Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

I've always enjoyed the taste of cauliflower but I usually pass it over in favor of broccoli. On a trip to the farmer's market early last fall my beloved broccoli was looking a little less than stellar. Happily my favorite farmer encouraged me to try the cauliflower instead.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven originally adapted from Ina Garten

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 head of garlic, cloves separated & unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup finely-chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450ºF. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds; drain and peel the skins off.  Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread into a single layer and roast, stirring twice, until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil, parsley, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Toss well and serve hot or warm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bacon Meatballs

Add me to the list of bloggers that love bacon. My original plan was to make a 50/50 burger inspired by this post on Serious Eats. After a long weekend of hot dogs and burgers on the grill, I needed something different. Enter bacon meatballs! 

Bacon Meatballs
recipe adapted from Evil Shenanigans

1 pound hardwood smoked bacon
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dry oregano
½ teaspoon ground fennel
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

1-2 cups Fifteen Minute Tomato Sauce, for serving
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, for serving

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and place into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the bacon until it is evenly ground and no large pieces remain.

In a large bowl combine the bacon with the remaining ingredients. Mix gently until evenly combined. Using a portioning scoop or 2 spoons, shape the meat mixture into 2½ to 3 inch-sized balls. Be careful not to pack the meat mixture too tightly together or the resulting meatballs will be tough. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill, uncovered, for at least two hours.

When the meatballs are thoroughly chilled, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160ºF, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. To serve, add desired amount of tomato sauce on each dinner plate and top with 3 to 4 meatballs and sprinkle with parsley.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fifteen Minute Tomato Sauce

Take a quick stroll down the supermarket aisle and you will see there is no shortage of jarred tomato sauce. I always pass over them in favor of this quick and easy to prepare homemade sauce. With a recipe this basic, don't skip on good quality San Marzano tomatoes, it will make all the difference in your finished sauce. You can also add diced onion, fresh or dried basil, or a variety of other spices to suit your tastes.

Fifteen Minute Tomato Sauce
original recipe by Eating Deliciously

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and sauté about 1 minute or until fragrant. Do not let the garlic brown.

Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Be sure to check out the Chicken Shawarma and Fattoush Salad that completed my first Middle Eastern meal recreation.

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
6 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk together tahini and 2 tablespoons oil in second small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside 2 tablespoons chickpeas for garnish.

Process remaining chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne in food processor until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through food tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With machine running, add oil-tahini mixture in steady stream through food tube, continue to process until hummus is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

Transfer hummus to serving bowl, sprinkle reserved chickpeas and parsley over surface, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicken Shawarma

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish of garlicky meat or poultry. This was my first attempt at chicken shawarma to pair with my Fattoush Salad. I picked this recipe because I had all of the ingredients on hand. Although it was delicious, it did not have the flavor I was aiming for. I would make this again but I am still on the lookout for more shawarma recipes to recreate the flavor of that first dining experience. Be sure to check out the Fattoush Salad and Hummus that completed my meal recreation.

Chicken Shawarma
recipe adapted from Cooking Light

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 16 (3-inch) strips

½ cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Remaining ingredients:
Cooking spray
4 (6-inch) pitas
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
8 (¼ inch-thick) tomato slices

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well to coat. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

To prepare sauce, combine yogurt and next 4 ingredients (through 1 garlic clove), stirring with a whisk.

Thread 2 chicken strips onto each of 8 (12-inch) skewers. Place kebabs on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place pitas on grill rack; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted.

Place 1 pita on each of 4 plates; top each serving with ¼ cup lettuce and 2 tomato slices. Top each serving with 4 chicken pieces; drizzle each serving with 2 tablespoons sauce.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fattoush Salad

I had fattoush for the first time last summer after a day of wedding dress shopping with my cousin. I have never been to a Middle Eastern restaurant before so I had to rely on menu suggestions from my fellow dining companions. The votes were evenly split between the fattoush salad and the chicken shawarma. Like any passionate eater, I ordered both with a side of hummus thrown in for good measure. Dress shopping can really work up an appetite! After my cousin's wedding this spring, I got an itch to recreate that delicious meal. A delivery from Penzeys and a short Google search resulted in this spot on salad. Be sure to check out the Chicken Shawarma and Hummus that completed my meal recreation.

Fattoush Salad
recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen

1 whole wheat pita
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
½ teaspoon powdered Sumac, plus more for sprinkling on individual salads if desired
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
2/3 cup diced tomatoes
½ cup diced cucumber
¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup diced green pepper

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400°F. While oven heats, mash together the chopped garlic and salt using a mortar and pestle, or the side of a knife or spoon. Put garlic-salt paste in a small bowl, then add lemon juice and ½ teaspoon Sumac. Whisk in olive oil and set dressing aside. (You can also make the dressing in a glass jar and shake to combine.)

