Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cool As A Cucumber Soup


You’ll Need


  • 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 C peeled, seeded and finely diced cucumber
  • 1 C plain yogurt
  • 2/3 C sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp. English-style dry mustard
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh dill sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

Yield 4 1/2 Cups, Serves 6

In a blender
Purée chopped cucumbers, yogurt, sour cream, mustard, salt and white pepper.

Transfer to a bowl
Chill soup 6 hours or overnight.
Stir in finely diced cucumber and fresh dill.

To serve
Garnish soup with cucumber slices.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chilled Strawberry and Burgundy Soup


Rich and creamy chilled strawberry and wine soup is great as an appetizer or as a light dessert.

You'll Need:
  • 3 pints strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Burgundy wine
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 3 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup milk or light cream
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Mint leaves

To Start
Quarter the strawberries and cook in the water for 10 minutes. In a separate saucepan combine the sugar and flour.

Then

Stir in the wine and orange juice.


Finally

Stir or whisk until the mixture boils, approximately 10 minutes. Add to the strawberries and cool, then puree in a blender and add the sour cream and milk. Chill. Served garnished with sliced strawberries and mint leaves. Yield: 6 servings

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Garlicky Summer Squash and Fresh Corn

PREP TIME 15 Min
COOK TIME 15 Min
READY IN 30 Min

You’ll Need

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 ear corn, kernels cut from cob
2 cups sliced yellow squash
2 cups sliced zucchini
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the onion and garlic until slightly tender. Mix in the vegetable broth and corn kernels, and cook until heated through. Mix in the squash and zucchini. Cover, and continue cooking 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash and zucchini are tender.

Mix the parsley and butter into the skillet with the squash. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until butter is melted, and serve hot.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rosemary Disinfectant


Place 1 cup of rosemary leaves and stems and 1 quart of water in a pot and bring to a boil.

Allow to simmer for 45 minutes.

Strain and add 1 cup of water and 1 squirt of dish detergent.

Use to clean sinks and bathrooms, countertops and stoves.

Store excess disinfectant in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Surprise

What a wonderful surprise to happen on something that pops out at you.

We just moved into this new office, and in a fit of lunchtime hunger, I went foraging along the street for somewhere to eat. I had always overlooked the next door Mediterranean Tapas bar (WHY!!??), but finally decided to dip a toe in.

The food was decent -- I can't remember what I had, which tells you something -- but I loved the oil/vinegar that was served with the bread. The bread was unremarkable as well, but the balsamic was a reduction, served with olive oil and pesto.

The vinegar had cast off its acidic bite for a deeper kind of love. It was almost syrupy, and in perfect synergy with the pesto oil. I am now back at work fantasizing about reducing my balsamic in a pan, throwing some pesto in my oil, and making a night of it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Raw Veggie Picnic Salad

PREP TIME 20 Min
COOK TIME 10 Min
READY IN 30 Min

You’ll Need


6 slices bacon
4 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped celery
1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup seedless red grapes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS


Place bacon in a skillet over medium high-heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.


In a large bowl, toss together the bacon, broccoli, celery, peas, cranberries, green onions, green grapes, red grapes, and almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, vinegar, grated onion, Parmesan cheese, and mayonnaise. Pour dressing over the salad. Gently toss to coat.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

PREP TIME 15 Min
COOK TIME 15 Min
READY IN 30 Min

You’ll Need

4 large ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yogurt
8 ounces black Greek olives, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Slice tomatoes in half, scoop out seeds, and place in a baking dish sliced-side up. Sprinkle with and salt and pepper . Bake for 5 minutes. Remove tomatoes from oven, drizzle with olive oil, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

While baking tomatoes, mix together cucumber, yogurt, olives, basil, and sugar. Stir in feta cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove tomatoes from oven, fill with cucumber mixture, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mediterranean Summer Tomatoes

It's men's health month. This is a quick, nutritious and delicious appetizer or side salad to make.

You’ll Need
  • 5 fresh tomatoes
  • 5 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 loaf French bread, for dipping (optional)
Directions
  • Core and slice the tomatoes, and arrange them in a serving dish.
  • Sprinkle the shallots over the tomatoes.
  • Whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together with a fork, then pour over the tomatoes.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes before serving, or refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Eat with French bread, and dip the bread in the marinade when finished with the tomatoes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Couscous Salad with Summer Vegetables


Served warm or chilled, this recipe makes a sensational side dish.

To make a bigger meal of this salad, just add fresh grilled sea bass, salmon, or chicken.

You'll Need:

  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow squash
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous (not Moroccan)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons pure chili pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper (1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper (1/4-inch dice)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a Large Pot:
Bring lightly salted water to a boil. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook just until tender but still crisp, about 2 minutes.

Scoop the vegetables out of the water with a sieve, reserving the boiling water. Rinse them under cold water and set them aside.

Add the couscous to the boiling water and cook it until tender (10 minutes or more). Drain the couscous. Rinse it well with cold running water, then drain it well again.

In a large bowl:
Whisk the lime juice, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and chili pepper powder.
Gradually whisk in the oil. Mix in the couscous, reserved vegetables, cilantro, and parsley. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until chilled. This salad can be prepared a day ahead; just reseason with lime juice, salt, and pepper before serving.

Serves 12.

Friday, June 13, 2008

All Purpose Barbeque Rub

This approach to spicing up your grilling flies under the radar. You don't really think about a spice rub, but it's one of the most flavorful.

