Refrigerate leftovers immediately.

GOLDEN SLAW

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 small green or red cabbage, shredded (about 6 cups)
2 medium carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Blend mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar in large bowl. Add cabbage, carrots and parsley; toss to coat well. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Serves 8.

GRILLED CORN ON THE COB

Peel husks back, but do not remove. Using your fingers, remove silk from corn and pull husks back up around corn. In a large pan, cover corn (husks on) with cold water. Soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, shaking corn to remove excess water. Cover corn as much as possible with husks. If necessary, tie the tips of the husks together with wet kitchen string.

Grill corn (with husks) on an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals about 25 minutes or until tender, turning several times. Carefully remove the husks and strings.

Meanwhile, melt some margarine or butter with a little lemon juice, and thyme. Brush mixture over the corn before serving.

EASY BAKED BEANS

6 ounces smoked bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 onions, peeled, chopped
3 (28-ounce) cans Boston-style baked beans
1/2 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard

Over medium-high heat, stir fry bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1-1/2 tablespoons fat in pan.

Add onions to pan and stir often until they begin to brown and stick to bottom of pan, 7 to 9 minutes. Add beans and their liquid, catsup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and cooked bacon; mix well. Pour into a shallow 3-quart casserole.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350°F  oven until beans are bubbling in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

DEVILED EGGS

6 hard-cooked eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: paprika

Use large eggs that are at least a week old ( fresh eggs are difficult to peel). Place eggs in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and add cold water to cover them by an inch. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes. Cold eggs take slightly longer.

Plunge the eggs into iced water and cool until just warm. Tap the eggs all over against a hard surface and remove shells and inner membrane, beginning with the large end, by rolling the egg between the palms of your hands.

After peeling, slice the eggs in half lengthwise with a sharp knife that has been dipped in water and carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact.

Lightly mash the yolks with the mayonnaise that has been combined with the sugar, mustard, vinegar and salt and pepper. Heap the mixture into the whites with a spoon and refrigerate. Garnish with paprika just before servings. Yields 6 servings.

Deviled eggs may be prepared the night before, but they should be removed from the refrigerator a half hour before serving.

 

 
Nutritious Kale Finally Getting its Due | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 June 2014 13:38

062614fVersatile kale is becoming one of the most popular of greens these days, and for good reason.

Bursting with nutrients, its heartiness makes it a satisfying green in soups, stews, salads and baked casseroles. Kale contains beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, fiber, iron and calcium.

Choose kale with firm, deep-green leaves, avoiding any that are wilted or have yellow spots. Keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. Though it seems like a sturdy vegetable, kale will quickly wilt and turn bitter.

Consider using kale as a stand-in for spinach in dishes, or try out some of these recipes.

SAUTEED KALE

1-1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.

Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar. Yields 4 servings.

GARLIC-ROASTED KALE

3-1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
10 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon Sherry vinegar

Arrange oven racks in center and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large jelly-roll pan in oven for 5 minutes.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Place kale mixture on hot pan, spreading with a silicone spatula to separate leaves. Bake at 425°F for 7 minutes. Stir kale. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until edges of leaves are crisp and kale is tender.

Place kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to combine. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

BRAISED KALE WITH CIDER & BACON

2 slices of bacon
1-1/4 cups thinly sliced onion $
1 (1-pound) bag chopped kale
1/3 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon; cook 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add kale, and cook 5 minutes or until wilted, stirring frequently.

Add cider and vinegar; cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apple, salt, and pepper; cook 5 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bacon. Serves 6.

KALE WITH MUSHROOMS

1 teaspoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 pound kale, coarse stems removed, leaves sliced or torn into pieces
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it. Spray it with a little nonstick cooking spray if needed.

Add the mushrooms and sprinkle on the salt. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the moisture has released and the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add the kale and pepper, and use tongs to sauté for about 10 more minutes. Add splashes of water if the pan seems dry. The kale should be tender and cooked down pretty well. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP

1/2 pound dried white pea beans
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1 pound beef soup bones
1 quart water
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
2 bunches kale, rinsed, dried and chopped
5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 quart hot water, as needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Soak beans in twice their volume of water for 8 hours or overnight.

In a large pot, place drained beans, chorizo, soup bones and 1 quart water (or more as needed to cover).

Cook over medium heat until beans are just beginning to be tender, 1 hour.

Stir in cabbage, kale, potatoes and enough hot water to cover. Cook until potatoes are tender, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Yields 10 servings.