Cut whole wheat pita through the pocket and into strips about ¾ inch wide; arrange on baking sheet. (Some recipes call for brushing the pita with olive oil, but I didn't do that.) Bake until pita strips are crisp but only barely starting to brown, less than 10 minutes. Watch carefully because they can go from crisp to overly brown rather quickly. Allow to cool slightly then crumble.

Remove outer leaves from Romaine, trim stem end, then wash and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Cut Romaine into fourths lengthwise, then turn and chop crosswise into small pieces. (If you have a salad spinner, you can chop the Romaine first, then wash.) Put chopped Romaine into salad bowl large enough toss all ingredients.

Chop tomatoes, green onions, cucumbers, mint, and parsley and add to lettuce. Add about half of the dressing and toss, then add crumbled pita chops and toss again with more dressing. (You may not want all the dressing, but this salad should be quite wet.) At this point the salad should sit for a few minutes (or longer) to let flavors blend and so the pita chips absorb some of the dressing. To serve, arrange salad on individual plates and sprinkle with a bit more Sumac. You can also serve it in a large bowl with the Sumac sprinkled over. You can make the salad 30 minutes prior to serving to allow flavors to meld.

Makes 2 large main-dish salads or 4 small side salads

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chocolate Chip Waffles

I adore breakfast foods and I'm not talking cold cereal and milk. I've been known to eat last night's leftover dessert for breakfast. If donuts are an acceptable breakfast choice than cupcakes should be too!

I made these waffles for breakfast before I discovered I was out of maple syrup. My second plan was to top them with fruit but once again I came up empty handed. Quick perusal of the fridge yielded a lone container of heavy cream. A bit of confectioners' sugar and a little whisking later, my waffles had fluffy whipped cream peaks. I enjoyed these so much I had the leftovers for dessert that same night!

Chocolate Chip Waffles
recipe courtesy of addapinch via Tasty Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup chocolate chips
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Toss in chocolate chips and coat well with flour mixture.

Mix together buttermilk, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Pour into dry mixture and stir together just until combined. Pour batter into a waffle iron and cook to your iron’s instructions.

Serve immediately with your favorite syrup or whipped cream.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Several months ago I received a jar of homemade tomato juice cocktail. I enjoy tomatoes in all forms but I couldn't bring myself to open the juice fearing it would spoil before I finished it. When I came across a recipe for Gazpacho I knew I had found the answer.

recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 cloves garlic, minced
½ red onion, finely diced
1 large cucumber, finely diced
5 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
½ teaspoon salt, to taste
4 cups tomato juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
6 dashes Tabasco
¼ teaspoon black pepper, to taste

In the bowl of a large food processor or in a blender, combine the minced garlic with half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, and all of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, Tabasco, and salt. Pulse until all ingredients are blended well; mixture will have a nice speckled, colorful texture.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery. You may wish to reserve a small amount of each diced vegetable for garnish. Stir mixture together and check seasonings, adding salt if needed. Chill soup for at least 2 hours.

Remove the soup from the refrigerator and stir. Ladle into a bowl and garnish with remaining diced vegetables, a sliver of fresh avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Serve with grilled bread or toasted baguette.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cherry Tomatoes Filled with Pesto Cream Cheese

These little tomato party bites are delicious. The filling keeps well and can be prepared in advance, but wait until shortly before serving to stuff the tomatoes. 

Cherry Tomatoes Filled with Pesto Cream Cheese
recipe adapted from Cooking Club of America

1 (8-oz.) pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
4 cups cherry tomatoes, washed, dried

In a food processor, combine cream cheese and prepared pesto; pulse until smooth and creamy. (Filling can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Shortly before serving, slice a thin piece off the rounded side (opposite stem) of each cherry tomato with serrated or sharp paring knife. With grapefruit spoon or fingertips, scoop out seeds, taking care to keep tomatoes intact.

Spoon pesto cream cheese into pastry bag fitted with star tip or small resealable plastic bag with ½ inch hole snipped in one corner. Pipe rosette of filling into cavity of each cherry tomato. Place each filled cherry tomato on basil leaf; arrange on serving platter. Garnish with remaining 2 tablespoons pine nuts.

About 48 appetizer pieces

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Basil Pesto

Pesto is so versatile. You can use it as a sauce, condiment, or a flavor base with other ingredients. Below is my favorite method for making a classic basil pesto. Often I will double or triple the recipe and freeze the extra pesto in ½-cup portions. This works particularly well when the basil in your garden runs amok. Blanching the basil with help the pesto retain its bright green color.

Basil Pesto
recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis 

2 cups fresh basil leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan

Prepare a bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the basil in a sieve and plunge it into the boiling water, pushing the leaves down into the water and stirring them so they blanch evenly. Blanch for 15 seconds, and then plunge the herbs into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain immediately, squeeze the herbs dry or dry in a salad spinner.

Bring a bit of water to boil and throw the garlic in for about 45 seconds. Remove garlic, run under cold water to stop cooking, and peel.

