Sunday, October 11, 2009
I consulted a couple of cookbooks and googled Concord Grapes and settled on a grape tart with a crumble topping. (The only other appealing option was a grape sorbet, but I wasn't in the cold dessert mood.) Here's what the grape tart looks like:
Dinner is still in the oven so I'll report back later with an update on how it tastes, and the recipe if I feel it's worth sharing.
UPDATE: Well, it was delicious if I do say so myself. It had a hint of Welch'sness with a tinge of tartness wrapped in a buttery crust with a sweet nutty crumb topping. Dave said it tasted a bit like cherry pie to him but it definitely had that old familiar grape flavor as far as I am concerned. So, should I post the recipe? Will you actually seek out Concord grapes if I do? ......
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Anyway, we hosted the annual event last weekend and had the biggest turnout in it’s 3-year existence….some 45 friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers attended. It was great fun. Every year we award fabulous prizes in various categories. This year we even had custom-engraved trophies for the winners. Pictured above is the first-place team - our neighbor Steve and Dave’s golfing buddy Volker.
One of the fun parts for me is making a big spread with which to feed our guests. This year I had requests for several recipes. (I apologize in advance for not having pictures of these dishes, as in my haste to get the food out I completely lost sight of the notion of capturing their images for this blog. I know we eat with our eyes first…so always like to have photos to accompany the food, but I think you can understand the omission in this case. Can’t keep 45 people waiting.) Here are two of the recipes. (But first, a note. It's very important that you use fresh herbs in both of these dishes....as dried just won't taste the same. Shouldn't be too tough to do so during the summer. Those of us with herb gardens have basil coming out the ears. If you need some, let me know.)
Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint and Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 watermelon 1 cantaloupe, cut in half, seeded
Cut a thin slice off the bottom so it sits stable on a plate. You can cut the melons into squarish chunks but for presentation’s sake I made melon balls from each. Regardless, you want 2 cups each from the watermelon and the cantaloupe. Carve out the watermelon to use as a serving “dish”.
Add to a blender (or food processor) the chopped mint, chopped basil, lemon juice, simple syrup and amaretto. Blend until smooth.
Add the watermelon and cantaloupe balls to the carved out watermelon half. Add the vinaigrette to the balls and toss to combine. Garnish with the mint and basil sprigs and taste.
Recipe courtesy Giada DeLaurentiis
This next recipe is great stuff – especially if you’re a vegetarian. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. It`s considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains, and it provides a rich and balanced source of vital nutrients. Tiny and bead-shaped, the ivory-colored quinoa cooks like rice (taking half the time of regular rice) and expands to four times its original volume. Its flavor is delicate, almost bland. I had a little trouble finding Quinoa at the big box grocery stores, but did find it at Whole Foods. Trader Joes would probably have it as well.
Quinoa with Corn, Scallions and Mint
4 ears corn, shucked
Monday, July 16, 2007
A local blogger who calls herself The Restaurant Widow writes about her quest to eat locally with lovely pictures (much lovlier than mine!) of the produce she gets in her CSA box each week. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It's a way of paying a farmer in advance for a whole season's-worth of fresh, pesticide-free produce, flowers, eggs, etc. I think it's a great idea and will be looking into doing it next spring. I urge you to read her blog - it's full of great recipe ideas and local Columbus restaurant reviews.
The farmer's market helps me in my attempt to eat locally. I went this weekend and got all sorts of beautiful veggies...and a nice grass-fed sirloin steak! Here's what I did with some of the veg.
I couldn't resist these baby squash, zucchini and pattypan. If you're not familiar with Pattypan it's a nice little squash - the French call it "priests bonnet". It's a low calorie vegetable - also a good source of vitamin A, magnesium, copper and iron. The taste is similar to zucchini.
These are beautiful little candy onions. They are larget than pearl onions but have a much sweeter flavor when sauteed, which is exactly what I did with them. When you have such fresh ingredients the key is simplicity. I washed and prepared the squash and onions, then sauteed them in a mixture of butter and olive oil. I sauteed the onions for 5 minutes before I put in the squash. Then I sauteed the whole mixture for another 5 minutes.
I put the mixture into a bowl, sprinkled with salt and pepper and basil...and volia!! It was lovely and fresh with minimal cooking. It was truly a taste of summer.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Place frisée in medium bowl; add dressing and toss. Divide salad between 2 plates. Sprinkle with bacon, cheese and nuts.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Along the lines of enjoying summer's bounty of produce options - here's a nice little recipe for Blueberry Cobbler. I made this with some beautiful big, ripe blueberries. It makes 2-4 servings depending on how hungry you are.
Lemon Blueberry Cobbler
2 cups picked-over blueberries
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (Don't skip this - it adds a really interesting flavor)
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream (add gradually to determine exact amount)
Good vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400° F. and butter an 8-inch glass pie plate - or small casserole dish.
In a bowl toss together blueberries, zest, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch until combined well and transfer to pie plate or dish.
Into another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom, and a pinch of salt. Add cream and stir until mixture just forms a thick, sticky dough. Drop dough in mounds on blueberry mixture and bake in middle of oven until crust is golden and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes and serve with good quality vanilla ice cream. YUM
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
1 1/2 lb jumbo lump crabmeat (I use Sigma Supreme in the can)
Monday, June 25, 2007
So, as my first entree of the summer I have for you a light salmon dish. It's Thai inspired so watch the red pepper flakes. The heat can get turned up with just a few extra shakes of the spice jar. Enjoy!! (Sorry for the crappy lighting on this shot. It's actually a lot more appetizing when you make it in person. I promise to work on my photo-taking setup.)
Crispy Orange-Glazed Salmon
2/3 cup orange juice
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (I couldn't find rice *wine* vinegar so I just use rice vinegar)
2 Tbsp Lite soy sauce
1 small red Thai chile pepper, thinly sliced (I omit this to reduce some of the heat)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger - grated (I use a microplane)
4 salmon filets (4-6 oz. each)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp honey
Hot cooked rice (see note)
Garnishes: Julienned carrots, chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro
1. Stir together first 6 ingredients in a shallow baking dish. Add salmon, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turning to coat evenly. Marinate at least 30 minutes. Remove salmon, reserving marinade, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook salmon 3-4 minutes per side or until fish begins to flake with a fork. Peel off skin and remove from pan. Pour reserved marinade into skillet and add honey. Heat 3-5 minutes on high, until syrupy. Serve salmon warm over a mound of rice and sauce, topped with garnishes.
Makes 4 servings
Note: I recommend Thai White Jasmine Rice - Alter Eco brand.