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Archive for July, 2010

These.

Cut up feta, cucumbers, and watermelon into cubes.  Put on skewers.  Eat.

Make lots because your guests will gobble them up.

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We had a small group of friends over for drinks recently.  A few old friends, a few new friends, lots of wine and Hangar One raspberry vodka.  And of course, food.

Dates wrapped in bacon is sort of a party stand-by of mine, but I wanted something a little more seasonal.  I saw this idea on Epicurious and thought it would be perfect.  I skipped the use of sugar and cumin to keep it simple and substituted prosciutto for the serrano ham.  It was a lovely summery appetizer.

To make it, I cut peaches into 8 wedges.  I wrapped each with a small strip of prosciutto and secured them with a small basil leaf and a toothpick.  After I arranged them on a platter, I drizzled a splash of sherry vinegar.   They held up really well at room temperature while out for a couple hours, so I’d say they could be made a few hours in advance without a problem, though I’d probably add the vinegar just before serving.

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I recently came across some lovely blue potatoes.  But, unlike most blue potatoes, they had white flesh.  I thought they’d make a great potato salad.  I had a bunch of herbs in my fridge and just tossed everything together and hoped for the best.  It turned out delicious – much lighter and fresher than typical potato salad.

It’s fairly simple and I didn’t really measure anything out.  Just use what you have and trust your instincts.

Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette

Ingredients
Potatoes – I used about 2 pounds
A bunch of herbs- I used about a cup and a half of mixed parsley, dill, and chives
Olive oil
White wine vinegar
zest of a lemon

Directions
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender.  Drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

Mince the herbs and toss into a large bowl.  Add some olive oil, a couple tablespoons or so, and a good splash of vinegar.  Add the lemon zest and some salt and pepper and whisk together.

Peel the potatoes if you want and slice into coins.  Toss with the herb mixture.  Chill for a couple hours or overnight.

I served mine with a grilled bratwurst sausage from Marin Sun Farms and a pint of Fat Tire beer.  Perfect summer meal.

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I’m cheating a bit here because my husband made the hard part of this.

In case you couldn’t tell by my infrequent posts lately, I’ve had a hectic few weeks.  Crazy deadlines at work, trip to Sonoma with friends, more chaos at work, and friends from out of town.   Somewhere in the middle of that, I managed to flip through the current issue of Saveur, saw this amazing Lidia Bastianich recipe, and realized I had everything I needed to make it.  Unfortunately, the night that I had planned to make it, I was buried in work, so my amazing husband made the bread.  When I finally pulled myself away from my laptop to make the filling, that came together easily and dinner was ready.

So, I can’t really speak to how easy the bread was, but it didn’t look too difficult and it was delicious.   It was simple and delicate and would probably go well with a variety of fillings.

If you can’t find broccoli rabe, I think Swiss chard would probably go well here.

Umbrian Flatbread Sandwiches with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Recipe by Lidia Bastianich from Saveur

Ingredients

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
4 cups broccoli rabe
1 1/2 lbs pork sausage (I used sweet Italian)

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together yeast and 10 tbsp. water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a food processor; pulse to blend. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to yeast mixture and, with food processor running, pour in yeast mixture. Process until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; knead for 6 minutes. Form dough into a ball; transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours.

Punch the dough down; divide in half. Lightly flour one piece of dough and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 9″ disk. Place disk on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover dough with a damp towel; let sit for 15 minutes. Heat a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook each dough disk, flipping occasionally, until light brown, about 10 minutes.
To cook the sausage, fill a skillet with some water, add the sausage, and simmer until the sausage is cooked through.  Remove the sausage from the skillet and set aside.   Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet.  Add the garlic and chile flakes and stir for a minute.   Add the broccoli rabe and cook until hot, about 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the sausage and return to the skillet.  Stir in with the broccoli rabe until the rabe is cooked and everything is incorporated.

Slice each flat bread in half horizontally to create two rounds – this is easier than it sounds!  Arrange broccoli rabe and sausages on bottom half of bread, drizzle with a little oil if you’d like, and top with other half. Cut sandwiches into wedges and serve.

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