Monday, May 25, 2020

Pesto



Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
Instructions
  1. Pulse basil and pine nuts in a food processor: Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times.
  2. Add the garlic and cheese: Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
  3. Stream in the olive oil: While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.
  4. Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste.  Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.
Comments

Mixed in some Thai basil and used the walnut substitute; turned out very well

Tzatziki

From here

Ingredients
  • 2 cups grated cucumber (from about 1 medium 10-ounce cucumber, no need to peel or seed the cucumber first, grate on the large holes of your box grater)
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Working with one big handful at a time, lightly squeeze the grated cucumber between your palms over the sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer the squeezed cucumber to a serving bowl, and repeat with the remaining cucumber.
  2. Add the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the bowl, and stir to blend. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add additional chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary (I thought this batch was just right as-is).
  3. Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.
Comments

Served with pita chips

Thursday, May 21, 2020

French Onion Soup



Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere
Instructions
  1. Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  2. When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.
  4. Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
Comments

Takes a while to make; use higher heat to evaporate the wine 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Roasted Tomato Soup


From here

Ingredients
  • 3-1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 11 medium), halved
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • Salad croutons and thinly sliced fresh basil, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Sprinkle vegetables with thyme, salt and pepper; toss in a bowl to coat. Place vegetables in a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan; drizzle with oil. Roast until tender, 25-30 minutes, stirring once. Cool slightly.
  2. Process tomato mixture and basil leaves in batches in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan; heat through. If desired, top with croutons and sliced basil.
Comments

Maybe blend more finely

Roasted Brussels Sprouts



From here

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve immediately.
Comments

A little plain; restaurants often use bacon to flavor it; goes well with grain mustard

Monday, May 11, 2020

Bruschetta



From here

Ingredients
  • 1 loaf bread (crusty Italian, sliced 3/4-inch thick, about 16 pieces)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups tomatoes (fresh, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. basil (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped very fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 oz. cheese (mozzarella, shaved)
Instructions
  1. To begin with, combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, and salt in a small bowl and lightly toss them together using a fork. Set them aside for the time being.
  2. Set the oven to the broil setting.
  3. Place the bread slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with a small amount of cooking spray. Using a basting brush, brush a small amount of the olive oil on the top of each slice of bread. Place the bread in the oven and broil for about 1 minute, or just until the bread becomes lightly toasted.
  4. Remove the bread from the oven, and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture on each slice. Top each with a couple of shaves of the mozzarella cheese. Return the bread to the oven and broil the bruschetta for another 30 seconds. Watch the bruschetta carefully during this time to make sure it does not burn. Remove the bruschetta when the cheese becomes melted, and the edges of the bread are lightly browned and toasted.
  5. Remove the bruschetta to a plate or a wire rack to cool just for a few minutes, and then serve them up immediately.
Comments

Tomato slices could be a little finer; maybe use a food processor

Monday, May 04, 2020

Caprese Salad



From here

Ingredients
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, thickly sliced
  • Large bunch fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • Large pinch freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Measure the balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan. Bring it to a gentle boil over a low heat. Cook it until the balsamic vinegar has reduced to a nice thick glaze (but still pourable), about 15 minutes. Oh and one other thing, your house will stink. But it's a good kind of stink, it's a vinegary stink. Allow the reduction to cool to room temperature before you serve it.
  2. When you are ready to assemble the salad, cut the tomatoes into thick slices. Arrange them on a platter, alternating them with the mozzarella slices. Tuck the whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.
  3. Drizzle on the gorgeous, almost black balsamic reduction. Then drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Finally, sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Comments

The balsamic glaze should be thick and syrupy.  It should be thick enough to coat a stirring spoon

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Spinach Artichoke Dip


From here

Ingredients

  • 2 10 oz packages of chopped frozen spinach
  • 24 oz 2 12 oz cans/jars of quartered artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded parmesan divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • Serve with pita chips tortilla chips, sliced baguette, or vegetables
Instructions
  1. Place frozen spinach in a medium to large sauce pan. Cover pan and heat over medium-high heat until spinach defrosts.
  2. When spinach has defrosted, add in artichokes.
  3. Next, add in blocks of cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese melts and is incorporated with spinach and artichokes.
  4. Then add in sour cream, mayonnaise, and 1 cup of parmesan. Stir until parmesan melts.
  5. Add in seasonings.
  6. You can immediately serve the spinach artichoke dip or place in an oven-proof baking dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes to melt cheese and form a delicious, crispy crust.
  7. Enjoy with pita chips, tortilla chips, sliced baguette, or vegetables.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Minestrone Soup


From here

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans or peas all work)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their liquid (or 2 small 15-ounce cans)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole grain orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale or chopped collard greens
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the seasonal vegetables, garlic, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices, broth and water. Add the salt, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving about a 1” gap for steam to escape. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
  5. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and greens. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more) and pepper until the flavors really sing. Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan, if you’d like.
Comments

Used navy beans, potatoes and spinach

Jicama



From here

Ingredients
  • 1 jicama root
  • 4 limes
  • Some chili powder (like tajiĆ­n)
Instructions

  1. Peel and chop the jicama into slices, squeeze the limes, mix both in a container to coat the slices, sprinkle chili powder -- pretty self-explanatory