Wednesday, July 25, 2007

on a lighter note

Summer is here. Well, it's almost gone, but it's still here. And it's not too late to show off that hourglass figure! (HA!). Taking a break from my usual comfort food shenanigans, I've declared that this week is salad week. Mmm...check out these salad & side recipes for a totally tasty and satisfying experience (guilt-free!):

Goat cheese & Pear Salad, with Lemon Pepper Chicken
Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: Two

You'll need:
  • 3 oz. goat cheese
  • 2 pears
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 8-oz. package spring greens
  • 1 lb. chicken cutlets
  • 4 T. lemon pepper seasoning (McCormack is great)
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. dijon mustard
  • 2 T. olive oil

1) Liberally season the chicken cutlets with the lemon pepper seasoning.

2) Sautee the cutlets in 2 T. olive oil until done (~15 minutes).

3) Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, the balsamic vinegar, and the olive oil to make a vinaigrette.

4) Toss the spring greens with the vinaigrette. Arrange greens on a large plate.

5) Using a vegetable peeler, shave carrot on top of greens.

6) Slice your pear, and arrange on the outside of the plate.

7) Arrange tomatoes and chunks of goat cheese around the plate.

8) Top with chicken cutlets, and voila!

Broccoli Soup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: Four

You'll need:
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 box chicken broth (Swanson's?)
  • Salt, balsamic vinegar, cayenne, for seasoning.
  • **If desired: Heavy cream.
1) Cut broccoli (including stems) into large chunks.

2) Bring water to a boil.

3) Boil the broccoli for 10 minutes, until tender and bright green.

4) Using a blender or a food processor, blend together the broccoli and the chicken broth for 1 minute until smooth.

5) Placing soup back on stove, season to taste with balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper, and salt.

6) If desired, add heavy cream (sparingly) to soup to thicken.

Serve with: toasted ciabatta triangles. Yum!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: Four

Are you ready? This ranks among the more epic salads I've eaten. Long ingredient list, but simple instructions...

You'll need:
  • 2 bell peppers (one red, one yellow)
  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 box cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz bag hearts of romaine
  • 2 carrots (for shredding)
  • Handful of fresh Mint
  • Handful of fresh Parsley
  • Handful of fresh Cilantro
  • Kalamata olives (pitted)
  • Feta cheese
  • 1 bag pita chips (plain-I love Stacy's brand)
  • Juice of 4 lemons
  • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil

1) Chop the feta, peppers, cucumbers, spring onions into bite sized pieces; then shred the carrots, using a vegetable peeler.

2) Finely chop the herbs. Add them to the salad.

3) Add the olives (to your liking), tomatoes, lettuce, and pita chips. Toss well.

4) Juice the lemons, and whisk well with equal parts of olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad, and toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes, and enjoy!

Spiced Turkey Kafta
Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: Four

You'll need:
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 handful fresh mint
1 handful fresh parsley
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/2 C. thick plain yogurt
2 T. grill seasoning (You can use whatever you have, I used lemon pepper seasoning and it was great.)
4 small pita pockets
2 T. olive oil

1) In a food processor, chop the herbs.

2) When they are chopped, blend them with the yogurt.

3) Add the turkey to the yogurt, and mix well.

4) Add the grill seasoning, and blend with turkey.

5) Form into patties, and cook thoroughly. Slice the top off the pita pockets (you can brush olive oil on the pitas and grill briefly to make them extra tasty) - and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

sweet tart

"If I had a penny for everything I loved about you, I would have many pennies."

After watching Waitress, and being totally inspired by Keri Russell and her beautiful and innovative pies, I just had to try my hand at making one. Instead of making a sweet pie, I opted for a savory one after getting a tip from Real Simple magazine, on "Great Recipes for Summer Tomatoes."

Tomato Tart
Prep time: 40 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6

You'll need:

  • 1 - 9 inch pie pan (mine was Pyrex for about $6, works great!)
  • Frozen Pastry Dough (Pepperidge Farm worked well!)
  • Butter (~2 T. for greasing the pie pan)
  • 6-7 Roma tomatoes, seeded
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 6 or 8 Basil leaves, torn
  • 1 - 3 or 4 oz. container of Chevre (dental floss for slicing)
  • 3 or 4 oz. Fontina Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Remove pastry dough (1 sheet) from freezer. Place between two damp paper towels to thaw. (Should take ~20 minutes until it is pliable).

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Halve the tomatoes, and remove their seeds by gently squeezing them over the sink.

4. Roughly chop the tomatoes into 1 inch pieces.

5. In a medium bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, torn basil, crushed garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Allow to marinate for 10 or 15 minutes.

6. Grease the pie pan WELL using butter.

7. When the pastry dough is pliable, unfold it and use a rolling pin to make it an even thickness (should be about 1/4 in. thick).

8. GENTLY place the pastry dough into the pie pan, taking care to release any air bubbles. Trim the excess pie crust using a paring knife.

9. Using dental floss, make thin slices of the chevre, and line the bottom of the pie crust.

10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chopped tomato mixture into the pie crust (on top of the chevre). Try to minimalize the liquid that gets into the pie crust (it's ok to have some, but you don't want tomato stew).

11. Next, grate the fontina cheese over the top of the tomatoes. You should have a nice, even layer when you're done.

12. Finally, brush any exposed pastry dough with butter to prevent burning while it bakes.

13. Place your tart into the 375 oven for about 35-45 minutes (until the pastry is brown and flaky, and the cheese on top becomes golden.

14. When you take your tart out of the oven, let it cool for about 15-20 minutes-you'll have six lovely slices to show off!

Serve with:
  • Lemon pasta (see post "When Life Hands You Lemons")
  • A tossed spring mix salad with shaved carrots & balsamic vinagrette
  • Chilled Chardonnay (Simi is especially nice).