The cumin and cayenne pepper in this rub, adds a nice Southwestern flavor to whatever you are gilling.
You'll Need:
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano leaves, dried
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
In a small bowl:
Mix ingredients together in bowl and apply rub to brisket 2 to 4 hours before cooking. Refrigerate meat for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours to enhance flavor.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pizza on the Grill

Pizza is a forgotten health food. And it was no more than a basic everyday staple of veggies warmed over a piece of bread.

In that spirit, we'll take the pizza outside and cook it in the most primitive way possible -- over an open fire.

Grilled pizza is brilliant, and fun to do. Just make the crust, grill on one side, flip it, toss on whatever ingredients you like, and then you're ready to eat!!



You’ll Need:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/3 cup all purpose flour

In a large bowl:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and mix in the sugar. Let sit until it becomes frothy.

Next mix in the salt, olive oil and flour and mix well until the dough is in the form of a ball and the dough is not sticking to the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed the dough until smooth. Then place the dough in a bowl that has been greased with oil and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Set aside and let rise until doubled-approximately 1 hour. Punch down the dough and kneed for approximately 5 to 7 minutes and let rise again until doubled.

Heat the grill up to high heat:

Get the dough out again. Punch it down and divide the dough in half and form ½ inch thick rectangular size shapes. Brush the grill with olive oil place one of the dough shapes on the grill. The dough will tend to puff up. Carefully watch for the bottom crust to become lightly browned and turn the dough over. Now top this side how ever you would like but be careful not to top it too much as you do not want the pizza to become too heavy. Then close the lid and cook for a few minutes checking to see when cheese is melted.

This recipe is one that you will get your own feel for it. So the first couple of times check it frequently to make sure you do not burn it and over time you will come up with the length of time that works for you, topping that work for you and so on.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Grilled beef tenderloin with Yukon hobo packs

This recipe seems long, but it's only because there is some explaining that needs to be done regarding the hobo packs.

But it is mostly just common sense, and once you put this together once you will see that it's really easy to toss together.

And don't let the preparation time throw you either. Most of the time is spent at the grill, with your friends, "cooking". That is, you'll be turning the hobo packets once every ten to fifteen minutes. That's a job I can live with!

Active time: 1 1/4 hr
Start to finish: 1 3/4 hr

You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (2 1/2-lb) center-cut beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied
  • 1 1/2 lb fingerling or baby Yukon Gold potatoes (about 16), halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb pearl onions (about 16), blanched in boiling water 1 minute, drained, and peeled
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives

Special equipment:
12-inch-wide heavy-duty aluminum foil; a 22 1/2-inch kettle grill with a hinged top rack (if using charcoal); a large chimney starter (if using charcoal); long metal tongs; a 17- by 12 1/2- by 3 1/2-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal); an instant-read thermometer.

Before you start:
Coarsely crack peppercorns (see note, below). Stir together pepper and salt in a small bowl, then add oil and stir until combined well. Rub spice mixture all over beef.

Tear off 8 (2-foot-long) sheets of heavy-duty foil and arrange in 2 stacks of 4. Divide potatoes, onions, garlic, and sage between stacks, arranging in 1 layer in center of foil, then drizzle each with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Working with top sheet of foil, fold each side over potato mixture to enclose, then turn package a quarter turn and repeat folding and turning package with each piece of remaining foil. Make second hobo pack in same manner.

If you’re using a charcoal grill:

Open vents on bottom of grill. Light charcoal (80 to 100 briquettes) in chimney starter. Leaving about one quarter of grill free of charcoal, bank lit charcoal across rest of grill so that coals are about three times higher on opposite side.

Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack over area where coals are piled highest for 3 to 4 seconds. Using long metal tongs, lift up one hinged side of rack and put hobo packs, folded sides down, on portion of bottom rack with no coals on it. (One side of packages will be in direct contact with coals.) Cook hobo packs, turning a quarter turn with tongs every 15 minutes, 45 minutes total.

While hobo packs are cooking, sear beef on lightly oiled grill rack directly over hottest part of coals, uncovered, turning occasionally and, if necessary, moving around grill to avoid flare-ups, until well browned, 12 to 15 minutes total. Move beef to coolest part of grill, then cover with inverted roasting pan and grill, turning occasionally, until thermometer inserted diagonally into center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes.

If you’re using a gas grill:

Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low on 2 burners if your grill has 3 (or 1 burner if your grill has 2) and cook hobo packs, folded sides down, on grill rack, covered with lid, over moderately low burner(s) 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, sear beef on lightly oiled grill rack over remaining burner on high, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until well browned, 12 to 15 minutes total. Reduce heat to moderate and cook beef, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until thermometer inserted diagonally into center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes.

Serving tips:

Thinly slice beef, then remove potato mixture from packages and serve with sour cream, bacon, and chives.

Notes:

To crack peppercorns, coarsely crush with a mortar and pestle or wrap in a kitchen towel and press with bottom of a heavy skillet.

If you aren't able to grill outdoors, beef can be seared in a hot lightly oiled well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 15 minutes total, then transferred to a large roasting pan with potato mixture scattered around it and roasted in middle of a preheated 450°F oven until thermometer registers 120°F, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer beef to a cutting board and continue to roast potato mixture until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more. Keep vegetables warm in a bowl, covered, while beef stands.