Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Steak and Israeli Couscous and Smashed Beans on Toast

Just a typical grilled steak, on a bed of Israeli couscous, follow box instructions for the couscous cook with chicken broth instead of water, add a bay leaf, and at the end I added some fresh red bell pepper and zucchini from my CSA bag. Beautiful, tasty, and the fresh veg at the end added a very nice crunch. This is only the second time I have had the bigger couscous but both times we have had it Brian and I oh and ah over how tasty it is!

To add to this meal we had what Jamie Oliver calls "Posh Beans on Toast" it is a mash of fresh fava beans and fresh peas with a little bit of mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is served on crostini with some mozzarella, I however didn't have fresh mozzarella so I used goat cheese which I did have. It was absolutely delicious. It is bright green, tastes like summer with a pop of flavor from the lemon juice and mint.

Smashed Fava Beans on Toast 
5 oz shelled fresh peas
9 oz shelled fresh fava beans
3-4 leaves of fresh mint (I have orange mint growing in abundance in my backyard that is what I used)\
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
Crusty Bread
Garlic
Goat Cheese
1. In food processor whiz up the peas, beans, mint, salt and pepper. Add in cheese and lemon juice, and slowly drizzle in olive oil till it is a thick consistency but somewhat loose. Taste! If you want more mint, salt and pepper or lemon juice add to taste.
2. Grill bread, once grilled use a clove of garlic and swipe it a few times over the top of the bread (2-3 max swipes).
3. Spread some goat cheese on toast (use goat cheese to your desire, I liked a lot my husband a little depends on how much tanginess of the goat cheese you want to taste over the freshness of the peas), and then top with the bean mixture. Enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spontaneous Mediterranean Meal

I had a whole bunch of veggies from our CSA and didn't really have a meal already planned. I started searching the internet and came across a lamb kabob and couscous recipe via Williams-Sanoma and just improvised. I didn't have lamb, but chicken. I had the red onion and squash but didn't ironically have red pepper (I always have red pepper) and of course I buy couscous in bulk because it is my go to summer side dish staple. Here is what I came up with...
1. I roasted the broccoli with olive oil, salt & pepper and a little garlic powder in a baking dish on the BBQ.
2. On the cast iron grill plate I did the squash and red pepper, that had olive oil, salt & pepper, and some cumin.
3. Skewered the chicken tenders and seasoned with olive oil, salt& pepper, and cumin.
4. Traditional couscous recipe: chicken stock, pinch of salt, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, parsley.

It was extremely delicious, I find that chicken tenders are perfect for kabobs if not for anything else other than ease of use. And yes it was all a little one note (cumin, salt and pepper olive oil to be specific) which critics might laugh at, but for a family dinner at home it was simply delicious and just the right amount of spices for everyone to enjoy. We will have it again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Miso Dressing

So as I am testing recipes from My Father's Daughter, so far I have made 3 things and they have all been great! Including this dressing. It is so tasty, I can't stop eating it on things - my favorite is on top of a poached egg on an English muffin instead of a Hollandaise, I didn't put a piece of bacon under the egg like you normally would for an Egg's Benedict although I could have. I think I was mostly thinking of a breakfast vehicle for the sauce! Yes, it is that good! My husband is not as big of a fan, he doesn't like a lot of soy sauce or sesame oil - and this dressing has both so it wasn't a big surprise but those are two ingredients I love and in fact crave soy sauce every once in awhile. So I did make a few substitutions to the original recipe simply because I didn't have them on hand but I still think it turned out great.






Miso Dressing
1/3 cup roughly diced Vidalia onion (I used a sweet yellow onion from my CSA because that is what I had)
1 tsp garlic minced
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp white miso (if you get the little tubs that are quartered it is half of the miso in the container)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp mirin (I didn't have mirin so I substituted Marsala- but it was a dry Marsala and generally you should substitute a sweet Marsala for mirin so I added a tsp of sugar)
2 tbsp water (now that I read the recipe I am not sure I added water... must thin it out a bit but I liked the consistency of mine so if you don't want the recipe to pack a too powerful punch and maybe be a little runnier than add the water but I obviously thoroughly enjoyed mine even if I did miss this step)
Large pinch of kosher salt
A few fresh grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp veggie oil
1. Put all but oil in food process and pulse until smooth. While blender is going slowly stream in oil.