In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. With the food processor still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 1 cup

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peach Bellini

I love love LOVE champagne! I drink it, cook with it, and even use champagne inspired bath products. I usually cook or make mixed drinks with California sparkling wine, Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava and save the fancy French Champagne for drinking unadorned.

Peach Bellini
recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peaches, thawed
1 to 2 (750-ml) bottles Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and/or peaches, for garnish
Orange peel twists, for garnish

Stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Puree the peaches in a blender with ½ cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.

For each serving, pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of the peach puree into a champagne flute. Slowly pour enough Prosecco or other sparkling wine into the flute to fill. Gently stir to blend. Garnish as desired, and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The peach puree can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken-Fried Pork Chops

This particular recipe calls for a can of condensed cream of chicken soup. Condensed soups are often frowned upon in bloggy land as being unhealthy.  I personally always flinch looking at the ingredient and nutritional information on the can. I typically use Campbell’s Healthy Request line but I plan to try this recipe to make my own homemade version.

If you are pressed for time, just dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture and place directly into the slow cooker. I served this with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and mashed potatoes. 

Slow Cooker Chicken-Fried Pork Chops
recipe courtesy of Taste of Home

½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 pork loin chops (¾ inch thick), trimmed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 
1/3 cup water

In a shallow bowl, combine flour, salt, mustard, garlic powder, and dried sage; dredge pork chops. In a skillet, brown the chops on both sides in oil. Place in a slow cooker. Combine soup and water; pour over chops.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Thicken pan juices and serve with the pork chops.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Once again, roasting has turned a previously avoided vegetable from unremarkable to delicious. They are delightfully are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. I served these alongside Slow Cooker Chicken-Fried Pork Chops.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
adapted from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered lengthwise
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the foil with olive oil.

Place the Brussels sprouts cut side down on the prepared sheet, moving them around to coat the cut surfaces in oil. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven and shake or use tongs to turn the Brussels sprouts around. Roast for another 5 minutes until tips of leaves turn light golden.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sprouts with kosher salt. Let them cool for 10 minutes before serving. May be served hot, warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Low-Fat Chocolate Pudding

This low-fat dessert is quick and easy to prepare. The hardest part is waiting for the pudding to chill. I should probably mention that this pudding is also delicious when served warm. 

Low-Fat Chocolate Pudding
recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Dutch cocoa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
Pinch table salt
1 ½ cups skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt chocolate over double boiler or in microwave. Cool slightly.

Whisk together cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add milk all at once and whisk to incorporate. Whisk in melted chocolate.

Bring mixture to boil over medium heat, whisking until smooth. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon and making sure to scrape edges of pan, for 2 minutes. (Mixture will become thick and glossy.)

Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour pudding through fine-mesh strainer and into heatproof bowl, pushing gently with spatula or spoon and leaving any solids in strainer. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding to prevent skin from forming.

Refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled. (Pudding will keep for up to 2 days.)

Gently stir pudding before transferring to individual bowls and serving.

Serves 2

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

I love brunch-style entertaining but I do not like to be stuck in the kitchen all morning. This recipe is perfect because you prep it the night before and bake it right before the party. I served this along with steamed asparagus.

Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole
recipe slightly adapted from Whole Foods Market

5 cups (½ inch) cubes stale sourdough bread (do not use fresh bread or the casserole will be runny)
12 ounces breakfast sausage
1 cup baby spinach or arugula
8 eggs
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried sage
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a medium skillet, cook sausage over medium high heat until browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Combine bread, sausage and spinach in a 9x13 baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and sage then pour over contents in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, cover and chill for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover dish and bake until cooked through and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to let rest for 10 minutes then serve.

Serves 6 to 8

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cream Cheese Sausage Dip

This dip is delicious even if it is not very pretty to look at.

Cream Cheese Sausage Dip
2 (8 ounce packages) cream cheese, cubed
1 pound bulk pork or turkey breakfast sausage
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
Corn or tortilla chips, for serving

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat. Drain the fat and return the skillet to medium heat. Add cream cheese and diced tomatoes, stirring to combine. Continue cooking over medium heat, until the cream cheese is melted and well combined. Serve warm with your favorite corn or tortilla chips.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mustard-Tarragon Roasted Chicken with Fennel, Potatoes and Carrots

I adore the combination of chicken with mustard and tarragon. Add my new found love of roasted carrots and this is one delicious meal!

Mustard-Tarragon Roasted Chicken
with Fennel, Potatoes & Carrots
original recipe by Eating Deliciously

6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and halved
3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds total
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Place the potatoes, carrots and fennel in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt, pepper, minced garlic, 2 tablespoons tarragon, lemon zest, and juice of ½ lemon. Cut up the other half of the lemon into quarters, and place in the pan along with vegetables. Roast the vegetables for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. 

Meanwhile combine ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, remaining tablespoon tarragon and Dijon mustard in a small bowl. If chicken breasts are large, cut in half and thinly spread the mustard mixture on both sides. Add chicken on top of the vegetables in the pan and continue to roast for 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.