 

 
Summer is Just Around the Corner | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:29

061914fSummer starts on Saturday – a season that always seems to end before it really gets started.

For most of us, it means vacation trips, spending more time outdoors and meals on the lighter side.

GRILLED VEGETABLE PLATTER

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Dash salt
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
3 small carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Place 3 tablespoons marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add vegetables; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.

Transfer vegetables to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat 8-12 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.

Place vegetables on a large serving plate. Drizzle with remaining marinade. Yields 6 servings.

If you don’t have a grilling grid, use a disposable foil pan. Poke holes in the bottom with a meat fork to allow liquid to drain.

STRAWBERRY ORANGE & SPINACH SALAD

3 bacon strips, chopped
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and chopped
12 fresh strawberries, quartered
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

In a small skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; drain.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, mustard, pepper and salt. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, oranges, strawberries, cucumber, onion and carrot. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts and bacon. Serve immediately. Yields 8 servings.

CALIFORNIA CHICKEN

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch salt
Pinch ground black pepper
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese (regular or Pepper-Jack), cut into 10 slices

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and onion. Cook 15 minutes or until chicken is browned and just about done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place chicken on cookie sheet and top each breast with 1 to 2 slices of tomato and 2 to 3 slices of cheese.

Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese melts. Remove from oven, add 2 to 3 slices of avocado on top of each breast, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

SMOKED TURKEY WRAPS

Wrap:
4 large flour or corn tortillas
4 ounces Jalapeño Cream Cheese (recipe follows)
8 ounces Romaine lettuce, shredded
8 ounces tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 ounces red onions, diced
16 ounces smoked turkey, julienned
8 ounces avocado spread (such as guacamole)
Jalapeño Cream Cheese:
1-1/2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Lay tortillas out flat and spread with cream cheese. Sprinkle lettuce, tomatoes, and onions in the center of each and place the turkey all over. Top with avocado spread. Roll burrito style, making sure the ends are tucked in. Slice in half on the bias and serve.

For the Jalapeño Cream Cheese: Mix the jalapeñoes into the cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.

VEGETABLE WRAPS

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 head lettuce, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced

Prepare spread: mash diced avocado, mayonnaise, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl with a fork until well blended.

Assemble wraps: spread tortillas with a layer of avocado spread. Place diced tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, lettuce, and Mozzarella cheese slices onto each wrap, leaving about 2 inches of space at the bottom. Fold bottoms up. Roll tortillas over vegetables firmly to enclose fillings. Makes 8 wraps.

 

 
For Dad on Sunday, a Few of his Favorite Things | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:03

061214fThe first Father’s Day was observed 104 years ago in Spokane, Washington. The idea quickly spread in towns and cities across the country, but it wasn’t until President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation in 1966 that the third Sunday of June was officially designated as Father’s Day.

Now, 48 years later, it has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who have taken over that role, including stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends.

Your Dad probably doesn’t need another tie, so why not treat him to a favorite meal.

RIB ROAST WITH MUSTARD-PEPPER RUB

1 well-trimmed beef rib roast (2 to 4 ribs), small end, back bone removed
Rub:
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon mixed black and white
peppercorns or black peppercorns, cracked
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine rub ingredients in small bowl; press evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast.

Place roast, fat-side up, in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 350°F oven 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours for medium rare; 2-3/4 to 3 hours for medium doneness.

Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium doneness. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.) Carve roast into slices. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

HORSERADISH MASHED POTATOES

8 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled, whole
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions or snipped chives

Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in large saucepan. Add potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain.

Cook potatoes and garlic over medium-low heat 1 minute to evaporate excess moisture, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mash potatoes and garlic with electric hand mixer or manual potato masher until smooth.

Add 1/2 cup cream, butter, horseradish, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper; stir until blended. Add additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary for desired consistency. Stir in green onions.

Makes 8 (3/4-cup) servings.

FAMILY SPAGHETTI

2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (6-oz.) cans tomato paste
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
3 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Cabernet
1 pound package spaghetti
Parmesan cheese

In large, heavy stockpot, brown Italian sausage, breaking up as you stir. Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.

Stir well and barely bring to a boil. Stir in red wine. Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn!

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Spoon sauce over drained spaghetti noodles and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serves 10.

OLD-FASHIONED COCONUT CREAM PIE

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract. Reserve the remaining coconut to top the pie.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Top with whipped topping and with the reserved coconut.

 

 

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