I bought this dressing container at Crate & Barrel I love it, I have pretty much stopped buying dressing at the grocery store all together because I have this little baby. I have to say though that this dressing would be better in just a reused empty glass bottle, it is a little thick for this pour spout. But I used the last one I had available on another one of her recipes from the book (a good for you seed topping mixture for oatmeals, yogurt etc) so I just put it in my usual container. For other thinner dressing though this thing is a must own!

The perfectly poached egg on muffin, would have been even better with maybe a slice of Canadian bacon a la Egg's Benedict style, or maybe even with some sprouts or a slice of fresh from the garden tomato, so good. I am thinking I am becoming a more savory breakfast person versus the sweet...

What kind of breakfast person are you?


Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy Summer Pasta

Clearly I love Ina Garten and I was watching her show two weeks ago and she made, what looked like a really delicious, summer pasta salad. Click here for the original recipe! I made half the amount that she did, and we still had a lot of left overs for lunch the next day. But this was super fantastic, the entire family LOVED it! And when you have a garden, or CSA (especially later on in the summer) this is the perfect meal to use up a lot of those cherry tomatoes!

Summer Pasta Salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
6-9 fresh basil leaves, julienned
*small pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper, or more to taste (I liked this with a lot of black pepper but you can always add that at the end before you dig in!)
1/2 lb Angle Hair Pasta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
*Shaved Parmesan for Garnish
1. Put tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into a bowl mix together thoroughly and cover with plastic wrap leave on the counter to mingle/marinate for up to 4 hours - the longer the better!
2. Cook pasta according to package directions but it should take less than 5 minutes. Angle hair is perfect for in the summer because it cooks quick and anything that won't heat up your house is a bonus!
3. On top of tomatoes add Parmesan and then noodles, tossing well to have everything combine, serve with shaved Parmesan on top for garnish. (buy a big wedge of Parmegiano Regiano it keeps forever in the fridge and then get out your carrot peeler and make a dish like a pro!)
*Don't forget to add a little more freshly cracked black pepper before serving too if so desired, super good!



Friday, July 8, 2011

New Cookbook (or 2)

I just bought My Father's Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow and I love it, I have thought differently about Paltrow every since I watched the entire series "Spain- On the Road Again" on PBS staring Gwyneth, Mario Baltli, Mark Bittman, and Claudia Bassols (a Spanish actress). You wouldn't know it by looking at her but, Gwyneth loves food! More recipes to come from this book, as I test them out. Right now I am just reading through it like a novel. I am a cookbook geek! As if there was any doubt! So far there are lovely pictures, fantastic tips on how to eat more healthy (I can't wait to get some Veganaise, which she swears by instead of regular mayo, although I can't find it in my traditional stores so I am going to have to hop on over to either Trader Joes, New Seasons, or Whole Foods I guess but the way she goes on and on about it, and after watching Anna's and Kristina's Grocery Bag -a show devoted to testing cookbooks- they also thought it was pretty fantastic). Also the premise behind this book of cooking and enjoying food with family fits right in with my philosophy!

I also got Ina Garten's Back to Basics for my birthday, as I previously stated in my broccoli post I am trying out recipes from this book as well over the coming weeks. FYI the Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts that I made from this book were AMAZING! Look for it in a post coming soon. I personally love Ina, and love her show on Food Network. I love her ease at entertaining and who wouldn't love to have her house! I mean the kitchen and garden alone are to die for, but I digress! This book also has wonderful photo's and fairly easy recipes with not that many ingredients and includes tips like using premade puff pastry, and store bought pesto if you dont' have your own. I do like to follow recipes in a step 1, step 2 format and this book is written in paragraph form, so that is my only complaint. Other than that I have tried at least three of her recipes and they have all come out amazing so far.


                                            I give them both 4 out of 4 forks!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Iced Coffee Anyone?

So I saw the blog post over at Pioneer Woman for the Perfect Iced Coffee and the pictures were so enticing I had to try it myself. I went to target, that saucy minx (does she seduce you into buying things you don't need every time you step through those doors like she does me?), anyway I bought an iced tea container for $6 and preceded to make a batch.

You are basically making a super concentrated mix, and I think it is important that you figure out how to make it taste to your liking. Over many a cups I have found that if I use my little insulated cup full of ice, I put in about 1/4 of the coffee concentrate, a couple tablespoons of water (it is powerful stuff!) 2 tsp of sugar free hazelnut syrup, and then top it with some milk. It is great every time, especially on hot summer days on my way to swimming lessons with Molly.

At first the original recipe says that it lasts Ree a couple of weeks, but when I first made it I was thinking there is no way I was downing it! Then I ran out of milk so I haven't had any for awhile but it is seriously very tasty. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Roasted Broccoli... on the BBQ?

As I was telling everyone on FB yesterday I had a religious experience with my broccoli last night, I had received a huge head of broccoli in my CSA last week and I needed/wanted to use it; however I don't have AC in my house. For those of you wondering why that should matter I have to get creative in my cooking during the summer so as not to heat up my house. I basically use things like my microwave (I also used to use an electric kettle often as well, but that now has a permanent home in my camper), toaster oven, and BBQ like they are going out of style. Think of it this way, anything you do in an oven can basically be done on your BBQ (just use baking sheets or grill pans for the small stuff). The toaster oven also works for smaller things and takes way less energy and heat to cook what you are doing. And my go to side dish for the summer is couscous, which is easily done in the microwave vs. burner on the stove!

Anyway as I was staring at this head of broccoli, I was stumped! Because how do we all cook broccoli? We steam the crap out of it! Well, my house was already 77 degrees and it was mid 80's outside I didn't want the thermometer to keep going up. So I thought in my head, you can roast it can't you? So I pulled out my i phone and checked my How to Cook Everything App (which if you have a smart phone, love to cook, and don't have this app what are you thinking? GET IT! Worth every penny! I check it all the time just for quick reference! You can of course by the big ol' tome too but still...) any surprisingly there wasn't anything in that app for roasted broccoli besides a gratin which I didn't want to do. However I have been cooking out of the recent cook book from Ina Garten Back to Basics, and low and behold she totally had a recipe in there for roasted broccoli - probably why it came to my mind in the first place, since I have been perusing it so much. Anyway I modified the recipe a tid to suit my needs and family's taste buds and voila (insert church choir hymns and all that) it was freaking amazing! I couldn't stop moaning my appreciation as I was eating it. I will have to tell my CSA provider today how it changed my life, seriously, I can't see eating broccoli a different way ever again!
Roasted Broccoli (on the BBQ)
(serves 4) or 3 greedy people!-like my family
1 good sized head of broccoli
Olive Oil to coat
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Garlic Powder
**Need a baking sheet or grill pan for BBQ
1. Leave the broccoli florets good sized so they don't burn on the grill, coat in olive oil (2-4 tbsp depending on the amount of broccoli) you want it to look like it has a slight glaze on it but not drenched, I usually do this on a cookie sheet/baking sheet.
2. Few pinches of salt (I always use Kosher salt, if you haven't switched yet what are you waiting for?) and fresh ground pepper all over each one. Then about 1 tsp of garlic powder again sprinkled evenly over each floret. Then toss with your hands to make sure it is all well coated.
3. Put on grill pan, or straight into BBQ with cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally.
NOTE: they will get a little dark/burnt looking and crunchy, this gives it a sweet nutty flavor, trust me!

Served with microwaved couscous, and grilled steak with cilantro/lime compound butter. 

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